I suffer from OCD, depression and anxiety. The OCD is the order and checking kind not the cleaning type much to the annoyance of my family. The OCD I can work my life around even though it can be an inconvenience.
The depression comes and goes in phases. Sometimes it is relatively light others it is ferociously dark. With the depression though I know it will pass and the light will return. I just have to keep on telling myself that.
The anxiety is the worse in many ways as it is pretty random and can return at any time. Sometimes it comes on so I can’t get on a busy train or be alone at home. When it is at it’s worse my heart is pumping and I feel like I’m going to hyperventilate.
I have had all these issues for as many years as I can remember but it’s only over the last few years that I joined the dots and realised that I needed help with my mental health.
I’m not sure what message I am trying to get across with this post as it just came to me but I guess the point is don’t try to battle on alone but seek help if you think you need it.
My daughter is suffering from bullying at school at the moment. It’s not the overt bullying that you often see but the more subtle type by use of deliberate exclusion.
This post isn’t about my daughter as we have spoken to the school and they are all over it.
My post really is about the fact that bullying can take many forms and it’s not always direct or aggressive but it still has the same negative emotional effect.
The statistics in the UK show that if someone is bullied as a child or teenager they are twice as likely to use mental health services as an adult. It’s crucial therefore that all of us as parents or otherwise are alive to this and jump in if we see it.
I like to think that there is much more awareness of bullying now and the damage it can do, especially to children, but there is still a very long way to go to deal with this problem.
I like many who have suffered with mental health illness kept it to myself – it was my hidden secret.
On the outside I was my normal self but on the inside I was in a very dark place. I felt the need, however, to carry it myself and not be a burden on anyone else. I guess also that there was a part of me which didn’t want to be seen as weak.
I now see this was a terrible mistake and contributed to my downhill spirals. It doesn’t matter how strong you are, mental health illness is something that we all need help with.
There is no shame in having a mental health illness. If I had my time again I would have been more open about it and asked for help earlier.
I guess that is the key message from my post, please don’t hide it and ask for help.
I work in London and get into work around 7am. On a cold wet morning like today there are not that many people around but one thing I do notice is the homeless.
There seems to be so many homeless in London now and it feels that the number is increasing year on year.
It is pretty obvious that a high proportion of the homeless have some form of mental health illness. It feels a disgrace to me that in one of the wealthiest countries on the planet we have people having to live this way.
I see myself when I look at them, there were a few points in my life where things were at their worst when I could have been there. Unfortunately it’s not a large step from having a mental health illness to losing everything.
As a society I’m sure we can do more and as the sign says show human kindness. Politicians in particular need to end the constant stream of platitudes and actually do something.
All politicians seem to do is talk as if that is an end in itself. Words without action in my view have no value.
Politicians need to wake up, look outside their Westminster bubble and see what is going on and actually take action to do some good and help the homeless.
My employer like many has increased the awareness of mental health issues in the workplace and has implemented measures to help staff who do suffer with mental health.
All this is great but it does feel to me that many employers are talking the talk rather than walking the walk. My employer for example gives all employees laptops and work phones. The idea is that this is to the benefit of staff so they can work flexibly. The downside is that you end up with a feeling that you need to be on call 24/7 and it blurs the lines between being inside work and out.
In my experience many cases of mental health issues in the workplace are caused by the workplace. This could be from unreasonable deadlines, far too much work for one person to handle or cultural issues which result in bullying etc.
For employers to walk the walk on mental health they need to focus on the causes of mental health issues in their workplace rather than just the symptoms.
An analogy I guess is they run you over in their car but want the plaudits when they arrange for the ambulance to pick you up and for you to get medical attention.
Employers need to walk the walk and focus on the causes which they can control rather than just talk the talk.
As my mental health gets worse, the more disrupted my sleep gets until I get to the point I can’t sleep, however, tired I am.
For me therefore my sleep pattern is an indication of my mental health. I think for others too it is the same and therefore keeping an eye on how well we are sleeping is important.
In the past when I used to have trouble sleeping I used to drink to help me sleep. This was a massive mistake as not only is any sleep you get from drinking large quantities of alcohol not restful sleep but more importantly it gets you into a dependency to need to drink to “sleep”. Alcohol also magnifies any mental health issues you are suffering from. So in my case it made my depression so much worse.
I think the message from my post is keep an eye on your sleeping pattern and if you are having trouble talk to a medical professional rather than try to self medicate the issue away.
Since I started this blog I have expressed myself more than I think I could in any other way.
The poetry has allowed me to express emotions that normally I would keep deep down. Expressing my thoughts on other subjects close to my heart such as mental health has helped me more than I could ever imagine.
With all my posts I feel like a weight is being lifted from my shoulders. I’ve always had a feeling that something was missing in my life. I could never put a finger on it and still can’t but I’m hoping my writings and all your wonderful support will help me find it.
As Christmas and New Year fast approaches it feels like the appropriate time to reflect on 2019 and look forward to 2020.
I guess that 2019 has been a year of continuity and at the same time change. I have continued my journey in addressing my mental health illness head on with some slumps along the way. I now understand myself a lot better and that is I think a large part of the journey. In the past I had my head in the sand and waited for the next spiral.
Change I guess is WordPress and the amazing people I have met on here. In 2018 I took up art again and in 2019 I have had a stab at poetry and used this platform to get various thoughts and views out of my head.
I see 2020 as I continuation of 2019. I will continue to follow the path that I am on. The destination is a mystery but I am enjoying the journey and that is key to life in my view. It is clear to me now that the journey is equally important as the destination.
Finally I would like to wish all you amazing WordPressErs a fantastic Christmas and New Year.
Yesterday my daughter asked my wife why don’t we see nanny and grandad. My wife replied because they were not very nice to daddy as a child and also when he was an adult. My daughter pondered for a while and asked if her auntie, my sister, saw them. My wife replied no.
My daughter pondered a bit more, seem to accept that and moved on as kids do.
However, it never ceases to amaze me how perceptive kids are. They seem to be able see through the noise and get to the heart of the matter and see the truth.
Whether this is because they don’t have the lifetime of baggage, I don’t know, but they see the world and situations in a different way to adults. It’s more pure, more honest, more to the point.
It a shame we all lose a bit of this as we get older.