Mental Health Awareness Week
Mental Health Awareness Week has soon come around, but rather than feeling routine , it feels particularly timely this year, as I know lots of people are really finding things tough at the moment. Many are dealing with the crushing sense of isolation of being at home on their own, others are trying to home school their children whilst working themselves. They are keeping the country going, while feeling very vulnerable; scared of contracting Covid-19 themselves, or bringing it home to their families. It is as though, in the space of a few weeks, the virus has brought a magnifying glass to all our mental frailties, leaving us in a state of heightened anxiety, unable to truly relax or switch off – permanently on guard.
I am no stranger to anxiety. In 2007, having finally succumbed to escalating physical manifestations of stress (these included migraines, back pain, panic attacks and a stammer), I was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Anxiety is the fear of unknown outcomes and sufferers of anxiety often catastrophise -projecting an imagined worse-case scenario, to every situation. In 2016, I chose to tell the story of this period in my life, my illness, time off work and how I eventually returned a little wiser and more self-aware. I related this in my first book ‘Leading From the Edge’, in the hope that it would help others who are struggling to realise that they are not alone and lift the stigma of talking about mental ill-health. Ultimately, it was a book about hope.
Hope is a theme that runs throughout my writing. My latest book ‘Riding the Waves’ explores the analogy of waves that threaten to knock us off course or even sink our ship. Some waves are bigger and stronger than others and when you are heading straight into them, they can be pretty dam scary. The power of waves though is transitory. Eventually even the biggest will reach shore and lap at the sands before finally slipping away.
Remember, all things will pass. Stay hopeful. Stay strong.
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