Surviving and Thriving A Year After My Pituitary Tumour Surgery
The Unexpected Turn
Imagine delivering a two-day Mental Health First Aid course, feeling a sense of accomplishment after a successful first
day, only to find yourself in an entirely different world by the next morning. Overnight, I was rushed to a hospital in London, three hours from my home, and was diagnosed with a pituitary tumour.
The Onslaught of Thoughts
The whirlwind of thoughts that followed was overwhelming. There I was, lying in a hospital bed, far from home, pondering over my clients and my self-employment finances during the challenging times of lockdown and COVID-19. The uncertainty was daunting – would I regain my sight? Could I drive again? These negative, debilitating thoughts seemed unending.
Finding Strength in Focus
But amidst this chaos, I found an unexpected strength within me. I decided to focus on one thing at a time. The first and foremost was my recovery. Hospitalisation was the initial phase, where I battled not just the physical ailment but also the mental toll it took. The next stage was transitioning home and starting rehabilitation, where the love and support of friends, family, and clients played a crucial role.
Reintegrating with Renewed Emphasis
And finally, the phase I am currently navigating is reintegrating into my work life, with a renewed emphasis on self-care. As I write this article from the serene setting of Sutton Hall Resort in North Yorkshire, I reflect on the journey I have been through.
Speaking Out: Raising Awareness
In January 2023, I spoke out about my experience in a press release titled “Surviving a Pituitary Tumour: Why Prioritising Our Mental Health is More Vital Than Ever”. My condition, pituitary apoplexy, results from bleeding within the pituitary gland. Fortunately, the tumour was non-cancerous, but the experience was a stark reminder of how easily we overlook the signs of struggling with mental health.
The Wider Crisis
This experience has made me acutely aware of the mental health crisis affecting not just patients but those in high-stress jobs as well. A report highlighting that 45% of UK police officers suffer from mental health issues is a testament to this grim reality. Moreover, the waiting times for mental health treatment in the NHS and the plight of patients in A&E departments underscore the urgency of addressing this crisis.
The Power of Mental Health First Aid
Through my ordeal, I found solace and strength in the knowledge I had gained as a mental health first aid instructor. This training equipped me with skills and strategies that were instrumental in dealing with my traumatic event. It’s crucial to understand that mental health first aid isn’t about diagnosing or treating mental health issues. It’s about recognising signs of a mental health crisis in yourself or others and providing support until professional help is available.
A Call to Action
The journey has been challenging, but it has been enlightening. I urge everyone to pay close attention to their mental health and wellbeing. Practising self-care daily and learning about mental health first aid are vital steps we can all take. We must also advocate for better mental health resources and support in our communities and workplaces.
As we navigate these challenging times, let’s remember to care for ourselves and each other. Our mental health is as important as our physical health, and it’s high time we prioritise it. If my story can inspire even one person to seek help or support a loved one, then sharing it has been worth it.
Join the Conversation
Your mental health matters. Join our Mental Health First Aid course, engage in community discussions, or reach out for support. Together, we can create a world where mental wellbeing is not just a goal but a reality. Let’s make mental health first aid as common as physical first aid. Join me on this journey – for yourself, your loved ones, and our community.