Opinion: I'm ditching therapy for barefoot walking

Too easy: The answer was under our noses all the time - just ditch the shoes for an instant problem solver.

Too easy: The answer was under our noses all the time - just ditch the shoes for an instant problem solver.

Dear Therapist, Thank you for taking the time to read my letter. I hope you appreciate it has been hand-written; you may have noticed the pink glitter pen specially selected for this note and the paper stained with tea-bags and burnt around the edges to give it that 'Ye Olde Time' flair. What can I say, I've always been very creative.

We have been through many highs and lows together and it is an understatement to say you have been of great assistance, along with my treatment team of GP and social worker. You have all been incredibly patient, thoughtful and helpful during those days where I essentially delivered a presentation of a very sad TED talk.

But here's the thing ... I have to let you go. You might have seen that Gwyneth Paltrow's website GOOP claims the act of walking barefoot can be incredibly helpful to one's mental health. Known as Earthing Therapy, the process involves simply going outdoors and placing your feet on the bare ground. I suppose I am not quite clever enough to understand how this is beneficial to the body, but the quoted expert uses several multisyllabic words that sound vaguely scientific, so he must know what he's talking about.

I figure I may as well give this a shot. After all, GOOP was on the money about sunscreen being toxic, a claim backed by definitely qualified scientist Pete Evans. I felt much better ditching the SPF over summer, I don't care what that melanoma nurse says.

Depression has been in my life for over a decade now. I've spent thousands of dollars on therapy and medication in an attempt to see an improvement. And all this time, the trick was simply to stand on grass! You see, dear therapist, people with depression are greatly accustomed to receiving unsolicited health and medical advice. “Have you tried yoga?” “You need magnesium, not SSRIs.” “Depression is a first-world problem that doesn't really exist, you're just suffering from a bad attitude.” “Have you thought about yoga?” “My cat was depressed once but it turns out she just needed to do a big poo.” “Have you tried yoga?”

Folks with mental illness often end up being an informal spokesperson for the entire movement as they awkwardly deflect intrusive questions or justify themselves to people they barely know. And now we have celebrities recommending shoeless stomping ‒ alongside vaginal steaming and helpful memes ‒ encouraging us to chomp cashews instead of prescribed medication. I feel so foolish for following evidence-based treatments and peer-reviewed medication regimes when the answer was right under my nose ‒ literally. Well, if I'm lying face down on the ground, as I am prone to do.

Just this morning I engaged in my first attempt at Grounding Therapy and found it to be revolutionary. Initially I wondered if I had trodden on broken glass but it turned out to be only a pointy rock, highlighting my natural pessimism – looks like I just needed an attitude adjustment after all! Oh how I laughed and laughed as the blood pooled between my toes. So, darling therapist, I hope you understand why parting ways is the only option. If it's good enough for Gwynnie, it's good enough for me. And not to mention budget-friendly ‒ imagine all the money I'll save simply strolling around my neighbourhood shoe-loose and fancy free!

In the past, experts like yourself have slammed cuts to mental health services and warned of potential risks to vulnerable groups including young people. I can't wait to see their faces when I tell them all they need is to kick off their shoes, chomp a cashew and focus on the positives.

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