Planting Golden Seeds in Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, and Durham



(Listen, O drop)  


Marian Moore BA/BSc


Elephant bathing 


On this page I will explore my own thoughts around 'the elephant in the room' as this idea applies to mental health and wellbeing.

The impact of chronic stress on our health, productivity, and overall wellbeing can be catastrophic. And, I should know. But, chronic stress didn't give me a heart attack, a stroke or cancer, as it might very well have done.  Instead, chronic stress (coupled with fatigue and trauma) gave me a diagnosis of serious mental illness.  This for me has to be the elephant in the room.  Wherever I go, it goes.


  • When I ask you to listen to me
  • And you start giving advice, you have
  • Not done what I asked. 
  • When I ask you to listen to me
  • And you begin to tell me why I
  • Shouldn’t feel that way, you are
  • Trampling on my feelings. 
  • When I ask you to listen to me
  • And you feel you have to do something
  • To solve my problems, you have failed me,
  • Strange as it may seem. 
  • When you do something for me that I
  • Can and need to do for myself,
  • You contribute to my fear and weakness. 
  • So,
  • Please listen and just hear me,
  • And, if you want to talk,
  • Wait a minute for your turn: and I will listen to you.  

I wouldn't be human if sometimes I wasn't a bit down in the mouth.  For a variety reasons, a mental health label is certainly not the one of choice. There are unintended consequences for the patient and the family. Would that my label were simply 'normal'. But, then I wonder, 'What is normal?'.  I didn't come off a production line to be stamped 'fit for purpose and ready for the road'. And, if you think about it - nor did any of you. 

We're all very different and it's about time we started to appreciate (and even celebrate) the differences between people.  Sadly, we are often kinder to the beasts of the field than to each other.  Maybe that's why Shakespeare called hearing voices 'a peopled wound'. 

  •   Recovery.  

I've been in recovery for ten years now and I've built up quite a considerable library of books on philosophy, spirituality and psychology.  In my search for truth, and to make sense of a twelve-year nightmare, I've looked under every stone, peered over every fence, and turned over thousands (if not millions) of pages.   

Despite a decade-long quest for enlightenment, the experience (and mechanism) of hearing voices remains as mysterious and elusive as it ever was - at least to me.  Sometimes I catch a glimpse - and then it's gone. A Will-o'-the-wisp if ever there was one. 

All I can tell you with any certainty is that for twelve years (1989 - 2001), I was very afraid, often too afraid to speak. But, thanks (some would say) to the 'plasticity of the human brain' to recover its function, I was fortunate. Serious mental illness was not to prove a life-time affliction.  God moves in a mysterious way ... 

  • A soul journey. 

I've travelled many roads since 2001. Currently, I'm applying myself to an investigation of the mind using the biopsychosocial model of care. But, it has to be said that the last piece of the jigsaw - the one largely ignored by science and scientists - relates to the spiritual.  When I finally got my tattered, bruised and somewhat shrunken brain round that - to me - now rather obvious fact, I could get on with my life.

I see the active ingredient in my soul journey as love - pure and simple. Like it or not, love is the over-arching concept without which the current model of care simply does not work - not for me.  It leaves me bereft.  Is that what you want?  I think not. Add a liberal sprinkling of compassion to the mix and maybe a drop or two of the milk of human kindness and then we might be getting somewhere.  

Transformation doesn't happen in a vacuum.  

It was a long haul to get me to my destination, that is to the point where I could take back the power and reconfigure my life.  In the interim, my fear of the unknown has gradually faded away. I report back to anyone even half interested that fear has been replaced by awe and wonder. It is this amazing journey (and its unintended consequences) that I now explore on occasions such as this. 

  • In a nutshell.  

Having been given a gentle nudge by a three-year old exactly ten years ago, I was put in a good position to revert back to my emotional default setting of joy - and there I have remained.  As Nature intended.


  • Not quite - it's time to talk.   

The elephant in the room is still there and pops up in the most unlikely places. But, now it doesn't matter to me - not one iota. And, truth be told it never did phase the members of my family as much as one might suppose. In the years of my existential absence, they simply got on with their lives.  Births, deaths and marriages happened (as they do in all families over time). Tears of joy and of sadness there were aplenty - but that's a private matter and must remain so ... 

On my travels around the United Kingdom as an emotional wellbeing consultant, I have discovered generations of young (and not so young) people increasingly more accommodating of difference - of any kind. They too care about equality and human rights for all. What's more they are prepared to weigh and reflect on the narrative evidence of folk like me and are careful, even protective of our stories.

At another time, I'll introduce you to other people who think outside the box of every day life and are well-able to turn conventional wisdom on its head. So, prepare yourself to meet some extraordinary people whose extraordinary lives and life-enhancing experiences are rarely acknowledged by the world at large.  Meanwhile, here's some good advice from a poet,

Be like the bird that,
passing on her flight awhile on boughs too slight,
feels them give way beneath her,
and yet sings,
knowing that she hath wings. - VICTOR HUGO

  • It's time to talk.

More and more people are realising that a life crisis tends to provide the stimulus to question life and its meaning.  Here's another slant on things and some firm advice. It's from American singer/songwriter, the late Portia Nelson, who offered this insight into the human experience in There's a Hole in my Sidewalk

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters.

Chapter 1

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost … I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter 2

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend that I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in this same place.
But, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter 3

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in … it’s a habit … but, my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter 4

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter 5

I walk down another street. 

  • It really is 'time to talk'.

My greatest hope is that you will hold the space when someone you love is in an existential or any other kind of crisis. Stay close.  Stay calm.  Don't move away. We're all on the same challenging journey. Let's travel together with compassion for others and for ourselves.

Another hope is that sometime soon we might find ourselves talking more openly about mental illness.  This is especially so in the case of schizophrenia, a diagnosis lingering on from another age, a diagnosis that has had a bad press (and bad treatment) for 100 years, a diagnosis that is long-past its usefulness in the eyes of many. 

It's only through the continuation of free and frank discussions on mental health matters that things will change and lives (and families) will be rescued from the scrapheap of out-dated prejudices and the narrow focus of the traditional bio-medical model of care.  Sorry folks, but the need for a paradigm shift in thought and deed is suggested here, too. 

Listen, O drop, give yourself up without regret,
and in exchange gain the Ocean.
Listen, O drop, bestow upon yourself this honour,
and in the arms of the Sea be secure.
Who indeed should be so fortunate?
An ocean wooing a drop!
In God's name, in God's name, sell and buy at once!
Give a drop, and take this Sea full of pearls! 

- Rumi

Marian Moore

  • TO YOU


Give a drop, and take this Sea full of Pearls!

Marian @ KrysanPeople's stories matter and this is particularly so in mental health training.  Stories bring life to the dustiest of lecture theatres, dullest of conference rooms, and greyest of meetings. I've seen this happen time and time again. People sit up.

But, I'm also aware that sometimes our stories are uncomfortable to listen to and can even make you squirm - sometimes leave the room! Sadly, that's just the way it is. No one ever said that the troubled waters of mental illness, anxiety, and depression were pretty or easy.

It is ignorance of the facts that promotes the stigma and discrimination that I and others experience - daily.  Take it from me, it's hard to talk about the pain of it all to a live audience of total strangers.  Likewise, I know it is hard to sit and listen to real passion and real emotion from people you are seeing as if for the first time.

Listening to a real-life story with eyes, ears, heart and mind is not the same as looking at a person's brain scan or a person's diagnosis or even a person's electronic record. Not forgetting, of course, the sacred ground of the medical textbook. Sorry, but if I don't remind you to dig deeper, think harder, and take less 'as read', then who will ... and when?

Issues and cherished beliefs around mental health are, without a shadow of doubt, highly contentious, controversial and emotive - even messy.  But, there are sound ethical and practical reasons why it is time to change.  Things (people and theories) move on ...  

Peter Chadwick, Mark Ellerby, and Paris Williams are all respected authors with something interesting to say on the subject of mental health.  Like me, they would urge you to become an expert, follow your heart and then, 'Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.  -  St. Francis of Assisi

Good advice.  Please listen ...




*CHADWICK, Peter K (1997), Schizophrenia: The Positive Perspective: In search of dignity for schizophrenic people, Hove & New York, pub. Brunner-Routledge


*ELLERBY, Mark (2007), The Stages of Schizophrenia: Part One, pub. Brentwood, Essex, Chipmunkapublishing 

*WILLIAMS, Paris, (2012), Rethinking Madness: Towards a Paradigm Shift in Our Understanding and Treatment of Psychosis, pub. San Francisco, Sky's Edge



If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
If I am only for myself, what good am I?

If not now, when?




Mary O'Hara writes

Mental disorders should not be hastily defined
The Guardian – 28th May 2013

An article examining the social and clinical significance of being given a mental health diagnosis mentions the work of Time to Change to tackle stigma around mental illness.

Read more




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