I have just got back from the second Mental Health Bloggers South Coast (MHBSouthCoast) meet up. It was lovely!
Unfortunately in the last 7-10 days a few people have pulled out meaning we dropped from 14 to 8 people. Even then a couple didn't make it on the day. I have experienced this a number of times with the podcast. I think its natural that you have people drop out of events and planned activities. That number (in my option) is greatly increased when you plan things with those affected by mental health illnesses. Like anyone I can find non attendance annoying and disappointing. However, I have an idea of what those I am talking to or meeting are struggling with. As such I recognise that drop outs and no shows can and will happen, and thats ok. Whats important is those that attend and participate have fun and enjoy the event / activity. Potentially then those that were not able to attend maybe encouraged or feel more able to next time. Some of the people I have (and do) spoken to are affected by social anxiety, depression and OCD to name a few. This can make attending events at an unfamiliar place with people they have never met hard. So its fine AND a massive yay(!) to those that came along.
We met up at Ship Anson in Portsmouth, just outside Gunwhalf Quays. It was super busy at the pub and being the first to get there, I was pleased that Hannah arrived quite quickly after me. Myself, Hannah and Nicole had food at Ship Anson as Laura and Jess joined us.
I would like to say well done to those that walked into a busy pub to find us.
Once we had food, we went for a short walk into Gunwhalf Quays and made our way to Hollywood Bowl. It was a notably quieter and a more fun environment. While we didn't bowl, we enjoyed the arcade, winning Haribo and having Slush Puppies (Slush Puppies and Tango Ice Blast I'm still waiting for that sponsored post offer, PLEASE). We are also joined by Janie, who was attending her first meet up, yay for Janie!
We had another walk around to Slug and Lettuce (and more food, hehe) where Hannah made changed to her blog layout adding more images. Proving that blogging apps are becoming more powerful and capable of performing our desires on the go.
It was lovely to meet Janie and Jess for the first time and to see Nicole and Laura. It was lovely to see Hannah again, who is becoming my regular meet up buddy with Pompey Bloggers and the recent #TalkMH meet up.
I really enjoyed talking openly through the day about mental health. Personally I have found it really hard to open up to friends, and I think its hard for them to get it when they haven't experienced so of those challenges. So to talk with other people that are open to the discussion, can relate to the lows and difficulties in managing your own mind, was lovely.
Experiences were shared and discussed in a bowling alley, pub and in open spaces with people walking past. We didn't have to be put in a corner to stay away from people. Or hide because we wanted to talk about our struggles. We talked openly. For that I would like to say a MASSIVE thank you to Hannah, Jess, Nicole, Janie and Laura.
I had a great day, I hope you all did too. Im already looking forward to the next one, which maybe around October / November time.