Daunting, yet beautiful
As one would expect, a project about mental health was a true roller coaster of emotions. The first couple of days started out extremely depressing due to the heavy nature of the subject. They were very intense (but educational) in nature, which resulted in the entire group feeling more down and worn-out. However, this was not for naught. I, as well as a lot of other participants, have really learned and started to comprehend the actual fragility of the human mind.
Working with social workers, experts in their fields, and people with mental disabilities has allowed us to immerse ourselves in such environments, making us truly think about these things as something more than just passing thoughts. The project allowed people to truly reflect on their own mental state, and for some outstanding individuals to even get the courage to speak about their own inner-demons in front of 20 complete strangers, something that still baffles me even a week after the project has finished, and it will still be something worth the utmost admiration for years to come. The organization of the entire project was almost flawless, there were inconveniences, but none were really the organizers faults.
The people were an interesting blend of personalities and life stories, unfortunately we didn’t really get to know each other too well, but that is to be expected from these projects. You get enough time to get attached, but not enough time to actually get to know the people themselves. There have hardly been any difficulties with the people involved, and many had unique traits that made them stand out. Even those who were more shy were really unique and interesting people that just required you to approach them in order to learn more about them. I can safely say that the evenings were the highlights of the project for me. People were always making fun and interesting activities almost every evening that really made this gang shine above others. From card games and riddles to crashing random Estonian parties, the nights truly made the days feel alive.
The food was utterly amazing. Another factor that should be highlighted is the priority hierarchy for the organizers. They prioritized good food for the project which led to people being in high spirits when they would get hungry and everyone would be satisfied with the great food. As the days passed by, the activities started becoming more of a responsibility for the participants as a way of facilitating helpful workshops and activities that could really provide new insight on how to deal with certain daily struggles for each and every one of us.
Even though we felt really overwhelmed at the start, over time we got accustomed to the schedule and activities and even had time to freely explore a European capital city that I personally didn’t know much about, so it was completely new to me as I didn’t know what to expect. After this project, however, I fell in love with the city aesthetic and want to return to the city and further explore its innards. There was always a funny sense of nostalgia when I was roaming the dark city streets at night. Tallinn is what I imagine Belgrade mixed with Krakow would look like, and I can’t wait to return to this beautiful city once again.
Chris and Ingrid tried to make this fragile topic and experience as approachable as possible. And in my opinion, they succeeded in making this project a truly enlightening, fun, and not too-overwhelming experience, something that is not easy to do, and for that I take my hat off to them.
Aitah to our hosts, and I hope to meet most of you again, whether it’s in Estonia, the Baltics, Europe, or anywhere else in the world. Only this time, I want to hear that everyone is taking better care of their fragile, sensitive, and truly precious mental health.