Having suffered from Mental illness myself, it’s become a lot more difficult for me to go to work this time. I don’t see how I can possibly help people engage and become motivated to do things when I myself, don’t want to engage or be motivated either…
Listening to my patients with all of the concentration I have is physically and emotionally draining, but they need me to be on their side and to help them. I am constantly reminding myself; this is not about me. I’ve met numerous people already over the past three weeks but one has stood out to me immeasurably.
She is 18 and suffers from multiple personality disorder and depression. She has been through a lot of terrible things and when reading her file prior to our first meeting; I was shocked at the devastating situations she has been through!
Then a light came on:
All of this has happened to me. In different circumstances but still. She has lived what I have lived. The only difference is she talking about it and getting help and I am not – through no fault of her own, her past was tearing her apart whereas I choose to not get the help I needed. I choose to let it fester inside and make me feel wretched.
I am the biggest hypocrite ever.
How dare I sit there and tell her what she should be doing and that everything will be alright and that there is a way to move through this with the help of our team? How dare I give her advice that I have not taken myself? How dare I? This girl is reaching out, she is trying hard to get the help she needs so that she can escape the pain of her past and grow and become a healthier happier person. She has got more self respect and determination than I ever had.
I didn’t accept help for my problems and I brushed them under the mat. She hid away but then she blossomed. She spoke up and she is getting better. She is a big inspiration to me but I can’t tell her this. I sit there every time I see her thinking
‘Wow, I just want to hug you and tell you I am so blessed to be here to witness your strength – you think I’m helping you get better, but in turn you’re helping me also if not more than I am, you. Keep going. You’re so brave!’
But I can’t. Stupid. Professional. Boundaries. MEH.
One day I want to be able to see her smile and be happy and mean it; because then I know we can smile together – she is teaching me things I never knew. She is stronger than me because she recognised her trouble and humbled herself to get the help she needs and was not afraid to get better. I have so much respect for her.
I wonder if she will ever know how much this time I’m spending with her means to me?
Working in Mental Health has already made me reevaluate the way I look at myself not only as a professional but as a person. These people are teaching me it is okay to not be okay and to listen to yourself when you feel this way.
It’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help. I’ve always known this but I never put it into practice.
Working in Mental Health is making me recognise that people who are unwell don’t always look it. I sure don’t appear to be when you meet me. Years of theatre training means I am very good at being anyone other than myself. I’ve been able to hide away for so long – but maybe this is why I am here. The idea of working in mental health way always something I found scary because I was scared I’d have to face everything.
This is happening; I’m being forced on a daily basis to face the past – Everything I have hidden away and tried to forget. I am being made to bring it to the surface and deal with it.
Maybe this is my chance to finally get the help I need – maybe this is my chance to finally get healthier and happier; be the ‘me’ God made me to be. Maybe through helping others find themselves a midst illness and pain, I too can find myself and together we can all become well – eventually.
Maybe this is as much for my benefit as it is for theirs.
God is good – Good is SO good… I did not see this one coming…