It’s Mental Health Awareness Week and I Needed to Become Aware

Just where has the time gone? It’s mid-October and I haven’t had a moment to actually post anything on here lately.

The truth is, once again starting in a new job, being able to share out the mental and childcare load more evenly with my husband and health issues have just taken over the last few weeks and I’ve felt a lot more like all I was doing was trying to spin the plates rather than being able to rock anything or even advance. Of course, reality is very different and I have achieved quite a lot.

It’s mental health awareness week. Mine, in all honesty, hasn’t been that great recently.

All my life I have always been able to rely on my ability to excel in my job or anything education-related. I work hard and go over and above and when the proverbial hits the fan elsewhere in my life, I’ve always been able to find solace in the fact that, at least, I’m doing my job well.

Over the last few weeks I just haven’t felt like that. It’s not the fault of anyone, really, but I have seen what I thought I should be like and do and compared it with reality and somehow found myself lacking. The issue is not with my job, but with my head. And it took a wonderful colleague to point that out to me today. Sorry, husband, but I will always think you’re being a bit biased.

I’m not lacking. I am being a typical newbie in my new job. I’ve been teaching for many years and yet every school is different. Every workplace has its own systems and preferences and it takes a while to let go of old systems and adapt to new ones. I made a few boo-boos along the way, but what is refreshing is that my colleagues completely expected this. I was beating myself up about mistakes I made and yet they were fine with them, because they realised that I, too, am human and don’t always understand everything the first time around.

It was great to be able to pick up the courage this morning and just talk to a colleague that I have taken a liking to, because she just seemed welcoming and approachable. And she sat me down and reassured me. Took my Negative Nancy side and rolled with it, then knocked some sense back into me. And then, some time later, so did my manager. And we found out that another colleague had a bit of a ‘sod-it’ attitude to it all today. She just admitted to it, provided some cakes and it seemed so easy.

What I have learned today is to just talk. Most people don’t mind. They’re not therapists and don’t aspire to be, but they are more than willing to lend a listening ear and give advice. A lot of the time they see you for who you really are, not the distorted, negative version you build yourself up to be. Most people are winging it, juts like everyone else. Everyone makes mistakes.

None of this, I realise, is anything particularly new. But without picking up the courage to talk to someone at work, I wouldn’t have known and forever convinced myself that I, and I alone, am messing up occasionally. Sometimes, all you need is a different perspective.

You will not read this, ever, colleagues of mine. But thank you. Thank you for giving my head a bit of a wobble. Thank you for the hugs and tissues. Thank you for making me feel – well, not alone.

It’s mental health awareness week. Thank you for being aware today.

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