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Green Light in the City

The Voice In Your Head Is Not The Real You

7 May 17 words: Steven Heath

Steven Heath, 37, suffered with anxiety and depression for years. He now works as a Mental Health Coach. We caught up with him in honour of Mental Health Awareness Week to talk about his own experience with mental health, in the hopes that it will encourage others to open up themselves.

Growing up, I rarely smiled and was quite withdrawn. Then around eighteen I was smoking a big spliff and I had a panic attack. Following that trauma, I suffered with anxiety and depression on and off for years. Drinking and smoking seemed like a good idea to mask it but that didn’t work too well. Luckily my dad knew something wasn’t right, so he went to the doctors with me and I got a referral.

At the age of eighteen I was referred to a counselling service in Ilkeston which was shit. I felt like I was being spoken to like a child. In my late twentie, I paid for private CBT sessions which helped me at the time.

Firstly because I wasn’t happy with conventional routes into counselling and therapy, I took my own path. I dived into personal development books and went on courses to help me understand how the mind works. I found the three principles – mind, consciousness and thought – which has transformed my life in a positive way. I look after my body and mind by eating a healthy diet, swimming, yoga and meditation. I have a morning routine which helps me get in the right frame of mind for the day. One of the things that has really helped me is stopping binge drinking sessions and getting high. After discovering the three principles it just didn’t make sense anymore to keep self-destructing.

I think one thing and one thing only stops men from getting help. That’s the belief in whatever insecure thinking is going on at the time for them; “If I go and get help I am weak” or “I can do this on my own, I don’t need any help.” Older generations, in my experience, tend to hold beliefs around keeping a stiff upper lip so I can imagine that creates more of a stigma between men.

I think more should be done to encourage all people to talk about mental health and more importantly how the mind works to create our experience of reality.

You are not your personal thinking. The voice in your head is not the real you. When we realize the voice in our head isn’t us we gain an insight into who we really are. We are the one who is hearing the voice, the observer. We are not in control of our thinking. Thoughts just land in our awareness like rain drops on a window. They are completely neutral. The thoughts we have that trouble us have been taken personally. Happiness, confidence, well being, love, joy, courage all come from within. External circumstances cannot give us a feeling. It sure seems like what is happening ‘out there’ can cause our feelings, but it’s a trick of the mind. Our experience is generated from the inside out.

Steven’s Advice:
Be patient and kind with yourself.

If you'd like to carry on the conversation with Steven, head over to his blog.

If you, or anyone you know, are struggling with your mental health, there are people that can help. You can freephone the Samaritans, any time, on 116 123.

The Samaritans website

Nottingham Insight Healthcare website

Mind website

CALM website

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