Lawyers use subpoenas in court to enable them to air private records. Some solicitors have built flourishing practices by issuing subpoenas in court and psychiatrists are actually handing out confidential records to the courts amidst threats of jail.
People who are mentally challenged have been unable to prevent details of their past sexual abuse or other childhood traumas from being aired in court.
My question is ; ‘where are the solicitors hearts? Is making money – lots of it – really more important than consideration for the feelings of others? What would they say if one of their relatives were on the stand? Would they behave the same way? I wonder.
People with borderline personality disorders, thoughts of suicide, or those who have experienced sexual abuse as children have stood in court and been made to hear their private lives detailed for all to hear. Is this the way for professionals to behave? One patient was heard to say; ‘Now my anxieties are more profound than ever before. Nobody asked me to give my permission for all this to be said in court. I had no control over the situation at all.’ I wonder whether any of us would like to be in that position;
It is difficult for an outsider to understand the situations that act as triggers and so affect mentally challenged people as they might not understand what a trigger is. Most of us are affected by some sort of trigger; the elements of daily life that bring out intense emotions can also lead to dangerous situations. Not only people with mental illnesses experience this kind of thing.
The question is; how does one push aside the mental health triggers that haunt their every move? The answer depends on their personal struggle. For a person struggling with an eating disorder, the mere sight of food or the addition of an extra kilo on the scale, can act as a trigger. For a person addicted to ‘self-harm,’ the sight of a sharp object can trigger their urge to self-injure.
If a therapist is able to replace those triggers with a positive diversion, the possibility of moving on is more likely. Writing, music or being surrounded by supportive people, are positive replacements.
The saying ‘Every cloud has a silver lining,’ – is welll known, so how about changing that to: Every silver lining has a small cloud ?
I speak out for mental health because – I never want another mother to experience what I did.
Blame, shame, discrimination and stigma are the result of NOT speaking out!
When I give a talk or blog or write articles, my message reaches many people who I can help, as I gained a lot of experience while living with my mentally ill son.
I learned a lot by watching how my son’s illness affected the rest of my family.
I am quite prepared to pass on any knowledge I have gained.
Talking about stuff in your brain is no different from talking about what is going on in the rest of your body. Why should a discussion on improving our physical health be different from improving our mental health. It isn’t brave to talk about mental illness. It should be natural as the things that are happening in our brains so it’s not really special to talk about it. IF we see someone sweating in the gym or puffing and panting in a pool, it would not occur to us to tell those people that they are brave because they talked about their activities, right?
I think that if somebody tells me that I am brave because I talk so openly about my son’s illness and subsequent suicide, I think that they are only reacting to their fears . The only way to to make talking about mental illness normal, is to treat it as something normal.
Speak kindly to a person in trouble. Every word matters. Hurtful words damage. Beware of telling someone what they want to hear. Make eye contact with all people you meet and watch out for body language too. Accentuating a gesture adds truth to what you are saying. Making physical contact is so very important when talking to someone who is ill and/or very upset. When talking to a psychologist or a psychiatrist in a psychiatric hospital when trying in vain to help my son, I so wished that someone, even a social worker, would put her hand on my arm – which would have been so comforting.
It helped when someone smiled at me to let their faces show what they were thinking. I found the tones of their voices of the utmost importance too. There are people who are extremely sensitive to raised voices but that could be due to their cultural backgrounds. It is not sufficient to look at someone in trouble and give them the feeling that you are listening. REALLY listening and absorbing is what counts. And, last but not least – what we say is important, but of even more importance, is how we say it.
Christmas is here again. I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year but, I haven’t forgotten that the holidays can be lonely times. That doesn’t mean that you have to feel alone. Try and remain focused on acknowledging your needs and you’ll be surprised at how good you can feel.
If your expectations are too high, reduce them. Call friends and ask to be included in their celebrations. Most people love having friends over so this can work. Remember that you are not alone in feeling alone during Christmas or New Year. So, get together with others and have some fun. Create your own social group. See a movie or plan an outing with a friend. There are many people out there who are searching for a companion, you know. Or, treat yourself to a massage or do whatever you enjoy doing most. If you can’t be with family or other lvoed ones during this time of the year, call or email them. Reach out to them and they are bound to respond. If the above don’t suit you, volunteer at a soup kitchen because there’s nothing like that place to make you realize how well off you really are. If you can afford it, take a vacation. But, if you are unable to do any of the above, buy some chocolate, get into bed with a good book or find a good movie on your computer and get through the day that way. It’s important to remember that Christmas only lasts for one day.
The dopamine found in our brains is also known as the reward hormone as it regulates mood, attention, learning and motivation. Dopamine also triggers feelings of pleasure.
Low levels of serotonin in our brains are linked to aggression, anxiety and even depression. So, more serotonim makes us feel good. So does laughter as it is instinctive. Most laughter is not about humor, rather, about relationships between people. We laugh more in social situations than when alone. It’s not something we produce consciously. It’s contagious. A good, healthy laugh can help reduce pain. A good, long, loud laugh brings more oxygen into our lungs. Laughter is a sound with no language, so is effective internationally.
While my son was ill, a laughter therapist who I’d invited to give a talk to our support group told us that laughter keeps our immune systems humming by decreasing stress hormones. He stressed that it boosts infection-fighting anti-bodies by keeping our blood vessels pumping and protects our hearts too. Then my gym instructor told us that laughter triggers a rush of those all-important endorphins that we all love to feel after a good workout. When the well-known journalist, Norman Cousins was diagnosed with a painful spinal condition, he discovered that a regular diet of television comedies and candid camera episodes actually helped lessen his pain. I quote: ‘I made the joyous discovery that ten minutes of genuine belly laughter had an anesthetic effect and gave me at least two hours of well-needed, pain-free sleep.’ The members of the support group drew up a list of what we should do to help brighten our days and here are a few suggestions.
- Smile because it is the beginning of laughter and like laughter, it is contagious.
- List your blessings. The simple act of considering the good things in my life helped distance me from the negative thoughts that acted as barriers to humor, laughter and consequently to feeling good.
- When I hear someone laugh, I move toward that person. Humor can be a shared joke among a small group of friends, but more often than not, everyone is happy to share something funny. Why? Because it gives them an opportunity to laugh all over again.
- I love spending time with fun people who laugh and smile easily both at themselves, and at life’s absurdities. These are people who find humor in everyday events. Their playful points of view are often contagious.
- I try to bring humor into ordinary conversations simply by asking; ‘What is the funniest thing that happened to you today/this week or even this month?’ Try it sometime.
When people show love and give advice, they only mean to be helpful, but, is advice always necessary?
‘Maybe you should try a new treatment? How about changing your doctor? There’s a miracle fruit juice in the supermarket and I bought a bottle for you to try.’
These people are offering the best solution to your problem that they have. It may not seem like much but they probably figure that it’s better than nothing. Now, there is no way you can say that they didn’t try. But, a chronic sufferer has no doubt researched everything available on the internet, from medical journals to visiting a line of doctors and that is probably why advice stings. People mean well but there are times when they make the patient feel like an idiot without meaning to of course. ‘As if anyone could be in so much pain and fail to research all available options,’ one patient told me: ‘I have tried every single treatment available from tablets to brews to magic potions and talked to every pharmacist and naturopathetic doctor I could find.’