Rachael Bletchly: In the middle of a pandemic we need to address mental health

Rachael Bletchly: In the middle of a pandemic we need to address mental health

With my windows open in the warm weather, I’ve been ­waking to a glorious dawn chorus. Sitting with a cuppa in the garden I’m starting to pick out the sparrows from the robins and the tits from the ­chattering parakeets. And as the birdsong seems to amplify every day I feel I’m growing calmer. Perhaps I can only hear them because my noisy London neighbourhood has gone corona quiet – with fewer cars on the busy road and no planes overhead. Or maybe my noisy thoughts just ­deafened me to their twittering. I’ve always had a “buzzy” brain but ­occasionally it feels like I can’t think for interference. It’s when I’m heading for a depressive episode, one of several I’ve suffered since a nervous breakdown 16 years ago. Thankfully, with medical help and counselling, I am now much better at spotting the ­warning signals. And I know I need to take a break until the scary white noise in my head dies away. Yet, even now, the hardest part is admitting that – to myself and to the family, friends and ­colleagues who can help me through. I feel weak, pathetic, and ashamed. I don’t want to ­burden them again. But until I’ve said: “I’m struggling to cope” I can’t start dialling down the noise. That’s how I felt three weeks ago when I spoke to my line ­manager at work. It’s why I took a bit of time off and why Anne ...
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