Stories of Hope: Danielle Vanier
“I have some wonderful people in my life who love me even on the days that I forget to love myself.”
At Chasing the Stigma, we speak from a place of lived experience when we say that there is always help and there is always hope. Launching ahead of the start of Mental Health Awareness Week 2021, our new series ‘Stories of Hope’ shares real stories from real people who prove that #ThereIsAlwaysHope and discover how they have learned to live with their mental health.
Our first contributors will be a selection of well-known faces, who have all supported our recent campaign with Network Rail, helping spread the word about the Hub of Hope. Today we have a chat with Danielle Vanier, a plus-size content creator, fashion blogger-turned designer and advocate for those living with Fibromyalgia.
Why did you get involved in the Network Rail and Chasing the Stigma ‘There is Always Hope’ campaign?
“Those with chronic pain conditions or physical disabilities can often really struggle with their mental health, and as someone with Fibromyalgia I know how much this can be pushed aside when not wanting to feel like even more of a burden or the necessity to mediate physical symptoms takes over.”
We really appreciate your honesty about your own mental health, why did you decide to speak out about it?
“Using my platform positively through raising awareness of important issues has always been important to me. If I can show that it’s okay to struggle and it’s okay to seek support, then I hope that it might encourage others to do the same.”
What were the moments of hope for you in your mental health journey?
“Finding people in similar situations, especially my followers, who were brave enough to share their own experiences with me and who signposted me to services that helped them.”
What helped in terms of your own recovery?
“Gaining more insight around my triggers and surrounding myself with people who understand the complexities of my condition. Building a support network is so important.”
How easy do you think it is to find the right support for your mental health?
“Not easy. Primary care services are overwhelmed and often that means that mental health support takes a back seat.”
What challenges did you face?
“Websites are difficult to navigate, the quantity of information can be overwhelming and there is definitely a stigma associated with asking for help. I do wish I’d known about the Hub of Hope earlier, it really has been a lifeline.”
How do you think it improves access to support?
“It consolidates all of the information into one place and is more widely accessible as it gives the option of NHS, private or peer support. There is also the option to search for local, regional, or national services, as well as the ‘Need Help Now’ function for those who need imminent support.”
If you, today, could speak to yourself at your lowest point, what would you tell yourself?
“That better days are coming and that I have some wonderful people in my life who love me even on the days that I forget to love myself.”
Follow Danielle on Instagram @DanielleVanier
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