I am a simple, flawed human, and part of the open sharing meant to nurture my own self-awareness that I started this thing to help with, is to look myself square in the mirror and admit that sometimes I have some really bad bed-head.
Life tries to break you. And often it succeeds. But it’s the relationships we make, that allow us to pick up those shattered pieces and put them back together again.
There is a false assumption that someone suffering this, or again any mental health issue, will show it on their face like a rash (that spells “nutbar” across their forehead, maybe?) or in their general, casually observed behaviour.
I’m going to try to pick one of these apart as best I can, in my own inimitable way, with an example from my own life, and with only enough sciency words to satisfy my own love of them yet not confound those who don’t.
Man, it was hard, though, and is it ever still. There are leaps ahead often followed by stumbling falls backward, but generally there’s that thwumpsnick sound of my feet getting sucked back down into the mud, and there’s me with both hands trying to pull it back out to take another step.
Paramedics as a general rule tend towards the technical. It’s what attracts a lot of us to the field, as it was for me. By understanding that mindfulness at its core is an evidence-based, peer-reviewed technique, I was able to use it more effectively than I had before, even though it’s not a fancy sciency word.
Threats come in all shapes and sizes, I’ve said that before. I’ve also made the distinction between real and perceived threats, but what does that really mean?
Nobody ever taught us much about panic attacks in paramedic school, or at least to the degree that I remember. It may well have been a module in the wee psychology course we took, but the only thing I can really recall from that was giving a presentation on kleptomania and as I did, walking between the desks and casually nicking pens, lighters, and coffee cups. I thought I was being terribly clever.
Before 2003 I’d never heard of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, CBT, but it had fancy sciency words in the name and I like fancy sciency words, they comfort me. The social worker/therapist facilitating it, however, never explained what it was or the basis of its efficacy. I think I was expected to know by instinct, or simply follow along and reap the benefits by rote use of what I thought were silly schoolboy exercises from a book with cartoon illustrations like a first-grade speller.
The closet in the basement of my mind where Amy lives creaked open at that point and she casually walked up, wrapped her lizardy arms around me, and whispered, “There there, you rest now.”