In 1997, the year M©M was born, I experienced a nervous breakdown, arising out of what was later diagnosed as manic depression (bipolar affective disorder), in the form of an acute psychotic episode (see Fast train approaching…). At the beginning of the experience everything was strangely fantastic. I was having one of the most amazing times of my life. I was full of energy coming across ever more fascinating coincidences – synchronicity (an acausal connecting principle), as Carl Gustav Jung once said. Unfortunately this became all too overwhelming and I ended up being cared for in hospital.
I often use the following quote when I’m speaking to audiences about mental health and what we consider ‘normal’.
So, so you think you can tell, heaven from hell, blue skies from pain, can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail, a smile from a veil do you think you can tell?
This, as you may know, is taken from Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here written by Roger Waters in 1975. For me it illustrates that our perception of the world, our understanding and integration of our experience of life and what we consider ‘normal’, is naturally immensely complex, almost unfathomable and involves our whole personality, our whole being all our dreams, aspirations and yes, our hopes and fears.
Sometimes it is in those moments when we stand against the backdrop of the universe and turn to face eternity, that we know what spirit is.
However, thinking for too long about Spirit, about the meaning of life, and being hyper-creative, can take our feet off the ground. We can lose touch with the real world, whatever the real world is.
For a summary of my experiences of mental ill-health and my rehabilitation back into work, visit:http://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/personal.htm
For more background on the nature of the illness see the story on Sheila Pantry’s website athttp://www.sheilapantry.com/oshworld/focus/2002/200202.html
and see Fast train approaching…now in paperback.
For further information on removing the stigma associated with mental ill-health see SHIFT, linked to the National Institute for Mental Health in England (NIMHE) site,which succeded the mind out for mental health campaign, at http://www.shift.org.uk
See also the Manic Depression Fellowship, now known as MDF – The Bipolar Organisation atwww.mdf.org.uk
I gave a presentation on Monitoring – the employee’s perspective, to the Employers’ Forum on Disability at their conference on ‘Engaging with your Disabled Staff’ on Thursday 17th November 2005. I referred to Chris Moon and some of the parallels with his more extreme experiences of becoming physically disabled and overcoming major challenges – visit:http://www.chrismoon.co.uk/
If you would be interested in a presentation, a personal perspective on mental health, stress and rehabilitation, especially in the context of day to day work,please contact me at:firstname.lastname@example.org