Mental illness is something that has touched all of us. Either personally or through someone we love. Sarah Walsh is an incredible woman raising money for the Key To Life Trust raising awareness for mental health and suicide. We interviewed her this week in our confidence issue to hear a little more about her inspiring journey.

Who is Sarah Walsh? 

I’m still trying to find out! I’m a 24 year old, who lives in Wellington and am working my dream job at MediaWorks. Riding the wave of ups and downs my life brings me with my cute cat Roxy and my amazing family!

What made you want to be involved with the Key To Life Charitable Trust??

It was my mum who told me about Key to Life Charitable Trust after sharing a video on Facebook with Mike King campaigning for mental health awareness and suicide prevention and I thought, finally! Someone is speaking out in New Zealand and actively working towards a goal – I have to be involved in this!!

After being diagnosed with Bipolar disorder in 2016, for so long I had no one to look to for hope, I felt like no one else understood and that no one was talking about it, I felt like an outsider and alone in my battle. After meeting a lot of other people involved with KTL I felt like I had an instant connection with them and that I had to spread the message of love, hope and awareness and most importantly a change in attitude.

What does confidence mean to you and how do you approach this in your everyday life?

I feel that confidence can be a fickle thing, at the end of the day you must rely on yourself for it as confidence should come from within. With social media it’s tough as I can often fall into the trap of looking for a validation boost, along with many others! I do struggle with self-esteem a lot but lately I’ve learned to focus on MY wins, instead of what I don’t have. Own what you do! Celebrate your wins!   

What empowers you as a woman? 

I like to challenge society’s mind set, I see that we have so much potential and so much more to achieve and I’m motivated to get there.  

What knocks your confidence down and how do you deal with that? 

This is actually something I find quite tough! Some days I feel like it won’t take much for me to knock my confidence down and I start doubting myself and the negative chat in my head begins, it’s awful! I always let my family know how I’m feeling and a few friends for support, people that I know I can say whatever to without them judging!
I always know in a few hours my mind will move on from it – but I just hold tight everything is temporary. I also think accepting that I feel like that is really good too, because I swear my brain wants to move on to closure rather than be stuck in denial.

How has confidence helped you with being so open about mental illness and your journey? 

In all honesty, I was really fired up! I was sick of not reading anything positive or reading about bipolar disorder being described in a horrible way. I was sick of celebrities only saying a few quotes about mental health or mental illness. I was sad that there wasn’t anyone to look up to here in NZ. (Before I found out about Key To Life). If no one is going to talk about it, I better start. It is scary, I do sometimes feel as some people are looking at me differently now I am so public with my struggles; it’s taken a lot of confidence! I want others to feel that they aren’t alone and that they are never too far from someone else who has the same struggles as they do and that we are all in this together. Sometimes I’ve had to take a few deep breaths and say to myself that I can do this, because sometimes I do doubt myself and get scared of what people will think.

What advice would you give our customers about self confidence and believing in themselves, embracing themselves for who they really are?

Focus on your wins, your best assets! –Very short and simple but it works. Own it!

 

What piece of clothing makes you feel confident to take on the world? 

A dress! Much less stressful than trying to find “Jeans and a nice top”.

Do you think your style and the way you dress has evolved as you have become more confident within yourself?

Yes it sure has, I used to wear black a lot when I was younger (17, 18), black tee-shirt and black jeans. I was so self-conscious. Now I love colour! (I try and avoid black since it’s so hard to find in my wardrobe or to be honest my floordrobe..!)

 

What women inspire you? 

Zoe Lawton (New Zealander) who set up a #metoo blog to provide legal professionals and law students with a safe and neutral platform to share their experiences of sexual harassment, bullying and discrimination! She opened up the conversation and shed light on what is happening in our legal industry. How freaking awesome is that!? I am in awe of the courage she has to take on big legal firms because I would have been shaking in my boots.

What’s your favourite piece out of The Borrowed Collective and why?

The Objective Flare Mini Dress! It’s so beautiful, I’ve never worn something like this before and I felt amazing it in.

 

You can read more on Key to Life here and follow Sarah on her journey here