Hello great ones!

I haven’t posted in a while as I’ve been busy moving house! Holy hell it was seriously intense and physically challenging to say the least (as I did most of it myself) but I felt an unexpected sense of alignment through it all… like I’d made the right choice to move on. I definitely wouldn’t say it was “fun” (I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who said that about moving!) lol but I was really pleased with that background feeling of surrender and what I can only describe as “okayness”

Now I’m feeling a bit spaced out in the come down after the whirlwind. I’ve written several drafts of blog posts but finding myself distracted by guitar practice and songwriting rather than blogging. I’m not complaining as this is a good thing! But I’m also mindful of the fact that I do wish to continue with this blog and write some interesting content. I haven’t forgotten..

As I’m writing this from a cafe I’m keen to get back home to pick up my guitar again. I have no idea where all this practice motivation is coming from! I haven’t been this practice-focused in ages,… Happy to roll with it for now though… I’ve seen some amazing live music over the past week so possibly that has inspired my subconscious to get busy. I wrote a song yesterday which is super fun to play and would be a good one for a solo live gig.

Anyways… bye for now.. I’ll return next time with some more sophisticated content!

Best wishes xx


Therapeutic shredding: letting go of 2017

This is my ceremonial shredding of 2017’s crap…. ha ha.

2017 crap bye bye from The Truth About Mental Health on Vimeo.

Yesterday I bought this cheap shredder to destroy old paperwork, correspondence and copies of bills that I no longer need. I also thought the shredded paper would come in handy for wrapping occasional ebay items for postage.

What I wasn’t expecting was for this process to be incredibly therapeutic. Clearing out some cupboards and letting go of 2017 (especially the not so awesome aspects) feels great!! Unwanted correspondence; be gone!! Annoying old bills, paid…. gone!!!! Rejection letter from a potential employer………Shhhhrrrreeeeeedddd.

As I was feeding the papers through I thought about everything I’m happy to leave behind in 2017. What are you ready to leave behind ? This is my 2017 shred list. Feel free to share yours in the comments

Metaphorical shred list: what to leave behind in 2017

  • Bad habits, like over indulging in sweets
  • Wasting time on facebook
  • Seeking the approval of assholes. Wasting my time on people who aren’t worth it
  • Picking the wrong battles to fight. (not picking and choosing by battles)
  • Avoiding problems
  • Procrastinating
  • Neglecting creative projects

Blogger recognition award & happy holidays!

blog gift

I’m chuffed to be nominated by A Lot On Your Mind for the Blogger Recognition Award! When I set out to create The Truth About Mental Health in April of this year, I had very low expectations that anyone would actually read it.. initially it was a just a space to reflect; a virtual journal of sorts to contemplate and distill my opinions on mental health. If anyone happened to read it, well that was a bonus…

Now that “bonus,” to my amusement,  has become evermore frequent! I’m truly grateful for the people who have taken the time to read my blogs and explore the topics that are close to my heart. Your thoughtful comments, likes and follows have been a joy to receive.

blogger-recognition-awardI now have 200+ followers, (tiny in the scheme of things) but I’m still really pleased about it! Waking up to comments like “I love love love this so much” just makes my day and inspires me to consider what else is possible with this blog!

As part of the blog award process I’ve been asked to share some tips for new bloggers and to nominate 10 additional sites that I enjoy.

Here are my tips for new bloggers

  1. Set a challenge for yourself to help establish a blogging habit. Initially I set the goal of 30 blogs in 30 days which I found really helpful. Whilst I skipped a few days due to time limitations the overall goal helped me to get into the habit of blogging until I no longer needed a goal and it just became a natural tendency.
  2. Do random acts of blogging kindness. Look for like-minded bloggers and read their material. Show support to help foster a kindred community. Don’t worry if it’s not always reciprocal. Be kind and supportive because it feels good and will brighten someone’s day. If it comes back to you returned that’s a bonus too but don’t do it solely for that reason.
  3. Reply to blog comments. Sometimes it’s easy to get distracted and forget to reply to someone’s comment on your blog. If they’ve taken the time to be thoughtful be thoughtful back and make sure you take the time to appreciate the gesture.
  4. Be yourself. Your story and perspective matters no matter who you are and what your background is. You might not think you matter but you do. We often have an impact on each other in ways we don’t always see or appreciate. Authenticity is a light in a world that needs it right now.

Here are my nominees (in no particular order)

  1. Sue Dreamwalker
  2. Three Worlds One Vision
  3. Thriving Under Pressure
  4. Katherine Otto 
  5. Naturally Connected
  6. Crazy Little Things
  7. Warriors Not Worriers
  8. Neurodivergent Rebel
  9. Untangled
  10. A Fractured Faith 

(sorry if I’ve forgotten anyone who’s blog is awesome and deserves a nomination… so hard to narrow it down; there are so many awesome blogs out there!!)

To participate in this award:

1. Show your gratitude to the person who nominated you and provide a link back to the person’s blog.

2. Give a brief story on your blog.

3. Share two or more pieces of advice for beginner bloggers.

4. Choose 10 other bloggers to nominate.

5. Comment on each blog by letting them know they’ve been nominated and provide a link to your award post.

How to like yourself

like yourself

Do me a favour. Grab a notepad and pen (or open your virtual notebook) and jot down 10 things about you that you’re grateful for. It can be anything from the basic fact that you’re alive and your heart continues to beat to some talent or skill that you possess. If you’re struggling to find things, go basic, and focus on simple fundamental aspects like the parts of your body that are healthy or your ability to be a kind friend to someone. This is my list for today:

I’m grateful for:

  1. the gift of my body and all of its function and capacity
  2. the fact that I can see, hear, walk, breath, taste, touch and think
  3. my ability to type fast
  4. a sense of caring for others
  5. a sense of caring for the earth
  6. my curiosity
  7. my desire to learn and expand
  8. my hopeful attitude
  9. my ability to sing and create
  10. how I don’t give up

Have you done your list? Do it now… go on!! …..

This is a really simple exercise but how often do you take a moment to really appreciate that gift your body? The gift of living? I find those basic truths like “I’m so glad my heart is beating and I get to live in this life,” really uplifting to reflect on. Often our brains jump to what is wrong with us and so we need to put some energy into what’s right from time to time. Otherwise we get the habit of distorted thinking and miss the opportunity to enjoy a balanced perspective.

Weirdly, as I’m writing this in a cafe I notice an infomercial segment the TV for a fat burning vibrational belt, lol… Wow! If I wear a special belt my abs can look perfect, tanned and toned like the women in the ad! And I don’t even have to eat sensibly or exercise. *facepalm.* Sadly these products sell because we are forever reaching for a beauty ideal is unattainable; we never achieve the unrealistic TV-induced cosmetic standards. We end up fundamentally rejecting ourselves as we are and so the urge to buy continues.

I find practicing basic self-gratitude provides a good foundation for other self-appreciating thoughts to live and thrive. It’s an excellent vaccination against the virus of unrealistic cultural beauty ideals.


The difference between medical minimalism and anti-medicine

Yesterday I read a smear piece on a holistic doctor who is “anti-medicine” according to the journalist because she is critical of conventional approaches to mental illness.  I’m not even going to share the piece as I think it’s a classic example of tabloid style click bait not even worthy of linking to in a blog post. In my opinion many holistic or integrative doctors are actually more like medical minimalists rather than anti-medicine practitioners, and I think there’s an important difference.

What is medical minimalism? It’s a cautious, critical and big picture approach to the use of pharmaceutical medicines. Medical minimalists use drugs only when they believe they are truly needed or helpful. When they do use medicines they use the lowest dose possible to get the desired result because they acknowledge the risks involved. They openly embrace lifestyle interventions as valid, and sometimes preferable to drugs and continuously apply a big picture cost benefit mentality to all their recommendations.

Medical minimalists are not against the use of drugs across the board but they use sparingly, or not at all depending on the illness or patient in question. They don’t believe drugs are necessarily bad but that the use of them can be destructive if better options are ignored. Just like minimalists believe less is more, medical minimalist believe less medicine can sometimes mean greater health. Since there isn’t research into the effects of prescribing a cocktail of different meds at once medical minimalists tend to avoid cocktail scenarios. They prescribe one thing at a time or give their patients a pep talk about lifestyle and diet.

Here’s an example of a very honest psychiatrist I came across on youtube who discusses the limitations of his prescriptions. Whilst he still prescribes at times when he believes it’s needed (always at the lowest dose possible) his aim is to get people off medications eventually and offer talk therapy and other strategies that he believe are more effective at helping people thrive for the long haul rather than just “getting through.”

I’ve really enjoyed watching some of his other videos on mental health too which are very helpful and refreshing. Also check out The forgiveness diet and How to let go of victimhood. Enjoy!



What you seek is seeking you…

Do you agree with Rumi’s quote “what you seek is seeking you”?

what you seek

It’s such a comforting idea but is it true? Does what we seek create some sort of magnetic force? When I first saw this quote I wondered if it could be used as an excuse to be slack about actually putting in the hard yards to reach goals… to make them happen. If your goals are seeking you then maybe you can just kick back and be lazy?

But after further consideration I think the quote is more like a catalyst for taking action. Seeking indicates searching, doing something… finding and that by doing so the world will match our efforts. That our searching is destined to be rewarded somehow. What do you think?

Grassroots health: Dr Google the people’s physician

In the age of the internet you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who hasn’t “Dr Googled” a health issue before. In fact, one in every 20 Google searches are health-related, according to the tech giant.

Maybe you’ve googled one of the top 10 trending health questions like, can you get pregnant on birth control, what is TBI or in the number one slot, what is cupping?

Whilst it’s often frowned upon and considered potentially dangerous to rely on google for health answers, the reality is, we’re all doing it, and often. Commentators are quick to point out what could go wrong in this self-doctoring approach, but how many people are asking what could go right? What does this trend to consult Dr Google actually mean?

I believe the rise of internet has enabled grassroots holistic health movements to flourish, that I like to call “The People’s Medicine.”  It’s a new type of folk medicine that’s reviving the common sense self-care approaches of eras gone by.

In the 19th century there were a number of popular movements which encouraged people to “be their own physicians,” as reflected in this historic book title below.  Herbs were often the treatment of choice and it was not uncommon for everyday folk to be familiar with their preparation and use.

people their own ph

Thomsonian Medicine, was one particular holistic health system that enjoyed wide popularity in the United States during this era, reaching over 1 million people in its height. Founded by a medical reformist Samuel Thomson, this movement promoted the idea of a self-directed health awareness and self-care care as a valid alternative or adjunct to “doctors orders”.  This approach appealed to members of the anti-elitist movement of the time as it offered people a more accessible and affordable way to manage common ailments.

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Excerpts from “The Thomsonian Manual”, by Samuel Thomson, 1835

In more recent times, the concept of self-care has been embraced once again in grassroots mental health recovery communities. The diversity of opinions found through the internet has allowed people to reclaim a sense of agency over their psychological challenges and look beyond homogenous conventional treatments.

The International Hearing Voices movement is one such example of people learning to be their own healers, or what could be called self-made therapists. In this movement people who have experienced auditory hallucinations meet in peer-to-peer groups to explore the value and purpose of these experiences rather than seeing them as an illness. They learn how to embrace their voices in a constructive and functional manner that often allows them to move away from psychiatric labels and medications.

“Our research shows that to hear voices is not the consequence of a diseased brain, but more akin to a variation in human behaviour, like being left-handed. It is not so much the voices that are the problem, but the difficulties that some people have in coping with them.” – from the international hearing voices website 

Smart Recovery  is another peer-to-peer movement that’s grown in popularly with the help of grassroots people power. Smart is a secular alternative to AA for people with substance use disorders but many physicians are unaware of its existence. Most people find out about it through a quick google search looking for an alternative. Much like Weight Watchers, Smart is facilitated by people who have recovered from addiction and been through the program themselves. The meetings, are based on psychological tools and mutual support.

There are countless examples of these sort of movements that are often very much driven by everyday people without health qualifications, who nonetheless are acting as catalysts for profound healing and change. There’s a support tribe for everything and if not you can start your own online.

There is of course a dark side to Dr Googling; obsession, hypochondria, panic or even the potentially lethal outcome of acting on dubious advice. But since people are unlikely to quit the internet, the best approach might be good old moderation mixed with a dose of common sense, as Doctor Thomson might have advised if he were living today.

After all an honest physician, he said, will tell you that:

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To find health …

to find health

The above quote is a variation of Andrew Taylor Still’s quote “To find health should be the object of the doctor. Anyone can find disease.” (I replaced disease with illness because I think this idea is true for mental illness also.. which is not a disease as such).

Beyond coping, managing and dealing lies a holy grail called HEALTH. What small step towards true health can you take today?



Do doctors practice magic?

If you asked a typical family physician if they could prescribe you a magic spell to restore your health chances are they’d think you’re joking or delusional. Doctors work with “evidence-based medicine;” their pills and potions are firmly backed by science. Witch doctors, on the other hand, practice magic, and that of course isn’t what you’re going to experience in a conventional medical setting… or is it?

The word “pharmaceutical” is derived from the classical greek words pharmakeutikos from pharmakeuein, meaning “to practice witchcraft”, and from pharmakon, meaning “to prepare poison” or simply “drug, medicine, charm, spell or enchantment”. Reading this makes me chuckle since the last thing a modern doctor would recommend is sorcery and certainly they would deny their scripts are dangerous… but does medicine have us charmed?

The origin of the word pharmaceutical reflects the rich history of western health and its earlier folk medicine roots. Before the rise of science physicians and healers utilised a vast array of tools, substances, procedures and practices to treat the ailments of the day. These were both natural and man made; earthly and magical; common sensical and bizarre.


A plant pharmacology manuscript from the 11th century

Medical manuals from medieval Europe, such as  The Canon Medicinae, outlined everything from medicinal herbs to brutal procedures like bloodletting to balance imaginary “humours”.

blood letting diagram

A chart showing the parts of the body to be bled for different diseases, c.1310–1320

Whilst we’ve come along way since then in our understanding of anatomy there’s more to traditional medicine than bloodletting and the shock factor aspects of its biggest “fails”.. Although we might shudder at the thought of certain archaic treatments western medicine has a long history of using folk remedies as a type of “lead” for scientific research.

Have you ever popped an Aspirin and considered how its discovery was based on research into willow bark, a natural medicine dating back to Sumerian civilisation? If not, now you might!

A significant portion of drug discoveries, many of which we rely on today, were inspired by natural cures.  For example, more than half of drugs that were approved between 1981 and 2010 were the outcome of natural or botanical leads. It almost seems a bit cheeky how on the one hand, the medical establishment is willing to entertain alternative claims in the spirit of scientific inquiry but on the other hand, quick to denounce them as pseudoscience, quackery or spiritual woo woo.

Nevertheless western medicine is highly cautious and prides itself on rigorous evaluation. This works well for the study of pharmaceuticals, yet drugs and their herbal cousins are just one type of healing “tool;” one branch of the wellness tree. Drugs are the expression of one scientific tangent. But what about other health sciences? Why do they get less attention? .. and what tangents or “leads” might we have left behind in the shadows of history?

Unfortunately our enthusiasm and reverence for drugs has somehow permeated much of what we consider standard day-to-day healthcare. We use drugs for almost everything that ails us, and there’s rarely a time where they’re not part of a typical treatment plan. This seems normal to us but imagine if we only used the tools of astronomy to study the ocean. That would seem illogical and bizarre yet somehow when it comes to medicine we’ve got this one tool that seems to be running the show.

But isn’t there more to health than the application of drugs?


The World Health Organisation defines heath as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” True health involves a complex synergy of many contributing factors: from lifestyle to location, from diet to exercise, from genes to their epigenetic expression. This unfortunately proves far more difficult to study clinically, although there are many people dedicated to doing their heads in with this epic task.

Most doctors know that there’s more to health than drugs yet scripts for pharmaceuticals continues to be their modus operandi. That’s the way doctors roll and I wish them no disrespect because drugs are their area of expertise. However, its frustrating as a patient when the recommendation of anything other than drugs seems to be a rarity.

Perhaps there is the odd occasion where a physiotherapist might be recommended for a sports injury or a counsellor for grief but more often than not the doctors I’ve seen simply prescribe pills. End of story. Yet culturally we have this idea of them as being all round health advisers.

As such many of us feel at a loss after visiting a conventional doctor. We find the tablets give us unwanted side effects, or they don’t adequately resolve an issue. Some people have mysterious illnesses like CFS that medicine doesn’t fully understand yet whilst others feel deflated by the lack of time allocated to discuss their health problems. Patients are churned in and out of clinics like battery hens on a production line and there’s a general sense that something ain’t right. Many turn to alternative approaches out of sheer desperation.

That’s why alternative medicine is hugely popular. In the United States, approximately 38 percent of adults (about 4 in 10) use some type of complementary or alternative medicine. Even shamanism and witchcraft has experienced a revival with increasing numbers of people flocking to traditional ceremonies such as popular ayahuasca journeys in Peru. People are going as far as converting to neo-paganism reflected in data like the 2011 UK census where paganism was listed as the 6th most popular religion after Judaism. People are dabbling in the dark arts but maybe it’s because they offer a new light.

What if these alternative health trends were to provide the next set of clues or “leads” in the evolution of medicine? What if magic and medicine were to merge once again? This may not be as delirious as it sounds. In many ways medicine already has a magical element.

Medicine has well established the healing power of suggestion though the observance of the placebo effect; the phenomenon whereby a patient heals after taking a fake pill which they believe to be real. Clinical trials are forever on a race to beat the placebo control but often draw even. We know our thoughts impact our physiology and that positive expectation tends to improve recovery outcomes. We know that burning ceremonial sage actually does “cleanse” the air via its anti bacterial properties and that prayer and meditation can significantly reduce stress. We know that on a quantum level matter is energy that actually responds to our mere observation.  This is all based on legitimate science.

So what’s next? Could the power of intention be the next greatest medical tangent? Could it be that witch doctors were on the right track all along?

I believe conventional medicine might do us all a service by reclaiming it’s pharmakeuein roots, respecting it’s botanical history and honouring alternative trends with a sense of reverence and curiosity. Otherwise where will it get it’s future inspiration from?


























55 assholes: your best teachers

What if your best teachers were 55 assholes? In this comical video below the late self-help author, Stuart Wilde expresses his gratitude for assholes and what they have taught him.

“Isn’t it fantastic that free of charge I’m surrounded by 55 assholes, they are going to teach me a lot about myself.”

At some time or other we all have to deal with assaholic personalities; from garden variety jerks to full blown sociopaths there are plenty out there to keep us on our toes. Whilst it’s normal to feel upset by an asshole sometimes the best thing you can do is step back and gain some perspective. What helps me is to just see it for what it is; to call it out, even if that be just in my head.

This person is behaving like an ass. It might have nothing to do with me. They might be very skilled insensitives, highly adapted pricks, super cunning douche bags. They might be addicted to control, power or subtle manipulation. I don’t have to take that crap on. Neither do you. Easier said than done I know.. but maybe this video might help.

..And lets make a pledge to not be assholes ourselves today.