From Chapter 1
There is still a stigma attached to the subject of mental health.
Whatever people may think, the situation is not as bad as it
used to be, when the very mention of someone having mental
health problems – maybe a family member – would have
been taboo. Nowadays, everyone knows someone who has
experienced a mental health problem, if not within their own
circle of friends and family, then through a celebrity or
sportsperson publicising their personal problems.
- The term ‘mental health disorders’ covers a wide spectrum,
but I wish that the term ‘emotional health problems’
could be recognised and used instead in many cases.
Here, I am not including genetic disorders, or people with
brain damage: a great many people given a ‘mental
health disorders’ label in fact have problems controlling
their emotions, and the root to their emotional distress
lies in childhood. Unfortunately, many emotional health
problems have become medicalised and medicated, with
varying degrees of success and sometimes a multitude of
associated problems. Here are some examples.
There is an accepted belief that depression arises from a chemical imbalance in the brain, especially in the levels of a chemical called serotonin. The pharmaceutical cure suggested is chemical and provided by anti-depressants. There is some truth in the chemical imbalance in the brain, but our everyday actions can bring a change in the balance of serotonin, such as laughing, exercise, lovemaking, gardening or listening to music. Correct nutrition has its part to play too, and the role of good quality sleep is crucial.
The pharmaceutical solution to anxiety disorders often has
withdrawal effects that can cause further feelings of anxiety,
thus convincing a person that they still have the problem.
Simple breathing exercises can bring about immediate
changes to the nervous system. That the mind and body
cannot be calm and anxious at the same time is a fact. An
excess of caffeine and other stimulants can cause symptoms
of anxiety too.
GPs often prescribe cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for
help with emotional problems. Problems can occur if one is
thinking and behaving in an unhelpful manner. CBT can help
someone change their thoughts and behaviours to more
useful and healthy ones. There are a variety of ways to help
someone achieve this. A warning should be sounded about
prolonged therapeutic interventions, which may lead to some
emotional wounds becoming toxic. Ensuring a person’s
emotional needs are being met healthily, or met at all, can
have successful outcomes, as can addressing the misuse of
natural abilities, such as the imagination – often in a
short space of time. The consequences of not having
emotional needs met as a child can result in the adult
searching through their life to find these unmet needs. In
observing behaviours and using these needs as a compass, I
suggest that often, the missing needs of childhood are being
looked for decades later. The adult may be observed
behaving like ‘a needy child’. That’s because they were –
then. In the present day, there are times when that ‘needy
child’ can hijack the adult.
Davis’s autobiography, Guard a Silver Sixpence, she explains
that an abusive upbringing led to her emotional needs not
being met. She eventually realised that she was sabotaging
loving, adult relationships by being “too needy”: I became
dimly aware that I had been a very needy girlfriend indeed,
and I had scared him. I had gone round to his house at almost
every opportunity because it was so much more wonderful
than being in my own home, and I was besotted with him and
besotted with the whole business of feeling loved after so long
feeling so very unloved. It was not surprising that in the end
Dave found me far too intense, too needy – emotionally
greedy would be more accurate – and felt like he needed some
air. I was just impossible to be around for any length of time.
Some questions to consider
or terminal diagnosis to enjoy a quality of life, while others
Q: When do people who say “I have everything I want”
experience a lack of fulfilment?
Q: Why do some lottery winners increase their happiness with
Q: How do some people find the ability to pick themselves up
after a major knock back, while others do not, or find it
The answers are in the book:
Are you Chasing Rainbows? - a personal and practical insight to emotional maturity and why adults sometimes behave like children
Paperback, e-book and audio book published on Monday, October 14th, 2013.