Disclaimer: I’m a little nervous about publishing this, but I’m going to because it’s something I’m extremely passionate about.
I have been living as a hypocrite for the last 2 and a bit years, maybe even longer. Since working at Mt A, I can’t even remember the number of students I have told to reach out and seek help for their mental health, from their parents or our school counsellors. It’s taken me that long to take my own advice.
I finally got up the courage to tell my GP about my anxiety. I’d had a whole lot of tests done to try and figure out why I’m always so tired and everything came back perfect. Not a single thing showed any sign of something being wrong. Instantly, I felt relieved and disappointed at the same time. I was relieved that nothing was wrong, but also disappointed that there wasn’t something to blame. It was then that I fessed up. I said: “I had really hoped that there was going to be something that would explain why I’m tired all the time.” My doctors response was something along the lines of: “Yeah, I know. So, how are your stress levels? High stress levels can be quite tiring.” My response was: “Yeah, there’s a fair amount of stress in my life…” She gave me a questionnaire to fill out, which I did, and the results shocked me. Because of that test, my doctor suggested that I have high levels of anxiety and stress, this did not shock me. What did though was that she diagnosed me as moderately depressed (definitely not the technical term, but it’s what I remember). The first question out of her mouth was: “Have you ever had thoughts of self-harm?” My response was along the lines of: “No, that’s not me…”
I hadn’t ever entertained the idea that I was depressed. Fast forward through telling my parents – it took me going to my Gran first before I had the courage to face them… another way I had failed my students – and I’m glad I spoke up. After dealing with the shock, guilt, grief, anger, shame, (you name it, I felt it), I finally realised that this was a good thing. Now that I know what I’m dealing with, I can work towards better mental health.
Why am I sharing this with the world? Well, because I was a hypocrite for telling my students that they needed to get help, when I so clearly needed help myself. I advocate for mental health daily, but I have ignored mine for so long. I’m tired, and grumpy, and stressed out, and not achieving my full potential because I was stubborn and scared. I’m sharing my story so that others might be willing to share theirs, or at least recognise something of themselves in my story and have the courage to seek help too. I am far from being healthy, but I know that I am on the right track. I am ready to seek and accept help. I am ready to commit to the hard days ahead because I am ready to be healthy. From now on, I will do what I can to live my best life, advocate for mental health with all my heart and soul, and continue to support my students but now, I will be doing it without being a hypocrite.
On the plus side, I’ve decided to share any and all things that work for me when it comes to improving my mental health. Stay tuned for information on why singing is great for your mood!