I made the mistake of turning on the radio yesterday whilst travelling to the hospital. (I REALLY don’t like hospitals- too much illness and not enough music going on in these places, honestly!) I needed cheering up but instead I ended up listening to how mental health institutions have changed since the Victorian age. Well thank goodness they have, as the idea of trying to shake madness out of someone through these torturous methods seems like madness itself to me! I won’t go into the details, too upsetting. My mind wandered to James Taylor and his ‘Fire and Rain’ song. Is this the fire and rain that he experienced in his time in an institution? His shock therapy? Your thoughts…?
Whilst we are making strides in presenting mental health issues as nothing to be ashamed of, we are still, I believe, separating the physical from the mental and holistic approaches in medicine are still too rare. Now the doctor I saw yesterday was very nice, and he did listen whilst I did my whole holistic rant about the possible underlying causes and connection between one physical symptom and another, but then he smiled and handed me a prescription for just one symptom. That is all the NHS have time for unfortunately, so then we have to return again in a few months time with a similar or even returning symptom, and so the pattern continues.
Whilst we can say that Arthritis, or a weird skin thing in my case, are not mental health issues like bipolar or schizophrenia, are we not all inter related? So that, what is going on upstairs can have an effect on our bones, muscles, skin etc. We separate our minds from our bodies so much so that I think our bodies feel left out sometimes and quite misunderstood. That’s what I think, anyway!
I often talk in my workshops about reaching homeostasis. Deepak Chopra, a doctor I really do like to listen to, puts the whole holistic approach to reaching homeostasis so eloquently here
I am sitting in my study, glancing out of my window for inspiration. I have views that I would like to share and the world wide web seems to offer a wonderful soapbox for us. But who wants to hear my rant? Well, you never know until you give it a go!
So this is me, Beth Ford; Singer, songwriter, healer, voice coach and music leader (make up your mind, woman!) signing in to my first blog (nearly wrote blob then) on this foggy Thursday 3rd April at 16.02pm. Hello world!
I would like to share a book with you and a thought: the book is Quentin Blake’s ‘Patrick’. I think that it opens up so much on the topic of how music can lift us, heal us, transport us and even take the place of conventional medication at times. Now I am not suggesting that if you break a limb you should skip the cast and try singing it better (I think that I would get into trouble for that anyway) but we are learning more and more about the healing powers of music on the body and mind so if we are feeling a little low then the sound of a perfectly composed aria or playing air guitar to our favourite rock number can be just what we need to release the endorphins which lift us out of the slump.
Patrick buys himself a violin, plays it around his town and cheers everyone up along his way, adding colour and zest to his new friends and surroundings. It’s a sweet story for kids and big kids.
I have witnessed so much healing in the singing workshops which I run where individuals walk in with physical and emotional ailments and leave with a new outlook. They sing away and even dance as they are doing so and they forget their pains. The deep breathing and activity of the singing warms up the joints and eases muscular tension and even when a song makes us cry we feel better for the release .
So I would invite you to go and find a copy of Patrick to read (you can’t borrow mine as it’s busy being read on a regular basis!). That’s my thought for today… who knows the next one might be more gritty and political, but then it’s me so I doubt it!