The Virtual Elf Blog
The Virtual Elf Blog
For me, the subject around mental health means a great deal. And I’m sure this is true for a lot of you out there. I personally learned the hard way that health is the most important thing, because without it, you don’t stand much chance of having anything else.
In 2017 I was absolutely smashing my goals and my business was growing bigger than I thought it would at that stage, but at a speed I just couldn’t keep up with. I was agreeing to work that I didn’t particularly want to do – purely because I wanted my business to do well. It worked for quite some time… and then it all came crashing down, resulting in me having a mental breakdown.
Everything I had turned to shit. Excuse my language, but it really did. I was in such a dark place and just couldn’t find my way out. I wanted to rebuild what I had but I knew I had to figure out who I was and find myself again in order to get my health back, and then the rest of my life would follow.
The hardest part was first admitting that I was not myself. I have always been super organised, proactive, and very independent. And now I needed help. I wanted help! So I found myself referred to the mental health crisis team as the first step in my journey. I also had to share what I was going through with my clients, which petrified me. I didn’t want anyone to see me as weak, or even as a liability moving forward. Which is just ridiculous as I wouldn’t assume this of anyone reaching out to me in a similar situation, so why should anyone think that way about me?
According to mental health charity Mind, approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. It’s finding out these statistics and speaking to others that makes you realise that you are not alone. I was not the only person in the world feeling that way I did, no matter how lonely I felt. And although this statistic brings some form of comfort to those with poor mental health, it’s a hard reality to know that so many people are suffering too.
From speaking with others like me, I learned that some people fell in to this dark place for no apparent reason – not that they were aware of anyway. It was simply their hectic schedule that just got too much. And for me, that played a huge part of it. So what did I do? I took control. I had to figure out what the issue was for me, and what I was going to do about it. My gosh this was hard work! And it took me a while to get it right.
Learning what I like and what I dislike was important. How can you commit to a job that you don’t enjoy? And more so, what’s the point if it’s your own company? Why continue doing something you dread doing and drains all motivation you ever had, purely because you set it up and never planned on failing? Failure is never an option for me. Ever. BUT reconfiguring life was definitely an option and has worked to my advantage more than I thought it would.
Now I find I’m thinking more positively, working with more motivation and determination, and I’m loving what I’m doing. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not always sweet smelling but I’ve come to terms with the fact that having a bad day is a normality for everyone – it’s just recognising when those bad days turn in to bad weeks, or bad months that I need to stop and pay more attention to myself.
If you don’t look after yourself, how can you possibly look after anyone else?
That goes for people as well as business. If you’re ill and struggling to live each day, how is that going to have any positive impact on your life? As an entrepreneur your business is going to suffer, meaning your income is going to suffer. This in turn affects your family and lifestyle. This was one of those things that made me feel like I really messed up. I wasn’t doing what I should be doing. I wasn’t ‘adulting’ very well.
With the understanding that everyone has bad days, I now know that I am not weak and I am not a liability. I recognise my limits. I know what I want to do. And I know challenging myself does not mean I have to push every boundary. I love stability – I think that’s pretty ‘adulty’ in itself.
This may be a bit of a downer when it comes to blogs but to me, speaking out about mental health is so important. It saves lives. Let’s break the stigma around mental health and realise we are all NORMAL whether we feel fine or not. What is normal anyway? The most important thing to remember is you are not alone! Speak to your friends and family. The support you get does not need to be from a professional.
If you’d like to support someone, or you need some extra help for yourself, here’s a link to NHS Moodzone where you can find a list of mental health helplines: