The what is happening/ what happened to you diagnostic in mental health.
This is very important and seems so obvious, until the organisations that define how clinicians observe, diagnose and support individuals look beyond a book that only lists problems and has not one documented solution.
It was originally published so clinicians could find the right code to invoice against.
Just let that sit with you …
And this text grew explonationlly as the field of psychology and psychological medicine found conditions to prescribe to.
Now I am only talking about Depression and Anxiety here.
There are many conditions that require our excellent medical practitioners and their body of knowledge, understanding and experience. I will never dispute that.
From the perspective that I see from taking with individuals most days …
When the methods applied do not improve their life. More information is required.
I find it’s common practice for people to believe they have a chemical imbalance,
The individuals are left with the thinking that the problem is in them or their head and mostly the brain.
Most of the leading researchers and scientists dispute this. Thank goodness.
I could break it down more.
I am just one person and not a leading authority. It far easier for an expert that presents experts to do that …
Instead of me.
Check out Johann Hari Lost Connections Book.
He traveled the world talking with leading researchers and scientists and compiled it into a fantastic book about Depression
(I will put links to books and talks in Because I’m nice like that.
What is often not considered
Is the experiences people are going or have gone through.
It leaves little room for wellness change.
This article really explains what I am talking about.
It’s imperative we start to look at the whole story of the person.
If you are curious about other ways we can begin to look at and overcome depression and anxiety why anyone should consider what has gone before and what is happening now.
Find someone who will help you understand how to understand more about those things .
Why did some people fly through lockdown and for others it washed in feelings that created fear, anxiety and depression.
For some people it was the very real uncertainty, jobs going, financial security disappearing, having to remain at home in dangerous or un happy circumstances.
For some people the uncertainty brought a familiarity to it.
People who had lived through chaotic and uncertain childhoods seemed to be comfortable with the now very uncertain world.
They had been training for it there whole lives it would seem.
The final lockdown in the UK had a very different impact. The excitement of Christmas behind us and the winter to push through.
I was getting a very different picture arrive in my office.
Loneliness was playing a much bigger part in people’s descriptions of their suffering.
I examined my own times where those feelings had been most prevalent. It was in my teens just before I had the freedom to do what I needed to.
Feelings of constriction and thinking no one would even notice if I disappeared from the world.
I wondered how much of that teenage angst had been unearthed collectively as we all became grounded with in our homes, put on time schedules by schools and told when we could see our friends.
Had we collectively been pulled back in time to a place where we had no control over the direction of our lives.
I was shocked, it was looking that way, as I listened to more and more people’s frustrations, pain, fear and detachment.
I started paying attention to who was thriving and comparing that to people who where not.
Who was thriving emotionally?
What resources, attitudes, and attributes where being displayed?
I noticed that people who where actively doing something for others spent very little time enduring the dark days.
They where quick to rebound from the harder days.
Little and often through small practices and routine seemed to drive habits that got more done over time.
They didn’t endulge themselves in either pride or selfpity.
They had an outwood looking focus that said I feel good when I’m doing things for others’. It created a very solid type of resilence.
I started to pick up on something important here.
Resourcing someone else that mattered to them made them more empathetic towards themselves.
I was observing and hearing a lot of stories about grief. I wondered if loosing a part of our life’s so suddenly had created a larger feeling of grief collectively.
Having the over arching time before look that we all now shared.
We all have a story that locks us together as humanity. The generations that have experienced this. Went through it in different ways. We are all going through it.
A much bigger idea floated into my mind. That the pain and suffering of loss is inevitable and it is something we will all have to go through. It is the closest thing to connection I have become aware of recently.
Those that knew what to do about internalised pain instinctively where coping better.
This was a monster in terms of growth for me.
I know that many people have different threshold of emotional pain. And that there is no upper limit to what we can experience.
How ever our learned experiences will dictate how we respond to the prospect of pain or pain itself.
The people I spoke to over the course of this year showed me that when they could gain something from there suffering. When they could learn something about themselves that enabled a value within them to be forfilled.
They would learn how to accept the pain.
Be with the pain
Nor fear the pain.
And the experience of being in pain changed.
I realised most of us are not taught how to move through emotional pain.
I found that the people that found a way to say I deserve this.
Stayed suffering for much longer.
That that tiny idea had been with them since childhood.
The simplist of statements could open up a very different conversation.
” I don’t know if anyone has said this to you, it’s not your fault you where a kid”, would you like to talk about what happened to you?”
My daughter had demonstrated how capable she was of dealing with pain and trauma last summer and taught me an enormous lesson it took me a year to understand it.
She had been laying on an inflatable enjoying the hot air and the pool in Spain.
A bumble bee minding its own business flew into her getting stuck to chubby little arm.
The bee stung as it wings were now stuck to her wet skin.
I heard the scream and the panic. I knew it was a bee. I got into the pool my parental vision locked onto the source of my 5 year olds pain.
“Mummy, it’s stinging ow ow ow”
I had the bee and the sting out before we hit the edge of the pool. Tilly crying and shaking.
Once upstairs and calming down ice lolly in hand.
Tilly looked me in the eyes and said “Mummy what happened to the bee”
“Sweet heart it will have died when it stung you”
Tilly looked agust and big tears started to flow down her little pink cheeks.
As I comforted her I found myself experiencing confusion. I thought she would experience relief knowing the thing that hurt her was no longer here.
It took me months to realise what had gone on that day.
Tilly did not move to anger in a situation of personal pain. She would choose compassion instead.
She felt kindness towards the bee. Looking beyond her own suffering and extending her thoughts outside of her self. Her tears where helping her to heal, when she cried for the bee.
She didn’t choose, revenge or anger.
She didn’t chose to remain in pain.
She moved to healing herself by thinking beyond herself.
We would only spend a few more days taking about the bee in the pool and then life would move on.
She automatically went towards emotions that enabled her to heal.
I had noticed a patten in the office.
The bee and Tilly had alerted me to something.
People who could not find compassion for themselves or others stayed in pain..
The pain of avoiding pain drove an awful cycle.
It was essential to teach them how to understand and feel compassion this was part of enduring the discomfort that would keep them in the now.
We are in Teir 4 and for us that means as a family we are only allowed to move within a particular region. To minimise the spread of covid.
We went on what would be one of our usual stomps with our children.
The river unusually,caught my attention.
In this circumstances it was its beauty. The ice created a layer to it that demanded my attention.
Water predominantly represents our emotions in metaphor or take it a layer deeper and the distinction between the physical and not physical that we experience.
Gone in deep all ready! A frozen river is not only dramatically beautiful but its representative of what we can see on the surface and what is hidden beneath.
I could go on but for me today it was time out and away from the stories and inner workings of peoples subconscious minds.
That really is where I get to flow and experince my spark as I help entreperate what is hidden beneath a very real layer of ice for some people.
Today however was about being present and very much in my bones in the physical reality and realm I exsist in.
Saskia and I spoke today about how we are noticing how beautiful where we live is.
It sounds kinda strange even staying that out loud. That the expectation is I need to go to the hills or moors or Moutains to experience beauty.
Yet on my own door step there are breath taking natural wonders if I stop and look…Ice and jack frost rolls in magic as quick as a Disney film and it transforms locations that I expect to look mundane and uninspiring.
I see the importance in that, the days are ever changing and if just for a split second I take a moment to look I might be reminded of what it means to be alive.
The cold finger tips, the way a wooly hat feels like a a hug for my ears. The smell of the cold on someone that’s just come indoors.
The discomfort of the cold is comforting against the uncertainty of life right now. It has a presenting ability to it that holds me within my senses.
Fully able to remain within the moment.
Interestingly I dont recall anything that can do that to me with such effectiveness.
I have never been a fan of the cold I have a particular block around my fear of getting cold. My feet and hands have had me crying like a three year old without her favourite toy when the heat pains kick in.
And then the flip I love winter sunsets, being handed a hot drink straight of the jet boil. And the feeling of accomplishment for earning the rosie cheeks.
Getting outside it’s good for my soul its healing and powerful. It calms the dragon in me and takes my mind right into my body.
Sometimes I forget that it’s simple that wins the day.
As much as I feel the frustration of remaining g in on region, like a teenager who has been grounded and told to remain in my room.
I am only a prisoner to my own thoughts if I do not allow myself the freedoms of knowing, I create my reality and how I feel about it.
But what a gift I was given as the sun began to kiss the horizon on this Christmas evening.
Colours like I’ve never seen painted across the sky. I have always found peace in looking to the sky.
A gift from the universe for me.
This really has been a year of digging deep, heartbreak for humanity and moving through the overwhelm of the ever changing world I see before me.
Huge questions of myself and how does someone like me with my very unique gifts offer something in these ever changing times that enables hope optimism or the promise of feeling diffrent.
I have watched my children thrive become more resilient and adapt to a world so diffrent for them to all they knew before.
We started this year under a huge moon in Finland. I am so greatful we made the trip to that wonderland. Even with resistance from outside and missing school that adventure created memories for our family we will cherish, it really Marks the before era for me. And will be treasured in my heart.
I’m reflective on what I have what I’ve lost and what I’ve come to learn …
For years I hid behind busy… 2020 was a year where I had no choice but to still, with distractions reduced I found my self looking into the shadows of my past.
And much like the Muppets Christmas Carol… I came out singing and hoping for a dance with Gonzo and Ramone the rat … It wasnt always fun in fact sometimes it hurt in ways I hadn’t let myself experience for years if ever.
But I had time … and so each day I would be on the lookout for a sunset.
My thoughts now go to the blanket of the night sky that covers us all on this Christmas night. We are all under it together. And together we’ll come out into daybreak.
The longest part of the night is just before first light.
Sending love, Christmas blessings warmth and the hugs that warm you from your toes to your ears.
If you read to here ..I love you for being here with my words they always come from my heart.
Stay connected, make th call, send the text, we are all in this together.
I care about you, the people you love the ambitions, hopes and dreams you have.
Do you have somewhere you really really want to work somewhere you want to connect with to be associated with?
The First Job I ever had pretty much saved my life. I’m not joking when I say that. I had one GCSE I had just gone into foster care and my options where seriously narrow.
Part of my college course involved work experience and I had wangled my way into the sports development offices for Kensington and Chelsea..
They had an office in a building with a wonderful charity the Canalside Activity Trust.
Everyday I would watch the lads taking children out on the water or spend the day trampolining.
I was at a desk doing zip to do with sport chasing options for the London Youth Games, licking envelopes. Actual soul destroying mind numbing awfulness.
One day I walked across the corridor with cup of tea for the manager
Errr hi I’m Amanda.
How do I get to do what they do?
I was pretty ballsy and just asked.
Its simple volunteer see if you like it
Give us some hours and we’ll pay for your training!
Ding ding ding……
Within six months I was qualified and had a solid offer of a job.
This is how much I needed help the assistant manager walked me down to the local bank so I could open an account.
I didn’t have one! And to be paid I needed one.
Over the time I was there I would get qualifications, take inner city children on experience holidays to the coast, kayak big whitewater.
Be supported all the way through every GCSE I needed. Be given the responsibility of managing 100’s of children on the water.
I would get sponsored and end up competing in my kayak most weekends. Money and equipment was actually being given to me. I would work with the charity on and off for 5 years.
It gave me access to the outdoors and more importantly my own income and that gave me freedom.
It was a family and the stability I had craved so much, more than just a job.
Canalside really did go miles to build a place where so many of us learnt to feel so much more than where we had come from.
We worked damn hard it never ever felt like that.
I was willing to take a risk and give up a bit of my time. I was rewarded in ways that transformed my life, options and possibilities.
So how to ask the question?
If you have to get through gate guardians and I’ve pulled this off for landing a few invisible jobs when the stakes where high.
I needed to talk directly to the person that really could make a decision and change my life.
This was how I approached it.
Track Them Down !!!
Who is it I need to ask, how can I do something for you?
In the above case it was easy I knew exactly who to approach and I also knew they drank tea in bucket loads.
In other cases I’ve taken to the internet and trawled, until I had a name and phone number as well as all the details about the organisation. This could take a few days.
I start by sending a hand written letter
And somethings pertinent they might need.
Tea has never let me down !
I also say I’m going to call the following week at a specific time and it would be great if they could let me know if that’s inconvenient.
I ring when I said I would and inform the gate guardian that it’s pre organised.
Turbo cocky it always works.
At this point I normally end up talking with exactly the person I need to.
Instead of bombarding them with the super show that is Me … Fake it till you make it right!
I say would it be ok if I send you a letter about me and why I would love to do something anything for you and your organisation.
At this point because I did my research so would drop my specific reasons for loving said company or org.
Then I send in the good stuff
A parcel with a book, something I think is amazing want to go extra level tag a couple of chapters and express why you think they are useful.
And I pop a hand written letter about me in. I would ask can I be considered for a position any position even if I have to work for free.
And I call back make sure they got my parcel.
You can use this very same approach for networking or getting to talk to someone who seems so distant and unreachable.
Because of all of the above I have managed to have a direct conversation with my absolute sporting idle. And this woman is not someone you can easily get a chat with.
I have always got exactly where I planned to be. It took work.
It rewarded me in ways I still can’t believe.
I spent two months at the heart of the London Olympic Games. I sent a letter myself instead of waiting for no one to nominate me.
I was seriously rewarded with the crown jewel of positions and access to track side action that would have cost thousands. More importantly I was part of the biggest show on the planet working along side the producers and teams involved in the medals ceremonies.
So when you might think I can’t or the stakes seem high.
I’ve been thinking ‘ruminating’ on this for a bit.
I spent an outrageous amount of my life trying to fit in places I absolutely didn’t.
A need for acceptance buried inside of needing to feel safe. If I was a good little rule follower I would be useful that way I was kept around.
Except that was never ever me, too curious too inquisitive, always on the hunt for better ways to experience life.
That literally pours out of me on a daily basis.
I see every interaction with another person as a gift.
They can’t always be good ones, always lessons to be gained though!
And if I’m lucky enough I will always always learn something about the amazing humans
that grace my world even for a second.
It’s why I have read a ton of books since the year began on healing, higher states, breath work, hypnotherapy and human behaviour sciences.
I care so much about what I do, I put in hundreds of hours behind the scenes.
Some might say I’m obsessed some might say I’m boring.
I’ll say I care and my kind of caring means making a massive dent in depression, PTSD, anxiety physical and emotional trauma.
How I do that, I get you to see your experience differently even for one second..
I’m all about bringing in different.
And different is what is needed.
With out the rogues, without the rule breakers without the movers and shakers
What remains is a broken system that isn’t changing lifes, worse still it’s not saving them.
I’m just wondering when the medical model is going to recognise the human on the other side.
That’s why I read until my eyes hurt. And question the very normal things that people in emotional pain, numbness of just plain fear do daily.
My pursuit of not following rules of human expectation has led me to approach how I really believe life changing impactful work should look.
The absolutely inspiring bit others take up the mantle and start to put their own brand of life fulfilling purposeful work out in the world too.
Individuals creating vlogs, sharing inspiring connection. Humour being poured out into the world. Women seeing their own way to create and drive powerful difference to the core of female problems.
And the super supers the people in the world who go way beyond and are trying to protect millions of people.
With dedication and purpose literally working around the clock to help our country navigate some turbulent times.
I am so lucky I have been able to meet, talk, learn and grow with these wonderful humans each breaking ground for others.
Every now and then I do have a wobble, how can I keep pushing on?
What I do looks like nothing else out there, it’s not mainstream and sits so far away from what someone would recognise as therapy or help.
I like that about it, I didn’t want therapy or help I had a burning need to understand myself understand what I had gone through and why I felt like I had lost the very core of myself.
I found that through working with extraordinary and humble practitioners that where influenced by literature, human behaviour, science, storywritting and most importantly talking with people lots and lots of people.
“Here is something different, I’ll show you and see just what you can do”.
And Do I Did.
So the wobble comes and then I remember why I can handle the discomfort of pushing to the edges of being different.
I care and I want to see a better world.
A world where therapists feel inspired and are working with intuition and still have a relieable process that leads to outcomes that make a difference. And they know why!
Time after time. It’s not much to expect.
I have lived in darkness but found optimism in the simplist of things.
I wouldn’t accept that an early life filled with emotional trauma and instability would mark my cards for life.
I love to hear a story a life story gore and all
Why because I hear about the person in front of me and just for a second someone sees you.
There is nothing worse than becoming invisible as a human.
Transparent, lifeless and a whisp of what you once where. The faded … I see them and then I see the struggle to be seen as whole.
We all need recognition love and someone to believe in us. Someone who is so damn confident you can change there is no where else to look. What you will find on the inside is belief.
Life can and will be different.
My fave chats always include the craziest ideas.
I dive so deep in the crazy, I’ll take a swim in the gaga nutjob ideas; because without fail there is gold in those.
Enough crazy always brings out something.
And just when I am unsure about not taking the leap, not contributing, not aiming for change
I remember I was given a phenomenal heart and courage to look at what I’m afraid of.
To look and say ahhhh it’s not so bad
I can go forwards and if you’re willing I’ll take you with me.