The Pains of Sleep

The Pains of Sleep

By Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Ere on my bed my limbs I lay,
It hath not been my use to pray
With moving lips or bended knees;
But silently, by slow degrees,
My spirit I to Love compose,
In humble trust mine eye-lids close,
With reverential resignation
No wish conceived, no thought exprest,
Only a sense of supplication;
A sense o’er all my soul imprest
That I am weak, yet not unblest,
Since in me, round me, every where
Eternal strength and Wisdom are.

But yester-night I prayed aloud
In anguish and in agony,
Up-starting from the fiendish crowd
Of shapes and thoughts that tortured me:
A lurid light, a trampling throng,
Sense of intolerable wrong,
And whom I scorned, those only strong!
Thirst of revenge, the powerless will
Still baffled, and yet burning still!
Desire with loathing strangely mixed
On wild or hateful objects fixed.
Fantastic passions! maddening brawl!
And shame and terror over all!
Deeds to be hid which were not hid,
Which all confused I could not know
Whether I suffered, or I did:
For all seemed guilt, remorse or woe,
My own or others still the same
Life-stifling fear, soul-stifling shame.

So two nights passed: the night’s dismay
Saddened and stunned the coming day.
Sleep, the wide blessing, seemed to me
Distemper’s worst calamity.
The third night, when my own loud scream
Had waked me from the fiendish dream,
O’ercome with sufferings strange and wild,
I wept as I had been a child;
And having thus by tears subdued
My anguish to a milder mood,
Such punishments, I said, were due
To natures deepliest stained with sin,—
For aye entempesting anew
The unfathomable hell within,
The horror of their deeds to view,
To know and loathe, yet wish and do!
Such griefs with such men well agree,
But wherefore, wherefore fall on me?
To be loved is all I need,
And whom I love, I love indeed.

Damaging stereotypes in the media

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?

Why is it so hard to compliment ourselves?

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.

Poll Results

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.

Quote of the Week -7/3/16

‘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?