In our latest mental health and wellbeing column, a few words about making the jump to ask for help, by someone who did just that.

Welcome to our spot on the site where we chat about mental health, wellbeing, and things that may be affecting us, or the people around us. It’s just a quiet weekly page where we can have a natter about stuff. This week, we’re handing the controls over to Simon Stothard. Without further ado…

Last year was a particularly difficult one for me but one of the positives that I will take away from it is that I managed to muster up the courage to be honest with myself, realise that things were really not right. That I had lost my internal coping mechanisms do deal with problems and admit to myself I needed to ask for help.

Whilst I have lots of good supportive friends and family around me, I realised that I was not only being slightly dishonest with them about how I was coping but I was lying to myself. Thus making things a hundred times worse as I was pretending that everything was okay on the surface and ignoring the awful feelings of self-hate and despair underneath.

The (sub-conscious) reasons for ignoring how I was feeling, now that I look back, was partly being scared of opening the flood gates, knowing how I would have to confront the issues and partly worrying how others might think of me once I had admitted how low I truly felt.

One incident last summer occurred that did seem to push me over the edge, break down and admit to those around me how I truly felt. In hindsight I am grateful for that and it proved to me that my worries about how others might think of me were unfounded and people were nothing but supportive.

Admitting to myself that I did in fact need help, I contacted my Doctor and who put me in touch with my local Wellbeing Service. From there, I joined a weekly workshop with others who had similar thoughts and feelings and it was a revelation to realise others do go through the same thing and were able to advise and guide each other based on our own experiences of coping in the past. From here I received weekly one to one therapy sessions. These sessions were very useful not only to say exactly how I feel but to gain practical coping strategies that have helped me enormously.

Although it took a lot of pain, worry and anxiety to get to that stage last summer, I have had a positive journey from there. If you are going through inner difficulties just ask for help. It is hard but there are lots of good organisations and professionals out there to set you on a positive path again.

Please don’t let it get to the stage that I did where there seemed no alternative but to put up with the pain.

Huge thanks to Simon for his words. You all take care and stay safe. We’ll be back with this column next week.

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