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The state’s mental health issue

Hi, guys, I hope you’ve all had a fantastic week. For the most part, I have been enjoying lie ins just a little bit too much. I’ve noticed that I haven’t gotten up before about midday most days. One of the exceptions to that rule was Tuesday when I was up at about 10 am because I had an appointment at noon to break my tattoo virginity. I got the spell, Expecto Patronum from the Harry Potter written in the cool type cast on my right inner forearm. It’s so cool and has loads of funky colours in it. I’m so proud that I got it. I’ll admit that the pain was intense, but I was proud of myself because I wasn’t nervous, I didn’t puke, and I didn’t faint. So, all in all, I managed to handle myself pretty well.

The reason why I didn’t post last Sunday was that I’d had a pretty full on few days. I spent three days, during the week, with one of my best friends, Sassy, who is also a blogger. Then during the weekend, I stayed over another friends house because why not? We relaxed and watched movies and went swimming on Sunday before I came home that day.

It’s such a lovely and soul healing thing just being able to spend time with two good friends and chat about everything and nothing and putting the world to rights. Unfortunately, a lot of people still don’t think they deserve or are worthy of spending quality time with people who love them because of Mental Health issues that make them feel unworthy.

I am writing this post in light of the recent tragedy that the music world faced. I am of course speaking of the fact that Linkin Park frontman, Chester Bennington, committed suicide almost a month ago now. I had loved Linkin Park since my teens so when I heard the news I was, like so many others, devastated.

Over the past few years the UK’s mental health services, and I’m sure it must be the same in the US and other developed countries, have been under increasing pressure due to rises in patient numbers and little in the way of proper funding. This in part, is still down to the fact that there is a lot of stigma around mental health. Mental well-being is still seen as a slightly taboo subject, and much of the public still view it as something derogatory and less than physical pain simply because it’s not as visible as physical injuries. Even the Department of Health has said that we are in a ‘historic imbalance’ between mental and physical health services and you know it’s serious when such a big power house such as the DoH makes a remake like that.

If we are not well mentally then how can you expect us to live a happy, healthy life? It’s not like we can just jog it off or drink lots of water or simply be more social to make the genuine pain go away. Mental ill-health is often caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain which does need to be readjusted with both therapies and medication in tandem. Just because it’s not easy to spot doesn’t mean we’re making it up because we want extra attention. That’s far from the truth, and anyone who says otherwise is not educated or informed correctly and will run their mouth to try and make up for that fact.

So I will be throwing a few figures around this joint, so as a bit of a disclaimer, all facts mentioned are in regards to NHS funded services only and are not based on 100% of all the publicly funded mental health services in the UK.

So first figure for you, 27 out of 39 mental health trusts that did give information on their crisis teams have seen a 70% increase in workload, and many trusts have seen an increase of up to 60% in referrals, overall. However, there has been little to no rise in funding.

Second figure heading your way in 3 … 2 … 1 … a whopping 91, or possibly even more, patients have been waiting for up to 2 years and some cases even longer, while a further 320 patients had to wait at least 100 days to be discharged from mental health units.

For anyone who isn’t particularly familiar with the state of affairs at the moment, many people who have mental illness or learning disabilities are placed in units hundreds of miles away from their home, family, friends and safety net of a familiar place because a bed was only available at that time in that place.

Now anyone who has ever had a problem with mental health knows how important family, friends and safety can be to the recovery process. Therefore, placing someone out of their comfort zone may not necessarily be the best thing for them in the long run.

Also, can I just go back to the fact that people have to wait for about a bazillion years to be discharged from units? Like wait, hold up, the UK, like the US and other countries as well I’m assuming, is facing a massive shortage of beds and a lack of funding so, pardon my French but WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK PEOPLE? I understand there is a lot of paperwork and logistics to consider when someone is going to be discharged but one day longer spent in a unit that they don’t need to be in is a whole day longer someone else is losing out on that space.

It seems pretty obvious to me that valuable time, money, recourses, etc. are being wasted here. It’s just another way that things are completely and utterly screwed. We’re talking about people’s lives here, not only those who desperately need a bed because they need urgent help but those who are pretty much being trapped in a place they don’t need to be anymore. MORE ORGANIZATION PEOPLE. And as for the outreach and crisis teams? Well, they are on the front line, they are the individuals who have to deal with the shit that hits the fan in someone’s life. If there were more funding and extra staff, then potentially more lives could be saved.

So what is the government’s wishful thinking, hair brain scheme this time? Well, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has come out with a very bold statement, he has said that there will be 21,000 more consultants, nurses and therapists working in mental health services by the end of 2021. WOW, I mean FUCKING WOW. That is quite the statement. The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) doubts, as do I that there will be enough money to make this figure possible. Just so we are all aware of the plan, this is just a part of how they intend to utalise part of that massive 21,000 figure,
2,000 more nurses, consultants and therapist posts in child and adolescent mental health services
2,900 additional therapists and health professionals supporting adult talking therapies
4,800 additional posts for nurses and therapists working in crisis care settings
more mental health support for women around the time they give birth and early intervention teams working with people at risk of psychosis

I can’t wait to see how this whole situation will pan out and if the government can deliver on their word rather than just fucking us about coz god knows Theresa May and those butt monkeys she calls a party are doing such a terrific job of it that they need to ask for help from a homophobic jumped up party such as the DUP.

Anywho before I go off on a complete and utter bitch fest of fuckery I shall leave it there for this week and see you all next time my lovelies. :).

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Labour voter through and through

Hi everyone I hope you’ve had a good week and weekend so far. Today’s post is going to be cut from a slightly different ilk to my usual topics. In light of the recent general election and the outcome of a hung parliament and the fuckery that that places the UK in I thought I’d write my own very personal opinions on the subject matter. I also have to say that I’m not completely and utterly well informed when it comes to politics, so this particular viewpoint is just an initial gut reaction of mine.

As I have mentioned before, I’m 26 and therefore still considered a young voter. Despite the increase in numbers of young voters in this year’s general election, which took place on Thursday 8th of June the number could and should be higher.

I believe that a lot of people, not just young voters, decide not to vote because they don’t know who to trust and feel that their needs won’t be met by any governing party. However, if people don’t vote the party that will be able to make the changes and help them the most won’t be able to make any difference at all. All in all, it’s a bit of a catch 22 situation.

I know people say don’t divulge who you voted for as it’ll only cause arguments and disagreements. However, in the knowledge that no-one’s views or opinions could change my mind, I will freely admit that I voted for the Labour party. Everyone has the right to vote for who they want to and have their opinions about the political parties.

The main reason why I voted Labour this time round is that I felt that their manifesto was the best. I like what they stand for. Taxing more to fund social pillars such as the NHS, Schools, The police and fire services, etc., to me that is an excellent way of moving forward, especially when combined with increasing the tax of those with increased wage packets.

‘For the many, not the few’. Why should money and power allow you to have a more privileged life while those who were already struggling financially be abused and kicked in the teeth for extra measure?

I understand that a lot of people would possibly say that we simply don’t have the money to do everything that the Labour party wanted to do in their manifesto. Yes, I accept and wholeheartedly agree with that. However, my argument to that is that it’s not about achieving everything in the manifesto but sticking to their guns and trying their damnedest to do the best with the shitty situation that the finances are in.

Whichever way you look at it the government has money flowing out of every orifice which leads to wasted money which could be better spent else where. It takes a party to know what they want to spend it on and redirect that money to the places it should be going.

Someone said to me today that the NHS, which was introduced by a Labour government, is far more likely to treat foreigners first and treat British citizens like second class people. I want to remind anyone that holds this view that Jeremy Corbyn was always and still is a Brexitier it was the Lib Dem Leader that wanted to consider another referendum on Brexit if he won.

When she said this, I was rather taken aback. If it weren’t for overseas nurses and doctors, the NHS would have completely disintegrated years ago and have gone private, and she would have had to pay out a lot of money for treatment for her family, for which they’ve had a lot from what I can tell.

In addition to this, I’m rather outraged at the belief that it’s only overseas individuals that come over and scam our benefits and NHS system. I would reckon that at least 50% of people who simply scam and cheat the benefits system are UK nationals who are too lazy to work or too high and mighty to accept certain jobs because they don’t want to get their hands dirty and think things should be handed to them on a silver platter.

Anyone who still believes in Theresa May after all the U-turns and indecisions she made and sheer horrific nonchalant and stupid decision she made not to turn up to the election debates around me. Now I’m not saying that people should vote one way or the other because ‘certain cuts are necessary’. As I have said before whichever party finally ends up leading the nation needs to seriously buck up their idea’s in regards to the UK Books.

However, I think there are ways of going about it without completely and utterly screwing over the poorest or most vulnerable groups in today’s society. I know some people will think that we need to be more vigilant or more conservative in our thinking but the truth of the matter is that our system is not cut out to support people to achieve social mobility and stability. With a Conservative government, everyone apart from the rich is thrown to the dogs. As an LGBT, disabled woman who works in a school setting, I can’t ever see myself voting for a conservative government.

I know these views may seem a little extreme or over the top at times, but I’m merely trying to express my personal opinions in a way that will kind of make sense. Whether you agree or disagree that’s fine, but all I ask is that you don’t try and convert me to a different way of thinking. I will always vote for the political party that I think will best serve this country and ALL its citizens. I can’t and won’t be swayed by any other opinion other than the manifesto and leadership of a particular party. That’s not to say that I will always agree with all the points or views made by a party. For example, I don’t agree with Labour’s view on decreasing armed forces in light of the recent terror attacks in Manchester and London. Quite the opposite I would feel much safer with an increase as enlightened by Theresa May and the Conservatives but that does not mean I can back and agree with their views and policies in whole.

Until next time my lovlies, I shall love and leave you :).

Depression and me pt 2

Hi guys, I hope you have had a good weekend. I want to apologise for my utter failed to get this up on Friday but better late than never right? At least I managed to get my arse in gear and write the second part of my journey to finally being diagnosed with depression.

When I left off last time, I had just turned 18 and had been discharged from the community mental health team up in Worcester having been told I had a bad case of teenage mood swings. It wasn’t just that though not at all.

For the next year, things eased off a little bit. That’s not to say I didn’t have days when I was at an utter lack of what to do with myself. The stress of exams and continued social anxiety were still an issue for me, but I tried to pass it off as just being a teenager as that is what I had been told by a professional who deemed that nothing was wrong with me.

However, when I went to uni things started to take a turn for the worse. I became increasingly isolated as I was increasingly self-aware and conscious of the fact that I didn’t have anyone I knew around me. I found it difficult to make friends which meant I rarely had anyone I felt I could talk to and confide in to help get me out of my headspace.

I didn’t feel that I was worthy of being at uni at all. I didn’t think I was intelligent or creative enough to be doing the ccourse that I was doing. I saw others around me having such a good time, what seemed like all the time. I wasn’t a part of that which made me withdraw even further into myself. I couldn’t and therefore didn’t cope with anything.

Around half way through my first year was the first time that I hit the first true low and had a moment of complete and utter lack of logical thinking. I wanted so badly to hurt myself in some way. For me the easiest way to do that was to take to much of the anti-epaleptic drug that I take.

This had the effect of making me very sick and slightly out of it. Despite this I still went to my lecture that day and tried my very hardest to carry on as if I hadn’t done anything at all. There was only one person who truely bothered to come after me and ask if I was ok. For that I was thankful. However, notheing further came of it. When I got back to my dorm I was left on my own again to be sick and try and salvage something of the day.

The next time someone noticed that I wasn’t quite right was when my flute teacher noticed that I had cut myself. A few days previously I had, completely by accident I might add, managed to smash a glass of mine in the kitchen of my flat in my second year. This was simply due to my own clumsyness as a partially sighted person who managed to forget I had set the glass on the work surface, moved my arm and knowcked the glass to the floor.

At the time I picked up one of the shards of glass I obviously wasn’t thinking straight, no pun intended of course. Mental illness has this funny way of skewing the way you think. You don’t think of throwing it away because it could hurt someone else and it’s of no use any more. You see it as a tool to hurt yourself on the outside, thus trying to aliviate the pain you are feeling inside.

Anywhno it was a hot summers eveing and the music rooms did tent to be rather stuffy. I had to take my jumper off othersie I would simply have fainted due to heat. My teacher was so helpful and unfasied by the situation. She offered to help me book an oppintment with student services to seek advice and support.

If it wasn’t for her and what she did for me I don’t know what could have happend. Luckily I managed to see the doctor and was perscribed citalipram which is an SSRI drug, a form of anti depressant. I was offered this drug becasue it was the safest option for me with the epilim, the anti-epileptic drug I take.

That along with some counceling did help to aliviate the pain I was feeling, to a certain extent. It didn’t get down to the root of the caurse though but it helped me get through the next year and a half of my degree.

During the may of my third year an event happened that I still to this day find hard to believe actually happened to me. I still have a mental block about it and have a tendancy to play it down. I was at a friends house party, a friend that I have known since I was sixteen. We were celebrating her and another friends birthday.

During the eveing we all had quite a few drinks. I wasn’t completely off my face but I wasn’t stone cold sober either. Anywho I needed to go to the loo as I felt that I MIGHT be sick but I primarily just needed to pee.

So one of the guys at the party said he would come up and help me be sick if I needed and just kinda followed me. At first, coz I had consumed alchohol I was like ‘ok sure’. So it turned out that I just needed to pee.

Anywho as I was sitting there on the loo he started to kiss me. At first I wasn’t that bothered about that. But then he started to touch me and tried to touch me down there. I said I didn’t feel comforable with him doing that. He tried to keep on doing that with me telling him that I really wasn’t into it. Luckily he did stop before it went any further.

However, he said that he wouldn’t let me out of the loo because he didn’t want people thinking that we’d had sex which was just a stupid idea because the longer we stayed in there the more people would have thought we were having sex. That in itself scared me. I didn’t want to be in there. I just wanted to get out any away from the situation.

Now people will say that that is sexual assault. In my mind’s eye it’s hard to try and explain. Intelecually and logically I know that it is but somehow I can’t actually convice myself that it really is. Does that make any sense? To me it’s almost just like an event that happened to someone else almost. It’s almost like because it wasn’t rape it wasn’t anything at all. Even writing about it now or having spoken about it in therapy in the past it’s like it happened to someone else but when I talk about it I get uncomfortable. It’s like I’ve completely detached myself from what actually happened.

I don’t know if I can give it justice really. It’s like I wasn’t that person and that I’ve never been violated like that but I know that I have. It’s a weird state of being. I never pressed charges because I didn’t think I had been done wrong by. I didn’t think that I would be taken seriously when I couldn’t even fully accept and acknowledge that it had truely happened.

So after the event I carried on my mary way and finished my degree and left uni feeling completely and utterly lost. I didn’t know what I wanted to do next. All I really knew was that I wanted to work with people with a learning disability because I had volunteered at a theatre company for adults with a learning disability. But I didn’t know what to do, which path to go down, what there was out there to to or how to go about doing anything like that in my local area.

In the summer of 2013 I applied, through clearnce, and managed to get a place on the Learning disability nursing degree course at my local uni which was convinent because I could stay at home and didn’t have to take out another loan to carry on studying or stay in halls.

So for another academic year I was in uni and studying for something that I thought would give me a job and a career to look forward to which would mean money and security and a bit more of a clear cut plan for my future.

However at the end of my first year I was told that I was unable to carry on into my second year, effectivly I was kicked off the course. I had just completed my third and final placment for the year and concerns had been raised about my ability to read the MAR charts and labels on medication boxs. I wasn’t even given a chance to do a catch up placement to try and redeem myself. It was deemed that it would be to unsafe for me to continue. My final placement had been in an inpatient mental health ward for people with learning disabilities where behaviour can be exta challenging. In heinsight I could have utalised more equipment to help me to easily read MAR charts and med boxes and when qualified I would choose not to work in an enviroment where I would be putting myself at risk. However, the decision was taken away from me.

A year of my hard work, time and effort had been wripped from under my feet. I felt totally lost again and with no direction to head in. I’m someone who rarely gets angry about situations but this one really wrattled me. I wasn’t given a second chance to try and prove myself. I have seen and heard stories of people with my condition becoming medical practitioners. One a doctor in an ER and another, a nurse who qualifed from a different uni. Therefore it is by no means of the imagination impossible for me to have completed the course. I was angry that I wasn’t given that chance by this one uni. That they had so little faith in me and my potential ability to do something. I really made me wander if I was ever going to be able to do something worth while because of other people’s lack of awarness about visual impairment.

Within a couple of months of me leaving uni I started working in an independant living home for adults with learning disabilities. To say it was a challenge would be an understatment. The constant chaos and instability of the mental health of the people there, the long hours and the feeling that I wasn’t really making much of an impact did put a strain on me and my coping mechinisms and ability to keep my head above water.

After those two years I really did start slipping again and seriously contemplated finding a way of taking my own life. I felt as if I wasn’t able to cope with anything anymore. I didn’t want to have to cope anymore. I felt that I was a burden to those around me and that they would be better off without me as I wasn’t able to provide anything useful to anyone. What could I offer that someone else couldn’t give them?

Again the self harm started to rear its ugly head. I would cut a lot more and deeper than I ever had before hand. It was almost like the physical pain was such a relief. I didn’t have to be stuck in my own head any more. I could focus on something else and that was glorious.

It wasn’t until my mum saw the marks on my arm and urged me to go and see my GP that I finally managed to get the proper help that I needed. I was diagnosed with chronic moderate depression with symptoms of social anxiety and PTSD. I was lucky enough to have my meds uped and given a course of CBT which really did help me to understand the root causes of a lot of my problems.

Luckily it has now been two years since then and I have not had any major issues. I will admit that I still have my days when the thoughts do get to me a bit and I’m not my usual self but it’s nowhere near as bad as it was. Although I have had the odd suisidal thought I have never felt the need to self harm or take things into my own hands again.

That’s not to say that I will be scott free for the rest of my life. As with any other chronic illness Depression can have a tendancy to relapce but for now things are ok and I’m muddling by in a much more stable mind set.

I hope this post wasn’t too jumpy and had some sort of cohent way about it. For now my lovelies I shall love you and leave you, Until next time, have a good week. 🙂

Depression and me pt 1

Hi, guys. I want to start off by apologising for this post being a week late. I was on holiday in Venice with my family last week hence why there was no upload. I hope you guys have had a good couple of weeks.

Today I will be talking about my personal experience with depression. I will be spliting this over two posts as I don’t want this to be to long, leaving you bored and unable/unwilling to read all the wa to the end. It can be a hard and emotional topic to discuss, but I want to write about this in the hope that light will be shed on different experiences allowing for the stigma around mental illness will be diminished even just a little.

It’s estimated, that approximately 1 in every four people will suffer from some form of mental health problem at some point in their lifetime, with depression, anxiety or a mix of both being the most common diagnoses.

Although depression doesn’t discriminate between age, gender, race, culture, economic status, disability or physical/mental ability, sexuality or any other outside factor, some groups are more at risk of experiencing a mental health problem.

Those who are older, identify as LGBT or have a pre-existing disability or medical condition to contend with are more likely to face discrimination, homelessness, poor ill health, the potential for isolation, poor or complete inability to participate in meaningfull activities and poorer access to the local and wider community. Inability to acess high quality education, work and lower wages leading to poverty.

As I have mentioned above these are just possible risk groups. It is not to be assumed that anyone and everyone who is elderly or disabled/chronically ill will face mental illness. Nor is it acceptable to presume to someone who seems to have everything is immune from suffering from a mental illness.

There are many many situations that can bring on mental ill health. Anyone suffering must be listened to, treated with respect, given appropriate help for their personal pridicamant and treated as a human being who’s life is valubale.

I myself started experiencing symptoms of depression from the age of 16. I had recently moved away to boarding school during term times. I went to a specialist education school for 11 – 19 year olds with a visual impairments.

I personally loved being away from home and I never really had any issues with the whole aspect of living away from my family as I got to see them on the odd weekend that I went home or during school holidays.

However, up until then I had been in mainstream education and I think the extreame difference between the two different settings made me, subconciously, realise just how differnt and isolated I had felt during my time in mainstream education.

During the school day, at my mainstream setting, I’d had a TA with me in the majority of my lessons. The teachers never understood my sight or what I needed. There was a lack of consistancy in terms of the work that was provided in a format that was accessible to me. I was often told that I had to use tools that I believed made me stand out and made me feel uncomfortable.

I knew and inherintly feelt different from my peers. Couple this with someone who isen’t the brightest social butterfly and you get someone who becomes awkward and socially anxious. I believe that my visual impairment did have a massive impact on the way I interacted with others and I can find it hard at times to read others imply because I find it more difficult to physically see what they are doing so that has lead to some awkward or hesitant reactions on my part sometimes.

I have also noticed that I am someone who is so self depricated it has gotten to the point where compliments have and still do sometimes feel like stabs of pain. They make me feel like the person who is dishing out the compliment is a fake and rather two-faced. It is a rather odd and debilitating state of mind.

Due to this mentality I have shied away from fully participating in activities that I love such as singing and other instrimental solos and so on. I’m so concerned with people’s initial thoughts of me. I also have this irational need to do something perfectly the first time round therefore, I make myself extra nervous and fuck up even more than I would if I was more relaxed and less concerned.

I have a feeling that this way of thinking and the feeling of being different but not wanting to appear visually impaired all became to much, therefore, by the time I was 16 it started taking its toll on my mental health.

I have written a previous post about my coming out story. I also believe that this had a major impact on my life and mental health as I was so confused and scared about the whole issue. I didn’t know if I was into girls or guys or both. I just wanted to know one way or the other and that instability and confusion can be frustrating and taxing on any individual.

At times during the three years that I was at boarding school I started to feel that I wasn’t up to much. I truely started to feel unworthy of being anyone’s friend. I couldn’t see what I could offer. I always felt that there was someone else who could give that same level or even a better quality of friendship to someone. I started to feel jelous of others and frustrated and defeated within myself.

I alway felt like I was missing out on all the cool hang outs and fun and funny moments that the social aspect of the school had to offer. Due to this I started to withdraw myself at times and so I found myself in a catch 22 situation. I desperatly wanted to be around others but somehow couldn’t find out how to fit exactly into any one circle of friends, thus missing out on some of the inside jokes and ways of acting. I also found myself feeling rather awkward at times, un-naturally funny, witty, intelligent I didn’t feel I had anything to offer and would hold back from contributing more fully to conversations.

It was also around this time in my life that I started having the very first niggling thourghts of self harm. I never did anything particularly serious. Approximatly twice I purpously took a few too many anti-epileptic tablets with the result of very minor headaches and feeling slightly lathargic.

At about 17 I finally went to a pediatric phycologist where I had some assessments and counciling. That only lasted a few months though before I turned 18 and I was handed over to the adult services.

That very first assessment of my ‘adult’ life would be the last one within that particular setting. I got told that I was experienceing extreame moods that could be typical within adolecence but was nothing to worr about it. No more action was taken at that time and I carried on as normal, well normal for me.

For now my lovlies I will finish. I shall pick up the story approxiamatly half way through my first year at uni when I was 19. I shall love you and leave you until next time. I hope you all had a good easter weekend :).