Asking for Help: Only you can benefit, and your friends and everyone who cares about you….

Milan Buddha Ghosh

Asking for help is something I find very difficult, and I know it is really necessary for my well-being.

Because of 17 years of domestic violence, racism at school, and mentalism, the bigotry against the ‘partly’ or so-called mad-folk, who can be just as individual as others. We are all valuable individuals who need help at times.
By definition we suffer as human beings, and we can learn to be happier, much happier.

We all know that it can not only be terribly difficult to help ourselves by asking for help. But also even terrifying, at times. You see, when you’ve been beaten for years called ‘Paki’ etc. go home trust is a hard thing to allow. It is hard to pick up the phone, even when you choose the mostly trustworthy people and friends, or kind strangers.

However the good news is it gets better, by fits and starts and uneven journeying, over the years. And many people do say how much I’ve changed. They usually say you changed so much.” If I prompt them further with questions they say
”you’re much happier, lighter even more playful than you were before, fitter” etc.
So the good news is that just like exercising a muscle, wholesome practices reduces the fears anxieties resistances to asking for help.

A problem shared is a problem halved; and I’m sure many of us could for our own benefit, no ones else’s, practice sharing our problems in hard times. Likewise we can mutually coach each other in sharing problems and processing them, with love understanding and inspiration.

Sharing our burdens – that’s why we ask for help isn’t it?
And somewhere deep down inside we know we are OK, that others are OK, although we may well have to steer clear of, b**tards, robbers, rapists, thieves and a host of other foolish people who become as bad as their practising harm, or evil even. You see human character or personality is not set in stone what the mind dwells on it becomes, another solar rule of karma is how we behave what we do becomes us.
We create our own lives with our actions, thoughts and good or bad thoughts about others.
If we understand this, then
There really is no permanent depression, despair or anxiety hearing voices, eating disorders or any other forms of distress, because primarily, karma means ”with our thoughts we make the world, our suffering or happiness. Karma means ‘choice fir the good’
So, if you have been told you are of a certain mental health diagnoses for life, or incorrigible or incurable – well, it is total NONSENSE.

Terry Simpson is a great activist in many health positive circles.
He said to me years ago when I was low ”Create a massive support network.
Last January when I was low, but my lows have got further and farther apart, he said ”Don’t let anxiety run away with you, its an unrealistic fear Milan”(I’m paraphrasing him). He said also ”Be like a peasant ” my paraphrase when it all goes upsides down and you’re down pick yourself up dust yourself down and start all over again.
And I know many friends coach each other out of the blues and horrible anxieties, even out of hearing voices, or befriending them, and paranoid and aggressive alienated bits of ourselves that are voices.

I can vividly remember about 12 years ago, when I realised it was better to ring 1 friend a day rather than not. Or I would be down and have horrible anxiety for the rest of my life. it was a moment of presence-truth. Whatever mood I was in high, low, neutral, numb, dissatisfied or satisfied. Tony Lawson was one of the friends I rang, and Terry. I soon realised and felt like a fool for the depressed past, because no one refused help. People thought of me as a really nice man, more or less unanimously. They even expressed admiration for my humour my vulnerability and hearts openness, speaking my mind and body e.g. warming up floors spontaneity. I was SHOCKED in a nice way. It made me feel lighter, a bit more unburdened more playful and joyful serious-er too at times, but in a contemplative way which allowed deeper insights. My mental knots were untangling. My life transformed. Later on I became a Buddhist.

So, yes we sometimes ask for help without words we just turn up at art groups (see my blogs re Buddhism, Chat N Create and Inkwell interview with ark ruse and the recently posted poem call A Pint of Inkwell. You don’t have to talk, but just do something good which you enjoy, if catharsis or therapeutic talking is not your style.

Others sources of help
leeedswelbeingblog
mental health websites min.org. http://www.leedsmind.org.uk
Please post your self help groups, fave counsellors, business cards only or NHS giving their consented info, please share about anything that has helped you ask for help, on leedswellbeingblog – your voice on keeping well in Leeds.
That’s what leedwellbeingweb is for – USE US!

Self Help Empathic Conclusions – or, you are worth helping, suicidal, in horrible anxiety, sad, or happy or whatever state of mind
So, yes it is hard really hard, even terrifying to ask for help and support, but no one can force us to ask.
Nor should they. We don’t need pressure. We need good listening by friends and to use them more, and v,v.
Asking for help started by assuming from friends, but asking for help is about any source of support encouragement and nurturing, not just friends, although good friends do save live and symbolically whatever our mood we are uplifted by a good friends listening.

Use any source of help. Here’s part of my creative massive support system. Why massive dya tink?

Allotment gardening, home gardening enables wholesome healthy contemplation, solving problems, taking in the air nature is my friend and I ask it for help, the birds, bees trees, foxes, insect. I’m an organic gardener. No man-made polluting chemicals, leaving polluting residues and killing wildlife. Doing art poetry: writing performance and blogs. dancing
When someone is dumping stuff I draw up a boundary and say ”You are better than your shadow voices dumping aggressive depression irritability on me. You are strong and happy if you use your friends expect less, and do more of the things that make you happy without harming others. If you want an ear, i’m all ears, but abuse is not part of my territory. Friendship is”

You can be more content and less conflicted and unhappy, and it needs you to self help by asking for help. Does that sound grim; it aint! I have never regretted asking for help. OK, sometimes people rejected me or were cruel, but most of all I realise vis the experience of asking friends for support, getting more person-centred counselling, going to art writing groups and that there was little to fear. I learnt even more out of the halving of problems to choose carefully in future to reduce the chances of those false friends and bad places that caused me distress I am so happy and calmer more often and less hypo-mania. I don’t regret it

one final thought, yes ask for help, and create options for creative loving and living,
BUT please don’t expect people to listen above what is realistic: empathy whether natural of untrained friends or helpers, is not mind reading. Empathy is not mind-reading – a title of a future blog of mine
peace, friendship and love.
Please share your own experiences of asking for help, as we know isolation at least doubles distress; please share the good things you learnt from exercising the courage to get help.
Thank you.

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A Friendly Competition for a New Logo?

In the meantime..

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I attach the first of many sunflower photographs, this one from my allotment in Parkside. Beestonistan.

I do not know if the Sunflower (Helios) is any more native to the United Kingdom, but it some how feels much more appropriate.

I’m getting very fit from digging, sowing, weeding and planting on my allotment, and carrying 2 sacks of Gypsy horse manure from the waste ground that was a school, to my home.

My hands are now thickening up their palm skin, the winters writers hands are transforming, as everything is transforming, we are all free therefore, do you see?

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Last year Tez took a wonderful picture of a Chestnut Brown Horse, on the ole school site, now demolished, of Matthew Murray High School.

Please send in your fave pictures folks, and what do you think to a suggested new logo for leedswellbeingblog?

Finally, did you know that half the flowers in our English gardens are not native? They are species, collected, mostly by Victorian Gardeners, and Botanists, around the time of the British Empire, (1750- 1945 roughly).

Gardening is good for the soul, it works off normal neurotic anxiety, worry, gives light and heart to living, and these sunflowers each had a pile of horse manure at their base, plenty of water and sunshine.

Horse shit to Sunflowers is my English version of the old Muddy Waters to Lotuses, symbolising cleansing and purification, settling down to pellucidity the truth that shines through all things, when we become Enlightened.

Milan Buddha Ghosh

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Environ-Mental Gardening

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The picture above shows Milan on his allotment. Within walking distance of Dewsbury Road, he grows spinach, rhubarb, potatoes, sprouts, cabbage, apples, pears, cherries, sunflower seeds (for the birds), cardoon (a Malaysian ornamental flower). I went there with him a few weeks ago, and asked him about it.

He told me about growing up on Spencer Place in the heart of Chapeltown, and being encouraged to garden by a neighbour. Now he reckons his allotment gives him the chance to get away from noisy neighbours, and in the warm weather he’s been coming here to:

‘soak up the sunset, exercise, breathe deeply and enjoy the company of generous, sharing gardening neighbours’

– who are ‘fellows in that vocational hobby’, and share their seeds and manure (well, not their manure). Milan is a practitioner of Buddhism, and it’s easy to see how this influences his gardening. He says his allotment is

‘therapeutic, good for anxiety and a good kind of contemplation or introspection. I call it environ-mental gardening. I use a fork rather than a spade so I don’t kill things. I get fresh food but it’s not just about gardening. I think you should always try something new and be unpredictable against your own habits. There is only the moment, the past is history and all barriers are bridges’.

So having an allotment will not only help feed your mind and body, but could also shave a few lifetimes off your journey to enlightenment. Could it be fun too?

Over the past year or so I’ve very much enjoyed reading the blog of the Reluctant Gardener by local writer Mandy Sutter. Mandy is well known in Leeds writing circles and she’ll be reading from her first novel Stretching It at Waterstones on 25th September. Her gardening blog is very funny and chronicles the writer trying to help her dad with his allotment. If you want a good laugh and a slightly surreal low down on the inner life of having an allotment have a look at it.

So how do you go about getting an allotment?

I spoke to Judy Turley, the Secretary of Leeds & District Allotment Gardeners Federation, ‘the voice for allotment and leisure gardeners in the greater Leeds area’. see their website at http://www.ldgf.org.uk/

Judy shared Milan’s enthusiasm for allotment gardening. She said:

‘having an allotment is just fabulous – it gets you away from the rat race, and it’s an oasis in the middle of a busy city’.

There are 97 allotment sites in and around Leeds, and you can find out about a site near you at http://www.ldgf.org.uk/index.php/members or through the council’s Parks and Countryside Department by ringing 0113 3367427. The waiting times vary considerably – you might wait for several years in some areas, and get one next week in others, according to Judy. The cost for 2012/13 is £37 per annum for a full plot, or £18.50 for a half plot.

However, according to Milan, there are other options – if you know someone who can’t manage their own garden,  you could ask them could you share the produce, whether flowers, fruit or vegetables, for doing the tillage, with them, or if they are too old or disabled, for them.

Landshare is a way to share land, someone has land they can’t manage; someone needs some, and the usage and terms are negotiated between the two.”

In Leeds Urban Harvest also organises volunteers to pick fruit, give tree owners a share and distribute the rest to community groups in Leeds. This is just the right time of year to get involved. They’ve teamed up this season with All Hallows in Burley, and “now have a great kitchen for juicing, space for sharing and lots of friendly faces too.”

Finally, Milan made an offer you surely can’t refuse if you like cherries:

“If anyone wants any Cherry Trees, your standard Morello variety, with large purple black shiny fruits, then please call me 0772 2301 002, after 6pm is best, then we can arrange a visit to Parkside Allotment. All I ask in return is a donation, however small or large, to Leeds Buddhist Centre. I will pass on the cash, and get you a receipt if you leave your email address.”