A few weeks after the New Statesman article came out, I was approached by the Jeremy Vine show. They were hoping to speak to me as part of a feature around hearing voices. This was my third time on the show, but the first where I had to take part via phone rather than being there in person. There’s a qualitatively different feel, being interviewed without being able to see the person on the other end of the conversation (especially when you’re a voice-hearer and our voices are not the only ones in the room!). Yet, thankfully, it flowed. After opportunities like this I’m always left with a sense of what I didn’t say that I could have, and what I did say that I shouldn’t have. Yet, on balance, I’m happy with how it went.
As often is the case when doing stuff in mainstream media, I was a little shocked that people from my non-mad life (people who know me as a mum at Thea’s nursery) heard me speak and – suddenly – I was ‘out’ in a space where I’d previously flown under the radar. It was a reminder that these media opportunities have consequences, even for someone who is as open as me about the stuff I go through. There are still parts of my life that don’t have a blow by blow account of all of the stuff I’ve gone through.
Yet, at the same time, I feel privileged that I can talk about these things and reasonably expect people to either be curious about them or just file them under ‘weird’. I’m not risking my job (yay for working in mental health) or my credibility as a mum (I’ve already been through that particular challenge, as you’ll see from my blog if you check it out). I figure that I have a voice (well, a number of them I guess, so I am happy to use it).
One awkward moment in the interview came when Jeremy seemed to want to reassure me that the voices were talking crap when they express their concerns around my safety and the danger of speaking in public. I wonder why it is that it is so hard for people just to hear and validate these concerns, rather than feel the need to make it OK. I’m used to those particular voices, and what they say these days is so much easier to hear than what they said a decade ago. I don’t need anyone to take care of me around them … but I guess what I would like, sometimes, is for interviewers to go ‘oh, that makes sense … being in the media is pretty exposing’ rather than panic-deny. Maybe one day 🙂