mental health and travel
I can tell you straight off the bat that there is no right or wrong answer. It depends on a few things. Take me for example, I am happy to describe myself when I was unwell as crazy, it’s accurately descriptive. 2001 – 2010 I had cannabis induced psychosis with delusions of a grandiose nature, so crazy I was. Since about 2005 I would joke about it all, even when it was a serious situation and I was unhappy. I have my brothers to thank for initiating the humour aspect, it was them who continued to joke with me about things when I was unwell. Brothers have that sibling bond that involves joking around, and when they did, it showed that even though I had a mental illness, they still saw me as a person with a sense of humour.
A quick word about what being "sectioned" is and the first time i escaped from parklands mental hospital
I was first hospitalised at Parklands Mental Hospital in December 2001. My diagnosis of "cannabis induced psychosis with delusions of a grandiose nature" made for many interesting experiences, especially at the very beginning of my illness. Lots of real ups and downs. I've written at length about in my book but for today's post it's a brief view of being sectioned, how I felt about it and the first time I escaped, or "absconded" to use the official term that my supportive team would end up using a few times. Click on read more to read more.
Hello everybody, hope you like this post, and I hope that you'll stay on my website for a bit after reading.
Working in the NHS on a mental health ward, and paying attention to the news, I am aware of the odd shortcoming. The NHS takes a lot of flack for it's operational lapses and even some misdeeds and I suspect that some of them are real cases where real change needs to happen.
I haven't posted for a long time! It's easy to say "I haven't had time". But I did add another part time job to my already busy life five months ago. As well as being a cleaner/maintenance assistant at the nearby sports centre and making small carpentry projects in a workshop that are sold in a shop, I now work as a peer support worker on the local PICU (Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit) ward, the very same ward where I was a patient many times 2001 - 2006.
Today I have been thinking a lot about 'psychological flexibility'.
I picked up on this idea two years ago when I was having group therapy, called 'ACT for psychosis'. ACT stands for 'Acceptance and Commitment Therapy' and is very similar to CBT, or 'Cognitive Behavioural therapy'.
I was not in the group out of any necessity or desperation, I just thought it would be helpful. There were five of us in the group, the other four were similarly aged females, but they were all more acutely unwell than me. It was given by two clinical psychologists, and it was about ways of thinking about our unwanted thoughts and feelings that made them easier to deal with, and I found it especially helpful for my fading anxiety.
The other guys felt that the advice was under-powered, but it was almost perfect for me. One thing we discussed was a thought experiment of 'the monster pit'. Imagine your problems as being a monster on the other side of a deep pit that you are playing 'tug of war' with. That is how anxiety etc. can feel sometimes.
Just let go of the rope perhaps?
These ways of viewing your problems can often sit in your unconscious, and for me, it made my unconscious feel like I had a tool, a way of dealing with the problem of anxiety and psychosis, and knowing that the problem can be dealt with unconsciously made my conscious mind feel on top of it, and sometimes a problem would feel like it had a solution, and then I'd forget that I even had a problem. We talked all about 'ACT' for eight weeks, and it's many components.
The ultimate goal of ACT is 'psychological flexibility' which I am beginning to understand. I have never really thought about it until recently, and today I was understanding that it is a way of saying that your mind is ready for anything, and being on top of your life.
I would recommend ACT, it helped me and your local mental health services may be able to find a course that you can attend. Sometimes you might be on a waiting list, but not necessarily.
Aside from that, today the weather has been fair and I am continuing to do some networking for my book and website. A Facebook friend shared a link to my site three hours ago, she has 80,000 followers and since then I have had 1000 visitors to my pokey little site. I think that is just way cool.
Still all good, back at work now after a long week off looking after my nieces. At 9pm I suddenly remembered while sat networking on my phone that I needed to put on a load of laundry, so I've just done that and now of course I have to wait for that to finish before I can go to bed.
I don't really like hanging up the washing at 10.30pm when I'm half asleep, especially when it's mostly underwear as it is tonight, but I'm sharing too much.
I haven't had even a thought of anxiety today, lucky me and I hope I don't tomorrow either. Downstairs on the TV is a programme about Meghan Markle, lovely woman, and good luck to her and Harry. I've spent a lot of my free time today searching out people on social media with an interest in mental health who might like my website and writing them a quick note to advertise it.
Since doing that at 4pm I've had over two hundred hits on my humble little site, such is the power of Twitter and Facebook to reach lots of people in a flash.
I've been waiting to hear back from the mental hospital in town that I attended when I was seriously unwell 12 years ago, as I have applied to do some work as a peer support worker there. I have been told that I am a shoo-in because it's only part time and voluntary at the moment, but I hope, and have been told that it could quite likely turn into a full time paid role.
It feels like a natural career progression for me to work in mental health, and I'm quite enthusiastic to start.
Warm and sunny today. My nieces and their parents flew back home to Denver this morning, so fingers crossed I'll get some free time to work on the search for a literary agent next week. Mental health is still good, I've not been thinking about any anxiety the last couple of days.
I had a short reminder of it yesterday at dinnertime when a glass of French wine went to my head, but that soon morphed into pleasant tipsyness. I rarely drink alcohol, being actually drunk is not great for my mental health, apparently alcohol can inhibit the benefits/effects of my anti-psychotic pills I take - Clozapine. It takes a ridiculously small amount for me to feel a bit drunk, probably because it mixes with the Clozapine I think.
I was reading an interesting man's website today, he's a writer and I was reading his thoughts about being a christian who believes, like me, that God sometimes talks to him in various ways. But, again, like me he also has elements of psychosis. It can be challenging to juggle the two and live your life anyway, but it can be done.
That kind of thing, unless the person is severely unwell, is, for me, a fairly simple 'first world problem'. Not for people who are acutely unwell, but sometimes I just feel lucky to not be living in poverty, or in Syria for example.