The Lemonade Kart - My Story
Michael Gibson is a past pupil of CUS. His journey and experience of mental health is truly inspirational, not just to those that have mental health issues, but family members too.
Just over a year ago he set up The Lemonade Kart – Website and Facebook Page
Rather than give our own take on it, we’ll let Michael tell it in his own words…
..The idea behind The Lemonade Kart goes back to my time volunteering for Meath River Rescue. I thought why not spend more time on prevention rather than recovery?
A lot of high profile Mental Health campaigns focused on the sufferer talking and looking for help – with my idea I wanted to flip a few things around.
I saw it as “it’s OK not to be OK” was a little bit wrong. So you’re not OK – what happens next????
How many people needed support and a place to go for motivation or support?
And the idea behind The Lemonade Kart was born.
Here I will try to explain the ideas behind the whole concept.
As the Rescue were adamant that they were focusing their resources on the recovery and rescue – which don’t get me wrong, is great. I decided that I could do something by myself that could work towards helping people and in turn work on prevention.
My Facebook page was started on the 28th December 2018 while I was on Christmas Holidays.
Why did I call it – The Lemonade Kart?
“When life gives you lemons you make lemonade”
That captures what The Lemonade Kart is all about. Making the very best of a situation no matter how bad it may look on the surface.
The Kart bit comes from my time in Orlando – they have a tram that travels up and down International Drive and it’s a Kart – people hop on and hop off to get to their destination.
So The Lemonade Kart is a place where you can hop on and hop off to help you make the very best of your situation to get you to your desired destination or happy place.
A very big part of starting the page and get the ball rolling was to share my “story” – I did this because I thought that sharing my story would help others to see that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
What I had not planned for was that people were astonished that I was suffering from any sort of mental health issues.
Depression and anxiety were taboo subjects when I was growing up and my condition went undiagnosed for many years.
I had everyone fooled for so long and pretended that there was nothing wrong, I was one of the best actors you'd ever meet. I'd go into work and put on the performance of a lifetime.
Then I'd go home, take that mask off, get into bed and pull the duvet over my head. I just wanted to close myself off to the world. It was so bad that I would actually feel physically sick. It was completely debilitating.
Up till that point the only ones that knew anything was amiss were very close family and one or two friends.
When my “story” was out there I had an awful lot of people saying they would have never known. Mental Health is still something that you can’t really see, you need to be told about it.
I was asked by the Meath Chronicle to do an interview and that was closely followed by LMFM. The Lemonade Kart was starting to roll.
Every day is a school day for me and what goes into The Lemonade Kart.
When I am out and about I see things that cause me to think – I then see an angle where I can make a message out of it for the page, and a lot of the messages I put up online are brought about by what I think when I see something happen.
I find it important to share personal thoughts as part of the messages because that’s what the Kart is all about – the personal element – helping others through personal experiences.
What is the concept of – #weareteam
The idea behind #weareteam is simple enough and it really stems from what little time I spent playing sports.
I saw that the strength of the team was based on every member of that team being fit and healthy. If one member of the team wasn’t right then the team was going to suffer.
If I was going into a scrum on the front row and the other prop wasn’t able to bind up or push then the scrum was going to collapse. As a front row we would not allow that to happen – we would check what the problem was and help the other prop out.
In our daily life – we are all part of different teams.
Since we are part of all these different Teams we have plenty of support around us and we can use that support network to get through the tough times.
Mental Health V Mental Fitness
The use of the phrase Mental Health I found to be very medical and implied that you would need to go to a Doctor to be treated.
After talking with a friend the idea was floated to me that we should talk about MENTAL FITNESS instead.
When you think about it a little more you can see the implication of Mental Fitness as being something you can easily work on, in the same way as Physical Fitness can be improved by going to the gym or exercising.
My website and Facebook page - The Lemonade Kart will serve multiple functions…..
A Resource Centre
A place where people who are either having difficulties or their families can visit and see who they can turn to for help.
We will have a full listing of all the qualified bodies who have been setup to deal with questions and point you in the right direction.
Don’t worry it won’t be like a self help book. But we will make some suggestions to help you to improve your Mental Fitness through a few different means.
It is my opinion that we have all got so much to learn from people who share their stories. Especially everyday people like you and me.