Tag Archives: stigma

The Loneliest Place on Earth

The Loneliest Place On Earth BLOG HEADER Striving to be ”Normal”

Unless you’ve experienced … scarily extreme mood swings, crippling anxieties, paranoia & obsessive behaviours to name just a few, had to factor in the senses of fear, isolation, shame & guilt or add in a dolllop of good old fashioned stigma topped off with a nuclear strength cocktail  of prescribed drugs to make you ”feel better”… then you will rarely have come close to understanding what constantly trying to appear  ”normal” is like when you’re battling with Mental Ill Health.

WELCOME TO THE LONELIEST PLACE ON EARTH!!!

If like me you’re a sufferer it probably took ages before you admitted there was an issue and if anyone asked ”what’s wrong?” the answer would be ”I’m fine, nothing that a week in the sun won’t fix”!

I suspect the majority of us struggle to keep up the…. ”I’m fine” facade in an attempt to avoid the….albeit well meant…scenario of repeatedly being told to ”pull yourself together”. At best it’s frustrating to hear, at worst reinforces our shame that we seem unable to do just that!

Mental ill health covers an immense variety of ”disorders”….ranging from Bi-Polar, Schizophrenia, Paranoia, OCD and so on however many sufferers begin their Mental Ill Health journey on the back of a ”rough patch”…feeling low, miserable, unable to snap out of it type scenarios..commonly known as ”situational or reactive” depression.

Whatever your particular diagnosis you should know that each one though different is EXACTLY the same when it comes to feeling isolated, ashamed or stigmatised etc because unless others have firsthand experience of how it feels then in all honesty how can they be expected to understand us or we their reactions.

Eventually something gives and we realise ”this, whatever this is” is much more than just being ”fed up or a bit miserable” and the decision’s made to get help. Usually resulting in the first of (in my case) many visits to the doctor.

”Take one twice daily”

I was just 18 when I first asked for ”help”………. having been ”miserable” for as long as I could recall I plucked up courage and went to see my doctor…Confused, nervous and very scared I felt sure that I would be deemed ”insane”….in reality the doctor wasn’t the least bit interested in why I was so ”miserable” but was quick to write a prescription for ”something to pick you up” and before I knew it I was clutching my first bottle of Valium labelled ”take one twice daily”!

I honestly believe that visit alone was solely responsible for what became my historical mistrust of both medication and the medical profession in general when it came to my psychiatric issues.

Caught between a rock and a hard place

In 1978 Valium (known today as Diazepam) was at the height of it’s ”popularity”. That year in America alone 2 BILLION tablets were prescribed.Today the World Health Organization list it on the Essential Medicines List such is its popularity because of it’s versatility. At the time the fact that it had highly addictive properties wasn’t even considered!! BUT in 1978 as a desperate AND trusting 18 year old I fared poorly as a result of it, as it turned out I was damned if I did and damned if I didn’t because ….it did exactly what ”it said on the tin” and indeed I ”picked up” surprisingly quickly…..my problems began in earnest when I was told I was ”better” and the pills were no longer needed!

WRONG!!!

The withdrawal symptoms were horrific to say the least and for a teenager who already thought she was going ”mad” the effect on my psyche was such that it set me back 10 years in my battle to be healthy and in any event sparked a rebellion against ”medication” which was to last to this day.

The previous 30+ years have seen me endure a rollercoaster of stop/start treatments….I would become ill, try to ”work through it”, ask for help, take the meds, feel better, stop taking them (against advice), stay ”well” for a while and…….REPEAT!!

Einstein said ”The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result”……..he was correct!

We aren’t the condition, the condition is part of us!

During my adult life it’s taken 4 complete breakdowns, descent into alcoholism and almost dying before I EVEN considered that both prescription meds and the decision to begin self-medicating were in actual fact no more than sticking plasters.

In reality Mental Ill health issues manifest themselves as a direct result of triggers….attachment issues, neglect, abuse, poor self image, in other words the circumstances which caused us to define ourselves by our assigned labels and thus became who thought we were. The trick having identified the root cause is to work out a ”whole person centred care plan” with the aim of allowing us to live happy, positive and balanced lives.

The bigger picture on the road to recovery

When we look at the bigger picture we start to understand that there are other options when it comes to enhancing  both our clinical treatment and the day to day management of our individual situation.

Doubtless medication is the key player but historically it has all too often been seen by both patient and medic as not only the RIGHT but the ONLY treatment option. We lost sight of the fact that Mental Ill Health isn’t a one size fits all scenario and something which works well for me may well be detrimental to you the next sufferer.

We need to be open to the fact that different doesn’t mean bad

I came to realise that much that can be done to aid recovery from the affliction of Mental Health conditions but for these to work we have to be willing to take the responsibilty to find out what they are. There are no rules when it comes to exploring complimentary, healthy, self help options to aid, indeed underpin our clinical interventions BUT when you do decide to try something new please make sure that you choose it because YOU want to and feel comfortable in doing so. Whatever it is? If it makes you feel better on any level….then it’s right for you!

Incidentally when we try anything which serves to decrease our senses of isolation, shame, guilt etc that are the constant bedfellows of Mental Health issues we come a long way towards increasing our senses of self-esteem, self-worth and as such our confidence levels start to soar.

It doesn’t matter what it is….Yoga or Meditation, reading self help articles or taking classes, taking up a hobby or joining a gym or absolutely anything else in between the IMPORTANT thing is in deciding to be proactive in our own care plan we better enable ourselves to take a brave but moreover very necessary step over the boundary between being being trapped in ”The Loneliest Place on Earth” and returning to or even becoming a fully functioning member of society!

The journey along the road that is Mental Ill Health can be long and difficult but NEVER FORGET you don’t have to walk it alone

ASKING FOR HELP IS BRAVE – DO SOMETHING AMAZING BE BRAVE TODAY

NAMASTE my friends – Sue.x

 

 

 

 

We Should Never Forget That Children Do Listen

Sue Curr Motivational Speaker & Empowerment Coach

Children Do Listen

 

Everything we ever do is a learned behaviour

And let’s face it the job of the teacher…initially at least…falls squarely on the shoulders of our parents and carers.

Without doubt parenting is the most important role with the most significant responsibilities around… not a statement I make lightly….and yet it’s practically the only job in the entire world which anyone can take on without any formal training.

The second we’re conceived we become part of the lottery of life. As children our future is mapped out and there is little we can do about it until we take responsibility for our own life as we grow up.

When we’re born our responsible adults start us on a learning curve that is never steeper than during our first 5 years of life. Every second of every day we are learning on every conceivable level largely without even being aware of it.

When I say every level I do mean every level as babies we’re naturally programmed to react to and learn from everything our senses are being continually bombarded by.

Sight, Sound. Taste. Smell & Touch

Our grown ups are aware of our responses to stimulation but unless we react suddenly to loud noises, they rarely if ever remember that children will and do listen.… all the time even when they appear to  be engrossed in other things.

It’s a common misconception that young children in particular are unaware of what is being said in their presence and whilst that may be true before we ”understand the words” it most certainly isn’t as we grow.

It’s an error of judgement that  can and does cause serious consequences for both the children that we are and the adults we become!

The vast majority of parents or carers quickly get to grips with the mechanics of teaching the day-to-day practicalities involved in the rearing and shaping of us into responsible adults in our own right. Including the…for some….not too obvious aspects that form part of the package our spiritual, emotional and mental well-being.

They simply ”forget” that children are like sponges soaking up everything including what’s said to, shouted at, spoken to others about, even muttered through clenched teeth….. at them!

Children listen constantly especially when it’s about them!  

By the age of 5 the majority of us will have heard and absorbed all manner of information much of it about us and if we’re lucky we will have come to learn that we are bright, intelligent, lovable, funny, pretty, in other words we are secure in the knowledge that we are loved and wanted which is exactly as it should be

However for every well-balanced, secure, confident child that’s raised there are children who grow up thinking that they are stupid, naughty, noisy, cheeky, bad and who grow up to be less well-adjusted, nervous, shy, insecure with little or no self-esteem and for an unfortunate proportion of these children this tends to be the beginning of their journey through the battlefield of Mental Ill Health a place I’ve come to acknowledge as being the loneliest place on earth.

There are far too many who are unwilling or unable to extend their duty of care to their offspring in a manner which sees them learn, grow and mature into whole, rounded, well-balanced adults in their own right and that’s where some of us come unstuck!

Why? Simply because adults severely underestimate the power of the spoken word!

As human beings and particularly as children we do over time tend to forget the words that have been spoken and the things that have been done in their finer detail but we never forget how we’ve been made to feel. If the parents and carers of this world could somehow see into the future and be held accountable beforehand then so many lives would be very different from that of…

A ‘’lifelong battle with Mental Ill Health’’ and the resulting suffering

When I was 5!

When I was 5 – I knew how to laugh but learned how to cry
When I was 5 – I knew how to shine but learned how to hide
When I was 5 – I knew how to be happy but learned how to be sad
When I was 5 – I knew how to play but  learned how to sit
When I was 5 – I knew how to be real but learned how to be fake
When I was 5 – I knew how to read so learned how to escape

As children we adapt very quickly to the circumstances of our day-to-day lives. If we have been molded to be timid or insecure, feel anxious or unloved we learn how to people please. We learn how to ”behave” because we’re afraid of doing something wrong or being lacking in some way and we grow up feeling stupid or worthless but most of all unlovable.

It can take years to overcome the behaviour patterns, insecurities and traumas we may  have experienced throughout childhood..some of us never do. Because we grow up believing that everything we have ever been told or have heard about ourselves from the mouths of ”our grown ups” must be true because they ”were big and we were small” and that’s just the way it is!

If as responsible adults we understood that it takes much less effort to raise a whole child than it does to mend a broken adult then life and this world would be a much brighter, happier place. Our children are but a gift, ours for a very small window of opportunity it’s our responsibility to raise them to be the best version of themselves that they can possibly be.

When I turned 50

When I turned 50 – I knew how to cry but remembered to laugh

When I turned 50 – I knew how to hide but remembered to shine

When I turned 50 – I knew how to be sad but remembered to be happy

When I turned 50 – I knew how to sit but remembered to play

When I turned 50 – I knew how to be fake but remembered to be real

When  I turned 50 – I knew how to escape but remembered it was enough to just read

We owe it our children to raise them properly and that means looking after their spiritual, emotional and mental well-being in equal proportion to their physical needs. They shouldn’t have to spend their lives trying to become who they really are……….I was lucky I now know without doubt that I am worthy, I am enough, I am lovable and funny and smart and anything else I want to be because I matter!!!                                                                     

Pity it took me 50+ years but that’s ok because everything that has ever happened to me, made me who I am and AM PROUD TO BE today   

If you would like to begin living your life with both purpose & passion in your own way & on your own terms without feeling the need to apologize for, justify or explain yourself BUT lack the rock solid foundation of self-esteem & confidence then I invite you to reach & connect with me here by Claiming a FREE 30 Minute Strategic Discovery Call