It’s time to think about your wellbeing

After the past couple of years and the rise in awareness around our general mental health, we talk to resident Gavin Demurger-Jones about wellbeing.

A little bit about me:

Describing myself, I am a middle-aged man, a father to two children who are both growing up fast and a son to parents that are adjusting to retirement life. I’m also a husband.

I moved to Balcombe about five years ago from southeast London with my family because we wanted to bring our kids up in an environment where they could be free; a place where they had the safety to explore the world within a community that would look out for them.

In my spare time, I enjoy cycling, walking the dog, and talking to people around the village.

What made you decide to go into therapy?

I spent the first half of my career within the corporate/agency world and after a decade I realised that I wasn’t getting much out of my job. I enjoyed the people and the environment, however something was lacking from what I was doing. I then spent a long time trying to work out what it was that I actually wanted to do, which proved to be a very difficult process but I realised that I had a desire to do a job that affects the individual, not a company. Something that would make a meaningful difference to a person. I also discovered a passion for philosophy and that led me on a journey to becoming a counsellor.

If you could give someone who is suffering from mental health issues one piece of advice, what would that be?

Life is complicated and each of us has been impacted differently; so to come up with one piece of advice is too simplistic for an incredibly complicated and diverse problem. However, I’d like to remind people that things change; we change. Whatever it is that you are experiencing now, it’s temporary. It might not feel like it but it is temporary and there is hope. Ask for support, start with finding someone that you can talk to, someone that will listen, someone that wants the best for you. I do understand that that’s not always easy.

What can we all do to ensure wellbeing?

I think that most of us know what we should do to ensure our wellbeing, for example, exercise, rest, sleeping, eating well, avoiding excess in life’s pleasures, etc. I feel that the challenge is to know when we are neglecting something and why we’re doing that? This understanding of ourselves helps us to change.

Explain a bit about your services?

Counselling or Therapy is a broad term and has a different meaning depending on who you talk to.  I see counselling as a place where you can learn more about yourself, understand where you’ve come from, how that has affected you and have the support of someone that is purely on your side.  I don’t have an agenda or vested interest in what you do, I just want you to be able to find out what you need. Through this process, people often change and change their lives.

I also offer counselling to organisations, helping them to talk to their staff on a personal level rather than just as an employee, helping them to change the culture of the workplace so that it is actually supportive, rather than simply saying that it is supportive.

Do you feel Covid has exposed people’s need to care for their mental health as well as their physical health?

I’m not sure if it helped people become more aware of their mental health, but I have a sense that it was a traumatic event. It’s unclear as to how it has affected people, and even if some people are aware that they’ve been affected by the experience.

First, we were locked down and the treadmill of life just stopped! It took away our personal connections and it brought up lots of different issues, some people found life became easier, others the complete opposite. There was constant messaging that there is a potentially deadly virus and it is being carried by all people. Seeing people at the supermarket completely covered apart from their eyes. Knowing that it’s asymptomatic and you could be infecting people without knowing.

Now we’re into a new phase where the government has relinquished responsibility in telling the country how to live with it and therefore put all the responsibility onto the individual. I feel that this will cause tension in families, in communities, at work, as we’ll try to work out how do we live with Covid in the long term.

Has Covid created mental health issues? Definitely.  Is everyone aware of it? I don’t think so.

What things do you do regularly that help to deal with everyday life?

Everything in moderation, as my mum would say. Work and fun. I tried to ensure that I get out of the house every day, do some exercise, interact with people, play games, avoid watching too much news, don’t drink too much alcohol, go to bed when I feel tired, and say out loud how things are affecting me, emotionally, physically and mentally, something that I’ve had to develop over the years.

You can contact Gavin by using the links and information below

07976 957 044