POST TWO: #TimeToTalk Day in collaboration with Time To Change | Ad


This year, Time to Change (TTC) will be working in partnership, with I’m NOT Disordered on a exclusive series of projects for Time To Talk Day (TTD) on February 2nd.

Can you tell us about the worst (least helpful, most upsetting, anger-provoking etc) talk you’ve had with another person regarding mental health?
As disheartening as it is to say, I couldn't think of just one... but I guess this is one of the many points to/motivations behind, Time To Talk Day.
Probably about 99.8% of the bad conversations about mental health with others that I've endured were with a professional (my definition of which, ranges...).
(Northumberland) Crisis Team : the best way to describe bad conversations with members of the team would be 'dismissive.'
Me: you told me to try calling before self-harming...
Team: yes, let me just find someone who knows more about you, who you've worked with before, Aimee...
Silence. Then a different team member who I tell my situation to...
Team: Have you tried out other coping strategies? It says in your records that you enjoy self care; taking a bath and painting your nails...?
Me: I wouldn't be sat in a toilet in the city centre with a handful of tablets if 'painting my nails' would make me feel better...
Team: Ok, well I've done all I can, now. You have to take responsibility for whatever your actions are after I end this call!

Four or five hours later sitting in A&E having taken a life-threatening overdose...
Nurse: Why didn't you try and call someone instead of just doing this straight away?!
Those conversations (in variations of that scenario) would always hurt. Y'know, for so long I'd have professionals telling me that I should 'nip it in the bud' and get help the minute I start to have thoughts of self-harm or suicide; and it was always about it being my fault. Or something I did wrong. Something I should've done and purposefully didn't. Something that I was responsible for; like, if I had called them then none of this would've happened?! So, obviously, it meant a lot (apparently only to me!) for me to call them. So, to be met with such responses?! It was a let-down. Another let-down. Another person blaming me and not holding their end of the bargain. Another reason to be angry. Another reason to try to kill myself.
Now, however; like many NTW (Northumberland, Tyne & Wear NHS Foundation Trust) services, the Crisis team are making changes. Improving. They have a lot more staff now so calls are more likely to be answered quickly, and they are able to dedicate more time to service users; meaning they can learn what the individual actually needs in their point of crisis.

Another 'worst' were the Police who'd be called out either, because I'd gone missing from home and no one knew where I was, or because I'd ran away from Hospital. In those days, when I had those interactions, with them; I'd lost all sense of rationality and so I couldn't interact with them reasonably. I couldn't keep in mind that this (mental health) wasn't their 'job'/'speciality' and so they weren't trained for dealing with these situations e.g. finding me after having self-harmed, and being unwilling to go to hospital because the voices were telling me not to; and so they couldn't be expected to get give the right response. Being that poorly, in a way that warranted a Police presence, meant that the way I saw it was that I was scared and unsafe and those 'heroes' (my words) that save lives, weren't helping.
I've heard everything from "why do you like attention?" to "I've got better things to do than babysit you when you're having a temper tantrum!" but my absolute favourite (sarcastic!) has to be: "You're a stupid, spoilt cow! They need to put you in one of those locked wards and never let you out!"

Those conversations were so detrimental to me, in many ways: I had no respect for the Police, I was hurt physically from refusing to co-operate with them, I began to get closer and closer to having an actual, criminal record, I could add more names to the list for 'people-that-could-help-me-but-don't,' and so, I lost all hope - believing that recovery was impossible.
Now, most of you will know that I've been working a lot with Northumbria Police recently and so, I think I'm better placed (than I was with the Crisis Team) as to talking about their recent changes and improvements. Finally, the Police (as a whole, not just Northumbria) have accepted that they're going to get calls related to mental health and so they should be better equipped for when they do; because every time they're called out to someone standing on a bridge or a cliff, they have the power to give that person more reason to jump, or to save them.
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