I read with interest a recent study that said that happiness is found by living in the now. There is a certain felt sense that resonates with this viewpoint.
I think it was Buddha who said: Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.
As we get older life seems to speed by getting ever faster. In part that is a perspective that only age can bring but there can be more of a sense of our mortality. Continue reading
I can’t believe I saw my first Christmas tree today. Ok so it was a small one advertising a pub’s Christmas menu but there it sat for all to see. It often strikes me that Christmas can be one of the most difficult times of year. The air is thick with anticipation and expectation. “Jingle bells, Jingle bells, Jingle all the day (and the night)!” We are supposed to be happy full of cheer, yet it puts more pressure on families and relationships than at almost any time of the year. Continue reading
Anxiety and depression seem to be more prevalent than ever before in today’s society. It is to be hoped that this is because it is becoming more socially acceptable to talk about mental illness rather than the negative stereo type that it often carries with it. This is in no small part due to the courage of many sufferers both in public and private who have shared their condition and started that public dialogue.
While much has been written about anxiety and depression which we are beginning to believe are two different faces of the same condition. Less is spoken publicly about some of the ways in which people cope. One of these which can be difficult to talk about is that of self-harm. It is linked in the public consciousness to suicide or that terrible cliché a cry for help. It can be alarming for friends and family and often they don’t know how to reach out to the person.
Self-harm which I believe is better described as self-injury covers many practices: tearing your hair out, taking an overdose, cutting your body, burning, scratching, anorexia and other behaviours which are dangerous or harmful to the individual.
The causes although absolutely understood, often are as the result of a trauma or difficulties in early or adolescent life. It is likely that they had no one to talk to about what was going on, for example being abused and being unable to tell or not believed when they tell. Abuse is only one mechanism bullying; isolations from the family, perhaps being taken into care all have an effect. Self harm might me a form of punishment for something that the person thinks they have done or allowed to happen.
Yet self-injury is not a suicide attempt but rather the opposite a method of coping with the feelings that have nowhere to go. In that respect it is not that different from yelling or crying, it is just that the effects go inward directed back at themselves, not believing that they are worth much. The behaviour helps to numb the pain to put off having to deal with it and that helps them face the next day.
Unfortunately society and even healthcare professionals have treated those who self-injure poorly. The condition is not well understood and it can be seen as taking resources away from people who ‘are really ill’. Talking to sufferers it is not uncommon to hear of being treated roughly. Fortunately things are changing and certainly in the health community the need for treatment is widely recognised.
It is possible to get help, your GP will be able to access a range of therapies and there are many support groups across the country. As so often talking therapies such as counselling can make a real difference as the trauma and issues are revisited and expressed. Know what can trigger your self-injury – see it you can avoid or mitigate its effects. As far as you are able look after yourself, clean wounds, protect injured sites, try to cut down or change behaviours.
If you are supporting someone who self-injure, you of course need to be aware of the risks and the dangers, but try not to see them as their injury try to support them as they struggle with the condition and accept that there will be setbacks. Ultimately it is going to be a long process to resolve this.
I am not one for using the work of others in my posts, however, I came across this post on several websites attributed to Dennis Fakes it takes the form of a short quiz, perhaps you would like to take it yourself now.
How did you do?
The point is that even those who have achieved great things that make them famous – do not necessarily have a big impact on us or our lives, achievements fade, the applause dies away. Rita Hayworth used to say, “They go to bed with Gilda(her signature film role); they wake up with me.”
Let’s try a different quiz:
Did we do any better?
The people who make a difference in our life are not the ones with the most credentials or the greatest reward. They are not even the ones who are most sympathetic to our woes. They are the people who care for us who are there to support, to challenge us and to help us.
Of course this cuts two ways so you can be inspired and be inspiring so shoot for the stars by all means but remember what will make a real difference in your life!
Figures out in the last few weeks have shown that the NHS spent more than £3,000,000 extra on prescriptions for anti-depressants in the last year. The 5 million medicines used to treat people with a variety of mental health issues. This comes on the back of a BBC investigation that showed that some people with mental health problems who attempted suicide had to be held in custody for their own safety, either because there was no bed for them in a hospital or that their assessment did not merit admission. In terms of numbers there were nearly 800 suicides in Scotland in 2010, and in a recent survey Tayside police reported as many as 150 in one month. Continue reading
There is an army in Britain that fights and struggles, every day with difficult conditions. They often face situations and choices that we hope no-one would be faced with. Perhaps unsurprisingly they have to cope with difficulty and conflicting emotions. I am of course talking about the carers of the vulnerable, the elderly and the sick.
This article is not about the fine work of doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals who provide support. It is about the difficulties faced by family looking after a relative. Continue reading
It isn’t a problem – everybody does it
There is an addiction that dare not speak its name. While it has its roots in human history, the ability of the internet to access a wide range of information and sites has made the addiction much more prevalent in today’s society. I am of course talking about internet pornography addiction.
It affects both men and women and with over 4 million sites and nearly 70 million search engine requests per day, we can appreciate the size of the problem. Of course looking at pornography in itself is not a bad or an unhealthy thing, the danger comes when the desire to find the perfect image or the particular partner to have sex with on line, spirals out of control. Hours disappear and it pushes away those around us. Continue reading