Blog Archives

Is the answer always out of reach?

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Hope everyone is looking forward to the weekend, it’s almost here!!

I found myself wondering about something earlier…

Bearing in mind my experiences (ongoing) with depression and anxiety I was told about a friend of a friend who is going through a tough time and I’m going to be honest while I was sympathetic I wasn’t ready to feel sorry for her 100% as I can with other sufferers.

In brief: She is a twenty something single parent (the dad has custody every other weekend) and she never seems to be able to make ends meet, she works part time in a supermarket but doesn’t feel love for the job. Her doctor told her about 4 months ago that she was depressed and prescribed some meds to help.

OK, so far, so good – this is the stuff of life, I believe it’s called situational depression and it must be horrible or it wouldn’t be called depression. However, sympathy from those around her has diminished over the months and I can see why even though I know that depression can rob you of the concept of possibility and opportunity…

She doesn’t like her job – as she likes to tell any and everyone BUT she arrives late regularly, tries to leave early and isn’t keen to work so she often has to be reprimanded by her boss. We all know that the job market isn’t great so jumpin in to another job might not be possible but she won’t try because the present boss does nothing more than reprimand her verbally – water off the proverbial duck’s back.

She also stopped taking the meds but took another two months off work without any pay which wasn’t a popular course of action.

She doesn’t have enough money – this is a problem shared the world over and I can understand that money goes out the door as fast as it comes in. Children can’t live on fresh air and they are constantly growing BUT as soon as she can get a babysitter or the father has custody of her child she turns in to a party animal, gets totally wasted and spends far too much money on “having fun.” Everyone needs fun but every week???

A solution like going out less and saving some money doesn’t seem to have any weight in her mind – she wants to go out, get drunk and be a twenty something like her friends.

The general opinion is that she’s got in to a rut in which she is “happy” to tell everyone how miserable life is and how much she has to put up with but at the same time any help, constructive advice or offers of treatment are being refused or ignored.

So what is she going to do?

Is the answer really out of reach for her?

Does she simply have to face the fact that she can’t live the life her friends have because she’s got responsibilites? 

Is it the depression or her nature that’s costing her the chance of taking control of her life? 

Would “tough love” (NOT STIGMATISING!) help where indulgence hasn’t? 

Is it time to employ the adage “God helps those who help themselves?” 

Questions, questions!!

Interesting, isn’t it? Everyone’s walk with mental health is different, there’s a 1 in 4 chance that you’ll be a sufferer and there’s a 3 in 4 chance that you’ll have to be around to support that person…however long it takes.

We can all learn from another person no matter how many answers we think we have.

Now, in case this is all too serious, here’s a funny picture. Thanks for reading!

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Reach out, make it a goal.

Hi

It’s Monday, fancy a superduper fabulously brilliant pep talk/great idea?

Excellent! Have a read of this…Pretty please with a cherry on top!

Think serious, think goal for the week/month/year/millenium.

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I’ve just been reading an article about women who have chosen not to have children, not because they are horrible people with no compassion but they just don’t feel maternal and so feel it would be worse for them to bring a child in to the world that they don’t really really want than to conform with the status quo and procreate. One of the women pointed out something that I instantly related back to mental health although the two matters are entirely different. Bear with me, it’ll make sense.

She commented that a girl could get pregnant legally at 16 but not having children was not the traditional expectation, NOT having a child was somehow unacceptable and deeply frowned upon.

In the world of health and illness I would say that there are things which are considered more acceptable and others less so. Imagine “I’ve got diabetes” versus “I’ve got depression.”

Chances are that diabetes will get a sympathetic smile, a question like, “do you take insulin?” or “how does it affect your diet?” and the chemical defect in the body will be “acceptable.”

Now, let’s look at “I’ve got depression.”

Possible comments are “Buck up/Perk up/Snap out of it.” “What’ve you got to be depressed about?” “Oh yeah, I was ****ed of last Tuesday.” or “Are you on happy pills?” All accompanied by a wary or dismissive look or gesture.

Loud and clear a message is sent back to the unfortunate sufferer: “Depression = Not acceptable.”

Hmm, that’s not fair.

It took me far too long to accept that depression is also a chemical imbalance, there is no real difference between the two illnesses if you take them back to the words chemical imbalance. Insulin is seen as necessary medication to live a normal and rewarding life, anti depressants are given a derisive name “happy pills.”

So a person with depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD etc. is classed as what? Weak? Lacking? hey, that’s YOUR BAD not the sufferer’s. They can quite easily feel weak, swamped, like they are deficient, alone and fighting themselves and the world’s stigma so they really don’t need any additional unhelpful comments.

BTW: Yes, sufferers know that you think you’ll say something wrong and we’ll burst in to tears so you subtly avoid them/the subject but please be brave, you don’t have to hold a psychology degree to help…how’s about these comments plus a smidgen of your precious time instead:

“Do you need to talk?”

“Can I help?”

“I’m here for you.”

“Remember, it’s an illness nothing to feel bad about.”

“You are 100% NOT WEAK. It’s a chemical thing.”

“Don’t be ashamed, the medication will make you feel more like you.” 

As a sufferer even knowing that you aren’t alone can feel like a miracle when your brain seems to be working against you.

So, if there is someone around you who is suffering from a mental illness they may just need to know that you’re on their team not chief judge, jury and executioner of any of their remaining self esteem. Reach out, a small gesture moves mountains. 

Alone is a lonely place, everyone knows that! Give someone a hug, give their brain a friendly smile and not an unfortunate comment.

We all know that stigma can be overcome, please be a someone who does that rather than a someone who helps to build the crappy stigma pile up to the sky.

THANK YOU!

Have a fab week.

Joanne

To be a Victim or, Victorious

This is such an inspirational and wise write. Victory is hard earned but so much more rewarding than victim status. Keep walking :0)X
Thanks to David Snape for reblogging this post.

Epi-Centered

Over the past few days I had many conversations with incredibly loving friends and family who are sothR35961T8 concerned about the news that Phillip’s company is being shut down by its parent company.  In a matter of days or weeks, Phillip will be without a job because someone, who doesn’t even know us, crunched numbers and determined he, his company and his fellow coworkers, aren’t valuable any more.  I’ve found these conversations very comforting.  This is tough though, and without the support of friends and family, getting through it would be so much harder.

I’ve been aware through these conversations though, that I have a choice to either be a victim of our circumstances or victorious over them.  I’ve fought this battle a few times before.

Many years ago, I attended a party with coworkers that I trusted.  A friend offered me a drink and within minutes the room was spinning.  I vaguely…

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Busy bee, that’s me

Hiya

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Just so you know I’m a really really really really wonderfully fantabuously busy bee writing at the mo…thank you brilliant clients!! Yippee and double yippee!

I just have to remember that brain overload/stress/spontaneous combustion is sooooo last season. Thankfully, I have helpful (indispensible) anxiety disorder busting techniques in place so if you see a firework going off soon it won’t be a U.K based writer exploding into a gazillion sparkly pieces!!

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Here’s a tanka poem that I hope you enjoy…

 

Nature’s Hand

Sprinkled rain diamonds

On a web’s silvery base 

Adorn nature’s hand

So in glory she displays

Majesty of which she’s fond.

 

Happy rest of the weekend and remember there’s always time for a smile and to count your blessings.

Joanne :-)X

 

Happy Friday

Hi peepsflies-161350_640

It’s Friday which means that the first weekend of October is almost here! Fetch me a fab book, my snuggly blanky…and hot chocolate with cute little marshmallows….wanders off in to a delicious daydream…

I’m back!

This week I’ve been working on a children’s story which fingers, eyes and toes crossed the client will like (pretty please!) and next I’m off in to article writing land to write 10 pieces. Research required, it helps if I know exactly what I’m talking about, apparently. Who knew?

I’m also working on another royalty quiz book which should be out before Halloween, I know that ghosts love a good quiz, they do, really.

In the dear old U.K. October means we will probably hear fireworks any time now, even though Bonfire Night is still over a month away, show a Brit a firework in a store and they will purchase and let it off, even sometimes at two in the morning, hmm thanks for that;0)

 

 

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Final thought for the mo, please can we all tell the media to stop writing/speaking so negatively about mental health issues?

Very few people are about to become a danger to their communities, hey, some of us even know that as mental illness sufferers we are more susceptible to being the victims NOT the perpetrators of crime. It would be great if the people charged with the duty of informing viewers/readers (and the powers that be) could remember that before they fall in to stigmatisation yet again. Just saying, right that’s me off my soapbox and off to the land of cute article queen.

Have fun, stay safe and smile.(But never at a crocodile.)

Joanne

 

babsIn paperback and Kindle formats.

 

Autism – On Trying to Understand Society

This is a phenomenal insight, I had to reblog it – Thanks to David Snape for reblogging it first:-)

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Yesterday I walked past my husband’s computer as he was checking his email. I noticed that his inbox was filled up with my blog posts, and wondered if I was possibly writing too often. He didn’t say anything, and I didn’t ask – that is usually how I am – but it did concern me.

These things make me anxious. How do I know if I am doing something too much or too little? How do I know when to stop, or when to keep going? The rules in this society are so difficult to figure out, and it seems that everyone makes up their own – but others don’t appear to be having these struggles that I am having.

Always I am analyzing the things I am doing, and comparing them to what others are doing – but I still can’t seem to fit in. I watch, and try…

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Err…you can’t say that!

Hi

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It’s a bank holiday weekend here and surprise surprise it’s raining (again) so I am taking refuge on my comfy sofa later with a book about Catherine the Great so here’s hoping that as I’m editing my book about Charles II at the moment I won’t get confused and start rewriting history, you know, just for fun!

 

 

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Anyway, here’s what happened early last night, it made me smile…

OK, the British are legends on the subject of weather, we can’t go thirty seconds without discussing it and we probably dream about it too…so, I was a bit surprised when Mr. Weatherman pointed to his sexy graphics of rainfall over Blighty after the news last night and authoritatively uttered the immortal line “but don’t take too much notice of that.” 

You can’t give a Brit the weather forecast and then tell them that it might be totally rubbish and containing inaccurate pictures and warblings, the nation will go in to mass bemusement and seek therapy! There just aren’t enough therapists in the land to cope with the crisis – I know that the TV company are changing info providers soon but really, are the old lot just yanking our chains?! Heaven forbid that we actually look out of the window and decide what the weather is up to, the very thought is nonsense!!

Just to confirm that the country seems to be OK, people are going out unsuitably dressed for the weather and moaning about it being the end of summer before it’s started as usual so we’ll be fine. No, we will, if we all huddle under an umbrella in sandals and bobblehats and blame the weatherbod for the forecast being almost right.

Have a fab rest of the weekend and remember to relax and to dress weather appropriate, sixteen layers should do it!

Joanneimage

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daylight!

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I been so busy in the last week working on various writing projects that today was going to be a day off BUT I woke up wanting to write something so, here I am. This might give me my writing fix so that I can relax for the rest of the day! Or, knowing me, I’ll keep writing!

Apparently there was daylight during my week in writing hibernation, I think I saw the sun once or twice but I’ve been absorbed in writing and editing a childrens book, doing a couple of freelance jobs and researching for my new history book.

The childrens book, The Amazing Treasure Hunt, is sitting with a publisher now so fingers and toes crossed that all is well…I might cross my eyes as well – Feel free to join in!!

The history book is part written and I’ve been building up the data so that I can write like a ninja from tomorrow onwards!

Meanwhile, I think I’ve sourced an artist for my “coming soon” children’s story website and I’m waiting on news for another couple of freelance jobs.

I’m so grateful and I guess relieved too when the client says that they like what I’ve produced, it really energises me to tap away on my laptop and let my imagination run wild.

Have a fab day,

 

Joanne

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Chillax, Read, Walk, Rest…Repeat

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I have been doing something in the last few days that I don’t normally do…NO WRITING!!!

As I finished one project I realised that to leap straight in to another one would not give my brain and creativity a break so I’ve been strict with myself. No writing anything – on purpose for four days – I bravely jumped off the industrious treadmill.

(OK, I’ll admit to writing a poem on Sunday! Guilty as charged.)

I get so busy working that I sometimes forget to remember that my brain might just like a rest, a change of scene, a something out of the ordinary…and that’s what I’ve been giving it. Time off.

I have to remind myself as I recover from the OCD/PTSD that my mental strength is a work in progress and that although THANK GOD I’m nowhere near as fragile as I was I still have to be mindful – excuse the pun – that overworking the brain does me no favours short or long term.

Same for people who have their mental health in what they think is A1 condition, if you don’t take time off sometimes and remove the strains then there is a probability that your brain will go ping. You need to take time to reconnect with you.

So, I’ve walked in the sun, shopped in the rain, had my hair done, read some fab fiction and just tried to relax without lingering too long on thoughts of the next book, the chapter content, the research etc.

The nagging OCD voice wants me to work but it isn’t blaring as it once used to, so I can relax more these days…when I remember to!

Right now, I am typing this, earlier I wrote a children’s story and tomorrow I’ll start my book and will probably get so immersed in the project that it’ll be another month before I take a whole day off.

This afternoon is a half day off.

The plan reads: Chillax to the max.

But that doesn’t mean that I’m not ridiculously keen to get back to my beloved writing!

Take care peeps.

JoanneTTC_TTTDay1

We are responsible for our own happiness! :)

I’ve had to learn how to think this way…felt I had to reblog it:-)X