Lessons in Life – Mental Health

Let’s talk about mental health. I know that I am extremely fortunate to be surrounded by incredible, amazing, intelligent, successful, talented people. Friends and colleagues, colleagues who are now friends. People I’ve met through events, conferences, friends I’ve made through being a parent, coaching clients, and so on. Don’t get me wrong, I am choosy in those who I keep close and there is a wide circle. Some who have been with me for always, some more recent and still it grows, what we all bring to the table are our different qualities, topics for discussion, insights and life journeys, yet we are all united in our ability to communicate.

Donna Coulling shot at her home in Belsize Park, London. NW3

Photo credit: Dave Willis

What I’ve come to notice in recent times is how much more we are all searching for someone else to speak to. Someone of a more professional nature.

I’m pretty much an open book when you meet me and who you perceive me to be via social media and because of the job I do is possibly not the person I really am (which is what social media and/or the press in general does). I guess partly I am but I’m also a real person too just like everyone else, I have feelings, emotions, fears and anxieties by the bucket load. And even though I love to put the world to rights over a bottle of wine with friends, recently I decided I needed another outlet.

Some days I feel so overwhelmed by the thoughts in my head and by life that I can barely function. Every small thing is blown out of proportion and magnified. I can’t sleep for my mind turning, which then impacts on the next day when I’m exhausted, and so the cycle continues.

This last year has felt especially brutal on a personal level (see my previous piece on Grief). Every year comes with its challenges of course but this year I’ve felt particularly bulldozed. And I don’t want to become the friend who makes every outing about me and what life battles I’m going through. So I started seeing someone professionally. I wanted a neutral person who isn’t going to tell me what I want to hear or project their own issues and opinions on me as we do with our mates. I needed someone who would challenge me, guide me, make me question myself and help deal with the baggage I’ve carried from my past, present and to make me find that fabulous person I am going forward. And I have found someone who helps me focus, centres me, and makes me see the light when the clouds feel quite dark.

Mental health is a HUGE deal and a really important one, possibly, for some, of more value than looking after your physical health.

What the topic of discussion within my circle of friends lately has been is that most of us are all doing the same thing. It’s as if if we’ve all come to the realisation that everyone at some point needs a coach, a guide, a teacher, a counsellor or a healer. Be it astrology, faith, NLP, CBT, whichever works for you. And it’s really okay to do that. There is no stigma, no shame, and no embarrassment in any of it. We all then compare notes, share information, thus in turn inspire and motivate each other by using the experiences we’re learning from.

What I’m trying to say is that it’s really okay to ask for help when you feel stuck. You’d ask someone for directions if you were lost on the street wouldn’t you?

If you would like more information please go to: www.mind.org.uk 

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