• leahparkercounselling

Mental Health Awareness

Updated: Mar 15, 2021

With the news of another popular celebrity taking his life this week it has really highlighted the need for awareness. How aware are we of those around us and how they really feel. We are very good (for the most part, myself included) at saying that we are 'fine' and not wanting to impose on others, but what does this really mean for us? It tends to mean that we end up doing everything, despite the outcome to our own mental health. We do not like to bother or burden others, but why? Would we want that to happen the other way around? Of course not. So why is it ok for us to deal with it all alone and not ask for help.

It feels as though the world moves at such an unbelievably fast pace now, with social media and the need to be seen to be 'insta-perfect'. How can we keep up with the idea of this perfect image, if it is in fact not even real. We want to be seen to be managing and we want to be seen to be being the 'best parent' or the 'best wife' or the 'perfect family' but what does this actually mean? It means that we set unfair and unachievable goals for ourselves and that we feel as though we are not achieving or that we could be doing better all of the time.

I have heard a lot about 'mum(dad) guilt' this week and this has definitely become a thing. We feel bad for allowing screen time or for giving our kids an easy dinner, like we have failed at something. But how is it failing if it takes the stress off for an hour and gives the parent a break. We all need to remove some of the pressure that we put on ourselves and realise that we are doing our best. Everyone's 'best' is different and should not be compared with others. We are our own worst critics and this needs to stop. We need to go easier on ourselves and forgive ourselves more readily. We also need to stop being afraid to ask for help.

In my role as a counsellor, I have spoken to people this week with crippling anxiety and depression that, in the most part, is so inwardly focused. People are so quick to attack themselves on their shortcomings and so ready to relay their negative qualities and their failings as parents, or wives etc. This is where it needs to start. We need to start from the inside and learn to stop putting pressure on ourselves. We need to learn to love ourselves for who we are and who we have become. We need to forgive ourselves for any imperfections (we all have them) that we have. We need to start asking for help and be ok with that. It is not a failing to not be able to cope.

Anxiety and depression are real and they are crippling. We need to be better at talking about them and admitting they are part of us, and that being ok. We need to know that we are not alone and that we have people who not only understand, but that can help. Please stop suffering in silence and feeling like you are weak, or you have failed in some way. Admitting you are struggling is not failing, and failing is not the opposite of succeeding, it is part of the success. Be less afraid of failing and be more vocal in asking for help. If we all start to talk and notice people more then we can hopefully help to prevent more needless suffering and deaths.

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