One thing I’m open about is how difficult it can be to condense information about mental health into a short blog post, article, or a photo with a bit of text on social media.
Mental health support and information should be accessible to everyone so it’s great to use all these platforms. But I worry about how much personalised support gets missed especially at a time when everyone’s mental health needs are so great.
This makes me think about the work I do in appointments when I really get to meet someone. As much as people come to psychotherapy because of something they’re struggling with, our work usually includes exploring personal identity or sense of self. I call this process finding the person amongst mental health.
When our mental health is affected negatively we can lose a sense of who we are, including feeling alienated from people and spaces in which we’d normally feel comfortable or affirmed. If this goes on for long enough it can feel as though there isn’t anything but struggle and stress, and that there’s nowhere to go.
Although the aim of psychotherapy is to alleviate mental health problems this isn’t always enough to enable people to fully live their lives, amongst people in relationships, out in the wider world. An absence of mental ill-health symptoms doesn’t mean we can always go straight back to regular life, especially as our lives usually reflect who we are.
Psychotherapy should include learning how to make safe, comfortable, and enjoyable contact with your sense of self. Many people are worried or frightened by their own emotions too which means a lot of effort goes into feeling less or avoiding feelings, so we learn that emotions are just overwhelming and uncomfortable. Ideally emotions are a useful source of information on what each facet of your self needs, which is a guide on how best to respond to them.
Learning how to find and stay connected to the person you are amongst your mental health means you can strengthen your relationship with your self, including your personal identity, which is part of your baseline in staying mentally healthy. It can also help to strengthen relationships with other people and your wider life.
Would you like support with your mental health and personal identity? Contact me to explore working together.