Life As Just Nikki

Hear it from the advocates series- Meet Cara


1. Your name

Cara Lisette

2. Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a children’s mental health nurse, a cat lady and a feminist. I have pink hair, lots of tattoos and I love to travel!

3. Your social media accounts (URL)

4. Mental health diagnosis?

I am in recovery from an eating disorder and I have bipolar disorder.

5. How long have you been diagnosed?

I’ve been diagnosed with either anorexia or OSFED on multiple occasions since I was 13 (I’m 28 now). I no longer have an ED diagnosis but I don’t consider myself 100% recovered. I was diagnosed with bipolar in 2015 but had symptoms long before that.

6. How long have you been advocating for?

I joined Time To Change in 2014 and never looked back!

7. What made you want to start advocating for mental health? (Please give as much detail as able)

I felt very ashamed of my mental health problems, especially that fact that I spent a few months admitted to a psychiatric ward. I never wanted anybody else to feel how I did and for that to happen, I knew something needed to change. I realised I wanted to be part of that change and my aim has always been to be a role model and to help others feel less alone.

8. What do you feel is your greatest strength as an advocate?

I think I am honest but positive. I’m not afraid to talk about the realities of living with mental illness but I’m also an upbeat, glass half full kind of person and I hope that this shows people that it’s possible to be happy and live a good life when you have a mental illness.

9. What more would you like to work on?

I would definitely like to continue to expand my blog and my shop, and to do more public speaking.

10. What do you feel you have accomplished so far as an advocate?

So much! I like to think I’ve made a difference to people, but my biggest accomplishment is overcoming my own self-stigma and building up the courage to make myself vulnerable and share my story with other people

11. How has the stigma of mental health affected you?

It affected me for many years by silencing me and making me feel as though I was living a double life – mentally ill only in secret. Practically, it almost lost me a job, I was bullied at school, people stare at my scars and I can’t get life insurance.

12. What message do you want to share with those who are staying silent about struggling?

It’s okay not to talk if you don’t feel ready, but when you are we are all here waiting for you with open arms. Talking is the best thing I have ever done – people can’t help if they don’t know what is going on for you. Not only that, but you will become part of a huge group fighting for social change and that feels like amazing thing to be involved in.