Member of staff Tal describes her recent, and current, struggles with mental health issues and how taking the plunge to ask for help was the hardest yet best thing she could have done.
Am I dishonest? A hypocrite? Maybe.
I say that, because I work for a company which talks openly and honestly about mental health, encouraging others to do the same. I’m also the person responsible for our social posts where I try to write about the importance of mental health and help Nick to de-stigmatise it.
How can I do that when I don’t follow my own advice?
Earlier in the year I finally decided to respect myself and get help. Asking for help can be one of the hardest things a person can do. Especially if you’re stubborn (like me) and are convinced you can sort your own shit out.
I’m told I’m often helping others but never helping myself. Often giving advice but never following it. I reached breaking point earlier this year and decided I couldn’t go on living life in a constant state of feeling rubbish (to couch it softly).
After years of denial and refusal to seek help, I’m now medicated and I am about to start CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) again for anxiety and depression. Why am I sharing this? It’s not easy for me. It was hard enough to ask for help, let alone tell thousands of my struggles (though as you can tell, I’ve kept enough privacy - that's not me up there on that photo!)
Firstly, to show that everybody has so much going on inside that might not be reflected on the outside. By definition, life was going pretty well for me when I decided to get help. I started here at FRAHM, I was no longer in a debilitating job and life had generally been going quite well. But I still felt horrible inside.
To echo that, although asking for help can be the hardest thing to do - it’s the biggest act of kindness you can give yourself. Asking for help has given me clarity, it’s given me courage and it’s allowed me to take my life back into my own hands.
I’m not cured, but taking those small incremental steps in the right direction has been an enormous weight off my shoulders. Take it from me (and all the experts!) talking helps hugely, and there are people out there that want to genuinely help you, whoever you are.
I still find talking about my mental health difficult and I think to some extent I always will. That’s something I’m trying to work on but that’s the beauty of it - mental health is a journey and no journey happens exactly as you envisioned it.
Keep talking & take care, Tal.