Monthly Archives: July 2018

Book Review: A Beginner’s Guide To Being Mental

Overview 

 “A Beginner’s Guide To Being Mental” by Natasha Devon is an A to Z guide about everything to do with mental health. It covers topics including A for anxiety, F for food and M for media. She aims to answer many different questions on the full spectrum of mental health, using her own experiences of working in the field and that of other experts too. 

My Thoughts

Before starting this book I was unsure of it was going to be for me. I don’t know why but I was wary. But the book started off well when in the introduction it made the important point that we all have mental health be it good or bad. I think making this point so soon in the book was key and invited readers from all different backgrounds to carry on reading. It shows the book is relevant to everyone. 

Something I didn’t expect from the book, but is a huge positive to me, is the humour that Natasha uses. Her anecdotes are often amusing with little comments in brackets that make you laugh and smile. It makes the book much easier to read and more relatable. It is also something I’d like to incorporate in my own writing as I feel it just worked so well with this book. It shows that even when discussing this serious topic there is a time for humour. It just works. 

I also really liked that throughout the book Natasha uses a mixture of personal stories and information from experts. Again this makes the book relatable and stops the subject from becoming dry. The expert information is of course crucial to the book but the personal stories help you make sense of everything if you are not an expert. It is accessible to everyone. This is continued in the layout of the book. I like that there are clear sections within each chapter that make it easy to read. 

When Natasha is writing the section on medication and mental illness, I liked that she made it clear that she is not a doctor. I think this is important for this subject in particular as many people will take things they read about medication as expert advice which can be dangerous. I also thought Natasha was well balanced in this section of the book and she makes a good point that this area is complicated. 

Natasha is also very conscious about not too sharing or being instructive about practices in mental illness. She includes trigger warnings where necessary. She does this all very well and I think this makes this book a safe book for those with a mental illness to read. 

The book covers a range of subjects, not just the obvious, which makes it an interesting and unique read. It is political at times but I think it could be said that the topic of mental health is a political one now. It is detailed and comprehensive in what it covers.

Overall I enjoyed this book. I’m glad I read it and would recommend for anyone wanting to know more about mental health generally. If you have read this book feel free to share your views in the comments or on TwitterFacebook or Instagram.

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

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#MHBlogAwards

Hey

This is just a little informal post to say that this blog has been nominated for the #MHBlogAwards in the Micro Influencer category.

I’m really proud of this blog and the mental health community so I’m promoting these awards a lot as I feel it gives us a chance to showcase the unique area of mental health blogs and vlogs.

If you would like to vote in the #MHBlogAwards you can do so here. And if you would like to vote for this blog then it is Jo: Me And My MH Matters. But obviously no pressure.

Voting closes on Friday 27th July and the Awards are on Saturday 28th July. I will keep you up to date on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Thank you for all your support always.

Therapy Journey: Assessment

This blog post is the next in my series detailing my experience of therapy. For other posts in the series go here.

Following on from attending the Psychology Awareness Programme, I was offered an assessment with a psychologist. This was a one to one session to assess my suitability for therapy and what might be an appropriate talking therapy.

Before the assessment started I was asked to complete a set of questionnaires. These questionnaires asked about all aspects of my life and how they are effected by my illnesses. It included a questionnaire that looked at the symptoms of anxiety and how much they had effected me in the last two weeks. 

After filling in the questionnaires I was taken into a room with the psychologist. The assessment started with her explaining about confidentiality and what would be done with the information I provided her with. This included that what I said would be confidential within the team but would be discussed by the team as a whole. It also meant if I planned to act on suicidal thoughts she would need to discuss this with my mental health team. 

In the next part of the assessment we discussed whether I was having any suicidal thoughts and whether I was safe. I explained that I was having suicidal thoughts but had no plans to act on them. This led to her reiterating what I needed to do if things changed.

Following on, the next part of the assessment was to go over what I thought my main problems were and what my goals for therapy were. We then moved on to discuss my past. The psychologist asked me lots of questions about my background, including my childhood, schooling and home life. This went into a lot of detail and was difficult at times. 

In all we spent just over an hour discussing my past and issues. As we came to the end of the session, the psychologist checked what I planned to do after the session and thanked me for being so brave. She then told me she would discuss my case with the team but had some thoughts on what group would help me. She told me she would be in touch in a couple of weeks. 

After the assessment I went home and looked after myself by watching a film I like and I also talked to a couple of friends as I was struggling with some of the things that came up in the assessment. 

It took more than a couple of weeks to hear back but I eventually did via my care coordinator and found out I’d been accepted for group therapy. I was told I’d be contacted via letter when the next group began. It led to me feeling apprehensive about starting, especially as it was a group. At the time it was decided I would do a distress tolerance group though this was later changed.