I’ve been mulling over why it is so hard (it certainly was me) to admit to mental health difficulty. We live in a society where sadly it’s deemed a failure to have a problem with your mental health. It’s embarrassing to seek treatment or support for this area of life. It’s OK to see an osteopath for a bad back or visit the dentist for your teeth to be straightened or take insulin for diabetes. When it comes to emotional well-being it’s different, we keep our struggles secret. I illustrated my struggle to accept my mental health difficulty and seek help. I drew this picture of me thinking about my leg in plaster and using crutches wishing my head were like a leg. I did eventually seek help, I was diagnosed with complex PTSD (Post Traumatic stress disorder) and was offered treatment.
Therapy has been transformational for me I would recommend anybody in struggle to find a good counsellor or therapist. When you don’t feel able to share with someone you know a safe qualified stranger may be just what you need.
What is therapy? In the physical world it’s easy to define. I am a physiotherapist; I help people get better after an injury or use strategies to enable them to live well with a long-term disability. It’s not quite so obvious in the realms of mental health. I decided to look up the meaning and origin of the word therapy. It comes from an ancient Greek word therapeuein or therapeutikos. It means to serve, or attend in order to bring soothing or healing. This helps simplify things for me ‘physchological therapy is an intervention (activities and techniques) that soothe and heal the mind’
There are many types of psychological therapy. I have had counselling, CBT and more recently EMDR. I can say all three have helped in different ways. I will post more specifically about my experience of each at a later point. However, I’ve come to realise that there are lots of things that can be therapeutic, like talking to a friend. I love the quote from David Ausburger “being heard is so close to being loved that at for the average person they are almost indistinguishable”
I have a couple of close friends who have loved me with their listening. Ater being with them I felt seen, heard and understood. That is a powerful healing agent. I’ve also found the number of things I can do for myself that are therapeutic:
- a cuddle with my dog Rafi
- a walk in the countryside
- painting with my watercolours
Do you have any activities that you find therapeutic? Remember to just switch the word therapeutic for soothing Why not make yourself a list of soothing activities? You could try to do at least one a day. I don’t know what they may be for you. Here are some other ideas: crocheting, baking, listening to music, reading a book, colouring, meditation, catching up with a TV series, watching an old favourite film or a phone call with a friend.
If you like my illustrations, feel free to share them but please credit me Andrea Selley at www.rafikiart.com
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