University drop outs

This podcast from the BBC last year details some of the pressures young people are having when trying to get a degree and the reasons they drop out.

I was encouraged that those who were experiencing mental health issues and were able to engage with the university counselling services did find them useful. Sadly it is disappointing that accessing that wasn’t always easy. Waiting lists or not even know it was available delayed their treatment. 

I wish everyone starting their university career this month all the very best and if you need support that you can access it.

Therapy Wars

This is a really interesting article on the history of some different forms of therapy and how CBT has become most common.

My modality, the person centred approached is part of the humanistic type of therapy and isn’t really mentions much. However, I think its worth noting that it sits between the psychodynamic and cognitive approaches being discussed.

I absolutely believe that all three approaches have there place, just as the therapist will be drawn to one type, so to will be the client if they have a choice. When I first explored training, the person centred approach resonated with me and that is why I chose a course based on this approach. 

I urge everyone who is looking to find a counsellor to do some independent reading on the types of therapy available.

A little yellow car

I don’t know if you have seen this story, about a man being abused on social media because his car is considered an eyesore.

It brought up all sorts of emotions for me when I read the original story and even more when I saw the support he has received.

Tourists complained that his bright yellow car which he parked outside his own home ruined the view of the picturesque village he lives in. It was then vandalised.

I was furious when I first heard about that, I realise now its not just because of this story but what it represents. All too often, clients end up in distress because they have been told repeatedly by others how they should be or what they should do. Other people believing they have a right to dictate what a life and personality should be. The unasked for and unwelcome judgement of others can lead to verbal mocking and vandalism as in this case but also violence and mental health issues.

But this story also brought me hope. The fact that a rally has been held in support of the little yellow car with lots of other yellow cars lightened up my day.

The celebration of being outside the ‘norm’ and the support given to someone being victimised for it also reminded me of other stories and experiences.

We may be a little yellow car and it may cause problems because of some people, but someone else out there will get it. We just need to find them and hold onto ourselves so we can find a way to celebrate our yellowness.

Miss Simpsons children

I listened to a wonderful podcast  about a woman who worked to bring academics to the UK from Europe during the Nazi period. I was really amused by the interview with her where she was prickly when asked about her background. It was quite clear her view was “why does my background matter, judge me by what I do”

I couldn’t help but compare it to the situation today, with refuges being stigmatised at home and abroad. 

I was also struck with the similarity to Sara Rowbotham who I mentioned in my last blog post, both women working tirelessly for what they believe to be the right thing no matter what odds they are dealing with. 

What does bravery look like?

A lot has been written about Sara Rowbotham, the sexual health worker who worked to expose the issues of child sexual exploitation in Rochdale. After the BBC drama 3 Girls based on the case its highlighted how hard it can be to fight for what you believe is right.

Sometimes though bravery is made up of the smaller things. Depending on where our mental health is, just getting up in the morning or leaving the house can be an act of bravery. They may not be noticed by others, or have such an impact on society but for us as individuals they may be invaluable.

Another form of bravery is seeking help when needed. I try to always remember that for clients approaching me, this can be an extremely difficult thing to do. Not only is there the recognition that another person may be needed to help with things, its reaching out to a stranger without any idea of how that will be received. 

Mental Health issues in the media

I highly recommend this documentary about how mental illness is portrayed in the media. 

Not only does it explore why certain conditions are used for the story narrative but how in most cases it is not accurate. Yet sadly it is the false view that most people associate  certain mental health issues.

It isn’t all gloom though, the documentary also ends with some changes in practice, particularly with soap operas engaging with suffers and telling a much more accurate and sympathetic story.

The media is such a powerful force for shaping our opinions and when that is misused then the public perception of mental health issues can and have been damaged a great deal.

Mental health and work

The figures in this article, that half of people wouldn’t be comfortable talking about mental health issues at work is worrying but not a surprise.

With the recent focus on raising awareness of issues by high profile individuals, I hope that begins to change.

Too many people still struggle without adequate support because of the stigma and an idea that they shouldn’t need it. Or worse, that their issues aren’t as bad as other people so they don’t feel they justify getting help.

The bottom line is that anyone can find themselves in need of support, either through illness or events the life throws at them. It takes enormous courage to reach out and look for it. 

What are your shoulds?

I came across a talk today I really enjoyed.

Warning, before clicking the link please be aware it is quite sweary. Link to talk.

The message I really took away from it is one I see again and again in my work – how much we do because we feel we should.

Should’s – they create so much anxiety and guilt. We do things we don’t want to because of them, feel guilty if we don’t do them, or even feel guilty if we do them and don’t enjoy it (despite knowing we wouldn’t enjoy them in the first place).

Why is it so hard to refuse? What does saying no mean to us? For each of us there is probably a different story, but I would assume a lot of them are rooted in childhood.

What judgement was put on you when you refused? What value on you as a person if you didn’t want to do something?

What impact does the thought of refusing something have for you now? How cluttered is your life because of it? How anxious?