It’s always good to sometimes sit and think back to times when someone has helped you in whatever way. This could be if you’ve broken down and someone stops for you, or you need directions as you’re in a place unfamiliar. These things are quite general and I suppose we all have had at some time in our lives had to reach out for a little help. Those times also are normally quite easy and to ask for just a simple act of kindness becomes a matter of life.
But I often think back to a time when life for me wasn’t so good. My life, through various things, became quite difficult to cope with and really even small asks of people were massively hard for me to even say or ask or even contemplate.
In 2003 I lost my dad. Like any loss of a person, especially a parent, it’s hard. But through the complexities of life, most carry on with some points of life, however general, but still with the burden of loss with us.
I was working two jobs and, in some way, my hurt and pain was hidden by the work I did as I wanted to forget for at least 8 hours of the day ahead. Of course it never happens like that as we all know the mind is an important and very complex organ of the body. There are no switches to turn off how we feel, no reset button to forget. If there was, we would all live in an emotionless way, just like a robot programmed to do things without feeling the pleasures or pain of life.
Due to my work, and also due to me not really discussing how I really felt to anyone including my siblings, my life took a massive turn.
In 2005 I attempted to take my own life.I was determined as I could see no alternative whatsoever. I had completely gone to the lowest I would say I could go, I also couldn’t see any more point in life. Getting up in the morning became a struggle. My body, my mind and really ‘me’ had inwardly died inside.
However I was too afraid. My feeling of how, why and when all of this hurt and pain was making it worse. I felt as though I was not able to be any use to anyone anymore.
I was thwarted in my attempt to end my life as a person had contacted the police saying that someone (me) was acting strangely. The police attended, I was taken to my local hospital and, to be truthful, just dumped into A&E.
After what seemed like a lifetime I was assessed in quite a cold and medical way. This was the first time this had happened to me, so it was all new.
I was taken to to the Mental Health Unit, once there again I was placed in something that resembled a small bedsit. I just sat there in anticipation, waiting and wondering what was to come.
All of a sudden I heard creaking wheels and crockery moving and and saw a lady not wearing any uniform or lanyard, just in everyday clothes. She noticed me in the corner and came over to hello
She dropped what she was doing and came and sat beside me, introducing herself and asking who I was. I responded, although truthfully just wanted to look away, but I felt like I had to respond to be respectful. She asked me if I’d just arrived and if I wanted a drink or something to eat, then went over to the kitchen area and got me a glass of fresh orange juice.
Then she sat beside me and asked me a few more things, like where I’d come from etc. It wasn’t in a prying way, but a way of care.
I felt and knew that she was genuinely interested and just not making small talk.
I found some of the doctors I encountered quite cold with me. However, this woman was the opposite. She stayed, sat with me and said “it’s all a bit confusing isn’t it?”
She simply just put her hand on top of mine, smiled and said, “Everyone here is here to help you, and yes some will put it in their doctors speak, but you’re in the best place for now, so we can get you back to being 100% or near to it as possible.”
That hand on my hand, her words literally cost nothing, but it meant to me more than anything.
Before this, I’d felt as if there was no one I could speak with. All I really wanted was someone to just hold my hand for just a moment to acknowledge how I felt.
That small act ultimately made the biggest difference to how I felt, and I will always remember her and what she did.
A small conversation about mental health has the power to make a big difference. Help us to start the conversation this Time to Talk Day – together we can end mental health stigma.