Of all the tools to combat depression and negativity, humour is by far the best medicine - for both patient and doctor! Television and radio are both under-rated as purveyors of exactly this kind of medicine, no data ever being collected on the numbers of sick people made to feel appreciably better by switching-on at home and laughing uncontrollably at the comic of the day. From the comedians of yesteryear like Laurel and Hardy or Jack Benny, to Tommy Cooper or that special brand of comedian today like Jackie Mason who use ethnicity to make us laugh - we all have our favourites. By watching other people's mishaps, we laugh and feel instantly better.
But, is there a scientific reason for this? Here are a few examples:
Humour combats fear
At a recent seminar on bipolar disorder at St. Andrew's University, the personality Stephen Fry discussed his condition with psychiatric students and practitioners. He has also made a series of programmes for the BBC about his condition and how it famously manifested itself in 1995 when he walked out of the West End play Cellmates.
Other celebrities who also suffer from bipolar include Hollywood actors Richard Dreyfus and Carrie Fisher, and British comedians Tony Slattery and Jo Brand. It is interesting to note how sufferers working in the creative arts can diffuse their talents in such a positive way. Conversely, history is littered with undoubted sufferers who went undiagnosed: artists like Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf, Van Gogh and Hemingway.
There is an interesting character in Eastenders on BBC TV called Jean Slater (the mother of Stacey). In recent weeks, the storyline has followed Jean's personality fluctuations: from the highs when she was close to her son Sean, followed by the lows when he went away. It was only when Jean finally realised the seriousness of her condition that it was revealed she had bipolar disorder.
What exactly is bipolar disorder?
Posted by: Uticopa in therapy, stigma on
Jan 02, 2009
As Irving Berlin put it, there are times when we just have to face the music of our personal problems and learn to dance anyway. Certainly, after extraordinary turmoil in the economy last year, just about everyone has something to worry about. But sometimes change is not always for the worse. The trick is to, first, adjust by facing our problems.
Let's face the music......
If your life is becoming too much to bear for you, your GP is a good first port of call.
Posted by: Uticopa in therapy, self help on
Dec 30, 2008
The first thing to understand is that everyone's life goes through its ups and downs. Try to visualise one of those giant sequoia trees in California. As you stand at the root base and stretch your neck backwards, the trunk proceeds straight and true. Up, up it goes in a regular fashion until suddenly, without warning, there are two forks: one pointing one way, one the other. What to do? Which direction should you take?
So it is in life. A normal pattern is for your life to move along fairly smoothly, skipping over the inevitable knots and thorny problems on the way, until suddenly you encounter a major crossroads, one you have not encountered before.
Now, people who are emotionally healthy are in control of their emotions and their behaviour. They are able to handle life's inevitable challenges, build strong relationships, and lead productive, fulfilling lives. When serious things happen, as they will, they're able to bounce back and move on.
Posted by: Uticopa in trauma, therapy on
Dec 17, 2008
Doctors and researchers alike are the first to admit that the brain is the last bastion of uncharted body territory. However, by degrees, more and more is being learned and procedures developed to ‘chart' the brain, learn which areas control which physical activity, and to heal areas which have become damaged.
It is well-known that stroke is notoriously difficult to treat. Haemorrhagic strokes account for around thirty per cent of the 150,000 strokes in the UK each year. Stroke is Britain's third biggest killer, after heart disease and cancer, and causes more disability than any other disease. It costs the economy about £7 billion a year, including NHS bills and lost productivity.
Up until now, the only option has been conventional surgery, which has a variable success rate. Half of such surgery patients currently die within a month and just one in twenty patients will recover, to varying degrees. Moreover, depending on the precise site of the injury or embolism, the resulting physical effects can be different from patient to patient.
Posted by: Uticopa in therapy, death on
Dec 12, 2008
Society is a continuous cycle, our pavements peopled by all age groups. From babies to the elderly, we are all moving through that ever-changing kaleidoscope called life. But, as we grow older, our mindsets change. In youth we understand that people die, but that is something so far off in the future, we need not worry about it. As we climb the generational ladder, we are so busy chasing that elusive career goal, we have not the time nor desire to focus on what is looming ever closer: our own inevitable demise.
But look closely into the eyes of some who have successfully reached and overcome the biblical three score and ten and you see a certain fear and haunted look deep within the soul. Death is staring them in the face and they do not know how to deal with it.
The important thing is to unburden all those fears lurking deep within your brain. No-one needs to deal with these issues alone, and there are many ways to help. That is when the role of a therapist or guide is so desperately needed.
Posted by: Uticopa in therapy, talking cure on
Dec 06, 2008
Someone once said that the therapist's job is to put himself out of work! It's probably true of all the caring professions: the better you are, the more self-sufficient your patient, thereby lessening the need for further treatment.
One example is the role of family therapists. Newcomers to the whole process of therapy sometimes expect the therapist to take on the role of ‘mother hen'. It is often a subconscious desire on the part of people with deprived childhood experiences to search for someone to take on this role. However, it is not the therapist's job to replace or restore one's parents; rather, it is to provide a non-judgemental, encouraging and safe environment alongside the modelling of good parenting techniques. If the therapist actually took on a ‘mothering' role, she would effectively be negating the ability of the client to be self-sufficient. That would go against everyone's wishes. Clients need to become more confident in their own abilities, not dependent on the therapist's nurturing skills.
I now realise I need help, but how do I choose the right therapist?
Experience has proven time and time again that what is important is the relationship between the client and therapist, and the therapist's skills, knowledge and experience with your individual complaint. There is absolutely no point in reaching for your local Yellow Pages. There are 3 main avenues you can try:
Posted by: Uticopa in therapy, self help, depression on
Nov 25, 2008
Rising unemployment, negative-equity, house repossessions...is it any wonder many of us are feeling depressed and unable to cope? According to Mind, the mental health charity, as many as one person in five can expect to suffer from a mental health problem during their lives. With today's global financial meltdown, this figure can be expected to rise still further. So, what can be done?
First, you need to assess whether you are merely down in the dumps or actually suffering the classic signs of full-blown depression. Certainly, if you've been feeling blue for longer than a few weeks, you should contact your GP. If you feel that you would like to talk to a therapist who can help, you may want to consider contacting registered specialists through our site.
There are things you can do to improve your outlook on life: see below for everyday ways to help and remember, you're not alone. As many as nine per cent of the population suffer from mild to moderate depression at any one time.
Posted by: Uticopa in therapy, talking cure on
Nov 11, 2008
When you walk through a storm,
Hold your head up high,
And don't be afraid of the dark,
At the end of the storm is a golden sky.
And the sweet silver song of a lark.
Walk on through the wind,
Walk on through the rain,
Tho' your dreams be tossed and blown,
Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart,
And you'll never walk alone.
You'll never walk alone
Rogers and Hammerstein
As the Liverpool anthem says ‘..hold your head up high..and you'll never walk alone.' That's as true today as when Rogers and Hammerstein first penned it. But what if you are so depressed that you need professional help?
Talk therapy is everyday language for psychotherapy. No matter what you call it, it is here to stay. It's a way for people with a mental disorder to understand their illness, and then deal with the stress, unhealthy thoughts and behaviour that so often go with it.