Posted in ARCHIVES

A road traveled…lessons learned.

Last night sometime after 10pm, I shared something on facebook with friends, that I hadn’t really intended to write let alone share here, however I realise that its relevant to what I last posted and serves as supporting evidence for the agenda of, not only, The unconventional thesis of a woman from Glasgow, but to demonstrate the therapeutic benefits of arts and alternative therapies, in the treatment of mental health patients, not only with depression but that come under the umbrella of mental & indeed social health conditions or illness via the case study as will be demonstrated in my book A girl from Glasgow, and indeed posts relating to The unconventional Thesis of a woman from Glasgow, which will I hope become clear in future posts.

So, here is what I posted.

This week I saw a post on FB asking, did you consider your vocal or written word better for expressing yourself, it’s a topic close to my heart, a topic that has caused me both joy and sorrow, and indeed, destress, on a number of levels.

So, tonight the news comes on, and I pause, take a deep breath…. and internalise my thots, pick up my computor and begin to type, when what I really want to do is scream at the tv, something I have been documented negetevly for doing in the past, and heres why; ( not why I’v been documented negetivly for doing in the past oviously , but why I wanted to scream at the tv!) without expletives which have been replaced with #.

“I am absolutly #ing appalled at the #ing audasity of the dispicable # spreading #, #ing Teresa May’s comments reported on the news regarding A&E crisis. How dare that # face # blame the heroic proffessionals of the NHS, who are doing the #ing best they can dispite the #ing caos caused by the #ing tory government and their Blairte preessessors. These # wits have been carving up the NHS for 3 #ing decades., trying to privatise and #ing sell it off to their #ing cronies.

The present #ing health secetary, the un #ing honerable #ing Jeremy Hunt , the #, who couldn’t flog jam to the Japanes, who has no #ing qualifications in health or #ing socialcare, who ponces about with a #ing face like a slapped arse,who has repeatedly ignored the #ing warning signs, not to mention, the #ing verbal and written warnings of #ing health proffessionals, #ing social care proffessionals, #ing doctors, consultants, nurses, care assistants, accademics, pacient advocate groups and uncle #ing tom cobbley and #ing all. What does the #ing P #ing M do she blames the people, that keep the #ing country on its sore # blistard feet.!!

Yes it appears that, the #ing esteemed smugfaced #ing #,aka Mrs May, appears to e oblivious to the #ing fact that this nations economy is dependent on the smooth running of the #ing NHS, the #ing angelic #ing workers, who look after every #ing one of us. While it is her #ing party’s #ing austerity cuts to funding, bugets and #ing services that is to blame.

I may only #ing know little, but I have studied social #ing health & social#policy. and you can #ing beleive me , this #ing government is on a #ing mission to dismantal the #ing NHS, and if we don’t stop them, we’re all #ed.

So, rant over, I shall now go sit on the floor, quiety, meditate and omm, on the matter, of which salution to the original question I do better at, and which is theraputically more benefitial to my stress and anxciety levels.

And perhaps thos of you who know me well might imagine what I might sound like or indeed look like as I express these words aloud, and perhaps let me know how you think I best express myself. However I will not accept, sleeping as a valid response.


So, here is my journey and conclusions on the above, and how it links, and has progressed since, in relation to my last blog “Guidance from a wise woman for a journey to come”

In 1995 when I took the advice of the wise woman, aka Mrs Forbs, to help recover from post natal depression I joined the writing group at The Harbour Arts Center in Irvine where I was living at that time.

I was in a very dark place, and when I first joined the group, I was reluctant to read any of my recent poetry, I was afraid I would give the wrong impression, I desperately needed to fit in, because I needed this time to be me, and be accepted as me.

As time progressed I have little doubt my poetry at that time reviled much about my depression, and as friendships grew I was able to confide various issues with friends I made there.

I remember clearly having a discussion with a poet friend who also suffered with depression, about the benefits of screaming and shouting and venting, not necessarily at anyone in particular, but just to release that pent up negative energy that we swallow down that can feel like a volcano errupting inside because sometimes life is hard, and shit, and not always wonderful, and how going to the beach, or a forest,  a footbal pitch or somewhere where the wind and rain and elements are in your face waiting for you, to scream it all out, and bring you internal peace.

I knew this to be true, and to be fair its a relatively harmless form of release.

At that time it was something I did when it all got to much, and I would storm out the house in tears and either walk to the nearby fields, where I would stand and bawl, or I’d get in the car and drive to a place right next to where I now live , park up , walk to the end of the harbour, or shore line and shout, providing of course there was no one around, which fortunately there seldom was.

Of course, shouting and screaming can be channelled more easily, and without even leaving the house if when you feel that urge to scream, and you pause, take a deep breath.. and burst into song!, I guarantee it can be a great way to defuse a heightened state of emotion, even if only because the ludacracy of it may cause you to laugh and laughing is alway , always a positive outcome.

Additionally, I suggest that the rhythmic breathing of singing helps us to control our breathing and thus the repetitive rhythm sooths anxiety and restores balance, perhaps this is why the catatonic rock , because it is calming.

A short time later, between 1995 and 1997 my GP in Glasgow introduced me to mindfulness, through breathing exercises, although I had no idea what mindfulness was then because I hadn’t heard of it. He taught me some basic, easy, breathing and relaxation techniques that could be done sitting or standing that only took a few minutes, to achieve positive results for anxciety.

I make no denial that I was prone to shouting at that time, probably more than I was willing to believe I did, and it added to feelings of guilt and anxiety.

I have almost always been vocal, loud and  impulsive, I am aware of this , most of it was, I think, a defence mechanism , but that’s for a later chapter. My father had oftimes advised me to put my mind into 1st gear before putting my mouth on excellorator!

That first pause, and breath, is,  I think, the first step is good self management of mental health and anxiety.

As I sat quietly after my controlled out burst as noted above, before I even reached the floor, my final paragraph had triggered a chain of thot in relation to what I had wrote, and I smiled, almost laughed, thinking of some of the reactions I’v had when I’v gone on a rant. I am quite an expressive person, prone to doing actions or waving my hands about when I speak, I have been told its can be quite funny to witness, if a little embarressing, and I thot how the same written dialogue, could be used as an arts based therapeutic exercise, to explore self awareness.

Not forgetting there are many ways of interpreting what was written, putting aside content topic for a moment, and that the tone has already been set as “appalled”, you, the reader have inserted the # word. So what if, as an arts therapy exercise we explore the same piece using only positive words for instance, #ing could be, caring or amazing or….. singularly, the hashtag sign, #, could mean any manner of words, providing they still made sense in contex.

Through exploring these avenues,  we can then consider ways to interpret them differently, perhaps through comic, or tragic preformance, or through dance, or song, and in the process we are not only learning positive ways of managing mental health conditions, we are raising self awareness and improving communication skills, skills that can help and impower us in many situations of everyday life.

Even better than that, we can use these “thinks” to raise awareness of positve mental health managment outcomes, via the arts and other holistic practices and therapies.

Additionally, if we take the sinario and express it perhaps through a painting or scetch, again, there are various avenues of expressing the emotions , ie, cartoons, or photo stories reflected in photography or drawings. With the same creative channelling of energy, that creates further life skills that could be developed into buisness skills, ie Tshirts, novelty  gifts ect to raise awareness of mental health issues. Furthermore the skills learned in that creative and theraputic prossess develops skill that can be carried over to many areas of employment and life skills, that empower us as individuals.

I think its prevelant also to mention that the topic content as trigger allows avenues of exploration on any number of subject that in themself further expand the various types of alternative interests that could be explored and always be shown to have the same positve outcomes.

As I sat quietly , I realise how far I myself have come in managing and controlling my own mental health conditions.

I don’t deny that I still get very emotional, and sometimes what to scream and shout with anger and rage, and even sometimes do, but that’s ok too, there’s a lot to get angry and upset about in this world, but theres also a lot to feel good about to.

I know from experience the benefits and therapeutic value of that pause , breath… focus 1st step.

Even as I stretched to pick up the laptop and began to type, the possess of mindfulness began.

The typing process itself, was my focus, I was suprised there were not more spelling mistakes I posted without spell check, of course there are errors that will infurate some people , whom I love dearly , but I know it will also make them smile, cos at the end of the day , my spelling is not really that big a deal, if what i’m doing by writing , even somewhat inconhereltly is preventing me from having to hang my head down the lavy pan as the byle projects out my slabbering destressed face in large volumes of vomit.

I am realeasing the beast, the negative energy in a positive , harmless way, and that is I beleive a positve outcome.

And, I expressed my right to freedom of expression, and opinion, without causing risk or harm, if you were offended by my words remember, you, inserted the # tag word, not I.

I firmly believe holistic therapy though the arts is a fundamental tool to the management of mental health and to bring an end to the stigma that erects barriers to good mental , emotional and social health outcomes .

And that I guess, is the primary objective of the agenda and stratagy of the Hethen Project which aims to raise awareness of how to achieve positive outcomes though the arts for those living with mental health conditions.

As a footnote I’d also like to say to all you spiritual smart asses out there, who make a link on the timing of my emotional outburst, and the enviromental and spiritual indcators related to positon of fullness of the moon, that is a topic I shall explore in more depth later when I descuss the benefits of understanding our byo-rythems and other interesting heatheny things, I mean come on, I haven’t called it The Hethen Project with out good reason, now have I . 🙂


I have a keen interest in The Arts as therapy, and as a fundamental tool for understanding, and managing mental health. I love nature, reading, writing, poetry, photography, movies, painting, dance and yoga. And have a keen interest in social issues & humanities.

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