Monday, 6 April 2020
You may have read Martin Baker’s guest post on his five things? The actual plan was to publish a post with both of ours, but Martin’s was finished sooner so I decided to post it alone and before my own.
I was recently in A&E (Accident and Emergency) with suspected liver failure but it – thankfully – turned out to be a really bad bout of gastroenteritis(!) and I was talking to one of the Doctors about the pandemic. She asked why I’d self-harmed a little while ago and my reason was something that’s actually stopped happening because of the UK lockdown! We laughed about how there’s been positives (is that the right word?) to the entire Pandemic and all the consequences that have come from it. And this inspired these posts... I’m definitely one of those ‘look-on-the-bright-side’ type of people and I’m definitely a ‘glass-half-full’ girl so for me, I find it helpful to look for positives and benefits from difficult situations in order to make them more bearable and easier to cope with.
After over a week of the UK lockdown, I received a letter telling me that because of my Asthma, I’m in the ‘extremely vulnerable’ category and am more likely to be admitted to Hospital if I contracted the Coronavirus. The letter instructed me to isolate for a further twelve weeks from the day of receiving the letter! This meant that whilst a lot of people are probably on Week Two or longer by now, I’m only just onto Week One (I only received the letter on Tuesday 31st March)! So, I really do need something positive to think about and thought that finally writing this post might be a good idea...
Sunday, 5 April 2020
I don’t think it’s an inside joke anymore that the Crisis Team and other mental health professionals all too often say “try taking a nice, relaxing bath” when a Service User makes contact with them to get help and advice while struggling with their mental health. I think it’s kind of common knowledge now. I really hope though, that people don’t see this as professionals being ‘useless’ but more about them either not knowing what to say, or their advice just not being all that helpful to the person. Does that render them useless? Not entirely!
I was admitted to a psychiatric hospital the first time I took an overdose and so I saw a lot of very poorly people; and being 18 at the time, they were much older than me and it made me wonder if that was going to be my life. Was I going to still be in there at their age? My desperation to avoid this happening meant that I took all of their advice and tried everything they suggested – baths, medication, watching TV, calling Samaritans, writing, reading, doing arts and crafts… After a while, though, the hallucinations got louder and clearer and the memories of the abuse got more vivid and overwhelming. Things were getting worse and I felt that I was at a point where I was beyond help. I’d lost hope.
Friday, 3 April 2020
I’d like to thank Aimee for inviting me to contribute to this article for I’m NOT Disordered and for the opportunity to share things I’m learning in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
1. I Live a Very Privileged Life
Coronavirus has brought home to me what I already knew, which is that I live a life that is privileged in many ways. I’m fortunate to be in employment, my job is secure, and I’m able to work from home during this crisis. I’ve had to cancel my holiday and I miss meeting friends but I’m fine for groceries and can cover any extra costs and expenses that might come up. Most importantly, I’m able to keep in touch with the most important people in my life. As I said recently in an audio blog, “There are many people in far worse situations than I am. I count myself as very fortunate.”
2. How Interconnected the World Is
I think we’re all learning how interconnected the modern world is. There’s a downside to that, in that it’s meant the virus has spread rapidly within communities and around the world. But there are positives too. I’ve been moved by people’s responses to what’s happening, many of which are using the Internet in creative new ways. Local support networks, Amazon wish list exchanges, online concerts and exercise classes, counselling and therapy appointments using Skype and Zoom, and social media peer support are just some of the examples I’ve come across.
Wednesday, 1 April 2020
MY FAVOURITE QUOTES & HOW I RELATE FROM 20 FILMS IN MY DISNEY PLUS WATCHLIST!! | IN COLLABORATION WITH DISNEY PLUS UK | AD
“Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, dreams are forever”
- Walt Disney
So, there’s been two blog posts (the first is here and the second here) on the Coronavirus and the subsequent lockdown and I think two is understandable – I mean, I’d be silly to not blog about such a current issue that’s affecting so many people (including me and my family and friends) and in such an enormous way. I think, though, that it’s important to get a balance with the negatives and positives in life; and so many positives have come from the reality of our situation. One of these has been that the launch of Disney Plus on March 24th came at the most appropriate of times! Just when everyone is desperate to find something to keep them busy through lockdown, Disney present us with a hugely helpful service!
For just £5.99 a month or £59.99 a year, you can have access to a ridiculous amount of Disney films and TV seasons! I literally didn’t know what to watch first – if you’re wondering, I finally opted for Frozen!
Anyway! As a belated celebration of the launch of Disney Plus – and to hopefully convince some of you to sign up for it too – I’ve chosen a favourite quote from the top 20 movies in my Disney Plus watchlist:
Beauty & The Beast
“Bittersweet and strange, finding you can change, learning you were wrong” – Mrs Potts
Ok, so I kind of cheated and used song lyrics for this one but I liked them! In June 2012, when I woke up from life support in Intensive Care after making a suicide attempt, I agreed to go to a specialist psychiatric hospital over 100 miles from home. I agreed because I knew that’s what everyone wanted me to do. I agreed because if I hadn’t; I’d have been sent there anyway and I didn’t want to lose control of the decision. I made the decision to be an inpatient with the conviction that I would and could never change. I honestly believed that I was stuck with mental health problems and would end up killing myself before I had the chance to feel better.
Thursday, 26 March 2020
WHY MENTAL HEALTH IS TAKING A BEATING WITH THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC | IN PARTNERSHIP WITH CUMBRIA, NORTHUMBERLAND, TYNE & WEAR NHS FOUNDATION TRUST
This post is in partnership with the wonderful mental health NHS Trust for my area; CNTW (Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust) so at the end I’ll be including all of their links and one of their most important articles produced during this Pandemic.
I’d like to think I’m a pretty fair and balanced kind of person in that I can usually see a disagreement from both sides, so when I write blog posts and posts on social media I try to imagine the other side to it… You know, in my last post: ‘WHAT I WANT YOU TO KNOW DURING THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC,’ I talked a little about how people are feeling that they can’t talk about how the pandemic is affecting them because they’re sure that there’s someone ‘worse off.’ And I absolutely get it; I mean, there’s tweets about Grandmas dying alone because visiting in hospitals is suspended and people having their lives genuinely turned upside down to coincide with the UK lockdown regulations (which you can read here).
I think that the one common impact that the Coronavirus Pandemic is having on at least the majority of people, is on our mental health. People often make the mistake of thinking that to be struggling with your mental health, you must have some sort of diagnosis, but this isn’t true. Everyone has mental health in the same way that everyone has physical health, and you can struggle with your thoughts and feelings without it being you must have an official ‘label’ or disorder. Someone can feel sad without having a formal diagnosis of Depression. You can feel anxious without it needing to result in a panic attack for it to be worth talking about. And you can struggle with your mental health without needing to feel suicidal for it to be deserving of asking for help and support.