Saturday, 28 November 2020

COPING WITH GRIEF | REST IN PEACE DAVE, PREVIOUS CHAIR OF LEAPS

I’ve never written a post like this so you’ll have to bear with me as to whether it makes sense or is even what you would expect for this kind of post…

I’m incredibly sad and broken to say that the previous Chair of LEAPS, Dave Taws, has passed away on the 27th November. I’ll not go into details, but I will say that it wasn’t a huge shock to the group; but that fact hasn’t made it actually happening any ‘easier’ to hear or to cope with.

I first met Dave in 2017 when I interviewed with him and the founder of LEAPS; Amanda. I’d found a voluntary job with LEAPS on https://do-it.org/ as an Advertising Assistant and decided to apply. At the time, it was my first long-term voluntary job and the first one in the industry that I’d ultimately like to work in, so I was really hopeful that I’d get the position!

Obviously, I got it and attended my first meeting with the group… one thing about Dave was that he was incredibly passionate about politics – something that I try to steer away from because of how controversial it can be – and he spent pretty much that entire meeting completely taking over and talking non-stop about politics! I ended up leaving and crying because I’d been so excited to start there and was so disappointed that it wasn’t what I’d been told it would be. I ended up ringing Amanda and she explained that Dave was known for monopolising meetings and said that hopefully my tears would be motivation for that to stop and for everyone to have the opportunity to speak up about issues that were affecting them.

Thursday, 26 November 2020

I’M NOT DISORDERED'S CHRISTMAS PLANNER 2020 | IN COLLABORATION WITH CANVA | FREE TO PRINT

I did a Digital Marketing internship a year or so ago and during it, I learnt how to use Canva (www.canva.com). Recently, I’ve been using it for gift guides and other features in my blog posts. I really love and enjoy it because I feel like I’m a creative person and the website allows me to use that creativity in a very imaginative and different way that helps my blog to be more original at a time when it feels that everyone is a Blogger!

So, I wanted to do something Christmassy with Canva before Blogmas begins and after spotting a ‘Christmas Planner’ I was inspired to create one; and all you have to do is print it out!

LEAPS CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE FOR YOUR COLLEAGUES & VOLUNTEERS | IN COLLABORATION WITH LEAPS


BY AIMEE WILSON, CHAIR OF LEAPS

www.leapsonline.co.uk

www.twitter.com/leapsonline

With it almost being December, everyone at LEAPS are trying to get into the festive spirit… But with our previous Chair being very poorly right now, this is an extremely difficult and challenging thing to do.

So, to highlight our appreciation for the previous Chair, and for everyone on the Committee and the group members, I’ve put together a little Christmassy gift guide full of the ideal presents to give to your colleagues or volunteers…

 


Wednesday, 25 November 2020

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT A MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS


A while ago I joined the North Service User and Carer Forum (NSUCF) which is part of my local NHS Trust who provide mental health services in my locality: Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW). At our most recent meeting, we had a Psychiatrist from CNTW’s Crisis Team join us and each Forum member asked questions and put forward ideas. In part of the discussion, myself and one of the Service Users came to the realisation that we really had different definitions of a mental health ‘crisis’ and it inspired me to write this blog post…

DEFINIG IT

For me, I deem myself to be in a mental health crisis when I can no longer keep myself safe. Like, if I struggle and feel unsafe, but I can manage it myself and use the healthy coping skills I’ve been taught in therapy, then I wouldn’t label it a crisis or call anyone for help or support. Me calling the Crisis Team or a professional, usually means I’m unsafe and that I feel as though the hallucinations are in control. As though I have no say in whether I self-harm or attempt suicide because if I did, I wouldn’t do those things. When I’m me, and when it is my thoughts that take up the majority of my mind, I don’t want to die. I don’t want to hurt.

One difficulty in having different definitions is the worry as to whether you’re really ‘entitled’ to speak up or ask for help because there’s the concern that there’ll be people who might judge your crisis in comparison with others. And that they might come to the conclusion that it is completely minor and unworthy of any help or support. That in looking at it alongside another person’s crisis, it really shouldn’t be a big deal and it wasn’t deserving of help and support from others, particularly where this meant the use of NHS resources.

Friday, 20 November 2020

EVERYTHING THE ABUSE ANNIVERSARY HAS MADE ME THINK ABOUT

You can take everything I have

You can break everything I am

Like I’m made of glass

Like I’m made of paper

Go on and try to tear me down

I will be rising from the ground

Like a skyscraper

Demi Lovato – Skyscraper

 

So, November 20th this year, marks fourteen years since the abuse I experienced when I was younger, ‘began.’ Being in such a good place with my mental health has really meant that I can think about the anniversary and still feel safe. And, of course, I’m not the only abuse survivor to remember the dates it ‘began’ or ‘ended’ so I thought that writing this post would not only give those without this experience, insight and make them more knowledgeable when supporting someone, but that it would also show other survivors they aren’t alone in remembering these anniversaries and in the impact the dates have on them…

 

WHAT’S HELPFUL FOR ME TO BE ABLE TO COPE WITH THE ANNIVERSARY

Since the Pharmacy made a mistake with my antipsychotic medication and the hallucinations came back with vengeance, I really saw just how helpful medication is for my mental health and I appreciated how lucky I am to be able to say that. Before I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) the mental health professionals – namely a few Psychiatrists – prescribed antipsychotic medication, but once BPD started being thrown about in conversations, everyone became unconvinced that medication was the right treatment. Of course, every illness (mental or physical) will have a recommended treatment and for BPD, it’s Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT). In fact, professionals have gone so far as to say that medication – and hospital admissions – are something to be completely avoided when treating someone with BPD.