There truly are some heroes in mental health, and boy do they deserve more recognition and respect than they get. I cannot begin to describe the impact that just one truly truly caring, talented professional can have on someone who is struggling with their mental health, especially when in the depths of crisis.
I am a mess. A complete, hopeless shadow of a person, comprised only of emotional torment and torturing intrusive thoughts. I feel very undeserving of any help, let alone from highly trained, valuable specialists. However, I am incredibly fortunate to have two of these aforementioned heroes as my care coordinators, both of whom have had contact with me today, and in both cases responded amazingly to my hopeless, guilt-ridden, suicidal despair.
Between them, they:
- Were patient and understanding
- Listened to my thoughts and feelings (rather than making stereotypical or face-value assumptions)
- Responded to difficult topics with kindness and grace
- Tailored the conversations towards my individual needs
- Emphasised that they hold my hope for me, even though I can’t grasp it at all for myself
- Made sure to reassure intrinsic fears of mine
- Acknowledged that both service users and professionals are humans
- Used our shared humanity to show immense empathy
- Fought firmly against my strong assertions that I do not deserve help and am wasting their time
- Recognised my pain, and how my achievements/intelligence do not negate this in any way
- Made suggestions of short-term coping mechanisms, while expressing understanding of how difficult these are to implement in my current state
- Nudged me towards simple things that I was attempting to avoid or ignore
- Never stopped thinking, trying to work out how we can work together to not just keep my alive, but improve my life
- Shared wry laughter with me, knowing that this is a well-practised coping mechanism when I’m in emotional pain
- Stuck with me
I think it can all be summed up in a single line of a text from one of them as they clocked off (2 hours later than they should have):
You are so worth supporting to feel less awful
It might seem simple, but just hearing that from a professional touched me to my core.
They both know that my broken brain refuses to accept most of the wonderful things that they say to me, but they keep at it, no matter what. They don’t lose patience or hope and they go above and beyond their duties to truly do their best for their patients. People like these are worth their weight in gold.
Such professionals are true heroes, and I just wish I could repay them for all the good that they do under such difficult conditions. I wish that I could at least stop letting them down; but at least they know how hard I’m trying.