There was a piece on Radio 4’s Today programme recently about the elderly and depression: that half the elderly (in the U.K.) say that they have suffered with depression and/or anxiety. People put the main causes as the loss of someone close to them, or financial worries, or health issues, or loneliness.
And the piece mentioned that ‘talking cures’ are having a lot of success with helping people feel better.
Talking helps, no matter what your age
I am fascinated by our rapidly changing attitudes towards mental health. More people are talking openly about depression and mental health issues. But it still feels like we have a long way to go to a more sophisticated and nuanced general understanding of mental health.
For me, the easiest JUMP in our understanding of mental health, is to compare it to how we see physical health….
– With physical health we know that sometimes we’re well, sometimes we’re less well, sometimes we’re less well for a short time, and at others for a longer time, sometimes it’s serious, sometimes not…
well, it’s not so different with our mental health. But we see mental health, largely, as ‘well’ or ‘not’ without understanding the huge fluctuating spectrum in both intensity and over time.
– With physical health we know that there are things we can do to maintain our health (like eating well, and exercising, and not stressing too much) and things that are likely to detrimentally affect our health (like chain-smoking through a hamburger & fries lunch, stressing about work)… well, it’s not so different with our mental health. We can do things that are likely to maintain or benefit our mental health, and other things that are likely to detrimentally affect our mental health.
And a key way to maintain your mental health (or get better) is a ‘talking cure’, as they called it on the radio.
Talking to someone (usually a professional someone) is critical in staying well or getting better.
And I’ve thought for at least 20 years that working with a therapist in the good times is as important as working with one in the more difficult times. It’s like eating well and exercising to stay well, rather than only changing such habits when we get sick.
I have, for a long time, had someone (professional) to talk to. It’s up there for me with ‘having a cleaner’ as a self-care essential 🙂
Attitudes around mental health will, I’m sure, continue to improve. And I think we will see it just as we now see physical health. And most of us (who, as with the cleaner thing, are lucky enough to be able to afford it) will have a someone to talk to.
Gaia is an increasing number of people’s ‘someone’.
She has huge experience as a therapist. And she is also the ‘therapists’ therapist’, in that many of her clients are therapists themselves (in this or that).
We’re celebrating Gaia this week.
All the details are towards the bottom of her 1-to1s page –
MAGIC GAIA 1-TO-1s PAGE
And remember that if you want to get a feeling for one of her 1-to-1s, then you can listen to a special recording…
It’s on that same page, just look out for the image of the baby.
Gaia is back home now (and is, at this moment doing a 1-to-1 actually) having been away for a week. She was very impressed by the tidiness of our home, though she found a couple of horrors in the back of the fridge (boys only see cheese and goodies in fridges, not things at the back).