Searching in September for Sanity


Everyday I seem to meet friends and clients struggling with really complex life situations, where the inter-connectedness in which we live, is almost strangling the very life out of them.  Too many relationships, people to please, performance to manage and endless decisions to make!
Underneath the inability to cope there is the guilt that people hold about showing their vulnerability and asking for medical assistance. I teach mindfulness and believe that it could be the panacea for much that troubles the total wellbeing of the western world. However when depression is present and is grounded in living with continual stress and serious events in one’s life, I can not say that I would suggest only mindfulness or only anti-depressants to heal the troubled mind.
Why do we feel so belittled by having to ask for medication? A young mother coping with a chronically sick child, an ex husband who is a sex offender or an aging father who can no longer take care of himself.

“Workers seeking treatment for mental health issues could be fast-tracked through the health system to prevent them from having to take time off from work, the chief medical officer has suggested.

Professor Dame Sally Davies said the number of working days lost due to stress, depression and anxiety has increased by 24% since 2009. And the number lost due to serious mental illness has doubled.

The Department of Health’s chief medical officer called on health experts to investigate whether or not it would be beneficial to speed up the treatment pathway for those who may fall out of work due to mental illness.

Dame Sally said that such a move could improve people’s chances of staying in work.

The call comes as she raised concerns that around 70 million working days were lost to mental illness last year at a cost of up to £100 billion to the economy”.

Do you feel like a meagre statistic on reading this “hot off the press report”? Yes, then read on—-

Why is it once again, we are back to  the sudden realisation that mental health issues are costing money. HR departments are fully aware of this, GP practices are full, pharmacies handing out anti- depressants and very often nobody asks the recipient ” How are you doing”?

The other day I had a visit to the doctors to have a review of long term stomach medication. I came out the door feeling frustrated. Why after all these years, doctors do not want to join the dots? Why do they not see the whole person, even in a 5 minute appointment. I also take other long term medications, but the interconnected chemical balances are never reviewed. How was I feeling apart from having acid reflux? Perhaps offer support in  trying to rid my life of migraines by turning gluten free? Perhaps actually ask how this was helping. No, I had to choose between solving the acid re-flux or the migraine. Minor suffering indeed that I use mindfulness for.

I was asked the standard question “Is there any extra stress in your life”?

For very many people life is just one long journey with exceptional stresses. For me, no extra stress- just the frustration of watching the human spirit being eroded away and peoples’ sanity being the elephant in the office, surgery and on the railway track near my home.


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