Why Didn’t You Call Me?
I have been involved with Mental Health (MH), since I had a breakdown three years ago, with pressures of finances, relationships, being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), living with a degenerative disease disorder of the spine which has lead to having seven pro lapsed discs, and being in chronic spinal pain 24/7. Then I find out that I had been prevented from seeing my, at the time, eight year old daughter.
Combat Stress took me in and I attended a two week rehabilitation course on PTSD, where I got to speak with some specialists for the first time since leaving the Army and six months after being diagnosed with PTSD. It was at this point where I turned forty years old, I was determined to try to beat this and whilst I had already been speaking out openly about PTSD, there was no structured approach to it, I just wanted to help others. After attending a Neuro-Linguistic Programming Practitioner course, working on my personal & professional development, researching and attending various conferences and talks around MH. I was finally given the one thing that I hadn’t had up until that point, the one thing that no amount of theory and studying would provide, Self Confidence.
I vowed from then on in, I would help others in a more structured format, I would stand up and be heard, because I do know what I am talking about and my personal experiences are considerably valuable, especially when backed up by professional knowledge, which is where I am at today. I found my purpose, the whole reason for my existence is to help others and to re-frame the crap times that I have experienced and continue to experience on a daily basis, to produce positive lessons of value, to provide a greater understanding of MH and guide individuals to better manage their own lives.
Why do I tell you all this and what the hell has it got to do with the title? Well, very recently I found myself beholden to the Demons of Darkness, as I call them, whereby I had gotten so low without realising, that suddenly I was stood on the edge of Life, looking down into the precipice where the Demons were telling me to step into! It’s ironic, how someone who has experienced this before, three years ago when I failed in my suicide attempt, who has all the tools, techniques and coping strategies that you would ever need and YET, here I still was, on the edge, with no control over my body and the Demons telling me, all I needed to do was to “simply” take that step.
Now firstly, I am OK, my partner is OK and there are things in motion to help with the stressors that made me feel like I had run out of options, which fed the Demons, leaving them in control for a short while. The next day I went on Fakebook, as I call it, to go on FB Live and share what had happened with anyone who would listen.
Why? I wanted to show that it can happen to anyone, that you don’t have to feel ashamed of admitting where things are at, that you are struggling or have made a mistake and you are losing control. That actually, speaking up and talking to someone who will ‘actively listen’ is absolutely the right thing to do and yet yes it is the hardest.
Whilst I was on FB Live, I started to receive messages of support from complete strangers and from some of those who knows me or are connected with me on FB, it was really nice to see and yet, where the hell have they been all these days, weeks, months and years?
I had some people saying;
“Why didn’t you call me?”, “You can always message me, anytime you need to chat”.
The thing is though, if they were so concerned about me and had been keeping in touch with me, then they would be more aware of what was going on, hence the MH campaign I ran last year #Realmentalk and again this year #Timetolisten. Now I know that this will be perceived in a whole manner of ways and not everyone will agree with what I say, I can respect that, but the fact is that when you are on the edge of Life’s precipice or in the deepest darkest pit, you don’t have the strength, control or ability to allow the thought process of reaching out to anyone! That has to happen prior to getting to the bottom, which is why it is SO important that you can identify within yourself, when things are beginning to get out of control as THAT is the time to reach out to someone and prevent things from getting worse, then losing the ability to.
I have always said that I don’t want your sympathy and I don’t do this for attention, all of which is ABSOLUTELY TRUE. However, I DO share my life experiences, so that it might breed positivity, that positive things and valuable information can come from my crap times. Therefore the one thing that I would ask of you to take away, regardless of our perception differences from above or this whole article, please I BEG of you, reach out to someone you have not spoken to in a while and ask them how they are, how they REALLY are.
Now don’t go believing their social media posts, as generally people tend to show ‘a front’ to everyone else, they won’t show or post that they are struggling! So make some time in the evening, pick up the phone and ring a friend, drop a friendly message to a connection, you might just reach someone like me, who is standing on the edge of Life’s precipice, with their Demons of Darkness telling them to: “simply take a step”!
Why didn’t I call you? Why didn’t you stay in touch or message me?
If you were impacted by this article then and need someone to talk to, please ring the Samaritans on Telephone: 116 123 (24 hours a day, free to call) or there is the MIND Infoline Telephone: 0300 123 3393 (9am-6pm Monday to Friday) or text 86463.
For workplace wellbeing guidance, consultancy and mental health training, feel free to email 360Wellbeing