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According to Kimberley Wilson, maintaining good mental health is impossible without proper nutrition.

As a child, I was studious, reserved, and book-loving. I often felt like I didn’t fit in, but I wonder if this is a common experience for most children. I rarely acted out, being a black child growing up in east London. I was always mindful of the assumptions others may have about me and what they could get away with, while I may not have been afforded the same leniency.

One of my first memories is of having a picnic on the coast of the UK. We had sandwiches, chicken drumsticks wrapped in tinfoil, and were in a windy car park. It was a joyful memory.

Our memories are not always reliable. We tend to forget challenging moments. A crucial aspect of therapy involves reassessing and reinterpreting memories based on updated knowledge. It is not solely about the events themselves, but rather our perception and interpretation of them.

My family has a history of neurological disorders, including motor neurone disease, Guillain-Barré syndrome, and multiple sclerosis. As a result, I am well acquainted with the concept of dysfunctional nerves. This made studying GCSE biology a familiar experience for me. However, when I discovered psychology, I was captivated.

I am very aware that life is short. This is why I am willing to take risks and try new things. I have even gone skydiving and paragliding alone in Nepal. I believe in fully experiencing all aspects of being human. I also want this for my patients. My goal is to assist them in healing from their past wounds and moving on from their past experiences, while also helping them find joy in the present and making fun a priority in their lives.

A recommendation from my English teacher was to apply for admission at Oxford University. However, I did not follow through due to my fear of not fitting in. I now regret not taking the opportunity to try.

I apologize for my previous behavior as a trainee psychologist, as I, like many others, have been guilty of imposing psychological concepts and theories on others. Attending a few lectures does not make one an expert in the field.

While we may perceive ourselves as unique and intelligent, in reality, we tend to be quite predictable.

Please be truthful with me, whenever possible. Being treated as a fool greatly frustrates me. Our relationship will be much better if you are honest with me. It is not just that I dislike dishonesty. In all honesty, I believe it makes you appear weak. Embrace the truth.

I have been told by patients that I do not allow them to escape responsibility. They may expect me to be pleasant, talkative, and non-confrontational, but I believe that effective therapy should provide a sense of safety and support while also presenting challenges. It is important to not only reflect on past experiences, but also consider your own actions and their impact on yourself and others.

Increase your consumption of beans. Trust me, they are the solution to many of your personal and global issues. Without proper nutrition, a well-functioning brain is unattainable, and without a well-functioning brain, good mental health is unattainable.

Others don’t usually offer me guidance. I likely appear to be quite knowledgeable. However, I do value it. On one occasion, someone pointed out that I constantly hold tension in my shoulders. Another time, a manicurist moisturizing my hand remarked, “You struggle to unwind.” These observations made me aware of how tense I was.

I have served on numerous committees and boards, often volunteering because there is a lack of representation of Black individuals at the table. There is a significant disparity between the number of Black people utilizing mental health services and those who are working in the field. This needs to be addressed immediately.

Relaxing in the sunshine. Searching for elderflowers. Creating pickles. Moving to music. Harmonizing in a vocal group. These are the activities that bring joy to my life. Discover yours and make time for them whenever possible.

Unprocessed by Kimberley Wilson (WH Allen, £10.99) is available from guardianbookshop.com for £9.67

Source: theguardian.com