It’s no laughing matter. Getting sick when you’re running your own business, that is.
Touch wood, cross fingers and rub a rabbit’s foot but in the year since embarking on the insanity that is self-employment I have been tickety-boo healthwise. In fact, I have been feeling a whole lot better in body and mind since leaving the high pressure environment of live broadcasting behind. But looking back I can see I really was a bit of a basket case.
Lack of sleep, daily adrenalin overload, and a stupidly stressful working environment was taking this middle aged media monkey to the very brink of mental meltdown. The body was just about bearing up, tho’ there were plenty of anxiety related symptoms in evidence, but my heart, soul and mental well-being were shot to smithereens. Even at the time I knew it was nae use, but it took me a long time, and a lot of bottle (which is hard to find when you’re in a shambolic state of stressfulness) to throw the dummy out of the pram, and P45 it the hell outta there.
Make no mistake, I know fine well that my own struggles with emotional wellbeing were tip of the iceberg stuff. What I experienced is small beer on the menu of mental health issues. And at least I had, eventually, the mental strength to say ENOUGH!
But s’all wrong, intit? Surely somehow we’ve all got to get to grips with this global pandemic of mental health misery. The confusion, craziness and chaos of modern life is taking a toll on far too many of us, and for me the price is way, way too high.
I don’t need the tragic suicide of Robin Williams to wake me up to the pan-societal impact an illness like depression can have. But like most, I have profoundly regretted the great man’s passing, and offered up several secular prayers for everyone suffering from that hateful condition. And that includes the members of my own family who are battling with the demons of depression. Like I said, it’s no laughing matter.
Witnessing the struggles of my own folk is a salutary reminder that my entire enterprise could go to hell in handcart if I was unlucky enough to become depressed, suddenly suffer from panic attacks, or have a nervous breakdown. After all, running your own business really requires good mental health and strength, so I raise my hat to anyone keeping biz afloat if they are sailing through the choppy seas of mental illness.
I choose not to be complacent about my own health, mental and otherwise, not for one single, solitary minute. There’s just no knowing what’s coming round the corner, and being at the helm of a small business presents an entire panoply of mental and emotional challenges, so I’m doing whatever it takes secure a solid state of mind – I don’t ever want to go back to those bad old days.
So I’m saying thanks to everyone who’s talking about mental health and keeping the subject at the forefront of our collective consciousness, and yep, Nick Clegg, that includes you.
But I’m saying a special thanks to those who have been there, seen it and done it, and yet still managed to offer support to others under a black cloud. And yep, Mum, that includes you and the Glasgow SHARING group. Good on ya, missus.