In the naivety of my skill, knowledge and understanding, I have often wondered in times past how those who worked or taught in the mental health arena could suffer with mental health issues themselves and be of any good to those on the receiving end of their knowledge.
How wrong I was!
Having qualified and been practising a few years myself now; I of all people humbly eat those words I once spoke to a tutor which encapsulated such a notion.
Firstly, the understanding of what healthy mental health looks like versus unhealthy is a must for all in the arena. As a rookie (sometimes thinking I am still, due to personal development and constant learning) ‘We do not know it all’. If you find yourself in this position my best advice is ‘Be patient. As the years go by, what you learnt will take on a whole new meaning and level of understanding.’
For those of us in the profession know all too well the importance of “looking after yourself”. It is not just something we should be mindful to teach and encourage our clients to do. But we need to do it ourselves and let them learn from example (being mindful of appropriate disclosure of course).
It is vitally important to rest, relax and enjoy life and work in order to help maintain a healthy mind (easier said than done in some instances). ‘Do not let the scales become imbalanced; keep a watchful eye on maintaining your equilibrium and above all practise what you preach.’
For it is in the knowing and understanding of one’s own mental health can a person truly give of themselves. For when you know your own limits and boundaries you can stand confidently from a place of assurance. You do not hide behind skill and expertise; but from a real place of knowing and experiencing one can reach out and help and above all encourage others.
How so? Simply because we have been there. We have taken that dark journey and know oh so well the struggles and difficulties we encounter upon it. Our voice should be the strongest and loudest to help those around us on their journey and the boldest when it comes to promoting mental health issues.
So for all those who struggle and are within the arena-this is for you…..’I understand’
This is my voice…..