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.
My employer likes to make a big thing of its respect for employees and care for their welfare.
I won’t bore you with details but an incident occurred yesterday which showed complete lack of respect for an employee.
I was never sure whether senior management really did believe in respect and welfare but there was a disconnect further down the organisation or it was a sham. I naively used to think the former but now I’m not so sure.
This goes to a theme that has underpinned a number of my posts. Too many, be them employers or politicians, get away with just words but do not back them up with tangible actions.
I think we all need to be more cynical when these parties say words and challenge them to demonstrate tangible actions.
“Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me” As I get older, like many of us I guess, being called names has limited impact.
Words though do still have the power to hurt. The pain is just as bad even if the words were not deliberately used to cause the hurt.
Too many people don’t think about how words may be received before they are spoken. How words may be received is just as important as the message they are trying to convey in my opinion.
Everyone needs to think about how they would react if they were on the receiving end of the words before letting loose. I don’t have a huge amount of time for people who say something that causes hurt and once it is pointed out to them say “I didn’t think” or “that wasn’t my intention”.
The simplest way to look at it I guess is before you speak put yourself in the recipient’s shoes and think how would you would feel if someone said that to you.
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.
The constant arguing whenever they interact is a drain. I’m not one to argue and try to avoid it at all costs.
As they are both strong minded they take entrenched positions and won’t move. Compromise is not an option to either of them. I feel like I have to put my United Nations hat on and mediate!
My wife blames my daughter and my daughter blames my wife. As a sort of bystander I can see they both equally contribute to the fall out and it just escalates out of proportion to the original disagreement.
This usually ends up with me having a disagreement with my wife as I try to point out that she contributed to it as well.
Pointless conflict seems to be part of life either within the family unit or in society as a whole.
I have a dangerous relationship with alcohol and have to steer completely away from it. Even one drink will start a series of events which would cause my life to go into free fall as once I start I can’t stop.
As I avoid alcohol now and also circumstances which would put me in contact with it I have become acutely aware how much alcohol dominates our society.
So many social interactions seem to involve drinking. I’ve had to ditch a number of friends as when I look back they were pub friends. We did nothing other than drink together.
On Facebook, friends regularly post a picture of whatever alcohol drink they are drinking when they go out rather than a picture of the people they are with. People don’t do that with tea or coffee so why is alcohol so different?
I guess it’s always been this way and now I just notice it more. I have found, however, that to avoid alcohol I have had to completely change my social interactions as alcohol seems to be the dominant feature in society. The question is why?
It is fantastic how mental health awareness is getting the profile it deserves and people can feel much more open about it. Amazing progress is being made and long may it continue.
I previously used to hide my mental health issues but I am now much more open about them. I think, like many, my natural instinct is to hide because of previous stigmas but I am now forcing myself to be more open.
There is, however, still a bit of an “oh” reaction when you mention to people about your mental health issues.
I look forward to the day when the “oh” disappears and the reaction to mental health issues is the same as any physical health issues.
We are on a journey to get there and fantastic progress is being made.
Whenever I watch the news in the UK nowadays they always seem to feel that they have to make a relative comparison to a previous event. So everything is the “largest or smallest since”. They even do this when the previous event was only a short while ago.
I’m not sure when this started to become the only way to describe the news but people I encounter do not talk this way in every day life.
However, in the small chance they may be onto something I’ll give it a go.
The portion of chips I had on Monday night was not only large but the largest portion I’ve had since 12 March 2018……
I’ve been watching the UK politicians start their general election battle on TV. A lot of the time they throw in the “ABC won’t compromise” by which they mean agree with their view.
We saw a lot of this during the ongoing Brexit debates where parties were saying so and so won’t compromise but there seems to be a lack of understanding that by its very nature compromising means both parties.
What they seem to be actually asking for is for the other party to capitulate rather than compromise.
Hence I ask where art thou compromise?
Ps even if you don’t like what I’ve written hopefully you will like the kitten…….
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.
You hear this quite a lot and you see people often posting this on Facebook.
I may be in the minority here but whilst talking to friends is great I personally don’t think it replaces counselling. Friends will always have their own viewpoints and prejudices. They may subconsciously also try to steer you to a course of action that they believe is best for you as they have a stake in your life.
This is all done with the best of intentions but a counsellor should be completely impartial to help you reach your own conclusions. I’ve had both friends help me and counsellors and I think they complement each other rather than one excluding the other.
A good counsellor will ask you hard questions, sometimes uncomfortable ones, to get you to see the truth from your perspective.
No one knows you as well as you and we all need to reach answers that we are comfortable with.
Please don’t disregard counselling because you have good friends.
I’ve been on WordPress now for a few weeks only and it is amazing how many are sharing their mental health experiences for the benefit of others. It is wonderful to see and reminds me of the good in this world.
I myself have had my own experiencesmainly around depression and alchohol abuse which resulted in two episodes where I had suicidal thoughts and being Sectioned once for my own safety.
Seeing people sharing their experiences helps reduce the stigma around mental health and a big thank you for this from me!
By this I mean mental conflict. The constant arguing and disagreement that seems to be prevalent in our age. Whenever you turn on the television news you see various politicians treating each other as lower species and arguing over every single matter.
In my personal life I see conflict everywhere, my wife and daughter constantly bicker, my work colleagues argue.
I just want to put my hands over my ears and scream for everyone to stop and try to get on.
Maybe it’s always been this way and I’m now just more tuned into it. The art of compromise does seem to have disappeared though and people just entrench in polar opposite pits and throw mud at each other.
Why the conflict? Surely people don’t enjoy it?
It’s not good for our mental health, it’s not good for our society, it’s not good for us trying to be positive.
Listen, empathise and let’s work together for all our benefit.
I’m sure there are numerous others who feel the same, where has the true us gone?
I don’t think I’m ever my true self. Even with my closest family the true “me” is hidden and a different “me” appears. I guess I am trying to project how they see me rather than what I am. It’s even worse with strangers or work colleagues as I project a “me” which is very different to my true self.
How does this happen? It’s not a conscious choice but rather I think over time you slowly start to play a different role, project a different person.
I have, however, come to the conclusion that for me at least it is bad for my mental health. I feel it creates internal conflict and frustration. A sense that you are a fraud.
I’m slowly working through the layers to find the true “me” again, it will be a long journey but this blog is part of that journey to get me there.
After a serious bout of mental health issues eighteen months ago I had about six months of therapy. A lot of the therapy was spent on my inability to say ”no”.
For some saying ”no” is a just a normal part of life. For others such as myself it is a challenge as if there is a brake in our mind which stops the word forming.
From my therapy it was clear that my mindset is to please and therefore “no” is not a word I find easy to say. The result of this is that you make life choices to please others rather than yourself.
My therapist pointed out that saying “no” is normal part of life and if it upsets people so be it as you must put yourself first. This was a revelation to me although it is pretty bloody obvious (sorry for the profanity)!
However, if you have spent your whole life avoiding saying “no“ then it is a daily battle to remind yourself that you can say this simple little word.
I’m a bit better on this now but still nowhere near as proficient as others!
I live with a 10 year old and my house is by nature chaotic but I have my own little space where I can order things and keep them neat. I do the same with my work bag so everything is in the right place. This is how I try to satisfy my OCD tendencies.
The one thing I can’t order are the thoughts in my brain. This is why you may have the misfortune of reading my ramblings on various obscure topics.
My thoughts flurry this way and that on numerous things and it feels like they are all happening at the same time. Some have said that this is because I am a Virgo and that is one of their traits. I do not know if that is true but it’s one explanation.
My head sometimes fills so busy that I can sense physical pressure. Maybe I am just imagining that.
I wonder if everyone’s head is like that or whether some have more sequential thoughts without the zig zags. My wife seems to and I guess therefore we are all wired differently.
This is another ramble but it was just another thought I needed out of my head…..
Thank you for your patience in reading this if you have!
I travel into work in London each day by the London Underground. Most days I am in my own world either reading a book or listening to music.
Some days I instead look around and notice all the people on the train with me. Some are in their own world but others you can tell from their eyes are distant, troubled. Those eyes. I recognise them as they are mine when I am suffering from one of my bouts of mental health issues.
The lesson to me is that we are so busy going about our own day to day lives do we really notice others? And I mean really notice, not just a cursory conversation or nod but notice them more deeply to try to understand how they are.
Some of us who suffer from mental health issues try to hide it but those eyes give it away.
Notice people and look into their eyes. The eyes don’t lie.
Am I an alcoholic? I think not as I don’t crave drink but my wife thinks I am. In any event I’ve learnt from painful experience that I have a serious drink problem, however, it is defined.
Like many men I used drink as a crutch to help me get over life’s problems. After a bottle of wine it felt to me my problems had passed.
I learnt at painful cost that this was never the case and all I was doing to masking the issue for a few hours, Then I found I had to drink more and more to make the pain go away to the point where I was almost always drunk. I started to neglect the ones I love but they stood by me and with their help I recovered.
I now haven’t had a drink for years and I feel so lucky to have been given a second chance and for the love and support I received.
I live in the UK and I am one of the many who voted to remain in the EU. But I am one of those who now just says “get it done”. This never ending purgatory of delay and endless obfuscating needs to end.
The UK politicians and press just seem to act like it’s all a political game where points can be scored. In real life I do not encounter people like this and wonder how on earth parliament can be full of them. I think if they left their Westminster bubble a bit more they may like to ask what do ordinary people (a patronising term politicians use) think of the whole debacle.
I look back fondly to the days when decisions could be made and things actually achieved. One day I hope sense will prevail and adults may actually be back in charge.
Firstly, I’ll lay my cards on the table, I have belief and faith in the Old Gods. Whenever I’ve been to a traditional church I’ve never felt the presence of an Almighty God in the same way that many do. When, however, I pray and honour the Old Gods I do feel such a presence.
This is my perception and I do not belittle anyone else views. Everyone is entitled to have faith in any God that speaks to them and in fact choose to have no faith at all.
I think there is an argument that we are all praying to the same holistic God albeit that some of us honour and worship part of God that speaks to us.
In essence I think having faith is key as it gives us hope that there is someone standing by our shoulder guiding us and telling us that it will be ok.
I feel that with the Old Gods and I revere and worship them but others will feel that with the Almighty God and I am joyful that they do.
I am finally coming out of the depression that has affected me over the last few weeks. The fog has lifted, the feeling of worthlessness has gone and the unbearable tiredness and sadness has drifted away.
A new dawn has arrived, I know the depression and anxiety will be back but I will enjoy the light to the best of my ability whilst it is here and try to be the best person I can be.
I’m not sure why as I don’t expect anyone to ever read this or know who I am. But I have an urge to write this and since I started writingI felt the glimmer of calm for the first time in a while. It may be coincidental or something more profound but who knows.
I’m a very private person and some would call me secretive and the anonymous nature of the blog allows me to relieve the maelstrom of thoughts in my head. I guess it’s a form of therapy and I will see where the journey takes me.
I guess it’s different for everyone, for some it may be a one off traumatic incident and for others the drip drip of life.
I’m the latter, it was the drip drip of an unloved childhood with a mother who was suicidal and a father who chased other woman and put his children below his latest bit of fluff.
At the time I guess it seemed normal. Didn’t all children grow up this way? It was only years later when my mental health got progressively worse until I was suicidal did I realise after counselling that the seed was sowed in my childhood and had grown over the years to the darkness that is now part of my life.
The lesson to me is that the formative years are so important to children. Show them love and show that you care. We all need that.
There is only darkness and no light, where has the light gone?
I suffer from mental illness, mainly depression and anxiety. Usually I can cope but every now and then the darkness becomes overwhelming, suffocating. Like now.
I tell myself that the light will return slowly like the sunrise in the morning. The rational side of my brain knows this but the darkness puts doubts in my mind. It says no one cares for you, no one would miss you. It is strong, insidious but I am stronger, there will be light, maybe not today, tomorrow or even soon but it will come. It will start like the slow burn of an ember and then erupt into light.