This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and I believe it’s really important that we all feel able to talk openly about our own mental health challenges. So to that end, I thought I would share mine.
My biggest (to date) came when I was caring for my elderly mother about 5 years ago. It was one of the toughest and most challenging periods of my life. She was in chronic pain, had vascular dementia and was suffering from what I later found out to be severe depression. When I went round to her house in the morning, once the carers had left, she was curled up in a ball in her armchair and would refuse to speak to me. When I left in the evening, every evening, she would burst into tears. I was literally beside myself. I didn’t know what more I could do and it began to impact what had always been a wonderful relationship.
However, my life script was ‘be strong.’ I didn’t want to “burden” my husband or my friends with my problems. I had always believed I could cope with anything. But I was wrong. I couldn’t cope with this without support.
In the end, I had weekly counselling for about 6 months and it was enormously helpful. For the first four sessions, I think I cried for practically the whole 50 minutes. I had so much pent up emotion inside. But that was OK. In my world, at the time, I was paying someone to share the load and my counsellor created a wonderfully safe space for me to unburden myself.
I wouldn’t hesitate to go back any time I felt I was struggling emotionally and I would recommend it to anyone having challenges with their own mental health.