Lee is one of our Wellbeing Coaches.
So at Lancashire Mind, like many other organisations, we are now at our seventh month of working from home, Wow! This has been a big change for everyone including the clients who I, and the rest of the Wellbeing Coaching Team, work with on a daily basis.
I do enjoy working from home. I have my coffee machine on the go all day, my own work space and my family are at home meaning I have more opportunity to see them as I can enjoy my lunchbreaks with them and get back the time I would usually spend commuting.
The initial stages of Lockdown were extremely difficult for me. Those who know me know that I have always been a hands on and very busy person. I enjoy the work I do and the role I have at Lancashire Mind. As it did for many others lockdown came as a bit of shock to my system and I didn’t realise that this was taking its toll on my mental health.
In April 2020, one month after the lockdown began, I woke up early hours of the morning unexpectedly and suffered a partial focal seizure, this resulted in me being taken to hospital and having all tests done to find out what was happening. So now I was not only facing lockdown but also the worry of what was wrong and being told I had to give up my driving licence for a period of six months. This felt like a further loss of freedom and I was worried about what it would mean for my job too.
During this difficult time Lancashire Mind supported me in every way they could. They put risk assessments in place to ensure that I was safe whilst carrying out my duties whilst working from home. They also regularly checked in with me and just knowing I had their support took some of the worry about what was happening away.
I soon met with a neurologist who believed I was suffering from Non-Epileptic Attack Disorder, which is caused by hidden mental health disorders and can appear unexpectedly. Because of how anxious I became due to this, I was placed on medication.
Unfortunately I suffered a second seizure in May 2020, this lead to me being put on anti-epileptic medication as a precautionary measure and I referred myself to Minds Matter where I have recently received high level CBT. I am also sadly unable to drive for 12 months.
During this time, and due to the work I do, I was also furloughed due to childcare reasons that break from work was so good for my mental health and has helped me get to where I am today. Although I still take all of my medications on a daily basis and still feel extremely anxious about it happening again, I have been seizure free for five months. I am still awaiting more results from the neurology team and also a follow up appointment but hopefully things are looking up.
One thing I can honestly say is that without the support of my family, friends and colleagues I would have no idea how I would have coped with this situation. Mental Health really does affect everyone and when you work in a role where you are supporting others with their mental health, you can become stubborn and feel that it may never happen to you. This was my attitude and I was wrong. I now feel that I can relate more to my clients based on my own personal experiences.
For me, lockdown has been a nightmare but also a blessing in disguise. If we were not on lockdown would I have had a seizure? Would things have just carried on as normal? Who knows?
The main thing I want to share is this: Don’t bottle anything up, talk about things no matter how minor they are, people are not alone with mental health and there is many people out there that you can speak to.