I could have written a long wordy blog but the logo and banner say it all.
Take some time to have a read on the www.time-to-change.org.uk website and to think of a pledge to help make life better!
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?”
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!
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.
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.
Have a fab week.
Nelson Mandela: “Let freedom reign. The sun never set on so glorious a human achievement.”
I know I’ve taken the quote out of context for this poem but he was right!
Freedom is not always a matter of physical locks
Imprisonment is a question of the mind too
When my brain housed invisible locks and rocked
I was told a fact my belief system once refused
I laughed gently, scared, not truly meaning to mock
“The psychological response to emotional abuse
Is roughly the same as a prisoner of war’s.” That left me shocked
But I conceded defeat and accepted this news
I was, am, the untrained, expertise was not mine to knock
I had believed that I had no right to my fear and blues
I now believe that Post Traumatic is indeed a shock
But I’m happy to say I’ve been paying my dues
And memory by memory, my mind’s key is nearing the lock
Freedom is on its way and freedom is the path I choose.
I hope that everyone, all 6.5 billion plus of us on Planet Earth finds, loves and enjoys freedom mentally, spiritually and physically. Fingers crossed, toes crossed, eyes crossed…
Whilst reading and editing my next book and pootling about in desktop files (as you do) I’ve found this poem that I wrote about PTSD and freedom and I decided to share it.
Oh yeah, and please make it a mission to make someone smile, go on, you know you want to!
The great news is that I am putting the finishing touches to my new e-book about Marie Antoinette of France which will be out on 4th May 2015.
As I finish one project my mind is pondering what or who the next one will be about or if I’ll change to fiction this time. Decisions, decisions!
Some are making themselves even more unpopular by the day, others seem to think that they can make or break a nation almost singlehandedly. BUT there is one aspiring political lady (who I won’t name) who really overstepped the line this week.
She suggested – and her political party worked quickly to detach her comments from their visions -that people with mental health issues should wear wristbands to indicate that they were suffering from an mental illness – apparently different colours for different mental conditions – this would help the authorities to know what they were dealing with.
WHHHHHHHHAAAAATTTTTT was/is she thinking? Isn’t there enough stigma in the world already????
I wrote this to show my feelings on the subject:
Blooming hopping mad
Just read something truly bad
In the news a political type
I won’t say her name, I’ll simply gripe
Says mental health sufferers
Should wristbands gladly wear
So that everyone can know
That we’re not healthy, oh no
So, if I have to wear one
In her crazy world of stigmatised fun
What colours shall we choose
For coughs, colds and the flu?
Oh dear, she didn’t suggest that too.
I’m still a human being – Surprise!
Her “good” idea is discrimination in disguise.
I’m so glad that not everyone thinks in the way that she does, with the anxiety disorders OCD and PTSD I’d presumably have to wear two “look at me” wristbands for all to see, hey, what a fashion statement.
Oh, and fair warning, the politician who suggests that mental health patients should
a. be poked with sticks and/or
b. made a spectacle of
will be cruising for a metaphorical bruising as this isn’t the dark ages they can join the 21st century rather than drag humanity backwards.
Have a great weekend.