Tuesday, 5 May 2015

New Huff Post blog and other stuff

I have just written a piece for the Huff Post about child mental health and about how, instead of pouring more money into the current, very imperfect, mental health system (as all the main political parties are promising to do if we should vote for them in the coming Election) we might be better to focus on preventing the manifestation of emotional distress in our kids, for example by teaching them resilience. 

The piece should be up in the next day or two, and when it is I will link to it on here.  I wrote it more than a week ago and Paul (my rock of support and number one Fan) has been pestering me to upload it to the Huff, but I have been hesitant because I find it hard to keep telling people how I think things should be done.  I am only an expert in my own mental health, I keep saying apologetically. 

But I have been thinking about that and I have come to the conclusion that nobody, regardless of how many qualifications they hold, can really claim to be more that an expert in their own mental condition.  And having had three psychotic breakdowns in my youth and spent many of the subsequent years puzzling over the hows and whys of these manifestations of emotional distress means that I do understand more about these issues than a lot of people. 

I have been feeling quite isolated recently.  I have experienced quite a few stressful events in recent months and although I am dealing with them it has not always been easy.  I have suffered a crisis of confidence, and what I have learned from that is that I need to be stronger.  There have always been people in my life who misunderstood me and who criticized me, and because of the books I have written and the stance I hold on mental health (basically, that medication is not the answer to alleviating human distress) there seem to be increasing numbers of these people as I grow older.  I have always been over-sensitive to the opinions of others, always suffered from low self-esteem and always wanted people to like me, so I do not often stand up for myself - rather, I tend to stay quiet in the face of opposition, or to give in to it. 

However - I am getting older.  Life is too short to waste on people who don't care about me, who have only their own interests at heart.  I also need to be a role model to my kids.  I want to show them an example of strength, I need them to learn that they should always put themselves first, never let themselves be bullied or cowed by others. 

So I am not going to opt out of the debate on mental health.  I will continue to write fiction, but I will also continue my mental health writing, because I know that I have helped a lot of people already and that I will continue to help more. 

'It's never too late to become the person you were meant to be,' I read somewhere the other day.  I may be long in the tooth, but I am going to give it a try.   

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