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
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
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
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.