Monthly Archives: September 2013

If everyone was open about mental health would the world be a better place?

rethinkphoto

This post is based on the question from Rethink Mental Illness. These views are my own and not those of Rethink Mental Illness. 

Would the world be a better place, if we were more open about mental health? The short answer to this, in my opinion, is yes! My reasons for this are numerous and below I’ll detail them to some extent.

My first reason for saying yes, is that if we are more open hopefully we can educate people to help create better mental health among us all. We have campaigns in this country that look at persuading us to make changes in our lives to better our physical health. Hopefully if we are more open we can see campaigns working on helping us improve our health generally, including mental health, which is just as important. We could also see more education in our schools, aimed at promoting better mental health, bringing it fully into line with what we teach regarding physical health.

Another reason I believe being more open about mental health is important, is that hopefully it would help with the campaign to tackle the stigma surrounding mental illness. We would never make a person with cancer feel ashamed for being ill, quite rightly, yet people with mental illness are. Being more open could be a major step in helping people to feel less ashamed, as it would hopefully make people who are suffering realise they are not alone nor do they have a reason to be ashamed that they are suffering. We have tackled stigma in other areas by talking more openly and hopefully the same would happen with mental health. By making people aware that mental health is a part of every day life and not a choice, surely we could reduce the number of people being isolated by their condition.

My third reason for wanting more openness in mental health is that I want to see improvements in the care provided to those with a mental health problem. This links into the stigma surrounding mental health. If we were more open about mental health hopefully the campaigns surrounding the help that is needed for those with a mental illness would be better supported and we would see more funding going into this area of the NHS rather than the continuous cuts that we currently see. We would also hopefully see even more high profile advocates playing a role in the campaigns for reform. I’d also hope that there would be more opportunities for the charities to do more of the good work they already do as people would be more aware of them and the need that they fulfill in our society.

Overall being more open about mental health can surely, only, be a good thing. This is why it’s so important that we start having the conversations about mental health along with mental illness. Talking passes the message on and hopefully we can make sure that people aren’t scared to discuss when they are having a problem or when they need some advice in this area. Hopefully we can stop people having to be fearful of being seen in a mental health clinic because they might be abused. Hopefully it will stop being people having to hide away. So if you can do your bit by starting a conversation I know there are many people who would like to say thank you to you and if you’re unsure how to go about it check out Rethink’s website: www.rethink.org or Time to Change’s website: www.time-to-change.org.uk You will also find more information on my Facebook page, the address of which you will find on the front page of the blog.

Thank you!

 

Self Harm and Me

Please be aware that this is a personal piece and may contain some triggering content. Please take care.

Self harm is a very big part of my life. I’d be lying if I said any different. I’d also be lying if I didn’t say how much I feel I need it; rightly or wrongly. I can’t change that fact right now but I can say that I do not advocate or promote self harm. In all honesty I despise it.

Please don’t take my last comment the wrong way. If you self harm, I don’t despise you. In fact I have the greatest sympathies for, and understanding of, you. It is the actual act I hate. The monster that is self harm. I’m going to give it a name so you can distinguish it; let’s call it ‘Voldy’ (some of you will understand the Harry Potter link).

Now why do I hate Voldy? Why do I hate it when it has become the thing that I use to get me through some of the hardest times of my life? This is precisely why I hate it. It is like a vice that takes hold of you. It’s like being an alcoholic or drug addict or even a smoker; you become dependant on it. Whenever you hit a low point it’s what you turn to and allows you to escape from the vileness of what you feel. Or it lets you feel something you understand and have control of what you feel. For a few minutes its just you and it.

I don’t want to be dependant on Voldy. I don’t want to be called an attention seeker by society. It’s all messed up. Society is messed up too. You see it’s socially acceptable to smoke or drink. These people aren’t called attention seekers- nor should they be- but because I have a different vice I am. This is another reason I hate Voldy. Now just to be clear here, if you self harm I don’t think you are messed up or an attention seeker. I think that you are a person who is doing the best they can with the resources they have to cope with life; I believe you deserve help not judgment.

Lets get back to Voldy and my personal reasons for hating it. I hate it most of all for the manipulativeness and lying it causes. The lies may seem small but they become bigger as it becomes a bigger problem. From the starting lies of “the cat did it”, it can develop into bigger lies, such as why you don’t want to get undressed or why your mother has found a blade in an odd place. It means your body becomes covered in scars. This you don’t realise will effect your relationships in the future.

I’ll explain now how it effects relationships in the future. Imagine, and please try hard, that at some point in the future you happen to get with some amazing person. You’ve beaten the self harm by now and want to put it behind you. You’re getting on so well that things turn physical. As you get undressed, your partner stops you and touches your scars. “How did you do these?” they ask. You now have to explain it. You have to face it all over again. You won’t ever be rid of it. This is why I hate Voldy. This encompasses all that Voldy does.

Ok let’s go back to proper terms. Back to Self Harm. Self harm does all this and more to me. It does it all yet I cling to it in desperation and the thought of letting it go terrifies me. I am in its clutches. I thought it would give me control yet I have lost more to it than I have gained. It’s been ten and a half years. Soon it will be half my life time. It had cost me so much. If you are reading this because you self harm please know how much hope I have for you to beat it. How much hope that you beat the monster. However scary it may seem know you are not alone. If your reading this to understand why someone you know or love is doing this please just remember the most important thing you can do is to be supportive and not try to wrench it from them. Wrenching it will only make it more appealing and like it understands them better. Just being there is sometimes all you can do. And if you are reading this considering harming for the first time then I have just one word, don’t! Please you can find another way.

I hope this hasn’t been to hard to read but remember there are organisations who can help. You deserve help however hard it is to believe.

World Suicide Prevention Day 2013

September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day and to mark this day I have decided to write a blog aimed towards someone who may be considering taking steps towards ending their own lives. If this is you please read on and I hope that you can find something in these words that makes you see that your life is precious.

I may not know you personally but if I could I would reach out and hug you first and foremost. You may feel alone in this world and like there is no point in carrying on but this is simply not true. While I don’t know you, the fact that you are struggling and feeling like this is the only option shows me that you are a person who can feel things so deeply and I believe that whatever you may have done there is at least one person who does care deeply for you. If you can not think of one then let me tell you that I care about you. If I didn’t I wouldn’t be writing this.

If you are still reading then thank you for not turning and running . That shows that within you there is strength to confront what you are feeling and also hope that maybe there is something else you can do to avoid this, what to you may feel like is the only, course of action. You are doing so well just reading this and trying to see if there is something you can do and I hope you can hold on to this however tiny it may seem.

Thank you for still reading. I’m now going to offer you some things you may like to do before you go any further. You don’t have to do them but I hope there is one thing here that may help you. Here they are:

  • Call, text or email someone, explaining how you feel, if you can. This could be a friend, relative, medical professional or a charity helpline. The Samaritans offer non-judgmental advice 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Take a bath or shower and try to relax for an hour. In this time try to think about yourself and treat yourself with respect.
  • Write one thing that you can do. It may be that you can take some lovely photographs, it may be that you make a brilliant meal or it might be that you always make yourself available to others. There is, I’m sure, one thing that you can do.
  • Do that one thing that you can do.
  • Go for a walk if you feel that you can do so while still remaining safe, If possible make sure that someone knows where you will be going and how long you plan to be. This gives you a chance to roam in mind as well as body but still keep in mind that people are waiting and wanting you.
  • Draw, write or do something creative. Don’t worry about how it turns out.
  • Exercise. Maybe lift weights or run.
  • Sleep.

I hope there is something there you can do. I hope upon hope that the first option is the one you choose. I believe that other people are our biggest weapon in fighting the thoughts that are currently pushing you to your limits.

You still reading? Great. You’re doing really well to keep going and I’m proud of you. Truly proud of you. I know how hard it is to get this low but you’re still with me and that is a massive positive. I hope the intensity of your suicidal feelings is subsiding slightly or you have managed to find something to hold on for until you can get the support you deserve, and yes you do deserve it no matter what your brain is telling you. You are on this planet and that makes you special. There is probably someone, you may not know who, but someone who loves you and is glad you are alive. I’m glad you are alive as I know you have huge potential if you have made it this far, think about it you’ve read all this written by me that is an accomplishment.

I’m going to leave you now. I hope you make the decision to live. I know it is a big decision to make and may seem scary but I believe that it is the best decision you can make as it holds so much opportunity for the future. Please get help and if you feel that you are at immediate risk of hurting yourself then I ask you to go to Accident and Emergency so that you can be kept safe. You deserve to be safe and happy.

Thank you for reading and know that I am thinking of you and hoping you can see the good in you that others can. One last hug. *hugs*

Rock Bottom

This is a personal piece about what I feel. Please be aware there may be triggering content. 

Rock bottom is a phrase that is often used by people with depression or other mental illnesses. At the moment that is precisely the term I would use to describe how I currently feel. I’ve thought this before, that I am at rock bottom, but each time it feels like a totally new feeling.

So what does rock bottom feel like to me? Rock bottom feels hopeless and I begin to question my entire existence. Why am I alive? Why does the world exist? Suicidal thoughts seem to infiltrate my mind. I just don’t see how the world would not be a better place without me.

Rock bottom is a lonely place to be. It feels like no one understands what I feel like or where my thoughts are coming from. It is made more difficult by the fact that quite often I can not explain it to myself let alone anyone else.

It causes negative behaviours to become worse. My self harm loses control which is the opposite of why it is normally a good feeling for me. I suppose when I am at rock bottom my reasons for indulging in self harm are different. It becomes an escape from the thoughts and voices that plague my head.

What do I need when I am at rock bottom? That is a difficult question to answer. My thoughts towards it change. Sometimes I feel like I need to talk it out but other times I feel it needs to be kept inside. Sometimes I want to be alone other times I just wish someone could be with me. Its a very difficult state to be in when nothing feels right.

So rock bottom, in summary, is a very difficult feeling to deal with and leads to some very difficult things to overcome. If you ever get to feeling like it, and I hope and pray you never do, please know what you need to do.  Please get help as you do deserve it however much you may feel like you don’t. Please talk to those around you so that you have people who know what you are going through even if they don’t understand what you feel. Please remember it is not a permanent feeling and things will get better in the long run however desolate they feel right now. And please if you feel like you are going to hurt yourself please seek medical help so that your risk can be managed appropriately.

I hope that you find this piece helps you if you are feeling like this and that you may not feel quite so alone.