Anyone online this week will have seen numerous posts telling us that it is #MentalHealthAwareness week. Yesterday, showed me just how much we need this reminder.
A lovely lady was in store, asking advice for anxiety and sleep. She’d tried many things and knew what she was looking for. Towards the end of the chat she mentioned that she was working so hard to come off her sleeping tablets of 20+ years and had struggled through 5 nights without taking anything. At this point, she was close to tears and my next words unleashed them. My best advice to her was simply this: Don’t beat yourself up if you need help for the occasional night of sleep. Sleep deprivation is torturous, she’d done so well to start managing without them, but not sleeping at all is harmful too. It’s ok to need help occasionally and she absolutely had not “failed” in any way. This incredibly brave and strong lady had made the difficult decision and gotten through the toughest part. Sometimes, we need to remember to give ourselves permission to step back before the next leap forwards.
Major steps in our mental health can feel like a huge bungee jump into the unknown. When we hit the bottom, we’re going to bounce back up and have to go down again. But not as far, or as fast or as scarily as the first time. And then we’ll bounce a second, third and maybe many more times, but each will be less scary than the one before. But without those bounces and the bungee cord…
Taking those first decisions to make change, to talk about our mental health, to address stress / sleep / anxiety is scary and incredibly daunting. It’s a leap of faith into the unknown below. A leap that we’re here to help you through, easing the bumps as you go.
If you take that first step, however, no matter what follows, you have not failed. It’s ok to need help on the way, take a step back or even climb all the way back up to the top.
Because you did it.