Time to talk – this is me

time to talk

Today is #TimetoTalk. Today I feel I have been the given permission to talk about me without fear of judgement or repercussion. Today is an ok day to talk about mental health but maybe tomorrow isn’t? So just in case, no one wants to talk tomorrow I thought I’d talk to me today and leave my conversation on a page for when it’s ok to talk again. Tomorrow we might not have time to talk, instead of talking we might be flying a kite. Apparently, Friday 8th is Kite flying day, so let’s talk today and go fly a kite tomorrow.

kite

So what do you want to talk about? Anyone who has ever been to a therapist or a counsellor will recognise and dread this question. There are some days I know what I want to talk about, something has upset me, I’ve had a flashback, I’m feeling worthless etc etc. All the standard things I ruminate over when life gets on top of me. But often there are days when I have no idea what I want to talk about. Why am I even here? Everything is fine. Perhaps I don’t need to see you anymore as everything in my life is fine. ‘Fine’, its such a nothing word. What does it even mean?  The definition is “Good or good enough”. How are you? I’m fine. Do you want to talk about it? No, I’m fine. What do you think? It looks fine to me. Just being good or good enough is often simply papering over the cracks. It’s all fine now it’s covered up.

There was a time when I wasn’t fine. No amount of papering over the cracks (or in my case deep cuts) could hide the fact that I was far from fine. However, if you had asked me back then how are you? My answer would have been ‘I’m fine’. When you talk to someone who is struggling or you think might be struggling, the questions you ask them are so important. How you doing? Are you feeling better? Have you told anyone else about how you feel? Have you been to the GP? Whilst you may think you are helping, none of these questions over a cup of tea will really get much more than an ‘I’m fine, I’m feeling fine, no I don’t need to tell anyone else I’m fine, the GP will just say I’m fine.

So how do you talk to me? Firstly I didn’t know who ‘me’ was. I refused to look in a mirror for the best part of six months as I didn’t recognise the person looking back. I remained silent for much of the time as there were no words to describe how I felt. I communicated through self-harm, this was my way of trying to communicate the pain that was in my head.

IMG_3406

Just as a toddler learns how to communicate, when you have mentally shut down you have to learn how to talk again. Through therapy, I was gently coaxed into verbalising how I was feeling. My husband also had to learn a new language, a new way of communicating with me. We both turned to music for much of this time. Song lyrics literally spoke volumes to us. As rock music fans the louder the better, the more passionate the words, the greater the connection.

A million miles away
Your signal in the distance
To whom it may concern
I think I lost my way
Getting good at starting over
Every time that I return

Learning to walk again
I believe I’ve waited long enough
Where do I begin?
Learning to talk again
Can’t you see I’ve waited long enough?
Where do I begin?

Do you remember the days?
We built these paper mountains
Then sat and watched them burn
I think I found my place
Can’t you feel it growing stronger
Little conquerors

Learning to walk again
I believe I’ve waited long enough
Where do I begin?
Learning to talk again
I believe I’ve waited long enough
Where do I begin?

Now,
For the very first time
Don’t you pay no mind
Set me free, again
To keep alive, a moment at a time
That’s still inside, a whisper to a riot
The sacrifice, the knowing to survive
The first decline, another state of mind
I’m on my knees, I’m praying for a sign
Forever, whenever, I never wanna die

I never wanna die

I never wanna die

I’m on my knees, I never wanna die
I’m dancing on my grave
I’m running through the fire
Forever, whenever
I never wanna die
I never wanna leave
I’ll never say goodbye
Forever, whenever
Forever, whenever

Learning to walk again
I believe I’ve waited long enough
Where do I begin?
Learning to talk again
Can’t you see I’ve waited long enough?
Where do I begin?

Learning to walk again
I believe I’ve waited long enough
Learning to talk again
Can’t you see I’ve waited long enough?

 

Foo Fighters. Walk

#TimetoTalk for me is literally learning how to talk. It’s also about how others learn to talk to you and more importantly how to listen. Through bitter experience, I have learnt that talking to the ‘right’ person is almost as important as talking at all.  Not everyone has the skill or ability to listen. Those are the ones who hope that you will answer their question with ‘I’m fine’. Then there are others who take the time, learn how to listen and how to talk by becoming Mental Health First Aiders for example. There are those who take the time to talk because they love you unconditionally and there are those who just seem to have the knack Time to talk is about being brave. Brave enough to speak and brave enough to listen. I have a voice now, I am stronger, I am better and I am not afraid to talk.

So as the day ends and we move onto National Kite Flying day I will leave you with some of my time to talk tips.

For those that need to talk;

  • Choose the right person to talk to
  • Only talk when you are ready
  • If you can’t talk chose another medium like music, writing or drawing to say how you feel
  • Allow the other person to take time to digest what you are saying
  • Talking is tiring. You will be exhausted
  • Remember to take baby steps. Build up to it slowly

Talking to those that are struggling;

  • Be patient
  • Be encouraging
  • Suggest don’t tell
  • Signpost additional help or support
  • Actions speak louder than words, be mindful of body your body language
  • Get support for yourself. It’s tough listening and you may also need to talk

I am not a stranger to the dark
Hide away, they say
‘Cause we don’t want your broken parts
I’ve learned to be ashamed of all my scars
Run away, they say
No one’ll love you as you are

But I won’t let them break me down to dust
I know that there’s a place for us
For we are glorious

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me
Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me

Keala Settle, The Greatest Showman Ensemble

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s