A lot of people are fascinated by the job that I do – for many people it makes for great dinner conversations: “tell us about your crazy patients!” or “tell us about how you got threatened your bipolar patient…”
It is like I have some kind of brilliant and exciting job like a performer who gets shot out of a cannon every night at a circus (now that is a job that I wouldn’t mind having).
It just shows how so many people are ignorant about what mental illness really is.
What makes it worse is that most of you are constantly dealing with family, friends and colleagues who think that you are:
– attention seeking
– overly dramatic
(pick one or all)
I swing between the idea of standing up for yourself and educating others or just being quiet and ignoring their ignorance. You need to be honest with the people that you trust though and make it clear that you need their support more than you need their advice, their criticism or their need to be able to “fix” you.
I found this beautiful piece by one of my favourite poets, Tyler Knott Gregson:
I cannot promise
I will never become restless,
that I won’t ache
in ways you don’t know
how to help.
There are clouds in me
and they roll in
from time to time,
I hope you learn to love
the dark mornings,
instead of always
for your umbrella.
In an ideal world, you would be surrounded by people who will love or respect you even on your cloudy days. Unfortunately it will not always be that way but if you can find one or two people who really respect you for being you, who will see beyond the depression and the stress, then those are the people who you should be with.
It may even be worth sharing this poem with the people in your life.
Be proudly you! Demand respect by starting with being respectful to yourself.
You know that you are worth it!
I am on a mission…
I’m starting a new project and truthfully I’m not even sure what it entails yet.
It is probably the first time that I’ve allowed myself to do this – to just start something without a clear objective.
Usually I focus on the end goal and often, that goal is so big that I scare myself to a point where even starting it seems impossible. And then as a consequence, my ideas just float around in my head for a while until, after some time, I rework them and start the whole process again. Often scaring myself back to square one once again.
So, this time I’m doing it differently.
I’m going on a journey, I’m letting myself live an adventure.
Imagine if Indiana Jones knew what was just around the corner for him? Would he have taken the risks that he did to get that idol if he knew that a huge ball would almost take him out in an underground tunnel?
And this I can promise you: Nothing that you do will be as scary as almost dying underground while trying to steal an idol!
I may be talking to myself here, but hopefully you are all listening too. Because so many people hold themselves back from great things due to fear.
How many books go unwritten, products are never invented, businesses are never started, opportunities are missed, designs that never come to light, art works that are never expressed because somebody was too afraid to start them?
Today is as good a day as any to start. (The first of January is way too far away – a random Wednesday in April is good enough)
Whether you want to start living your life differently or you want to do something new, whether you have a business plan or you want to start a new hobby, this advice is for you:
1. Don’t be afraid!
2. Build up evidence of what you know and what you can do – you are going to need a journal (a real paper one is the only thing that works for me but go ahead and use your tablet/phone/computer).
3. Jot down or illustrate your ideas. Big or small, impossible sounding or not.
4. Take small steps BUT they have to be steps – don’t allow yourself to stagnate or say “I’ll do it tomorrow”
5. Ask for help, share your ideas with others, speak up!
6. Enjoy the process rather than panic about the end result
7. Don’t let others success overwhelm you. Everyone has their own journey and just because somebody does something amazing it doesn’t mean that you can’t do something amazing too.
8. Be brilliant!
This week, I had the honour of having a lunch date with my 9 year old son (instead of me being at work and him being at school).
He sat across the table from me and asked me what I would like to have in life– so I explained a few things to him. He then asked me what I was afraid of, what was holding me back. So I replied, using concepts that I thought he could easily understand, that I fear rejection. He then said to me that my fears are all about the unknown and that I always presume the worst when I should expect the best!
Profound words from a 9 year old, and yes I think my son is a genius (of course I should, I am his mother!). Truthfully though, most kids have amazing advice and have ways of seeing the world that we often don’t. That is because they have less fear, they have less experience of what could go wrong so they don’t see the world in the jaded way that adults do. They trust their instincts.
But because we are adults, and they are kids, we think that we know better than them. And we do all the talking, and sometimes shouting, and very little of the listening.
To listen to a child takes modesty. Put aside your stubbornness (the I’m always right and I know what is best for me part) and just listen graciously.
In the same way, we often ignore elderly people who we think are past it, or don’t understand the way that the world works these days. They are the ones who can sometimes simplify an issue that we are complicating.
You don’t have to go around listening to everyone’s advice – especially those people who are always trying to tell you what to do (and don’t tend to even follow their own advice), but sometimes it is good to keep quiet and just listen. Don’t resist it, it is not an insult to you.
Baz Luhrmann says in his song Everybody’s free to wear sunscreen – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfq_A8nXMsQ
“Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who
supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of
fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the
ugly parts and recycling it for more than
And where does the best advice come from? From deep within you – that quiet voice that whispers “you can” when your conscious brain is shouting loudly “you can’t!”
Believe in yourself, because you are so, so worth it!