The HR Juggler

Day 22: Walking Away

Posted on: December 22, 2013

2013day22

I love the way that people can come into our lives through all sorts of different routes, something that is particularly prevalent in our use of social media channels. Today’s post is written by Tracey Pallett, a friend of a couple of good friends of mine, who in turn is fast becoming a friend in her own right. From my interactions with her, I’ve found her to be articulate, principled, generous, feisty, loyal, honest and fun. You can find Tracey on Twitter (@EhOhSaysYes) and over on her blog.

Artwork for today (and every day!) is by the brilliant Simon Heath.

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The stakes are high, but the change is worth it.

For the last two years I have been on a whirlwind romance with a national charity; the main focus of this romance was being about to talk openly about my mental health and sharing my journey through mental health darkness with others, showing them that there is light just around the corner.  Though sadly it all came to an end this summer, and while at the time it felt a great loss, afterwards it showed there was more to life than placing all of your eggs in one basket.

It all started when I wrote a blog about my initial journey; sharing the depths of depression, addiction, domestic violence and homelessness, and how I worked hard to overcome the horrors that visited in my nightmares every night.  While to me it was written as a form of escapism, to others it was like a breath of fresh air to hear someone come out the other end of what a lot of people struggle to overcome.  People would ask me how I came out of something like that, how did I cope with the life changes I went through, or how did I do that all on my own.  My answer was always “because I had to.” There was no ‘choice’ in the actions I took to get out of that situation; I had to do what I had to do.

So, when this blog was published by a charity, the response from people was overwhelming and it led to more amazing opportunities to come my way.  I was asked by the charity to work as a Peer Reviewer for their local organisations, I was given the opportunity to help develop a national website of theirs, I was given the chance to help other people with mental health conditions on a Peer Support basis.  While doing the ‘hands on’ work there were more adventures that were passed in my direction; advertising, publicity, media work, and the most amazing of all was to become one of the faces of this charity.   This was an opportunity to let the world know about this charity without actually saying a word to anyone, my face drew people in to look further in their own time.  It allowed people to see that there was help out there for mental health and that they’re not alone.  This is such a proud moment in my life, especially when you take into account how my life was just 5 years previously.

Then things changed, my view of life changed, my view of how to help people changed and due to circumstances which appeared out of my control I had to make the ultimate sacrifice.  I had to walk away from this amazing world I once loved and would have done anything for.  When it happened I was in shock, I didn’t know where I could turn to for support and I didn’t know who I could trust to discuss the details of what happened.  From letting people know that they are not alone with mental illness, I felt alone myself.  I didn’t know what was going to happen from here on, and I didn’t know whether the stakes of losing this relationship was worth the pain I was feeling.  The future just didn’t look so bright anymore.

While this magical journey was going on, on the side lines I worked my way into medical school.  At the time it felt that medical school was on the back burner while I was happily talking about mental health and making sure people didn’t feel alone.  Though, through the tears and pain I came to realise that I had worked just as hard to get into medical school as I did to get out of that dark period of my life.  Although I went to therapy to work through the emotions of my recent loss, it was talking with friends who reminded me that getting into university was an amazing feat, but to get into medical school was something very special indeed.  For the first time in two years I was able to look at what I could make from my life, for my life.  Why should this incredible journey end here because I couldn’t see the wonder of medical school and where I can take it.

What was at stake for me was losing this relationship with a charity, losing friendships because I couldn’t talk about it, losing my own blogging identity, no longer feeling I had direction in my life.  Though what came out of this loss was something that I feel would never have happened unless I did walk away; the ability to see strengths in myself, to see a future in education, to know that I can make a good doctor, that I can help people from the other side of the desk.  I now have purpose again and with friends helping me see there are great things to discover in the medical world, I can continue to grow and learn.  I can appreciate myself once more.

While the stakes were high in walking away from homelessness, to me the stakes we just as high walking away from this charity.  Though on both occasions, leaving these things behind me has need up a whole new world to me; a world that I want to be part of and enjoy to its fullest, a world of amazement and wonder that can only lead to one thing; true joy and happiness.  It has taught me to not be afraid of change, but to embrace it and take control of where the journey goes from here.

2 Responses to "Day 22: Walking Away"

Thank you Tracey for sharing such a personal life story with us. It showed all the way through how strong the human spirit is, how it finds a way through insurmountable difficulties. You are a shining example of that. Wish you all the very best for the future. You will be one of the most empathetic doctors ever in the medical world!

Bina. X

[…] Pallett provided post number twenty two and with it a frankly told story of incredible bravery and […]

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