"I know he’s not the one. I said ‘Yes’ anyway. I don’t want to be alone."
Here's a little known secret: relatively few Irish women are accessing mental health services in Camden.
Sadly it seems that many Irish women are suffering in silence. Their thoughts, feelings, fears, dreams and regrets are hidden.
They are a secret.
Many are not seeking help with common mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. Without support, these women are getting more unwell.
Often these women are only accessing support when they reach crisis.
"I wish I could be kinder to myself."
Cailíní Secret is a new London-based campaign supporting and empowering Irish women who are experiencing mental and emotional distress.
It was inspired by Frank Warren and his 2005 project ‘PostSecret', in which he received thousands of secrets, sent anonymously on the back of a postcard from people all over the United States.
Kumar Grant who managed the project for Camden's Mental Health Wellbeing Hub explained: "We sent 2,000 blank postcards to Irish women – cailíní – across London, and asked them to send us their secrets.
"What we saw was beautiful and humbling. Slowly at first, secrets started to arrive. Personal confessions that had been kept hidden for sometimes more than 30 or 40 years."
Cailíní Secret is one part of a broader campaign initiated and funded by Camden Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). Commissioners identified that many Irish women were not connecting with the support available to them in Camden and have been working with Camden Hub to improve mental health and wellbeing for Irish women.
"I regret never telling my friend her husband abused me the day before they married."
These secrets, 76 in total, have been collected into a book – ‘Cailíní Secret: No one is alone in what they feel'.
Assistant Project Manager, Volunteer and London Cailini, Aoife Clements said:
"Cailíní Secret was created by Irish women for Irish women. We understand that one of our strengths – our endurance and ability to get on with things without making a fuss – can also be a weakness. In times of unhappiness, distress or life difficulty, many of us conceal our struggles instead of seeking support".
"I feel alone. Even when I'm with my friends."
Holding secrets can be heavy and burdensome. Secrets draw upon our mental and emotional strength and can make us feel tired or stressed. They also have the power to put strain on our relationships with friends and family.
"I have always wanted to be a famous singer since I was 5 or 6 years old. I'm now over 70."
Sharing secrets can bring closeness and understanding, whilst easing an emotional burden. It is hoped that revealing secrets in this anonymous way will positively influence the emotional and mental health of these Irish women, and also those reading Cailíní Secret.
It makes sure you are putting your own health and wellbeing first and it may help you feel a little bit ‘lighter'.
Dr Jonathan Levy, Camden GP and Camden CCG mental health lead said, "This book is just one part of a campaign to support cailíní, particularly those in London who are experiencing emotional or mental distress. Through sharing secrets we would like cailíní to know they are not alone.
"We believe people of all ages and backgrounds will be able to connect with some of the powerful secrets shared in this book and that these stories can unite and strengthen a wider community. This is another innovative way we are working with different communities to increase awareness and reduce stigma around mental illness."
"Every time someone underestimates me, I picture them binge-watching my hit TV show in 10 years' time!!!"
Cailíní Secret will be launched at:
London Irish Centre
50-52 Camden Square, NW1 9XB
Wednesday 1 February 2.00pm – 4.00pm
Please RSVP by email if you would like to attend.