What is this inner revolution? To begin with, revolution is not static; it is alive, ongoing, and continuous. It cannot be grasped or made to fit into any conceptual model. Nor is there any path to this inner revolution, for it is neither predictable nor controllable and has a life all its own. This revolution is a breaking away from the old, repetitive, dead structures of thought and perception that humanity finds itself trapped in. Realization of the ultimate reality is a direct and sudden existential awakening to one’s true nature that opens the door to the possibility of an inner revolution. Such a revolution requires an ongoing emptying out of the old structures of consciousness and the birth of a living and fluid intelligence. This intelligence restructures your entire being—body, mind, and perception. This intelligence cuts the mind free of its old structures that are rooted within the totality of human consciousness. If one cannot become free of the old conditioned structures of human consciousness, then one is still in a prison.
Prevalence of common mental health problems in South East London is twice as high as the English national average, according to new research.Overall, the prevalence of common mental health problems in S.E. London was two times higher than the national prevalence. Depression was four times more common in the S.E. London sample than in the national survey, and was the most common mental disorder diagnosed. Illicit drug use in the past year was twice as high in S.E. London than in the rest of England, with cannabis and cocaine being the most commonly used drugs. So mental health services face a real conundrum with the combined problems of budget cuts, inner city deprivation and the increased prevalence of drug use in London and other similar inner cities.
In the third sector, we know that working together is the key to success. But there are lots of challenges to overcome, and perhaps the biggest is learning to trust your partners.There is an increasing
recognition that councils can use their substantial purchasing power to achieve even greater impacts on the local economy, communities, and the environment by trusting the third sector to deliver mental health services in new and innovative ways.
Mary Atakli’s Blog Post 28th July 2014
I was diagnosed with a mental illness in 1992 when I was 27years old. (In fact, it was me who told the clinicians I had bipolar disorder because even before the diagnosis I could remember since 21 years old my moods swinging on a regular basis. Like 3 days of happiness and 2 days of dullness but not usually severe depression, although that did happen years later in response to a broken relationship). Longing to know why me and what was the cause, a psychiatrist told me my mental illness was part environment part genetic.
The first breakdown happened whilst I was in the Caribbean – the land of my parents. The break down was traumatic: I ended up in the only psychiatric hospital on the island. At first I couldn’t come to terms with being in a psychiatric hospital – I thought there was nothing wrong with me. However, it proved to be a wake- up call. Because my teenage years and early twenties although spent partying and studying for college and university, were very difficult, I was so bottled up. A lot of people used to say I was quiet and shy. I hated being called quiet – I just wanted to be like my peers.
When I was growing up I used to agonise over every conversation I had because I never felt adequate or able to socialise properly. My mother had been mentally ill also so I grew up traumatized by her manic behaviour which was quite dramatic.
I used to only speak to a few family members – I used to bottle up stuff like my mother used to do. In fact both my parents were very old school they were repressed. They didn’t used to express their feelings. They never said I love you, hugged me or talked to me and my siblings about growing up. (But how could they know about growing up in the West they went to school in Barbados and only till they were 14, so there were huge gaps in their nurturing as well).
I didn’t know at the time but my peers and siblings brought me up and their knowledge was limited also.
So as a result I made many mistakes and ended up in relationships with men I should never have been involved with.
That first breakdown in 1992 freed me. I no longer had to pretend I was doing okay – I could be me. And the cork seemed to miraculously pop out of the bottle and I was no longer bottled up. I was at last able to express myself and now I don't stop talking.
Over the years I began to drink up all the information on self-knowledge, motivational speakers (including at church), inspirational quotes and mental health awareness. I also became an expert on nutrition when I learnt that nutrition is key to alleviating a lot of the symptoms of the mentally ill (obviously not all like the psychosis).
Facebook has also been a God send to me because people post so many life- lessons- learnt. And that was one of the things missing in my life: I had a very fragile sense of self. I didn’t know who I was and how others perceived me. Growing up with a mentally ill mother – whom I love dearly although she has passed away now – left a lot of gaps in my nurturing. (I think youngsters who have been in care share that experience. Perhaps they could tell me if they do.)
My mother was in so much pain about her own upbringing – her mother (my grandmother) was also traumatized by the effects of slavery and having my great-grandmother die young. As a result my mother didn’t have the emotional strength to raise teenagers and my father was the strong but silent type.
Now I have had several manic episodes and stays in a psychiatric hospital in the UK. Each time I learn new stuff about myself. I wish I didn’t have this “illness” but I didn’t make myself if I had I would have made myself into what I think is perfect! Whatever that is.
So I have to love myself the way I am. And I do have a lot to be grateful for! Thanks be to God. Too much to mention. One of my mantras is “Live, Love, Laugh”.
Live life like it is your last day on earth
Love God and all those wonderful people who come into your life.
Laugh till your belly hurts.
A NEW FREEDOM
I was dual diagnosed with clinical depression and addiction issues in 2002 after trying to abstain from using narcotics and suffering a mental and emotional breakdown; I had been in active addiction for 23 years and I'd come to a point where living with or without drugs was unbearable. By this time suicidal thinking had become the norm and I was prey to misery and depression. Drugs had to varying degrees been my solution to living life on life's terms and they no longer gave me any lasting sense of ease and comfort. I was bang in trouble!
At about the age of 15 I discovered the euphorically liberating effects of alcohol and would use it whenever I had the chance. By the time I was old enough to legally frequent pubs and clubs my love affair with alcohol was becoming problematic and I opted for drugs like Cannabis and downers (sleeping pills) that seemed to give me more control and less negative consequences. By the time I discovered Crack Cocaine I had already been using hallucinogenic drugs regularly at illegal raves that my friends organized all over England. So at this time in my life it didn’t seem unusual to be getting high every day.
Being in an altered state was my solution to living life on it life’s terms; I found it a great salve for treating resentment, fear and the perpetual feeling of differentness I felt throughout my life. To be honest I’m not sure how I would have coped with the challenges that I was dealt in life without drugs of one kind or another and I have to say It wasn’t all doom and gloom, I did have a lot of fun with them; I felt more connected and ‘in the moment’ when I was high and consequently found it almost effortless to deal with a variety of different (and often interesting) situations that I may have found harrowing without my chemical sustenance.
My problem/s began when drugs no longer seemed to treat my underlying condition, the internal condition that was always there in varying degrees and would surface without any warning; I would have days when I just couldn’t shake it off no matter how much drugs were in my system. I would also try to treat this condition with a variety of other things like gorging on food, re-inventing my image, relocations, retail therapy and even by joining and trying to get involved in things that I felt might give me a feeling of purpose and direction like socialist parties and religious groups. But sadly the deep and enduring feeling of emptiness and despair would not go away.
This malady had been with me from as far back as I can remember. I’ve nearly always felt to some extent a deep emptiness and dis-connection (of varying degrees) from all those around me and this at times made it hard or nigh impossible for me to be around others and (in my late 30's) to my utter dismay I found that when the feeling was acute it was also unbearable to be alone! The loneliness, irritability and dis-contentedness would no longer recede when I used drugs and this was when at last I sought help.
I spent the next 5 years trying and failing to stop using narcotics and although I was less unbalanced than I was in 2002 I was unable to live life without being in an altered state; be it with Cannabis, Benzodiazepines, Narcotics, or all three of the aforementioned. After a period in a psychiatric ward I was discharged and after a few months in the care of the home treatment team I was referred to my local CMHT. I was referred from the CMHT to The Munro Clinic at Guys hospital where I had some C.A.T (Cognitive Analytical Therapy) and although I found the experience interesting and to some degree useful I was far from ‘out of the woods’ at this stage.
My salvation began in 2006 when it was suggested by an addiction counselor at the CMHT to have a look at the 12 step approach via Narcotics Anonymous where I met addicts who (were actively working the 12 step program and) had found a way to stay clean by following the practical program of action. I’ve been clean since 2007 thanks to the simple program and help other addicts to work the 12 steps.
Since 2008 I began trying new things after meeting others who were in varying stages of recovery and were actively involved in volunteering and (mental health service user) involvement work. They seemed to be quite energized and it was clear that they were feeling some benefits from the routine and purpose the work gave them. Although I was in full time work at this time I decided to attempt to do some user involvement work and started by becoming a member of the Southwark Mind User Council representing the same day centre that I regularly attended.
This in time led to other user involvement opportunities and before long I was quite busy. The combination of helping addicts and doing wide-ranging service user involvement work has given me a new purpose and vision; I now do an assortment of service user consultation work with several mental health sector organizations.
Currently peer support in its various forms is my ‘passion’ and I have seen some encouraging outcomes from some of the peer support work I’ve been involved with. With peer support in mind I have now gone onto develop a personal development project involving mentoring that is designed to benefit people with a lived experience of enduring psychological problems. I’ve now been given funding to pilot this project.
I think there is much scope for the widening of the involvement initiative and I dream of the day when it becomes a fully authentic way of improving mental health services that could benefit service users, professionals, service provider’s and local communities.
Telling Your Story Course At SLAM Recovery College
Tomorrow is the last day of this 5 week course and it's been really moving for all of us (staff and students) as we as we experience the benefits of articulating our experiencing using an array of different materials including magazine pictures, postcards and drawing tools as well as pen and paper. Tomorrows session will be a culmination of things we've been gathering together to share our stories to each other. This course will run again next term!
Being a Quaker I've come to really cherish the Silent Worship where we sit in silence for an hour and today's session did not disappoint. I suspect everybody might benefit from a routine action that brings them to stillness at least once a week.
I've long suspected that there must be therapeutic benefits from living on the edge of a local park where I can see my favorite tree (that I've named Leroy) and hear the birds giving it some every morning! So I was glad to read this piece from an article today:
(A picture of Leroy)
Living in an urban area with green spaces has a long-lasting positive impact on people's mental well-being, a study has suggested.
UK researchers found moving to a green space had a sustained positive effect, unlike pay rises or promotions, which only provided a short-term boost.
The authors said the results indicated that access to good quality urban parks was beneficial to public health.
The findings appear in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.