Behaving impulsively is a well documented human behaviour. Advertising agencies use this trait. Stores place enticing goods at eye level to increase profits. Generally being spontaneous and the odd impulsive gesture is often admired in our society. Wellbeing articles daily advise to ‘out of our comfort zones’.
For those suffering, and I use that word deliberately, with mental illness the advice out in the wellbeing world, is well meaning but must be handled with care. After all, you don’t need qualifications to write about anything. Mental health patients have to learn to avoid certain articles and advice.
Mental Health advice should never be one size fits all.
These wellbeing courses are all the rage in mental health services. I’ve attended one or two. Along with myself, a sixteen year old girl, five others and a fifty year old disabled soldier, an assistant and the consultant. All the patients suffering from very different disorders but being given the same advice in a room ill equipped to facilitate.
As a mental health patient who presents as well and has a healthy desire to actually get better and understand what is happening to me these classes do help some but there needs to be more support around the uptake of the advice.
It’s not always easy when many mental health treatments are group based generic situations focused on what can only be termed as living well when the patients are at the end of their tether with life limiting illnesses rather than just not looking after themselves properly.
The focus seems to be on cutting down on drug use (prescription drugs) and eating well, planning chores and looking after yourself as best as you can. All good stuff. I have definitely benefited. However, if half the group is already following several diet sheets because of physical aliments and needs their medication.
How are mental health patients then supposed to decide which of the generic advice is good for them to take?
I’ve come away from these classes so anxious about what I’ve learnt. I’ve stopped taking needed medications, started eating things I’m not allowed and have put myself in unsafe situations. Often taking months to re-establish my normal.
Often people with mental illness have no fear. This can mean fear of any type…fear of failure, fear of being laughed at, fear at physical harm for themselves or others. Imagine not having fear of failure…this is something I can relate to. Within one day I can convince myself and act upon an idea which would take others months to do.
I have no fear of new things. I love new things. Every day I have an idea of some sort to make money. I could pick up the phone, start a company, then calling a paper doing a story on the new company, putting an advert for staffing my new company, and marketing the company. I would have that company up and running within a week and could sell it to you here convincingly.
However, the next week, I would be physically sick, literary vomiting. My brain has not adjusted to the fact I’m ill. They call this mental illness ‘Adjustment Disorder’. My new company would fall apart, I’d have to wind it up with the inland revenue, try and cancel all the things I’d started…all whilst being sick. Tell the people I’d got all excited about their job it wasn’t going to happen.
I love meeting new people. I gave the sixteen year old girl, from wellbeing class, a lift back to her home as she lived near me. No fear. Lovely girl, she had been given time off school to attend the treatment classes. What sent me into another spin (after she got out of the car) was as a Jehovah witness she’d been home schooled. She believed that the Earth was flat.
Let’s think, it must be at least three years or so since I did the last treatment class. Refusing to attend another. I waited for a psychologist but the lists are long and the priority is elsewhere, with people who are suicidal and aggressive which can not be a bad thing.
So, after three years of waiting at Upton Road Mental Health as an outpatient who never seemed to get to the top of the list and after another long waiting room episode because of lack of my specific doctor (who I’ve never met ) I decided to withdraw.
After all I have found blogging and share my thoughts, stories and poems. I’m smart enough to realise this has been my therapy and is continually helping me. I have a choice what I read. I spend time conversing with people I want to and will often read something I do not agree on so I learn something new…no fear.
Thankfully I’m still be here. Previous attempts were obviously not successful. I’m safer because I have, what the professionals term as ‘protective factors’ . I don’t like to cause inconvenience to people. I can use this factor, to stop me from acting out the things I think. This I did figure out on my own.
For instance, I’m still thinking of a plan of revenge against my doctor but found one person who is totally reliant on him. Because of that one person I can justify to myself that the doctor is protected – at least one person would miss him. So I can stop revenge plotting against him in my head.
I have to do this thought process with many things. Suicide is avoided by constantly reminding myself that I have children and that they would be sad if I left.
Impulsive behaviour is a symptom of many mental health disorders. https://www.verywellmind.com/impulsive-behavior-and-bpd-425483
When I was younger and more able to control my physical illnesses my lack of fear enabled me to do and see things that I’m very grateful for. I’m the only female I know that has driven, across Europe from England to Israel in a blue Talbot Horizon. I’m one of the bravest or stupidest people I know.
My degenerative physical quirks have meant that the benefits of the mental quirks are now limited. And my mental quirks have made it difficult to deal with my physical quirks. However, I’m learning to save my hands for typing rather than wasting their precious energy on cleaning – mainly thanks to wellbeing classes.
Fear of the unknown is something I could handle. I love new experiences. Daily life is old, used and known. My world is repetitive, it’s retrospect and benign because that’s how it has to be. I’m learning to live in strange unrelenting fear. Fear of the known because there is no longer any physical escape.
My blog is my new ‘no fear’ living format. I blog about things which mean little to anyone but myself and add no value to others in advertising or marketing terms. I purposefully do not follow a theme other than just what I want to cover. Unable to currently acquire new experiences I live in my past and in the lives of others.
If my truth resonates with anyone it’s brilliant. It’s almost as good as performing on stage. Seeing someone like a poem or article I’ve written, it’s an ego boost, it’s great. Truly, it means more to me than sitting in Upton Road mental health’s waiting room for doctors who I may have little or no respect for.
Thank you for reading.