Every month I shall be writing a blog about an issue or an area that interests me. It could be related to a news article or it could be something which I think people can relate to. Some blogs will be quite short and will ask questions other many link to interesting articles and discussions.

Mental health is at last being taken seriously, there is less stigma and people are talking openly about their own experiences. This first blog is about “identity”. It is a subject that a forum group I belong to discussed recently.

What is identity and why is it important to us? As we all find ourselves in an unprecedented circumstances many people have been made redundant or as freelancers they have been unable to continue working in their field of endeavour – people in the hospitality and events industry, the arts and those who have set up businesses suddenly find themselves without purpose ( as many describe it) and without income.

They also feel they have lost their “identity”. They have lost who they are, what drives them, what makes them tick as a person. They may well have spent years building up their business and reputation or they may have just finished training, but are now unable to practice in their chosen field. This may sound like a luxury to those who have always had to work in jobs they dislike just to get by. However, to the person who has just lost what to them is everything it is a bereavement and a painful grief.

They have not only lost their personal identity, but also their financial and perhaps also their spiritual identity. Financial identity is important. They may have taken a pride in the fact that they were able to provide for themselves and their loved ones. Spiritual identity is not necessarily religious, but it is about who someone feels they are at a very deep level. Their very value system may now to challenged and compromised. This can lead to anxiety, stress and depression.

We all experience different forms of loss at various points in our lives, but we don’t often recognise these losses as a bereavement. We often don’t realise we are grieving and we need to go through the grieving process to heal and come to terms with the loss. It is important that we do that and we are not made to feel guilty about mourning our loss. It will take time to adjust. It will be painful as any grief is – you have to go through it. You can’t go under or over it. It is something that has to be gone through. That takes time and how long it takes will differ from person to person.