Portsmouth – June 2016

On 22 June 2016, 22 people attended the 5th Portsmouth Trialogue meeting. Of these, 16 identified themselves as having lived experience, 4 as carers, 8 as professionals, and 1 as interested public.

Opening question: How do we foster self-care, self-worth and self-compassion in ourselves?

Part I

Do something meaningful that is important to you.

Stick up for yourself

June 16 2

Brain Chemistry

This seems simple but is really hard when you’re in a bad place psychologically speaking

It is easy to feel guilty for putting yourself first

It is quite hard to say no to something you don’t want to do.

Feels like a waste of money to buy yourself something

Practice being more selfish – but not in a selfish way!

On a bad day it goes out the window

Once it’s gone (mental distress) self care is easier

Be as kind to yourself as you are to others

Being ‘selfish’ is necessary but has lots of negative connotations

Forgiving yourself

Speak to yourself kindly

We judge ourselves – often harshly

Nice to be in groups where nobody really judges you.

Peer group – we’re in the same boat really

No false or unreasonable expectations put on  you in those sot of environments

Try not to criticise yourself


Neither / either works

Lists really help – to prioritise

This helps check facts too eg. Timeline  – there is time no need to worry now…

Think of 3 things you’re proud of

Lists – can also be a stick to beat you with

The expectations of others can be crippling

Rise above and beat them

Can be motivating too

Who am I journal, write as many things as possible that are positive

Bad days = I can be, good days = I can

Language changes when we feel different, with our moods

Few models in society regarding how to be good to oneself.

How do we learn to do this stuff?

It is looked down on compared to ‘legitimate’ subjects eg maths in school

Those who haven’t been on an inner journey have no vocabulary for it.


Self-respect – accept ourselves just where we are at

It is ok not to be ok

Allowing ourselves to feel

Being a bloke makes emotions very hard too

Talk to yourself in a mirror – positive affirmations

We don’t necessarily learn how to care for ourselves in our families

In Finland they teach wellbeing

UK – not so ok to talk about feelings

Get a job etc, but how do we do this if we’re not ok?

Vanity – don’t look in the mirror some are told, we can be filled with self-loathing but learning to look in the mirror and see yourself positively is important.

It is quite a difficult journey

Not so much physical appearance that matters but what’s inside that counts

Who you are might be portrayed to other people

Are we allowed to feel good about ourselves?

Mirrors therapy – new age, bits and bobs of other therapies  like affirmations is helpful. Is it eye contact with yourself that helps actually.

How we interact as humans is interesting – like chemical reactions, we might see 5 different counsellors but only one of them works for us.

Surround yourself with people who are good for us and find strength to remove toxic ones.

Sometimes expectations are very negative, always we are given the complaints policy when in healthcare, never the compliments policy!

Sets an expectation of negative care.

Positive feedback can have a massive positive impact on your day

Friday the 13th, if looking for disaster likely that disasters will happen

Reframing – so initial thoughts can be changed for something more positive

We believe negative stuff straight away, we have to say or hear something 10 times to hear it when it’s positive

Self- development courses need to be dropped into schools. Even 2 days could have a massive impact

Depression seems to be rigid thinking and negative expectations

Children generally love themselves, how do we lose this?

Responsibilities take over your life and you forget your inner child that needs to play

Go on the swings if you want to!

Not worrying what other think about you is helpful

Doing something a bit out of the ordinary

We’re like sweets, all look different but the same in so many ways

Lot of negative things said to you as children is unhelpful

‘you’ll never make it’ ‘ you’re only a girl’ etc..

You grow up feeling worthless and it takes a lot to fight back

Watching others and comparing is not always helpful

So much is measured, hard to be a child.

Why do we judge vanity as bad?

Media suggests we should all have the ideal chocolate box life

Believing others can cause depression, means we are over affected by their expectations

Bullying can be devastating

It’s about how we bounce back

Resilience, if I get in this situation again how will I manage it?

Bad things still happen but how do we get in more positive places to deal with it? We can do this better if we’ve been there before

Self-worth etc is preferred. Resilience is being used as blaming for some for not be resilient – not currently being used positively as a word.

Conformity – unspoken expectations, we are expected to conform

Need to be ourselves – we don’t always conform

Getting in touch with ourselves, maybe this is important

June 16

Self Lovin’

What have we all done that has helped us to deal with these issues?

What strategies could we use to help foster self-care and what tips could we share to educate others to understand and accept us?

Diagnosis is used to make use conform.

Part II

Imagine yourself when you are 80 and you’ve lived the life you wanted to lead then write yourself a  letter.

Toolbox for self-compassion

Recovery college – mindfulness, ACT etc

Moisturiser on your hand, smell it, rub it in slowly and massage a bit, this really feels like a self-compassion exercise.

The Artists Way – recovering your inner creativity.

Book a 2 hour slot in your diary to play

It is often difficult to protect the time.

Self-sabotage can be physical not just psychological

Why save for best? Do it now!!

Be your own visitor, you matter

‘When I……I’ll be happy’ – why wait do it now

Taking time to smell the roses

Creativity is harder when very unwell

Setting goals can be a stick to beat yourself with

Do it as it comes, go with the flow

Find people who can allow you to be honest so you can say when you need help

To explain to neighbours what it is that might indicate that you need help

Back up team , like a WRAP

Do something different to distract

June 16 4

The misunderstood anger

Anger can be a positive not only a negative

It doesn’t’ have to be destructive

Bonfire is a good metaphor for anger and out of control emotions

In this culture anger, in others fiery

It is an honest emotion, we should be able to express how we feel

It’s ok to feel

Resilience is politically charged as a notion

Pro-resilience training to toughen people up to unreasonable change

True resilience is about learning how to deal with emotions

Conformity – everyone seems quite placid these days

Being told what to think or believe is unacceptable, even stops people getting jobs.

Sometimes we are pressured to behave the way the therapist wants us to. Taking the point of what the therapist is saying but then doing it your own way is important

Convention is not good for everyone, we need to test out boundaries to find out who we are

Finding our true paths is the way forward as long as we’re not breaking the lay or hurting others

Doing it for you – therapy – do it for you

Being told you can’t do it can be motivating for some

Living your own values believe in yourself means you can sleep at night

It is ok to disagree on things

Social values evolve and these have a ripple effect, we all have the right to have our own opinion

MH problems are still seen as something people don’t think is real – that is their choice to think that

Everything is neutral until we attach a value to it.

If we adopt a value we come hostage to the emotions connected to it.

Respectful curiosity is helpful in understanding difference regarding MH

We do grow and develop over time

Given we talk about MH practitioners – there is a great challenge for people in talking to professionals

What strategies could we develop to help us deal with the barriers between us and professionals?

These people have often formed an opinion of us already

We need to empower ourselves

Going beyond the labels, they aren’t us.

We all suffer from labels – roles are also full of stereotypes.

The theme agreed for the next Trialogue meeting is: What strategies could we develop to help us deal with the barriers between patient and professionals?