bpd · depression · grief · help · men · mental health · PTSD · stigma · suicide · support

The Breakdown

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For all of those who don’t know what happens when you are seeking professional help after struggling with mental health let me paint you a picture…

Recently though not easy to admit a pattern has formed in my life where I noticed my mind was getting the better of me, things were spiralling out of my control. No matter how much I created positive distractions or looked after myself my mind quite simply kept crushing me and only when I had two weeks worth of anti-depressant pills in my hand and a bottle of water did I realise it was time to get fighting again, but I need help.

So the process… crisis line as in 111 was called, protocol questions are asked, then you are passed on to someone else who will call you back within the next hour otherwise an ambulance is sent to your location.  However in my case I got a call back, again questions which are hard to answer have to be asked such as, ‘Are others in danger?’, ‘What has happened recently to bring this on?’ 1
I mean if only I had a nail sticking out my leg those questions would be much easier to answer when in my situation from the outside nothing is visibly that wrong.  Eventually the conclusion was an emergency doctor’s appointment the next day was to be made and the crisis line would fax over what information they could to help the doctor who would be seeing me.

The next day comes, doctor appointment arranged, sat in waiting room, name called, walk in and sit down. How can I help you today? My initial reaction to the question is ok don’t think he has received the fax details from crisis line… the next thought being how do I even begin to answer this question?
I started by focusing on my plan, aim and concern at wanting to take my life and attempting to do so. He then asks what again may have ‘brought this on’ and I am aware besides a recent tragedy in my life I have nothing to complain about besides well a truck load of emotions with no logical reason behind them and a mind which sends all my senses into overload and makes me do and say things far from my character.

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So the usual answers are given and a reference to my past involvement with mental health services is mentioned, ultimately again this has to be passed on to the mental health team which I have previously  been involved with.

 

But before the next step or ‘plan of action’ is mentioned not so helpful statements are made such as ‘Your life is your responsibility ultimately’, an obvious and slightly unsupportive statement. Also to mentioning a tragedy of losing someone I knew and cared for the response being ‘That’s life’, again an obvious  statement of which I assume might seem cold to many none the least someone with an emotional unstable disorder.
So without even considering replacing my medication I am told a letter will be written with no indication to when the mental health team will be in touch and a simple ‘hang in there’ in the meantime (easier said than done!) 7e486d93357beedf78dc7960b2e10819

Now I won’t slate the NHS as that is not my aim, I won’t even slate the doctor who’s unwanted and unneeded opinions were hurtful and unhelpful as I know many might abuse the system. But I want to bring to light that physical and mental conditions are treated completely differently, for example you wouldn’t tell a cancer patient that their life is their responsibility as they never asked for such a tragic disease to happen to them in the first place. Neither would you rush someone into A&E after a tragic life threatening accident and then just tell them ‘that’s life’ send a letter to another healthcare team and ask for them to ‘hang in there’ until contacted to start a whole other waiting game.
Extreme examples I know but I only hope to highlight changes need to be made here!

Eventually the question was also put to me ‘Did you really want to take your life?’ Well yes I wanted to and still think about taking my life a lot and I won’t lie to some extent I don’t care how that makes others feel because after a lifetime of burying myself in guilt considering each and every way my illness might make others feel I ask myself, do you know how it makes me feel?

anxiety · bipolar · depression · grief · mental health · news · PTSD · self image · stigma

Lily’s speak out!

Lily Allen

Lily Allen has been brave and come forward admitting she has bipolar disorder and has suffered from PTSD.

Lily Allen said on Twitter that she suffered from PTSD

It seems this came to light on Twitter when told by another user that he felt she had mental health illness, she replied: ‘I DO have mental health issues. Bi-polar, postnatal depression, and PTSD, does that make my opinion void?’

In regards to suffering from PTSD after losing her son six months into her pregnancy in 2010 she said…

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Lily, 31, has been well known for her erratic behavior, such as appearing to be drunk in public and making outspoken political interventions.

Admitting she suffers from bipolar disorder (once known as manic-depression) is a brave move as many do suffer from this illness and can experience extreme mood swings which can last for months.

The disorder, thought to affect one in 100 Britons, has received more attention in recent years after stars like actress Catherine Zeta-Jones admitted suffering with it.

The singer has also spoken about her postnatal depression following the births of her two young daughters, Ethel, five, and Marnie, four. 

Lily Collins

Lily Collins has spoken out about her battle with an eating disorder, she detailed the harrowing tale of her secret eating disorder in a frank and emotional interview.

Lily explained she gorged on ‘every type of junk food possible’, later forcing herself to throw up, causing her hair to fall out and her nails to become brittle.

‘My hair and nails became brittle. My throat burnt and my oesophagus ached.’ 

‘My period stopped for a couple of years. I was terrified I had ruined by chances of having kids.’

She has admitted to suffering from this disorder after being cast to star in the film ‘To The Bone’ about an anorexia patient.

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“It really felt like the the was universe saying, ‘This is either something you need to address yourself, or something you need to bring to new people. It’s a conversation that you need to help start among young people—males and females—because it is becoming more and more prevalent for both now.”

“It is just such a taboo topic that I think people avoid because people feel uncomfortable talking about it,” Collins said. “But the second that they do, anyone who knows someone or is going through it themselves feels less alone. And it’s really a beautiful result to have the film give.”

Celebrity or not coming forward and opening up about battling a mental health disorder is a tough decision and one which can make us feel very vulnerable.
That is why I applaud those especially in the public eye which have the pressure of thousands of eyes upon them speaking out to help stop the stigma and shed light on mental health through their personal experiences.

anxiety · depression · mental health · poetry · PTSD

PTSD

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This disorder like any is a daily struggle, haunted by a past not that you cannot let go of but which feels like it wont let go of you. The anxiety ‘fight or flight’ feeling coming into play so often daily tasks become hard as well as sleeping. Scared of the world, of people, or maybe even of yourself.
Those who suffer from PTSD like many possibly have a front to cope with the world, but deep down they’re battling what can feel like an impossible war against their minds and at times their bodies.
Talking about these things or past events that haunt others can be extremely difficult, feelings of embarrassment, rejection or denial may stop people from feeling comfortable to speak out, to reach out for help, that deep down may know they desperately need.

This is another reason I will keep reiterating that we NEED to create an environment, a society, a health care system that takes mental health seriously and makes it an approachable subject. As though its an illness that you can’t see as physically life threatening, mentally individuals are mentally fighting for their lives on a daily basis.

Let’s stop the stigma!

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

PTSD is an anxiety disorder caused by very stressful, frightening or distressing events.
Someone with PTSD often relives the traumatic event through nightmares and flashbacks, and may experience feelings of isolation, irritability and guilt.
They may also have problems sleeping, such as insomnia, and find concentrating difficult.
These symptoms are often severe and persistent enough to have a significant impact on the person’s day-to-day life.

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Causes of PTSD

The type of events that can cause PTSD include:

  • serious road accidents
  • violent personal assaults, such as sexual assault, mugging or robbery
  • prolonged sexual abuse, violence or severe neglect
  • witnessing violent deaths
  • military combat
  • being held hostage
  • terrorist attacks
  • natural disasters, such as severe floods, earthquakes or tsunamis

PTSD can develop immediately after someone experiences a disturbing event or it can occur weeks, months or even years later.
PTSD is estimated to affect about 1 in every 3 people who have a traumatic experience, but it’s not clear exactly why some people develop the condition and others don’t.

To read more on PTSD click here

Another poem I have written…

Untold

Rip me from the ground
Drag me from my roots.
I could not dig right down,
I could not find the goods.
Starve me if you must,
But quench each drop of thirst.
For the question still remains unasked
and the answer lays deep within the dirt.

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