The importance of speaking up
However, I was extremely fortunate; I had a network of people that didn’t give up on me. Through the support of my friends and family and a few close work colleagues, along with more medical treatment, I managed to claw myself out of the depression and get back on track. But to do that, I had to be truly honest with myself and everyone around me about what I was feeling and what I was going through. Only by opening up and talking about my mental health did I really start to recover and finally, hopefully, overcome this horrible disease for good. That’s why I decided to share my story with the agency.
Spilling my guts to everyone I worked with felt incredibly liberating. But what was more remarkable was the reaction from those in the office who’d had no idea about what I’d been through. In the coming weeks, several people approached me to share their own mental health stories who, on hearing mine, had felt empowered to finally seek help, instead of being ashamed of how they were feeling.
In fact, some also decided to share their mental health journey with the agency too, which in turn led to regular mental health check-in sessions. Colleagues now meet up, virtually at the moment, of course, and talk freely about topics and their own personal experiences with struggles such as eating disorders, dealing with homophobia and autism in the family.
Saturday 10th October was World Mental Health Day, and never before has it been more important for us to take a moment to check in with ourselves and the people around us. But ‘thinking’ about mental health is not enough; we need to talk more openly about it, in the current climate in particular. We need to speak out about the issues we are experiencing, because knowing that the people around us are listening and genuinely want to help is, I believe, the first and most important step to feeling able to navigate through difficult times and makes recovery feel all the more achievable.