Time to Talk with Kim Palmer
by Kim Palmer, 2nd February 2021
Today is National ‘Time to Talk Day”. A day to encourage everyone to be more open about mental health. The theme this year is “the power of small conversations”. Kim Palmer (Founder of Clementine) shares her journey and the big impact that small conversations have made on her mission to help women improve theirs through hypnotherapy.
Back in 2016 on paper, I had a picture-perfect life. Amazing husband, house, successful career in London and pre-kids so all the time in the world. I dedicated most of my time to trying to progress my career as fast as I could. The clock was ticking and I had some strong ideas on where I needed to be in life by the time I was 35. Married, kids and a Marketing Director. I put a lot of pressure on myself to be everything to everyone - best wife, best friend, best at the gym, best at work, best body, best clothes - it was exhausting. Not only did I put a lot of pressure on myself but I then judged others around me when they didn’t quite meet my expectations too. Looking back it was a recipe for disaster. This pressure caught up with me when I fell pregnant, worked even harder as that clock ticking became even louder and I ended up experiencing my first panic attack at work. This was the beginning of the end of my confidence for a number of years as I began to unravel.
My first panic attack was quickly followed by another, and another and before I knew it I was on maternity leave feeling really crappy about myself and having panic attacks on a daily basis. I lost my voice as I was too frightened to speak in social situations. I then put more pressure on myself to be the perfect ‘new mum’, have the perfect ‘maternity leave’ but when I was made redundant and forced to start interviewing for work - I knew something had to give.
Looking back at the beginning of my recovery started with a couple of small but powerful conversations - the first was with my husband who had absolutely no idea about what I was going through. I had kept how I was feeling hidden for quite some time. But when I was unable to interview for jobs without having a panic attack - I knew I needed to get some help. I started counselling which helped to a certain extent. But it wasn’t until I met a friend to chat (not specifically about how I was feeling) but to just chat. She must have got the feeling that I needed some help and so suggested that if I did need some help pushing forward in my career - she had seen a hypnotherapist that he transformed her confidence at work. I was in.
My recovery was not linear. Once I was back into work I did experience a big dip and found being in certain meetings so panic-inducing I was fleeing the office and making up excuses for why I needed to leave. I wasn’t really ready to talk about what was going on and so I left my first job after maternity leave after just 3 months. This was completely out of character for me but I just knew that I didn’t feel safe and so I decided to move on. It was at my next company and role where I did open up about my struggles with anxiety and panic attacks. I had a panic attack in front of the CEO after my first week and that sent me into a spiral and I honestly thought I would lose my job. I remember confessing to my husband that I wanted to quit and that was it for my working career. I knew I needed more help so returned to my hypnotherapist and I dug deep within myself to keep working. But the only way I could return to work was if I took my challenges head-on. For me, this meant opening up a conversation with the CEO about my struggles. Now, this wasn’t easy. I didn’t sleep for a few days as I was so scared of this conversation. But I did it and this became the turning point in my working life. By sharing I had made that work environment feel safe and I felt supported so I was able to firstly just exist at work for a while and then to start to grow at work once I got my confidence back.
Looking back, the one constant that helped me to a) get a job b) turn up at work each day) and c) then start to feel like I could not just cope but also grow was listening to one small but powerful hypnotherapy session every day. For me, I would either listen on my commute to work, before a big meeting, on my way home after a tough day or help me get to sleep. It was the repetitive nature of listening all the time and knowing that I could turn to this when I needed help that was so beneficial to my recovery. It was the power of those small conversations and those small sessions that have made an incredible impact on my life.