Yesterday I snuck into my study for a bit and wrote and published a piece about therapy and how it really can work. I say snuck not because I had to get past armed guards or ferocious guards dogs, (have you met my adopted parents? LOL) but because I had promised my adopted parents that I would be good and rest my leg up as much as possible and wanted to honor that promise.
The piece I wrote and published ‘Piecing It All Together – Why Therapy Can Work‘ was actually the first in a mini series I have planned about therapy and the such and this is the second piece in that mini series.
(Hm, have I used that phrase before? It really is an old person’s kind of phrase isn’t it? I am convinced that I am steadily turning into a grumpy old git! Lol)
But anyway, when I was a boy and I fell over and cut myself or got some sort of scrape or abrasion or some sort of wound, my mother would carefully clean it and then she would place a sticky plaster over it.
Although thankfully nowadays – thanks to the advances in medical and chemical science – they are no longer; heavily woven, dirt attracting, impossible to keep clean regardless of the amount of prior warnings your parents gave you, constant nagging you received from failing to keep them clean, rip half your skin off when removed, little blighter’s.
When I asked my mum why I needed such a thing stuck to me (such a thing which as a result of my prior description would only end up getting me into more trouble.) she would tell me that had to have it as it “served a purpose.” Gee thanks mum! I am amazed so much detailed information didn’t result in my becoming a doctor!
Later when I was working and required to study and become certified in First Aid I was taught that that ‘purpose’ was for; protection, management of possible environmental influences and also to afford the body time to heal itself.
Let’s look at that short list again for a moment and perhaps re-word it ever so slightly and consider it in respect of some mental health medication….
“Protection and the management of possible environmental influences”.
Don’t some mental health medications do a similar thing. Help us with how we deal with environmental influences?
Keeping us calmer, clearer of thought, stabilize or elevate our moods in order to allow us to cope better with every day life and with how it affects us?
“to afford the body time to heal itself”
Doesn’t some mental health medication sim ply manage the symptoms or situation thereby hopefully affording us time to heal ourselves?
Aren’t they (some, not all of them) just to all intent and purposes just “sticky plaster medications”?
And I have no doubt that those medications that are given to us or that our loved ones encourage us to take so religiously are given (along with that encouragement to take them) with the same sense of caring and love and I have no doubt that they do ‘serve a purpose’ and do afford us time to heal.
But sometimes, as I said in my piece yesterday, the mental health issues that we face are not solely genetic or neurological but are either resultant from or influenced by environmental, psychological, emotional or sociological factors and thus are not enough.
And they should never, in those situations, be seen as being enough! For when they are seen as ‘being enough’ they change in their effect from being a useful helpful tool to being harmful and unhealthy.
For the minute those ‘sticky plaster meds’ are treated as ‘being enough’ where someone’s mental health issues are more than solely genetic of neurological, they effectively make that person mute.
And in so doing they remove both his or her voice and the potential for further healing.
Yesterday’s piece on Therapy has already generated a lot of great comments and I am extremely grateful for those comments and in truth those comments have helped shaped this piece on Therapy.
As one person pointed out…
I have been on tonnes of meds, had ECT many times, but the thing that makes the difference is my weekly visit to my psychotherapist.
I am so grateful to NZ Cate from ‘Infinite Sadness…or hope?‘ for this comment.
And I am equally grateful to ‘Rec’ (as I call her) from ‘Recovering From The Storm‘ for her comment of…
I agree with you that therapy can be good in that we get to face these issues and work through them…takes some guts to do it though eh!!
Yes, it does take guts and indeed it can be a tough and a long process.
The availability and cost of therapy and whether or not some folk are simply not accessing Therapy because they don’t have the necessary funds or the right medical insurance or indeed any medical insurance.
It is tragic if folk are having to settle just for meds as a result of this. And yes I know a lot of folk can’t even get any or the right meds for the same reason.
I am going to close this piece here as I think I have said what I wanted to say. But before I do I would like to make it clear that I am by no means anti medication nor do I feel that all mental health issues can be helped by or only need therapy. Nor am I ignoring those potential genetic or neurological factors.
I also want to end with a very real and very honest and heartfelt comment which I received in response to yesterday’s piece. This time from the author of the blog ‘Don’t Cry Broken Angel‘ who said about her mental health…
I know that most of mine is childhood trauma. After many years and therapists, it became painfully obvious to me that there was something I wasn’t quite remembering about my childhood. It took a special therapist and myself being ready to deal with said trauma before I could fully remember and work through it. I am a firm believer that, until you are ready, your mind won’t let you remember the worst stuff.
For some of us, that time never comes because the memories are too horrific to bear.
Yes medication is important and yes therapy can take a very long time and can be so very tough and I understand so very well those last words of the above comment. “For some of us, that time never comes because the memories are too horrific to bear”
But here’s the deal. Whilst I appreciate that sometimes it can seem too tough to even contemplate that therapy, and whilst I appreciate the benefits of medication including medication which provides us with “protection, and management of possible environmental influences thereby affording us time to heal“, without the additional help such as therapy when it is needed we probably simply won’t heal.
And I am convinced that in those situations, reliance solely on those sticky plaster medications will mean that healing is so very unlikely and instead of our being able to fully heal and to be the people we are meant to be we will always be damaged and hurt and patched up and patched over but never fully us.
And I for one, don’t want to be that person.