Yeah I know: you already know that approximately 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem this year; I hear you yawn.
I yawn too, I’ve never heard such ‘b’s. Look around you, you are surrounded by it; you may not even feel isolated at this point as you belong, you’re part of a minority group. But sadly, I believe I can safely say that this group will eventually become the majority because mental health issues are seriously on the increase.
Anyway, getting back to 1 in 4. That’s the current official figure and I strongly disagree with it. I believe it to be at least 1 in 2, but the figures are massaged to look better than they are! Also, some of us choose not to go to a health professional for fear of the repercussions on our personal or working lives. Therefore the figures do not get reported if we do not visit a professional.
Do you have a huge or very small mental health issue?
I ask this with rhetorical thoughts! Size is not attributable to a mental health issue, an issue is how it feels to you. It reflects your heart and eyes, your very own experiences, not anyone else’s, not the doctor, the psychiatrist, your mum, Auntie, Sister… you get it.
I don’t need to tell you that you will always get the “Ive been there and got that t-shirt” person.
Just f**k them off! Switch off! Do something whilst they are talking or if you’re brave enough, tell the person that you are not interested in their opinion, you’re simply looking for them to listen.
Unfortunately these type of relationships are very real, you need to protect yourself. Like removing a tumour, you remove the individual. It hurts, of course it does, but it’s right for you.
If you burnt yourself on a pot, you wouldn’t place your hand on it again would you? So why torment yourself with toxic people?
I often imagine lots of you are sitting there struggling with the management of the mental health issue… I’ve been there, on very many more occasions that I care to remember.
Shame, self isolation, self destruction, denial, pretence; these are like unique caves. We have to decide when we take shelter in the cave and hibernate like a bear, at times it’s incredibly important to take yourself off for a rest, “Me time”, whatever you want to call it. Equally important is coming out of the cave, you’re hungry for life, inspiration, support … select what you want, don’t rush it and savour it wisely.
It’s important for me to say that this is okay, if you need to self isolate to cope and you manage well in this way, that’s great, if it’s not broken …
My coping mechanism if I’m having deep anxiety and head problems is rocking back and forth, plus some medication, peacefulness, empathy from my family and friends. They get it you see.
It’s my personal opinion that like shoes, one does not suit or fit us all. Some of us want to get out and talk to others, but some of us like the comfort of a friend, a group or people in similar situations, our pets, a tree …
Either way, you can have supporters. A supporter doesn’t need to be in the room with you, we don’t want stalkers, and it’s so important we get our own space. I’ve been on the receiving end of extremely thoughtful people, they come to visit, but they never know when to leave. One time, someone was with me from 10am and still here at 10pm…. I sound ungrateful, but I had to ask them to leave. Awkward. The rest of the week was an absolute disaster due to the very late night.
Today we are spoilt by choice of communication, technology currently enables you to communicate by alternative mediums… by paper, by telephone, FaceTime, professional organisation chat rooms, Skype, organisation help lines, mobiles… so if you don’t want physical company, use it.
Imagine being the person who sought no help: you struggle every minute of every day.
You don’t tell the doctor, your friend, your mum, your dad, your siblings.
Imagine living in complete isolation, coping or at least trying to cope. I can say when we think we are coping, we are not. We simply can’t see it, we kid ourselves and it takes a good friend to tell you where you are at.
If untreated, our voices get us down. The messages become uglier day by day, you know the ones, the ones that love to run you down “you’re rubbish, you don’t deserve to live, you’re ugly, you don’t deserve to eat, they don’t like you, you’re stupid…” and so it goes on and on.
Invariably if you don’t get professional help the voices will get louder, stronger, insistent, hurtful, spiteful, uglier and more dangerous to you as time goes on.
Your head will be like a pressure pot, eventually you will become overwrought with the self management and compartmentalisation of the issues… the pot will explode!
So by checking the content of your head regularly, you are checking your pressure pot… avoiding an explosion. Empty it, empty it regularly if you can. If you can’t face anyone, write it all down, it’s therapeutic. I write my stuff down, offload it onto paper and burn it in the garden, it’s quite uplifting, for me it’s a cleansing experience, almost spiritual.
An important thing I want to ensure you know. Psychiatric care is available at any hospital’s A&E 24/7. I have used this avenue of help many times.
I have experienced positive outcomes when I have made a visit to a mental health professional. It’s had positive outcomes for me; don’t get me wrong, it’s not like someone waves a magic wand and everything disappears. But it’s a start, someone objective with nothing to gain.
The last time I engaged with Psychiatric Team at Basildon, the lady psychiatrist stayed with me, allowing me pour out my thoughts. She was okay with me laying on the floor, curled up like a baby, wailing; she supported me, she encouraged me to tell my immediate family the extremely dark stuff. I did so there and then, it was a positive experience and helped them in understanding me. Six hours later, six hours of her patience, six hours of my husband and daughter waiting, six long hours … she ensured I went home safely and I was not admitted.
Others I know have experienced people without patience, they have rushed, not given them the time they deserve and they have been admitted, sad… very sad; but then it may be in their best interest to keep them safe and out of harms way.
The next time I engaged the psychiatric teams in Basildon and Southend Hospitals, I was having treatment for cancer, their visits were welcomed. I really couldn’t cope, I just wanted it all to end.
The Palliative Care Team were amazing, I still talk to them now. I have my own MacMillan Nurse, Ward Nurses, a Breast Care Nurse, a Social Worker from St Luke’s Hospice. Unfortunately my psychiatrist retired…I’m gutted, but I am happy that I can call many numbers and get help.
Why Interact with medical professionals? Why tell the family? Why friends? Only then can they begin to get it, some may walk your journey with you…I have many of these. Only we can resolve our issues, no one else. Others will say they will walk with you, but they won’t.
We all need help. The sheer fact that you ignore the voices, the darkness, the bad habits, the taking of more and more medication and to create a façade of everything being okay; who are you kidding? Only yourself while onlookers can’t work it out. You’re isolating yourself… can you see this? This very sad behaviour will consume your very soul…no help equals no life.
I find when I share my mental health issues with others, I am always met with empathy and love. My friends, family and health professionals do not profess to understand, they haven’t walked my journey in my shoes, but they listen to the story of my journey, try to get how I might feel and as I said, many will walk it with me. I wonder if they have heard?
I will share with you that I have had a very challenging life with many mental health issue. There have been many times when I honestly thought I was loosing my head and contemplated the end more times than I care to tell. It shames Me, but it’s only me who feels that, there is no need for anyone else to, this is my problem.
The last couple of years have really challenged me. Cancer has led me to invasive surgery and despicable treatments where I have questioned my very existence…I wanted to check out. It’s not over, my treatment that is. January 2018 it begins all over again.
I need to tell you HOPE is incredible. I never loose hope. I have friends, Family, support groups, my Social Worker , my doctor. My dog, although a complete Scooby doo, makes me smile. He is like Scooby Doo on speed, his legs splay all over the place! I can’t help but smile and laugh.
My hope is for everyone to empathise with us, listen to what we say, hear it loud and clear. We need to be open in order to be helped…it takes two! But we need to build trust and that takes time.
Please reach out, this will give you and others a huge pile of hope. Others will witness this, the example set and they will follow.
Much Love. Much Hope.
Love Me x
|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:|