Every so often I will see something that reminds me I am alive and worth keeping that way.

Recently it is this…

I pass this tree every week when I drive into the city. My kids ask me about it. What it means. Why did someone paint it?

Although they are 4 and 5 years old I explain…

You know how I get really sad or angry or tired sometimes and can’t explain why I feel yuck?

They nod and listen as I explain that sometimes people feel embarrassed to talk to other people about feeling sick inside.

Instead of going to the “talking doctor” (what the kids call my psychiatrist) they bottle it up and get sicker.

The trees are a reminder to everyone that it is important to ask for help. And to ask people you know if they need help if they don’t seem alright to you.

When they are older I’ll share the full story of why the Blue Tree Project began in Australia…



But for now I’ll drive past the blue tree and let it remind me…

That I matter to people who love me no matter what my depression tells me.

That as insignificant as I feel my support, encouragement, words or shared experiences are important. If me being open about my mental illness encourages anyone (perhaps even my children) to speak up and ask for help then that means a successful life to me.

Has anyone else seen a Blue Tree in their area? Feel free to add a link to your blog and photo in the comments, I’d love to see the photos.

❀ Nat

10 thoughts on “I’m not ashamed to speak up about my mental illness… Are you?

  1. Hi Nat.. this is a wonderful idea – I haven’t heard of it before! I read the article and also looked at more examples on Twitter. Do you mind if I share a link to your post on Twitter and maybe share it on my blog as well?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Liz 😊.
      Thank you and a massive yes please! Apart from here I don’t use social media as it doesn’t help my depression so it would mean a lot to me if you shared this on my behalf.

      I updated this post to include the link to the Blue Tree Project which you might like to check out. They have a map where you can register a Blue Tree! How awesome is that! I hope you can find a tree near you… Imagine the photos for your colour blog, they would be gorgeous.

      Thanks again Liz. Xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree. Hadn’t heard of it till I passed the tree on the way to Perth and the story hit home so deeply. I’m sussing out trees at the school I work at and hopefully the principal will agree to let the kids cut loose with the paint. They have a Blue school logo too so it feels just right πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’™

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi ST and thanks for taking the time to read and comment. It just shows how individual we all are. Here in WA we hear mood disorder more often than affective disorder but for me personally neither describe how I feel and experience better than the term “mental illness” which is why I choose to use it.

      I apologise in advance, but I doubt I will change the terminology I use even if it isn’t right. I respect your view and understand my choices mightn’t be right for everyone and that is ok too. I am grateful for your feedback.

      I hope you are doing well. Your post about the crooked trees in Poland was fascinating. Such a mystery. 😊.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for your clarification, it is interesting to hear of different views and valuations. Here in Germany one psychiatrist has written a book in the sense that in fact the society is crazy and not the lunatics (mentally ill people). A refreshing and funny angle of view!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I would love the title if you know it. Sounds like my kind of book 😊.

        A good friend of mine jokes to me at times that there is nothing wrong with being mentally ill and that all the best people are. She has had so many labels over the years given by professionals. Each doctor thinks something else and often contradict eachother.

        So her advice to me has always been to ask for help and listen to advice but also go by how you feel inside above all.

        I must admit at times I wonder what the medical systems and views are like in other countries. Here for example we wouldn’t use the word lunatic. It feels so strange to hear of a psychiatrist using it. Mine wouldn’t. But mental illness is a commonly used term. It is fascinating to learn more.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Please understand that English is not my mother tongue, and writing about complex matters is not so easy as English offers double the words than German, besides the people in the USA or Australia or India use sometimes not the same words for the same matter in their English. So I try my best to translate but for complex matters, it is sometimes quite a struggle and not easy. I have now looked for the title of the book of the German psychiatrist MANFRED LÜTZ which is seemingly only available in German with the title IRRE! WIR BEHANDELN DIE FALSCHEN. UNSER PROBLEM SIND DIE NORMALEN which would be in Englisch CRAZY! WE TREAT THE WRONG PEOPLE. OUR PROBLEM ARE THE NORMAL ONES. In German IRRE can also be positive in the sense of how amazing, but it means also mentally ill. So crazy I think would fit the best. I have read this book in 2012 and found it quite exhililarating. I can not complain about psychiatry in Germany, my diagnosis was also always very clear since 2004. But I have always tried a lot of helpful matters by myself and own decision, so I had to pay all this from my money about which I do not complain, trying to find my own helpful “escapes”. Hypnotical healing turned out to be the best therapy for me but if this is applicable also for others, I really do not know. Since 2005 I have the same psychiatrist, she is very nice, supportive, reliable and helpful for all this paperwork being sometimes necessary like prescriptions a.s.o. Mental illness does also exist as word in a German, but it is normally not used because it has some negative stigma. People speak normally about PSYCHISCHE ERKRANKUNGEN meaning literally PSYCHIC DISORDER or AILMENT, I am not sure. Quite fashionable is now the term BURN-OUT which became part of German, sounds better than depression?! In general there is a greater consciousness and awareness for all these matters than 20 years ago.

        Liked by 1 person

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