Living with depression is a huge challenge, it tortures our very soul.
It’s devastating that depression affects so many of us. Worldwide individuals struggle and it will not be a surprise to you that it is the leading cause of ill health and disability.
At at some point our lives, 2 in 3 of us have experienced a mental health problem and just 13% of us are thriving with high levels of positive mental health.
It’s not good enough, is it? So many of us struggling with day to day life, not receiving the care, support and Love that we need and deserve. I mean think about it, if some had a cast on their leg or arm, or perhaps a bandage around their head, they would immediately receive a sympathetic smile, a hug, an offer of help …
This is where voluntary groups are so very important, I believe if all the voluntary groups and volunteers departed or “downed tools”, we would be in a sorry state.
I attended a new group yesterday, Rethink Mental Illness Together. It was fabulous, at least 25 people got together to celebrate World Mental Health Day, day to day life and getting through our mental health problems in tough and at extreme times. In short, there’s a lot of us that live on the edge!
The meeting was laden with an abundance of opportunity, friendships, connections, new faces and old, swapping of tips and information, creation of ideas …
We were invited to introduce ourselves, it wasn’t mandatory, it was very much speak if you want to and if not, no issue. A great approach, nothing like putting people under pressure!
Also we were invited to think of ideas about what it is that we want from mental health services, what we want from the group, and we could be as creative as we wished and write it on a stickit note where a board was made available and by the end of the session, it was covered.
We had the opportunity to learn of each other’s support groups, and discussed the importance of sharing and working in collaboration.
I have been around for some time in the mental health arena and today I learnt so much! I met people I didn’t know existed and groups that would be very beneficial to connect with in order to help ourselves and our members.
It’s obvious that some of us found today hard work, a lot of us can’t cope with more than one conversation, can’t cope with noise and can’t cope with crowds…yet we all got stuck in, determined to be present in the moment, supporting Michelle.
I have not been outside for a long time, obviously too long! I have been existing with all of my tablets, which are many, and having to top up with diazepam. An appointment with psych awaits.
In order to get through today, I took my regular medications, two paracetamol and two diazepam, (10 mg). I am sharing this information to give you an insight of what life is about in the mental health world.
A friend described it really well today, our head is similar to a library, all the books are in the right places, neatly put away, within their correct subject matters and life is stable and good.
When we face various challenges or upset, POW our head becomes a tornado, great gusts of wind and spirals throwing our library into total disarray, it’s no good trying to find the relevant answers to the questions we have at this time, it’s a case of sitting it out until calm in the library is restored.
Today we met at a place called TruLeigh Scrumptious and I personally felt it obvious that the proprietors had very little interest in the group and what it was we were trying to achieve. I thought one of the proprietors seemed cheesed off with us, but I have to say an awful lot of teas, coffees, cakes and lunches were bought in abundance, and I am sure they are not busy at that time of day with regular customers.
It’s a shame really, as we are trying to educate others, especially those with businesses to manage staff that live with the day-to-day challenge of mental health issues.
It’s common knowledge that we do not openly discuss Our mental health issues within the workplace.
I know an incredibly bright individual who was a management professional in an Essex based organisation, The employer knew of the mental health challenges and was supportive initially; the individual received promotion after promotion and finally a big promotion. Together with another challenging job and something massive in their personal life that needed managing, the individual simply couldn’t cope and it’s safe to say the company then made life very uncomfortable.
I can only imagine how difficult this must be, I know myself that if I have an issue to manage, one is enough, and I do not work.
So if we take this as an example, a very real example, the employer lost a variety of skills and business intellect.
So how do we engage with businesses? How do we educate these businesses to encourage individuals to come forward about their day-to-day mental health challenges without reprisal.
Most of us wouldn’t dream of sharing our our mental madness with anyone, let alone our employer.
Life is supposed to be about thriving not existing. I believe we go through periods of existence, and certainly do not thrive.
I can use myself as an example. Today is the very first day that I have left the house for over a month; yes I enjoyed it, I found it incredibly noisy, and on a number of occasions I had to remove myself to go outside and rock to soothe my head, this is a typical coping mechanism for me.
The rocking together with my diazepam etc. made it bearable, but when it was time to return home, I was relieved.
It’s exhausting attending an event. My very good friend who arranged the meet returned home and promptly fell asleep, energy levels draining very quickly and if you have ME/chronic fatigue, it simply hits!
On a final note, I was really impressed today, my friend Michelle who lives with extremely complicated mental health issues did an amazing job, She was extremely engaging, informative and captured everyone’s interest.
So watch this space, changes are about to happen soon.
The room was full of love ❤️, passion for the subject, fun people, friendly faces & people who want to see a change.
Thank you so much Michelle, the anxiety of attending prior to the event was certainly worthwhile. Can’t wait until next time.
Big love. Big hug.
Founder & Trustee
Just Listening to You
|Just Listening to You is a voluntary Community group; here to listen and support anyone who has mental health difficulties by providing self-help based on personal experience. The group is about inclusivity, being non-judgmental, safety, confidentiality, honesty and fun. Founder, Bernie Bentley, has run the Just Listening to You group for a little over three years, and she now runs weekly sessions, in Westcliff -on -Sea, where like-minded people help each other overcome hurdles and manage mental well-being. The Group organise many local events to raise funds, combat stigma and create awareness of mental ill health.At the age of 39, Bernie experienced a stroke and a mental health breakdown and had to engage the current NHS model, which is in place to support anyone with mental health difficulties. After discussions with her Psychiatrist, Doctor and Support Worker and finally getting to grips about just how bad treatment can get; Bernie decided to launch her FB Page and her group for anyone who needed her assistance. She took the opportunity to study and become a counsellor; this has certainly made a difference to JLTY Friends when running the group. It enables Bernie to not simply listen, but to hear what is unsaid.Membership has rapidly increased, which is indicative of the shortage of services on offer to individuals with mental health needs; this is why Bernie believes that such a group is made available to everyone that needs it.To find out more, and to talk to Bernie, please find contact details below:07968 037507