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Further Thoughts on ‘Recovery’ and ‘Real’ Mental Health.

By Peter Strieb Griebling

So many of us who have suffered which I now call ‘so called mental health problems’ have been given the most awful subtle and not so subtle messages by most people around us throughout our lives(often by people who claim to love us most).if you think holistically, it is not surprising that some people with not such big egos succumb to ‘illness’. The way we treat each other sometimes, is it really surprising that somewhere, something has to give. We’re all guilty of it, but the way the world is that the more sensitive, less developed egos crack. As I said in my June 2003 ‘To the Advocate’ letter, “the mentally ill merely show a crazy world to itself” or, put another way, “insanity is a sane response to an insane world”.

I have often been surprised by how many people who knew me before I ever had a breakdown said to me “you were the last person I ever expected that to happen to!” or “Know what you mean M, thought I was cracking up myself sometimes”. A common joke among mental health users who live round here about people who never quite got into the system was that they were “the ones that got away”!

Now what my purpose of this discourse wants to say to all of you out there who are feeling worthless, helpless, etc, etc,(given that our confidence is now at rock bottom) don’t buy into all that stuff “what can I do?” “what am I but a tiny speck in a huge cosmos.” I have discovered it begins with me and of course you. Remember that Japanese programme years ago called “Monkey” on children’s TV? It used to give in every episode a quote from Zen Buddhism. The one I always remember was “and Buddha said, ‘with out thoughts we make the world’”. If you think about it, everything you see: a great design; an elegant piece of furniture: a TV, a fridge etc etc. started with a thought. If you’re religious, a beautiful mountain, tree, sunset or lake started in the mind of God. So everything started with a thought!!

‘Real Mental Health’ therefore means what I think, say and do does matter. Now do you see how special and important each one of us is? We can change our world simply by us all being responsible and monitoring what we think, say and do. I hope this is not pressuring anybody who is out there desperately trying to find themselves and understanding what happened to them, it is meant to be encouraging. I found the quickest route to recovery was to, in my mind, be where I wanted to get. By being where I wanted to get and holding on to that, draws it to you faster. I know it’s not easy when one is in the think of it, but there’s no other way, if you really want to recover.

All this really applies to everyone reading this, be you mental health user or not. We’re not actually doing that badly if you think about our grand parent’s generation. Think about it holistically, what was the state of the world’s mental health if it caused two World Wars and nearly blew us all into kingdom come during the Cuban crisis?

Now, in this generation, is our chance to create the peaceful ordered world we all crave. Now; is the time to seize our chance. It starts with me and you. Lets all start thinking really mentally healthy and creative ways, which is what mental health is all about it; isn’t it?? Those of us who have suffered so much ironically can now be a light to others going through it. Isn’t it amazing that some of those who treated us so badly in the past are now looking to some of us!? Because; we can enter empathetically into their lives and say ”I know, its alright,” “I understand, I’ve been there.” Wasn’t that all we so desperately wanted to hear when we were there!?

Love M.