Reboot - Steven Smith / by Richard Bentley

Steven is ThinkWell Workshop Leader and freelance musician and youth worker. He is passionate about mental health, equality and a good song in equal measures! He believes that creativity and talking things through can help break down barriers we hold up for ourselves and others. 

I will be the first to admit that I am not very good at fixing things. My talents in school certainly did not lie in the practical subjects and Mr McHugh was really quite disappointed in my attempt at a birdhouse. Age has not improved this situation much; changing lightbulbs seems like a massive task and updating my phone causes much head-scratching. 

Recently, my laptop went on strike and I felt pretty useless. I hadn’t the faintest knowledge about how to sort it and quickly my work was piling up. As a freelancer, having a working computer is pretty key and I’m not sure even I understand my handwriting any more. I couldn’t fix this one alone and needed some help. It was time for a tune-up, or perhaps a right old reboot, but either way I needed to speak to someone. 

With mental health issues, speaking to someone can seem like an impossible task at times. We may worry about what to say, how to say it, working out what it is we need to ask, will people care or have time? The truth is, just by sharing it in whatever way you can, it is a step in the right direction. This is one of the key messages which we deliver in ThinkWell workshops; exploring who you can talk to. Be it a friend, family member, teacher, GP or youth worker, talking about it with someone is important.

I am just as guilty of this too. Thinking it will fix itself or that I will work it out. But if my track record in fixing other things is anything to go by, I need help for my own tune-up. I found the right support for me through self-referral to local mental health services and was also able to open up to friends and family about what I was going through. Even if they don’t have the answers or the right lightbulb that fits, sharing the problem can lessen the load. And I’ve found that by speaking about mental health issues, people feel comfortable opening up about their own also. 

In the end, my laptop needed more than a tune-up. But thankfully my parents understood more than I had thought, and offered a loan until I got myself back up and running. 

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