Come out and Play: A journey through the depths of mental health
In a sense I believe that this project gave me an insight of many emotional feelings I didn’t deal with in the past.The fact that the place felt like a safe space to share, where you can be vulnerable and honest with yourself, made me able to see things from a different perspective.Furthermore, we had the ability to explore our creativity through different activities, without judgment or negativity. It made me realize how much I love to collaborate with others, especially in art projects. I felt more connected with myself creating in a group rather alone. What Active Rainbow does is absolute magic and for sure this experience inspired me to be more mindful and active within the community. For sure I would love to be part of another project in the future.
As the first Erasmus program that I took part in, this was a really amazing experience for me. Before going to the project I didn’t really have time to do some self-reflection, however, this retreat gave me the opportunity to do that. During those 10 days I gained so many different experiences and skills. In addition, I was able to reflect on some of the mechanisms present in my life and to reflect on the reason for them. I got more in touch with my creative part and I am really glad that I was able to do that.
The project showed me that there can be a place where you feel safe to be yourself, to express yourself and to show your inner struggles and demons without being pushed aside or talked down to. It also provided me a look of how the things you do don’t need to be perfect, the best you can do is perfectly enough. This helped me to find a way to manage my perfectionism. This Youth exchange definitely started some kind of process in me and I feel it working on the front and background. And I am sure the result will be something amazing. I am so thankful for Active Rainbow and their hard work and hospitality in this project. I am longing to go on another project with them.
It has been a pleasure for me to participate in this Erasmus + project as in comparison to previous projects, the activities were especially well thought of. Each day was full of excitement, anticipation for what’s ahead and which part of ourselves we will explore. I have worked on my mental health continuously throughout the last two years with therapy and reflection. But I haven’t had the chance to face myself and focus as much as I did throughout the project. By participating in the program I have allowed myself to be more honest with myself, pay attention to things that I always avoided and identify some of the issues and roots that occur in meaningful connections.
The processes in the Erasmus “Come out and Play” have been gradually touching and tackling different parts of our experiences by allowing us to share, connect and accept each other as we are. Even though in the beginning I was nervous and scared for exposing myself that much in between other people, especially within the community and working constantly on the two most tricky topics for me previously – LGBTQ and Mental health. I can say proudly that I have felt more safe and understood than in any other community or space, fully, like in my chosen family. Also it gave me a lot of strength, food for thought and courage to engage more within the community, support further with activist campaigns, be open and available to discuss anything that relates to the topics.
Additionally, involving creativity and artistry in those 10 days has sent me back to my childhood and parts of myself that were forgotten as I became an adult. I have felt deeply moved, refreshed and excited to continue my life in Bulgaria with the new perspectives that Active Rainbow enabled me to view.
This was my first erasmus project and I am grateful I chose exactly this topic. In this period of my life I had the need to change my cultural setting, to meet new people and to have time to work on my mental well-being. Before I took the opportunity to enroll on this project I was in a strange period of my life and up to a few hours before the flight I didn’t know if I was ready to take this decision. I am glad I signed up on this adventure because I had the unique opportunity to visit Latvia, meet new people with the same mindset as mine, and I was able to share my life experiences and feelings with them. I am very grateful to the people I met and the project for helping me see a different point of view, have a mindset shift and to feel empathy from a foreign culture. The last few days of the project I was really inspired and motivated to come back to Bulgaria and face my personal problems and to start working on my mental health and have a fresh start of my life.
Now that I am back in Bulgaria I am actively trying to implement in my life and in my community the positive things that I experienced and learned from the project.
The Youth Exchange “Come out and Play” was a life changing experience for me. It took place in a countryside place in Latvia, where we were in touch with the amazing nature which was surrounding us. We had a lake nearby and huge green fields and forests all around us. I believe the location was serving in the best way the purpose of the projects and its topic, namely – Mental health. The facilitators and all of the members together created a safe space where all of us could express and communicate our feelings. During the project we had workshops which helped us to reflect on our inner world, our feelings and emotions, our goals and fears. For me that was a big deal, because I think that nowadays we all live in a rush, always busy and we don’t have the time to look inside ourselves and do some selfcare.
In conclusion we are all ecstatic for the journey this exchange put us on and to come and be able to share our experience/knowledge from the project with others. It has played a huge role in our lives, further development and understanding, so now we are proactively exploring the mind, emotions and mental health.