Inspirational Stories – Helping us to talk

As part of mental health awareness week , I'll be talking to a number of people about their mental health and wellbeing journeys. Join us today as I talk to Becky Holmes.

Posted by on Monday, 18 May 2020

#Wellbeing #Mentalhealth  #Recovery #selfhelp #mentalhealthawarenessweek

My Story

There was no offer of counselling in those days, but I remember praying a lot – not sure if I knew to who to or what I was saying, but I think it probably really helped clear my mind in some way . It gave me a chance to pause and feel my feelings of grief. I would talk to my photos, now I’m sounding completely barmy but I was a kid and was just trying to find ways to cope.  I was resourceful and I did cope! Well until certain times of the year, which was when my broken heart felt like a huge gaping hole. The black dog didn’t arrive but the worry did.

Looking back I lived with a level of anxiety for many years, putting immense pressure on myself. It became more obvious in my teens, worrying about being the best at sport, at school. I found exams and speaking in public particularly hard. I wasn’t a shy child but I remember being so nervous I would have to be physically sick, so I learnt to breathe. Breathing and being physically sick to relieve the nerves, was my coping mechanism and this carried through with me until about 8 years ago when I tried visualisation.

I threw my self into my Education and as I got older I was lucky to find a job I loved . I met my life long partner early in life, we’ve been through shit together, but he’s my one ( even though he drives me mad most days !)

We went through what seemed like hell to have our beautiful twins, happy for our friends getting pregnant and having babies whilst being so sad inside. The black dog was close but didn’t arrive. Then our miracles arrived. We survived off no sleep for so long , some days it seemed like the greatest test of resilience and others the best days on earth. I often felt like my life was happening to someone else, being played out on film before my eyes. Lack of sleep does the strangest of things.

For a career girl to have to survive on no sleep and function was an epic task in itself. Then to have to have arm muscles that some men would die for, due to carrying 2 car seats into a shops, just to buy a loaf of bread or a pint of milk. That’s if we got out the house before lunch. It was definitely testing, seeing these little wonderful bundles control and restrict my freedom and with double the amount of hormones raging, again the black dog was close but didn’t arrive.

Then came miracle no. 3 , this was a whole new level of resilience working a full time career with 3 under 3! But again we were massively grateful, but again the black dog got close but didn’t arrive.

Providing for our family was a huge driver for me and sometimes I’d often get the balance wrong, but my overwhelming feeling of protection for our family was and is huge. I took promotions in the hope that it would bring more holidays and quality time for our family.

The warning signs

Often I would be ill as soon as I stopped and I knew this wasn’t right. Those feeling of worry would often creep up on me, even when it wasn’t time and situation dependent. Worrying about the children, what if something happened, what if i lost my job, what if I died. Also if I drank anything with caffeine in, my chest old tighten and my breathing would change.

But I stayed on the wheel . Then a few years on a couple of restructures in I decided, it just wasn’t for me anymore and started to plan my exit .

I just felt that somehow there was more to life than this hamster wheel! I had been institutionalised after 19 years of been told so many times that ‘the grass isn’t greener’ blah blah blah ! I even told others the same, it boiled down to – did I have the confidence and bravery to change?

I did, I left however I slept and I slept ( for those of you that know me know I’m an early bird so this was very strange). I was exhausted and I literally would open my eyes sort the kids for school and then fall back asleep again. It was like all the years of no balance and little breaks flooded in. I was physically and mentally burnt out . I had seen it happen to others in my field of work but it couldn’t have been happening to me, could it ?

I struggled to ask for help

This invincible career girl was close to being broken, I hadn’t stopped to pause in years , just go, go go – results, results, results! I knew it was the right thing but I had lost my passion and my purpose and I was being taken over by something else. I needed more tools in my kit bag and I needed to pause and reflect. My ex-colleagues and friends never asked me if I was okay, probably because they never thought they needed to. BUT I couldn’t open my mouth to ask for help.

I managed to tell my OH a bit of how I was feeling and that I believed the black dog had arrived. However I knew I had to push him away and quick, otherwise I’d be having to seek a formal diagnosis (if you ever feel like this it’s only 2-4 weeks with 4 or more symptoms for most of the day everyday) . But just as I know you can fix a broken leg, you can also have a bloody good go at fixing your Mental Health and Wellbeing!

My reboot and steps towards fixing me

I started to fix me, I took control and focused on my self care for the first time in 12 years , I planned things with friends (connect) , I learnt new skills (kept learning ) I gained new qualifications , I played tennis went to the gym and walked (be active) , I volunteered (Give) and I pretty quickly started to feel better ( The black dog disappeared) AND I very quickly saw more clearly than I had for a very long time.

Not everyone can fix themselves like I did, sometimes you may need medical intervention or therapy, but when you are ready you can learn more about how to help your mind stay healthy. You can really get to know you.

I’ve made it my mission over the last couple of years. I’ve invested and immersed myself in learning more and more, so that I can share my learning’s with others through my training and coaching. I have now created a mentor-ship programme which helps you to understand how you can reboot yourself by understanding your stress, mental health , wellbeing and your true self so that you can perform the way you want to and be the best version of you.

If you want to see what it’s all about then join my free 5 day challenge ‘The Stress to Strong reboot’ that’s coming soon in June.

There is hope! Recovery is possible! I’ve heard such amazing stories doing the work I do:

  • Truly inspiring stories
  • Stories that have made me cry
  • Stories that have made me so proud to have got to know these people.
  • Stories that may be able to help you!
  • Stories that may help you to talk and reach out for help.


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