Psych Blog 1

When people find out about the row, the common response is ‘are you crazy?!’. Now ask a crazy person if they think they’re crazy and I’m sure they’ll say no. So naturally of course, we would give it that same response, however, it was pretty apparent from the start, that this row was 90% about controlling the level of ‘crazy’ you become next to the 10% that’s physical strength.

 

The second question is usually then, ‘how’s the training?’ and the expected response is how much volume we’re doing on the ergo (rowing machine), what’s our weights programme, what cross training do we do etc.’
It is definitely more commonly accepted for someone to go to the gym and physically train for an hour a day & that to be part of a healthy well being lifestyle, no injury or illness necessary and it’s socially accepted. However, if you were to say you were heading off to see your psychologist for an hour a day – there is an immediate sense that it’s a taboo subject, people find it difficult to talk about and there is a preconceived idea, that you have an extreme mental health issue that needs attention.

 

What is interesting, is that generally people don’t tend to accept, that WE ALL experience mental health problems throughout our lives, but it doesn’t have to be extreme depression or Schizophrenia for it to be labelled as that, or highlighted that it’s not a ‘normal’ part of life.

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Think of it as a sliding scale, for instance, for physical illness, it’s like having a common cold at one end to terminal cancer the other. We wouldn’t wish that extreme illness on anyone, but we know it unfortunately exists and there is medical support out there to help, compared to the cold which we all now know how to minimise the risk with preventative measures such as vitamin C/ echinacea/ first defense/ adequate rest etc. & the effects (depending on if your male or female ;)!), you can cope with as you know it’ll be over with within a couple of days or a week.

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Mental health is no different, the one end of the scale that everyone associates with mental health or psychology, is being sectioned and whisked off to the Priory, however the common cold end is a day or two or week, of low mood, feeling stressed, being emotionally delicate etc. Now everyone experiences it, but there are very few that actively go out to seek how to cope with those situations/ understand them/ prevent them in a better way & this is where a psychologist can come in.

Keith Goddard is our team psychologist. He works with us on a 1:1 as well as helping us to optimise our team dynamic & understanding of each other as a team. Keith to us, is our rock! He is fundamental to the success of this row (no pressure Keith ;)!). Keith helps us to challenge our thoughts, to recognise that the inner script/ chitter chatter you have with yourself, is exactly that – just a thought. He has taught us how to differentiate between what’s rational or irrational thoughts, to tap into our feelings and emotional responses & recognise how they influence our thought process. He’s shown us how to recognise an emotional response will present itself in each of us; for example, if I’m upset about something, I used to keep it to myself and not want to share it because I wouldn’t want to be an emotional burden, but that emotion has to go somewhere – it’s like energy needing to expand and get out. So in me, I would feel it in my chest becoming tight, my shoulders elevating and feeling stiff & generally my posture would just become more tense. Naturally, you would possibly then go for a massage or see a Physio for acupuncture or ‘posture’ correction – but fundamentally, all that money is wasted unless you address the thought that’s driving that emotional response. The saying and feeling of ‘a weight being lifted off your shoulders’, is exactly that & a heck of a lot cheaper than seeing one of us Physio’s/Osteo’s/ chiropracters for regular treatment and the issue still coming back.

If you take anything away from reading this blog, the main thing is to tap into your mental health and awareness of your thoughts and feelings. There are times when you get an overwhelming feeling that day to day life becomes too much but you continue to try and be a superwoman (or man) and take it all on yourself, well there’s no stronger way than to seek a bit of advice which can be the nugget of information you needed to make life that little bit easier.

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