Right, so let’s just get right to it. Across a few days you lovely people have been sending me questions and here they are in all their glory.
Do you have any idols/inspirations? If yes, who and why?
My parents. My mum had to become a mother to her two younger brothers aged fifteen when their mum died. Both my uncles have been shunned by the rest of my mum’s family because they have suffered from alcoholism and have been to prison but she’s never considered giving up on them for once. One of my uncles has limited mobility as he broke his back years ago while drunk. My mum goes out and cleans his flat every couple of weeks. He’s still drinking so the whole flat is usually filled with vomit, shit and piss. She never complains though, just sorts him out. My mum is an incredibly strong person who’s afraid of no-one. I respect her massively.
My dad has always said that since the day I was born he’s had one goal in life: to make sure I’ll never be without. He works incredibly hard to provide for his family. He had to take over our family business from my granddad aged eighteen and never got to experience the same things many other young people would. The company is really successful now and it’s all down to his hard work. He’s a good dad, a good husband and a good person. I’m so proud to be his daughter.
What are the most effective distraction/self-soothing techniques for you?
Having a wank.
I don’t really have a specific bag of tricks, just whatever works at the time. (I know, so helpful!) I like having white noise in the background most of the time, so I watch (or listen to) a lot of videos. I especially enjoy documentaries, and lately I’ve been watching listings of random facts. I used to colour quite a lot while I was in hospital. Obviously I also write. If I’m overwhelmed, I often call someone, like my mum or a mate. Having that another person’s perspective is really good at stopping things from growing too big in my head.
Are there any countries/landmarks you want to visit? If yes, where and why?
I’d love to visit a Japanese butler cafe one day, just because it seems like such an absurd concept and because we often take women providing paid company for men for granted. A little role-reversal, yo. Overall Japan seems to have a lot of random and strange things there and I’ve always been drawn to the more unorthodox side of life.
What’s one good thing about the UK compared to Finland and the opposite? (Sorry Nicole who asked me this question, I lost the original message and had to do this from memory!)
I like how there is a level of basic politeness in the UK that you just don’t get in Finland, such as nodding hello to a passer-by or saying please and thank you. Very different cultures in that sense, and something that I really struggle with when I visit Finland. Finnish doesn’t have a separate word for ‘please’ so I speak a lot clunkier than I used to.
A good thing about Finland as opposed to the UK is the equality and a lack of a class-based society. You have the same opportunities whether your family is rich or not or where you live. The best example I can give is when our president Sauli Niinistö had just had a baby with his wife before starting his second season, it was reported in the media that he had popped into a shop to get diapers, dog food and such. Other shoppers had offered to let him jump the queue but he had refused and waited just like everybody else. Can you imagine Theresa May popping into her local Tesco and doing the same thing? It’s stories like this that make me really proud of my heritage.
How did the Time to Change training go?
It was good! Obviously I meant to write a proper post about it but then hospital trip #2 happened and everything just kinda went out the window for me health-wise. Speaking of health, I missed quite a lot of things during the training weekend because I was just too ill but I loved the atmosphere.
It was so nice to see all these young people who wanted to utilise their experiences to help others and raise awareness. Time to Change is such a positive social movement, I’m really proud to be associated with it. A lot of the Young Champions also have got twitter so if you’re looking for some inspiring MH peeps to follow, do look them up!
Do you have favourite books?
It’s really hard for me to have favourite anything but if you were to put a gun to my head I’d probably name Roald Dahl’s Matilda. It was one of the first books I ever read by myself when I first learnt to read. Matilda was my idol growing up, as a book-loving kid I could really identify with her. I’ve never been as keen on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or BFG. My favourite chapter is the one where Matilda dyes her dad’s hair, it still makes me LOL. Also I really like the film adaptation, which is really rare.
I adore Finnish literature, which sadly isn’t widely available translated. My special favourite out of Finnish novels is a book called Loppuunkäsitelty (Finalised) by Anna-Leena Härkönen. It tells about her sister’s suicide from the moment she finds out of her passing up to the first anniversary of her death and it’s raw and honest and brilliant. I enjoyed this book as a teenager but obviously after my own struggles it has become even more poignant and important to me. This book is everything that I love about Finnish literature, about being able to make a big impact by using your words sparingly.
The following is from the final chapter of the book, the translation is mine:
“En näe sinua enää koskaan, mutta sitä minä en vielä tiedä. Sinä olet vielä siinä ja hengität, minun ihana pikkusiskoni. Sinä olet väsyneen näköinen ja kalpea mutta kaunis kuten aina, kävelet vierelläni, hyvin lähellä, melkein kiinni minussa.”
“I’ll never see you again but I don’t know that yet. You’re still there and you breathe, my lovely little sister. You look tired and pale but beautiful like always, you walk beside me, very close, almost against me.”
Another favourite is Tiger Tiger by Marqaux Fragoso. It’s a biographical book about Fragoso’s fifteen-year relationship with a paedophile. It’s disturbing, haunting and so beautiful that I just can’t stop reading it. I was really saddened to hear that Fragoso died suddenly last year but happy on her behalf that she was able to get this book out.
It’s an important book, which should be getting more praise and publicity than it is. It makes a lot of people uncomfortable and that’s why it’s so important. Ground-breaking literature has made people uncomfortable throughout history.
Thank you to everyone who sent in questions, let me know if there’s more!