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My Experiences with Mental Health

Updated: Feb 12

In honour of World Mental Health Day, I would like to share some of my own experiences with mental health.


My mental health challenges were/are related striving for high performance, anxiety about barriers to achieving high performance and being ‘in control’.


This was particularly prevalent in my twenties.


My main problem was - If I found something about myself that I couldn’t improve, I would obsess over it and make the problem much worse. 


For example, shortly after leaving university, I panicked in a presentation to a group and I also failed a job interview when nerves got the better of me.


I spent the subsequent days, weeks and months analysing why these things had happened and my anxiety started to build. 


I got myself into a real rut about presenting and interviewing. I tried to think my way out of it, to analyse all I could to try to ‘make myself better’.


This over-analysis led me to experiencing panic symptoms in everyday conversations – which wasn’t a great way to live! 

  • Firstly, the symptoms of panic were very unpleasant.

  • Secondly, the shame that I felt by ‘failing’ in social situations was tough to bear.

  • Thirdly, I knew that if I couldn’t pass job interviews and present to people, how could I progress in my life? How could I achieve things? How could I make my parents proud etc.

Eventually I spoke to a counsellor, who spotted where I was going wrong extremely quickly.


During our discussions she taught me three techniques amongst other things;

  1. She taught me about 'thinking about thinking' – where you take a step back and observe your thoughts. This helped me to recognise negative thoughts and let go of them, using imagery that I had chosen. It was incredibly liberating and I still use this technique today.

  2. She taught me how to accept the outcome, you are going to try your best, and if you panic, so what? Accepting that I might not do well at something was a big weight off my shoulders.

  3. She also taught me how to differentiate between a positive drive to succeed and obsession. 


The anxiety and panic symptoms quickly left me as a result of reducing my obsessive 'over-thinking'.


When coaching my clients, I consistently work with people who’s challenges with mental health have led to a lack of confidence and a negative perception of themselves, which restrict their careers and happiness in general. 


What negative thoughts or experiences are stopping you from being content?


Sharing your thoughts, or reflecting on them, is a great way to be aware of your mental health blind spots – either with a counsellor, a coach or a friend.


If I notice that one of my coaching clients needs to speak to a counsellor, I refer them to one of my contacts – and the results have been life-changing for them - it’s good to talk!

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