Discover more from Illustrated Musings
I've been mulling over why it is so hard (it certainly was me) to admit to mental health difficulty. We live in a society where, sadly, it's deemed a failure to have a problem with your mental health. It’s embarrassing to seek treatment or support for this area of life. It’s OK to see an osteopath for a bad back, visit the dentist for your teeth to be straightened, and take insulin for diabetes. Regarding emotional well-being, it's different; we keep our struggles secret. I illustrated my struggle to accept my mental health difficulty and seek help. I drew this picture of me thinking about my leg in plaster and using crutches, wishing my head was like a leg. I did eventually seek help; I was diagnosed with complex PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and was offered treatment.
Therapy has been transformational for me. I would recommend anybody in struggle to find a good counselor or therapist. When you don't feel able to share with someone you know, a safe, qualified stranger may be just what you need.
What is therapy? In the physical world, it's easy to define. I am a physiotherapist; I help people get better after an injury or use strategies to enable them to live well with a long-term disability. It's not quite so evident in the realms of mental health. I decided to look up the meaning and origin of the word therapy. It comes from the ancient Greek word therapeuein or therapeutikos. It means to serve or attend to bring soothing or healing. This helps simplify things for me; psychological therapy is an intervention (activities and techniques) that soothe and heal the mind.
There are many types of psychological therapy. I have had counselling, CBT, and, more recently, EMDR. I can say all three have helped in different ways. I will post more about my experience with each later on. However, I’ve come to realise that there are lots of things that can be therapeutic, like talking to a friend. I love the quote from David Ausburger: “Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.”
I have a couple of close friends who have loved me by listening. After being with them, I felt seen, heard, and understood. Being heard is a powerful healing agent.
You can buy this print in my shop
I've also found several things I can do for myself that are therapeutic:
a play with my dog Barney
a walk in the countryside
painting with my watercolours
Do you have any activities that you find therapeutic? Remember to switch the word therapeutic to soothing. Why not make yourself a list of soothing activities? You could try to do at least one a day. I don't know what they may be for you. Here are some other ideas: crocheting, baking, listening to music, reading a book, colouring, meditation, catching up with a TV series, watching an old favourite film, or making a phone call with a friend.