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  • Ben Duffy

World Mental Health Day - My mental health story (updated)

Yesterday was World Mental Health Day and along with lots of us I have a mental health story.

I've blogged about it on my other site and I've added the same story below.

The 'updated' part of the story, is that my story continues. As with many people the past 18 months or so have been tricky. Right up to the present day... (well yesterday!)

Yesterday was a bad one for me and my 'black dog'... I found it really hard to get out of bed ...the existential crisis was really big. I did get up... I managed to get dressed... make it out of the house... I saw a friend... and when they asked how I was, of course I pretended and said "yeah I'm fine!" because, we don't want to burden anyone do we?

I know my process... I repeated the mantra... "this will pass, this will pass, trust in the process" I took myself back to bed... slept for 4 hrs... then on waking worried if I would sleep that night!

Fortunately I did and woke this morning with renewed energy and focus, for which I am massively grateful.

It doesn't always happen that quickly, however when it does I take time to pause and notice how I feel, where I feel it physically and create a mental & physical picture reference so that I can go back to this place the next time the 'black dog' comes calling... which he will!

What's my point?

Everyone's case is unique, it can feel debilitatingly lonely, it can be nigh on impossible sometimes to get out of bed....everyone's story is personal.

All I can say is that I empathise, I wish you all well and when possible, stay for as long as you can in the metaphorical sunshine and work on your own process... you can get there, even when sometimes it may feel a looooong way off!

Take good care! Bx

(the original story below)

"1 in 4 of us, at some point in our lives, will have a mental health condition – I can count myself amongst the 25%

To many of my friends and colleagues this will come as a surprise. Over the years I have done a good job in projecting an image of myself as a happy go lucky, life and soul, successful kind of guy. Yet at one point in the last 10 years, I was in a soulless hotel bedroom, miles away from home, crying like a child – completely and utterly lost.

Clients I work with will know how obsessed I am with language and I find the term ‘breakdown’ an interesting one. It would suggest that there is a specific moment in time where you suddenly just collapse. I am sure that for some they do have a moment, yet for me it was more of a creeping build up, so stealthy that I failed to realise it was happening until I was completely consumed by it.

It is only with the benefit of a brief period of mild medication, therapy, support of family and hindsight that I was able to look back over time and understand the contributing factors that led to that point…. and I had to look waaayyy back!

In my case my lack of awareness/inability to talk about my state of mind, cost me my job, my marriage, quite a lot of money and at one point could have taken me too. Looking back, it is clear to see the poor choices I made, but when you are unaware or ignoring your symptoms part of the issue is that your rational and mental capacity is hugely diminished.

I suspect some cynical voices might read this and argue that it is all very convenient for me to blame my mental state for the things I did at the time. Part of the healing process is to understand the circumstances around the situation yet also accept responsibility for one’s actions – no one else did these things but me.

The factors in my experience are many and varied and it would take too long to go through them all, I might one day write ‘the book’ – a close friend who does know the history said you’ll have to call it “You’re never going to believe this”

What I do know is this. Through my experience I am much more self-aware. Because of the work I have done on me I now know situations that can adversely affect me and either avoid them or prepare much better for them. My dedication to my conscious practice means that when I am in the middle of an adverse event I can recognise it, acknowledge it, give it some space and then move though it. In the past this feeling could last for days or weeks, I can now pass through it in a matter of minutes.

It is in large part because of what I have been through, the help I have received along the way and the very real power of the mind that has brought me to being a coach. For that I am forever grateful.

I’m not famous or rich so why have I written this? Who would be interested? Partly it’s cathartic for me (journaling helps!) and, it’s to add my experience to support the universal truth that mental health is indiscriminate, it can affect any of us.

Is the journey over? Never… that’s partly what being a coach is all about for me…helping individuals through continual learning, self-improvement and moving forward as the best version of ourselves, not just at crisis point but on a daily basis….. and that includes me!"

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1 Comment

Alan Bingle
Alan Bingle
Oct 12, 2021

Well said sir!

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