You are my one ambition
Show me your recognition
It’s getting better all the time
It’s getting better
Shed Seven – Getting Better
Last November I published this blog where I described the slow deterioration of my own mental health. Today, 6 months later, I can report that – in the words of Rick Witter – it’s getting better.
There’s still dark days of course. Sitting waiting to go into the therapist for the first time and getting The Call from the boss to say we had visitors was a particular highlight. Being selected from the cast of thousands in my school the very next day after to be observed by Ofsted then be given feedback from my HT and the inspector is another. But I’ve learned a lot about myself on the journey and I’ve realised that “repairing” myself isn’t as quick as I first thought it would be.
Mental health still is the thing we don’t want to really talk about. It’s getting better but we still aren’t there yet. It’s the invisible illness that nobody really knows how to talk about. Sometimes it’s seen as a weakness, used as an excuse for poor performance. However it’s all of that and more. When you have to stop on the drive to work to control your panic attack, to get your breathing back under control and steel yourself for the day ahead then it’s hard not to see it as physically debilitating. Most of the time though it is invisible, bubbling away under the surface. You learn to live like a swan; serene and graceful on top whilst paddling away furiously under the surface. The struggle is real.
There’s a constant feeling of tiredness, a lack of botherdness about some things that aren’t featuring on your “to do” list this week or any week. You have to control the feelings of doubt about your own capabilities and carry on regardless. You second guess everything and read too much into any situation. Being called into the boss’s office fills you with dread, even though the logical side of your brain is telling your that you can’t possibly have done anything wrong since you last spoke. Every fibre of your body tells you that YOU are the problem in most situations. If the logic doesn’t take over soon your thoughts get darker and darker…
But things can get better. Surrounding yourself with good people helps. Whether this is in real life (ideal) or in the virtual world then this is the best thing. People who don’t judge, people who just listen, people who care. Sometimes all it takes is a random text from a friend asking how you are and still replying when you say it’s not good. Again it’s hard for both parties but it’s what helps.
Professional support is essential, especially if you think you don’t need it. Having the decision taken out of my hands turned out to be the best thing. I was able to access psychotherapy with someone who a) didn’t know me, and b) didn’t judge me. It makes all the difference to have this level of support from a professional. Even when the appointments have dropped to a check-in phone call once a month. It’s the feeling that someone outside of your inner circle cares.
The most cathartic part of the process has been being open about it all. It’s made me realise that I have a amazing bunch of friends who are there at a moments notice. I can only hope that I can be as much support to them as they have been for me.
I’m far from fixed now but the cracks aren’t quite as visible. In the words of D:Ream – Things Can Only Get Better!