Covid-19, mental health and the power of talking

As most of you will know, we are just coming to the end of Mental Health Awareness Week. Now more than ever we need to be supporting one another. Covid-19 has had an extraordinary impact on all of our lives, both physically and mentally. If you are struggling with your mental health, whatever you do, don’t bottle it up. Talk to someone about it.

It’s very easy to just put on a fake smile and let poisonous thoughts simmer at the back of your head. I’ve done it many times. But it’s not the answer. You are just feeding the problem. You have to open up and be HONEST about your issues. Whatever they may be.

The following is something I wrote last year, but I think it is very appropriate for today.

“I know what it’s like for your own head to be your worst enemy. For you to be locked in a constant battle with your own thoughts. For years I tried to fight the addict part of my brain on my own. The part of my brain that would trick, deceive, con and manipulate me into relapse.

I would literally sit in front of people who were trying to help me and not say a word of truth about the battle of thoughts erupting between my ears.

Luckily for me, four years ago, I finally realised how important talking about what was going on in my head was. Sharing the thoughts about drinking I was having was like lifting a huge crushing weight off my back. It was no longer a dirty secret in my head.

Its hard to express in words how important it was for me to have made this realisation. The only way I can sum it up is to say talking saved my life. It helped me to rationalise the thoughts I was having and made me feel like I wasn’t on my own.

Talking about your problems or how you aren’t feeling great doesn’t make you weak. It doesn’t make you less of a person. In fact, it’s the opposite. It takes enormous courage to admit you are struggling, and even more to try and do something about it.

Issues with addiction or mental health can happen to anyone at any time. What talking can do is help you recover from these issues. It did me.

I now talk about my issues, thoughts and recovery to literally whoever will listen! Most the time they don’t have a choice! I don’t do this because I love the sound of my own voice, I do it because I know how much it helps me. It keeps me on the right path and the balance of power in my head exactly where I want it to be.

If I hadn’t started talking about what was going on in my head, the chances are I wouldn’t be breathing now. I wouldn’t have recovered from alcohol addiction. It was that important to me.”

So, if you are struggling right now, talk to someone about it. And most importantly, talk honestly. Talking does save lives.   

Thank you so much for reading.

Toby

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