Category Archives: chicken soup for the soul

So long stinking thinking!

Hi

Let’s talk brain trickery…it is so easy when you have mental illness (or in a rut) to get stuck with stinking thinking. Thank God I suffer from it less than I used to…helped by a brilliant counsellor and CBT but I still fall prey to the occasional (read daily) thought error.

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Like “I should have done this by now.”

“I’m taking too long loading the dishwasher, I have other stuff to do.”

“I must e-mail someone right now. They’ll be waiting.”

Really, the answer should be “why?” or “who said?” “what difference does it make?” “Is it a life of death importance?” BUT somehow the brain blip kicks in and two things happen in response to the stinking thinking:

You start to feel bad, like you’ve done something wrong and you tell yourself to do better, therefore demanding more of yourself which only adds pressure which exacerbates a stress related illness.

Anyone else seeing a vicious circle here?

Apparently it’s called the Demanding Thinking Error… It’s demanding and it’s a thought not a divine or true statement and it’s an error…so think of it as a number in place of a letter or a vegetable instead of a fruit. You don’t have to have it and use it just because it presents itself so if, like me, you have the demanding thinking error, don’t listen to that pesky inner voice, ignore it and remind yourself that life is to be enjoyed, it’s not a speed trial and you are a fabulous person doing just fine!

Happy rest of the day, smile, you’ve earned it. Have a slice of cream cake too, go on, you know you want to!

Joanne

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Reach out, make it a goal.

Hi

It’s Monday, fancy a superduper fabulously brilliant pep talk/great idea?

Excellent! Have a read of this…Pretty please with a cherry on top!

Think serious, think goal for the week/month/year/millenium.

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I’ve just been reading an article about women who have chosen not to have children, not because they are horrible people with no compassion but they just don’t feel maternal and so feel it would be worse for them to bring a child in to the world that they don’t really really want than to conform with the status quo and procreate. One of the women pointed out something that I instantly related back to mental health although the two matters are entirely different. Bear with me, it’ll make sense.

She commented that a girl could get pregnant legally at 16 but not having children was not the traditional expectation, NOT having a child was somehow unacceptable and deeply frowned upon.

In the world of health and illness I would say that there are things which are considered more acceptable and others less so. Imagine “I’ve got diabetes” versus “I’ve got depression.”

Chances are that diabetes will get a sympathetic smile, a question like, “do you take insulin?” or “how does it affect your diet?” and the chemical defect in the body will be “acceptable.”

Now, let’s look at “I’ve got depression.”

Possible comments are “Buck up/Perk up/Snap out of it.” “What’ve you got to be depressed about?” “Oh yeah, I was ****ed of last Tuesday.” or “Are you on happy pills?” All accompanied by a wary or dismissive look or gesture.

Loud and clear a message is sent back to the unfortunate sufferer: “Depression = Not acceptable.”

Hmm, that’s not fair.

It took me far too long to accept that depression is also a chemical imbalance, there is no real difference between the two illnesses if you take them back to the words chemical imbalance. Insulin is seen as necessary medication to live a normal and rewarding life, anti depressants are given a derisive name “happy pills.”

So a person with depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD etc. is classed as what? Weak? Lacking? hey, that’s YOUR BAD not the sufferer’s. They can quite easily feel weak, swamped, like they are deficient, alone and fighting themselves and the world’s stigma so they really don’t need any additional unhelpful comments.

BTW: Yes, sufferers know that you think you’ll say something wrong and we’ll burst in to tears so you subtly avoid them/the subject but please be brave, you don’t have to hold a psychology degree to help…how’s about these comments plus a smidgen of your precious time instead:

“Do you need to talk?”

“Can I help?”

“I’m here for you.”

“Remember, it’s an illness nothing to feel bad about.”

“You are 100% NOT WEAK. It’s a chemical thing.”

“Don’t be ashamed, the medication will make you feel more like you.” 

As a sufferer even knowing that you aren’t alone can feel like a miracle when your brain seems to be working against you.

So, if there is someone around you who is suffering from a mental illness they may just need to know that you’re on their team not chief judge, jury and executioner of any of their remaining self esteem. Reach out, a small gesture moves mountains. 

Alone is a lonely place, everyone knows that! Give someone a hug, give their brain a friendly smile and not an unfortunate comment.

We all know that stigma can be overcome, please be a someone who does that rather than a someone who helps to build the crappy stigma pile up to the sky.

THANK YOU!

Have a fab week.

Joanne

Freedom

Hi,

 

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Nelson Mandela: “Let freedom reign. The sun never set on so glorious a human achievement.”

I know I’ve taken the quote out of context for this poem but he was right!

 

Freedom is not always a matter of physical locks

Imprisonment is a question of the mind too

When my brain housed invisible locks and rocked

I was told a fact my belief system once refused

I laughed gently, scared, not truly meaning to mock

“The psychological response to emotional abuse

Is roughly the same as a prisoner of war’s.” That left me shocked

But I conceded defeat and accepted this news

I was, am, the untrained, expertise was not mine to knock

I had believed that I had no right to my fear and blues

I now believe that Post Traumatic is indeed a shock

But I’m happy to say I’ve been paying my dues

And memory by memory, my mind’s key is nearing the lock

Freedom is on its way and freedom is the path I choose.

 

I hope that everyone, all 6.5 billion plus of us on Planet Earth finds, loves and enjoys freedom mentally, spiritually and physically. Fingers crossed, toes crossed, eyes crossed…

TTC_TTTDay1

 

Whilst reading and editing my next book and pootling about in desktop files (as you do) I’ve found this poem that I wrote about PTSD and freedom and I decided to share it.

Oh yeah, and please make it a mission to make someone smile, go on, you know you want to!

Joanne

 

Chicken soup for the soul A.K.A Hooray!

Hi,

I think that I, with a lot of support, have come a looooooonng way…

My therapist is away in Asia until May but I sent her an e-mail update on my recovery process yesterday.

Although it would be tempting to sit back and have a therapy break and not to keep pushing the pesky rituals away (over a metaphorical cliff!) I know that no progress is made by inactivity so I’m happy to say that I’ve kept on marching and killing off or diminishing habits and I’ve been reading self help books to top up the positive and encouaging messages that normally come from her during our sessions.

To heal you have to face your fears. It’s the only way.

I realised as I wrote the e-mail to her that things that had seemed 100% impossible to overcome two years ago, one year ago, even six weeks ago, have been overcome. I have the power over them once more. Thank God.

Some of the restrictions that I thought were mine forever are no more, some of the chains still need some work before they can be broken.

In OCD terms I had a hand washing ritual.

A year ago I could use one bar of soap in a twenty four hour period. I had to to feel “safe” BUT the ritual reinforces the message to the brain that the washes actually needed to occur for me to be safe.

Today, one bar of soap can last for ten days, that’s with me using it like someone almost without OCD would do. I still soap three times each wash…work in progress…but I no longer feel that my life is being washed away.

So, despite the protests of that little voice of doubt in my darkest hours there is light at the end of the proverbial tunnel and the freedom that ritual busting has given me means that I can invest more of my brain time and energy in my writing and creativity, not all consuming fear.

This week I’ll be editing. BTW I have pre-orders for my book out 31st March on Amazon. THAT’S AMAZING to me. Of all the books in all the world people not only choose to buy or borrow mine but to pre-order too.

Sorry to gush but I am so grateful for the happy surprises that happen. Remember, a year ago where I am now seemed impossible – instead of “I’d love to write for a living.” “I DO write for a living.”

Have a great week

Joanne

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