Saturday, 10 August 2019

“I DON’T KNOW IF ‘PROUD’ IS THE RIGHT WORD” | FOUR WAYS TO COPE WITH A HOSPITAL ADMISSION



Last weekend I began hallucinating again and – at their command – I took an overdose. I was in Hospital for over twenty-four hours and the only drama was caused by my veins; and a conversation with the Psychiatric Liaison Team about it, left me inspired to write this post!


As the overdose had been in response to the voices and not a suicide attempt, I took myself to A&E and agreed to have the lengthy antidote treatment known as Parvolex. Ironically, when I actually want the treatment and co-operate, my veins collapse and become generally useless so that it can’t be administered! The Doctors had many attempts and even called an Anesthetist with the ultrasound machine to try to insert the cannula, but they had no success, so my blood test was repeated. It was at this point that my co-operation was tested, and the Doctor made a comment “the tests will be ok unless you’ve actually taken as many as you say you have.” In the past, I’d have taken great offence by interpreting this as him basically calling me a liar! I’d have refused blood tests and treatment and left the Hospital – probably against medical advice and possible chased by security! Instead, I took the attitude that I’d let them do the blood tests and once he saw the results, they would prove I wasn’t lying. And that, would be much more gratifying!


After proving I hadn’t lied, I had to see the Psychiatric Liaison Team before I could go home and I told them that I wasn’t sure if ‘pride’ was the right word for it but that I was glad there hadn’t been any of the usual drama of me running away or refusing treatment. They told me that I could say I was proud of myself for it and that it shows that even though I was there for overdosing, I had come a long way over the years and could still be counted as being in recovery. But I don’t think the peaceful admission was due to my mental state; I think some of it came because of the things I’ve learnt that help me during a hospital admission.

Thursday, 8 August 2019

A QUICK CHAT WITH BIG PINK DRESS AKA COLIN PLEWS


As a six-foot, nineteen stone, Ex-Forces and Rugby player, if someone had told me five years ago that I’d end up running around in a massive dress I’d have laughed in your face!



Five years ago, though, a friend of mine was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and watching her go through Chemotherapy and experience all of the horrendous side effects was life changing. I felt so helpless because I’m no Doctor or Scientist, but I was desperate to make a difference and the Great North Run was just around the corner, so I applied for a place with the Breast Cancer Campaign. 





While working at a Nursing Home, we picked names out of a hat for a Christmas show we named ‘Stars In Their Eyes’ and I picked out Diana Ross. This inspired me to wear a fish-tail dress which caused me to take three hours and forty-two minutes to get around the 13.1 miles! I had hoped – and aimed – to raise £350 but ended up with over £4000 and that, with the amount of support I had, meant that the original plan of this being a one-off run was completely scraped and I aimed for double the distance.

Monday, 5 August 2019

RECOMMENDED RESPONSES TO MENTAL HEALTH | STRANGER ON A BRIDGE EVENT | AD





I was recently invited to an event at George Street Social in Newcastle. They had a panel of four different people; Jonny Benjamin the author of Stranger On A Bridge, Ashley Lowe the Health and Wellbeing Manager at Newcastle United Foundation, Matt from If You Care, Share; and Paula Cowie from the Road to Recovery Trust.


Lucy Nichol led the panel in a discussion of their own – very different - experiences in mental health but the common theme was around supporting one another and talking about mental health a lot more. Jonny spoke about his experience of being suicidal and about to jump from a bridge before a member of the public stopped to speak with him and talked him down. Ashley spoke about Newcastle United Foundation’s campaign on encouraging men in particular to start talking more openly about mental health. Matt told everyone about when his older Brother had taken his own life and why it had taught him the importance of talking about mental health and asking for help when you need it. Then, Paula talked about her own battles with drug addiction and how beneficial attending a support group had been to her. 

Sunday, 28 July 2019

WHAT HAPPENS IN THE BEGINNING OF POOR MENTAL HEALTH? (AND TIPS ON COPING WITH IT)

Earlier this week I met with my Psychiatrist for a review and to make plans on my medication reductions. She told me she was proud of how I’d come and that I’d managed my safety even though my anti-psychotic and mood stabilizer medications have been decreasing over the past month or two. It got me thinking just how much things have changed since the early days of my mental health deteriorating in 2009 and I thought that it’s worth recognizing that my readers with their own poorly mental health will be at different stages in their mental health journey. Not everyone is going to be in the same place as me and I think it’s important to produce content that can be helpful for everyone. So, here’s a little post about all of the initial aspects in the beginning of a person’s mental health deteriorating:




The initial panic & other emotions:

I guess that my mental health started to deteriorate before I started hallucinating in 2009 because when the abuse began in 2006, I had suicidal thoughts and began self-harming. I would imagine jumping out of a window in the building I was abused in or swallowing tablets, because I thought that was the only way to stop what was happening to me. I had no hope that it would ever end. I started self-harming when I developed the anger. The anger at the fact that he thought he had the right to hurt my body and I believed that I should be the only person who had the right to do that. So, I harnessed that anger and used it as energy to self-harm.

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

WHY I SPEAK UP ABOUT RAPE AND ABUSE



I wanna sing, I wanna shout.
I wanna scream till the words dry out.
So put it in all of the papers, I'm not afraid.
They can read all about it, read all about it, oh.
Nothing to hide
Stife and I smother
Suffered and cried
Strife made me tougher
Emeli Sande – Read All About It


I hope that there are some people out there who’ll read that title and say; ‘why shouldn’t she speak up?’ but I’m more confident that there’s people saying ‘yes, why the hell do you talk about it?!’

When the abuse started in 2006, I couldn’t – for one second – imagine telling over half a million people about it; I couldn’t imagine even telling one person! In the very early days, I didn’t even recognize that what he was doing was wrong; I only knew that it felt wrong and the absence of sex education and media stories about abuse and rape, meant that I didn’t even know what it was called. I hadn’t heard those words before; I didn’t know what they meant. I didn’t know that what he was doing to me had a name and because of that, I didn’t know that I wasn’t the only person in the world being hurt in this way. Of course, all of these things would have changed if I’d just taken the chance and spoke up. 

His promises that no one would believe me and my own worry that if people did believe me, they would think I’d deserved it, made me completely reluctant to tell anyone what was happening though. I was already having suicidal thoughts about jumping from a building or overdosing and I knew that if I told someone and one of those possibilities happened then it would be enough to just tip me over the edge and solidify my belief that dying would be the only escape from the abuse. I’d lost all sight of how telling someone could do any positive or good at all. I couldn’t imagine anyone believing me and so I couldn’t imagine anyone being able to make it stop.