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Sophie writes on RECOVERY

Sophie writes about her own recovery from breakdown …..

Here are some of the things which helped me over the years following a nervous breakdown.

Firstly, I had to talk myself out of the idea that radio DJs were referring to me or talking directly to me. This involved taking deep breaths and attempting to rationalise the situation. Sometimes it would mean telling myself that they talk in such a manner that leaves interpretation open. Other times I would just try to relax in the knowledge that really I am not that important and no-one really knows or cares what I am thinking. At these times I would feel a sense of relief.

A nervous breakdown involves delving deeply into your emotional life. To release yourself you have to delve equally deeply and find the broken bits inside yourself and put them back together again. Of course, no two methods of recovery are the same just as no two breakdowns are the same. But I found myself isolated and I tried to have the attitude that this was in some way beneficial to my recovery – that it was giving me the necessary space and time I needed. I enjoy company but none was forthcoming, so in my own time I was reflective on my life and tried to be kind to myself emotionally. If I felt I needed to do something, or speak to someone that my head told me would not be a good idea, for a change I let my heart rule despite the consequences, because more than anything it was my heart that needed to heal.

The best thing is to talk openly and honestly about yourself, your life and the world. I had lost sight of who I was, and the isolation meant that there were not many people to talk to. At first I was offered counselling which I used to look forward to as it gave me someone I could relate to, but my problems were far from solved.

To an extent there remains unsolved parts of my life, but I have come a long way. I gained a lot of strength from mental health helplines, the Samaritans and a volunteer befriender, who, unlike statutory services, are there when you need them rather than when it is convenient to them. Finding an outlet for your emotions is important, whether it is talking, pottery, cookery. We are immensely complicated and talented beings – it is so wrong that this society can quash our lives and potential to the extent that it does. We have to be strong and survive life for our sake and our futures.