Are you really ok?

What’s on your mind?

When it comes to mental health and wellbeing communication is key. It is all too easy to ignore the early signs of stress and burnout in favour of achieving the next big thing, goal, milestone, deadline, promotion… you name it.

If you are a business leader or manager, then along with the stress and strain of hitting targets comes a HUGE sense of responsibility towards your colleagues (if you’re anything like me).

Losing face, risking damage to your career, not wanting to let the side down and not wanting to appear as weak, can all contribute to a state of silent suffering that I know around 1 in 6 of you reading this are all too familiar with.

“Talking about your feelings isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s part of taking charge of your wellbeing and doing what you can to stay healthy” How to Look After Your Mental Health – Mental Health Foundation

Looking back, I know a HUGE part of my own struggles with anxiety and depression were down to putting on a mask, not talking about my problems and buying into the idea that mental health problems were somehow not me…

How wrong I was!

I remember several years ago when I was a director of a large corporate business, working very long hours, driving hundreds of miles a day. All of that combined with my responsibilities as a mother to 2 small children made me feel like the weight of the world was on my shoulders.

Each day I got up, put my game face on and ploughed on, acting like everything was ok but the reality was that everything was far from ok. I felt totally isolated and like I couldn’t talk to anyone about my feelings.

Of course, pulling my socks up and keeping that famous British stiff upper lip only got me so far. In fact, it was about a year before the cracks really started to show until one day, I arrived home from work and physically collapsed in a heap on the kitchen floor. I had reached my absolute limit and could go no further.

It was clear that I had had a nervous breakdown and I needed to stop and take care of myself. I ended up walking away from my career and into a year-long recovery.

Looking back, who knows what would have happened if I had been able to talk with someone sooner about the way I was feeling. What I do know for sure is that being honest and open about your feelings with loved ones and those whom you trust can be a lifesaver!

If any of this has resonated with you and you feel (like I did) that you can’t talk to anyone or be honest about your feelings in fear of what others might think then please know that there is help and support out there for you.

“If things are getting too much for you and you feel you can’t cope, ask for help. Your family or friends may be able to offer practical help or a listening ear”. How to Look After Your Mental Health – Mental Health Foundation

Finally, if this is not you but you are concerned about someone close to you then please communicate with them. A simple question ‘are you ok? are you REALLY ok?’ could make a big difference to somebody suffering in silence.

With Love, Claire x

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