#MHAW16 - Where did you Start?

I recommended IAPT and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to a woman last week, and I can't get the moment out of my head.

I've been thinking about the interaction for various reasons, but the one I have been mulling over a lot is that I have a lot of admiration for the woman I was speaking to. I was helping her out with some work and she seemed a little frantic in her speech and her movements. However, when she confided in me and my colleague about her struggles she spoke so clearly, so honestly, and with direct eye contact. I was surprised by that kind of blatant honesty to a total stranger, it's not something I've ever felt comfortable with.

The funny thing is, her honesty made me feel comfortable doing the same. You've been struggling with panic? So have I actually, here is what worked for me. The dialogue was so easy, I felt nervous but I also felt that same tremulous energy from her and in a weird way that set me at ease.

I also admired her certainty. She knew what she was suffering from, knew how long she had been, she just hadn't been guided on how to treat it. Some days I'm still unsure of myself, and when I started on my journey I had no idea if what I was feeling was really anxiety or depression, not sure whether I would be laughed out of the doctor's office, not sure of whether it has been going on for fifteen minutes or fifteen years. If indeed she does take my advice, I wonder what it might be like to start on that journey with such a clear mind. It sounds exciting to me, and I wish her all the best in it.

'start' by Jakeandlindsay' via Flickr

It just got me thinking about where I began with this whole thing, you know? Like, what if I had lied about how I was feeling and just tried my best to deal with it? What would have happened to me if I didn't reach out to someone? I needed to allow myself to be vulnerable in order to progress, and I'm starting to think that this is the key to getting mentally healthy. Allowing oneself to be vulnerable enough, if only for a moment, to let someone with the ability to help really have the opportunity to help you.

It's something that's worth meditating over for all of us: are you on a mental health journey? Where did it start? Did you need to be vulnerable in front of someone in order to get to where you are now? Why/why not?

I hope you're all having a good week and you're taking care of yourselves and allowing the time and space to take on whatever journey you might be on at your own pace.

The Long and Winding Road
The Long and Winding Road by Marie France Boisvert via Flickr

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