“Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be Kind, always.”
In this episode I attempt to reduce the stigma behind mental health by emphasising that we all suffer in some way or other. To show this clearly, I share and comment over a great go pro video taken from a sushi conveyor belt showing a little snippet into peoples lives. But we can’t see what’s going on under the surface.
This is a related resource to my Vlog about Mental Health Awarenesses Week (13-19 May 2019) Find it here: Mental Health Awareness Week. In it I will share three case studies of individuals suffering with Mental Health so that you can see if you find any similarities in your own life or those of your friends and family. Awareness is the key in beginning to make a change!
The first case study is Sarah. Sarah works as a Customer Service Advisor who bravely shares her story and explains how she got help in recovering from her Mental Health Issues:
Sarah explains ‘My husband recently suffered a cardiac arrest which led to a week’s hospital stay and a short surgical procedure. This incident came completely out of the blue and was very traumatic for the both of us. I had two weeks away from work to support him whilst in hospital and then on his first week at home recovering.’
‘I returned to work thinking I would be fine and that I would be able to go about my usual daily routine as only my line manager and closest work colleague were aware of why I had been away from work. How wrong I was.’
‘After discussing my husband’s incident and recovery with my line manager I was very emotional and unable to concentrate on my work at all. I had agreed that I would complete easier tasks whilst I got back to normal however by my third day back at work, my colleagues where obviously concerned about me not being my usual self and I was not able to discuss things with them as I was highly emotional. I had my welcome back to work meeting where during that discussion it was suggested a call to the First Class Support helpline could be a good idea.’
‘The gentleman I initially spoke with was lovely, took his time and waited for me to compose myself as I was struggling to speak. He connected me to a lovely lady who let me explain what was going on in my life in my own time at my own pace. She initially explained that a lot of the things I was experiencing were very normal and that maybe I had returned to work too soon.’
‘Over the next few weeks further conversations followed to find out how things were going and how I was feeling. They were very supportive, even when I was making good recovery they still made contact with me to check how I was. Things will take a while to get back to normal as our lives have changed, but one day at a time.’
‘My experience with the First Class Support helpline has been a very positive one, the support given to me has been very welcome and helpful and I am grateful that I had someone to talk to. I would highly recommend the service and encourage others to take the first step, including my husband as one of the many services available extends to couples counselling.’
Brandon’s story shows how vital and valuable phone support services can be in helping to work through issues so that we don’t have to be alone:
‘After being referred to the helpline, initially there was a large degree of trepidation as I am a very private and independent person, having pretty much raised myself from the age of 12yrs old’.
‘My managers talked to me about using the service after my marriage collapsed very rapidly and my family fell apart. During this time I attended work but was as expected very distracted with the occurrences and events at home.’
‘I was hesitant to trust a “stranger” with my problems as I have always taken care of my own issues. I was cautious and without any expectation. A colleague said to me “why don’t you give it a try and if it doesn’t work then you’ve lost nothing’.
‘As such, it took a few sessions to become comfortable enough to talk openly about any of my issues. I am grateful to my counsellor who was very good at re-assuring me that it was ok to discussthe things that bothered me and to analyse a “way out” of the things that were happening. She took her time to understand me and my situation and help me look at what was happening in my life andquantify some of the things.’
‘To anyone else thinking about if they should call the First Class Support helpline, I would say “Why not?, what do you have to lose?”. I went in to this cautious and less than optimistic, my counsellor took the time to help me and put into perspective aspects of my Life that helped me move forwards’
‘My experience is one that has proved very supportive to me and I would advise others to use it if they need to, it’s 24/7 and that means you don’t have to be in work when you call. It’s also fully confidential so no one knows you’ve called.’
We end with a reminder of how sharing personal experiences can lead to others reaching out for the support they deserve to received to start feeling better. Mihaela is a Planner in our Post Box Strategy team and shares her story.
‘In November of last year I was very confused and stressed, and was going through a very rough patch in my life.’
‘A colleague who is also a Mental Health Ambassador sends out a weekly email to our function with useful bitesize pieces of advice and guidance. The advice helped me realise what I needed to do, and one of those things was to reach out for help and call the First Class Support helpline.’
‘I did it just as I became unable to work, and I had to admit to myself that I needed to take that break to get myself back together.’
After I contacted the helpline, a counsellor called me and offered me 6 sessions of support. She was amazing and from the blubbering mess I was on our first conversation, slowly she helped me deal with all that was going through in my life and what got me to that point when I realised I had to stop and recover. She was an absolute star and helped me so much I cannot even explain.’
I understand that I am not alone and that many others will be going through similar experiences. I would like to take this opportunity to highlight the great support our colleagues have available at their fingertips and would encouragement anyone who needs some help, to seek support immediately.
I was recently away at a training course for the CWU and my role in the union. The course culminated with everyone having to give a speech on something that is important them. This is that speech.
Days 13 & 14 of Scotts Diary of Recovery Vlogs.
In this episode, Scott is reaping the benefits of improving his life in more ways than just being clean from drugs! A positive change in life will impact more than we can imagine.
Here is my first live stream from yesterday. In it I address trying to be more myself and how I can be more relaxed in my YouTube Vlogs, and being more selective with who I’m aiming at, my audience, and not trying to please everyone. I’d appreciate any feedback that you might have for me. So far, a few people have said to be more energised and passionate which is a very fair point, at times I’m a bit reserved and dare I say…. boring. Let me know what you think!