It can be one of the hardest things in the world to talk to others, especially in this age of screen staring, but talking is one of the most basic forms of communication that we can’t afford to lose.
It’s been well documented on my blogs many times about my journey through the world of poor mental health. Yes, it was scary, but I still count my self very fortunate that my experience was not as horrendous as what some people go through.
Nevertheless, it happened, and I still have to live with the consequences. The anxiety does still come back on a regular occurrence, the depression swings in when I least expect it, and I sometimes curl up and want it all to end, but then something or someone happens that makes you remember that life’s worthwhile.
Having been through a hell of a tough time over the past few weeks ago, not helped by being knocked for six by some mysterious bug, I went to bed last night doubting my abilities again. Could I do this? Could I do that? Why couldn’t I do such and such better?
I woke this morning to see on my Facebook feed (tech I suppose is useful for something), a memory of two years ago. On this day, I graduated as a Youth Worker. Nobody in our family had ever gone through University, let alone gain a BA 2:1. That day, which I remember well because I was in a heck of a state that day too, was confirmation that I was capable. I’d spent seven years getting to that point, studying alongside a full time job, whilst being diagnosed, popping pills, and using all manner of therapies and strategies to drag me through.
Since then, I’ve been able to use my qualification and knowledge for good. I’ve set up a youth club that is rated very highly in the area, I’ve supported other clubs to do the same, I’ve provided advice locally about supporting young people, and I still get to work with young people, which is something I love doing.
Yet, if I rewind to three years ago when I took a turn for the worse and I thought life was at an end and no longer worth living (the biggest and scariest time so far I think), then there’s lots of things I’d have missed – births, deaths, opportunities like working with theatre professionals, getting my foot back on the career ladder and doing a job I loved, putting on a play I’ve written (still tickets left!), holidays and explorations of parts of the country that are some of the most stunning.
It’s been one heck of a struggle to get back to this point, and each day can still be a challenge, and I’m so grateful to have kind, caring people around me who themselves are going through a tough time but continue to help me soldier on.
It’s all too easy to say ‘just talk’ but it really can help. If I hadn’t used talking therapies, I wouldn’t have gotten better. If I hadn’t talked to a variety of people, none of those opportunities I mentioned would have come my way. If I didn’t talk to people each and every day, I know I’d be an absolute mess. I know I may be annoying asking questions like ‘can I really take paracetamol and ibuprofen?’, ‘are you sure I’m not having a heart attack?’, and ‘what will people think of me if I’m not the most amazing version of me ever?’ BUT….
You know what, one I’ve had it confirmed, I can get on with my life, and if that means even greater things can come my way, then I’ll keep asking, and you know what? If I can’t be amazing one day and people don’t like it, that’s their problem. I’m doing my best and will be as amazing as I can be that day.
And you, you reading this. You’re amazing too. You might have a degree, you might not. You might have family, you might not. Life may be all smiles, it might not, but remember, you are important, to someone, somewhere, you are important, and even if it’s only one person, that’s what matters. Hold on to that. Reach out. Talk.
I love the fact that this week celebrities have really jumped on this and are trying to get us to do just that. I would urge you today, however you’re feeling, whether it’s a good day, or a not so good day (because we don’t have bad days in my little bubble, they’re just ‘not so good’) that you reach out. If someone asks you how you are, don’t reply ‘I’m fine’ if you’re not. Tell them. It really can make a big difference, and who knows what you’ll achieve in life. It may be a smile that’s been lost for some time. If you achieve a smile today, make someone else smile, or simply make time for yourself and others to chat, the world will be a much better place.