World Suicide Prevention Day- 10th September 2017

I apologise that this post is a little late but with so much going on in my life at the moment it has been impossible to post before now. As it is such an important day in the year, however, I didn’t want the subject to be left totally behind, especially as suicide is such a taboo subject. Talking about death in general is not the easiest, and so the subject of suicide is even harder. You know what though? #itsoktotalk

Even as somebody who openly discusses mental health issues, I find suicide difficult to talk about. I’m not going to refer to myself much in this post so if that’s why you’re here then I’d stop reading now, because it just isn’t something that I’m willing to post about yet. However, this year’s theme is that it is ok to talk about suicide, so I’m going to do my best to talk about it as much as I can!

To quote the Samaritans website,

“More than 800,000 people take their lives each year across the world. In the UK and ROI, more than 6,000 people die by suicide a year – an average of 18 a day.”

Perhaps that doesn’t seem like a high number to you, but that is eighteen people who die, and many more who are affected as a result of their deaths. You see as wrong as it is to say suicide is selfish, it is right to say that the families and friends of those who commit suicide, those who successfully commit suicide and even those who attempt it, suffer to the greatest of magnitudes.

Also stated on the Samaritans website is that you don’t need to be an expert, you just need to be willing to listen. I’ve been fortunate enough to have many people in my life in addition to professionals who will just sit and let me talk with them, and I only wish that everyone could have the same. Picking up the phone and talking to a stranger can be so difficult and so that is why it is important for friends, family and acquaintances to be willing to check up on someone. That’s why it is important for mental health awareness in the workplace. That’s why it’s important for people to tell the truth when they are having a bad day and not just say, “I’m fine.” Easier said than done, I know.

It can be really difficult to tell people how awful you feel, and that’s the intrinsic root of the problem. Somehow it isn’t socially acceptable to talk about how rubbish we might feel, and so many find it easier or better to just lie and say they are ok, or maybe only give a half-truth. Even if someone is willing to say they feel depressed, perhaps they aren’t telling you the true extent to how terrible and atrocious they feel inside. They might not be planning to immediately harm themselves in your presence, but later on out of your company, who knows?

The point I am trying to make is that by taking away some of the stigma of conversing about mental health, maybe some lives could be saved. Maybe before it gets to the point where someone is standing on the edge of a building or ready to throw themselves off a bridge then something can be done to change that. Early intervention and prevention are better than facing the aftermath. There are people who can help, truly amazing Doctors, Social Workers, Nurses and all manners of people who will do their utmost best to try and get you back on track.

Compassion and warmth go a long long way to somebody in a fragile state, and they are far more welcome to someone in need than judgement and just general coldness. There is nothing wrong with putting others first once in a while in addition to thinking of our own mental well-being. Help out if you suspect something is wrong before it is too late.

Please, please PLEASE check out this link-

https://www.samaritans.org/media-centre/our-campaigns/world-suicide-prevention-day

It explains so well exactly what I am trying to but might be failing abysmally at!

As always, I’m always here.

 

Em x

Advertisements

Devil

With a lot happening  for me at the moment it has been a while since I have had a chance to write a blog post, but I have had the chance to write this poem relating mainly to my recovery from anorexia. However, it is also relevant to other challenges I’ve faced hence the diversity of the wording. Also, I tried to end it on a positive note because let’s be honest, we all need hope in our lives!

 

Devil

 

You took away my freedom

You took away my pride

You made me feel great fear

Changed who I was inside

 

You took away my strength

You took away the pounds

You made me scream inside

Though I didn’t make a sound

 

You took away my happiness

You took my face that wore a smile

You made me into someone else

Changed me for a long long while

 

You tried to take my life

You tried to take my home

You did me so much damage

Yet now I know I’m not alone

 

I have my family and friends

I have them standing right here for me

You might have won a battle

Though I’m winning the war, you see

 

You are filled with nasty lies and hurt

A mere Devil in disguise

So I’ll tear you down forevermore

And once again I’ll rise!

 

Feedback is welcome.

 

Em x

Mental Health and Addiction

Originally this was a subject matter that I planned to tackle later on in my blog posts, but an email received from Marissa at www.drugrehab.com has led me to the decision to tackle it much earlier on. To quote the website based in America,

 

“Of the 23 million Americans struggling with addiction, nearly 14 million also suffer from some form of mental illness, either stemming from or leading to substance abuse.”

 

Whilst I am based in the UK, as an individual that works with statistics I can tell you that in other words that is essentially 61%. I’m sure you will agree this is a phenomenally large percentage considering that it is well over half. Whilst I am not stating this is an exact, accurate number, the fact is that there is overwhelming evidence to suggest that there is a link, at the very least, within a Westernized society.

Now, I am not telling everyone to go and throw out their prescribed medication. Mine helps me to function on a daily basis, and as someone who once had to take seventeen tablets a day, I totally advocate the use when advised by a medical professional. It should be noted that medication prescribed by a clinician can be fantastic and help to rapidly speed up recovery, but when abused, that is when the real problems begin.

With regards to prescribed medication, the need to take it can be hard to fathom if one holds the belief that recovery can be achieved through a simple change of mind-set. In fact, it can be almost impossible to explain. Moreover, if that person is too stubborn to even want to attempt to understand then it is a case of ‘radical acceptance’ (a DBT skill that teaches you to accept there are events and people which cannot be controlled or changed) and you should instead move on and do what is best for yourself with the right medical advice.

DBT, aka Dialectical Behavioural Therapy is something that I will address fully in other posts, because it cannot possibly be described with the recognition it deserves in a few words. Dr. Marsha Linehan, the founder of this relatively new branch of therapy is an idol of mine, for the obvious reason that her concept helps me on a day-to-day basis. However, for now I shall move on and continue with the subject matter in question.

We can be addicted to anything whether it is drugs, alcohol, food, sex or gambling to name just a few of the more widely known. I don’t want to bore you with facts but addiction is a craving, an obsession, a dependency upon something that very often can lead to destruction of our health, wealth, relationships or careers. They may seem like the answer to our prayers in the beginning, but are actually the devil in disguise, so to speak. There is no let up or break, and it is an all-consuming parasite that threatens one to their very core.

Denial usually plays a major part, often during the very early stages. Before you know it you can be relying on a behaviour to get you through the day, hiding your reliance from others, or if in the open them brushing it off as though it is a non-issue. Moreover, the point I am trying to make with my words today are that addiction is associated with the aforementioned subjects, but can also be an addiction to a coping mechanism. This is therefore when mental health can begin to play an important part either because of the addiction or a reason for it.

Unfortunately, tackling addiction alone is complex and often (although not always) impossible. As I stated in my last post, my first piece of advice would again be to talk to somebody. You don’t have to jump straight into approaching a professional, but a trusted family member or loved one if they are available. There are so many blogs and websites out there too where trained individuals will be able to point you in the right direction. If you don’t want to google it yourself because you are using a shared computer then send me an email with what you are looking for and I will do it for you with no problem at all. I can only lend an ear with regards to this, but looking up support meetings or phone numbers is something I can easily help with.

Some useful links once again are:

Talk to Frank- http://www.talktofrank.com/

Drug Rehab (as provided at the beginning of this post) www.drugrehab.com

and a list of withdrawl symptoms at https://www.drugrehab.com/addiction/withdrawal-symptoms/ for more information

 

Addiction and mental health section of Mind which provides many further useful links that you can access (I strongly recommend this list)-

http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/guides-to-support-and-services/addiction-and-dependency/

Finally, I would like to leave you with a quote. Quotes are something that have given me strength to carry on after much trauma, and so I offer you this simple one that a very strong, inspirational and beautiful psychologist named Karen once said to me:

‘Be kind to yourself. You deserve it.’

“Look After Yourself”

It’s hard to know how to start your very first blog post, and especially the first sentence. Do I state the obvious or do I build-up the way a novel does, ending on a cliff-hanger? Then I realised that there is no right or wrong, correct or incorrect. It’s just about telling the truth and if this stops one other person from feeling like they are the only person with a mental health condition from feeling absolutely alone and misunderstood… well then I have served my duty as somebody who has travelled far on a journey towards health, bouncing back and forth between the darkness and light.

So I suppose you are likely here to read my story because either you know me, are intrigued by what little you have so far read or have stumbled upon this. If you are reading this because you feel alone, scared, abandoned, confused or unable to even label the feeling then I will do my best to help you feel better, even if just for a moment or two. It might not feel like it but life is worth hanging onto in even the worst of times if only because no particular emotion will be there forever, and eventually will change. Perhaps that means anger will turn to sadness, but it is also a possibility that sadness will turn to something pleasant like happiness.

Not for one moment would I deem myself to be educated enough in the subject of mental health to truly make a difference but if I can persuade you through my words to seek out support (if needed) then this will be worth it. I’ll include some useful links at the end, but for now I’ll tell you a little about myself and what I have been through.

My name is Emma and in the main, I am in recovery from anorexia. I have also experienced bulimia, anxiety, depression, OCD and paranoia to name just a few of the battles I have had to confront. Essentially this blog is not going to be a deep, intrinsic account of my life or my family, but my experiences in general. I’m writing a book that will go into the (I’m pausing here to search for the appropriate word) harsher aspects of what my journey has been, but for now that is not what this is about.

To feel so horrible about yourself that you think it would be better if you didn’t exist is an awful sensation from within the depths of your heart. I know that were it not for the support I received from my loved ones and professionals that I would be dead by now, which is no exaggeration. Like I said though, this isn’t all about me but it is about what I have learned along the way.

My number one piece of advice would be to talk to someone. It doesn’t make a difference if that someone is a stranger or somebody you know. If you are based the United Kingdom you can call The Samaritans for free on 116123 before you make that drastic decision to hurt yourself. Before I was ready to tell anybody the extent to which I was suffering, I called them and they persuaded me to give life another chance and to seek help, which I did. I couldn’t even tell you whether the individual I spoke to was male or female because things were so difficult that they are nothing except hazy, but I do know that they calmed me enough to be able to sleep for a few hours.

What you need to try and get your head around is the fact that there is always somebody who cares about you. Thinking about the fact there are so many suffering that I am powerless to help or aid at all is something heart-breaking, and from a conversation I had with a friend, I know that she feels the same. There we go, that’s two more people than you realised were there, right? Oh and please don’t use the excuse that we don’t count as we don’t know you- it doesn’t matter one iota!

Please don’t give up. Even if your only reason for surviving the next twenty-four hours is the fact that you have read this then use that. Anything that stops you from turning away from a destructive method is what you need. Maybe it is a childhood toy, teddy bear, Disney film, rock tunes or uplifting words from a favourite book. Whatever works for you!

As promised the useful links are-

The Samaritans- http://www.samaritans.org/

Mind- http://www.mind.org.uk

Beat- https://www.b-eat.co.uk/

I’ll do my best to get back to you if you would like to get in touch as well to provide a sounding board. Stay strong.