7 June 2021
Categories: SHARE YOUR STORY
In this blog post, Liam shares his experience of italk, to show what you can expect from our service, and what you can achieve.
If you'd like to share your story in our blog, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Speaking from first-hand experience – I can honestly say that italk has helped me completely change my outlook and mental wellbeing for the better. The techniques and skills I learned through italk have stuck and I will be using them for the rest of my life, I know that for sure.
"Getting help is not a weakness..."
Mental health, although more progressive conversations are happening nowadays, is still considered a taboo subject and regarded as a weakness in certain circles and age demographics.
I use this analogy when thinking of mental health and wellbeing - If you break your leg and it’s in a cast, and you can’t run or work for a while then universally, people will give you empathy and accommodate you because it’s visible.
The same should be said for mental health, but it’s not.
Just because the infliction of pain you feel is invisible, you should be given the same time to heal, and treated with the same empathy not be isolated and ostracised.
This is why so many of us feel it tough to reach out and ask for help… but reaching out for help isn’t a weakness, this is what we all need to remember (especially men).
Stiff upper lip and all that??
But ironically…ignoring negative patterns, bottling up emotions, self-medicating with whatever poison you choose and destructive behaviours THAT my friends…is a weakness.
Coming to the conclusion that I was struggling and needed help was the beginning of my mental wellness journey, it was hard to do but I knew I needed to do something.
I just couldn’t see the joy in life anymore, although I wanted to, life just felt empty and grey focusing on what I didn’t have rather than what I did. I wasn’t at a point where I was causing myself harm but I’m sure would have been the next natural step if I hadn’t taken action.
"I wanted to be like my old self, the person I remember, funny, cheeky, full of energy and positivity not this shadow of me, but I didn’t know how to get back to there"
It was my wife who urged me to speak with my GP about my moods and, after a quick phone consultation, they quickly referred me to italk.
I was diagnosed with PTSD and mild anxiety after my initial discussion with my italk counsellor. Which came as a shock and also a relief as I wanted to get better so I embraced it and went on to proceed with my weekly phone sessions as agreed.
The only way I can explain my mood pre-treatment was like a storm or ‘black cloud’ that would slowly come over me and stayed for days, sometimes even weeks and NOTHING would shift it. I was angry and didn’t know why, angry at everything, but I also felt worthless and a dampened down version of myself. I wanted to be like my old self, the person I remember, funny, cheeky, full of energy and positivity not this shadow of me, but I didn’t know how to get back to there.
"you will feel exponentially better, everyone in your family and social circle will notice and enjoy spending time with you again."
Overall, I completed 12 sessions with a great counsellor and I went from mild PTSD and anxiety to not experiencing any. The tools shared are fantastic but what really helped in the beginning was the knowing of having that somebody there, somebody impartial that was happy to listen and pass no judgement, give constructive feedback and to reinforce your past traumas without trivialising them.
The tools and skills are easily integrated into daily life and with a few tweaks to your daily routine, easy to follow and practice.
Not all of the techniques will stick but most will, and you will feel exponentially better, everyone in your family and social circle will notice and enjoy spending time with you again.
But, to make sure that these tools work you must keep doing them. It’s like going to the gym and eating the right food, you won’t see the results if you only do it once in a while. You have to make sure that you’re committed to feeling better. You’re worth putting the effort in for and after a while the practices will become second nature.
But I stress, if you are struggling with life then reach out… it’s not a weakness to ask for help its courage.