Friday, 28 September 2012

Fu*k: Part 2

In my last post, I attempted to explained that sometimes our words can reveal little clues as to our deeper beliefs, such as the supposedly badass graffiti sprayer who couldn't bring themselves to swear. But I feel that post was incomplete, so this is sort of a 'part 2'. What I really should've included when writing my last post is that sometimes what we don't say has the potential to be equally revealing.

During one particularly bad time a couple of years ago, a friend of mine came home to find me sitting on the living room floor, with my head in my hands, breathing heavily and violently shaking with a dangerous combination of rage and (emotional) pain. I know that doesn't sound like much, but when it comes to expressing my emotions I'm normally a very private person. For it to get to a point where I will allow someone to actually see me like that means that there is something severely wrong and that I've reached breaking point. My friend realised this, and kindly sat with me into the early hours of the morning, listening patiently as I told her through choked sentences of my overwhelming desperation to end my life. When I eventually began to calm down, I realised that she was clearly disturbed by what she'd just witnessed, so in a bid to reassure her that I was getting help, I asked her to come along to my next appointment with my psychologist.

In a later appointment, after meeting my friend, my psychologist asked me why I'd brought her along. I replied that I'd asked my friend to come so that she could see that I was getting help, because I felt I'd frightened her that night and I didn't want my own problems to impact anyone else. I also explained that I thought it might be useful for my psychologist to hear another person's take on the situation. Now, her response might not sound particularly extraordinary, but it's something I'll always remember, because, though it was by no means the first time that I'd been shown my current mindset at work through my words, it was the time when all of our work seemed to finally fit together in my mind. She spoke carefully as if considering my reasons, ticking them off on her fingers as she went, saying: "Ok, so... something for your friend... something for me..." then she looked at me in mock puzzlement, and with a smile, asked "but what did you do for you?" I remember just laughing. In that instant, everything suddenly seemed to fit into place. In being made aware of my mind's processes as they unfolded, I felt like I'd finally come to a full understanding of my problems. I had just watched it happen, right there. It hadn't even crossed my mind to do anything that might benefit myself, because I'd never felt worthy enough to allow myself that kind of consideration. As I'd experienced so many times before in our appointments, once I'd been made aware of what I'd just said (and in this case, what I'd just unknowingly implied through what hadn't been said), I sat there in a kind of stunned silence as the meaning of my own words and the underlying reasons for my problems suddenly seemed to become so obvious.

A year later, I was at a workshop about childhood trauma and a new therapy aimed at resolving its lasting impact into adulthood. The man leading the workshop, a psychiatrist called Bob Johnson, worked with many people who had suffered abuse at the hands of their parents during childhood, and used a new kind of talking therapy that he'd developed to help them break out of the mindset that the abuse had trapped them in. That's where I first heard someone put into words what I'd come to learn myself through conversations with my psychologist. "If they talk about mum, ask them about dad!" proclaimed Dr. Bob. "And if they talk about dad, ask them about mum!" With this, he implied that often a person's true problems lie in a place where they're too scared to venture initially, or in a place that they've become so used to avoiding that they're not even aware of it themselves. Other times, the problem is in plain sight all along, but is something that has become so much a part of ourselves that we just can't recognise it. All that is really needed in this case is someone with the skill to realise what's being hidden (often unintentionally), and who can make the right enquiries to safely steer a person towards uncovering and understanding a truth that even they themselves may never have fully realised.

As I'm sure we all know, language is a great tool for conveying meaning, but the idea I've tried to get across in my recent posts is that sometimes there may be more to a sentence than we first realise. Anyone who was forced to endure torturous months analysing every imaginable aspect of poems in their GCSE English anthology will know what I'm on about... But even in real life, in a normal setting (as opposed to a mental health setting or an English class), with a bit of effort, occasionally we can unpick a little extra meaning in our words. Personally, I find it important for my mental well-being to understand what's going on inside my own head and why, so wherever I can, I try to use the ideas I've described in this post and the last to try to gain a little more insight into my own thoughts, and to what might be going on under the surface of my mysterious brain.

If you treat it like one giant puzzle, it can even turn out to be quite good fun. :)

1 comment:

  1. Hello. Is good to find pieces from our life in other people, for to not feel alone and for to get power to move further. you are on a way, towards happy ending, and same do I. The matter is to not repeat same reactions to stresfull causes, which can lead to the risk of the symptoms. I have a similar story regarding recovery, it was awfull to not be able to function normally anymore, but with a lot of will, day by day I succeeded to escape from this nightmare called ''schizophrenia''. I think people lose their chances to hope when they receive this diagnostic without being scientifically determined, it has lack in its cure methods. People become physically and psychollogically addicted to meds because it's just easier than to struggle with yourself. I personally felt motivated of love and of desire to find myself again. I missed life so much, I missed love and beautifull things. I couldnt stand anymore to cause weird reactions in other people and to see myself as a''bad'' person because of my identity problems. I wish all people with problems to not forget themselves and to not put the problems as a priority in their life. Who you really are, you. cannot prove if you dont really try to know yourself. Lets hope the medicine will not have so much power without fundamentally scinetifical proofs and that psychiatry will help, not destroy the good sides which is beyond symptoms. Nobody has the right to be god on earth excpt god himself.