Category Archives: Supporting Others

Supporting Others Who Are Isolated

We are in a really rubbish time at the moment. Lots of people are isolated, either on their own or with immediate family. Both situations have their own difficulties. So what can we do to support others who are isolated and may not be able to get out? I’ve put together a few ideas, not just the practical but some to brighten others days.

1. Shopping

This may be obvious but offering to do some shopping and deliver to their doorstep may help them a lot. Obviously keep to the guidelines of social distancing but you may even be able to have a quick chat from a distance.

2. Write them a letter

This is something I’ve done for a few people. I wanted them to know I was thinking of them and how awesome they are. I could of sent a text message but I wanted them to be able to keep it to read to remind themselves in tough times. Also getting post can be really cool. I got a card from a friend and it made my day. I’ve also been making friendship bracelets so I added one into each letter in colours they like. The feedback was lovely. I’ve also used the Touchnote App (not an ad I promise) to send postcards with pictures on to my grandmother. She’s loved them.

3. Give them a phonecall

If you can, phone them. Sometimes it’s nice just to hear a different voice. I’m lucky in that my local mind is doing welfare calls so I get to hear someone else’s voice each week. I’m not the greatest with using the phone but I’ve realised hearing someone else makes me feel a bit better.

4. Just check in

If you can’t phone then that’s fine but maybe just send a message to see how they are. Let them moan if they need to (obviously look after yourself too). A text takes a few seconds to send.

5. Share something for them

Another thing I’ve been doing is doing drawings for different people and then sharing on social media. Not only has it occupied my time, it seems to have brought joy to others. I’ve also done them for my friends’ children to enjoy too. I have had some lovely comments about how it’s lifted people’s mood and that they’ve been waiting each day to see what I’ve drawn. Obviously it doesn’t have to be drawing but sharing something each day for others may lift someone’s mood.



These are just a few ideas. I’m sure you all have many more so feel free to share in the comments or on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Jokes And Memes To Get You Through

Yes I am going to inflict my sense of humour on you all. Sometimes we need to laugh. In Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) there is a skill called Opposite Action where we do something to make us feel the opposite feeling. So I thought I’d produce some humorous (in my opinion) content to help. Good luck to you all reading this.

Jokes

Bare with me. I find them funny.

How do you make Pikachu get on a bus? Pokemon

Who designed King Arthur’s round table? Sir Cumference

What do you call a pig who does Karate? A pork chop

What do you call a bear with no teeth? A gummy bear

What do you call an acid with attitude? A-Mean-O acid (ammino acid, yes its a science joke, it may not be the last)

What do you get if you cross a snowman with a vampire? Frostbite

How much room is needed for fungi to grow? As mushroom as possible

Why don’t skeletons fight each other? They just don’t have the guts

What time do ducks wake up? At the quack of dawn

What do you call a bee that comes from America? A USB

Do you want to hear a bad cat joke? Just Kitten

What kind of music scares balloons? Pop music

Memes and things

Puns

I tried to catch some fog. I mist.

I’m reading a book about anti-gravity. I can’t put it down.

Jokes about German sausage are the wurst.

I know a guy who’s addicted to brake fluid. He says he can stop anytime.

I stayed up all night to see where the sun went. Then it dawned on me.

I used to think I was indecisive. Now I’m not so sure.

I tried to sue the airline for losing my luggage. I lost the case.

Velcro – what a rip off.

She had a photographic memory but she never developed it.

I’m a natural sleeper. I can do it with my eyes closed.

I lost my mood ring. I don’t know how I feel about it.

I bought a boat because it was for sail.

Feel free to share any of your own jokes in the comments or on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Kindness In A Crisis

We are living through a crisis at the moment. Everyone is dealing with an unprecedented situation and it can feel overwhelming. At this time what we all need is some kindness. This can seem even more difficult when we are either keeping our distance from others or isolating. I thought I’d share a few ideas to spread a bit of kindness. As things may change these might not all be appropriate so please take the most recent advice.

1. Message people

The most special thing to most people is a bit of social contact. Sending a message to others to remind them they are thought of and that they matter to you will hopefully make them feel better. If you feel able to offer support do but don’t put pressure on yourself. You deserve kindness too.

2. Make a card/write a letter

I think everyone loves getting mail. Maybe write one for a neighbour who is isolated or to send to a friend. If you’re self isolating though remember to keep you and others safe.

3. Send a present from online

If you have money to spare (and I know not everyone does so please don’t put yourself in a difficult position) then it might be nice to send a present to a friend. It doesn’t have to be anything big. It might just be something that would be useful.

4. Share a music play list to brighten people’s day

It might seem silly but anything that might brighten someone’s day is a great thing to do. And this can be done from at home. And it might brighten your day too.

5. Offer your services if you can

Again if it is safe to do so and if you feel able to then offer to do something for someone else. Mine has been offering my teaching skills to help those with children at home. Your’s might be shopping or something else.

These are just a few ideas. I’m sure you all have many more ideas so feel free to share in the comments or on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

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Christmas Care

As the festive season is now upon us I decided to ask a few people what would help them with their mental health during this period. Here are some of the responses.

@JamesConlon_

@pjshaw192

@YvetteCaster

@eperry27

@sarahsazzlechop

@_divine1_

Self Care

A common theme mentioned by those I asked is self care. I couldn’t agree more. Looking after yourself is important. You are important. It’s OK to do things for you. You are worth looking after.

@Mike_Douglas_

@anxiousosaurus

@georgie_lloyd

@GumOnMyShoeBook

@BeyondTheBorde3

Take Time Out

If you’re struggling, as said above, it’s OK to take some time away from the people you are spending time with. Even if it’s just five minutes in the toilet to take a breather. If you can have a space you can go to away from people to allow yourself a few moments.

@Addict2L

Use your skills

If you’ve done therapy and learnt skills to help yourself. This is the time of year to use them.

@pigletish

Say No

It’s hard but saying no can be so important. Boundaries are important and at this time of year its easy to feel like we have to say yes to everything or we spoil the fun. But that’s just not true and if saying no helps us stay well then we should do this.

@BpdBryan

Money Isn’t Everything

There is a lot of pressure at this time of year to spend a lot of money on presents and going out. However if we don’t have the money we can feel stressed and even put ourselves into debt trying to please people. The thing is people value other things more than presents. They would rather you were well than stressing and making yourself ill over spending money on them. Money doesn’t prove you care. Showing love does.

@CaraLisette

@KatieConibear

@aimes_wilson

@Idaisrecovering

Don’t put pressure on you

This time of year is for you as well as others. If you can’t manage something that’s OK. You need to look after you and others would prefer you to be well than struggling.

@_NatashaDevon

@hannahrainey_

Keep planning

Over the holidays it can be tempting to just give up doing everything. While it’s OK to take a break, it can also be important to make plans so that we keep going and don’t get dragged into sitting in our heads.

@RichBiscuit21

Be open

It’s OK to tell people you’re struggling at this time of year. If you need support it’s OK to ask for it. Don’t be afraid to be open with others.

@EleanorSegall

@insideliamshead

Be with others

For some people being on their own is the biggest problem so if this affects you then make plans to spend time with people.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this post. If you have any tips or things that help you with your mental health during the festive period then feel free to share in the comments or on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

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Dear GP

There is an amazing account on Twitter called Dear GP where people write letters to their GP about their encounters with mental health professionals in the same way mental health professionals write letters about their patients to their GP. You cam visit the website here. I thought I would have my own go at this below after an encounter with a member of staff who is no longer involved with my care.

Dear GP

Today I met with care coordinator P. She was casually dressed in jeans and trainers. She seemed disorientated and unsure about what was happening. She did not know where she had to be and was indecisive of her next steps. She appeared very disorganised and had not booked a room or remembered that she was meant to be attending my psychiatrist appointment.

Before the psychiatrist appointment, P appeared to disappear and it soon became apparent she was making secretive actions with the psychiatrist. She made no eye contact when I entered the room and was distracted and on her phone throughout the appointment.

P made some abstract comments that only just related to the conversation between me and the psychiatrist. She was keen to please the psychiatrist and back up his treatment plan despite knowing the issues with this way forward, which had been discussed previously. P then showed that she had been trying to rid herself of responsibility and discharge herself from my care with no input from myself. This was overruled by the psychiatrist. She seemed disappointed in this course of action and did not make anymore conversation and avoided eye contact for the rest of the appointment.

At the end of the appointment, P decided to arrange another appointment but was inflexible in this leading to no date being set and no forward treatment plan being set.

I thank you for sending P to see me but I think that going forward there may be no working relationship unless her behaviour becomes more open.

Regards

Jo

To share your own experiences feel free to share in the comments or on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

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True Peer Support

I’ve recently started going to a DBT skills peer support group. I’ve only done about three sessions but already I’m seeing the effect of true peer support. And yes it is positive.

I’ve come across peer support before; both online and in real life, as they say. I’ve had mixed experiences. Some have been extremely positive where as others seemed to drag me further down into my suffering.

My first experience of peer support was on an online forum for people who self harm. At the time I had no diagnosis and no one in my everyday life knew what was happening. Reaching out on this forum felt positive. It felt like a place where people understood me. It also gave me advice on what to do next. It was great. I made some really good friends who I’ve since met and they are still in my life over ten years later. There is a group of us who quite often meet up. We’ve seen marriages and children born. Most of us have graduated through university. We are all a similar age so I think that is why we’ve clicked. We also talk about other things than our mental health but the option to talk about it is always there. This is all positive but there was a darker side to the forum. Things seemed to become competitive for some users. I felt myself being dragged downwards. People were comparing who had it worse or seemed to one up people. It started to become a toxic place for me. Therefore I removed myself from the forum. I still keep in contact with the friends I have made through it though and in that way I still have peer support.

Another place I did peer support was through a local charity. They offered a recovery course run by people with their own experience of mental illness. It was a useful place and much was discussed about mental health and what we all found useful or not. There was a sense of comaradery among us. We bonded and shared many laughs. Again I made friends who are still in my life now.

A major place for peer support that I have found is the Twitter mental health community. Everyone is so supportive of others and it is a great place to get information about many different aspects of mental health and mental illnesses. There can be trolls on Twitter so you have to be careful but the block button is there for a reason. I have made great connections with people on there and found it a great sounding board and a place I can ask questions when I’m unsure.

My latest foray into the world of peer support has been through my local Mind charity. I started by attending the young person’s group and although we don’t really discuss our mental illnesses it is nice to know we all understand when someone is having a tough time and we work together to make the time fun. It is also a chance to be creative and work as a team. I’ve also started attending the DBT peer support group recently, which I mentioned at the beginning. The people have been so lovely and supportive. I’m so grateful for them. I feel I’m making some great friends there.

Overall my experience of peer support has been positive. Of course, as with anything, there have been negative experiences but I believe it has a vital role in helping us learn about our mental health and mental illnesses. However it should not be used in place of professional support, as can be the case, but alongside it.

For more information on peer support you can look on the Mind website here.

If you have any experiences or questions about peer support feel free to share in the comments or on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

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If You’re Feeling Suicidal, This Is For You

If you’re reading this you are probably in a really difficult place. It’s one of the hardest feelings to deal with, but I have hope for you because you are reading this (don’t worry I’m not saying I can solve all your problems in a blog post, I know that’s unrealistic).

Great, you’re still reading, thank you. I know with how your feeling it can be hard to hear that things will improve. At the moment it probably feels impossible that anything can change. The world feels overwhelming. It feels like the only option is to end your life. But you are worth more. You are worth love and support.

I know you may not believe me and I understand that. I’ve been there. I still go there at times. But I believe you have value. If I didn’t I wouldn’t be writing this. There is someone who would be lost without you.

Still reading? Awesome. Now let’s think about some things you might be able to do to help yourself in the immediate future. If you can try and do one of these things it might help put some distance between yourself and your thoughts:

Talk to someone: This is a huge step I know but it could be the most important thing you could do. It doesnt even have to be about how you are feeling, it could be about a TV show or anything that will help you distract for the time being. Of course if you can say how you’re feeling that would be great but I know it’s a big step. It doesn’t even have to be someone you know, you could call one of the crisis lines here.

Take a walk: Sometimes putting some distance between ourselves and where we are staying can be a good thing. If you feel you can keep yourself safe then a walk may help you to feel a bit better. If you can let someone know you’re going that can help you to make sure you are safe.

Do something you’re good at: There is something you are good at. It may be something creative, it may be some sport or it may just be a computer game. Whatever it is do it. It may help you to see you’re not worthless; you can achieve something.

Hopefully there is one thing there that you can do. Or you may think of something else that may help you distract from the thoughts that you are having.

If you’re still reading that’s great. You’ve achieved something just by getting this far. If I was with you I would give you a hug. I can’t take away your pain but please know someone cares; I care. It doesn’t matter that I don’t know you, I would not wish these feelings on anyone and want you to be safe. I’m sure there are others who care too.

This is where I leave you. But you are not alone. I hope I’ve helped in someway. If you want to get in contact feel free to use the comments or Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

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