Women's Health (UK) - - STRENGTH IN NUMBERS -

‘“You’re sup­posed to be a brave politi­cian, but you can’t even look after your­self.” As I sat in the cold bath­wa­ter one late De­cem­ber evening, cry­ing, this is the thought that looped through my mind.

I’d re­sponded to the break-up of a re­la­tion­ship a few months ear­lier by throw­ing my­self into work. And de­spite play­ing sport all my life, as my anx­i­ety lev­els rose, I stopped turn­ing up to my box­er­cise class.

Fri­days filled me with dread, and when the Christ­mas hol­i­days rolled around, and Par­lia­ment went into re­cess, the lack of struc­ture was on an­other level. Left alone with my thoughts, de­pres­sion hit – hard.

A doc­tor con­firmed the di­ag­no­sis, pre­scribed an­tide­pres­sants and sug­gested I seek out talk­ing ther­apy. But I told no one. No­body could know that I’d failed.

I re­turned to work and, once my med­i­ca­tion kicked in, I re­dis­cov­ered the mo­ti­va­tion to get back in the gym. Dif­fi­cult week­ends were saved by the girls’ foot­ball team I coached. By spring, I felt much bet­ter, but my GP in­sisted I stay on med­i­ca­tion un­til I put some ad­di­tional sup­port in place. When he men­tioned mind­ful­ness, I didn’t think it would be for me. But, de­ter­mined to get bet­ter, I went along to a Mind­ful­ness For MPS course. I left my first ses­sion con­fused, my mind too jumpy to set­tle, but by my third, some­thing started to click. I then made time to med­i­tate daily, and an aware­ness of my sur­round­ings and breath­ing pat­tern now comes nat­u­rally.

With hind­sight, I can see that go­ing through that time has shown me the bal­ance I need. I al­low my­self to work hard, with­out sac­ri­fic­ing the time for work­outs or mind­ful mo­ments. It is this that keeps me strong, with­out hav­ing to de­velop the thick skin we MPS are al­ways told we need. I want to be some­one who laughs when things are funny and cries when things are sad. If that means ab­sorb­ing some of the raw emo­tion of those in my con­stituency, that’s okay. I’ve de­vel­oped the tools I need to be there for them, my fam­ily and for my­self.’

‘I want to be some­one who laughs when things are funny and cries when things are sad’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.