The power of reading... bibliotherapy.
When I was discharged from an adult psychiatric unit as a young adult I had no idea who I was, or what had just happened to me, or why had my brain chose to almost kill me - what was my purpose in life?
Even after years of inpatient and outpatient therapy I was still unsure of who I was.
I felt mentally fitter - however there was something missing. I felt I needed some robust understating of my own sub conscious mind to allow myself to be a fully functioning person.
This was an instinctive desire I had and knew I had to find the answers. But what was curious was no one had suggested it to me - it was a natural progression and one which was intuitive to learn.
The one thing I did know was that the knowledge was hidden in books.
For the next few years I would go to the library and read or listen to audio recordings of books.
I would select a book based on the blurb and it would open another door for another book.
By the time I had gone through neuropsychology books to Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Scott Peck's The Road Less Traveled, Carl Jung and Freud and various ones in-between I stumbled across Abraham Maslow's book Motivation and Personality, published in 1954 (second edition 1970) introduced the Hierarchy of Needs to the world.
It was the biggest revelation of my life and completely changed it for good - if you can imagine a Holy Grail of light shining from the pages - that's the effect it had on me. It was an inspiring moment and one which has got me to who I'm today.
My whole self flourished as each page turned. By the end of the book I felt like I was starting to understand myself and why my brain had created the monstrous anorexia. It allowed me to become mentally fitter each day and make sense of what had just happened.
I literally became who I was meant to be - slowly and with tentative steps - but I had to be patient as I knew that I was on the path of "self-actualization" - something I had no idea about until I found this book.
I'm lucky though as there are thousands of others who are stuck in a rut or confused by the complexities of their own self and mind but I hope one day they too can find the road they need to come out the other side.
In my talks I explain the whole journey and hope it helps others seek out further information that I know from experience can make huge differences to lives. The feedback I get from people is inspiring to me as so many have went out and really worked hard to discover themselves through various different ways.
Patience, persistence and honestly are the best tools you need on the journey... from experience, nothing of huge value comes quickly - each day is a learning day. You simply need to pay close attention, learn and listen to your instincts.
Authors own image