If your car needs a service you get it done right? If you need a smear test the notice comes through the door and you book it in ? When was the last time you had a mental health check up?
Right now social media is full of advice on careers , having the best squad, eating clean and a lot of pretty well known people have admitting to suffering from depression . There is no one size fits all attitude to depression and while I’ve never personally suffered from it I think that the complexities that surround it are absolutely mind boggling.
A thing that irritates me though no end is people that judge people that take medication. Depression medication is life saving and indeed changing if used correctly. I have seen friends lives saved through the correct medications and therapy combinations and to be quite frank I am sick to death of seeing people claiming to be crippled with depression and then saying that a yoga session and a bit of meditation got them through it. It is like people that need therapy and medication are less capable. Mental health is far more complex and the sooner it is approached openly but honestly he better.
As a country Ireland has a really poor mental health service and it’s getting worse. Our rate of people taking their own lives is breathtaking. The country is pedalling it’s way slowly out of the worst recession ever, where a mere 15 years ago we were on top for jobs and lifestyle we now have pregnant women homeless. We have children going to bed hungry. It’s a sad place to be at times.
When was the last time you set aside time to see how you’re feeling? ” Therapy” is something I think I first noticed in Sex and the City. The gals went for cocktails and discussed what their therapists had said. Light hearted and jovial. The reality of therapy or counselling however can be quite different. You don’t have to share the findings with your friends or family and it doesn’t even have to be a weekly thing. You can book it at a time that suits you.
Some of the most ” together ” people in the world engage with a counsellor or therapist . It’s not the same for everyone. From personal experience it’s really important that you find a Psychotherapist that you click with, one that you respect and can open up to. I remember my first attempt at it was a total complete and utter disaster. I went to see someone recommended by a friend. She wasn’t on my wave length at all and was into chanting and hand holding. Although I’m very emotional when I am looking for advice I tend to prefer logic . The approach didn’t work , and I left feeling that perhaps I didn’t need it. At the time I was at a career crossroads and thought that chatting to someone neutral and unbiased might be of benefit. Suffice to say it was a few years before I tried it again.
Fast forward a few years, a change in career ( hooray) and a year after a potentially life threatening pregnancy which didn’t end in a baby , but a year of hospital appointments , blood tests and general anguish. A lot of talking it over with friends , a lot of coffee, wine and life pondering. And then confiding to myself that I wasn’t ok. I wasn’t depressed. I wasn’t down. It was like one of my wires wasn’t quite connected properly. I couldn’t quite make sense of everything, and after a lot of will I won’t I , I made the appointment. Nobody frog marched me. I decided myself and that is the best way.
I’m happy to report that this time it was a far more positive experience. Jean was a wordly straight talker, logical asked the right questions and gave me homework.
As I thought I wasn’t depressed just in need of a chat ( several months of chats ) with a completely neutral person. I’m a strong woman. I was able to plan and read at both of my parents funeral services. I’m independent having being taught to be from a young age. I had a mortgage at 26. I got life assurance at 21. I’ve taken under my wing friends that have fallen on hard times. I’ve driven four hours to help a friend through the night.
I was always a mini adult. What I have learned about myself as that as long as I’m prepared for it I can logic my through it. But emotion and things that happen suddenly I can struggle with.
I also rely on my girlfriends a lot. However this can be counter productive if you tend to overshare certain things which I do. I’m honest to the point of not understanding two faced people or people that betray your trust. I’m a great keeper of secrets, both my own and others.
Therapy is for everyone. It’s something that like your chiropodist or your dentist you should factor into self care. It’s an impartial soundboard for anyone that has tough decisions to make. It’s not the answers because deep down already you know the truth.
It’s also a place to talk about things that you can’t share. Open as I am there are things I wouldn’t share with anyone if my life depended on it, but I’ve spoken about while sitting in the chair with Jean. My personal experience helped me gain a lot of knowledge about myself. Things that perhaps others could see that I was unaware of. The better you know yourself the better you deal with things. There are things that I’ve got off my chest that seemed silly or trivial but once they were put together sequentially my reactions made a lot of sense.
So whether you feel like you’ve got it all under control or not. Therapy is kinda what you need. It’s not trendy or hip. It doesn’t mean you’re crazy or unable to cope. It means that you’re looking after yourself. Being your own hero. It’s about looking into the deepest part of your being , seeing it completely bare and learning to love it anyway. Because like it or not guys …. You’re all you’ve got. Love yourself . Wholly.