Coping Strategies

<– coping strategies –>

Build Your Self Esteem through voluntary work

Written by howard andrews

Tuesday, 12 December 2006

The psychiatric nurse at the Community Mental Health team suggested I telephone the Volunteer Centre Southwark. This one being in the borough I lived.  He thought the first step of recovery for me after a mental breakdown would be to do some voluntary work. It was six months before I felt I had the strength


Try Walking

Written by Administrator

Monday, 30 October 2006

I had my mental break down in April 2005 caused by a combination of bad employer management and mid life crisis. I was very ill and was accessed by two different departments at the Maudesley Hospital and 7months after the initial illness I started CBT. (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)

Luckily soon after the initial illness I noticed for the first time the health advice in the Doctorís surgery

I had always been physically active cycling an average of 5 miles a day and walking to get to places in my job. The advice given was to try and build up to walking Ω an hour a day. Luckily I live near a park and soon discovered a poster wired around the railings of an organised walk that was to be for Ω an hour. I thought how wonderful that something is organised that ties in with the good advise in the Doctors Surgery. Selfishly I thought to myself, this gives me the enjoyment of having company at the same time as getting some exercise. Even my CMHT (Community Mental Health Team) mentioned walking as one of their suggestions. So I thought what have I got to loose? So I phoned the telephone number on the notice. The walk leader sounded very friendly and efficiently gave me the details of where to meet and the time.

I discovered my local park walk leader was self employed, and seemed to enjoy this voluntary work, which served the community. The people I met on the walks were all very pleasant and it was interesting that it was a varied group of people sometimes coming from other parts of Southwark.

I discovered through the leader that the council organised and train leaders to cover all the parks in Southwark and so I was able to fill my week with a walk at Peckham Rye, Dulwich Park, Southwark Park and sometimes do Bank side and Russia Dock Woodland as alternatives. I did this religiously for the remaining of the year covering all the seasons.

This led me to a new interest of digital photography, as I then was interested in comparing the pictures as the seasons changed. A simple change like this improved my physical health, or at least prevented it from deteriorating and has helped me make new friends who I can now pick up the phone and call. This in all has tremendously built up my confidence (mental wellbeing), and generally helped me trust others and myself.

What could this change do for you?

Go and ask at your Doctors surgery about organised walks or see it on the notice board, or if you have access to a computer enquire at the following-



The Formula

Written by Anabel

Friday, 13 October 2006

Someone gave me a formula the other day … x=y. My first reaction was to close my eyes and ears and walk away – i’ve never liked the sound of maths very much, you see. But suddenly, i remembered that all those numbers and formulas always turn out to be useful somehow, if you know what i mean. Even the entire universe is made of them, they say. So i decided to open my self up to the rest of the story. And he went on like this:

If X = Y,   turn it round and you get Y=X.

-are you following me, he enquired.

-Yes, i said.

Now, think of Y as yourself (feelings, thoughts, state of being etc) and X is your outside environment (suroundings, people, circumstances you are dealing with)

So outside environment = how you feel

-Are you with me? (the voice of wisdom wanting reasurance)

-Think so, i grumbled.

Most people live their lives by the x=y formula and don’t realise that it also works the other way round

how you feel = what goes on around you – Right?

I see, I sighed.

(you maight like to ponder about this for a while)



Written by William

Tuesday, 12 September 2006

One of the most pleasureable physical pursuits is cycling.You have to use balance strength and judgement.if you use these well you will feel the benefits.Always make sure the cycle you are going to use is mechanically sound.

I get a tremendous feeling of freedom and independence.When the weather is dry you can get to most parts of london in an hour or so.Always lock cycle up if away for just a few minutes.I have failed to do this in the past and found a space where my bike was(NOT FUNNY). If you can get two locks /heavy duty bike lock.Always lock up.If you cycle get a safety helmet it could save your life.Learn how to repair punctures. And if you can enrol on a bicycle maintenance course do it.Not only will you save money.You will feel confident if problems arise.


* Stress free(FREE) parking.

* Environmentally Clean



* Punctures, mechanical failure.Theft.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 31 October 2006 )


Learning from ‘The Power of NOW’

Written by Julie

Tuesday, 18 July 2006

This book is interesting to me because I get mentally, and then consequently, physically unwell. I am disabled because I have been diagnosed with mental illnesses. And being mentally ill assumes that the problem I have is just a mind one. However, reading this book makes me feel that I am not that much different from the rest of society. Everyone has thoughts and feelings, it’s just that mine are more disturbing, relentless and have a great affect on how I function in society than the average person. However,

I am fighting this and self help or spiritual books are a great way to arm myself with information, tips and strategies to deal with the torturous mental ilnesses. According to this spiritual writer (Eckhart Tolle), everyone could do with freeing themselves from the attachment to their mind. And many spiritual works argue against the philosophical view of Descartes that states ‘I think therefore I am’. There is more to living than thinking says Tolle! However, it is this identification that is causing so many of us problems. We all are used to being bombarded with memories of the past, future predictions and very often miss the present moment. But the spiritual teachers are telling us to learn the opposite. It is the present moment that is the most important. It is being in the present that is what we feel as being alive. What happened yesterday is a stored memory and what is going to happen in the future is an assumption. It is how we feel right now that is our life. So whether I am obssessively thinking or not, I feel that reading the views of spiritual writers help me because I am not as mad as I think I am. I am simply doing what everybody else does but to a greater extremity. Tolle’s advice is to watch your own thinker. Not try to change it but watch your own mind and how it constantly bombards us with past and future thoughts. I did this excersise when I got off the bus and walked the 5 minute journey home. I was amazed at how I am not in the present moment. Simply walking along one street I must have had between 20 and 30 references to past and future thoughts. And as I suffer from alot of anxiety, fear and past trauma, I need to get out of my mind to overcome being ruled by it. Now I am continuing this practise of watching my mind and whenever I am consicous of it, I am learning to say, past or future to myself when instrusive thoughts come up. If I say past then I can then say to myself that there is nothing I can do about that and if I say future I can say that my mind is making assumptions about what will happen. Life is being in the now and I want to learn this to free myself from the trap of the mind. There is more to my life than listening to repetative, negative thoughts and feelings. If I spend my life being ruled by that then I am missing out on what’s around me. It is a challenge but learning new ways of dealing with myself is, what I believe, makes the difference between a mental health survivor and mental health victim. That is not to say that I am not a victim because I have alot of behaviour that is victimised by my illness but I want to fight it and learn to deal with it better so that I can enjoy more of my life and reduce the suffering. I hope I can do this and I wish anybody else well in the pursuit of dealing with the persistent and life threatening illnesses that cause mental distress.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 27 July 2006 )

<!– labels –>


Written by Administrator

Friday, 09 February 2007

Here is a list of labels we’ll be looking into and discussing on funny farm soon……….

* Addictions

* Agoraphobia

* Alcohol misuse

* Alzheimer’s disease

* Anorexia nervosa

* Antidepressant drugs

* Anxiety

* Bipolar disorder

* Bulimia

* Cognitive behavioural therapy

* Counselling

* Dementia

* Depression

* Eating disorders

* Gender dysphoria

* Insomnia

* Mental health

* Mental health services

* Mental health specialist services

* Munchausen’s syndrome

* Obsessive compulsive disorder

* Panic disorder

* Phobias

* Post-natal depression

* Post-traumatic stress disorder

* Psychosis

* Schizophrenia

* Seasonal affective disorder

* Self-injury

* Stress

* Suicide



Written by Administrator

Thursday, 01 February 2007

If youíve ever been a psychiatric inpatient you will have had a discharge summary.  A discharge summary is a report written by hospital staff which is sent to your GP and becomes part of your medical notes.  Itís worth getting hold of a copy of yours if you have one – it can be quite an eye-opener.

This piece originated in a project set by a creative writing tutor.  She found a story on the internet about humans spending time in an ape enclosure at an Australian zoo.  A psychologist was incarcerated with them and the experiment was supposed to lead to improved conditions for apes at the zoo.  We were to write a story about this situation.  Now, I donít know much about zoos – except I wouldnít want to be in one – so I imagined an alternative experimental scenarioÖ

Pongoís Discharge Summary:

On admission, Pongo was agitated and confused, showing highly disturbed behaviour.  He bounded around the day room and swung from the curtains.  He refused to engage with staff and shrieked at them from the top of the bookcase.  He appeared to staff to be responding to auditory and visual hallucinations.

The team considered that Sectioning and medication were the way forward. Pongo was commenced on Haloperidol (20mg) and Diazepam (10mg) – which initially had to be administered by the Control and Restraint team.  After a few days Pongo settled well and his behaviour showed a marked improvement.  He queued up for his medication at medication time, and was fully compliant. He spent the 8 hours per day he was awake slumped on the sofa watching Channel Five with the other patients.

Pongo was observed to have dietary issues and often flung instant mashed potato around the dining area.  However, he liked the syrup sponge pudding with custard and frequently had seconds. On Friday afternoon – when fresh fruit is made available to the patients – Pongo became disruptive.  All the fresh fruit was subsequently discovered hoarded in Pongoís room.  As a result he lost garden privileges.

Our Consultant diagnosed an acute schizophreniform disorder with psychotic features.  There is also pencilled-in an alternative diagnosis – chimpanzee? – but this condition does not appear in any of the psychiatric textbooks.

Pongoís behaviour on the ward was generally appropriate, except on one occasion when he helped himself to the night shiftís Chinese takeaway.  The Control and Restraint team were called and rapid tranquillization took place.  Thatíll teach him.

During Pongoís stay a Mental Health Act Commissioner visited the Unit.  She was impressed by the facilities, spoke privately with several of the patients and noted their concerns. One of the more deluded patients apparently complained that there was a monkey on the ward.  The Mental Health Act Commissioner recommended in her report that the ward obtain a new TV aerial so that the patients could watch channels other than Five, and mentioned that she enjoyed her visit, especially the excellent lunch she had with the Ward Manager.

Pongo was discharged – prematurely in the opinion of many of the staff – when an RSPCA Inspector made an unexpected visit and closed the Unit with immediate effect.  A prosecution for cruelty is pending.  Our defence will be that a doctor ordered it as treatment and therefore no cruelty was intended, or indeed took place.* Doctors are nice people and always have the best interests of their patients at heart.  Patients may complain, but their perceptions and experiences are not as valid as those of the doctors because, well – theyíre mad.  Who says theyíre mad?  The doctors do.  And the doctors are always right.

Prognosis – good, provided Pongo continues to take his medication.  We will be sending the Home Treatment Team round to make sure that he does.

Florence Nytol

Staff Nurse


* I heard at a mental health conference once about an anonymous patient ( I think from Germany) who took a case to the European Court of Human Rights.  This person was strapped to a bed and force fed.  The court decided that this does not constitute cruel, degrading or inhumane treatment for – as I understand it – much the same reasons as detailed above.


Is it just me or am I mad?

Written by zz.james

Wednesday, 07 July 2004

It’s always struck me as an odd term – ‘mad’ not only is it confusing since it also means to be angry (a mad man being quite different to a madman) it’s also one of those blanket terms that cover anyone who’s either suffering a mental illness, taking some kind of risk or just ‘thinks differently’ to the majority.

Anyway, if you’re ever thinking ‘is it just me or….’ then fear not (if the thought that it is brings fear that is…) because recent figures show that one in four of us will ask for some form of professional help due to mental health problem, one in five people are on  ‘psychoactive’ medication [source: world health organisation, government statistics office].

These figures made me think of a passage in Susan Sontag’s book ‘Illness as a metaphor’ – In the early part of the 20th Century, Artists often pretended to have consumption (Tuberculosis) as it was the fashion to believe the pathos and the tragedy of the artist was enhanced. By the mid 20th Century (after world war II) Artists were pretending to be ‘clinically insane’ as this was considered to enhance their status as ‘uniquely minded’ – with the kind of statistics we’re seeing for mental health service use the scarcity value of claiming to be crazy has all but dissapeared. The truth is many people suffer mental illness and it isn’t glamourous at all.

One of first experiences I had after completing a few therapy sessions was to go meet my friends in the pub, listen to them talk about their problems and think – “oh man, you should get therapy” – so I wouldn’t be at all suprised if it turned out that for the number of problems that get reported and diagnosed at least as many go undocumented – that would be 50% of the populatoin.

That’s why I feel strongly about positive mental health projects in the community. Lets make an effort to learn how to look after each other, because we’re all in this togther – your friends, your family, your neighbours, you and me.


My experience

Written by Administrator

Wednesday, 03 October 2007

This is the story of my  illness of squizofrenia. By Ann Cole.   To hear it click here

Alternatively keep reading…

It started in the 1980s when my children were small and i was withWith my first husband, i would sit indoors at night when everything else was quiet and i would hear the sound of a tot of people whispering, i couldnít make out what they were saying but it was quite loud, and it sounded as if it came from out of the window, of course i wondered why It was happening, but i didnít for one moment think that i was the only one who could hear it. And i didnít think i might be ill. And i also thought it was a bit of an annoyance, then.

In the earrly nineties we moved house and i started hearing noises at night out of the bedroom window, it was not anything specific, it was a hissing noise. It talked to my husband about it and he said he thought it e was coming from the Hospital central heating system. I accepted this explanation and did not think too much of it.

A few years later i had a lot Of trouble my marriage broke up and my children were taken Into care. I was really upset by this. It was when i was on my own that i startes hearing voices, they said things like ‘Im watching you, donít think you can get away from me, Im making sure you donít get up to anything’.  Well knew this wasnít right, i heard it very often and sometimed the voices sounded like people i knew. i felt aggrieved that it was happening to me. Sometimes the voices were inside my flat. And sometimes they came from outside and i kept looking Out of the window to see who was out there, but there usually Was not anyone there.

And they started happening during The day as well as the night. One time the voice said which Sounded like someone i knew that i was not invited Because i had been bad, i started thinking that it Definitly was not right so i went to the doctor andTold him about it, and he refered me to the munroClinic which became the york clinic,  when i started going there they asked lots of questions. I told them what i Was going through, they gave me tablets and i had threeMomthly appointments, a nurse used to come and see me at my home, after a while she told me about the castle day centre,I said iwould like to try it and she refered me there,The tablets helped a lot and after a while the voices dissappered, i sometimes had relapses but after a whileThey went away, after i had been going to the castle forAbout a month the nurse stopped coming, but i kept having appointments at the clinic, i still go to the clinic butI have not had v oiced for aboiut ten years now, i do not Attend castle day anymore,


Jean’s blog

Written by Administrator

Tuesday, 27 February 2007

Read Jean’s blog, It’s a history of psychiatry from the perspective of a user. You can visit the site by clicking the link below:

Jean’s Blog



Written by Administrator

Thursday, 01 February 2007

Er: SL&M.  South London and Maudsley Trust.  Pronounced SLAM.  Did they really think this acronym through properly?  Is it really good PR?  SLAM is the sound of a heavy door being firmly shut, as in the title sequence of Porridge.   SLAM is the sound of the Control and Restraint team going in hard on an errant patient. The sound of being shut out from mainstream society and never ever truly finding your way back in.Itís a good thing it wasnít South Hampshire and Maudsley, or it wouldíve been SH&M.  As in: this is a SH&M Hospital.  I was a patient at Guyís once.  In my ìdelusionî I thought, this is a prison in the guise of a hospital. Theyíve even put a clue in the name.  Now I just wonder if I was actually deluded.JC


I am special

Written by Julie

Tuesday, 22 August 2006

The words below was given to me in a chapel by a vicar when I wondered in there very distressed.

I’m not a Christian and have taken the Christian references out of it so that it applies to whoever and whatever belief. The basic principle is a truth that, hopefully, can make whoever reads it feel something of worth. It made me cry when I read it at first and at other times I have felt happiness from reading it when I have felt like I am such a horrible person (which is alot of the time because of my illness and consequent behaviour). But more than anything this is a simple realisation. There is only one of me and that is special.

I am special. In the whole of the Universe there is not another person who looks like me, walks like me, talks like me, thinks like me and has the experience of life that I have had.

I am special. In the whole of the Universe there is not another person who has my combination of tastes for art, music, food, people and so on.

I am special. In the whole of the Universe there will never be another person like me. I am rare. I am unique and I am very special because I am the only one that knows what it is like to be me.

I am special. There will be people that are better at things than I am and I will be better at things than others but nobody can do what I do. There is only me that has the combination that makes me, me and that is why I am special.



I am my own worst enemy

Written by Julie

Tuesday, 11 July 2006

I am my own worst enemy. I make mistakes and castigate. I do things well and don’t praise myself. I am my own worst enemy. I make mistakes and castigate. I do things well and don’t praise myself. And this inconsistency is totally unloving you see. How can I let myself be when I am my own worst enemy? That’s why I am interested in CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). I want to change the ways in which I respond to me. The only suicide that I want is a psychological one. I want the old me to die and be replaced by a new me that loves me when I make mistakes and pats me on the shoulder when I do something that is okay. I am battling with me, my own worst enemy and find that learning new ways of dealing with myself is the only thing that is going to improve my mental health. Learning to treat myself as I would a friend and love myself properly will help me mend. I am my own worst enemy and I will fight these demons to the very end. New patterns of behaviour will help this fight and a spiritual path gives me a little light. But I’m my own worst enemy and that is my trouble. I’ve lived in darkness and am used to struggle. Letting go is easier said than done but I’m not giving up until this battle is won. I will writh in pain and will laugh out loud. I will endure pain and feel the joys of now. And if I feed myself positivity then I might change and feel better about me. But I am my own worst enemy as well as being special you see. There’s nobody else in the world like me and that’s a fact for everybody. We are all unique!


Natural disaster

Written by Julie

Tuesday, 11 July 2006

I want to write something meaningful but am in a battle. Twisted inside by a violent emotional weather system that threatens to destroy my inner resources and resilience.

I want to write something meaningful but am in a battle. Twisted inside by a violent emotional weather system that threatens to destroy my inner resources and resilience. You fuck of an emotionally damaged person. You fucking fuck that wants to trap me in a hell of self torture, pain and diversion. Get fucked. I’m doing okay whatever you fucking say. I’ve got out of bed in the morning and fed myself hooray. I’ve dragged my body into this place and socialised and I’m even, despite every negative and invisible resistant emotional cancer, writing so fuck off you nasty tyrant. You’re in a bad mood and taking over who I am, I know. And when you have zapped my resilience and I get low, you turn me into someone critical of myself and damage my precious fucking health. Then, when I’m not the best at dealing with life and it’s many obstacles, I want to turn to using the myriad of negative, harming ways to cope and escape this pain and suffering in hell. And I know that really I’m a scared little so and so inside a trapped sealed box, with a defence that is as fiery and self harming as the burning sun or as cold as a freezer, dead person or icy place without light on my face. Nobody knows what goes on inside the core of damaged souls like me. Nobody knows the heaven and hell that has been learnt from a life born out of comic tradgey and filled with injustice, misunderstanding and a catalogue of woes. I am in an uncomfortable place but look like every other smiling fucking face. I am uncomfortable in my own skin so don’t look at my appearance and expect me to feel delighted when I can’t even feel a pleasant fucking thing. I want to feel joy and work hard to deal with the many selves that get employed but one wrong move from me and out comes a chorus of berating sadists that want to destroy. Ha but writing this has sent the bastards packing and now I feel my mood changing into the happy, grateful soul that gets kidnapped by the evil funstopping choir of negativity so raw. Here comes the sun … I am an abused and distressed person with goodness at my core.


<– poetry –>

The Doll

Written by Hifzu

Monday, 30 April 2007

One day I saw sitting on my bed,

a deformed doll which said:

‘I will be with you everywhere’,

when I went to work she was there,

staring at me with eyes dark black,

in fear I gave her a light smack,

it said without moving lips ‘soon I will go into you’,

from that point onwards I just knew,

that I would become possesed,

I would become it’s nest,

silently like a petrified young mouse,

I entered through the door into my house,

behind the curtain I frightfully found,

the demon doll on the window sill bound,

it said ‘now is the time’,

‘into you I will now climb’,

from my own body I was kicked out,

from the body’s black eyes I knew the doll was about,

my soul was now cast aside,

within my body the doll did hide,

for the doll it was a new birth,

to spread evil across the Earth!

Authors poetry web-site: BoxPoet


Insane Prison

Written by Hifzu

Thursday, 22 March 2007

Sentenced for uncontrollable violence,

the insane prison withought silence,

a place full of crazy girls and boys,

a reputation for a place full of noise,

the realization of the place within which I abide,

the sorrow and anger again welling up inside,

an exit from this ‘asylum’ I do seek,

as the rage inside reaches its peak,

I kick and punch the things around me,

the oppressive nurses look in to see,

a dozen of them fling open the door,

I fight them; what they’ll do i’m unsure,

they restrain me violently on the bed,

and ‘sorry’ a few times is all I said,

they inject me with God knows what,

sleepy and helpless I lay on my cot,

the staff abuse those in their care,

now you tell me; is this fair?

Authors poetry site: BoxPoet



Written by Administrator

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

In Southark  I suffered from ill healthI felt aggrieved because it happened to myselfI felt sad because of the pain I didn’t think I should have to go through it again. Other people probably felt the sameWhen they have to go through their painI didnít know it would be so badThat my trouble would be so sadIm hoping for a time so niceWhen `I will be in paradiseAnd all my troubles will be goneIm saying to time  roll on


Scary Mail

Written by Hifzu

Thursday, 08 March 2007

This morning I recieved a letter,

opening it made me feel worse not better,

as I was curious to see,

the contents of the envelope sent to me,

looking at the paper within,

I knew whoever wrote this commited a sin,

the paper was sprinkled with droplets of blood bright red,

and symbols, pentagrams, and pictures of people dead,

I was frightened and shocked to see,

that one of the dead pictures looked like me,

whoever sent me this must be sick,

a witch, practitioner of dark magic,

whoever this is, wherever she does lurk,

i’m strong in faith so it won’t work!

Poems by the same author at: BoxPoet


Risperidone Blues

Written by Administrator

Thursday, 01 February 2007

Look outside the sun still shines

brighter than ever, sometimes

the grass is green, the sky is blue

Iím still here with nothing to do

my pain bandaged

with a tablet

The good doctor feels he has the answer

now Iím a pedestrian, no longer a dancer

he kept his word

my mind is blurred

my lips sealed

with a tablet

The doctors believe thereís been an improvement

they donít seem to notice my limited movement

My brainís in chains

my headís made of lead

canít read the papers

rather stay in bed

canít remember your name

donít even care

just sit in an armchair

and twitch and smoke and stare

Should I continue in this favourable direction

theyíll let me go home, theyíll even lift my section

they mean no ill

with their crippling pill

my voice is stilled

with a tablet


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