I’m a firm believer that mental health is every bit as important as physical health. And when a challenging spell came along recently, I turned to Ben, a charity dedicated to supporting the people of the automotive industry, for support.
On top of the normal stresses of life, I experienced a change of job, an extended period of ill health and a bereavement, all in quick succession. A family dispute was the final straw. I felt overwhelmed by what was happening and I was struggling to cope while trying to present a positive face to the rest of the world.
I realised I needed to ask for help when my physical health was affected by the stress of what was happening. I had trouble sleeping and I wasn’t eating properly. I seemed to have a permanent headache and I could often feel my heart racing. I found it difficult to concentrate and my memory was poor. I would be energetic one minute and utterly exhausted the next. Worst of all, I knew I was affecting people around me.
So I made a call to Ben and spoke to someone about what was happening in my life. It sounds silly, but just describing the timeline of what happened and when helped me to see how much I was having to face, as well as continuing to make a contribution to my family, friends and workplace.
The team at Ben were incredibly supportive. With their help, I was able to work with a counsellor who gave me an opportunity to take some time for myself and explore what was happening and how I could return to being more positive and make the most of the good things that were still in my life every day.
We usually find it easier to be kind to ourselves when our physical health is affected. We know that rest, fluids and medication help us recover. What’s harder is accepting that mental ill health needs a similar approach, but it’s true.
After the many months of lockdown we’ve all experienced, the good mental health habits Ben’s support helped me to create are as relevant and important today as they’ve ever been.
I recognise the physical signs of stress more quickly now and when I do, I try to take five and do something that lifts my mood. For me that might mean reading a book, getting out to exercise or laughing with family and friends. We can’t be happy and feel happy all the time, but I have definitely found counting my blessings helps to relive the symptoms of stress and restore a sense of wellbeing. Even on the darkest days, there are always little rays of sunshine to enjoy.
The great thing about Ben is that there is such a variety of support available, depending on what works best for you and the situation you are in. There are tips and advice on their website,
guided digital support programmes and telephone talking therapies as well as counselling.
I am writing about my own experience because I hope it might help others and be a small contribution towards the amazing work being done to break down the stigma surrounding mental health. I have chosen to do so anonymously to protect the privacy of those who were also involved in the events that affected me.
If my words prompt you to reach out for support, from Ben or any of the other incredible organisations that support people’s mental health – MIND and Samaritans to name a couple - then I wish you well. Dark clouds gather for us all from time to time. Remember the blue skies are still there and you can see them again.
Ben has a wide range of different mental health support options, giving you choice and control over how you receive mental health support. This could be using the tips & advice on our website, accessing our guided digital support programmes, telephone talking therapies and counselling.
At the moment, we’ve all had to adjust to massive changes in our lives - both home and work. It’s affecting us all in different ways.
Ben, our industry charity, helps automotive industry people to navigate life and its challenges. They support people who need help with a wide range of issues – everyone is different. If you’re worried about your physical health, mental health or concerned about your general wellbeing, Ben is here to help, especially during these difficult times.
Check out their Mental Health section for tips and advice on:
● Working at home
They are adding new information all the time so keep checking back or sign up
to receive tips, advice and tools straight to your inbox.
You can also contact Ben’s free and confidential helpline by chatting online
or calling 08081 311 333. Ben’s helpline can also support you in accessing their new digital support programmes to help you with stress, anxiety, depression, money worries and resilience - which are all free of charge to people who work or have worked in the automotive industry.