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  • Writer's pictureThérapie 63


I've always wanted to be able to recite poetry from memory, but unfortunately my brain is just not wired that way - all I remember from Stevie Smith's wonderful poem is the title (and also the last line).

"Not waving but drowning " for me is the siren song of therapy. If you feel as though you are drifting further and further from shore and no-body can see you, no-body has noticed that you are out there waving, then take matters into your own hands before drowning. Drowning is too late.

Life can be awful sometimes, events that are out of our control, relationships that sour and negative thoughts that we just cannot seem to shift. We've all been through one or more of these situations or something similar, or worse, and generally we find our way out without too much damage done to our psyche. But sometimes we just cannot seem to find the solution, what worked for us before, or in another situation just isn't doing the trick this time. Perhaps our focus is slipping, or we cannot get a handle of what the real issue is. We keep saying the wrong things, or missing signs or we are just plain scared of what the reaction is going to be when we do say or do something.

This is where therapy can step in. By identifying the causes of some of these negative emotional responses that are ingrained into us we can start to look at how to modify these patterns of behaviour, stop holding back and move forward to get different, better results, banish some of those negative thoughts and start to bring about newer more positive outcomes. If you are fed up of repeating the same old actions, giving the same old responses and getting the same negative results - it's time to change.

But change is not easy, anxiety kicks in, we worry how it will affect those around us, whether we are strong enough to go through with it, and that assumes that we can even identify what needs to change and how and where and with whom. A therapist can help you work out what steps you need to take, and how to take them, how to decide which changes you need to make and help you develop the strength and confidence to make them. They are the safety net to your first steps out into the void - or if you prefer sticking to the seaside analogy - they are the lifeguard with the lifebuoy.

There is still, unfortunately, some stigma attached to asking for help, but with the last 18 months ravaged by Co-Vid 19 and a growing awareness that mental health does matter, we are all becoming braver about asking for the help that we need. Don't wait too long, don't drown.

Not Waving but Drowning Stevie Smith - 1902-1971

Nobody heard him, the dead man, But still he lay moaning: I was much further out than you thought And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking And now he's dead It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way, They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always (Still the dead one lay moaning) I was much too far out all my life And not waving but drowning.

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