The best decision I ever made was telling people how I feel


A post from Our Community Correspondent Jim Jarsdel

I’ve made some good decisions. I’ve also made some terrible ones, but I’m learning not to dwell on them.

The good decision is one I try to make as often as I need to, although it’s often the last thing I want to do. I’m talking about deciding to tell someone how I feel.
When I feel a bit shit I don’t like to tell people. I’m scared they’ll treat me differently, see me as a burden or as weak.

For years I avoided sharing my feelings. A few years ago I had some periods of feeling really awful. Properly miserable and down on myself. I hit a particularly bad low before I made the decision to see my GP. It helped a lot and was the first of a series of positive decisions. I learned that the feelings I experience are a condition, that can be treated. So that was good decision number one. I got better for a bit.

Next time I felt shit the decision to tell my GP was easier. The fear was gone. I didn’t have a sense they would shout at me or something. So that was an easy decision to make.
Prescription drugs didn’t make my depression go away- I suffered more. I met a friend who had been through a similar thing and urged me to see a counsellor, but I resisted. I was scared about opening up to a therapist. After encouragement, I registered for free counselling at the Tom Allen Centre. This was a great decision as it led to me discovering something incredibly powerful – how to ask for things I need and how to say no to things I don’t.

To many people this probably seems ridiculous. Some people don’t think twice about asking for what they want or saying not. I’m not that kind of person though and a lot of people are the same. And that’s ok.

But when it comes to looking after yourself in a time of need you often have to put your own interests ahead of other people’s. Using my new found superpowers I took action; I got my GP to refer me for CBT and started working towards becoming the person I wanted to be. I learned to recognise when situations or thought patterns weren’t healthy. I learned enough about myself to know what decisions I needed to make to get healthy again.

It’s not that all the decisions I make now are easy. Many are still hard, but, when it comes to doing the right thing for me without worry about how I’ll be perceived or keeping everyone else happy, I’m a lot healthier for it.  I guess if there is one thing I’m clumsily trying to say here it is never be afraid to ask for help.

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