Indulge me. As we approach the end of the year the lists of “the things of 2017” start to appear, so I thought I would do one of my own. This has been a tough old year,with so much change for me. These are the charities, the podcasts, the blogs and the books which I think have made a difference during this year. Perhaps this may highlight something new which you may want to follow up on.
Since we have the Oscars and the Costa book awards then let me introduce the Chisi Awards. (There is a story behind Chisi which I own’t bore you with, it’s not that exciting. It helps me remember a good friend when I use it and makes me smile)
The Chisi for Mental Health Charity
There are many mental health charities doing great jobs in supporting, informing and representing people at the most vulnerable of times. There is one that I think is just that bit different, in their approach and their approachability. And I promise this has not been swayed at all because they call me Twinkletoes…. The Blurt Foundation. Set up by the inspirational Jayne Hardy (please watch her TEDx talk on YouTube if you want to understand depression), they provide a ton of information and support, all with a genuine warmth and understanding.
Runner up – The Shaw Mind Foundation, for their campaign to get mental health education teaching made compulsory across UK schools, which I believe is so important. They also have an independent publishing house, Trigger Press, dedicated to authors of mental health stories, whose books are on my ever increasing reading pile.
The Chisi For Podcast
Anyone who follows me on Twitter can probably guess where this might go. Yes, it’s Open Forwards Self-Help Sat Nav. Hosted by Jim Lucas it’s a monthly podcast, often with Jim in conversation with colleagues from the mental health profession. The podcasts include helpful and practical ideas you can use in daily life. My guest highlights have been Joe Oliver on ACT, Dr Mary Welford on compassion and Dr Ray Owen on values. Looking forward to 2018’s podcasts and the long awaited appearance by Dr Richard Bennett.
Runner up – only recently discovered this 2016 podcast series and binge listened. A series of conversations around an instructional mnemonic created by Dr James Doty, talking with Dr James Kirby. The Alphabet of the Heart has a simple structure to each episode: the concept behind each letter of the mnemonic, the science relating to it which leads to hints, tips and practices to support adopting it. Also occasional references to doughnuts (or donuts as they will spell it being American and Australian!)
The Chisi for Blog
For sheer poetic style the Shelter of Each Other blog, which blends the most heart wrenching honesty with heart warming prose. It leaves you both informed and privileged to have shared part of Fiona’s story. Published monthly, each post should be savoured by sitting in your favourite chair, with a warm drink and soaking up the words.
Runner up – The Depressed Detective by Georgie Lloyd, who featured in the BBC Mind over Marathon programme and completed the London Marathon (amongst many other things this year). It’s been a retrospective blog until recently and provides an insight not only to that marathon story but Georgie’s ongoing battle with depression.
The Chisi for Book
Always knew this would be the most difficult category, so as it’s my blog there are two winners and two runner ups.
Joint winner 1 is Mindful Compassion by Professor Paul Gilbert and Chodon. The book that introduced me to many of the concepts of self-compassion and kindness which are fundamental to addressing the inner voices of depression. Concepts plus practices, written in a very accessible style. Any book by Professor Gilbert is recommended. You can also find some of his talks on YouTube (make sure you search with the Professor title or you’ll end learning how to play guitar with the other Paul Gilbert)
Joint winner 2 is everyone’s a aliebn when ur a aliebn too by Jomny Sun. One of the reasons Twitter was invented, Jomny’s (Jonathan Sun) tweets about life are funny and insightful. His book tells the story of an alien who visits earth. It’s full of life affirming insights through a wonderful set of characters. I can’t explain it to do it appropriate justice – get a copy and enjoy being understood through the eyes of an aliebn.
Joint runner up 1 is Emotional Agility by Dr Susan David. Very much aligned with ACT and CFT concepts but not a therapy book. A brilliant overview of how those concepts can be applied to your personal and professional life. With an invitation to dance too.
Joint runner up 2 is ACTivate Your Life by Jon Hill, Eric Morris and Joe Olivier. An incredibly easy book to read, full of guidance on how to work through the concepts of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy/Training and apply them to make a real difference to your life. Written with great humour too – they quote Emo Philips!
This post could have been so much longer, with lots more recommendations in each category. While the Chisi award may be slightly tongue in cheek the gratitude for the thoughts, humour and insight the above have provided is heartfelt and genuine.
If you have any recommendations I would love to hear.