Written by Sophie Hodgson
Last Thursday our CEO Ali Turner signed the Time to Change Pledge. This underlines our commitment to ensuring the mental wellbeing of our team, who give us so much of their commitment, creativity and plain awesomeness.
Mental wellbeing isn’t something that should be taken for granted. I know this from personal experience. I think people would generally consider me to be an individual who has a reasonable sense of who I am. But that can quickly change. Your axis can easily be titled, your anchor a little less sure.
For me this stemmed from becoming a mother for the first time. I went from doing a job I was confident in to not having a bloody clue. I was completely lost and yet this amazing small person was relying on me. The first day my husband went back to work after paternity leave I cried for the whole day. I resolved to get out the house as much as possible, I ran myself ragged going to groups, embarking on crazy three hour round trips to meet friends in their lunch break. Why? Just to be out of the house so I wouldn’t have to confront my feelings of uncertainty and doubt.
I was irritable if I didn’t have plans. In a world that wanted to talk about babies, poo and sleeping patterns, I felt isolated and alone. But most of all I felt anxious. Anxious that I wasn’t good enough, anxious that I wasn’t having the picture-perfect experience and anxious about being anxious.
It’s a stigma to say it, but actually motherhood isn’t all fuzzy photo filters. It doesn’t come with a manual and it’s only by talking openly with others that I learnt I wasn’t alone. And that was the biggest relief ever. My experience is of course not unique and perhaps reading this you might think ‘all new mothers experience this, so what?’ Perhaps in a previous life I would have too – but I’d urge you not to rush to judge or dismiss. A fear that their feelings will be brushed aside contributes to people being unable to seek the help they need.
The aim of Mental Health Awareness Week (last week) was to shine a light on mental health problems, big or small, and looking at how we as a society react to these and the preconceptions we have with a view to creating a more supportive viewpoint. Our commitment to the pledge and our mental health charter recognises that there is strength in seeking help and gives those affected a voice when they need it most.