There are some wonderful blogs about mental health, depression and anxiety, and each one offers us very important information and messages. While to some this personal blog may appear to take mental and emotional health lightly, I would like to make it clear that I treat our international emotional health very seriously.
I write from my experience, based on 48 years of living with what has been labelled ‘depression’, I am mild bipolar and have been for as long as I can remember. I am in position in my life where I feel comfortable to talk freely about my self-harm, my thoughts of suicide, my extreme lows and highs because I am no longer ashamed of the emotions that make me who I am and how I feel, the shame of which has also been a huge part of my life. I have reached the age of 48 and I feel like I am 248. I am convinced that we can collectively turn society’s reaction to people with extreme emotions so that it is viewed as not a problem but instead as part of being human, and these issues should be spoken about with no borders or control. We are not puppets to be ordered about and placed in boxes. We are not statistics; we are not a patient number and a scribble of notes. To feel emotion, to whatever depth of feeling, is not wrong.
I am not taking our emotions lightly; I am only trying to create an environment where we can accept who we are because we like being WHO WE ARE. All the shit stuff as well. I chose to come off my medication, I feel that we should all be free enough and understand ourselves enough to make the same decision about our own lives. I took ownership and I am learning more about how strong I am every day. I will never recommend anyone to come of their meds; but I would recommend each individual to take a look at the meds they are taking and the impact it is having on their lives. We are all unique, and we react uniquely.
I have days of real depression; I have days of real highs. I trust that I won’t do anything stupid on days when I am at those low levels because for the most part I love life, and I love the people in my life. Even when my mind is trying to convince me otherwise.
I write poems; I meditate; I listen to music when I feel crap; I breathe and watch the birds flying about freely; I wish I could play the piano; I love writing even when I know it is a load of shit; I love coming up with ideas that will make people laugh. I write shows; I act; I perform and try to do all the things that I was told I couldn’t. Apart from skydiving, or holding a snake, those two things will never happen.
So that’s me then, and what makes me so important to my world is my imagination. Without it, I would be nothing.
Imaginations are the most important gift we possess. Without imaginations I would not be typing this on a keyboard and then posting it to a blog site making it public to millions of people via a worldwide connected virtuality. We all live and breathe with imaginations. There isn’t a single thing that we own that once did not exist and one person had to think it up. Think about where you are reading this and what is around you. Perhaps you are sitting on a chair that someone made; your laptop, PC or phone is aiding you to read these words. Are you wearing pyjamas, or a t-shirt? Are you wearing glasses? All made by people who had to dream it up. Then you have your reaction to these words, the very words that have come from my imagination are filtering into yours and creating emotion; perhaps enough that you might want to leave a comment, or like this, or rant about it. That would require your imagination.
Imaginations are powerful. They are our superpower and that is one of the reasons I believe that we are encouraged not to use them. Imagine being in a shit job where the boss doesn’t want dreamers, they want doers; well, perhaps that is because if you dream you can be
- Better than that person, or
- Dream yourself to a better job
In my other life work for a business that doesn’t actively encourage the use of imaginations. Now they may ask for ideas, but that is as far as it goes; those ideas are taken away with a little smile and a nod and then recycled in the ideas waste paper basket. Imaginations are our tool to change our lives, and whether you have depression or not, you have an imagination.
There is only one way I have found to truly exercise and listen to imagination, and that is daydreaming or, as they call it in Eastern philosophy, meditation. Why are we so against it in the West when it clearly works? Oh, I know, business. A simple ten minute meditation can work wonders for your mental and physical health and that would damage pharma, and it also means you are not working for ten minutes. But I tell you, when I meditate I imagine and when I imagine I see problems being solved or placed into perspective.
I have a workshop on this, for schools and business, where I discuss and open up the possible power of your imagination. It’s not just about finding your dream goals, it is also about improving your outlook, your health, your attitude; it boosts productivity, it can solve problems and it can, if you are that way inclined, change your emotional health for the better.
So I ask you, dear reader, and thank you for reading this, to gift yourself a little time to meditate; try it with music, try it with silence, try it while lying in bed or at work. You are the power, it lies within you; you are worth time for your own benefit.
To complete this journey for now I have to inform you about what I am doing. So, I have a new book coming out, titled MIE and it is a self-help, guide to maintaining a positive mental attitude using the arts as a tool to help you. I think it will hugely benefit anyone who has depression, anxiety, or any other emotional problem that is disabling to them.
To go with that I also have a workshop/presentation which will tour schools and businesses encouraging us to listen to the power of our imaginations and to enable them. We are the change that we need, individually so that collectively we can make this world a better place.
I also have a show that will tour theatres soon called The SHP, which is based on my book The Self-Harming Pacifist. This is a look at what I went through during my emotional meltdown, and how I rebooted myself. It is a show, it has humour, it has music and it has audience interaction. I believe this would be a perfect antidote to what we have all been through over the last year.
Let’s make 2021 a good one.
Stay fresh, cheese bags.