It's Mental Health Awareness week. I mean, it's actually Mental Health Awareness month as well. But this week is apparently the week. I don't know?
To celebrate this fact – not intentionally but coincidentally – I restarted my CBT sessions this week. And by restarted I mean finally found a new therapist after just over a month of cancellations due to my previous one unfortunately getting ill.
Now I'm not sure if it's direct correlation, although it doesn't seem unlikely, but for those five weeks where I wasn't talking things through for 50 minutes every Tuesday afternoon, everything seemed to go downhill a little bit. I suppose it shouldn't come as a surprise that the thing designed to help had actually been helping, but, if I'm honest, I'd been feeling a little deflated about the whole thing. You see, I like quick fixes and (spoiler alert) there is no quick fix for these sorts of things.
I didn't really want to go. Not because I didn't think I needed it (I definitely needed it) but because I didn't really fancy talking about myself at all, let alone start from the beginning with someone new. But I did, because I'd made the appointment and god forbid I was going to make a phone call to cancel. I even changed out of my leggings and put on a nice dress so that I could at least pretend I sort of have my life together. Except I forgot to rub in my dry shampoo, so slight flaw in my plan there.
I have to travel to a different venue for this one. I liked the old one because it was on the way home from work and not far from my house and it also played host to Physiotherapy and Pilates and Yoga classes, so I could walk in under the pretence that I was there for an hour of stretching instead. The new venue has a large sign outside signalling that, it is in a fact, a Counselling and Therapy Centre, meaning I must, of course, be there for counselling and therapy.
This bothered me for all of 30 seconds before I realised that it really doesn't matter. It would be pretty ridiculous to write online about how we should be talking more about mental health, then worry about what a stranger in a car on the other side of the road thinks. Battling stigma and all that.
So that's what I'm doing now. Talking about it. There's no profound ending to this story, but talking more about mental health isn't limited to pouring your heart out about not being ok. It's about having honest and open conversations, and that means making it a part of our every day lives.
Instead of moaning about the traffic I got stuck in on the way home from 'an appointment', I should moan about the traffic I got stuck in on the way home from therapy. I – no, we – should give 'sorry I can't make do dinner on Tuesday because I have therapy' the same weight as 'sorry I can't do dinner on Tuesday because I've got the dentist'.
So, whilst this story was about as interesting as me telling you that I booked a haircut for next week (I've booked a haircut for next week, BTW) it's just as worth talking about.