Address, or avoid.
That’s the choice.
This is the moment that either changes everything. Or sets us further down the road to Mental Health Crisis.
Communicate, or conceal.
Reaching out and telling a trusted person the truth.
That we aren’t okay. We haven’t felt like ourselves for a long time now, actually.
Or continue to doggedly cling to the stories we are spinning about ourselves.
The inability to get out of bed in the morning, that we insist to our colleagues is the flu.
The anxiety that we externalise as aggression, so people will just leave us alone.
But what if they don’t?
How about if someone refuses to be fobbed off by our fabrications? What then?
Reveal, or retreat?
Knowing that to do the former will push us, not just way out of our comfort zone. But to a place so unfamiliar, we may never find our way back to the land of pretending everything is alright.
Clarke and l have shared our Mental Health journey and learnings, with thousands of people, face to face.
And millions, virtually.
So trust me when l say we have heard every reason people give, for not admitting they are suffering from adverse mental health issues.
The words used may vary, but the motivation is always the same.
“I have already decided l know what the outcome will be, and it’s bad.”
And the more successful the individual? The greater their reluctance to put themselves into this fictional bad situation.
Also, the higher achieving they are, the more strongly they believe their opinions are actual facts.
We know this, because we were exactly the same.
Clarke and l kept his last depressive episode as a secret, just between us.
Because we thought we could handle it.
And it stayed a secret…right up until he left me a suicide note.
Then it became a race to save his life, and one l did not hesitate to tell everyone about.
No more avoid, conceal or retreat.
Right then the only choice we were left with was change.
Change or die.
So change we did.
We told the truth.
No more masking. No pretence.
Clarke got the correct medical diagnosis. Was given a very specific path to wellness that included a lot of therapy.
A few meds.
Plus a great deal of self-honesty.
It’s a story with a lovely Happily Ever After.
And we are privileged to be able to share it during our speaking engagements.
But the most important thing for us, is that no one. Not one single other human, has to get to where we ended up.
That if l, as Clarke’s wife, had indeed made the choice to address, urged him to communicate, begged him to reveal.
Then he could have gotten professional help at a far earlier stage.
But l instead l decided to take his symptoms, personally.
I decided to see his behavioural red flags as an indication of how he felt about me.
Instead of them revealing how he truly felt about himself.
These days, we communicate honestly, openly and fully.
And never leave anything unsaid.
We tell our truths, because we are well aware of how dangerous, both a silence, and its misinterpretation, can be.
We have learned so much from our journey to crisis point.
And now, in wellness, we are discovering even more.
Yet of all those truths, all those lessons, these irrefutable truths remain the key to our survival:
Our opinion on our Mental Health is not fact.
We do not know always know the outcome.
And any spoken scenario is better than dying in silence.
Tell the truth. Ask for help. Live the full life you deserve.
Because today is a great day to join us on this path.