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  #1  
Old 28th February 2018, 12:47
jinny jinny is offline
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Default Recovery verses Management

Hi

Do you see your condition as something you need to recover from or something you need to manage?
what language have other people used in relation to your mental health?

I have just watched the 'Girls on the Edge' documentary and it struck me a bit that there where a few occasions where parents described how they felt like their child should be living a 'normal' life and they also used words such as 'very ill' and 'very poorly'

For me, if someone used language like that to describe me I think it would make me feel worse and feel pressured that I had to 'get better' and that therefore there was something incredibly wrong with me in the first place.

I have had periods where my behaviour has been very heightened. Anxiety has been so strong that I have hurt myself intentionally. But anxiety is normal....the amount of anxiety I get might be abnormal, but that in itself isn't an illness. Anxiety is a normal part of the human system. I feel like it's something that's just part of my make up & managing my levels of anxiety is part of my 'normal' life. Just in the same way my husband, who has type 1 diabetes has to manage his condition. I would never describe him as being 'ill'. He just has a condition that needs daily management. That's how I see myself.

What about you? Do you feel you have a condition that needs management? Or do you see yourself as someone who is mentally 'ill' that needs to get 'better'?
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  #2  
Old 28th February 2018, 12:55
Thousandmiles Thousandmiles is offline
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Default Re: Recovery verses Management

In my case I definately want to recover, I don't want to manage. It depends what's everyone's issue, but I'm sure about what I want in regards to my problems. I have been managing for years, and makes me deeply unhappy.
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  #3  
Old 28th February 2018, 13:01
jinny jinny is offline
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Default Re: Recovery verses Management

Do you have a point in your life you can go back to? Thousand miles, if you don't mind me asking? where you feel you didn't struggle with the issues you have now? That's my own problem with the term 'recovery' it assumes you are getting back to a starting point. But if your issues started in childhood (as in the case of the documentary) while you are still developing, then you have never been an adult with no mental health problems...so how would you define 'recovered' in that instance?

For me, my issues are ingrained from childhood & escalated through my teenage and early adulthood...so there was never a point I could look back on to think..that is point I want to recover to.
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Old 28th February 2018, 13:24
Thousandmiles Thousandmiles is offline
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Default Re: Recovery verses Management

That's the problem, Jinny, I also have no point to get back to, I screwed up from early teens into adulthood. Now mentally at, 37, I have gotten to the point I should have been at 20-25 years old. I struggle to explain what the hell I have been doing all these years, where the life has gone, and why have I allowed my anxiety to stop me from doing things that needed to be done. Don't misunderstand me, I'm not talking about things that I wanted to do but real life things what really needed to be done. It's all my own doing, of course, but when you're depressed then you just don't see that, so I give myself that much forgiveness. But nevertheless, the anxiety has taken over depression because I see things clearly now, but too late.
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  #5  
Old 28th February 2018, 13:50
Thousandmiles Thousandmiles is offline
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Default Re: Recovery verses Management

I see what you mean by saying if you haven't been an adult without your issues then there is no point of recovery as such, but in my opinion that is putting unnecessary limits on said issues, because as an adult I know where I should be. The margins of this optimal state are broad and wide, but, nevertheless, it has it's own limits, so reaching anywhere within these limits is a point of recovery. That's how I see it or else, it would mean there is no hope at all in certain situations. And then what?
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  #6  
Old 28th February 2018, 13:52
Vasco Da Gama Vasco Da Gama is offline
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Default Re: Recovery verses Management

I suppose you have to see recovery (whether in yourself or in others) to really believe in it and have faith in the process,
once you experience some real, tangible recovery then you start gaining confidence in the process and working with it.
management is also ongoing though, I see the two as co-occurring in a way,
I see management as learning coping strategies and knowing your limits and stuff,
like,. recovery-wise, you could challenge yourself to do something your SA inherently baulks at, for instance, going out to a party
but then, the management comes in by not joining in on particularly challenging aspects like talking to people you don't know well or don't usually bond with.
to me, that's just knowing how much to take on and not over-stretching yourself.

I've recovered from SA to a huge degree, especially since coming here, but I'd also say (in my case) there seem to be limits to recovery too, I've relatively recently worked out that I've had Autism all these years, and I'm not sure that's a set of behaviours you can just slip out of.
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Old 28th February 2018, 14:03
jinny jinny is offline
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Default Re: Recovery verses Management

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thousandmiles
I see what you mean by saying if you haven't been an adult without your issues then there is no point of recovery as such, but in my opinion that is putting unnecessary limits on said issues, because as an adult I know where I should be. The margins of this optimal state are broad and wide, but, nevertheless, it has it's own limits, so reaching anywhere within these limits is a point of recovery. That's how I see it or else, it would mean there is no hope at all in certain situations. And then what?
do you have an idea of the margins you are talking about?

I think in a way that's why I can only think of managing my own mental health, rather recovering from a mental health issue. Because there are so many variables, and where do you draw a line over 'recovery'? It doesn't take into account that life is fluid anyway & while you might spend time coping well, life itself can throw up things to test your resilience or mental health, like other illnesses, bereavement or financial problems.

How can we define 'recovered'? what do you think it means? I'm not sure what it means.
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  #8  
Old 28th February 2018, 14:09
gregarious_introvert gregarious_introvert is offline
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Default Re: Recovery verses Management

@Thousandmiles - it's never too late! I'm old enough to be your father and have only been in charge of my anxiety for the past two-and-a-half years. I know that I "lost" forty years (I still managed to do some stuff in that time, but not what I could have been doing) but now I'm just focussed on maximising what time I have left.

Anyway, I definitely see my issues as a condition to be managed; I will never be anxiety-free (I agree, jinny, that anxiety is normal and I've yet to meet anyone who doesn't have some degree of anxiety) but these days (I know I've said this previously) I am in control of the anxiety instead of the anxiety being in control of me. I've never been comfortable with the term "recovery" (I know that I have used it, before someone quotes one of my old posts - sometimes it's a useful shorthand) since I don't recall a time in my life when I wasn't anxious (at least, not since I started school in 1966).

Some of these themes have popped up in real life recently; less than a couple of weeks ago, I met a couple of people in Lagos (the one in the Algarve, not the capital of Nigeria) and we were chatting about social anxiety, depression, introversion, extroversion and various other things and my Dutch companion was telling me that although he is a very outgoing and spontaneous chap (we got talking because he approached me when I was nodding my head to the music in the bar), he does suffer internally with social anxiety, whilst my Canadian drinking partner, who is slightly more introverted, mentioned his sister who is a complete introvert, interacts only with her family, but is not at all a shy person (although I am sure that she has some level of social anxiety, even if, as an introvert, she doesn't find it intrusive). The fact is that it's impossible to judge people's anxiety levels by their actions - the most flamboyant and extrovert person I ever knew (a barman with whom I worked back in the late 80s and early 90s) was incredibly socially anxious, but covered it by making himself the centre of attention until he was "off-stage".

A few nights ago, I was at a meetup with a lady who has a 17-year-old daughter with autism and when one of the other group members asked her if she'd like her daughter to be "cured", she recounted a conversation in which her daughter had told her that she was grateful for being autistic because it was part of what made her who she was (I am guessing, although people aren't diagnosed as such these days, that her autism is "high-functioning", from what I learned about her during the conversation). I feel similarly about my own condition, that whatever has happened during the past 50-odd years, I wouldn't be me or where I am now if I hadn't had issues with which to contend.

Asperger's, anxiety, depression and even agoraphobia still intrude on my life occasionally, but these days I can see them coming and deal with them far more effectively than in the past; these days, I am able to enjoy life and help others at the same time - and probably appreciate the good things much more than I would have done had they come earlier in life. If I am tempted to relapse, I just have to remember the days when I was imprisoned by four walls and know that whatever it takes to put my anxiety where it belongs, the rewards are worth it; it is a condition to be managed and for me, that reminds me just how far I have come.
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  #9  
Old 28th February 2018, 14:24
Thousandmiles Thousandmiles is offline
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Default Re: Recovery verses Management

Yes, Jinny, I know exactly where I want to be, and I know exactly what I need to do, but what's in the way is the anxiety, that still won't let me do it. So I am not recovering, I am managing. In the process I have lost a lot of essentials and beat myself up about it all the time, but my road to recovery is very new and I've only taken first steps so I hope I recover. Sounds simple but, of course, it's not. Like you say, life also throws things at you all the time, so mentally we need to try to be even stronger than people with no mental issues.
Define recovered? Don't know, maybe that's happy, genuinely happy.
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  #10  
Old 28th February 2018, 14:37
jinny jinny is offline
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Default Re: Recovery verses Management

^^ I think the problem for me in using the term 'recovery' is that it puts too much distinction between being 'well' and 'unwell', which I think can firstly put too much pressure on someone to feel like they always have to be striving to be 'well' or 'normal', when those are very fluid concepts....feeding into poor mental health, low self esteem...if you feel like you need to be different to be considered 'ok' when are you going to start feeling like you are doing ok?

The other problem I have with the distinction between being 'mentally ill' and recovered is that it might lead people to thinking that they need to recover from their mental health issues in order to live any kind of life, which might lead to a situation where they are endlessly trying to solve their problems in order to live and putting their life on hold, rather than living at the same time.
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  #11  
Old 28th February 2018, 14:46
jinny jinny is offline
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Default Re: Recovery verses Management

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thousandmiles
Yes, Jinny, I know exactly where I want to be, and I know exactly what I need to do, but what's in the way is the anxiety, that still won't let me do it. So I am not recovering, I am managing. In the process I have lost a lot of essentials and beat myself up about it all the time, but my road to recovery is very new and I've only taken first steps so I hope I recover. Sounds simple but, of course, it's not. Like you say, life also throws shit at you all the time, so mentally we need to try to be even stronger than people with no mental issues.
Define recovered? Don't know, maybe that's happy, genuinely happy.
that's interesting, thousand miles.

Do you think you will be happy when you reach the point you want to be at? Do you mind asking what the goal is? Is it quite tangible? Sorry if that is too personal a question.

For me I think when I was younger I always felt if I could have things to define me as having a normal life, a proper job, be able to drive etc etc...I would feel recovered. But I have all those things and my anxiety triggers are more or less the same. Now I care less about goals and more about managing my day to day moods and really having a balance between enough social interaction so that I feel engaged in the world and enough time alone to feel calm. Management for me is figuring out those balances to feel ok within myself.
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  #12  
Old 28th February 2018, 14:53
Thousandmiles Thousandmiles is offline
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Default Re: Recovery verses Management

The goal, Jinny, is too embarrassing to say even here, on anonymous social anxiety forum, it is tangible and simple, like driving for example, but apart from that I am quite a happy person with a fairly good life. Just stupid beyond explanation
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  #13  
Old 28th February 2018, 15:32
jinny jinny is offline
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Default Re: Recovery verses Management

Well, I hope you get there x
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  #14  
Old 28th February 2018, 16:38
Ajax Amsterdam Ajax Amsterdam is offline
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Default Re: Recovery verses Management

Quote:
Originally Posted by jinny
Hi

Do you see your condition as something you need to recover from or something you need to manage?
what language have other people used in relation to your mental health?

...What about you? Do you feel you have a condition that needs management? Or do you see yourself as someone who is mentally 'ill' that needs to get 'better'?
My view of it all has changed over the years. With hindsight I can see that I was never really well. I never had any 'normal' to get back to because I never had a time in my life where anxiety didn't severely hamper me. I suppose this was my normal, because it's all I knew.

Throughout my whole life no one close to me has ever truly known how I've felt inside. How could they? I know an ex-girlfriend's familiy used to call me 'the psycho' behind my back. Mind you, I did act in bizarre fashion on enough occasions for them to see that I was quite disturbed. In the early days of seeing GPs and trying to articulate how I was feeling, things didn't go so well. The family GP back then simply called me 'neurotic'. So, if/when my issues surfaced, the language others used about me tended to be negative and insulting.

I often saw myself as a 'head case'. I didn't fit anywhere. Didn't seem to feel, think or act like most others did. Lost at sea with it all really. No stable normal to try to get back to, and no idea how to build a future either. I just thought I was a misfit in life. An outsider. A failure.

I think it wasn't until I was in my early 40s that I even found that what I was going through was an obscure, but recognised mental health issue. The only previous information on it was a small article I read somewhere on 'Social Phobia' back in around 1980. It jumped out at me and for the first time I felt in some way understood. That was short-lived because there was no support out there, so I think I slipped back into thinking I was just a freak of nature, really. Even when I was hospitalised (psych ward) after self-harming and threatening suicide in the early 80s the MH people totally missed my classic signs of crippling SA.

I suppose I did see myself as mentally ill. I was in a right mess for so long. Pretty much all of my life, really. The mess (illness) was inside my head, so yes, I probably saw myself as mentally ill. I'd get very depressed too, and self-injure. Mental illness or chronic mental turmoil? Definitely the latter. The former? I don't really know for sure, the whole thing confused me. The psychiatrists I did see totally invalidated me.

Now, after a lot of work on myself and a lot of educating myself on my issues and how to work on them, I feel that it's more a case of managing rather than recovering. Like I said, it's not like I was well (functioning) then got ill and can now get well again. Also, with something as normal, as natural and as essential for survival as anxiety is, it's not something that can be removed.

I used to think that I could only live well if I removed my anxiety, but that just set me up for an inevitable fall. When you try to remove the imoveable, it creates frustration and yet more anxiety. You end up with anxiety over having anxiety. A vicious circle. A downward spiral. The more you don't want it, the more you have it.

These days I have all the very normal anxieties that human beings have, including social anxieties. But, I do not have Social Anxiety Disorder anymore. By that, I mean that I accept that anxiety is part of life, so I make room for it as best as I can whilst I go about doing things that hopefully make my life worth living. So, I've not left anxiety behind, but I'm not spending my life in a battle with it now. This management of something that is unpleasant, yet normal, natural and cannot be avoided means that I can live now.

I've got most of what I want to have in my life, but anxiety is still part of my life too, because it's part of everyone's life. No exceptions. A full life brings a full range of emotions and experiences; good, bad and indifferent. We have to make room for them all. Making room for them helps us carry them easier.

Am I 'recovered'? I just see it as me being in a different place now. Life still holds all the same challenges, but I just approach it differently now. That different approach gives me the room to live that my previous approach denied me. I'll always have to be vigilant and manage my approach, though. But, doesn't everyone have to do that anyway?
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Old 28th February 2018, 17:04
Ajax Amsterdam Ajax Amsterdam is offline
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Default Re: Recovery verses Management

Quote:
Originally Posted by jinny
...The other problem I have with the distinction between being 'mentally ill' and recovered is that it might lead people to thinking that they need to recover from their mental health issues in order to live any kind of life, which might lead to a situation where they are endlessly trying to solve their problems in order to live and putting their life on hold, rather than living at the same time.
Totally agree, Jinny.

I used to do just this. I used to feel that I could only live once I was 'well'. Thing is though, human beings rarely feel 100% and if they do, it doesn't last forever. Life constantly changes, feelings and emotions fluctuate. Challenges we face change. Life is fluid. If we wait until we feel great before we do what we value in life, we'll never do it. Even if we start doing it, with that attitude we will give up when we hit the inevitable low points and darker times that we all (human beings) face periodically.

Confidence is the same. Confidence comes through experiencing and doing. If we wait for confidence before we do what we value doing, we'll probably never do it.

It took me a long, long time to work out that it's possible to move forward with our lives whilst working on our issues at the same time. Waiting for our problems to be solved before acting in life is what saw me stagnate for over four decades. I'd not recommend it.*


*For clarity, I'm talking about SA and associated issues here, not severe mental illness, which is a lot more complex.
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  #16  
Old 28th February 2018, 17:44
Thousandmiles Thousandmiles is offline
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Default Re: Recovery verses Management

@Ajax Amsterdam, what I understand from both your replies, is that in the essence the key to either managing or recovering is understanding followed by acceptance?
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Old 28th February 2018, 18:07
Thousandmiles Thousandmiles is offline
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Default Re: Recovery verses Management

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ajax Amsterdam
Totally agree, Jinny.

I used to do just this. I used to feel that I could only live once I was 'well'. Thing is though, human beings rarely feel 100% and if they do, it doesn't last forever. Life constantly changes, feelings and emotions fluctuate. Challenges we face change. Life is fluid. If we wait until we feel great before we do what we value in life, we'll never do it. Even if we start doing it, with that attitude we will give up when we hit the inevitable low points and darker times that we all (human beings) face periodically.

Confidence is the same. Confidence comes through experiencing and doing. If we wait for confidence before we do what we value doing, we'll probably never do it.

It took me a long, long time to work out that it's possible to move forward with our lives whilst working on our issues at the same time. Waiting for our problems to be solved before acting in life is what saw me stagnate for over four decades. I'd not recommend it.*


*For clarity, I'm talking about SA and associated issues here, not severe mental illness, which is a lot more complex.
This is gonna be my mantra for March!
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  #18  
Old 28th February 2018, 21:29
jinny jinny is offline
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Default Re: Recovery verses Management

That was exactly the part that struck me, change87.

When I first realised I had severe social anxiety (though I didn't have a name for it) I was at college & realised I couldn't sit in the lectures or seminars and I definitely couldn't do presentations.
At times my anxiety has been so bad I've struggled to get to my car from my front room, or kept my curtains shut in the day, but lots of the time I come & go from my house without much thought & am quite settled & happy.
However I still wouldn't be able to do a presentation and still get extreme anxiety in a hall full of people. I can be there, which I have to do a few times a year for my children's school assemblies and performances. I am uncomfortable, but there, knowing the anxiety I have in that situation doesn't mean I can't manage life, just I don't like being in a quiet room full of hundreds of people.

I felt like when the girl recognised her anxiety level had risen very high, she made a conscious choice to leave, which was strong and showed she was beginning to make the choices that would enable her to feel more in control. So seeing her parents sob about it was quite a shock. It felt like in their eyes that if she can't do all the things they can do, she must be profoundly ill, there seemed to be such a lack of understanding.

When I was doing my childcare qualifications we looked at the 'medical' model of disability and the 'social' model. The medical model assumes there is something 'wrong' with a disabled child that needs to be fixed, the social model assumes that the problem is not with the child or the child's condition, but with society. So to be inclusive in a childcare setting we have to have what are called 'enabling environments' and to remove what we call 'barriers to learning'. So you don't look at fixing the child (which you can't) you don't disregard them and assume they aren't capable, you look at the environment they're in & see how that either helps or hinders them.

I think it would be helpful if we could start looking at mental health this way. rather than feeling the person needs to be fixed, we should look at the environment & see how that can be changed to manage a person's wellbeing. For me, I try to do that for myself. I don't think that is avoidance.

I think in the example of the 'girl on the edge' we are talking about, it's really unhelpful to label her as 'very ill' because she is too anxious to be in a busy hall, when she is capable of many, many other things. To me, not being able to do something like that isn't such a big deal. (So long as you don't want to be a lecturer)
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Old 1st March 2018, 01:14
Ajax Amsterdam Ajax Amsterdam is offline
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Default Re: Recovery verses Management

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thousandmiles
@Ajax Amsterdam, what I understand from both your replies, is that in the essence the key to either managing or recovering is understanding followed by acceptance?
In my case at least, I'd say yes to that.
It's cutting a very long story short, but the path I went down was one of learning about the issues I was suffering from, what could and couldn't be done about them. Also learning about myself along the way too. From then on, it was a case of accepting what cannot be changed whilst working on what could. Also, accepting that a full life includes a whole heap of loss, pain, failure, anxiety, fear and suchlike alongside all the good stuff that we might experience.

I think we can spend our whole lives in fear. Not trying in case we fail. Not loving incase we lose that love. Not wanting to get too close for fear of eventual loss. Not doing what we value because we hate the feelings of doubt and anxiety that goes with that territory. But where does that get us?

Thing is, fear, anxiety and doubt are ever-presents in human beings. If we put off living until they are gone, we'll never live. If we accept their presence, make room for them and be willing to carry them with us (we don't have to like them) we can still live something of a rewarding life.
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Old 1st March 2018, 01:26
Ajax Amsterdam Ajax Amsterdam is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Change87
I've also worked this out and at 30 I don't think it's anyway too late for me not to enact upon this lesson. Although, I have a feeling in many years I'll be passing on the same lesson and I could pass it on now to people younger than me.

The problem is, that's the scariest thing ever. I have to progress with my life whilst feeling like this and my problems not being solved.... I want to but I can't do it.
You just might suprise yourself and find that you can do it.
I totally agree, though. Learning a lesson and acting on what the lesson taught us are two different things. It is terrifyingly scary. I found it scary and I still do. I think I always will do, too. At 30 you have time on your side, but it's never too late to improve our lives.

It's also well worth remembering that progression brings with it new learning along the way too. It brings experience. As we evolve and grow through the things we do with our lives, we can gain greater insight on ourselves, our issues and how to deal with them. Funny enough, my greatest gains and insights came via pushing through and doing things that I valued doing, but also terrified me too. Progressing with our lives can actually also see us progressing with our problems too. Nothing is perfectly straight-forward, of course, but generally speaking I've found this to be the case.
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Old 1st March 2018, 14:00
Thousandmiles Thousandmiles is offline
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Default Re: Recovery verses Management

^^thank you for your replies, much appreciated!
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  #22  
Old 2nd March 2018, 03:06
Ajax Amsterdam Ajax Amsterdam is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rebka
I was never called poorly or ill or anything, just naughty. I was called naughty a lot, by my parents, teachers, and other adults sometimes too. It wasnít usually my intention to be naughty though. I was a frustrated child but naughty is the word thatís stuck with me

For me itís all something that needs to be managed it seems, but I donít manage to manage very well, ha!
You mentioning teachers reminds me of some of the things I was called at school by my own teachers.

Sullen, morose and disruptive were three I recall. I didn't mean to be those things. I was a complete mess and my actions were misinterpreted by people who simply didn't understand me or my issues. I don't blame them at all. I didn't understand either.

I was often called negative. In fact, I went to see two mediums at their flat when I was around 20 and they said I gave off so much negative energy they didn't want me in their flat unless I had a few pints in the pub over the road to 'loosen me up a bit' first.
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Old 2nd March 2018, 03:59
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Default Re: Recovery verses Management

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rebka
^ the landlord of the pub wasnít in on it was he?
Simon Pegg needs to make a film with this as the plot twist.
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  #24  
Old 2nd March 2018, 04:04
Ajax Amsterdam Ajax Amsterdam is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rebka
^ the landlord of the pub wasnít in on it was he? Maybe business was bad so he hired two mediums to tell everyone who visited them to go buy a couple pints at the pub to loosen up because their energy was so negative or something, that way he woulda got more money coming in but yeh, the misunderstandings and misinterpretations mustíve added to the problem. I was disruptive in class, like if I got told off I would think it was unfair and Iíd then throw a bit of a tantrum, and if teachers asked me to leave the classroom Iíd sit down and yell ďNO!Ē, throw my bag to the floor etc, I found it hard to calm down and react differently. Iíd feel bad after playing up, only to do the same thing next time
If the two mediums weren't the ones paying for my drinks I'd say you were onto something there. Free beers and a free reading! Can't be bad, eh!

To be honest, I think a lot of disruptive behaviour at school may stem from young people having issues they are struggling with. It's so easy to just write kids off as 'naughty'. Scratch the surface, and there is often something driving that behaviour going unaddressed.
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