I can't remember ever spending a thousand pounds on myself. Ever.
I'm writing this late at night. It's dark. The timer just turned off the little light and the rain is hammering on the window. The only light is from my phone. My screen protected phone. I spend money on my phone you see....
I'll repair the car because is essential... I'll sort the phone if it's cracked or slow, because it's essential...
But I won't struggle to find the time or make it a priority to do the same for myself.
I've been noticing my own warning lights. But I haven't stopped, I find it really hard to. One of my drivers is 'to please people', another is to 'hurry up' and my third is to 'be perfect', those type of drivers make it hard to take it easy. You'll know what I mean if you are equally cursed / blessed.
I haven't contacted the experts for help getting back on the road (too many driving analogies yet?) I think it's because whilst the car and the phone are essential, I in my own eyes and mind, am not, and I have to keep going to please people right. Right?
I'm even overdue a trip to the dentist. Teeth. Essential? Nah....
So what could help me change my view of myself?
Talking could help I think. But I do often find it much easier to write things down. It seems less personal somehow. Even though it can be read over and over.
I was pleased therefore that it was recently #timetotalk day. I was pleased there was a focus. We had a link on our intranet page at work. I stuck some posters up next to the tea point. How did it go, well since you asked.....
No one talked to me.
I didn't talk to anyone else.
Even with the focus of a special day the conversations didn't seem to be happening. It didn't seem to register. I wonder why when all the stats point to 1 in 4 people suffering a mental health problem at some point. Maybe no one in my office was anxious, stressed or something else that day. Actually that sounds a ridiculous statement. Of course some were, probably quite a lot.
So it made me think....
Do we truly have or maybe make time to talk?
Do we only ask ourselves why didn't we talk more when it's too late and someone is off sick, or starts crying in a meeting, or something worse.
Can we ever regret talking?
Can we ever regret connecting?
Sometimes someone needs just that connection. A chat is best but if not that then maybe a text or WhatsApp, a tweet a Facebook like, a call, a letter, a cup of coffee, a knowing nod, a hug, an aeroplane message in the sky, a note in the local paper, graffiti on a train, a card, just something.
We're all busy
But what's five minutes?
300 little seconds
To you it might be nothing
To someone else it could mean everything
Make time to talk
And make time to listen
(there's loads of good guidance on how to be a good listener)
It could just be the best thing you ever did.
I've asked about being MH network lead in my office now, so I hope I can help time to talk day be everyday
So what are you going to do? Well here's an idea...
We now have dry January, Movember and various other excellent and valuable months of focus on issues and to raise awareness / money for charities.
So why is #timetotalk day just a day?
Could it be a week, or a month. How hard would it be for you to take the challenge to talk and listen. Could you do it? You don't have to give up chocolate, caffeine or wine, train to run 10k or grow a beard. It must be the easiest challenge to sign up to.
All you have to do is talk, and listen.
So I challenge you to make it a 'March 4 Mental Health' and have at least one conversation per week where you make time to talk or time to listen. I guarantee it will help you, or help a friend.
I'll start you off, i've got 5 mins, ready.... "are you ok?"
Mr Paul Wyse