Julian Way Interview – chess and recovery from mental illness

Julian Way Interview –  chess and recovery from mental illness


JAMES: I’m here with Julian Way
so Julian is going to tell us about the talk he’s about to give at the London Chess Conference JULIAN I’m chatting today about chess and recovery as we were saying earlier I think there are transferable skills between chess and recovery- backwards and forwards a strategic approach to recovery I think has a better chance of success than knee-jerk impulsive type stuff and certainly when dealing things like pharmaceuticals I’ve noticed a lot of people get fed up taking the drugs because of the side effects and they just stop taking them like cold turkey – and creates an awful lot of problems and almost vindicates the drug regime in the first place but I decided to spend three years
coming off my drugs and took a lot of notes and did a lot of research and agreed a regime with the doctors I didn’t alienate myself from the doctors So in that sense I think there was a sense in which my strategic mind from my chess playing days came in handy and then what was rather odd is
that as I got better I was able to re-engage with my chess which was something I thought I’d lost forever, so going back to the chess club and then becoming reasonably strong again was for me really a little bit of a miracle and, you know, through that chess is my first love really so to be reunited it’s been like a dream come through so it’s all a little bit surreal really because the long periods I spent in hospital convinced me that my life was lost really a bit like a lost position in chess and then at one point I thought well actually if I’ve got nothing to lose then I can afford to take a few risks Risk taking is essential in recovery. and because doctors are disinclined to take risks for obvious reasons I don’t think the actually facilitate recovery very well As an individual it is my life so I believe I can take risks – some of them have perhaps been a bit reckless like an unsound sacrifice but at the same time if you have nothing to lose then you have got nothing to lose Thankfully now I probably do have something to lose but I am not going to lose my love of risk-taking it creates a dynamic in life Those are hopefully some of the themes I’ll discuss in the talk

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