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.
It seems nowadays that a lot of people describe themselves by virtue of whatever group or tribe they feel most represents them. This for example could be a political descriptor such as capitalist/socialist or by virtue of their religion.
It feels in some way that the individual gets lost or the fact that we are all part of humanity.
When I look at the world it feels that these tribal grouping are the cause of a lot of the disharmony and conflict.
I guess it’s part of human nature to be part of a tribe but you see on other social media platforms such as twitter and facebook that these tribal groups become a forum for reinforcing similar views. Because of the reinforcing nature of these the ability to be open minded and listen to other’s perspectives gets lost.
I think the key thing is that we are all unique individuals but part of the real tribe that matters, humanity.
Whilst I was looking through various posts on WordPress I came across one where someone was moaning about all the people talking about their mental health illnesses.
The gist of his argument was that not all mental health illnesses are equal in severity and therefore the ones he considered “less severe” should not be talked about on here.
I have to say I was frankly disturbed by his views and positioning. It’s not for anyone else to say whether someone’s illness be it mental or physical is worthy of comment.
This is hypocritical of me (as I’ve published this post) but I also can’t see why someone posts something degenerating what others post.
In the case of mental health the more of us that are open about it and freely discuss it the better. Not only does it help reduce the stigma, it also allows us to help each other and make it known that we are not alone.
The last time I suffered with severe depression I remember that every morning I woke up and sat on my bed with my hands in my head and said the words “here we go again”. I then got ready and headed to work.
This wasn’t just the usual I really don’t won’t to go to work feeling which if I’m honest I get every day. This was fighting against a dark unseen enemy who was doing all they could to beat me down.
Everyday I went into battle with that enemy, won the skirmish and got through another day.
What I didn’t realise was that each battle was weakening me a bit more, drawing me deeper into the dark pit below.
It’s sometimes a slow spiral to get into a very bad place with depression and the earlier we recognise the signs to get help the better.
I think for all of us the signs are different but for me it was “here we go again”. I now try to avoid that and the need for the daily skirmish.
This is just my experience and maybe it will be of help to someone.
Watching the UK news today there is a town in the UK where someone is leaving secret Santa gifts for strangers to find.
This is causing others to do the same.
What a fantastic idea and it is creating so much goodwill which is spreading. Whoever is doing this is so kind hearted and a genius.
These are the sort of items that should be covered more in the news in my opinion. Generally, in the UK at least, the news focusses on doom and gloom stories rather than those which show the positive side of society.
Treat others as you like to be treated yourself; this is pretty much the one principle that I try to run my life by.
To me it sums up all the various rules, doctrines and principles that others prescribe. It also makes me be honest with myself.
I feel it generally works as a life rule except I guess if you are a masochist or some such and then it has flaws!
I haven’t really much more to say on this post as I think the above says enough. I try to follow this but I’m no saint by any stretch of the imagination and I do fail. This though is my simple philosophy for life.
I follow quite a few blogs where people are open and honest about mental health illnesses there are suffering with or have in the past.
I suffer from my own issues and know how difficult it can be to talk about this. The recognition of mental health illnesses has increased in society but it will take time for the stigma to completely disappear.
All these blogs talking about this on a personal level are an inspiration to me and I thank everyone who does.
They are a great help to me and help us get the message out that mental health illness should be considered and treated on an equal basis with physical ailments.
There is still some way to go but I thank everyone for their openness and honesty.
I suspect this is a controversial subject but I’ll just put it from my viewpoint.
There are a multitudes of faiths. I personally have no issue with whatever faith people choose to follow. I think the key thing is that people have faith in something rather than the precise “what it is”.
I struggle with the concept when people say “my god is right and yours is wrong”.
Ultimately from the faiths I have studied over the years they have the same underlying message which is compassion in one form or another and this is what we should celebrate rather than focus on the differences.
I know people have strong feelings on this subject but this is just my view.
Is it just me or is hypocrisy everywhere nowadays.
From celebrities jetting around the world to talk about climate change or promoting an equal society conveniently forgetting that their career is based on their famous mother or father rather than necessarily their talent.
Or politicians preaching about all and sundry but not feeling that the same rules should apply to them. It’s the “ordinary” people that the rules should apply to. You can trust us they say.
Or employers, as I have said before, promoting their care for the mental health of their employees at the same time as pushing them to breaking point.
All people who surround me seem to be negative apart from my daughter. My daughter only sees the happy side of me and refers to me as always being cheerful as that is what I project irrespective of how I feel inside.
I am desperately trying to look on the positive side of life but feel I get constantly knocked back by people around me.
The news today is saying that the number of times that individuals have been sectioned by the police in the UK under the Mental Health Act has increased by 20% this year.
I have been sectioned by the police as I was considered a danger to myself. The police I have to say were fantastic but I was confused and I didn’t understand what was going on as I was locked in the back of a police car. I remember phoning relatives saying I had been arrested and I didn’t know where I was being taken.
I was fortunate to be taken to a psychiatric hospital near my home.
As mentioned the police were fantastic in my case but they are being asked to do a job that they aren’t really trained for or resourced to do.
The UK is in the midst of a mental health crisis as adequate resources do not exist to help people.
It really is time for the words from politicians and employers to put into action.
I alluded to this, the boy who dreamed in my poem was me.
When I was a child I lived in a fantasy world inside my mind. I have only recently remembered this as memories from my childhood were blocked.
During a recent long period of therapy my counsellor was teasing out the underlying cause for some of my mental health issues and my childhood memories started flooding back.
I talked to my sister about these as bizarrely we had never discussed it. I found during these chats that my sister had similar mental health symptoms to me albeit luckily she didn’t have the propensity to spectacularly blow up like I did.
I have taken two things from this.
Firstly, it has reinforced to me how important a child’s formative years are. They are not only growing physically and mentally but emotionally as well. All children need love and care to foster all their wellbeing.
Secondly, it’s good to talk. I do wonder if my sister and I had talked earlier whether things would have been different. This was a lesson for me, so now I talk!
In the UK general election all the parties seem to more or less promote one of four positions. Remain, another referendum, the negotiated deal or a hard Brexit.
At the same time they have manifestos setting out their other “promises”
As we know that Brexit will be one reason, if not the primary one, that people vote for a particular party there is a real danger that people will vote for a party whose underling political and social objectives do not equate with their own.
Assuming a party does win a clear majority they will say their manifesto has the backing of the country even though for many who voted it may have been just a one issue vote.
I think this happens in all general elections to a certain extent but in this one with Brexit it seems much more extreme.
I’m not sure what the answer to this is or even if there is one but it does feel like the UK is in for one heck of a ride.
Six years ago I spent a week in a psychiatric ward to be assessed as I was a danger to myself. This was the first time I had suffered from a very severe mental health episode.
At the time I put the episode down to life pressures which were swirling around me and to be honest I foolishly didn’t take it as seriously as I should have done. I thought it was just a once in a life time event caused by a perfect storm.
Four years later it happened again. It was only then that I realised that I needed real help. There was something within me that needed to be helped and the external pressures were just a trigger for something much deeper.
Both times I made the near fatal mistake of not asking for help. Both times I was lucky to get through it.
My message for this post is please don’t be afraid to ask for help and don’t put it off. Putting it off may just make the problems worse as in my case.
We are all strong and it’s a sign of strength to know when you need help and ask for it.