Tune Up: Protecting your Mental Health

Eight women representing prominent mental diagnoses in the 19th century at the Salpêtrière (Paris). (fr. Armand Gautier)Working for nothing is what all consultants do in-between real jobs. And what harm? It’s cheaper than psychiatry.

Hard Times:

Recently, I had a conversation with a person who happens to be working through a really tough personal issue. It’s not resolved and there’s no easy fix in sight. She said: “I feel like I want to run away from my life. Just disappear and hide from everyone and everything I know. Does that sound crazy?”

It didn’t sound crazy at all.  Mental health is fragile. We all hit life’s speed bumps and have the ability (generally) to drive over these without too much damage.  But, sometimes, we move into car crash territory.  Big impact stuff. When this happens, and it does happen, you need to talk to someone to help you to figure it out, understand your role in the show, someone to provide a sense of perspective or even outline the going forward possibilities. The central point is not to be so proud (or macho) to flinch from seeking help.

Ultimate Step:

If you’ve ever been up close to suicide, you’ll understand all too well how devastating this can be. We tend to associate suicide predominantly with young people, teenage angst, sometimes with alcohol or drugs in the mix, inflicting the most violent form of self-harm.  But, less high profile is the growing number of adult suicides. Some executives and entrepreneurs also self-harm; a minority take their own life. It can seem like a simple way to stop the merry-go-round of grief. Less often it’s a way to demonstrate control, a violent act of aggression aimed at deliberately leaving a residue of guilt.  Whatever the motivation, it’s always terribly, terribly sad.

In the coaching professions there is an absolute rule with regard to people expressing suicidal thoughts. They need to be referred to a medical practitioner pronto. If you feel that you personally need help, shout loud. We all need support at times. Don’t be too proud to ask. Just don’t wait until the car breaks down. Do some proactive maintenance and tune-up to protect your mental health. Don’t be mean about spending money on yourself.

 

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