Archive for the mental health Category

We don’t need no education….

Posted in mental health, mental illness, recovery with tags , , , , , , , , , on 08/01/2015 by doyourememberthattime

A few days ago I was scrolling down my twitter timeline when I saw a tweet about an article in cosmopolitan on mental health. Alarm bells did ring ( it was in Cosmo), but then I thought perhaps the magazine was finally broadening it’s horizons & tackling more than blow jobs & fashion. Give them a chance, I told myself. Needless to say my initial instincts were correct. The piece consisted of ‘ insights’ from the book Fundamentals by Natasha Devon. It took the form of ten – supposedly helpful & informative – nuggets about mental health.

It of course included all the usual basic, but essentially useless stats. You know the things I mean, everyone has mental health, 1 in 3, there’s no such thing as normal blah, blah blah.

She also included the classic minimising physical activity improves mental health tit bit. When will they stop with that? Yes, going for a nice walk might help a person who feels a wee bit down. However, it’s not useful advice for a person who is terrified of opening their front door or too depressed to wash or experiencing hallucinations. In short all it does is make an ill person feel guilty for not being able to make themselves better & give ignorant people an excuse to tell us that we’re just too lazy to help ourselves.

Along the same lines was her suggestion that we should ‘practice thinking & behaving in positive ways to increase your confidence’. The notion of practicing thinking in a particular manner baffles me. How do you practice thinking? Surely you are either thinking or you are not? It is not a thing you can rehearse. Of course this counsel falls into the minimisation pattern. You’re not confident because you’re not practising. It’s places blame whilst simultaneously ignoring the fact that illnesses such as panic disorders or social anxiety can not be treated by just shoving a person into triggering situations over & over again.

The final point I want to discuss is by far the worst. I was immediately over come with rage upon reading it. Natasha’s 8th recommendation was that ‘there’s a right & wrong way to raise awareness’ . Apparently there is a fine line between talking openly & simply giving people ideas. We must not give details of our experiences only how we might have felt. I abhor this bullshit. How dare anyone tell a person how they can communicate their life experiences? It falls into that same old mould of not wanting to hear the dirty details. We are not permitted to be heard until we have sanitised ourselves. It sickens me.

Alarmingly the link to this article was retweeted by Mind’s official twitter account along with the policy & development officer for Mental Health Foundation. I despair. These are organisations who are supposed to represent & support all sections of the mental health community. Yet time & again they ignore our pleas to stop perpetuating this damaging nonsense.

So, I’ll ask again. No doubt my plea will be in vain, but I will continue on my attempts to be heard.

1/ Please stop giving credence to the minimising notion that excerise, healthy diet, hot bath etc will in any way help a person with a serious mental health condition.

2/ Please stop censoring honest accounts of mental illness.

3/ Please stop focusing solely on he recovery narrative. We’d like those who cannot recover or whose recovery does not fit the traditional shape to be allowed a voice.

You can read the article here
http://www.cosmopolitan.co.uk/body/health/a10241/mental-health-information/

Advertisements

i’ve tried everything….

Posted in depression, mental health, mental illness, self harm with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 04/07/2014 by doyourememberthattime

i have fallen into another slump.
i rarely know why this happens.
occasionally there are clear reasons for my depression worsening.
but, not this time.

life is struggle at moment
the urge to harm myself is overpowering
i am told the desire will leave me
i continue to wait for that peace.

in the mean time I try to live
i feel as though there is something inside me trying to break out
i can’t relax
it is impossible to just be.

i have resorted to doing, doing, doing
i do housework every morning.
i’ve cleaned out drawers & cupboards
organised my wardrobe
i’ve scrubbed every surface in the house
everything I eat is cooked from scratch
i bake
the next three months have been budgeted
i am keeping a detailed food diary
my life has never been so regimented.

i force myself to socialise
close friends are invited for dinner
i see films with my sister
plans are made with friends in other cities
i volunteer
i’m reading voraciously
my writing output has gathered pace
self-manicures have become works of art
my hair is styled, my legs are smooth.

from the outside i seem to be doing great.
my productivity has soared.
i appear to be creating order.

the truth is my drive is desperation.
a constant need to escape an unbearable internal chasm
if I don’t keep moving
i will butcher myself.
my increasingly despairing attempts to grasp control are failing.
i am left sore
&
sad
&
exhausted.

i long to curl up in my bed and hide
but
my spiteful inner voice will not allow it
there is a constant coaxing to shed my blood,
a continuous stream of gory images.
all accompanied by heavy hopelessness
&
the suffocating knowledge that it will return.
no matter how much progress I make
or
what heights of contentment I reach
i will feel this way again.

don’t patronise me….

Posted in chronic illness, depression, mental health, mental illness with tags , , , , , , , , , on 14/06/2014 by doyourememberthattime

I didn’t sleep last night. I’ve been in a fair bit of pain & my stomach hasn’t been behaving. My mood hasn’t really been behaving either. It took a dive earlier in the week for unspecified reasons. Perhaps feeling so sick has had an impact or maybe it’s just my head being a dick. Who can say?

On account of the above I slept late. Dragging myself out of bed was a struggle, but I did it. Mainly because I am currently dog sitting & no matter how shit I feel, not walking a dog is cruel. So, up I got, flung on whatever clothes were lying on the bedroom floor, brushed my teeth & took that pup for the longest walk I could manage. I did these not because they would lift my mood. Nor did I do them as part of an ‘action plan’. I didn’t derive any sense of achievement. They needed to be done, so I did them.

Later, my stomach had calmed down. I hadn’t eaten all day & was hungry. My fridge contained half an aubergine that had to be used today or it would only be fit for the bin. These factors combined led to me make some vegetable moussaka. I didn’t cook because it would make me feel that I was worth taking care of. I simply used the ingredients available to feed myself because otherwise, I would not eat.

I tell you these things not because they are interesting. I certainly don’t mention them because I want applause. I merely draw your attention to these mundane activities as they are the reality of day to day life.

THEY ARE NOT SELF CARE.

Mental health organisations & patronising individuals are constantly spouting the merits of self-care. I am so tired of hearing this bullshit. Everything I do does not have a therapeutic purpose. Mental illness (or for that matter physical) does not define me. I am a single woman living alone. There are always tasks that need taken care of. I take each day as it comes & do as much as I can manage. That’s just survival. In that respect I am no different from anyone else.

Obviously my illness can make simple jobs difficult. Things the average person may take for granted come harder to me. That doesn’t change the nature of life. I either keep living to best of my ability or I lie down and die.
To label each chore or treat self-care is to rob me of my basic humanity. I am no longer a person, but a collection of diagnoses. Mental illness becomes my defining feature. I strenuously reject that characterisation. To measure my wellbeing by how many dishes are in my sink is insulting. Similarly, to minimise serious conditions by suggesting a nice dinner will make it all better is also offensive.

I live my life as fully as possibly. I enjoy whatever I can and try my best to endure the rest. Doesn’t that sum up most people’s experience? I don’t hear anyone congratulating ‘non-mentals’ for continuing to exist, so why are they patronising me?

I’ve looked at life from both sides now….

Posted in chronic illness, depression, mental health, mental illness, self harm with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 09/06/2014 by doyourememberthattime

I haven’t written in a while. I’m not entirely sure why that is. I seem able to write other more frivolous things, but any deep introspection eludes me.
I am volunteering again. A project I really believe in. it gives me a sense of purpose. I know I shouldn’t need to find worth outside of myself, but I do. I suspect if they were honest, most folk have a similar struggle for validity.

My body continues to malfunction in a variety of ways. Planning is redundant. Where I can go & what I do is ruled by my ability to manage symptoms. I am the queen of cancelling. I am so tired of disappointing others & myself.

My head is a mystery to me. There are days when I feel I am making huge leaps. Future aspirations bloom, hope is palpable. And then for no concrete reason I plummet. Days seeped in grey merge into one another. Life becomes a featureless landscape of withdrawal or a frenzy of anxiety.

Self-harm is never far from my thoughts. I am not actively hurting myself, but I still believe that is the true me. I am forever searching for a way to hurt enough & still function. I can’t begin to find the words to describe how it feels to daily fight your most ingrained instincts. In so many ways I am broken, I honestly don’t know if the damage is irrevocable.

the blood jet is poetry and there is no stopping it…..

Posted in depression, insomnia, mental health, mental illness, self destruction, self harm, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 22/03/2014 by doyourememberthattime

i’ve been up all night
thinking
listening to sad songs
reading brutal tales
i suppose it was only a matter of the time
in the end, all it took was
two words

a couplet that lit up the relevant part of my brain
one evocative phrase that kicked started this whole sordid ritual
words that gave me license to bleed

i needed to bleed
i had to feel the very pulse of life
the pure, vibrant strength
of my will.

if only for right now,
i have reclaimed the power that resides at my core
i am once again the most authentic version of myself.

as my blood washes over me
i turn up the volume so the melancholy music can fill my head
and
my tears finally flow.

everyday is silent & grey….

Posted in chronic illness, mental health, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 05/03/2014 by doyourememberthattime

I had a gastroscopy yesterday. I’ve had one before and whilst it was unpleasant, it was fairly straight forward. Yesterday’s procedure did not go so well. For whatever reason my body didn’t tolerate the procedure well. It became a painful and frightening experience.
I’m ok.
They didn’t find anything life threatening, just further deterioration of my existing conditions. I’m sore and tired, but there is no lasting damage.
So, why do I feel so awful?
It feels pathetic to admit this
But
It’s because I’m alone.
It would be so nice to have someone to hold my hand through these times. I don’t want to complain because I know I am lucky in lots of ways. I have friends and family who love me. I am grateful for all the help they give me. The truth is there is only so much I can ask of them. They have partners, responsibilities, lives. Hence, most of the time, I am on my own with this.
And it is lonely.
Spending days trapped in my house (&my head) without any human contact. Being ill limits what I can do so much. Pain can override my ability to even read or watch a film. This leaves me alone with my thoughts.
Thoughts that can quickly spiral into dangerous places.
Hope easily slips away when you’re struggling to get out of bed. It feels like my physical health will never improve & that hammers away at any progress I make with my mental health. Reclaiming my life gets further away with each flare up & new diagnosis.
I suppose this post is mostly about me feeling sorry for myself. I’m scared that the life I want is simply not possible now. I’m not sure that anyone in my life really understands how I isolated I am. Nor do I know how to talk about these feelings.
I’m pouring it out here in an attempt to feel maybe even little less alone.

listen…

Posted in mental health, self harm, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 01/03/2014 by doyourememberthattime

Today is Self-Injury Awareness Day (SIAD). As expected most of the mainstream mental health organisations have been out in force on social media. This should be a good a thing, but as usual the almost entirely miss the mark. All of the major charities trotted out the same tired recovery narrative with a sprinkling of inspirational bullshit. Did anyone ever manage to quit self-harm by drawing fucking butterflies? I doubt it.
If I sound frustrated, it’s because I am. These organisations are supposed to be for people like me. They are meant to advocate for me, but they are not remotely interested in what I have to say. When I tell them what I need and want, I am ignored. I have approached numerous organisations both directly & through social media to explain that they do not represent me (or the many people I know who struggle with mental illness). I am always met with silence or a patronising we know best attitude.
I don’t want to hear exclusively about teenage girls when discussing self-harm. It’s a stereotype & it makes it perpetuates a stigma that makes my life harder.
I don’t want to constantly hear tales of people who have recovered. I’m happy they are no longer suffering, but their story is not my story. Some people do not get better. Mental illness is a life long struggle for many people. Where are those voices? This representation of mental health difficulties is not accurate or helpful. It creates a misleading picture for people with no experience in the field. Even more problematic is the message it sends to those of who are still ill. It says our lives have no merit; that we will only be worth talking about when we recover.
I’m sick of the success stories. All those wonderful people who fought & won. The ones achieving amazing things. It just makes me feel a greater failure. I want the truth. Publicise blogs like this one. Tell the world the blood and guts reality of this disease. Let me speak. Give me (& others like me) the opportunity to show people they’re not alone. That the daily (hourly) fight to keep breathing is not that uncommon. Our lives are still have meaning & value even if we never get back to work or publish a book or raise a million pounds for charity.
Stop giving me stupid advice. Writing on my arms cannot replace cutting. Ice and rubber bands are just telling its ok to hurt myself as long as it doesn’t get messy. Having a bath will not stop a war raging in head. Ditto a cup of bloody tea. Lavender doesn’t cure insomnia. Painting my nails will not make me love myself.

Most of all, listen to us. We know best. We wake up to every morning. Our knowledge is hard won. Please use it to help others who are suffering.