Chronicles of one woman’s journey towards well-being: connectedness

Publication Date15 May 2019
Pages101-102
Date15 May 2019
DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1108/MHSI-02-2019-0006
AuthorJo Mullen
SubjectHealth & social care,Mental health,Social inclusion
Chronicles of one womans journey
towards well-being: connectedness
Jo Mullen
Abstract
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to share the experiences and reflections of one womans journey
towards well-being.
Design/methodology/approach A narrative approach has been taken to structure reflections based on
lived experience.
Findings Reflections are offered based on a personal journey towards well-being.
Originality/value This paperadds to the accounts of the lived experienceof the journey towards well-being,
and, as such, contributesto the understanding of the process of rebuildinga life.
Keywords Expectations, Relationships, Empathy
Paper type Viewpoint
The theme of this piece was prompted by a recent act of kindness, undertaken by my mother, for
me. And what follows is an explanation of how this was made possible, the story of a journey
towards connectedness.
For the first eight years of my life, I lived in the same house as both of my parents. I was born into
an environment shaped, in a very literal sense, by division and disconnect. My mother and father
had separate bedrooms. My mother worked long hours during the day whilst my father did
permanent night shifts. As a consequence, I have few memories of them being in the house at
the same time, and when they did happen to meet, there was rarely any conversation and a total
absence of physical contact.
In a single moment when I was 14, I was hit full force with the revelation that both of my parents
were imperfect. Unable to make sense of what I had learned that night, I ran away to a friends
house her family welcomed me into their home, as they would again, in the future, to allow me
to finish school when my mother decided to move away.
From the age of 17, I had very little contact with either of my parents for many years. I was full of
pain and anger. At university and beyond, Christmas and other holidays were spent within a
warm circle of close friends who, for a variety of reasons, also struggled to relate to their parents.
Fast forward to 2003 when I had my most severe breakdown. After many years of silence between
them, my parents began to talk with each other on the phone, neither of them able to comprehend
how I could have ended up in a psychiatric ward. But this episode had awoken them. They had
noticed me and were expressing concern. It would still take several more years for me to build myself
up with the support of kind, compassionate friends and professionals before I was strong enough to
move towards developing a positive connection with my parents. But the process had begun.
When I did finally reach that point of readiness, I knew that it would be up to me to prepare the
ground. Armed with the belief that people dont set out in life with the intention of hurting others, I took
the first steps towards performing my own personal miracle, definitions of which are presented in A
Course in Miracles. The principle that best represents my intention at that time is number 18:
A miracle is a service. It is the maximal service you can render to another. It is a way of loving your
neighbour as yourself. You recognise your own and your neighbours worth simultaneously. (p. 2)
Jo Mullen is based at Wot R U
Like?, Elgin, UK.
DOI 10.1108/MHSI-02-2019-0006 VOL. 23 NO. 2 2019, pp. 101-102, © Emerald Publishing Limited, ISSN 2042-8308
j
MENTALHEALTH AND SOCIAL INCLUSION
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PAG E 10 1

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