A year of Covid – how have you been coping? Coping with lockdown, furlough, trying to home school your children while coping with competing challenges, working as a key worker or struggling to keep your farm going or worrying about your business can be hard.
Not being able to go about your “normal” life, visit family or friends at home, in hospital or in a nursing home or even not being able to grieve as you would have in the past.
It can be hard to open up about your feelings – knowing where to start or how to tell someone about what you are going through can be difficult.
When someone asks “How are you?” what do you say? Do you say “I’m fine” or “No worries”. Do you struggle to talk about how you are feeling. Do you worry that friends, family or colleagues will not understand or do you not want to burden them?
Marie, the new director of Ballymena Samaritans, said: “Talking about your feelings at an early stage is vital to maintaining your mental health and wellbeing.
“It is never to early to tell someone how you are feeling. Samaritans gives you a safe place to talk about what is going on in your life.
“Our well trained volunteers will listen and will allow you the space to work through all of your opinions.
“Everything you say is confidential and you can contact us on 116 123 and the calls are free.”
Things to look out for in yourself when you’re finding everyday life hard:
n Maybe you can’t quite put your finger on it, but you’re not feeling okay – just not yourself.
n You might be feeling tired more often, be feeling emotional, and you might not want to do the things that you usually enjoy right now.
n Struggling to cope with everyday life doesn’t look or feel the same in everyone. We can’t generalise about how it’ll make you feel or act. Everyone copes differently. Asking for help is a sign of strength not weakness.
Samaritans is there to listen. You can call on 116 123 or email email@example.com
You don’t have to feel suicidal to get in touch. Only one person in five who calls Samaritans says that they feel suicidal.
Signs to look out for:
n Lacking energy or feeling tired;
n Feeling exhausted all the time;
n Experiencing ‘brain fog’, find it hard to think clearly;
n Finding it hard to concentrate;
n Feeling restless and agitated;
n Feeling tearful, wanting to cry all the time;
n Not wanting to talk to or be with people;
n Not wanting to answer the phone;
n Struggling to get out of bed or get washed and dressed;
n Not wanting to do things you usually enjoy;
n Using alcohol or drugs to cope with feelings;
n Finding it hard to cope with everyday things and tasks; and
n Experiencing ‘burn out’.
If you don’t see what you’re feeling on this list, please still get in touch. And if you do think these symptoms sound like you, or someone you know, still get in touch on 116 123 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Marie continued: “People contact Samaritans with all sorts of concerns and what might be a small issue to you may be huge to someone else.
“You could be going through something new or have been struggling to cope for some time, either way, we’re here if you feel you need some extra support.
“Everyone feels low at some point in their lives and if you’re struggling to cope it may be difficult to see beyond your current situation.
“Talking about how you’re feeling can help put things into perspective and help you to feel more positive about the future.”
Common reasons people contact Samaritans are: relationship and family problems; loss, including loss of a friend or a family member through bereavement; financial worries; job-related stress; college or study-related stress; loneliness and isolation; depression; painful and/or disabling physical illness; heavy use of or dependency on alcohol or other drugs; thoughts of suicide.
Samaritans won’t make decisions for you, and will support the decisions you make.
You are the expert on your own life. Samaritans advice or opinions are not important.
If you want advice, it may be able to give you contact details for organisations that specialise in helping with specific problems and situations.
If you are worried about a friend or colleague encourage them to talk to someone – don’t be afraid to talk to someone about their feelings.
When things return to “normal” Ballymena Samaritans has a very strong outreach team, going out to schools, clubs, in fact any organisation that invites Samaritans to come and talk about the work it does.
n Contact the Ballymena branch on 028 2564 4846 daily between 7.30pm and 10pm or e-mail email@example.com for more information.
n Samaritans has eight branches throughout Northern Ireland which can be contacted in confidence, 24 hours a day on 116123.