Thursday, 17 March 2011

The Healing Power of Sleep

I love sleep. I love that I can go to bed, worn out and aching or mentally exhausted, and wake up in the morning feeling back to normal again. I love sleep so much that I find it difficult to get out of bed every day. This, not so good.

But I do get up, often earlier than I wish. Toddler has developed a bad habit in recent weeks. He wakes up and climbs into our bed, with his blanket, every morning between 6 and half past. We tell him to settle down and sleep a bit, it's not morning yet. But he just wriggles around being cute, giggling and kicking us until I give in, kiss and tickle him a bit and get up to make his breakfast. I am glad the clocks are going forward an hour soon. That should foil him...

I feel rested today, which is great. I am not really worried that all the manic writing will send me up the wall - on the three occasions when I have gone mad (psychotic) I have been totally unaware of it happening. Thinking it might happen seems to be a sign that it won't.

I have not been able to write much today anyway. I had an appointment at the hospital. Gynacology. Let's not go there. I settled myself in for a long wait, since the last time I went, to the Orthapaedic Department, it was a long, long haul. This time, though I was in an out in an hour. And I am fine. Enough said.

Phew. But then had to collect my new specs - an hour at Tesco sorting that out and getting a bit of shopping. And on the way back from there I decided to stop at a cafe. It is a special sort of cafe - one that has been set up as therapeutic work, to help people with mental health problems. I thought it might be good to have a cup of tea there and work on my laptop for a bit (I had it with me because I had taken it to the hospital, to fill the time).

I popped in there once before, a year or two ago, looking for voluntary work when I was doing my counselling course, but nobody was very helpful. Today I was vaguely thinking there might be somebody there who could help on the section where I am in hospital, being given a cocktail of psychiatric drugs. Chlorpromazine, haloperidol...others that I can't remember. I will have to look it up on the net, though, because I didn't really get the chance, or want to, broach the subject.

I think that therapeutic work settings are an excellent idea - bit perhaps they are not as therapeutic as they should be. Because if you have any problems of that sort, then ideally you shouldn't be around other people who are suffering in the same way. You need to be with people who are a hundred per cent normal, so that you know what sort of outlook you are aiming for.  

The problem with this cafe, I felt, was that there were not enough customers.  Should have been, because the food and drinks were good, and cheaply priced.  But I was the only person there.  And why was that, I wonder? 

I know I have been really lucky to get to where I am today. It is my family that has grounded me - having children has meant that I have been mixing for almost eleven years now with other Mums and their kids, and doing normal family stuff all the time, which has really helped to give me stability.

I don't know how what I'm trying to say here helps people who have been ill but who have no family, or not yet. I suppose once the florid symptoms of mental illness have gone, then work is the best option - voluntary work, maybe, so that there is no pressure.

Also, projects like the cafe I was at this morning should really encourage the public to come in. It is difficult, for so many reasons. But I don't know if I will go back - although I know I shouldn't be put off by one visit. Actually, I may go back to re-edit the hospital section of the book. Because it is all coming back to me now...

Being in the cafe also made me think of the reasons why people become mentally ill.  Often they are poor.  Often they are lonely.  Or they take the wrong sort of drugs, or they overworry and overthink.... Mental health problems are, I suppose, caused by stress of all sorts. But my point is, this stress is all very normal - lack of money, lack of life options, lack of a partner. And when people are healing or trying to heal, they should be treated a lot more normally too.

If I had not met Hubby I might still be floundering - if I had never got pregnant, I don't know how I would have ended up. I don't think I would ever have been properly well. I do know that I was never properly happy before I had my kids. I know kids aren't the answer for everyone, but they were for me. For other people, it may just be a significant other that keeps them on the straight and narrow. Or their friends.

Anyway, hopefully, perceptions of mental health are changing.  And I think the Internet is a big help here. 

Anyway, I do go on, don't I?

All the best. x.

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