Easier said than done, and I debated with myself tirelessly whether I should write this post or not. It’s not easy to open up when you have been going through mental health issues but I wanted to do this as part of my therapy and to help others to try and get through similar difficulties.
I have been dealing with a form of mental health called emotional distress, emotional distress can be caused by various reasons such as personal, family or work. For me, I have been dealing with a childhood trauma, which over the years up until May 2016 (last year) resurfaced in the most unexpected way, bereavement. It has led me to this position now where I’ll admit I am in need of some professional help.
At first, I was very hesitant I would need any professional support, uncertain whether it was something I thought was necessary. I thought I was coping well. Friends, colleagues and family all saw me in a good light, I guess it is easy to hide it when work is so busy and it actually helps with not thinking about my issues.
Looking at this retrospectively, I wish I took a more proactive approach and took a step or two back from work to work on myself. Not thinking about myself. Not putting myself as priority number 1 was not helping me get over my issues. I very much enjoy my job, i found it to be a pleasant distraction, but even in a job like that you still need to take a step back and dedicate some time to working on yourself.
I needed to try and channel my thoughts to the forefront. Not accepting them. Not dealing with them is potentially going to make things worse and it did.
How did I know the time was right to seek help?
For me, I started to feel unwell, to a point where I couldn’t work, tension headaches lasted more than a week, not ideal when you look at a computer screen for 10 hours a day. Energy levels depleting and tiredness caused by depression, at first I thought something physically was wrong so I got myself checked out at the Doctors. When something started to really effect my life physically, it dawned on me to get myself checked over.
Mentally, I think it was always apparent but I believe I was putting this to the back of my mind, not accepting it was happening, my body needed to let me know in a different way and it came out physically for me, to a point where working and home life was becoming a struggle.
When these symptons started to develop plus others such as anxiety, I knew it was time to face the fact that seeking professional help is something I have to try.
I have never had counselling before, I have found it hard to admit this is something I might of needed in the past, I am afraid people might see me in a bad light, think I’m weird, crazy even, and people won’t want to associate themselves with me, and as a professional in the software development industry it is even more important that I maintain a positive image.
How I was wrong:
So far everyone I have told have been super supportive, opening up has been the best decision I have made since deciding to propose to my now fiancé. It has surprised me how supportive and understanding everyone has been, I didn’t expect this at all, not many people talk about mental health issues, it’s not a common subject, but it should be, so many of us will go through moments in our lives where mental health becomes an issue.
My message today is you are not alone. open up, acknowledge what you are going through, talk about your emotions, cry, seek the help you need and most important don’t be afraid.