World Mental Health Week

World Mental Health Week

It is World Mental Health Day today and I’ve been busy campaigning. I have social networked to the point of stalking, fundraised (and continue to) for UK mental health charity MIND and blogged with determination as well as share my story and poetry throughout The Cube’s week-long event in Digbeth, Birmingham.

And I have the opportunity here to share some thoughts. So I’m going to do something different.

WMHD image

Some of you who have read my other articles will know my past, what led me to my ‘breakdown’ and my long term battle with bipolar. You may know that my hospital admissions have been frequent and I live on a cocktail of pills. But today, it’s not about me. And it’s not about the past.

I’d like you to read my words and think carefully about them. Maybe tell your family, friends and colleagues to have a read also:

Hey mate,

You haven’t posted much on here lately. You ok?

Helloooo,

Cheers for the message. Ummm….I’ve been ill again. Not sure whether you know but I’ve got a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. When it gets bad I hide away from the world and as much as I’d love to tell people I just can’t. It’s part of the illness. But you asking me how I am reminds me that there is a world out there! I was in hospital for three weeks, which is quite short for me and I’m on new medication. I’m definitely feeling a difference. The psych hospital isn’t like the main one where there are four beds in a room. You get your own room for privacy but we all hang out in the communal areas. It’s hard going because everyone is pretty much broken. People can try and understand what it’s like to be a patient but living it is a different kettle of fish. Once there was this one lady chatting away really fast whilst my mate started seeing things and I couldn’t cope. But the nurses were brilliant. My favourite nurse said she didn’t know our lives so who was she to judge! She told me she was there to care for us and keep us safe, how lovely! Anyway, I’m ranting on but I’m still going up and down so it’s hard not to sometimes! Anyway, how are you? What’s new with you? I love hearing what others are doing – I feel too locked away in this head of mine sometimes!

Hey,

I didn’t know but I’m glad you told me. Hospital sounds crap. I’m glad you’re feeling better though. Yeah, I’m ok. Work is busy as ever and Craig is doing my head in. Four years in a relationship is a long time! You keep your chin up and give me a shout when you’re up for a coffee. Take care mate.

Dear Joe,

I just wanted to email you to say thanks for our meeting yesterday. I have been acting differently at work lately but the fact you took the time out of your schedule to see me this morning and listen makes me really pleased to be working in your team. I haven’t been the most productive with my emotional outbursts and I was starting to dread coming to work but you have eased that. On your recommendation, I arranged a doctor’s appointment and I have been diagnosed with depression. They have advised I take two weeks off and start a course of medication. I will send my sick note in and as soon as I’m well, I’ll be returning to work.

Kind regards,

Louisa 

Dear Louisa,

It’s good to hear you managed to see your doctor so quickly and don’t worry about anything for now. We can discuss a return to work when you are ready. We all hope you get better soon.

Regards,

Joe

Dear Diary,

Today was a better day. My mates are being really cool about everything. Ellie hates her hair, she got it chopped the other week because her mum told her to but she says it’s too long. Lisa keeps moaning about our new Maths teacher. She thinks he’s got it in for her but she gets detention because she talks all the time. I’m doing much better though. I’m still not totally happy with how I look, which I guess started when dad left. I just hated myself. But I talked to my mates and told mum I was really sad and everyone has helped. I had to see a counsellor woman through school but she was really nice and it was like chatting away to an auntie. Mum was ace and said she knows sometimes we need outsiders to talk to. My brother wanted to know word for word what I said but I just said shove off so he robbed my IPad. Loser. Everyone at school knows I’ve had help but no one has picked on me. In fact, it’s been no big deal. People are more interested in laughing at Ellie’s hair (well, she keeps clipping in these crappy hair extensions). I remember when I looked at my arms and wanted to scrape them and hurt myself but I’ve got my mum, mates, teachers and my nice counsellor to talk to so I don’t think like that anymore. Plus, I’ve got my dad still. He just lives somewhere else.

My words are much more than mental health.

  • They are about listening, helping, understanding and empathising.
  • They are about attitudes and culture.
  • They are about recognising mental health as something we all have and seeing mental illness as something common we can all experience.
  • They show mental health can be openly discussed and shared without judgement.

This way of thinking is the only way and it starts from the moment you decide it to. Being kind is one of life’s best gifts. How wonderful to know you made someone’s life a little easier.

standuptostigma

It’s World Mental Health Day today and I’m saying forget past prejudice and future ideals, we should change our way of thinking now. Treat one person differently today.

To watch my flipagram mental health story click here http://t.co/vzXs3oraWA

To visit my Just Giving page to raise money for the UK charity MIND click here https://www.justgiving.com/Fliss-Baker/

Support resources

First port of call is speaking to your GP and don’t be afraid to ask for talking therapy. For more information use the following websites – there is lots of support out there I promise!

Self-compassion recommended author:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Self-Compassion-Kristin-Neff/dp/1444738178

http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support

http://www.youngminds.org.uk/ – For young people with parent helpline.

The Samaritans are a non-judgemental ear where you can talk confidentially about anything

http://www.samaritans.org/

Here is a fantastic carers package if you are supporting someone with mental health problems:

http://www.rethink.org/carers-family-friends/caring-for-yourself-guide