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Mental Health and me (Mental Health Awareness Week 18 – 24 May 2020)

Mental Health Awareness Week 18 – 24 May 2020

I am aware of how much being aware of my mental health helps others around me. How it also helps me. It makes me kinder to myself and kinder to others. For example, it allows me to pause and think about how I ask my children how they are feeling.

Covid 19 has made us all more aware of our mental health and how we are feeling. It has also made many of us think about how others feel. Even those who take pride in their resilience will have felt vulnerable for themselves or others at this time.

So much about good mental health depends on human interaction. The balance between solitude and human interaction is welcome but it is rare for us to spend so much time interacting with others virtually.

Video conferencing is my husband’s job. It has become the conduit for all of us for much of our human interaction. It has its benefits for work but it is not the same for interactions with friends and family. We use just a few senses where ordinarily we would use all our senses and it is somehow more tiring than being with others. There is a consequential lack of balance in how we are interacting with others but we are grateful because video conferencing serves a purpose for both work and home.
As lawyers many of us are well aware of how to weigh up risk. We do it as part of our daily analysis of cases but weighing up risk in your own life is a bit like being the lawyer in your own case. You could do it really well but you could also find you are too emotionally involved.

New Zealand has managed risk well by allowing people to exist in ‘bubbles’. Which made me think about my family bubble. I have cleaned, fed and educated my bubble with varying degrees of success whilst also working. With our menagerie of animals we have kept cheerful and exercised. We have tried to look after our health and not take on too much. We have managed one normal life crisis that came our way. We have tried to balance all of our daily activities in order to maintain some semblance of normality.

The children adapt quickly even though it’s new. We do too. Life moves at a pace with work and school and this fills the space. The days pass faster than ever. In front of me I try to create some balance in all that we do. We try to focus on what is positive. All of this is a reminder for us to be aware. To distinguish our thoughts and know that what we think is our interpretation of the world.

And in the background the mantra chimes it will be okay.

About: Valerie Charbit was called 1992 and is a specialist in cases involving Crime, Fraud, Health & Safety and Professional Discipline. Val is wellbeing director for the Criminal Bar Association and for Red Lion Chambers. She represents the Criminal Bar Association on the Bar Council’s Wellbeing at the Bar working group.