This might seem a bit odd… Especially for a blog about gin and beer but I want you to bear with me.
I sometimes feel that we move fast… Too fast. We often don’t stop to think, or feel or even really realise what’s going on half the time. We struggle through things and we don’t talk about it or deal with it… But eventually it gets us… And we can’t understand how or why we feel so bad because it’s normally just the tiniest thing that really blows up in our head. We don’t event stop to really take notice of the fact that it wasn’t just this tiny little thing… It was a big big build up of a lot of different things that we pushed aside and ignored until, finally, something gave.
Thankfully in the UK the NHS and other organisations are putting a lot of effort into promoting the importance of mental health and trying to show how to deal with it at its earliest stages before it gets too much.
Now I want you to know that I did, honestly, sit down here to write the Scottish Gin article that I’ve been taking my sweet time over (a mix of annual leave, fannying about and being away for a fortnight for my back injury are really the culprits)… But as I sit here, not long home from the aforementioned two week residential stay to get my back looked at, I have been thinking about how much I really benefited from being there… And I wanted to get it off my chest and pay it forward in the only way I really can… Through this blog.
I imagine there are people that will read this that will suffer from stress or anxiety or depression or some other mental health issue that they’re refusing to address or haven’t quite fully accepted yet… or perhaps they just haven’t realised.
Let me give you a bit of background… A few years ago my gran died and I took it really hard. I began having difficulty breathing and it turned out it was anxiety. Now, I went to the doctor and got it sorted pretty quickly so it was all good… No problem.
However more recently I began to feel it returning. Pressure and stress from various sources were getting to me and I am that person that bottles it up… I am that person that cracks the jokes and makes other people laugh to make myself feel happier.
I realised about a year ago that there was something quite wrong in my back. I struggled with a lot of tasks and even the simple act of standing for any extended period of time was proving to be something I was unable to do without suffering greatly. Without going into detail in my line of work I could, potentially, be left standing somewhere for ten or so hours… Without respite. I went to the doctor and was eventually referred to a physiotherapist who wasn’t really able to help. Then the physio reminded me that my work actually has a couple of facilities where you can go and stay for a couple of weeks to get quite intensive treatment for injuries such as mine.
I started looking into it and eventually applied to attend. This was granted and I got my dates through. As soon as this happened there was panic from my line management (probably because they had ignored it and, as a result, potentially put me at risk) whereby I was removed from my regular work and kept within an office (even though the injury had been on going for some time… And even though they knew about it… And even though I had requested things to help which had been ignored…) Now all of a sudden I’m being referred to the health department through the work which could delay my attendance at the treatment facility… I’m also being told that due to certain circumstances requiring all hands to the pump I may need to delay my attendance… At this point I start to worry. At this point I start to have difficulty breathing. I realise that all those feelings of anxiety are creeping back up on me. I had to take a step back. I ended up taking about a week off work as I just couldn’t be around the people that were making me feel this way… You know?
Eventually it all got sorted and, as those who follow my Twitter will know, I was there for a fortnight until today (Friday 19th April)… Now this leads me to the reason I wanted to write this blog.
Sometimes we don’t realise the things we need in life. People we meet don’t know the impact that they have on us a lot of the time… I’m fairly confident the people in question won’t read this. I’m sure I’ll never properly tell them EXACTLY what they did for me without them knowing it. But I’ll tell those of you reading this now.
I went to this place to get my back checked and see if they could help me get an understanding of the issues with it and either get it on the road to being fixed OR help me to manage it going forward. I came away knowing what the issue is, some of the things that may be causing it and with a sense of self worth.
I’m not here writing this looking for pity or sympathy. Equally I’m not giving you some sob story. I have a good life. I have some amazing friends. A wonderful home life. A loving family. A beautiful home and a nice car. I have a job that pays relatively well and can, at times, be very interesting… It can also have its moments of extreme mental difficulty whereby I have been offered counselling as a result of something that has happened… I’m simply writing this to show someone that needs it that it’s ok.
I sometimes feel that I’m the voice that whispers in a room full of screamers and yellers. My opinion is often the one unheard except for the one person that hears it “subconsciously” then regurgitates it moments later to admiring comments. But at this treatment place I didn’t feel that way. I felt heard… Valued even.
I don’t know why the people that were there with me responded to me the way they did. Equally I didn’t realise I needed what they gave me as much as I did. I also didn’t know how to respond to the kind words they said to me. Unfortunately, as usual, I clammed up and could’t tell them how much what they said meant to me… I nodded embarrassed and smiled muttering something about enjoying their company.
It’s kind of funny when you think about it, isn’t it? You can say something to someone but never quite know the profound effect it has on their spirit and mental well being.
I think the takeaway here is that it’s important to give someone some words of kindness… You never know how deeply those words will penetrate. You never know how much that person needed to hear it… Sometimes it’s the people you think that need it the least that will appreciate it the most.
As the saying goes… It’s ok to not be ok… Talk about it… It’s more common than you think. You’ll be alright. Talk about it and find ways to deal with it. Don’t ignore it.
I think it’s important to note I’ve wrote this blog as it came to me. I haven’t went back and edited it. I’ve left it as it is… As it came to me. I want it to feel natural and honest.
I also wanted to thank the people referenced in this post… I doubt they’ll read it as I may not even post it on my personal Facebook page but I want to thank them anyway. I could never express my gratitude for the last two weeks enough. You made a difference… I’m forever in your debt and absolutely owe you a drink.
If anyone wishes to discuss anything in this post further you can, as always, reach me via social media on Twitter and Instagram using these links. I’m more than happy for further discussion either publicly or through direct message… My door is always open.
Also if you need more professional assistance and are in the UK you can contact the Samaritans via telephone on – 116123 free of charge.
Or through their website – Samaritans