Sunday, 22 September 2019

THE TOP MENTAL HEALTH FAUX PAS




faux pas

[ˌfō ˈpä]

NOUN

an embarrassing or tactless act or remark in a social situation.



Someone asked me about the title of one of my recent blog posts (WHY “LOOK HOW FAR YOU’VE COME” & “DON’T LET HIM WIN” ARE BECOMING MY NEW PET PEEVES) because they’re two phrases that this person uses with me and I think that they were worried that I’ve been finding them unhelpful and just not telling them. I explained that I understand people – because it isn’t just this person who frequently uses these phrases – always mean well when they say these things and that they’re trying to help but mental health can be a minefield and sometimes, when you hear the same thing over and over again it will, of course, become a pet peeve, change it’s meaning and change its impact.

So, for the record, here’s – what I think are – the top mental health faux pas:



“Self-harm isn’t the answer”

I’m sorry but I don’t recall ever claiming that it was! I had a discussion recently about the other inpatients when I was in the long-term, specialist Hospital and how they had each encouraged one another to self-harm. To the point where one person had snuck in a blade and they had passed it around one another knowing full well what each person would be doing with it. I explained that even though I sometimes find self-harm ‘helpful’ in some way, I would NEVER promote it or encourage others to try to use it as a coping mechanism. One thing I’ve known since I first cut myself - but it’s something I’m only just really learning - is that self-harm can be an addiction. A cycle. When my anti-psychotic medication was reduced and the auditory hallucinations came back, I began self-harming again in response to them and because of that, self-harm has – once again – become my first port of call when I’m struggling. When things happen that are upsetting, rather than attempting to use my Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) coping skills, I’m resorting to self-harm and of course I don’t want to be constantly in and out of hospital, covered in scars and bandages, so I’ve wracked my brain trying to think of what really got me out of the cycle last time. And it was being admitted to a psychiatric hospital. But I was determined that it isn’t going to take something like that to help me; I can do it myself! I hate the feeling of being out of control so I lassoed all of the energy I have left and I’m very proud – and relieved – to say, that it’s been seven days since I last self-harmed; which is the longest period for the last five months! 

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

MENTAL HEALTH IN FIVE ‘FANTASTIC BEASTS’ QUOTES




I remember first discovering HarryPotter when the first movie, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was released in the cinema and I wasn’t totally hooked. I don’t know what convinced me to pick up the book and become so attached to the characters and so obsessed with the storyline that I read all seven books and watched all eight movies. I think I most enjoyed the level of escapism it brought me, leaving this challenging and upsetting world for one that was so far removed from reality and yet so realistic, allowed for the opportunity to forget – even just for the length of one page – my own difficulties.


I didn’t bother with any of the spin-off books and didn’t watch Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them until Christmas 2018! I actually watched the Crimes of Grindelwald (the second in the Fantastic Beasts series) first with my friend and when I didn’t have the same dramatic reactions as she had it became apparent that I really needed to watch the first to understand the importance of the second a bit better! I then bought the Crimes of Grindelwald screenplay and that really helped my understanding so much so that I bought the movie and watched it numerous times. It was on one of these most recent times that I thought maybe I could share with you all some quotes from it that – even taken out of context - are relevant to mental health…

Sunday, 15 September 2019

WHY “LOOK HOW FAR YOU’VE COME” & “DON’T LET HIM WIN” ARE BECOMING MY NEW PET PEEVES


This is going to be one of the very few posts where I actually have to be really careful with how I phrase things because it’s about the abuse.


You don’t have to read many of my blog posts to realize that I’m a very honest and open person so to have to regulate what I say and watch how much detail I give is very challenging! The most frustrating thing is that even saying the bare bones of things - that the abuse happened while I was at High School – everyone who knew me during that time of my life will easily guess who it was that hurt me. You see, my abuser and I also had a public relationship – interactions that others witnessed – and it was to the extreme that when others who were closely involved in that time of my life were interviewed by Police, they all said that they thought something had been going on between us! I mean, I’d like to think that if I were ever in a situation where I had suspicions like that, I would bloody well do something about it! As infuriating as it is for me to think that if just one of those people had spoken up maybe a lot of what has happened, wouldn’t have; I try to keep in mind that those people have to live with the knowledge that they could have stopped it. But instead, everyone – especially me - kept quiet; and I was left with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) refusing to prosecute him after his arrest because they worried there wasn’t enough evidence! Of course, this was a frustrating response – for the Police too as they explained that they believed me but that their hands were tied – and it has left me having to constantly remind myself that at least I have done all that I can to protect others and prevent him doing it again to someone else.

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

“JUST BECAUSE YOU’VE SAID YOU FEEL SUICIDAL, IT DOESN’T MEAN YOU HAVE TO ACT ON IT” | HOW IT REALLY FEELS, MY ATTEMPTS, & THE STIGMA | SUICIDE PREVENTION DAY 2019




“I didn't want to wake up. I was having a much better time asleep. And that's really sad. It was almost like a reverse nightmare, like when you wake up from a nightmare, you're so relieved. I woke up into a nightmare.”
Ned Vizzini, It's Kind of a Funny Story


I umm’d and ahhh’d about doing this post today for two reasons; 1. I wrote a very similar post in December 2018 and didn’t want to repeat it, but I also recognize that there’ll have been a lot of new readers since then who may not have scrolled that far back. And 2. I once wrote a post (I think I ended up deleting it) for this day when I first began blogging and talked about the two attempts I’d made and had a comment from a reader saying ‘good luck with the third,’ but I’d like to think that the world has come so far with such spiteful comments around mental health. After rethinking my reluctance around the post, I decided that not producing content for this hugely momentous day (especially in the mental health industry) would almost be dishonest! Suicide has been such a huge part of my life that I thought it would be demeaning to not shed some light on the subject and of course – as always – I recognize how many people come to my blog for inspiration and I realize that I’m almost… setting an example? So, for me to not talk about suicide has the potential to encourage others also not to speak up about it; and that’s definitely not something I want to happen!

Saturday, 7 September 2019

FINDING CONFIDENCE | IN COLLABORATION WITH CATS PROTECTION TYNESIDE ADOPTION CENTRE | AD


*all photos from the Cats Protection Tyneside Adoption Centre Summer Fayre*


I was very honoured to be invited back to Cats Protection Tyneside Adoption Centre to attend their Summer fayre a few weeks ago. As the majority of you know, I’m a huge supporter of pets benefiting your mental health and cats - in particular - have always meant a lot to me after growing up with one and then having Dolly when I was discharged from Hospital, and now Emmy(!); so collaborating with an organization like Cats Protection means a great deal to me. I’ve visited the Tyneside Centre a few times before and we’ve collaborated on the 12 Cats of Christmas series last year so when they asked me to do some social media at their Summer Fayre; of course, I agreed! 



As soon as I got to the event, I got talking to Joanna Plumb from St John’s Ambulance and within minutes we were discussing I’m NOT Disordered! I was later asked where I found the confidence to talk to complete strangers about something as personal and controversial as mental health and it inspired this post…