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SELF HELP I

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SELF HELP IN CRISES by M.S.(ENGLISH VERSION)

Native speakers: please excuse the somewhat awkward translation. ;-)

1. I speak to a trusted person about my situation. 

When choosing the person I try to stay aware of my feelings. Not everybody is capable of dealing with this information responsibly. Getting together and the understanding which may develop during the talking are the first step. Both may help me to find a passable way out of my crisis.

2. I accept the fact that I need help and appreciate the kind that is good for me. 

In my crises I often find it difficult to accept the fact that I really do need help. Recognizing my helplessness and accepting help which is given earnestly are an important step to more health and well-being. Which kind of help I can use depends on my needs and my condition: a talk, a medicament or going to the movies, perhaps also a day spent in bed or a walk in the forest, possibly a stay in hospital. I must try it out and find out what's right for me. 

3. I need a network of good persons. 

Making contact and keeping it up is often difficult for me. Sometimes its even impossible for me to have somebody arround. Sometimes being alone is better for me. Nevertheless I have always been looking for friendship and love. Why do I need a network? Several persons can carry and bear more than a single person. Being with other people gives me the opportunity to learn more about me and the world. I may also share experiences, pain and joy with others. 

4. I need a "structure" for my daily routine.

The structure may consist of recurring meals, useful habits, work sequences, regular walks, or meetings. In the middle of crisis it is better to keep the "structure" as simple as possible. With the gradual fading out of the crisis it may grow. If the situation permits, I can integrate more into my "structure" and set personal targets. I always stay aware of my limitations so as not to ask to much of myself . 

5. I care for myself and am aware of my basic needs.

A sufficient amount of sleep, good nutrition, relaxation and movement do stabilize. I have learnt with time that these everyday things mean a lot, one can hardly overestimate them. If I treat myself well and stay aware of my needs, I have a better basis in order to cope with crises and problems. In the long term I may also be able to enjoy life more. 

6. I need appropriate medical treatment during the crisis.

Tranquilizers are, like other medicaments , a two- faced thing. In my experience they can help in states of distress and may help to ease pain temporarily. To that extent they are necessary. Beside that, all of them have unwanted side effects which can be hardly bearable. There is also a serious risk of irreversible long- term effects which may be crippling ( tardive dyskinesia ). Handling them responsibly and professionally is therefore indispensable. The promises of the industry are to be regarded critically, as is all other advice that promotes simple solutions and miracle drugs. The so- called Happy Pill does not exist, trust me. 

The pills may at best help to create a distance to the acute problems and thus enable me to do something for myself. I have come to learn that trusting in my own experience is the best. If that is impossible, I always try and make use of the experience of others (physicians, people like me, etc..).An identical treatment may well be useful for one person and harm the other. 

7. I need psychotherapy during crises.

Working with the therapists we gradually succeeded in creating a space in which I was able to grow. Their open ear, patience and stability and above all their open spirit have inspired real confidence. Based on that it became possible to look closely at even the biggest problems. Psychotherapy does help, also during an acute crisis, but it should at that point be rather supportive than concerned with uncovering. Finding solutions takes patience, experience and creative thinking. It is hard work to look at oneself and try to change. 

8. I know that recovery is possible. 

That may sound like a joke or cynicism to someone who is acutely affected by a crisis. Often, and sometimes for a long time, the situation seems hopeless. The future is "blocked". However, life continues, and I have come to know that it is really worth while to go on. I believe that recovery is not a static thing but a continuous movement.

9. The diagnosis is a description of a status and no final condemnation to illness.

I see the psychiatric diagnosis of my difficulties as a tool of the doctors. The label put on my suffering is not that important. Classifying the phenomena is practical, but it does not spare one the effort of trying to understand them. One may argue about the causes of mental difficulties extensively. I find it more important to find out what I would like to do and what is good for me. It is not the diagnosis that is relevant for me, it is the question: how can I change my life situation, working together with others ? I want to take my fate into my own hands as much as possible. I want to take my experience seriously and achieve more well-being in everyday life. 

10. My mental suffering is my way of working on myself and on my relationships with others.

The work begins where the difficulties and problems show up the first time. I believe that, from the start, I tried to change by suffering, so that I would have to suffer less. I could simply not remain the way I was. Now I have actually changed and see the problems and the suffering as part of my way. It really is work, laborious and often it does not seem worth while. As with other work there must be breaks and holidays, so that it does not eat you completely. The difficulties and suffering resulted from my life with others, sometimes others were the direct cause. There, within the relations, I started with my work. It requires patient listening to myself and talking to others. The solution to one problem does not solve all of my problems. I move on, step by step. I wish all of you doing the job courage, patience and strength.

 

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