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Loneliness a 'harsh reality' for many with mental illness

firemonkey

firemonkey

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Joined
Aug 12, 2008
Messages
131
Location
Southend on sea
A research study by mental health charity SANE Australia reveals people affected by mental illness pay a high price when it comes to relationships and social contact, with the study showing half have no close relationship with another person.

The research, conducted between September and December 2008, focused on the emotional and physical relationships of people living with a mental illness, the consequences of this for their lives and what can be done about it.

The most disturbing result was the impact of mental illness on personal relationships, with lmost half having no friends, wanting to, yet struggling to connect with others. Physical intimacy, which includes hugging and touching others, was rare for many. In fact - astonishingly - almost one in six had not touched or been touched by another person for more than 12 months.

The study found the numbers of respondents who had:
• No close relationship
(General community with no close relationship 49%
15%)
• Not touched or been touched by another person
for 12 months
13%
• No sexual contact in last 12 months 35%

SANE Australia Executive Director Barbara Hocking says extreme social isolation is known to damage mental health, yet it is something many people with mental illness have to endure.

"Not only are many people with mental illness dealing with their symptoms and associated problems such as poverty, they are leading isolated lives and often have no partner or even friends to share their lives," Ms Hocking said. This impedes their recovery.

"While governments are promoting social inclusion, these findings highlight the very real need for immediate, specific action to ensure such basic human needs for social contact are not being ignored."

Sexual health and intimacy also emerged as areas of concern for respondents:
• Had not discussed the issue with their doctor
or health worker
50%
• Did not know enough about sexual health 65%
• Not receiving routine health checks (e.g. pap tests,
prostate checks)
46%

Ms Hocking says these figures reflect the general poor physical health care provided to people regarded all too often as solely "mental health patients."

The key recommendations of the report are:

* Promotion of social inclusion: recovery-focused rehabilitation programs, to improve confidence, communication and social skills
* Support to develop relationships: education and training in how to discuss mental illness and its effect on emotional, physical and sexual intimacy
* Improved sex education: mental illness often starts in late teens, disruptinglearning of life skills and education. More practical education about sexuality andrelated issues needed
* Sexual health checks: health professionals need incentives to provide regularbreast screening, pap smears, STD testing, prostate checks and routine tests.

SANE is calling on government agencies at all levels to improve opportunities for those affected to close relationships with others and improve their capacity for recovery.
http://www.anxietyinsights.info/loneliness_a_harsh_reality_for_many_with_mental_illness.htm

Australia based research but still relevant elsewhere.
 
A

Apotheosis

Guest
I get lonely - 7 years living alone. I am close to my Mum & Bro; & I have a few very good friends; but they have their lives too. I have a lot of acquaintances. I have plenty of places to go for company; but often I don't want to be around people. Life is lonely without a partner. I always used to have GF's; since being on tablets that destroyed my sex drive, destroyed my confidence, & turned me into a blob; things have not been the same.

There is so little support & help from services. Isolation is a big problem. Being out of work for so long; having had to deal with so many breakdowns over the years has taken it's toll.
 
S

saffron

Guest
me too, I have never been in a meanigful relationship that lasted longer than a year and I have been single for the last 20years, most of the time concentrating on my two children, now grown up. i am now really feeling the pinch of being on my own, but have decided that if it was ment to be it would and that I am sick of feeling that I need someone else there to do anything positive. I have tried and failed so now am focusing on me and making myself happy and to love myself more.
i do agree that there is just not enough support or opportunities for people on their own to meet in a safe a welcoming place but would people actually go to them or would their MH illness even stop them participating in that.
so really there should be more opportunities to gain confidence and assertiveness skills.
S
 
firemonkey

firemonkey

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Joined
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Messages
131
Location
Southend on sea
so really there should be more opportunities to gain confidence and assertiveness skills.
S
Assertiveness is tricky on hand they talk about helping people to be more assertive. On the other hand they try to bulldoze you into doing things you just do not feel up or want to do.
The implication being 'Be assertive but at the end the end of the day do what we want or we'll get funny with you.
There is a very mixed message going on there.

My worst experience re self confidence was having a previous care co ordinator tell me i lacked self confidence/esteem and then proceed to spend 30 mins or so picking holes with me left,right,and centre and dismissing everything i had to say.
That did wonders for my self confidence/esteem -Not!
 
S

saffron

Guest
hi firemonkey
so sorry you had a bad experience of this, it is not surprising that you have doubts about its efficacy. I think your cco actually needs to understand what it really means also, sounds like he is doing more harm than help.

I think the point of it is to improve your ability to appraoch someone in a more confident way based on the fact that you have rights and needs the same as anyone else.

Here are some definitions of "to assert", drawn from different sources:

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

To vindicate or defend by argument or measures; to declare strongly; to lay claim to; to insist upon; to affirm; to bear evidence of.

Dictionary.com

To state or express positively; to defend or maintain (one's rights, for example).

Game theory

A Win-win; you and the other person both get what you want.

The Assertiveness Pocketbook

Enjoying your rights, expressing your feelings, asking for what you want, stating your views - with integrity, honesty, directness, respect for others.

a good self help site is: //www.teamtechnology.co.uk/assertiveness/how-to-be-more-assertive.html

S :hug:
 
S

saffron

Guest
I think the first article can be very misleading. I think it could lead to a negative outcome in that it appears that without friends or a partner then the prognosis is not as good, however, shouldn't MH support be individual and personal and not based on whether the person has or has not been able to form relationships.
the article made no reference to what type of MH , what effects lead to the results or any comparisons. it does not tell how many subjects were included in the research.
it then jumps to a completely different subject of sexual health, (hang on are they now saying they do have sex but have no idea about sexual health either now)
It highlights the obvious but does not put across information needed for someone to sit up and listen.
S
 
M

Michael

Well-known member
Founding Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2007
Messages
2,365
Location
East Lancs
Loneliness

This is a subject very close to my heart for I feel lonely most of the time, yet I am in a loving relationship of 33 years and have 3 very communitative children. Doesn't sound right does it when there are people out there suffering from ACTUAL loneliness!
It seems for me to be a state of mind which loves to ruminate and drag me down. It does have knock effects of self confidence and self esteem - fortunately my wife has a strong personality with me (strangely though not with others) and this has kept me and probably we together.

It is a very real problem for me and is also a trigger for depression (along with many others). Medication for minimising its effects is usually administered by my wife and that is to have a regular social life, and for that I thank her for by myself I could not do it.

It seems that we all need to have many different types of 'tools' that work for each of us to be available as and when we need them. What I think would be constructive us all would be for others to describe what 'tools' they use to minimise any effects or triggers of depression. Knowing what works for others may help someone else to regain themselves back on the 'road'

Michael
 
Last edited:
firemonkey

firemonkey

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 12, 2008
Messages
131
Location
Southend on sea
I think the first article can be very misleading. I think it could lead to a negative outcome in that it appears that without friends or a partner then the prognosis is not as good, however, shouldn't MH support be individual and personal and not based on whether the person has or has not been able to form relationships.
Of course support should be individual and personal .That is a separate issue from whether the prognosis is better for those with a better ability to make friends.
I would say prognosis would be based on potential for occupational functioning/social functioning/and attenuation of symptoms.

Certainly those who had difficulty making friends could be seen as having worse social functioning but would it follow they had worse occupational functioning or indeed were worse in terms of clinical symptoms; that is debatable.

I know that with schizophrenia both occupational and social functioning
has been connected with cognitive deficits with the worst element of schizophrenia being the cognitive problems as opposed to the more dramatic
positive symptoms or indeed the negative ones.
They say that the degree of cognitive problems is the best measure of overall functioning.
 
S

saffron

Guest
these are a few paragraphs of an abstract found on cognitive behavioural site, makes interesting read.


FEAR
Fear is the primordial emotion. Fear is the survival response. Fear, oddly, is also the basis of "trust". Since fear spurs the animal into action, the animal must trust its instincts and trust the warning; ultimately trusting the person who gives the alarm. When primitive man heard the warning for the equivalent of "LION" - he reacted. He did not wait to see if the warning was true, for if it was and he did not react- he would potentially end up in harms way.

On the basis of such requirements, human beings have evolved in a manner that makes all propositions TRUE - until analysis of such a proposition is made. Analysis requires energy.

Once humans became suffiently endowed intellectually, they began to understand that they could use this fact to their own advantage. The story of the "boy who called wolf", epitomizes the use of deceit to control the actions of other people who trust. With the advent of deceit came the loss of innocence. Unlike other animals, humans now lose innocence at some point in their development and no longer implicitly trust.

The loss of innocence occurs when the child develops a reasonably comprehensive and coherent "view of the world". This "world view", among other things, contains assumptions about self, others and the future. Using these assumptions provides at least a sufficient capacity to predict and therefore control events. This world view is naive and insubstantial, but it comprises the basic "personality" of the child as it becomes a "cache" of lore through which all new propositions are valued and predisposes the child to act in ways that are appropriate to the beliefs. Thus, new propositions, if analyzed, are compared with what is already 'known' or assumed and if it agrees it is accepted as equally true. If it disagrees, it may be rejected unless it is so powerful that it causes an "incoherence" in the 'known' variables. In this case, the "belief cache" may be altered.

The requirements for change, therefore, demand either a major self motivation - which is highly unlikely since a person is unlikely to discard what for them is true; or trust someone who challenges these beliefs.

Trust is a major component of helping. Whether a person desires change or does not, change cannot happen without trust in some other person. Change sometimes occurs when a person places trust in a "supreme being". Such trust, however, requires that people around the person provide propositions which support the beliefs of the supreme being and reinforce the social and psychological outcomes. Otherwise such beliefs become "cult" activities outside the norms of social expectations; causing another problem in living.

Often the requirement of change of self is placed by societal expectations. People with problems in living who act in ways which offends someone else, are often forced to get help "for their own good". At such times, it would be logical that fear and anxiety would become aroused and resistance would be enhanced. The more force applied, the more fear reaction - until perhaps the fear develops into anger. At this point, it is likely that the resistance will become oppositional. The attributions of medication and incarceration contribute to the invasive characterization of attack and attempts at control. Such interventions are powerful messengers and self preservation becomes the appropriate action. The helper is then dealing with an individual with an aroused state of "willfulness".


Unfortunately, the helping response during such crises is usually more oriented to taking over responsibility than placing responsibility back on the person. The proposition therefore is "you are inadequate" which is not a very positive attribution. Repeatedly saying to a person in crisis that 1) this is temporary, 2) you can handle it, and 3) you are strong enough to move on to future success, is a very different proposition with a different and more positive attribution. While it is not something that a person in crisis is likely to easily believe, the energy to analyze it is low and the proposition become powerful. Later one can have the person continue the mantra out loud, fading to a whisper until it becomes an unconscious internal dialogue in time of stress. The self statement itself reduces energy and may allow the proposition to become a belief.

A second way that a proposition gains power is based on the significance of the person making the proposition. People become significant to us when we "value" them. Emotion is the valuation given. Thus an emotional attachment [positive or negative] increases the value of the person. This is why people we love or hate can affect us so easily with things that if other people did them, we could ignore. On the other hand, since negative valuation is likely to be resisted, even powerful propositions are likely to be dismissed based on the belief residing in the cache that "this person is no good". If the person is no good, it is likely that the proposition is no good as well.

On the other hand, if the person is given high positive value, their propositions may be given more salience. Thus a person who has high positive value can be potentially greatly helpful or greatly damaging to the person with problems in living. The content of their propositions are very important and not enough time has been spent on examining the communication used by parents, teacher and the others who are likely to have high value for the child. We must separate out the content and style of communication from the intent of the communication because the child interprets the content from his or her own cache of beliefs and if the symbols are ambiguous, the intent may be lost.

Such disputes normally cannot become confrontational since they arouse the emotions of the person with problems in living and it is the emotional content of their beliefs which causes the difficulty. Beliefs are valued in the same manner as people - they are given emotional impact. The more powerfully I care about a proposition, the stronger my motivation to maintain it. The significance of the person is often in conflict with the significance of the proposition - and then the person with problems in living must decide.

The highest form of positive valuation any person can have is trust. If the person trusts that you would never do harm, then this relationship can delve deeply into the belief cache and effectively dispute them. When we do harm - something the person does not want - we severely test the relationship. Such tests are important since they strengthen the trust if the outcome justifies the means. The evidence for well or misplaced trust is in these tests. Are you there for me?

Humans have become quite adept at picking up the clues of deceit. "Fool me once shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me." You may fail the person once, but it is difficult to do more than once and maintain trust. Trust is not just in doing the right things, but in doing them for the right reasons: for the other person. The construct of the fiduciary, who must use money only for the benefit of the client is a good analogy. The actions may be harsh, but they must always be in the best interest of the other. "Tough love" works only when the belief of the person with problems in living is that you did it for me. Failure to live up the the analogy of the fiduciary in the eyes of the person with problems in living can lead to a more difficult emotion.



cont
 
S

saffron

Guest
ANGER

While it is clear that the lower animals feel fear, it is unclear and unlikely that they feel anger. Aggression is not always driven by anger. Violent battles in the animal world do not seem to be based on anger. If they are between predator and prey, they often end in death, but are for reasons of hunger and survival. Territorial or sexual battles among species rarely end in death or go beyond what is necessary to demonstrate physical superiority. But humans do feel anger. And for them anger is a moral emotion. It is righteous. It aims not only to end current trespass but to repair any damage done. It also aims to prevent further trespass by disarming, imprisoning, emasculating or killing the trespasser. [Seligman - 1993] Since anger justifies our aggressive action, these behaviors become distinctly social in character although asocial in nature.

Anger is highly opinionated, warning us that something evil is trespassing against us. It tells us to get rid of the object, to strike out against it. Anger has three components. There is the thought, a very discrete and particular thought: "I am being trespassed against." There is the bodily reaction. Your sympathetic nervous system and your muscles mobilize for physical assault using the same mechanisms evolved for fear. After such preparation there is the action, The attack is towards ending the trespass - immediately.
What is an offense? Offense, like truth and beauty, is to a large extent in the mind of the beholder. One who is indifferent to others is likely to be less offended by actions than one who is highly attuned. One who is serene in self may see offense, but not be offended. What bothers us is offensive; but I control what bothers me.
While it important psychologically to have the serenity to diminish the number of offenses and the degrees of anger, it is not the feeling of trespass which causes us trouble socially. It is the actions we take. Some people have an absolutely wonderful way of telling someone to go to hell in a fashion in which the person so instructed enjoys the trip. This is a social skill to which we should all aspire. However, it is probably unlikely that such subtle handling can occur when the body is primed for action. Thus the skill cannot be implemented without a restructuring of the belief cache. Only when a person believes that they are okay and that other people are okay, despite occasional evidence to the contrary, can s/he reach the serenity necessary for such restraint on a regular basis.

ATTACHMENT

We don't normally think of attachment as an emotion, but our attachment for people and objects generates a great deal of emotion. For example, our attachment to people or objects creates a wider range of areas for trespass and therefore, anger. It is the loss of important attachments which bring on sadness. It is the attachment to people who upset us and the attachment to our righteousness which leads to hate. Some sages [e.g., Buddha and Jesus] have suggested that we should have no attachments, going so far as to give up family and friends to seek serenity.
Once the fight/flee response is overcome, we develop the potential for attachment. If you are neither harmful nor prey, you may sexually or otherwise absorbing. Our animal heritage might suggest why we fight to maintain sexual congress. But what is the attachment to ideas and things?

Powerful attachments are a familiar part of childhood. The ownership of things helps to identify who we are. "This is mine" - qualifies that "I am". I am a separate individual as acknowledged by mine and yours. Sharing is a confusing concept since it requires higher order abstraction. Gradually, with the acquisition of such abstract concepts such as sharing, many of us become able to separate ourselves as entities different from what we possess. But many do not. Many people continue to identify themselves by what they own. They must have a bigger car, better clothes, and a better looking spouse in order to "be as good as everybody else and better than some". On an absolutist scale someone must be on the bottom, without any belongings. How does this person individuate him/herself?

Unfortunately, many people stay within the confines of themselves and their ideas - becoming more and more attached to the prospects that the world operates specifically to make life hard for them. They attach to a narcissistic notion that they are important enough for the neighbors to talk about, the FBI or CIA to be after, of aliens to contact. Such attachments often lead to paranoia.

Otto Rank has suggested that the person is ambivalent from the start; wanting at once to be separated as an individual and, at the same time to be reunited in the symbiotic relationship of the womb. It is the attempt to find a balance between the poles of separation and union which leads to "creative" nuances. The person achieving total separation usually is trying to move towards union, while the one totally absorbed with others is often trying to find themselves.

Depression marks the loss of something very dear to us. Depression urges us to divest, "decathect", fall out of love, mourn, and ultimately resign ourselves to its absence" [Seligman - 1993]. Such a loss is usually characterized by sad affect and loss of interest in usually satisfying activities, a negative view of self and hopelessness, passivity, indecisiveness and suicidal ideation, and loss of appetite, weight loss, sleep disturbance and other physical symptoms.

Depression is the emotion that comes in the wake of helplessness, individual failure and unrealized attempts to gain power.The symptoms fall into four clusters:

* The way you think when you are depressed differs from the way you think when you are not depressed. A pessimistic explanatory style is at the core of most depressed thinking: causes are seen as permanent, pervasive and personal.
* There is a change in mood. You feel sad, discouraged and in despair.
* There is a change in behavior toward passivity, indecisiveness and self-destructive actions.
* Finally there are somatic responses in which eating and sleeping are affected.


http://www.cognitivebehavior.com/theory/fear.html

may have put this in the wrong post ??/:oops:
 
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