The Pains of Sleep
By Samuel Taylor Coleridge
The Pains of Sleep
By Samuel Taylor Coleridge
‘The bravest thing I ever did was continuing my life when I wanted to die.’
I just came across this article from 2009 that claims to prove how care in the community hasn’t worked. It’s insulting, misinformed and it propagates negative stereotypes of people with mental health issues. Have a read:
‘It is estimated that every week an innocent victim is killed by a mentally ill patient in the community.’ If you knew nothing about mental health issues, what would you take from an article like this?
I find it much easier to compliment others than myself. I’m better at it now than I have been, but that’s due to a conscious effort to remind myself of my achievements (trust me: once you start doing that, it gets easier). I used to think that complimenting yourself meant arrogance and narcissism, but I was wrong. What it really means is that you have learnt how to appreciate yourself as a person – someone who belongs, who matters, just as much as anybody else. That would have been a foreign thought for me in the past, though, and I think it’s sad that people feel that way. There’s that old platitude that ‘before you love another, you have to love yourself’. Turns out it’s stuck around for a reason: it’s true. I can appreciate other people so much more now that I’m happier with myself, and my experiences are definitely richer. Not always, by any means. The feeling wavers. But often, now, I tell myself I’m great and I believe it. I don’t see anything wrong with that, in fact I think it’s very healthy. Appreciating yourself doesn’t mean you appreciate others any less; if anything, I can more easily delight in other people now than ever before.
The trouble is, the world we’ve created for ourselves constantly implies that it’s wrong to love who you are. Instead, it points out our faults and tries to sell us the solution. Most adverts and magazines succeed because they offer us a better version of ourselves, by their standards. But this is erroneous at its core as these ad writers have never met you – they don’t know your strengths, your blemishes, your quirks. They don’t know any of that, so the ‘better you’ they are offering is not ‘you’ at all. Actually, what they are offering is a ‘you’ in skinnier jeans or a ‘you’ with cologne on. That’s not what makes a person.
I’ve written before about how I’d love to see an ad campaign with slogans like, ‘You Are Wonderful’ or ‘You Can Do Anything’. Unfortunately, if we all believed this there’d be nothing left to sell us. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against buying nice things. My point is: we don’t need these things to be able to love ourselves, and anyone who says otherwise is a conman. The key to that comes with focusing on what you’ve achieved and giving yourself a ‘nice job’ for each and every one of them. If you get anxious in public places and you manage to ride a bus for 10 minutes, give yourself a massive pat on the back. If you’re going through hard times where every day feels like a marathon, give yourself a hug just for the fact that you are still going. That’s a huge deal.
It’s these seemingly small things that we need to learn to recognise. What’s more, it’s important to remember that each person has their own abilities and strengths, as well as their own limits, their own breaking point. Therefore, the only person worth comparing yourself to is you, because you’re a unique blend. That uniqueness alone makes you special in my eyes, but I’m a bit of a hippie. Now, go be special in your own.
So, the poll count is in. The question was, ‘Do you think mental health care could be improved in the UK?’ A grand total of 7 people voted, all answering that yes, they think mental health care in the UK could be improved. Not an astounding turnout, granted, but I think 7 out of 7 people still suggests a wider viewpoint. The question now is ‘how?’. Any ideas warmly welcomed.
‘No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.’ Hal Borland
Happy first day of spring everyone!
‘One’s destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things’ – Henry Miller.
I certainly like to think of happiness as a journey, a process, rather than an end point. It’s not a place you can ever arrive at, it’s a shift in the way you see your journey. Miller’s saying this is the same for everything in life. I think he could be right.
Do you agree?