Our Seven Senses


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Being Scared of of Our Wits
By Anne Brocklesby

ISBN: 978-1-84991-375-1
Published: 2011
Pages: 170
Key Themes: mental health, self help, empowerment


This book is Anne’s fifth for Chipmunka Publishing and one that relied on both personal experience and research. Anne felt compelled to write about the difficulties that arise at the same time as we are trying to deal with mental health issues. She noticed that at the height of illness we often experience heightened sensitivity – eg we sometimes hear voices, and othertimes feel as though the media, eg in the TV is talking just for us. At different times in our illness, perhaps with the let down feeling when we are on these drugs, and probably particularly the anti-psychotic drugs, our senses seem to go down. We may suffer from depression – our senses are also depressed. She questions why the psychiatric treatment does not include sensory stimulation and experience, as has been demonstrated to be available via the research included in the book. Eg a simple massage can help you get more in touch with your body, which may seem rather distant to you when a lot of the difficulties are really in your mind, and the focus is the mind. Likening the experience in some ways to having learning difficulties Anne suggests we need to stimulate allround sensory awareness, and use sensory stimulation to enable recovery from mental health difficulties.

Anne’s illustration, ‘No One Can Hear Me Scream’, illustrates the front cover of the book. David, Anne’s husband, suggested the title – he knew well her senses were down and distorted at the time she painted the picture. Read for yourself this study about sensory awareness and find out how people categorise our senses. Anne has been scared out of her wits at times in the past when she was really ill, and now, has made an excellent recovery and wishes to pass her knowledge and experience on to others. She hopes the medical profession will read the book, as well as carers who are searching for ways to help their cared for. Mostly though she trusts that others who have mental health conditions like her will find the book beneficial.

About the Author

Anne Brocklesby lives in Hammersmith, London with her husband David, of over 30 years, and their children now live independently. Anne is approaching the big 60 but feels young at heart and views her future with interest and the relative freedom which comes with maturity.

Anne wishes to make a difference in society which is why she worked for over 30 years in the helping professions, social work and then voluntary and third sector charity. After some years of illness and a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, Anne is now recovered, and gets on with different and new things in her life.

Anne has now written 5 books for Chipmunka, and her second one ‘Let’s Hang On To Mental Health’ has proved quite popular as a ‘specials’ ebook during the 2010 year when it often featured in the top 10 ebooks. One of her books copes with the difficulties of moving on from depression and offers up numerous reasons why it is worth getting up in the morning, and the first one deals with the actual experience of suffering from bipolar disorder and wondering what is going on. Anne’s 4th book is called ‘It’s My Life’ and is based on various goals and interests she pursued to deal with bipolar disorder. This included aqua classes in the local pool, art classes in the local adult education and creative writing sessions with the Write Afresh group for people who had mental health difficulties in Merton. All of these helped Anne to become a stronger person and develop more insight into and cope with her condition.

Anne enjoys creative writing, is currently taking drama classes, and is pursuing fitness with the regular aqua exercise classes each week, and a new lifestyle course which the local NHS offers. She goes swimming, walking by the Thames, meets up with friends and has joined the local online community website W14, and twitter.

Book Extract

Within our solar system, our earthly world fits into the universal system of the planets. Our individual bodies must be regulated to some extent by the movement of the planets, and that is where our system of stargazing and star telling comes from. We seek to know our fortune by the position of the stars and the planets. But why not learn to understand yourself from within, by regulating your own senses, and achieving a balance in that way. For that to work, we need to experiment with life, to eventually reach an understanding as to where we fit into the general picture of things.

Reverting to the time when my senses were heightened, I refer to the times when I have been mentally ill. Long stretches in time, when each day spilled into the next, there was no forward planning, everything seemed to be in the here and now. No use considering the triangle of self-esteem, I was on the bottom rung, with basic needs urgently requiring to be fulfilled. Here I am referring to Mazlov’s triangle of self-esteem, and you can look for more information on it in any good psychology book or try to find it on the internet.

I operated in terms of having breakfast, trying to get myself ready for the day, spending the day daydreaming, hallucinating, or ‘resting’ and waiting for my husband to return to me in the evenings, after his work. Long days – alone – spent thinking about life. A little squirrel would pop out on the patio and birds would be singing in the trees. I bought loads of bird food, as I really wanted to be able to connect with the birds. They did not sing in Greek, as they had for Virginia Woolf, but I wish they had. However, I do remember once watching a film starring Whoopi Goldberg with my husband and son, and I got really angry because I could not understand what the film was about. That showed the level of my understanding at the time – I had forgotten how to follow a film. It reminds me of another time I had been mind mapping a film, after it had finished, using non linear methods, because I could not take in the plot, and it seemed to me the most helpful way, all round, of trying to comprehend the message.

One New Year’s Night, my sister Joanie came round to see David and I. I went up to get dressed for the evening and spent absolutely ages dancing around in front of the mirror and constantly changing my clothing, to get the right outfit, before I eventually went down to join them in happy new year, only to find New Year’s midnight had come and gone. It was time for bed. But I had had fun dressing up in my different costumes, as I did like so much to put on dresses. However, I was really out of it in terms of being a part of the life around me.

Aristotle generally is credited with saying we have five senses, which is a traditional way of looking at the matter: sight, touch, hearing, smell and taste.

There is no firm agreement among neuroscientists, Wikipedia tells us, because of the varied definition of what constitutes a sense. “Humans are considered to have at least five additional senses that include: nociception (pain), equilibrioception (balance), proprioception & kinesthesia (joint motion and acceleration), sense of time, thermoception (temperature differences), with possibly an additional weak magnetoception (direction), and six more if interoceptive senses are also considered.”

In my view our senses help us to perceive – they define our perception – the way we see the world around us and the way therefore that we react or are proactive.


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