Chris Tickner, a licensed psychotherapist in California, is conducting a research project to look into some of the reasons why male survivors of sexual abuse do not seek help. Background: At least 1 in 6 males in the United States experience sexual abuse prior to the age of 18, and the painful impact of that abuse…
What I really enjoyed in reading about Joshua’s work with MINT is that he saw a problem, sadly through the loss of a friend, and his own struggles, but also saw an opportunity to do something about it. Quite frankly, there is a problem. In fact, I’d say there are a lot of inter-related problems….
The key is to have some compassion for yourself, similar to the compassion you might have for someone else in a vulnerable situation. When you can do that, suddenly what the other person does isn’t as important, you’ve given yourself grace, and acceptance.
As childhood abuse survivors, of course, this is tricky. Self-compassion is not generally one of our strengths. How could it be? All our lives we’ve been told that bad things happen either to bad people, or for a reason, and we’ve had something horrible happen to us, so we must be broken in some way to have had that experience. Didn’t we all think that way at one point or another? How could we not?
She lists out things like having insurance, having financial security, having a partner and friends from who she doesn’t have to hide her therapy sessions, etc.
As we just talked about yesterday, the reason less than half of all people dealing with mental health issues actually get any treatment at all is because they don’t have all of these things.
I will say that his discussion around what people come into therapy for in terms of defining good mental health is often an issue. When I started therapy I wanted to not dissociate, because the dissociative states were proving to be more and more dangerous. But, it wasn’t like we could sit and discuss plans to simply stop, we had to dig into what happens right before I dissociate and learn better ways of dealing with that. (In my case, stress)
Even then, the desire to simply feel less stress is not always possible. It would have solved the immediate reason why I was in therapy, less stress would make me less likely to dissociate, right? But it also wasn’t sustainable because at some point life is going to be stressful. The key was not to avoid stress but to learn how to recognize it, acknowledge it, feel it, and deal with it in a healthier way.
So yes, I agree our definition of good mental health needs to incorporate much, much more than “not feeling sad, anxious, depressed, etc.” because we will feel those things again at some point. They are unavoidable, but succumbing to them without a proper response is not. We can, and should, learn how to do that.
Margie McKinnon, the founder of Lamplighters, and author of Repair your Life sent me an email today about getting the site added to the resource section of this site. As it turns out, I’m thinking seriously about “retiring” that page, and using this blog as the ultimate resource and recommended reading section instead, so rather…