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Category: Mental Health
A journey to better mental health
Having experienced a number of episodes of poor mental health (depression) since childhood, by my mid 50’s, I genuinely thought that life events and experiences had increased my resilience, so when faced with the imminent loss of my husband in 2013, I thought ‘I know this is going to happen so I’ll surely find a way to cope.’
The reality was very different and although some (external) support was available during the first couple of years, which did enable me to function at a basic level, I also knew I was a long way from being well.
Over the years, my line manager has always been really understanding and very supportive, but for some reason I was reluctant to actually ask for help – I think it was because I (wrongly) thought there was nothing that could help, so getting through each day was just how I thought it would always be.
In early 2018 I experienced a number of other setbacks/life events, causing my mental health to worsen, and at that point I finally asked my employer, Deafness Support Network for help. My line manager and our HR manager, promptly made a referral to Occupational Health, and the appointment was within 2 weeks, with a recommendation for specialist mental health support.
Before the sessions started, I was mindful of something I had learned over recent years, which was not to have high expectations - but what I did have, was faith that this therapy would result in my feeling better…..even if it was just a little better. After 6 sessions, things were tangibly improving, and after 4 more sessions, I felt so much better – much better than I’d ever thought possible.
I know it can be difficult for some people to recognise in themselves, just how unwell they are, or may feel that by asking for help, they might be seen as weak or unable to cope. But the reality for me was completely different, and I will always be grateful to colleagues in DSN, who were (and still are) patient, understanding and very supportive. That made such a difference and was the reason I was able to access the right help. My only regret is that I didn’t ask for help sooner.
So that’s really my message...if you find your mental health has been/is affected and you’re feeling stressed, anxious or depressed - for whatever reason, talk to your line manager, or perhaps first to a confidante. You will be listened to and supported. Don’t wait any longer to get the help you need.
by Pam Craige
Deafness Support Network