We all have bad days, days when nothing seems to go our way. It's quite easy to bounce back from those, but what if they are followed by another day just like that, then another and another? That is a different story. Today is World Mental Health Day. When we think of mental health we tend to think more about illness than health. Why is that? Why do we find it so hard to ask for help when it comes to our mental health? Why do we have to be clinically depressed before we stick our hands up and say 'help'? We don't have that problem with our physical health. We'll happily join a gym and get some input from a personal trainer but where do we go if we're just feeling a little despondent and struggling to shake it off? Do we have to go to the GP or is there somewhere else we can go?
It was 2010 and I was living in London and I was feeling increasingly downcast. I'm naturally an up and down person and feel things very strongly, which applies to my joy, but also sadness too. It's how God has made me, and I wouldn't want to be any other way. In 2010 it was different. I was consistently tearful over nothing. I was exhausted. I was anxious about things that wouldn't normally make me anxious. Eventually, I went to chat to someone at Church and told her how I was feeling. She was so supportive and encouraged me to take some time off work. A family member warned me against seeing the doctor as she feared it would be career suicide for me. As a mental health professional, I knew early warning signs are often ignored until things become much worse and harder to recover from. I knew if I didn't do something, I was heading towards hospital treatment. I had to do something and ended up taking 6 weeks off work. This time allowed me to process some things I had been avoiding, rest and heal.
My family and colleagues were amazing and so were most of my friends. The ones that weren't, helped me realize they weren't the people I thought that they were. Since then I've been working to help others strengthen their mental health and started a business to enable people to thrive, not just survive; www.70x7ltd.com. Mental health isn't about avoiding depression, just coping or managing to struggle through each day. There is a different way to live. We all have moments and days of despondency, but tomorrow is a new day, filled with opportunity and hope for you. If you don't feel that way, speak to someone about it. We want to help.