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Presidential Opinions: No shame in asking for help

I’ve been feeling a bit blue recently and struggling quite a bit to “keep my chin up” (and other such deeply unhelpful phrases). I am aware all the time of the great privilege inherent in my upbringing and my ability to make a living out of a job I love. Hey! I’m President of Equity – only the second woman ever to hold this  position – I must be doing well. But the truth of the matter is that the ongoing struggle that so many of us feel about showing a confident and capable face to the world while sometimes crying, sometimes screaming inside – and sometimes just simply finding it difficult to get out of bed in the morning – is really hard.

I’ve been in therapy for about two years now and it has changed my life. I’ve chosen to do without many things before I’ve given up my hour a week when I can pour out my every worry into a non-judgemental and understanding ear. I’m not sure how well I would have coped in recent times without it, and I’ve been thinking a lot about the support available to our members in times of emotional and spiritual need, particularly at this notoriously difficult time of the year.

Just before Christmas I took part in a carol concert organised by the Reverend Lindsay Meader, who heads up Theatre Chaplaincy and is in the process of breathing new life into this organisation, which I remember very well from my early days in the business but which seemed in recent times to have all but disappeared. 

Its charter states – “Theatre Chaplains are there to serve, not to proselytise; to support, not convert; and should be available to folk of all faiths and none, regardless of age, gender, sexuality or creed.” In other words, as Nica Burns said after she and her company had experienced the Chaplaincy at first hand, “Unconditional support and comfort for everyone.”

You can find out more at www.theatrechaplaincyuk.com or phone 07501 829491. You can contact Equity’s Harassment Helpline on 020 7670 0268 or email harassment@equity.org.uk. Or you can contact www.artsminds.co.uk. And the mighty Samaritans are on 116 123.  PLEASE if you are feeling blue for whatever reason, or even for what seems like no reason at all, do speak to a friend or contact an organisation but don’t suffer alone. We are all of us vulnerable and there are people who can help.