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Purpose

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Purpose

The Butterfly

Today I wanted to write about how we can change ourselves when we are powerless over circumstances around us.

Often in life, unpredictable events can happen, that can often cause us to react negatively or pessimistically depending on the circumstances we face.

Life can often seem volatile and there is often a lack of indication to which direction we face or how to arrive at our chosen destination, wherever that may be.

Daily, I meet people both personally and professionally with turbulent lives and therefore confused ideas about themselves and how to move forward positively.

How can we allow adverse circumstances to change us for the better?

People often struggle to find a sense of purpose in the midst of despair or tragedy in life and it can feel hopeless to those faced with such circumstances.

But I feel as human beings we have elements of our own inner resilience and strength available to us, if we are willing to look into ourselves.

In the dense expanse of our own universe , on a clear winter’s night filled with deep darkness there are twinkling bright lights igniting the sky with stark beauty. We can choose to focus on the expanse of the darkness that surrounds us,  or the beauty of the beacons of light piercing the sky.

Noone knows what tomorrow will bring, but if we continue to focus on the guiding lights in our own life, we will always be moving forward and not looking back.

Such like, the analogy of the caterpillar that doesn’t seem so significant or vivid, but it begins to build a little wall around itself in the form of a metamorphosis, creating a silky bed in which it transforms through a process into an adult, it undergoes a transformation, just as we do as human beings, that enables a new beautiful creation as it becomes a butterfly.

I am not sure I know of anything so miraculous or attractive in nature as a butterfly, filled with joy and freedom, despite its previous journey to become such a distinctive specimen of nature so handsome.

I sometimes think we can follow the example of a caterpillar allow events that occur in our own lives and circumstances to transform us inwardly despite our powerlessness to the outside world, to become like the butterfly and allow ourselves a greater sense of purpose in live beyond  our wildest imaginings if we would only believe in ourselves and our own inner resources, as well as perhaps for those who may have a faith in something greater than themselves.

For me, this is my own spirituality which is love, I think this is the greatest and most powerful force there is and it can overcome everything, if we allow it into our lives. The greatest gift we can ever give to those around us is love, but also to ourselves and being aware of how valuable and worthy we are as human beings and valuing each other and those around us.

And like the butterfly, we are also as beautiful but also as fragile and just like the butterfly has to use time cautiously as it has a time span as delicate as it’s tender wings, so we too as humans should value our time on earth and those we allow into our precious lives, so that we only allow the goodness of those to permeate around us and for those who have a negative impact create a barrier around us to protect our fragile souls from the damage this could create. We are valuable and precious like the butterfly and we should see ourselves no differently or less favourably.

(With special thanks to my beautiful cousin Susan for allowing me to use the photograph of this butterfly on my site x)

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Self harm and effective management

Addressing barriers to effective mental health care

What I felt compelled to write about is, what I personally perceive to be barriers to effective delivery of mental health care in more general environments.

My first ever profound encounter with someone experiencing mental health problems was when I worked in accident and emergency as a general nurse . It wasn’t uncommon to witness the admission of those who had self harmed or taken an overdose and I felt that the attitudes of those I worked with were very accepting, kind and empathetic towards these individuals. I was very happy to work alongside such a strong team that radiated kindness and compassion in such a dedicated manner.

The encounters with the individuals I cared for in this environment are very vivid.

The most vivid encounter was with a young lady whose arms were visibly scarred and badly maimed due to repeated attempts at cutting herself , a desperate outward expression of inner angst and perhaps self loathing.

We engaged in very deep conversation as I recall, she divulged personal details of a troubled past, highlighting periods of being bullied very badly at school. I am sure there are many people who identify with being bullied through life, whether at work or in school or other situations, and the resulting feelings of rejection, isolation and worthlessness that ensue.

From the outset, in many circumstances she could have been perceived as a prolific self harmer or someone ‘seeking attention’ as I feel some people enduring this condition are so easily mislabelled or stigmatised. I have read many articles on those who have felt misunderstood in relation to their self harm attempts, which has led to deep frustration and further psychological distress.

However the root of such behaviours is often very much misunderstood and dismissed so easily, as opposed to addressed effectively.

I don’t believe there is an easy solution to such a phenomena as ‘self harm’ but I do believe reduced stigma, clearer knowledge and broader understanding would elaborate a more stable connection between the person who has personal experience of self harm and those who are able to deliver elements of a therapeutic nature which could produce a positive therapeutic relationship and therefore a stepping stone towards recovery.

I often believe that in life, it is so easy to view people with prejudice or based on our own misconceptions, I believe that people are people, bubbles of human spirit, an entity of unique thoughts, feelings, beliefs, life experience that so often can determine the path that ensues.

I think people are a product of their past, roots associated with genetics, family upbringing, relationships with others, parents, siblings, childhood friendships, the turbulent teenage years where emotional development is constantly in transition towards adulthood and therefore what we experience enables thought processes that can become fixed and inflexible as we grow older.

Unfortunately, the negative experiences of life can so easily effect our relationship with others and most significantly with ourselves. If those around us mistreat us, it is often difficult to accept that we are worthy of love and respect. If we are judged it compounds our inner frustrations and diminishes the feelings of being understood enhancing inner helplessness.

Often this feeling of inner helplessness is projected in very overt outward behaviour, symptomatic of inner roots of distress.

Such symptoms are reflected in self harm, not just physical forms of self harm, but other forms of self destructive behaviours, such as addiction; drugs and alcohol, gambling, shopping addiction, etc.

All forms of self harm, whether perceived or not, are a form of inner escapism, from roots that lie within.

This is my analogy of self harm in the form of addiction…..

It’s like planning a journey, let’s say from Edinburgh to London.

My destination is London, I am not that excited about driving through London because it is arduous and painful sitting in miles of traffic Jams. The M25 can be a very scary place, and tedious at the same time. And even though I really like being there and enjoy the pace, it can sometimes evoke opportunities and feelings I’d rather not face due to the swift pace of life, so it’s easier to prolong the journey and delay the journey as long as possible.

So in order to drive to London from Edinburgh and avoid all the hassle when I get there, I’ve decided I need some transient avoidance and excitement from the reality of a situation that is uncertain and complicated to face within.

I’ve decided to hire a car with a 3 litre engine for my journey and a bit of rapid acceleration. Adrenalin is also very addictive. I’ve decided to hire a nice Subaru Impreza Turbo for my journey., but I am not thinking too far ahead, I just enjoy living in the moment, it’s more fun. So I am not going to bother enhancing my car insurance, I’ll not worry about that.

So, I’ve started this journey and it is going really well, it is a real thrill tearing down the A1, possibly breaking the speed limit and knowing I am pushing myself to the limits, averting all types of responsibility., knowing I won’t get caught and currently there are no consequences.

Or so I think…..

The gyst of the story can continue as I want it too, but the excitement soons dries up, particularly after a few speeding tickets, points on the driving license, the quadrupled cost of fuel due to the poor judgement in choosing a car and an accident resulting in excess costs because the insurance wasn’t fully covered.

For such a thrill as the hypothetical set out above, there are many detrimental consequences.

Unfortunately every type of act of self harm or addiction is the same, it ends with detrimental consequences, a cost to ourselves, not just financial, but at a much deeper level, our own emotional and spiritual health, because we are always avoiding the very things we need to face without realising those things are not going to disappear, nomatter how much we try and escape and what methods we use to avoid them.

The destination of London still remains, but instead of a more simplistic chapter on arrival, it is filled with deeper complications and excess baggage I have bought with me as a consequence of a previous journey that I now have to carry with me on what could have been a chapter that was faced, dealt with, unpacked and resolved.

Is life really that simplistic?

Possibly not, but if we want to improve as people and not get sucked into behaviours that will deplete us emotionally, mentally and spiritually and allow us to grow as human beings in order to embrace the life we have ahead of us, facing up to life, is often the only option we have.

One of the wisest pieces of advice I ever heard was not to live a defeated life, not to become a victim of life’s circumstances, by living in self pity, doubt, fear or hurt. But by using pain to enable change and growth on a much deeper level. Developing new coping strategies to manage inner distress, without forming unhealthy ones, using pain a platform which would propel ourselves to a higher plain!

Staying in patterns of addiction, does not elicit change. It promotes a stale mate. It hinders emotional development., because it diverts emotional pain, which is actually an inner symptom of unaddressed/unmet need.

Numbing that pain with either self harm strategies, alcohol/drugs does not remove that pain, it merely anaesthetises that pain. There’s a big difference between the surgical procedure and the anaesthetic involved in that procedure. The surgery involves the extrapolation of the dysfunctional tissue/organ hindering growth, the actual anaesthetic is used to depress the nervous system and to block the pain. But if we never had the surgery and only the anaesthetic the dysfunctional tissue would still remain problematic only now we are unaware of it, which is even more of a critical position to be in than when we began.

Emotionally, spiritually, mentally we have an accountability to ourselves, to be responsible for our own emotional health and wellbeing, to allow our circumstances to propel us to ‘victory’ from a stance where previously we could not recognise our own need for help.

And victory in our lives comes from, addressing our inner angsts, raising our own self awareness, choosing to recognise our own inadequacies and imperfections, embrace change and growth in our lives and connect with those around us, those who are compassionate, warm, understanding , who incense us with peace and happiness and not aggravate our own feelings of self loathing or self defeat.

On a spiritual level, reaching out to a power beyond our own understanding, (a power motivated by the spirit of love and peace) as expressed in previous entries. when we choose to rid our lives of the negativity, addiction, anger, resentment, helplessness, by believing that only a power greater than ourselves could allow us this inner strength , than nothing is impossible and we can engage in a life much more meaningful and peaceful and deeper, than we ever knew was possible as that love and peace flows through our lives, as opposed to the toxic devastation we knew before.

Purpose lies within

In a world where there is darkness, I await a shining light.

Like gazing into a moonlit sky, so dense is the dark night, I am captivated by the stars.

Though as the bitterness encompasses me, I embrace the night, the stars staring back at me.

I am filled with awe and incensed with wonder, and drawn to their beauty.

I realise in that moment, my significance in comparison to such a diverse array of natural wonder that surrounds me.

I am miniscule when I stand under the umbrella of the universe that encapsulates me.

Sometimes I feel so insignificant.

But I realise. I am I.

I am unique. I am special. There is noone, nor ever has been anyone like me before.

Noone can be me. Noone can be you. We are all set apart in our own incomparable measure.

I exist here and now, living, breathing and existing in my own conscious/subconscious world.

And in that moment, I see myself from a higher perspective, dissociated from a world perspective.

I was created with a purpose. So are you. My purpose lies ahead of me.

But the gifts I need to fulfil my purpose exist within me, deep within my heart.

I live in a world filled with fighting , torture, adversity, injustice, dishonesty, deceit, greed, and hatred.

But my heart is filled with love.

I wish I could drain hatred from people’s hearts and fuel them with love instead.

That would be a perfect world.

People forget themselves,

Values, conceptions, ideas, whole identities vanish,

in a race to become what society rates as success.

We lose the one thing we value most….ourselves.

Like driving through a blanket of thick fog,

It is so easy to become lost.

Searching and searching and searching like a small child that has lost their favourite teddy bear,

People lose themselves and feel there is no way back..

Like losing a key to a treasure chest that contains the most valuable, precious items you will ever own.

I learn in times of desolation and quiet despair, that I already have the key within my mind which holds the ability to unlock the silent treasure within my own heart.

Every individual has a precious treasure within their own heart. A beautiful handmade treasure chest carved by the creator from up above.

And within, the most valuable, unique assets we will ever own.

And people forget that the most significant treasure they will ever gain ,

they are already in ownership of.

It isnt material. It isn’t success. It isn’t power,or popularity or other false and flawed ideation that will stabilise your identity .

It is your own inner treasure. Like a pot of gold. Its worth and value never changes.

Like a fingerprint, so unique and intricate, so are you.

You have meaning and purpose and value, nothing and nobody can change.

If you can only open your eyes and search deep within, and see your own hidden treasure.

There is a reason you breathe, exist and live.

Every answer you will ever need lies within.

And your purpose is found when you utilise those gifts that you find within.

Purpose

After many years of studying why people make decisions to end their own lives, I have decided to write a blog aimed at promoting positivity and purpose in the lives of individuals who feel in any way hopeless or generally struggling to maintain identity in a fluctuating society that determines value based upon materialistic values or success.

photo 5

The current trend in suicide rates was reflected in the recent recession and economic downturn, suggesting that such individuals may attach their own inner purpose to a career or financial status, and when such factors so intrinsic to daily life and existence dissipate, so does ones ability to perceive a positive future.

Not only is this the case in a general society, particularly men, but equally, it is apparent rates of self harm are rising amongst children and adolescents suggestive of a deep rooted symptom that perhaps there is an erupting identity crisis and that the foundations on which some aspects of  humanity/society exist is lacking an established base and therefore subsists in a disharmonious state.

My blog will concede to an open possibility, however idealistic, that there are answers to an inconclusive question, at least I hope there is an answer, and in my blog I hope to promote a thought provoking conclusion to an inconclusive question that still remains unanswered .

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