07 Feb Time To Talk
Today is Time To Talk Day 2019, a day when we’re reminded that conversations about mental health have the power to change lives.
I believe raising awareness of talking about mental health is immensely beneficial to us all.
We may not always be aware how our mental health can be challenged, and many feel they don’t have the opportunity to speak out.
Many of us may feel that depression, anxiety or stress does not apply to us, or shouldn’t apply to us due to our particular circumstance or situation. This is simply not true – we all need an opportunity to speak in a comfortable and safe environment, to a person who will listen; whether this be a family, friend or professional.
As a professional Wellbeing Coach myself, I see many people who would simply like a safe space in which to talk – to share, to have someone to listen, someone to be kind. Someone who will not judge them, and help them take control of those thoughts and feelings, in order to turn them around or to let them go.
I see people with anxiety, anger, stress, fear, depression, panic, low self-esteem and despair – and talking to someone is the first step to resolving them all.
The most common phrase people say to me is, “I feel so silly…” because they don’t feel they should be suffering from these feelings or emotions. But that simply isn’t true – our emotions are a completely natural part of experiencing life; however, when they stay stuck inside our heads, getting bigger and darker and more powerful, that is when they start to take over our life and cause everyday problems for us.
“You are only ever as sick as your secret”
This is a phrase from the Alcoholics Anonymous programme – however, I believe it applies to everyone out there. If you keep your feelings, thoughts and behaviours a secret, then the only person they will do damage to is yourself. When we try and ignore and bury our difficult thoughts, then that is where they will stay – in you. But they don’t stay buried – I think we all know that in truth – they will find a way to be expressed in you…..your weight, your mood, your skin, your sore muscles and joints, your gut, your breath, your OCD – your body will find a way to try and tell you, to plead with you, to please listen and talk and let go.
Who should I talk to?
This is a very individual choice but I would say to choose wisely who you decide to talk to about how you are feeling. If you would like to talk to a non-professional person – eg a friend or family member, make sure it is someone that you trust, and someone who can remain calm and non-judgemental. The last thing you want is to be gossiped about or blamed for what you are going through. Also, choose someone who will be understanding and kind – you don’t want to tell someone you are having panic attacks, and for them to say, “Oh pull yourself together, there’s nothing really wrong with you, it’s all in your head!”
If you would like to see a professional person for help, then this can have many benefits as they will have experience in dealing with people in similar situations to you, and they won’t be emotionally involved, and so perhaps will find it easier to help you in a practical, yet kind, way. There are so many different ways of finding someone to talk to. The first for many people is to approach their GP – please don’t feel shy or embarrassed about this – GPs see this in their surgery on a very regular basis, and can help point you in the right direction to get help and support. Yes, some doctors still simply dish out medical prescriptions, but many are now recognising that there are other options to deal with these issues, and will refer you on to the best place for the help you need. They might prescribe medication alongside talking therapy and this combination can work very well for many people, so please don’t be scared of discussing the best way forward for you.
You can also approach charitable organisations such as the Samaritans or mental health charity, Mind – I personally do some volunteer work with Mind and I am so impressed with the many different ways in which they support people. You can have 1-2-1 support, group support, workshops and courses to attend – all for free, and most of them you DON’T need a GP referral – you can simply ring up or go online, and ask to talk to someone about what you might need. They help children, teenagers and adults, so if you are struggling or know someone is struggling, please get in touch with them to find out more.
Whoever you choose to approach and talk to, please know this – saying out loud that you are struggling or having thoughts that you can’t understand can be scary at first, but take a deep breath and try taking that first step, because it will be the most important thing you ever do….because it’s Time To Talk.
Find out more about Time To Talk Day here
Blog compiled by Hannah Bailey, Wellbeing Coach & Reconnective Healer at Halo
Find out more about Hannah here