Tag Archives: CBT

Don’t think, just do.


You’d be forgiven for thinking that the headline would be better suited to a sergeant major bellowing out orders to a squad of pertrified 17-year-olds before marching into a hail of enemy machinegun fire.

Thankfully, it’s not a post about being an automaton, but unleashing your creative unconscious.

It was the theme for a little art session I did at the hospital last week.

I do go on a bit about enjoying the process of making art rather than worrying about the end result of what you produce. This is one of those activities.

First of all, we made blank A6 booklets out of photocopy paper that I liberated from the nurses’ office.

Next, we opened the book to the centre spread and drew around our non dominant hand. We wrote a word in each finger. The first word that sprang to mind when I said these five words: A colour, a shape, a place, an object and an emotion.

Then we left that there. We’d come back to it later.

I had lots of bits of paper: wallpaper, gift wrapping, tissue, text, brochures, off cuts of painted pieces, old marbling samples, etc.

I asked participants to tear pieces of paper up randomly and stick them down with a glue stick. Don’t think about trying to make it represent anything – just do it and move on to the next page. Put down as much or as little as you like.

When you’ve finished, go back to the first page and look at it. Turn it around. Look at it from different angles. See if it suggests anything to you. It might, it might not. Embellish the images with felt tips (or paint). It may represent something, or it might be something abstract or graphic.

I’m a great believer in letting your unconscious have fun. In the same way that you don’t tell your heart to beat or your lungs to breathe, don’t tell your hands what shape to tear or what marks to make. Let your unconscious do it. Let’s face it, it’s done pretty well so far. If you’re going to trust it with running your organs I reckon it’ll be okay with a bit of gluing and sticking.

It doesn’t have to be all about images. If words spring to mind, write them down. Write a poem or a piece of prose.

If nothing comes to mind, just doodle.

Pareidolia is the term used to describe when we see images in things that aren’t really there. (Such as bunnies in clouds or a face on the moon.)

Try writing a Positive Log. Like it says, a Positive Log is not a ‘To Do’ list. A ‘To do’ list is something you put pressure on yourself to accomplish in order for you to feel that you have had a productive day. A Positive Log is a list of things that you have achieved that day.

If you suffer from a mental illness even doing the most basic things, like brushing your teeth or having a shower, can take a great deal of effort. So congratulate yourself for it. And take heart that you’re on the road to recovery. Before you know it, you’ll have built up enough strength and energy to start making ‘To Do’ lists.

Right then, remember the hand that you drew around at the beginning? Well, while you were busy gluing and sticking, your unconscious was juggling those words around. So, using the words as inspiration, I asked participants to write a paragraph using all five words. They didn’t have to be in the order they wrote them down.

There you are, a fun little activity to wile away an hour or two.

So, go and liberate some paper from the shackles of bureaucratic servitude from whence it is imprisoned in the copier tray and send it forth to the elysium fields of creativity.

Nurse! He’s out of bed again.

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Filed under Art, community, Contemporary Arts, Creativity, Design, Education, health, Ideas, Illustration, Innovation, Inspiration, Medicine, mental health, nhs, Poetry, Uncategorized, Writing

We all have to die of something.


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You wouldn’t criticise someone of being selfish if they died of cancer or heart disease.

So, why call someone selfish if they commit suicide?

The person doesn’t kill themself of cancer. Just like a person who commits suicide does not kill themself.

Depression kills them.

Do you think the person you know and love wants to leave those s/he knows and loves? To cause them pain and sorrow beyond measure.

Imagine that person in happier times. When they felt normal. Happy even. Do you think they would consider it then? Of course not. It’s pretty absurd to even think it.

How dark must it be in the mind of someone who wants to commit suicide for them to consider it a viable option to ease their suffering?

I am writing this to hopefully help destigmatise mental illness. And also to encourage people who are suffering to try and speak up and ask for help. Whether that be to a friend or family member, your GP or community mental health care unit. (Yes, they have them.) Suicide is the biggest killer of men in the UK under the age of 45.

And also to ask people who don’t suffer from mental illness to try and be a bit more understanding. If you think someone you know is suffering from depression, or at risk of suicide, ask them if there’s anything you can do to help. But, please don’t tell them to pull their socks up and get on with it. They’ll probably back off sharper than a hermit crab.

A person who commits suicide isn’t trying to hurt you. They are trying to stop their pain. To stop the disease in their brain.

If you need help try these links. And remember, if things get so bad and you can’t wait, go to A&E they will treat you just like any other patient and get you the care you need.

Mind

Samaritans

NHS

ARC (Local to Stockport only)

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Filed under Art, community, Disability, Education, mental health, Uncategorized

Tony Scott – In Memoriam.


tony scott, suicide

Tony Scott, director, 1944 – 2012.

What compels a person to take their own life?

Serious mental illness? A scandal? Depression?

People often talk about suicide victims as being selfish. Particularly if they leave children behind.

But you don’t hear people saying: That selfish bastard went and died of cancer.

The person doesn’t kill themselves – the illness kills them. And depression is an illness. Like it or not. Believe it or not.

Whether the sufferer has a chemical imbalance in the brain or has a genetic predisposition varies from patient to patient.

It’s very difficult for doctors to ascertain what causes mental illness, but what they do know is that it is very real.

Figures suggest that 1 in 4 people will suffer from a mental illness at some stage during their life.

There are numerous treatments available, from antidepressants to cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT). For most people, the illness is temporary and they make a full recovery. But for others, it’s a life-long sentence.

I can’t think of anyone who suffers from depression who wants to be in that condition. And I can’t imagine anyone, who’s of a normal state of mind, actually wants to die.

I imagine the reason that a person commits suicide does so because, to them, it is a very real and viable solution to their present problem.

What dark place must they inhabit if there is no other hope?

To a non-sufferer, it seems incomprehensible that suicide could ever be a viable option. Unfortunately, it is these kind of beliefs that perpetuate the stigma surrounding mental illness. And why some sufferers are reluctant to seek help.

It doesn’t matter if you’re rich, successful and appear to have everything, mental illness doesn’t discriminate.

Like many people, I was very saddened to hear about the recent passing away of film director, Tony Scott, who committed suicide by jumping from a bridge. Leaving behind a wife and two children.

Whether he was being treated for mental illness, I don’t know. It is rumoured that he had terminal brain cancer. But this has been denied by his family.

The saddest thing of all, is that whatever his mental state, he felt that ending his own life was the best option he had left.

Christian Slater & Patricia Arquette in True Romance, directed by Tony Scott.

I’ll remember him for making one of my favourite films – True Romance, written by Quentin Tarantino, and starring Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette and whole host of other luminaries such as: Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer, Christopher Walken, Gary Oldman, Brad Pitt, Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Penn and James Gandolfini.

Here’s one of my favourite scenes played by Dennis Hopper, (Clarence’s dad), and Christopher Walken, a mafioso.

Hopper knows his time is up, and to prevent being tortured some more and possibly spilling the beans as to his son’s whereabouts, he decides to provoke his captor.

Rest in Peace, Mr Scott.

Here are some other famous people who also felt they had run out of options:

Vincent van Gogh, painter, 1890.

Alan Turing, computer scientist, 1954.

Ernest Hemingway, writer, 1961.

Sylvia Plath, writer, 1963.

Rothko, painter, 1970.

Diane Arbus, photographer, 1971.

Ian Curtis, singer, Joy Division, 1980.

Kurt Cobain, singer, Nirvana, 1994.

Gary Speed, footballer, 2011.

Tony Scott, director, 2012.

And here’s a link for anyone who needs help.

http://www.mind.org.uk/

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