"These moments given, are a gift from time" (Kate Bush). Di-alcohol / Alcohol-free 22/03/15 always.

1 January 2017

Notes on mental health

"Everybody has a mental health". Those were the words spoken by the facilitator at the "Mental Health First Aid" training session that I attended in the Autumn of 2016. This was an excellent course which I would recommend to anyone. The course has helped me view many things from a completely fresh perspective. I have learned that ALL our individual experiences and transactions are interpreted and perceived by the brain, and that it is our responsibility to try and nurture positive thought patterns for ourselves and for others. 

The "Mental Health First Aid" course in 2016 emphasised a point that had been made to me previously by Michael Thorne, one of two personal counsellors whom I consulted in the 2015-16 period. Michael introduced me to the idea of neuroplasticity, and the way in which the brain creates thought processes - "neural pathways" - both good and bad. I first approached Michael during a very sharp depression in October 2015. As I saw it, the challenge for me was to develop positive thought process from a standing start, during what was becoming a very raw winter on several levels. Someone else who turned out to be crucial in this process was a local personal gym trainer, Keri McKibbin. Without any standing about on ceremony, Keri threw me into a process and a habit of physical exercise that has remained with me to this point. 

Whilst my physical routine is slightly less intense than when I was training with Keri, I continue to keep in mind his philosophy of ALWAYS trying to be uncompromisingly positive and challenging of negative patterns in terms of my wider approach to life. This has led to some remarkable results in the workplace, which indicate that in barely a year since I first approached Michael and Keri, I have indeed turned much of my life around and I know, deep down, that I can now be counted on to set an example to others in any given setting. 

Part of my recovery is rooted in my love of football. I am fascinated by the idea of how teams organise themselves tactically, and build a positive team ethos. In a similar vein, I have worked hard to try and organise my thoughts more cohesively, and I keep a set of "Artefact Cards" in a little pouch by my desk at work to maintain key thoughts in a structured way.