MQ Ambassador profiles: meet Flo Sharman


In a small collection of profiles, we at MQ Psychological Well being Analysis want to introduce to you a few of our fantastic MQ Ambassadors. Representing our charity organisation, our ambassadors assist to unfold the message of what MQ does, why psychological well being analysis is so vital and lend their voices of lived expertise experience of psychological sickness.

MQ Ambassador Flo Sharman who can be a content material copywriter, psychological well being advocate and public speaker, chatted to us to share her expertise of psychological well being situations and why she grew to become enthusiastic about MQ Psychological Well being Analysis.


Flo, thanks a lot for chatting with us. Firstly, what are your pursuits?

My ardour in life and in some ways my saviour in the direction of my psychological sicknesses is equestrianism specifically eventing and racing. I’ve been fortunate to have my very own horses for a few years and my darling Fergi is my world and has saved me from my psychological sicknesses and has been my driving drive to maintain occurring the toughest days.

I additionally adore health, and this as soon as once more has been a key software in my lifelong restoration of my 4 psychological sicknesses.

The good outside performs an enormous half in my life, and I like being out within the countryside and I’m very fortunate to stay within the Cotswolds, minutes from miles of open fields. The good outside does wonders for my psychological wellbeing and has been considered one of my nice escapes through the years.


What are your favorite issues about being alive?

Assembly a wide range of folks and making lifelong recollections and hopefully in some small method enriching folks’s lives and making a distinction to these round me. Being able to benefit from the magnificence that this world has to supply and have an array of connections with particular animals.


Might you inform us your identified psychological sicknesses?

I used to be identified on the tender age of simply 8 and ½ yrs. outdated with not only one however 4 psychological sicknesses these being PTSD, OCD, panic assaults and melancholy.


Might you please give a abstract of your lived expertise?

My psychological sickness journey started with a psychological breakdown at 8yrs outdated, it began one night with bodily signs that modified my life eternally. Inside a brief 3 months from these first bodily signs of blindness, paralyzed, headache and plenty of different signs I grew to become fully housebound, suicidal, excluded from my major college and almost sectioned at a Tier 4 clinic.

I used to be then labelled with 4 psychological sicknesses inside a yr of that first assault which confirmed itself in these terrifying signs that many thought would simply be a one-off assault and I might return to being the outgoing glad go fortunate younger woman who liked adventures and dwelling life to the complete. Sadly, that wasn’t the case in reality the exact opposite!

Not solely am I identified with 4 psychological sicknesses that I battle with each day I additionally cope with 4 invisible bodily sicknesses and this simply exhibits by no means choose what you see as a result of usually the tough issues are fully invisible, so many individuals are so shocked once I inform all of them I cope with and infrequently get however you look so nicely!


How has your expertise of your sicknesses modified through the years?

I misplaced my childhood as a result of my psychological sicknesses and it’s taken many ups and downs, remedy, remedy and my psychological sickness toolbox to get to the place I’m as we speak.

My psychological sicknesses haven’t disappeared I now know that I’ll at all times have these labels, however they don’t outline me they’re only one small a part of the jigsaw that makes me who I’m.

I face challenges each day and my OCD is at all times a battle and so is my PTSD and I do know they’ll at all times be with me however I stay a life I like and might cope with however there’s at all times challenges.


What do you perceive in regards to the causes of your situation?

For thus a few years no person knew what triggered my psychological breakdown firstly and it took a few years for us to find that my psychological breakdown and my psychological sicknesses all hyperlink again to me having lifesaving surgical procedure at simply 5 months outdated and having many traumatic occasions in hospital at such a younger age. I used to be 16 earlier than we found this and the reason being because of the lack of analysis in the direction of psychological sicknesses and that’s my driving drive of me eager to share my story and unfold the phrase on the very important influence psychological sickness analysis can have on generations to return.


What do folks say once you inform them about your situations?

Typically once I inform folks that I endure from PTSD they’re shocked as a result of so many considering solely those that are within the companies or who’ve been concerned in severe trauma incident will be identified with PTSD and in all honesty, I used to be a kind of folks once I was first identified. I now completely perceive the true which means of PTSD and people that may endure from it. It’s considered one of my most difficult psychological sicknesses I cope with and is available in so many varieties and hits you at any second.

I’ve at all times been a eager learner and like having a very good understanding of my situations I cope with and firstly I discovered it very irritating and tough to not know why I’ve been dealt the cardboard of coping with 4 psychological sicknesses at such a younger age, but it surely’s definitely helped me figuring out the true reason for my psychological sicknesses and that life altering psychological breakdown.

It exhibits although how key analysis is and it actually will be life altering, I can’t flip again the clock and get my childhood again, however I might help fund analysis and consciousness that I do know will be such a optimistic influence in these struggling with psychological sickness.


What false impression are you most aggravated by about your sickness and psychological sickness usually?

There’s a lot false impression surrounding psychological sicknesses and for me I feel there are three key issues:

  • how folks suppose since you look so nicely on the surface every thing should be high quality. That is not the case in any respect and infrequently invisible sicknesses psychological or bodily sicknesses our probably the most tough to cope with.
  • For me I’ve PTSD and individuals are so shocked once I inform them that as a result of so many individuals even to at the present time imagine that solely those that are within the navy or in public service jobs or been concerned in a severe traumatic occasion can have PTSD. That is not the case and it is without doubt one of the issues that I thrive to make folks perceive how terrible PTSD is but additionally how so many alternative folks can endure from it and lastly I feel folks considering you’re so referred to as recovered out of your psychological sicknesses they do not disappear they do not go away I nonetheless have the labels I nonetheless have psychological sickness; I am unable to flip a lightweight swap off and their disappeared. Restoration is lifelong.
  • So many individuals suppose you could pop a capsule, have some remedy and every thing is cured and your absolutely recovered from psychological sickness. I’m afraid to say its not as simple and black and white as that and its paramount that society perceive that everybody’s journey is exclusive and psychological sickness is completely different for everybody; even those that are identified with the identical psychological sickness its key that everybody is handled individually.


What Stigma Have You Confronted?

I’ve confronted numerous stigma. I feel anybody who has psychological sickness may have suffered stigma in some unspecified time in the future it is such a tragic assertion say however I feel it is so true.

For me the most important stigma battle I confronted was me shedding my childhood as a result of my psychological sicknesses as a result of being excluded from my major college as a result of I used to be the 8-year-old woman in a psychological well being disaster labelled with 4 psychological sicknesses. I used to be advised by academics that I could not be in school anymore and I keep in mind the day that my mom was introduced into the pinnacle academics workplace to say “Florence cannot be right here anymore she’s being excluded from the college as a result of her behaviour is upsetting the opposite kids and we do not need a baby in Florence’s state of affairs at our college”. That is most likely the toughest capsule to swallow and I will always remember it.

In my eyes the one method that stigma goes to be fully lowered and disappear in society is that if psychological sickness and bodily sickness are handled equally that is my perception and I hope in my lifetime I see that occur.


Because you had been first identified how has psychological well being or psychological sickness modified in society?

There was a optimistic change how psychological well being and psychological sickness is checked out in society since my psychological breakdown however there’s so many extra steps that have to be made. I feel one of many issues that society must be cautious on is that as a result of the conversations have turn out to be extra open and since psychological sickness terminology shouldn’t be frowned upon as a lot because it was once, individuals are extra open about speaking about it I personally imagine that that terminology is used too flippantly.

Typically, I hear folks saying they’re little depressed or I’ve had a bit panic assault or I am actually OCD about my home; these situations are severe situations, I cope with them myself. OCD is not nearly cleansing it’s so way more than that.

I feel it’s nice that the conversations surrounding psychological well being are opening and individuals are speaking about psychological sicknesses, however it’s critical that the proper terminology is used, and that psychological sickness labels and phrases aren’t used calmly and within the unsuitable context as a result of they’re crippling situations which can be so exhausting to cope with. You would not simply use for instance a bodily sickness prognosis calmly so the identical rules needs to be in place surrounding psychological sickness.


What do you do daily or week to week to handle your signs and psychological wellbeing?

I’ve my 4 key issues that I exploit on the nice days, the unhealthy days and the powerful instances they’re train, the nice outside, my animals and speaking. It’s what I name my psychological sickness toolkit and I do know it will likely be with me on my life lengthy psychological well being journey.

These issues are nice, and they’re my saviours, however these issues do not make my OCD disappear they do not have a magic treatment for my PTSD or my panic assaults. I am unable to simply go for a stroll and every thing goes to be wonderful. My depressive ideas can come at any level and if I am going and do considered one of this stuff, see my horse for instance sure it makes an enormous distinction, but it surely would not make these psychological sicknesses go away.


What classes have you ever discovered out of your psychological sickness expertise?

I’ve discovered many issues from my psychological sickness expertise, I am certain I’ll proceed to study issues via what I now know is a lifelong psychological sickness journey.

I might say there are key issues for me that I’ve actually discovered and brought from this expertise. In my eyes you may both take issues hold them as a detrimental or flip issues right into a optimistic. I am an enormous believer in turning all of the unhealthy issues right into a optimistic or a lesson.

My psychological sicknesses have given me the assumption that I am a lot stronger than I feel I’m, that somebody can look the happiest particular person, however they could possibly be crumbling on the within. It is given me the character to by no means choose what you see and to at all times be variety. It’s made me be tremendous resilient and how you can get via the darkest instances and being able to do this has taught me that it’s so vital to have the suitable folks by your facet and encompass your self with individuals who fill your cup up not empty your cup straight away.

One of many classes that I’ve learnt from my psychological sicknesses is to at all times hold combating it doesn’t matter what.


What’s particular about MQ?

To me the explanation why I am MQ is so particular is as a result of they’re the main psychological well being analysis charity and I do know from my very own private expertise how very important, and life altering analysis is.

Psychological well being analysis will assist generations to return and hopefully at some point we may have a treatment surrounding psychological sickness, would not that be unimaginable?


Our due to Flo for sharing her story, highlighting simply why analysis issues for psychological well being and why the work MQ Psychological Well being Analysis does should proceed.








What does psychological well being imply to you?

Psychological well being means to me very completely different to what psychological sickness means and I feel that is considered one of my key messages that I attempt to get throughout. I imagine that psychological well being is like bodily well being, and all of us have psychological well being, however we do not all have psychological sickness. It’s one thing that I feel is so vital folks perceive and I actually wish to attempt to get that message throughout that we’re all born with psychological well being like we’re all born with bodily well being, and it is important we glance after our psychological well being, and we glance after our bodily and they need to be checked out equally. As a society we should always all have higher understanding in the direction of our personal general psychological well being like we do our bodily well being. It is vital that psychological well being isn’t labelled psychological sickness, they’re two very various things and I feel many imagine they imply the identical factor. Psychological well being we’re born with it all people in society worldwide has it not everybody worldwide has psychological sickness, one in 4 are identified with psychological sickness. Psychological well being is the general arching factor of our thoughts and what we have now identical to our physique and what goes on bodily that is bodily well being the psychological well being to me doesn’t suggest PTSD, OCD, Despair and Panic Assaults that’s psychological sickness and that’s the distinction. Psychological well being is the general factor that all of us have and are born with and we have now to have  information of it and we have now to take care of it we’re all going to have highs and lows of our psychological well being however we’re not all going to be clinically identified with a diagnosable psychological sickness. So to me psychological well being is one thing we’re born with we should always worth we should always take care of we should always maintain it and we should always have an awesome understanding of it and personally psychological well being and bodily well being have to be handled and checked out equally and psychological sickness and bodily sickness have to be handled, understood and researched equally.


Query – How did the pandemic have an effect on your psychological well being your life your signs and the administration of your situation?

In some methods the pandemic was an enormous optimistic for me in different methods it was a detrimental I struggled with not having routine, however I made a routine that labored for me that did sort of make my OCD rather a lot worse and I did turn out to be obsessive about train I used to be figuring out thrice a day and was doing as a lot as I might. It additionally made my consuming dysfunction tendencies creep up which have not for a few years that’s tough, however I had my coping mechanisms which have labored for a few years and so they proceed to work to at the present time. I feel everybody struggled with the pandemic in some methods or one other the positives that I took away from it was that I used to be with my household, I stay within the stunning Cotswolds so that actually helped and I used to be doing every thing I liked that was the start of the pandemic and I acquired into a very good routine and rhythm and issues had been truly going fairly nicely and I labored out how you can cope with the state of affairs and I had a plan. I feel additionally what actually helped me was firstly I went into the pandemic in a very good psychological headspace I had simply began a brand new wonderful relationship and issues had been very optimistic in order that was an actual assist going right into a tough interval. What did not assist was once I had severe driving accident in July 2020 simply when issues had been sort of opening up and that modified every thing and had considered one of hardest summers I’ve ever had. It was a life altering occasion that in a matter of 24 hours all of the issues that had been my coping mechanisms had been taken away from me that was extremely tough and I am not going to lie I used to be in a really unhealthy method for summer season 2020 and going into autumn winter 2020. I used to be additionally identified with a uncommon invisible sickness which was making me have over 50 seizures a day for a interval as a result of a severe head harm that I had from the driving accident. With out the accident I felt I handled the pandemic nicely and I used to be fairly pleased with myself however including on the accident was very tough and was powerful to cope with when dwelling in a world in a pandemic. It took numerous psychological power which I used to be proud to say I’ve acquired via and it has been life altering that accident and that is an entire one other story that provides to my journey that I my life takes me on. There have been highs and lows surrounding my psychological well being through the pandemic, however I feel that was the case for many individuals, I most likely was one of many fortunate ones I by no means acquired COVID and my household did not so we had been very fortunate. The accident and the pandemic taught me simply how robust I’m and the way a lot psychological and bodily resilience I’ve and the way vital my coping mechanisms are to me and my psychological wellbeing.


Query – Generally folks would possibly suppose restoration is straight reliable line of progress once you look again at your psychological well being expertise how would you describe your ongoing journey of restoration/challenges?

Restoration is totally completely different for each one that suffers from psychological sickness and I am a believer that restoration is lifelong simply as I now know my psychological sicknesses won’t ever go away; at present there is no such thing as a treatment for psychological sickness perhaps at some point with MQ’s unimaginable work there will probably be however for now there is not. I am not going to say I am in an awesome stage of restoration and life’s a breeze and every thing’s rosy as a result of the truth is that is not the case in any respect, restoration is not simple it is a curler coaster sure the trustworthy reply is I’m so significantly better than I used to be once I had my psychological breakdown however I battle each day. I’ve OCD struggles each day, I’ve PTSD flashbacks weekly and infrequently I’ve my dying panic assaults all through the months. I’m on remedy in reality two psychological sickness remedy that’s a part of my restoration however not my treatment and there’s nothing to be ashamed of getting to take remedy for psychological sickness. I can truthfully say that my restoration journey began 17 years in the past and continues and modifications all through the years. Issues are significantly better from when my psychological breakdown started nonetheless it is not simple and the issues that used to set off me might not know however then there are new issues that set off me and I’m studying via my restoration course of. I am by no means going to be recovered it is a assertion however that is what I imagine, I am in restoration and I am on a significantly better journey than I used to be when it began but it surely’s a lifelong journey of restoration and I am by no means going to do away with psychological sicknesses and I will be studying what works what would not work all through my lifelong journey of being a psychological sickness sufferer. There’s nothing unsuitable with that I feel restoration is exclusive to each single particular person identical to all people’s psychological sickness journey is exclusive to them and I feel that is so vital for folks to recollect. Lastly, if somebody says they’re in restoration do not assume their life is wonderful now and that they don’t face each day challenges and are usually not crippled by psychological sickness. Simply because somebody’s in restoration doesn’t imply their challenges have disappeared and they’re so referred to as cured as usually it’s a restoration rollercoaster and issues do get higher however the psychological sicknesses don’t simply go away with a click on of the fingers.




Query – What wants to alter in society in the case of psychological well-being or psychological sickness?

There’s an enormous quantity that should change in society, I feel the most important factor that should change is that psychological sickness is handled the identical as bodily sickness; there is no such thing as a stigma surrounding bodily sickness so why is there a stigma surrounding psychological sickness. The funding that’s put into bodily well being in comparison with psychological well being is surprising and once you have a look at the statistics of 1 in 4 with a diagnosable psychological sickness and suicide being the most important killer of males underneath 40 you may hardly imagine how little funding is put into psychological well being and this should change. I feel it’s so vital in any other case we’ll eternally be in a world of so many in a severe psychological well being disaster. The entire motion surrounding psychological well-being may be very optimistic however I feel it must be he checked out and handled within the right method as a result of I really feel many individuals will really feel they’re taking care of their psychological well-being by having a stunning lengthy tub and lighting a candle and that their psychological well-being is implausible and that every thing goes to be nice and they’re really taking care of their psychological wellbeing as a result of they’re doing these two easy issues. Psychological well-being is a lot deeper than that; psychological well-being is taking care of our thoughts, having a real understanding of what is actually occurring in our thoughts on the nice days and the unhealthy days and for folks to have the power to correctly care and take care of their psychological well-being identical to they do their bodily well-being.

Query – What position can schooling play in the way forward for psychological well being?

I feel schooling surrounding psychological well being is important and I imagine schooling can play a robust position in the direction of psychological well being in years to return. Personally, I imagine schooling surrounding psychological well being in colleges is essential in decreasing the stigma in society, serving to generations to return to have a higher understanding of what psychological well being actually means and the distinction between psychological well being and psychological sickness. I additionally suppose it’s key that people who find themselves in medical and academic professions whether or not that be nursing, medical doctors and even those that are in college pastoral care sort roles have to be educated on the individuality of everybody affected by psychological sickness and have full coaching surrounding the subject. It’s so vital that academics and college workers have a full understanding of what psychological sickness is and have full coaching on recognizing these early indicators in addition to being compassionate and understanding surrounding these in a psychological well being disaster but additionally those that are identified with psychological sickness. I feel it is extremely vital for the subsequent generations that psychological well being is on the curriculum, and I feel it might be a big issue on how society scale back the stigma and for folks to deal with and have a look at psychological well being the identical as bodily well being.

Query -What do you want had been researched earlier than you developed your situation?

For me I want that there had been analysis surrounding the chances of somebody who had had been via traumatic life-threatening experiences at such age like having lifesaving surgical procedure, stopping respiration quite a few instances and traumatic experiences in hospital at simply 5months outdated. How probably it’s that somebody who’s been via these conditions might later in life whether or not it is childhood or in maturity how they’re might endure from psychological sicknesses, have a psychological breakdown or developed an array of psychological sicknesses all through their life; this may have been so helpful to me. I am unable to flip again the clock of shedding my childhood due to my psychological sicknesses me and my household having no understanding of what prompted my psychological breakdown and why I had sure triggers for my PTSD flashbacks, the explanation we didn’t have that is due to the dearth of analysis when all of it started however that’s what I actually want had been in place once I had my psychological breakdown as I truthfully suppose my path would have been very completely different and imagine I wouldn’t of had my childhood taken away from me.






Query – Do you suppose your situations have modified too you’re as an individual?

I am unable to stand right here as we speak and say they have not modified me as an individual as a result of in truth, they’ve. My situations do not outline who I’m, however psychological sicknesses have taught me rather a lot and I would not be the understanding, sympathetic and brave younger girl that I’m as we speak, if I did not have my psychological sicknesses. They’ve formed me to be the Flo I’m as we speak they’re a part of my id however they are not my entire id. I’m a special particular person, my thoughts is wired very in a different way to so many individuals and I’m very completely different to who I used to be earlier than my psychological sicknesses, but it surely isn’t a detrimental and I am not ashamed of that and the truth is I’m who I’m due to my psychological sicknesses and general due to the journey that I have been on; I take it as a optimistic and never a detrimental.




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