Some people still think that it’s shameful if they have a mental illness, are experiencing a loss of control emotionally or irrational and dark thinking. There are those that assume it shows personal weakness or a failing. If it’s children who have a mental illness, some conclude it reflects the failings of the parents. Stigma and discrimination are the two biggest obstacles to a productive solution-based conversation about mental health.
I have had more people thank me than judge me because I have been so open about my stuff. I have had more people begin to cope again and even love life again, because I, and others like me, have shared our stuff and not hidden it behind the idea of right and wrong.
Mental health is becoming more recognised and discussed however, there is still some intolerance and small mindedness. There always will be those people who cannot get out of their own way, but acceptance is growing.
A supportive program I have come across, delivered by Mates in Construction, is called the 4C’s. The third C was Caring and the fourth C was Courageous.
It stated in the part for caring— “I am accountable for my actions and actively care for the safety of myself and others—Care about the welfare of my neighbours …. Please keep an eye on your workmates and if someone is acting out of character, or saying things like I don’t see the point anymore, or there is no hope, please reach out to them and discreetly ask them if they’re okay, and if they’re not, help them get in contact with professional resources.”
Courage included the actions of— “I will speak up, provide positive feedback to my peers, and prevent incidents by utilising stop work authority and coaching. This also includes the courage to reach out to a work mate and ask them if they’re okay.”
If you find yourself in the gut wrenching or numb place of despair and your cup is empty, approach your mates, your family and even have a chat to a professional. Everyone at some time is running on empty and it takes courage to ask for help, to make the changes you need to make it to the next day.
From my years of experience personally and professionally, I have found that if you are not okay, nothing else will be, no matter what skill you adopt or distraction you create. The relationship you have with yourself will determine how you think and feel, how you deal with challenges, as well as the relationship you have with everyone else in your life. Your level of self-esteem and the value you put on yourself will determine your performance and productivity.
Just check in right now. Firstly, take a long slow deep breath. Feel the breath go in through your nose, travel down your throat, fill your lungs, and expand in your belly. Let it sit there for just a moment then exhale, blowing all the air out and as you do feeling a sense of release and calm. Do this a couple more times. Slow and controlled, and with an awareness of how you are already much more relaxed.
Now that you are more calm and centred, ask a few self-check-in questions—
- How are you feeling?
- How much do you like yourself?
- How much do you understand yourself?
- What are you good at? What do you love doing?
- What are your favourite things?
- Do you reward yourself?
- What do you dislike?
- Are you a friend to you, or are you your own enemy?
- Close your eyes and imagine you can see your cup, is it full, empty or half way?
- Are you aware of your thoughts and the way you think most of the time? What about now?
Take a few minutes to make some notes on your thoughts and findings.
If you discover that you are struggling with something, reach out to another who will listen and support you get back on track. I am here to support you, so please, reach out.