“Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value to joy, you must have somebody to divide it with”
I went to a conference yesterday on ‘Recovery Oriented Services in Mental Health’. There was an Incredibly courageous and inspiring account of recovery by Shanon – the growth and learning that can come out of difficulties and the vital need to be seen beyond a diagnosis of bipolar, or label and instead as a person. This can also be seen on her Ted Talk:
“No great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness”
Fight Against Fears by Lucy Freeman is a very accessible book, making psychoanalytic concepts easily understandable. Really worth reading.
“Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings”
I see this as wisdom on the importance of being vulnerable in relationships with others, in order to live and love more fully. And rather than distracting, or denying feelings to ourselves and others, we need to live in the present, take risks to be honest and take action, rather than passively letting life go by – “How you live your life is your business. But remember, our hearts and our bodies are given to us only once. Most of us can’t help but live as though we’ve got two lives to live, one is the mockup, the other the finished version, and then there are all those versions in between. But there’s only one, and before you know it, your heart is worn out, and, as for your body, there comes a point when no one looks at it, much less wants to come near it. Right now there’s sorrow, I don’t envy the pain. But I envy you the pain” (p225)
You can try and mask painful feelings, with distractions such as alcohol, drugs, eating, work, or by putting up defences so as not to trust or get close too anyone too easily, in the hope to avoid further emotional pain. But by masking the pain, you also mask the joy and emotions on the colourful end of the spectrum, which make us truly alive – “If there is pain, nurse it, and if there is a flame, don’t snuff it out, don’t be brutal with it. Withdrawal can be a terrible thing when it keeps us awake at night, and watching others forget us sooner than we’d want to be forgotten is not better. We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster than we should that we go bankrupt by the age of thirty and have less to offer each time we start with someone new. But to feel nothing so as not to feel anything – what a waste!”
Brain Lock by Jeffrey M. Schwartz, MD with Beverly Beyette is a book that helps to show ways to free yourself from obsessive-compulsive behaviour. It is a four step treatment method to change your brain chemistry. I think its important to have a deep exploration in therapy about the underlying meaning and functionality of the symptoms and through this understanding symptoms often dissipate. But I think this book is useful alongside this to break old cycles and foster new ways of thinking and responding.