Preachers of Recovery – Please Reflect

Blog Post – 10th October 2016

I struggle emotionally occasionally, which is normal (please don’t police me with the word ‘normal’, it’s a useful word in this context). However at other times, like today I risk going into a tailspin. It might be when I’m tired (due to insomnia), or something emotional has knocked me.

Yesterday I visited the site for the first time where Kane jumped off a viaduct, and died. I knew it had affected me a bit, but I didn’t really notice. Today I go onto the Men Heal Twitter account and notice it’s World Mental Health Day. So I feel I should do some campaigning, as it’s something I’m really passionate about. I also write a blog post about a teacher of mine who killed themselves when I was 17. I think I wrote it because I visited where Kane died, yesterday and it was WMHD today. I guess that stirred up further pain. Did this make me feel more sensitive?

I went for a walk in the sun as I thought that would cheer me up. My aloneness caused me to check my Twitter account, whereby someone who I felt connected with had unfollowed me, for no reason I can think of. Maybe it was a mistake, however I was in a bad place, so wasn’t tactful about my comments about being unfollowed. I guess I then felt shame for not being tactful. I was feeling angry. I’ve also felt a little rejection recently, about my friend’s cat who is staying but who doesn’t seem to bother with me. The cat is friendly with my housemate though. I shouldn’t take that personally, but I do.

That’s my problem. In theory I can CBT this all away with a magic CBT wand. But then, I can’t. It doesn’t work. I then feel shitty for CBT failing me. Which makes me return to the belief that my remaining emotional issues are neurological (not chemical probably, but a structural problem with the part of my brain to do with processing emotions). I’ve had loads of counselling over the years, practised mindfulness and trained in mindfulness quite extensively compared with most people (I did a years course, but also had been practising it for a few years previously). I’ve also improved my coping strategies, and become more aware of my self. I feel I’ve changed everything about myself, and learn all the coping strategies I can. And yet I’m not healed.

This makes me angry on two levels. Firstly I’m angry that all the hard work hasn’t healed me, sure it’s helped quite a lot, but I remain unhealed. Secondly, I feel there are a group of people who these techniques do work on, who think that everyone the techniques have failed on, just haven’t tried hard enough… and yet what if some people’s mental health issues are due to structural damage or physical miswiring in their brains? You can’t just magic that away with some techniques or counselling. Sure you can fix the other issues that aren’t related to that physically damaged part of the brain, but let’s not assume that all techniques work on all people, or that all people can be cured. This is the stigma that remains in some of the self-help, psychiatry, psychology, counselling, life coaching, resilience training, and mindfulness training camps, and especially preachy mental health advocates who were lucky enough to have a curable mental illness.

My mental illness is further damaged by the preachy one’s who think THEIR healing path will work for others. If you’re one of these people, then just stop proselytising and gain enough empathy, understanding and awareness to realise that you aren’t a genius, you aren’t special and you were just damn lucky to have a curable type of mental illness that took relatively little or moderate effort to fix. I’ve worked my guts out for decades trying to fix my issues and I’ve come a long way, but to hear others preach their cure that doesn’t work for me, makes me feel really shitty.

This is a hard hitting piece, that is pretty tactless, however sometimes strong words are needed to break through ignorance. Please awaken to other’s who may never heal, or come close to it.

Please remember that we are all different, and therefore all our mental health is different, even if the labels are the same for some of us. We should respect other people have it harder or just different, and stop forcing our own favourite recovery methods on others. If Yoga worked for you then good. If CBT worked for you then great. If a raw food diet worked for you, then awesome. If Christianity or Budhism worked for you, I’m happy for you. But don’t assume what worked for you will work for others. It’s just not that simple, and it’s hugely damaging to assume so. End stigma, increase awareness, and please reflect on how you deliver your recovery methods. If you are in love with any one recovery or healing method, or a form of counselling, then this might be you. So please reflect with an open heart. I appreciate it.

Thanks

Mike

Copyright MEN HEAL 2016

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