CEO of female empowerment site This Girl is on Fire, Andrea McLean is the first guest on Series 4 of Happiful’s podcast I am. I have
Our podcast I am. I have returns for its fourth series with author, broadcaster, and CEO of This Girl is on Fire, Andrea McLean.
Sharing the inspiration behind her new book, also entitled This Girl is on Fire, Andrea recalls her own experiences with burnout, suicidal thoughts, and therapy - and shares why seeking professional mental health support is absolutely one of the best things we can do for ourselves.
For her three I am’s, Andrea shares that she is proud, no longer afraid to speak up, and always learning.
Andrea believes that pride is important for us all, as we spend so much of our time critiquing ourselves. Concentrating on one good thing about ourselves, she suggests, can change our outlook at any given time. “I’m a big believer in where focus goes, energy flows.”
Speaking up and out
“I love reading self-help books. I am really interested in people who have different ways of thinking about their mental health, their spirtual health and physical health,” Andrea shares. “But when I was going through what I experienced - literally reaching burnout and breakdown - I realised this was the equivalent of reading books on brain surgery and thinking I could do it on myself.
“There are times that you have to reach outside yourself and find someone who is trained in listening and asking you about your experiences,” she continues. “I knew what therapy was, but I’d never been on my own for a particular issue and I’m so glad that I did.”
Andrea explains that she talks happily and loudly about the positive impact of therapy to counter the stigmatising stance still taken by many in media.
“One of the reasons that I’m so open about it now, is because there was a moment on Loose Women about a year or so ago, and I mentioned in passing that my husband and I had been to therapy. I said it was a really productive thing, it was useful and I was so glad we did it.
“The response I got from the media was horrific!” she continues. “It made me so angry, and I don’t get angry very often. I just felt that they were doing such a disservice to anybody out there who was experiencing any kind of difficulty because they would look at all the flak I was getting, and think ‘this is what people think about therapy, and it’s negative.’”
“So I made sure I put my experience in my book and I make sure I mention it whenever I’m asked with only joy, and no shame,” Andrea says emphatically. “There is nothing to be ashamed of when asking for help.”
All I felt afterwards was such so much peace and love towards myself, for things I’d felt so much pain around before. I’d highly recommend it
“It was such a release. All I felt afterwards was such so much peace and love towards myself, for things I’d felt so much pain around before. I’d highly recommend it.”
Loose Women has opened up a new world of debate for Andrea, and she suggests that we all have to step outside our own echo chambers if we want to continue learning. “We need to push ourselves beyond those [echo chambers], and deliberately force ourselves to listen to people who have opposing points of view, because they will either reinforce your own gut feelings, or it will challenge your beliefs. Either way it will broaden your mind.”
Listen to Andrea’s episode of I am. I have
‘This Girl is on Fire: How to live, learn and thrive in a life you love’ by Andrea McLean. Published by Hay House, 12.99.
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