Come Together

Liverpool…. a vibrant place of culture and a range of different people. But are we really that different? Whilst working at the Liverpool Grand National in the Princess Royal Restaurant, watching the horses race around the track, champagne popping, six course meals being served, and ladies dressed up to the nines, I asked myself just that.  ‘Are we all really that different from one another?’

My role at the Randox Health Grand National weekend was to look after a table of ten ‘VIPs’. On the first day, I stood with my hands behind my back, my hair scraped back in a bun and wore a big smile (as always). My first party of four took a seat at the table. I welcomed them with a glass of champagne whilst introducing myself. Sooner or later I got chatting (as I can’t seem to help myself from doing that) to find out that the party of four were billionaires. They had arrived by helicopter, which waited for them all day until they were ready to fly back to their manor house. One man stood out to me, he had a strong aura.

After a few horse races, the rest of his party carried on socialising in the restaurant, whilst he was sat at the table. I walked over and said “had enough have we?” jokingly. He looked at me and replied “I prefer to keep myself to myself”. After the conversation progressed, he explained that he was going through a hard time and was suffering from anxiety. Straight away I felt the pain of his heart racing faster than the horses’ and the constant overthinking. Safe to say, this man was a Liverpool billionaire who showed this on the exterior whilst struggling on the inside.

On my second day, I signed myself in at  8am and prepared myself for the long day ahead, along with the other head waitresses. I got speaking to one lady with a very strong ‘scouse’ accent who was singing to herself (really well may I add) waiting for the customers to arrive. She asked me what I did outside of work and I stated that I was a Psychology Student at The University of Liverpool. She found that interesting and started to bombard me with questions, of course I was happy to answer them.

I spoke about my future of engaging in the world of positive psychology. She muttered “I could do with a bit of that”, I smiled and responded “well let me share some simple ideas with you that could help you”. She shared how she suffers with anxiety and I shared advice of how exercise, nutrition and meditating have had beneficial effects on my anxiety. She couldn’t believe it, she had no idea that these lifestyle factors could help.

By the third day, my feet were throbbing from standing up for 13 hour per day but I embraced a smile and did my morning routine of getting my mind-set right. As I walked into my work area a manager approached me, “Hey, I got told you had some tips on how to deal with anxiety, do you mind sharing them with me?”. By now I started to realise from Liverpool billionaires, managers and waitresses, we are all so different and unique but there are many things we share no matter what our culture, social economic status and political backgrounds are.

This raises the concern that individuals suffering from mental health are not receiving the help and attention that they need. It is estimated, one in four of the British population will experience a mental health problem. Anxiety, affects around 16% of the population at any one time.

My take home message is that we are all unique but share similar struggles. As the Beatles’ sang ‘Let’s come together’, raise awareness, share our feelings and support each other.

Contribution by Izabella Levey, recent graduate of Psychology BSc at The University of Liverpool.

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