10 Oct 2010

World Mental Health Day with Dentists and Books

Today is World Mental Health Day 2010... 10/10/10 and this post is being posted at 10! It was meant to be 10am, but I had a lie in and now its being published a 10pm.

wmhd2010 head text

I found the doodling a lot easier, than the thinking, of what to write about this particular subject. So why bother? Well it's a topic that is important to me and for some reason people just don't talk about mental health enough. It should be easy to talk about, well as easy as any other thing, like the dentist. Well unless you are deathly afraid of the dentist, then it will be a little awkward.

Mental Health Check Up

The dentist thing stuck with me, it seems appropriate really, as I didn't go the dentist for four years. When I finally went to the dentist, I got a clean bill of dental health (yes perfect teeth for a Brit). I walked away from the dentist office wondering why I had left it for so long. I don't have a phobia of dentists, I just didn't want to pay the check up fee and had no pressing problem. As time went on, I then began to think, what if something is seriously wrong with my teeth? Well I definitely can't afford that. So it was put to the very bottom of the 'to do' pile and forgotten about. Not sure what eventually got me into that dentist chair? One day I just woke up and decided it was something that needed to be done and it was okay.
Whilst being guilty of neglecting myself in the dental sense, I am also guilty of neglecting myself in the mental sense. I found counselling/therapy training by accident, just a daft 12 week course to get my brain ticking over once again. Although I was training to be a therapist/counsellor, the person that was benefiting the most from the course was myself. So I am going to recommend a few books that have really helped me try to explain what this therapy bollocks is all about. It's like taking baby steps to the dentists, you are not quite in the dentists chair quite yet, but at least you are flossing regularly

I read fiction like its going out of fashion, from Harry Potter to the Shipping News. I love getting lost in someone else's world, whether it's a wizard or a weatherman. Books that are in a more educational style, have been known to suck out all the joy of reading for me. So when it comes to writing book reviews, especially for college assignments, I struggled a lot. So these are three books that I really enjoyed despite my reluctance at reading anything remotely therapy like.

Dibs in search of self; This is the tale of a little boy who doesn't talk or play with the other children, he is just in his own little world. The little boy is special, the conversations that he and his therapist have, are very grown up, because he has such a high IQ. But once you get past that, you are left with a sad little boy who doesn't know how to fit into the world of children. The thing I loved the most about this book, was while you read along and see Dibs slowly changing and becoming a happier child, you also long to have that time again as a child. It really highlights the importance of childhood and embracing your own inner child.

Games people play: This book is unusual, because it is totally outdated on one hand and still relevant in the other. You will read it and see many many people from your day to day life, in the scenarios (games) that are mentioned. Whether it be at the playground with the other mums/dads, in work, or at home with your partner. Whilst reading it you realise just how many games you play yourself and how easy it is to let those games take over. I found the whole book absolutely fascinating.

Couch Fiction:
This is the book I wish we had read right at the beginning of our studies.Although I love doodles and cartoons, I have never actually read a whole graphic novel before. Something about that style of book, I have always found hard to follow. This book has broke that barrier, it is easy to read, funny and informative. I sat in the garden, on what now feels like the only sunny day this summer and devoured it.  If you have wondered about therapy and how a therapeutic relationship forms, then this book illustrates it beautifully. It shows why therapists asks what they ask and why clients hide what they hide. The story flows along and the accompanying notes, if you read them, add so much more to the book.

So why do I like these books?
Very simply put, in the books, they are the therapists I would like to meet (or be), they entertain, educate, and inform me. My Inner child wants to be Dibs, know that I am loved and that everything will be okay. Grown up me wants to know how people tick, what games they are playing and why they are playing them. Future me wants to be like the therapist in Couch fiction, knows that they are not perfect, but seems really okay with that.

If you read any of these books, or already have let me know what you think of them. If you have any recommendations please let me have them.

Happy World Mental Health Day 2010 xx


  1. Definitely checking these out on Amazon. Thanks!

  2. Those sound like great books. And I liked the story about going to the dentist, though I have to admit I'm a little suspicious about a Brit having perfect teeth ;)

    Anyway, thanks for sharing and happy Mental Health Day to you, too!

  3. I'm am fascinated by what makes people tick and that fascination goes from the weird stuff down to the mundane. I'm just kinda nosy that way...

    Usually I find out something and just go, "ok, so that's it..." and move on. I don't use it for good or evil,I'm just want to know...

    I'd probably be a good subject for a mental health book, especially my dreams.

  4. Hi Claire

    Loved the mental health doodle and the dentist analogy. Made me really think, so many people in this country avoid the dentist - either through fear or the prohibitive cost. My last crown cost me £700!
    In the UK, I still think we are stuck in the 'British Reserve' mentality where there are certain things we just either don't like to admit or acknowledge. This is especially so with mental health - we still have the generation alive who knew of asylums, green vans, white coats and strait-jackets. This hopefully will change as the years roll on.
    Our mental health is just as important as our physical health yet most of us neglect it. People either repress feelings or let them out in inappropriate ways. The counselling environment affords us a safe way to explore these issues. But again, counselling is so poorly regulated in the UK, that many vulnerable people fall into the hands of snake oil practioners. I am one of the fortunate ones, I found a wonderful therapist who enabled me to find a me I didn't know was there.
    I subsequently trained as a bereavement counsellor so my niche is fairly narrow, but in terms of reading, I find anything by Elizabeth Kubhler-Ross inspiring. She opens up the world of grief and loss to all areas of our lives and not just death - we grieve so many times in our lives and by accepting grief as an affirmation of life, we can move on in a positive spirit. You may want to check her out if you haven't come across her before.

    You have completely hooked me in with the doodle first, write later - I have 4 crow paintings all impatiently waiting for me to write about them. that in itself inspires another doodle!! Aaaagh!

    I believe in the power of your doodles so much Claire, keep at it girl!

  5. A Brit with perfect teeth gives hope to the teeth of America... or brings to question dentists in the UK... Now to keep away the crazy, I will immediately start to doodle for the sake of my noodle.

  6. Gee, that brought back memories! I did read "Games People Play," but it was years ago. I didn't get a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder until 1992, after my mom's death, which unleashed a morass of problems.
    I've been on a long search for self-awareness and understanding of having a condition like mine. A few years ago, I wouldn't have been able to write "I have Bipolar Disorder." I was raised in the British tradition of a stiff upper lip and all that...(Juliana said it quite well). I was taught that you never air your "dirty linen in public," and that was difficult to overcome. I have family members that still don't acknowledge emotional disorders and think that if I'd just do this or that I'd be fine. R-i-g-h-t.
    The book that I read in the 70s that was the rage was "I'm Okay, You're Okay." Made a lot of sense at the time. You'd enjoy "Hurry Down Sunshine." It's written by a father about his teenaged daughter who "goes mad." It's contemporary and quite good. I also got a lot out of "An Unquiet Mind," which is about a doctor who is Bipolar and how she dealt with it.
    The mind is such an interesting thing, isn't it? If I had it to do all over again, I think I'd pursue the same field as you.
    Keep up the doodling. You just keep getting better and better!

  7. Oh Dibs, one of my favorite book :)

  8. Have to check out Couch Fiction - always love new book recommendations!

  9. im also a book worm. that's why i got interested on your blog! i might follow you regularly and suggest me books you've loved reading! :)

  10. I found your blog on blog catalog, I'm enjoying it!

    I will definately check out those books.

    Have a great weekend!

    Jessi at

  11. I had a similar problem with the dentist issues many years ago. It turned out to be my teeth were perfectly fine and I realised to keep them that way, I have to visit them regularly.

    Anyway onto mental health - it's one of the issues hardly anyone knows about nor talked about. It seems anything to do with mental issues means the next stage would be the nuthouse. There's a lot of ignorance in this subject and it's great there are people like you who are willing to talk about it.

    One of my favourite books to get lost in and make believe is any of Terry Pratchet's books. It's magical and adventurous and I can be lost in the stories for hours.

    Hope you're having a great weekend. :)

  12. Ooops totally neglected my commenters!! Bad Claire!

    Will be back later on, after more coffee, to finally reply.

    Forgive my tardiness.

  13. I am back!

    @Ender, please do come back and tell me what you think of the books. I am very interested in your opinion.

    @Janene, I did say 'for a Brit' which is not that perfect at all, but as long as I have all my own, then I don't really care about not having a 'Hollywood Smile'. They are great books! I think you would enjoy the 'Games people play' especially as a parent.

    @Lois, Hey dude, yes I am very very interested in what makes people tick. I would never use it for the power of evil, but it does me a clue about where a person is coming from, when they act a certain way. I think your dreams would make for a very interesting book indeed.

    @Juliana: Wow, I think I agreed with everything you have written, from the avoidance of the dentist, due to the cost and that bloody British Reserve getting in the way of making yourself mentally well.

    Yes I am familiar with Elizabeth Kubhler-Ross, especially on grieving process, but I haven't read anything of hers extensively. I liked a lot of did read though.

    I am so PLEASED that I have kicked off your doodling, it has been wonderful to read and see. I think for me, whilst doodling, I can gather my thoughts together and although my doodle process has no set plan, a solid idea emerges by the end.

    Keep doodling!!

    @Bill, well perfect for a Brit, which is, erm, not perfect :) I would love to see that doodle, that you have doodled for the sake of your noodle :)

    @Amazing Gracie, That bloody stiff lip gets in the way a lot, which is a bloody shame. If only you could have open and honest discussions with people, not just family, about these issues. It would be a much nicer world if so! I have made a note of those books and shall let you know if I get them and what I think.

    @Posh Totty, Hey Posh one :) How did you first come across the book? Was it recommended?

    @Trcia, I really enjoyed it, I think you would love it. It has a sense of humour about it, that I think you would really appreciate.

    @ShyButterfly, well I don't mention books that often, but I am sure I will again. Let me know if you read any of the books I mentioned.

    @Jessi, Hey thanks for hopping over here from Blog Catalog, you never know if that place will ever send visitors over here, without drugging them and dragging them over :) I am loving the Bucket Project idea! very very cool indeed.

    @Funkkee, Isn't daft about the dentist? I made my check up appointment right after that one, even though it was a year in advance! I wont let 4 years go by ever again.

    You would think that we could talk more freely about mental health these day, but nope! To be honest people don't really like talking about physical illness either. So that is why I like doodling, even if they are daft, they open up a dialogue (I hope).

    I have really enjoyed Terry Pratchet's books, the stories and characters are so involved and detailed, not read any for yonks though!

    Thanks for the awesome comments everyone :) :)

  14. Speaking of doodling, I am reminded of my horrible dentist who doodled on my teeth with a drill, leaving space for fresh cavities. Gross!

  15. I'm a psychotherapist in the states & I really like your blog. The graphics are really special and very engaging! I ordered Couch Therapy based on your recommendation. Check out my site I love reading & have a books catagory that you might enjoy.

  16. @crazycrowedone, wow that is pretty gross! I had the same experience when I was a kid. The metal filling the dentist put in wasn't done correctly, so a few years later a huge abscess formed and that tooth had to come out, the root of the tooth snapped in the process and it took hours to dig out the bits.

    @Wilton, Much obliged!!

    @Rhodian, Welcome to the blog! Much thanks for the compliments about the doodles :) It is something that I find hugely rewarding and serves to bridge a gap when trying to broach difficult subjects. Oh I am 'really' interested to know what you think of the book, when you read it and hope that you let me know! I shall definitely be checking out your site :)