My job role was community colleague at a superstore which involved me going to different local charity’s and either volunteering my time or working alongside them to raise vital funds for their amazing cause. I worked in this role for 12 years which I absolutely loved until I felt as though I was working for a company who didn’t share the same passion in anything I did. This went on for many years, different bosses had different ideas which I was all for trying something new but it all fell down to them not holding the same flame for the community like I did. This played havoc with my mental health it made me anxious depressed and also made my OCD which I have suffered for many years much worse. My anger levels were shooting through the roof which upset me more than ever as I was bringing it home too and I felt like I was someone else. I used to take a step back and look at myself and I was ashamed of who I’d become.
I was lucky as my work colleagues were truly amazing and they knew what made me tick and tried to help me in every way they could. I was so open about my mental health because I thought hiding it was worse as I felt this was feeding the monster within. I also believe that talking about it, opening up and most of all LAUGHING at it helped because you don’t know who is listening and my openness could help someone through their mental health issues.
My mental health has been a massive journey for me, I have suffered for around 16 years but it was at its worst when I worked there. I was always off work and that was a huge struggle because it made the guilt set in for leaving my colleagues to pick up the pieces, managers were understanding to a certain extent which I was thankful for but I always thought they didn’t have any training in mental health and didn’t fully understand how I felt. Through all this my panic attacks got worse and my OCD was taking over my life, I was wearing gloves in work and when I went out, I felt like some sort of freak. When the panic attacks set in I sometimes lost control of my bowels which was so embarrassing, I’d get the shakes and my heart would be pounding out of my chest. I found relief from my mental health issues by scratching at my legs and pulling on my hair, it would somehow relieve me from the pain and the mixed emotions I was feeling. I used to feel like there was two of me, one on each shoulder, they are sometimes there even now; there is a positive side and a negative side and I felt like they were always against each other. The positive side would make plans and try to go out with friends but the negative side would be saying ‘what’s the point, you know you’re not going to go, you’re already thinking of some excuse not to go.’ My mind is so busy sometimes, I walk into a room and it’s like I scan it for everything that’s wrong in it, wondering what is in there that I can fix. It takes everything in my power not to get up and fix things to my way. I could go on and on speaking about my mental health as it is so good to talk, don’t be ashamed of what is going on in your head.
My recovery, or should I say my road to recovery has/is taking a long time but who says there’s a time limit on this. I have had CBT three times now, it didn’t work for me and that’s ok because it doesn’t work for everyone. Level 4 therapy from the recovery team apps mental health has been amazing for me, I’ve had 30 sessions and I finished two weeks ago. It has taught me that that the positive and negative voices in my head were both me and they were there to protect me, I wasn’t losing my mind. My OCD was my escape and little did I know I was feeding my illness and this made my OCD and hand washing go to the extreme, I have learnt how to deal with this.
Please always remember, talking does help. Believe me, it helps YOU and you may help others in the process. It made me realise that I can help other people like myself who are struggling with mental health, therefore I’ve started to volunteer in a group to openly talk about my difficulties. I talk about how each day I’m getting much better and so much stronger. I have also started a counselling course to try and put my skills that I have learnt through my journey into some good use and help other people.
I can’t thank you enough for giving me this opportunity to speak about my mental health difficulties, I am so proud of how far I have come.
May 2020. An urgent appeal from Talk Out to the UK government and business leaders. It’s time for some tough questions. It’s time to make a profound change and we’re urging leaders to get in touch with us today to prevent a post-lockdown mental health fallout.
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