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Mental Health - Keep it in the Family

Mental Health - Keep it in the Family

Me with my younger brother and sister in the back garden.

There’s lots of talk today about mental health, facts and figures, celebrities even royals now finding time to discuss, explore and open up regarding their experiences. This is a good thing as it brings the discussion to a wider audience and more people see it less as a weakness and start to regard it as an illness that needs to be taken seriously like any other.

As I write this I am sitting in the hospital waiting room with a temperature and a runny nose. I’m waiting patiently for my name to be called, its not about my cold, I am waiting for an X-ray. The reason I mention the cold is that outwardly people can see I am hot, uncomfortable and if I speak they can sense from the tone of voice and the chesty cough that I have physical symptoms showing that all is not well.

In the case of mental health, for many, there are few visible signs indicating what’s going on under the surface for the individual suffering. There maybe a lack of expression or change in posture that may suggest all is not well.

It’s believed that 1 in 5 of us will suffer some form of mental health issue each year and that will impact not only on those dealing with the problem but also those around them.

At the age of five I remember going to visit my mum who was convalescing after the birth of my younger sister. It’s only now I realise that she was suffering from post-natal depression and as I sit here reflecting, my thoughts and feelings go out to her as she had to take care of eight other children and a new baby would be challenging for anyone’s mental health. This must have been a very testing time for her and for those around her. It had a very profound effect on me.

Two years later my mum had baby number ten, my younger brother. This may have been a result of her catholic beliefs that prohibited contraception. Sorry younger brother it doesn’t mean that you were unwanted or unloved, but I am just saying that contraception wasn’t an option.

I recently discovered that I was known as the sensitive one in the family, I am not sure what that means? Was I easily upset? Did I struggle to deal with certain situations? I know I was shy and blushed easily, worried excessively but now I know my behaviour was a response to the environment I was living in.

Over the years I have suffered with periods of withdrawal, episodes of depression, some more intense than others and it was only after reaching breaking point that I decided to give myself permission to take real care of me.

I didn’t train as a therapist because of this but was training before, during and after it.

Therapy made me realise that I needed to be in the right place before I could help others.

My decision to become a therapist was always to help others. Those of you who have visited my website: Eden Psychotherapy and Counselling will know that it was not only my thirst for knowledge, but my love of imparting that knowledge to help others understand themselves and profit from a greater experience in life that brought me to where I am today.

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