“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injuries and remedying it.”

Professor Dumbledore from Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows

It’s absolutely no secret that throughout my lengthy mental health journey, I haven’t always had the best experiences in terms of responses and comments made by mental health professionals who have varied from the Crisis Team to Consultant Psychiatrists. But rather than creating a post ranting about these comments – especially those that have been made most recently (which are obviously the inspiration for this post) – and giving readers no real, productive, or positive messages to take away from it; I thought I’d put this piece together where I’m going to talk about the five best responses to these mean-spirited and, often, detrimental remarks…

1.     Seek help and support elsewhere

The realisation that a professional who is really supposed to be useful, supportive, kind, caring, validating, and helpful, actually isn’t doing that at all, can be a hard instance to really come to terms with. For me and no-doubt so many other people, finding some sort of trust or putting a level of reliance into a mental health professional, can be massively off-putting because you’re so afraid that doing that with absolutely anyone – not just a professional – will lead to a whole lot of hurt if they let you down.

So, it can take a lot of hard work to allow yourself to be so vulnerable and open to their help and support; and if they still go on to let you down, it can leave you with the impression or thought that you wish you’d just kept them blocked out because you believe that feeling alone in your struggle was easier to cope with than letting someone else in and being left feeling disappointed by them and their failures.

And remember, your support system can look however you want it to; it can have charity helplines on it or your pets or your best-friends!

Please check out the Help Directory page at the top for information and contact details on different organisations and services who can provide help and support for your mental health.

2.    Correct them!

It’s taken me a lot of years and a heck of a lot of experiences to have learnt how to not be rude, sarcastic, or furious when interacting with a mental health professional who I feel has failed me in some way! I think this is because when I finally reported the abuse, the Police told me that upon interviewing colleagues of my abuser, they made comments along the lines of ‘I didn’t see it, but I can believe it’ and ‘I always wondered if that was happening...’ After hearing their comments, I honestly could not have felt more failed! I mean, even more so than the actual abuse! It’s something I’ve grown to believe - that people who could stop something bad from happening, and don’t; are just as terrible as the person or people responsible for the bad thing!

So, with that experience where the people who were responsible for my safety failed to accept that responsibility; it’s meant that when I’ve felt failed by the people who are meant to be helping me to pick up the pieces and manage my levels of risk, it’s been a dangerously similar situation that’s brought forward dangerously similar thoughts and feelings! So, I’ve had to learn how to put that to one side in order to stand up for myself and correct them in a way that is positive and productive.

Two Reasons Why You Need To Speak Up

1.     For the sake of others

It might be controversial that I’ve chosen to list this as the first reason to speak up because surely doing it for the sake of yourself - as I talk about in the second reason - should be the priority. However, from experience, I know that sometimes your sense of worthiness can be so diminished that thinking of yourself can sometimes lessen what you feel is deserving...

I mean, if you have the mindset that you aren’t worthy of being treated fairly and without judgment; why would you speak up if someone treats you otherwise? Whereas, when you think about the fact that this person or these people could treat others this way too, it can be more motivating to stand up for yourself with your concentration on the belief that it  isn’t fair for others to be treat that way.

I think it’s also important to recognise my theory and my own experience of this way of thinking... I found that whilst prioritising others and the upset my self-harm or suicide might cause them kept me alive and thinking of others being treated the way I had made me stand up for myself; that provided me with the time and opportunity to actually feel better, to enter recovery, and to begin demeaning myself to be as equally important. As equally deserving of kind, empathetic, and genuine help, support, and care.

A challenge in speaking up for this reason has been when professionals have denied their actions or made excuses for them and so they have avoided any consequences or learning any sort of lesson to not repeat it again. In the end, I have had to look at it as ‘well, at least I can say that I’ve done my bit. That I’ve done everything in my power to help others and if that hasn’t been enough, there’s no blame or responsibility on me.

2.     To Improve The Help & Support You Receive

A huge challenge here can be that when you finally find the stability, courage, and strength to acknowledge that you deserve to be treat in a much better way; when you aren’t, it’s so much more upsetting and challenging. If you’re treated poorly when you believe you deserve it, there’s no real qualm or disagreement. Less drama. And that can mean that when you’re finally feeling better and confident in your worthiness and entitlement, you almost wish you could go backwards to when you didn’t feel like you had a fight on your hands. Believe me, the notion that you’re forever standing up against professionals can be pretty damn draining.

A hugely helpful tool in this situation has been turning to and reminding myself of all the reasons why I want to be alive - my Mum, my pets, my best-friends, my blog... And in focusing on them, I have found the motivation to do all that I can to fight for my life; even if that’s meant causing some sort of fuss when I’ve felt that professionals have mistreated me.

It’s like; I’ve done so many things that could have ended my life - I mean, I’ve done so many things in the hope that they would end my life - and after all the hard work, dedication, effort, strength, bravery, passion, and determination, to make it through that; there’s no way I’m going to let some Doctor or Nurse or Crisis Team staff send me back to that place - back to that mindset.

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