Posted in mental health, Uncategorized

To You On World Mental Health Day 2018

It’s World Mental Health Day 2018 and it’s great when these dates come around as there is so much more conversation around mental health which can only be a good thing.

It’s also important to remember however that mental health is something we need to be aware of everyday. For ourselves and for those around us. Mental health awareness needs to be there 24/7 the same as our physical health.

For people affected by mental health which is 1 in 4 it’s not exclusive to mental health day, it’s a day to day battle of fighting for ourselves and far too often, our lives.

With the success of my recent campaign “hearts of hope” with personal notes being an effective way of reaching people struggling, for those of you that don’t live local and so haven’t been able to go and get one of my notes and whom haven’t received Happy post from me I wanted to write you a letter here, to anyone that may be struggling and finding things difficult – This is for you.

Dear You,

To the person that feels lonely, scared, ashamed, hopeless and who is struggling today, I want to tell you that you are going to be okay. It may not feel that way now, but it will.

You see I have felt hopeless, lonely and had given up on my life once too. I planned to end my life. I was in so much pain with so much confusion that I didn’t know which way was up. I barely functioned and I battled my way through 15 years of trying to get the right treatment. That may be the last thing you want to hear. 15 years is an awfully long time but there were good times within that too and I battled my way through. It’s not like that for everyone, everyones journey and path is different. Even with the same diagnosis no two people are the same. For you, your journey will be different too, it wont go the way mine did – because you are you and that alone is something to celebrate. There is not another you on this planet – just you – one of a kind and you are all kinds of amazing.

You may be new to struggling with mental health and wondering what you’re supposed to do and may not have told anyone yet how you are feeling. Or like me you may be an old hat and more aware of what is going on and how to manage that better. Wherever you are on that journey however it still hurts the same when it hurts and the black is as black when going through a depression, the delusions are still as scary each time they roll around – Whatever it is that you are struggling with when it’s bad it’s bad and we all cope in our own ways as will you.

What I want you to know today is that I know what it’s like to feel hopeless, I know what it is to break in to a million tiny pieces and feel like it’s impossible to glue all those pieces back together to resemble something called life. I also know that is possible.

Now I’m not perfect. Far from it. I have moods that flail around at times, I have anxiety and that gets the better of me, I still check pointless objects at night as part of an OCD ritual to make sure they are still there. I still take lithium and quetiapine to keep my brain on track and throw in a clonazepam a day to keep the anxiety at bay. There is no such thing as a perfect recovery in mental health. It’s a process of management. Of learning about yourself, what makes you tick, what makes you break, your limits and learning to manage your life and your illness but do you know what? That’s okay!!!! if you’re not there yet then you will be.

You may be thinking “That’s great for her and I’m never going to feel that way” That’s okay too because that’s exactly what I thought when I read things like this, I thought it happened to “other people” and how great that was for them but that I was too broken.

This is why I created the hashtag #InBloomNotBroken which will also hopefully be the title of my book when it’s published because no one is too broken, we are simply in bloom. That means you too.

I nearly ended my life and quirk of fate stopped that from happening and now my god am I glad I didn’t!! I struggle but i’m better than I was, I do things that matter to me, I have a beautiful daughter to see grow up. I may not have the uni degree or the career…I’ve spent so much time in hospital and in the depths of mental illness that wasn’t possible but just because that’s what society tells us is success, actually it’s not. Success derives from happiness in whatever form that will take so screw what anyone thinks – If I have a period where I’m happy and healthy then I deem myself very bloody successful.

You have a purpose. If you feel you don’t then you just haven’t found it yet. You will find it. If you are struggling remember – This isn’t the forever you, it’s just the for now you and you will find the true you again, just give yourself time. Everything needs time, a cold, a flu, a broken leg – Mental Illness is no different.

You will be okay. I promise. Just be gentle with yourself, give yourself time, don’t push yourself to do what you think you should just for that reason alone, listen to your gut, take time for you, listen to yourself and fight for the right help and treatment – you deserve that, don’t put up with being lost in the system.

If you are struggling but haven’t told anyone yet please take the first step of doing this. It’s hard, scary but it’s vital. Holding it back doesn’t nothing but make it grow. Tell a friend, a family member or talk to someone in confidence like the samaritans who you can call free 24 hours a day on 116 123.

Don’t suffer in silence.

Don’t be ashamed to be you.

And don’t be ashamed of your story. One day it will inspire others.

Take care of you

Lots of love

Katie

xxxx

Posted in mental health

Hearts of Hope – From My Heart To Yours

Hearts of hope in Shirley Park – World Mental Health Day 2018

I am so pleased at the response to this project, the converstations around mental health that have taken place surrounding it have been so positive.

Many of the hearts have been taken and hopefully hone to hands that need little hope ♡♡

I will be replenishing them later with another 40 ♡

I decided to make a little video about why I did this project.

You never know who you are speaking to and what they are going through. Every one is potentially fighting a battle you know nothing about.

I wanted to create conversation around mental health particularly in people that need to talk, that need to take that first step in speaking out about how they are feeling and I am very proud that this project seems to have created some of those converstations. ♡♡♡♡

Posted in mental health

As They Say – Never Judge A Book By It’s Cover.

Judgements, assumptions. We all make them.

It’s part of being human but maybe we need to stop and think before we make an assumption of someone before knowing them or the full facts.

I know I have had assumptions made about me. I have been told I look “Bitchy”, “Unapproachable”

I was even told recently that i had not been accepted on to a counselling course due to my “vulnerabilities” All they knew about me that could possible have registered as “vulnerable” in their minds was the fact that I have bipolar disorder. Regardless of telling them all the awareness work I do etc etc I was deemed “vulnerable” – That is an assumption based on not a lot of information (Irony was part of the interview was talking about how counsellors shouldn’t make assumptions)

We all do it, it’s part of being human but I think It’s important to try to not make snap judgements about people and situations until we have learned the full facts.

As they say – You can’t judge a book by its cover!

This vlog is me talking about this and why you really can’t judge someone before knowing them first.

Posted in mental health

Mania And Psychosis – The Myths

So Mania is when someone is really happy and psychosis means you’re a psychopath right?

Wrong!

These two things hold so much stigma and misconceptions!

I could talk about this a lot more but pretty sure people would get bored of me rambling for half an hour so I have made a video as condensed as I could about my own experiences of these two things to debunk some myths and explain what ACTUALLY happens!

Posted in mental health

This Little Thing Called Life

I’ve just happened across a poem (one of many!) That I wrote some years ago.

Reading it back now it almost has more meaning than when I first wrote it.

I thought I’d share it with you here as it may resonate with someone.

I’ve written sooooooo many poems over the years…I have never really shared them due to lack of self confidence or being told they are “depressing” in my teenage years but writing poetry was always a huge outlet for me.

So here’s “A Little Thing Called Life”

I don’t know where it came from

But it got me where it hurt

Like a disaster zone

Everything on red alert

It snuck in from depths of darkness

Didn’t see it coming around

And that Demon, he got to work

Did his damage while making no sound

Me too, bound by it’s silence

In the dead of night

Inner turmiol and violence

With every battle and every fight

Constantly feeling like you’re skimming

The edge of a knife

But just about missing-

In this little thing called life.

Had the foundations to start building

But in the depths of darkness went the cement

So I lost all my shielding

It never turned out how I meant

And in those depths of darkness

Even that demon wasn’t around

I guess even he couldn’t stand the starkenss

Just emptiness and no sound

It’s like shouting in the shadows

No one ever hears your call

And like grasping at thin air

doesn’t save you from the fall

And then sharper is the blade

On the point of that knife

And further you have strayed-

From this little thing called life

But then suddenly things start to change

And you make your OWN cement

As you realise that is possible

And it doesn’t MATTER where it went

So slowly you start to build

And one by one fill all the cracks

As as each one gets filled

You start to follow all the tracks

find there’s been a beginning-

A middle and an end

As to any story-there were just some errors you had to mend

As the building comes to completion

To examine-you first, must step away

And find despite your emotional depletion

It had to be that way

The greatest of buildings start with nothing at all

And that first simple brick-builds the first simple wall

And although that demon

Makes an appearance from time to time

You’ve built your shielding so know you’ll be fine

So no longer do you feel you’re skimming over the edge of that knife

For you build the skills to blunt it

This little thing called life….

Posted in mental health

Words Can Make Or Break.

Choice of words in mental health treatment have the power to make or break

These are just the tip of my mental health journey iceberg – specifically within my treatment for anorexia.

 

So I am currently in the process of having my book edited that I am hoping to have published – That’s the dream. Even if I don’t get it traditionally published I will be self publishing as my aim is to put my full mental health story out there to raise awareness in a number of areas, to give a frank account with no heirs and graces on living with mental illness but also to highlight and expose some of the treatment that I have received  over the years as I believe that I am not the only one to ever have had things said to them by professionals that quite frankly should never have been been said.

I believe it’s important to highlight this area for things to change and for better treatment to be given and for professionals to think about the words that leave their mouths. They are in a position of power where their words can make or break someone and too often it was the latter that happened to me. Maybe this is why It took me 15 years to access the right treatment and this is also the reason I dropped out of NHS services completely for four years as shockingly I found being under my local mental health team more difficult that dealing with it alone. A psychiatrist telling me after me giving him a private assessment report with a diagnosis of bipolar that my problem was that my life was “boring, empty and pointless” was the straw that broke the camels back for me and I then went on as diagnosed bipolar for four years with no help and no treatment,

The best treatment I ever received within the NHS was within the eating disorders unit but this was namely due to one psychiatrist who was what every psychiatrist should aim to be. However even within this service there comments that just shouldn’t have been made both by a psychiatrist ( One I saw before the amazing one mentioned above) and also a dietician within the inpatient unit itself.

I had more of these sorts of comments to come over the years which are all in my book that I am hoping to publish, this was just the start – but I wanted to put this out there, that these are comments that sometimes go on within treatment.

Anorexia is an illness filled with guilt……Unbearable guilt and so much confusion. At the time these comments I just believed, they fed in to what I was already feeling but looking back now I almost want to jump through my manuscript and grab hold of the person speaking these words to my former self.

These are the actual excerpts from my diaries at the time of treatment for anorexia.

This was while I was in day care for anorexia – ie 8am-4pm treatment which generally happens before inpatient treatment, at this point I was very poorly, very low in weight and surviving on next to nothing (very shortly after this and more drastic weight loss I was admitted as an inpatient at 6 stone)

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This was a conversation with the dietician within the day care programme. I was already wracked with guilt about “Rob” and generally felt guilty for even being alive at this point:

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Excerpt from my manuscript – Anorexia needs to be dealt with with so much sensitivity – words can literally make or break.

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Anorexia is far too much based on weight and numbers in regards to treatment which actually does nothing more that feed an already anorexic mind focussed on those same numbers.

A professional telling someone with anorexia that they do not currently meet “anorexic requirements” is a red flag to a bull.

I know from experience that it’s entirely possible for someone to experience the same distress, the same anorexic thoughts at a ” healthy” weight as at an “anorexic” weight and this needs to change.

The distress is still the same, except at a healthy weight it’s actually harder as you don’t feel validated and most of the time within treatment AREN’T validated unless the numbers are there.

Professionals need to be so aware of what they are saying. As I say, this was the very tip of my iceberg…Similar comments and worse continued throughout my fifteen year quest for the right treatment and it’s only now that I look back I realise how wrong it was of them. How the issue wasn’t me, I was ill.

It’s now I feel able to come out with my story, with all the things that were said that never should have been.

I hope to publish a story that people can relate to, one that is honest.

Always fight for the right treatment, don’t let professionals speak to you in a certain manner because they have “authority” always fight for yourself, stick up for yourself. It’s hard and it can be scary but always fight for what you believe to be right.

Posted in Uncategorized

World Suicide Prevention Day – A letter to YOU

Feeling suicidal is in a lot of ways indescribable. That moment of carrying out a planned suicide is something you can’t understand fully unless you’ve been in that moment.

This is a letter to YOU, the person who feels lost, lonely, and like life isn’t worth living.

You are stronger than you think, braver than you know. You can do this. Things can change. I promise.

Keep fighting.