It’s taken me well over a year to write this, weighing up the possible negative impact for me and my business and also the possible positives for myself and others. After meeting the inspirational Claire Williams at a Sports Aid dinner late last year and hearing her own story, I decided it’s long overdue. I believe my opening line of conversation to her after her speech was “Wow – I thought I had some bottle, but I have nothing compared to you!”
Lots of people are sharing posts online displaying their support for people with mental illness but very few actually admit they suffer.
So here goes – I am the one in four.
Six months after the somewhat traumatic arrival of our long-awaited son Jamie, Mike and I finally admitted I needed help and I was diagnosed with depression. With hindsight and a clear head, this is hardly a surprise.
My GP, whilst trying to be supportive, did what all GPs do and prescribed medication and sent me merrily on my way – I think we all appreciate that the NHS is grossly underfunded to help in this area. This did enable me to return to work but was not without its’ own complications.
Roll forward three years and a very close friend who worked in mental health asked me why I thought medication was the solution? (Christine Davies) This resulted in a monumental change in my mind set and the swapping of medication for counselling, nutrition, work life balance and exercise. (Please don't do this without medical advice).
Shortly after this and just as I was feeling a great sense of achievement I was, as many are aware, assaulted. A huge set back frankly and this has resulted in ongoing spells of depression and anxiety which are likely to remain part of my life.
Regular counselling has helped me to identify that goal setting is key to my health and wellbeing so myself and a team of friends and business contacts will be climbing the Welsh Three Peaks at the end of the year. Some of the lunatics are even going to cycle in between the peaks (not me – I’m not actually CRAZY!)
The goal, physical exercise and support of the team and my nearest and dearest has already had a significant positive impact. Whilst I wasn’t going to use this as an opportunity to raise money I saw an advert about The Samaritans during which I realised I’m extremely fortunate to be surrounded by people who support me. Others are not so lucky, so I have chosen to raise money for the charity which helps them.
Please don’t feel any obligation to give, it’s more important for me to raise awareness than anything else.
Everyone has their own individual challenges, this is just one of mine. Everyone can achieve their goals with the right support and determination. I’ve achieved more over the last six years than I could ever have dreamed – watch this space for 2018!
So, to risk sounding like yet another generic Facebook post, my door is always open, I’m always at the end of the phone, if you too are struggling it is OK to ask for help.
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