Category Archives: Mental Health

Mental Illness: Seeking Help

Mental illness will affect almost everyone reading this post at some point. That could mean you develop a condition like depression, or it could mean someone close to you goes through that experience. Whatever the situation, you’ll want to know how to overcome the issue and get back to normal. While medication is the right course of action for some people, most of us just need to apply some self-help. With that in mind, you should consider some of the methods mentioned below. At the end of the day, drugging yourself doesn’t solve the problem. It just stops you from caring about it quite as much.

Clinic Counselling Session

Credit For photo

*Picture showing a counseling session in a clinic between two women.*

  • Try talking therapies

Sometimes you just need to spend time talking to an expert to overcome mental health issues. That is often the case if you suffer depression or anxiety. You might have bottled everything up for years because you can’t ask your friends for help. However, there are plenty of professionals willing to listen to anything you have to say. Considering that, ask your doctor for recommendations for local therapists. You’ll have to pay for their services, but it’s worth the expensive in many instances. Once you’ve worked through your issues, it’s much easier to recover and become a happy thinker again.

  • Get yourself a life coach

There is a misconception out there about life coaches. Most people think their services are only suitable for rich people. That couldn’t be further from the truth. There are plenty of experts in that profession that don’t charge the earth for their advice. A life coach will consider all your problems before designing a plan of action. They’ll uncover the reasons you feel down at the moment, and then try to counteract them. If you’ve tried everything else, you have nothing to lose. Just search online for suitable professionals and then read reviews. That way, you can sort the wheat from the chaff and ensure you’re dealing with someone with a good track record.

couple

Credit for source
*A young couple sitting on a pier overlooking a lake where two ducks are swimming.*

  • Improve your existence

It might sound obvious, but most people seem to forget they can make positive changes without assistance. With that in mind, you should sit down with a pen and paper and work out what you don’t like about your life. You can then come up with a strategy for altering all those elements. If you hate your job, you need to retrain and look for something new. If you spend every evening feeling lonely, you should register on some dating websites. It’s not rocket science, and you could feel better instantly. You just need to take control of the situation.

Using the advice from this article, anyone with a common mental illness could improve their lives. You can’t sit around feeling down and expecting things to get better on their own. You need to take decisive action if you want to recover. Of course, medication can help some people to get their head in the right place. Just make sure you use the techniques mentioned on this page alongside any antidepressant drugs. Otherwise, you’re just prolonging the agony.

Sightloss stress and depression

Did you know that 1 in 4 people suffer from a mental illness?
Were you aware that there is a positive correlation between sight loss and depression?
I’ve been diagnosed as clinically depressed since 2015
Through the support of my partner Gary and my GP, I sat and talked candidly about my erratic mood swings, lack of energy, motivation and my constant exhaustion.
We talked at length about my symptoms and the options available to me.
I opted to go on antidepressants as I have previously had counseling.

Antidepressants aren’t for everyone, and that’s ok. However for me they have been invaluable; they have improved all the symptoms I mentioned above, and most importantly for me it’s helped me focus on the bigger picture.

My deterioration in vision since the age of 14 has been a source of vexation and frustration for me.
I hated relinquishing control, having to ask friends and family for help, needing things like worksheets adapted and continuous hospital appointments.

I just wanted to be normal.

But I wasn’t.

I walked into people and inanimate objects, I would knock things over, not be able to read anything without a magnifying glass and so many other things.

I’ve always been a perfectionist so asking for help or embarrassing myself publicly always sent me into a spiral of stress.

Over the years this stress manifested into rage and because of this I pushed people away, or, pushed them to their breaking point.

At the time I genuinely believed my outbursts were justified and acceptable. I believed I had to fight: fight for support, fight to be heard and fight to prove myself.

There was always a reason, an excuse, a situation. I couldn’t see that my behavior, thought processes and even actions were out of control.

It wasn’t until I was at University studying psychology and having a truly fantastic network of friends around me that i recognised all of my grievances and anger were due to me losing my sight.
I still had my moments but they were few and far between..I would get riled up by the little things; dropping something on the floor and spending 5 minutes looking for it, tripping up kerbs or spilling my drink. everywhere.

I learned to laugh it off. Reminding myself that in the grand scheme of things they really weren’t such a big deal.

Yet as my sight deteriorated further and these menial things seemed to happen more frequently I realised I needed some support.

And that’s when I rang the RNIB counseling support line, and registered myself on the waiting list.

I wanted to talk through my problems, how to acknowledge my frustrations but not let it control me.
I wanted to know how I would manage with my impending sight loss and what techniques I could use to make my life and mental state healthier.

The waiting list was so long that by the time my first counseling session happened, I had already lost my remaining vision.

My counselor was fantastic,although I had lost my sight, and the worst had happened to me, she listened, emmpathised and talked through my anxieties and frustrations with me.

The counseling was invaluable to me and it wasn’t until the beginning of 2015 Depression decided to rear it’s ugly head again.
It took me a long time to acknowledge that I was changing and becoming angry all over again. It was always the small things: walking into doorways, pouring the kettle and missing my cup, dirty dishes and not noticing I wasn’t holding my cup straight so hot tea spilled over me and my interiors.

All those little things added up to one big thing: dealing with my sight loss.
This is why I started antidepressants,I was chemically imbalanced, so why not try chemicals to restore my balance?

I still have my down days, and that’s ok. It’s about acknowledging my stress levels and doing something about it.

Here are some ways I cope with stress:

  • Try your best to realise when you are in the midst of an angry outburst or thoughts.
  • Allow emotions to be present. Cry, scream, shout, But not at anyone. Be present in acknowledging the feelings, but don’t let them take over.
  • Don’t use expletives or negativity when expressing these thoughts.
  • Breathe deeply, and think only of what your breathing is doing.
  • Read up on mindfulness, and try putting it into practice.
  • Listen to music. Blast out one of your happy songs,
  • Distract yourself by making yourself focus on something small.
  • Exercise, it releases endorphins.
  • Text/ call someone. you care about.
  • Find a task that needs a lot of focus and thoughtfulness. Maybe like writing a blog post? 🙂
  • Watch something funny.
  • Make some tea, and enjoy the 10 minutes to sit and drink it.
  • Think of something positive. What are you proud of?
  • What are your passions? Find them and emerge yourself within them.
  • Smile! Yes, forcing yourself to actively smile, actually lifts your mood.

Constant stress can lead to depression so make sure self care is at the top of your priority list.
Depression is an illness, a brutal thought process that truly can take over your body and mind. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Establish your stressors and find a way to combat them.Only you know your triggers and only you can save yourself from stress.

Think positive, stay positive! 🙂

Pandora’s Box

Standing on the precipice of existence ,
wondering if I can claw myself back from the abyss..
Emotions enveloping me,,
Thoughts and feelings suffocating my happiness, my love, my hope,.

Engulfed in the frustration and desperation
To be free, to b better, to be whole.

Each day brings a thicker layer of despair,
Zapping all energy
Stealing my smile, stealing my laughter, stealing my joy.

As a ray of sunshine breaks through the darkest cloud,,
The light penetrates the fog of my mind.

The tide begins to turn,
The pressure released.

I smile, I laugh, I am joyful
I feel happiness, I feel love;
I have hope.

Anger Is The Sheild, Depression Is The Dagger

As depression rears it’s ugly head I am left with 2 choices; let it control me, or try my best to control it.
I’ve noticed patterns in my behaviour of late that used to smother me like the heat of a sauna. But this time i’m aware and ready to fight back.

I have one gigantic trigger: my sight loss.
That’s where it all began.
That’s where it all stems from.
But it’s slightly different this time. This time I think it’s a chemical imbalance. I have come off my anti depressants.
When I was put on them, I was given a 6 month course, but I kept cashing in more prescriptions as I didn’t feel ready.
But I decided that enough was enough, I wanted to at least try.
I couldn’t tell you the exact date I stopped taking them, because I didn’t want the placebo effect hitting me like a tonne of bricks, as well as the potential chemical imbalance I was going to be facing.

I’m not saying i’ve been perfect since coming off my anti depressants.I had a few down days, some of which lasted longer than others.

But the slap you in the face moment happened early morning last week.

I was sorting out breakfast for Gary and i; firstly I spilt the water all over the sides (actually not uncommon as we have a shite kettle!), and then I started putting away the dishes from the night before. and almost every dish I pulled out was dirty.

I lost my shit and started raging at Gary.

He came over to me.; told me to put the dishes down, and not to worry, it was only dirty dishes.

“Only dirty dishes?! I spent fucking ages washing those dishes, and yet they have shit all over them!!!
What’s the point of me washing them if they aren’t going to be clean?!”

At this point Gary enveloped me in a big hug, and rubbed my back soothingly.
” It’s just dishes Sassy, it’s OK.”

I wanted to shout again, but his calming presence soothed me. Right there and then I knew this was my not so friendly friend depression.

This is the point where I admitted to Gary I hadn’t taken my happy pills in a while, because I wanted to come off them.
He had his reservations about me just stopping them, but said he’d support me in whatever I chose.

I think he or I made a joke about the crazy train starting it’s journey again.
I have to point out here, that a lot of our relationship revolves around,lots of dark humour, which other people would find unnerving or offensive. But that is how we deal with things 🙂

When Gary had left for work, I got on the phone to the Tribal ladies and confessed my psycho bitch fit.

They too were also very supportive, giving me suggestions, virtual hugs and kind thoughts.
In all honesty I was truly embarrassed at my outburst, and sad that it had happened, and I knew in order to deal with it, I had to be honest with the people I care about, and not try and hide it/ palm it off like I used to.

That same morning, a new member of the family arrived into this world, and it instantly lifted my mood.

Being open and honest with Gary, my friends, and myself as well as hearing happy news gave me the oomph to realise I HAVE to focus on the positives, but be honest with myself and others if things are going downhill.

So, how am I going to try and keep my psycho bitch fits at bay?
*Try your best to realise when you are in the midst of an angry outburst or thoughts,. Feeling incredibly numb and withdrawn.

*Breathe deeply, and think only of what your breathing is doing.

*Go cuddle Gary. 🙂

*Talk to Gary, he’s bound to say something to cheer you up.

.*Read up on mindfulness, and try and put it into practise, when not in a low mood. It will get you better equipped for when you need to do it.

*Listen to music. Blasting out one of your happy songs, and squawking terribly along with it, always helps improve your mood.

*Distract yourself by making yourself focus on something trivial/ insignificant.

*Do exercise, I’ve almost forgotten how this word is spelt, never mind said… it’s been so long!

*Text/ call someone. Even if they aren’t free to talk at that moment,writing it down will help to clear your mind.

*Don’t use expletives or negativity when expressing these thoughts. That always gets you ramped up even more.

*Find a task that needs a lot of focus and thoughtfulness. Maybe like writing a blog post? 🙂

*Watch something funny. Stand Up always makes you laugh!

*Make some tea, and enjoy the 10 minutes to sit and drink it.

*Think of something positive. You know, like you’ve been shortlisted for the UK’s most prestigious blogging awards!

*Smile. Yep, forcing yourself to actively smile, actually lifts your mood.

*Allow emotions to be present. Cry, scream, shout, But not at anyone. Be present in acknowledging the feelings, but don’t let them take over.

*If all else fails, and you are at home: SLEEP. That will shut the stressy bitch up, and hopefully it’ll improve your looks! Beauty sleep and all that 😉

*Last, but no means least. Read this blog post, and remind yourself, the train to crazy town has already departed… No point trying to chase it now! 🙂

*****

As you can probably guess, this is a list from me, to me. I now have something officially in writing to come back to if necessary.

*****

Depression is an illness, a brutal thought process that truly can take over your body and mind. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.
I chose to take myself off anti depressants, because I want to. And see where mindfulness and positive thinking will get me.
If I need counselling or to go back on them, I will.
Admitting you need help is never a weakness. actually it’s the complete opposite!

My way may not work for everyone, it might not even work for me. But as I feel that I truly am in the happiest place i’ve ever been in my life, I want to see if I can channel that positivity into my daily living, instead of relying on my happy pills.
I will know within myself if it’s an emotional anchor, and not a chemical imbalance anymore.

*****

Since I began this blog I always said I would be truthful with myself, and give my readers that honesty.
Being able to talk openly about all disabilities candidly is my goal.
If I want people to accept disability as another entity, and not a thing that should be shunned or silenced, then I need to show my true colours. That way I feel I am doing the right thing.

If you are not in the best place right now, reach out to someone, or write down your feelings.

You are never truly alone, even if it feels like it.
Big hugs to you all 🙂

❤️ If you enjoy my ramblings, and think for one crazy second, that somehow I deserve to become a finalist in the prestigious Brilliance In Blogging Awards (BiBs) I would love your vote!
Simply click this button below and it will take you straight there!
All you need to do is put:
Your Name
Your Email Address
Thinking Out Loud, in the category of INSPIRE
Please and thank you.
you wonderful human being! ❤️

BritMums

Much love, Sassy x


Disability Q&A #5 Matthew

Today’s interview is brought to you by Matthew, he followed me on Twitter, and was very kind; liking and retweeting my tweets. Of course I said my thank you’s, and we began chatting from there. 🙂 He is a very lovely guy, and I hope you give him all the love and support he deserves for writing this!

On to you Matthew 🙂
Tell me about yourself:
I’m Matthew, 29 and live in the North West of England. Right now I’m a stay at home dad looking after my 3 year old girl, before that I stayed at home to look after my older son but he is now at school full time.
To be honest, I kinda hide behind this as a reason not to try harder to find work because I am afraid that I wouldn’t find a job as I have no formal qualification except for GCSE’s. That, combined with my visual impairment I find it hard to justify anyone employing me.
I’m not short of hobbies but I have struggled sticking to one hobby for very long. I enjoy gaming mainly on PC but as my eyesight has deteriorated over the last few years I’ve found this increasingly difficult. I attempted to take up twitch streaming to go along with my gaming hobby but as I lack any kind of discernible personality I was about as popular on there as a bunch of flowers at a Hayfever convention.

I also have a desire to learn programming of one shade or another so I apply some time towards learning that skill. Although it’s slow going as I suffer from bipolar and my thought process swings from invincible to useless on a regular basis.

Now we know the basics, can we learn a bit more about you?

What is the medical reason you have a disability?
I suffer from a hereditary condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa commonly referred to as RP .

Have you had your Visual impairment / disability from birth?
As it is a hereditary condition I assume it’s been lurking in there since birth but I was only formally diagnosed at the age of 7. It’s harder to pinpoint a start date for my mental conditions.

Which terminology do you prefer: Partially Sighted, Visually Impaired, Sight Impaired, Severely Sight Impaired or Blind?
The government uses both Visually Impaired and Blind when pigeonholing people like us/me but although my visual acuity is hand movements only I feel like an imposter using the term Blind as I do still have some sight. So I guess you can call me what you choose.

Do you have a cane, Guide Dog or neither?
I have a cane but never use it. I guess for the same reason as above, as I have some sight I’d feel like an imposter if I were to use it, although it would come in handy in some circumstances especially when crossing the road to inform drivers of my condition.

If you could extinguish your disability, would you? – If not, please explain why.
in a heartbeat I know people attribute their personality or at least part of it to their disability and rightly so in most cases. Who’s to say that you wouldn’t have turned out the same or a better version of yourself if you had not suffered from your disability?I for one will never know but I can only hope that would have been the case for me. I wouldn’t have felt handicapped during my education or when it came to me finding work. I know for sure I would be driving and earning my way in society instead of hiding behind those I love. My visual impairment is only partially to blame for my feelings, my mental condition plays a huge part in this too. However, I find it hard to believe my mental condition would be this pronounced if I did not suffer from RP or any other disability.

For those who do not know much about your VI what can you see?
For me, colours are not very vivid, so unless things are moving I find it hard to pick objects out from their backgrounds. In addition to this everything appears smaller and out of focus so seeing any detail what so ever is next to impossible. Reading is out for the question too for all but the largest of prints held ridiculously close to my face making it completely impractical. I cannot pick people of a crowd, even my loved ones of whom I’m completely familiar with, including my children. Once they leave my side and mix in with a crowd of children they could be anyone.

How has your disability affects you?
*Socially
I am very introverted. I do not take any pleasure whatsoever from going out and socialising and so have very few, if any friends outside of my family. The main thing I struggle with when it comes to social interaction is, apart from not being able to see, is the fact I can’t look directly at the people I’m trying to talk to. Sighted people use eye contact as a social indicator when communicating and I lack this basic skill so I find myself being ignored in a conversation or failing to realise when people are addressing me not being able to see who they are looking at. I’m sure this is something that affects most if not all visually impaired people but it is a hurdle I have never been able to clear.
*physically
I find myself using my visual impairment as a reason for me not taking part in a lot of physical activities that I used to enjoy such as walking and athletics. It also impacts my day to day life from simple tasks such as grooming and cooking to commuting and playing with my children.
*Mentally
This is where I feel my visual impairment has affected me the most I’m sure my underlying mental issues were there from the start as some people affected with disabilities and visual impairments seem to come to terms with them, adapt to them and some even turn them into an advantage. I have failed completely to do this I tend to focus on the negative in nearly all situations and I always find myself blaming my visual impairment for almost all of my shortcomings.
.
Do you think your disability has made you who you are today?
*Please give a positive example of how this has done so… Example: Not judging people by their appearance
As you have probably picked up on while reading my responses to the previous questions positivity isn’t my strong suit but I’ll give it my best shot. I suppose the biggest positive impact my visual impairment has had on my life is the fact I don’t rely on my sight. So I get to absorb the world in a completely different way to other, sighted people. I focus on how things feel to the touch and under foot as opposed to what they look like. I appreciate beauty in a completely different way, assessing someone’s attractiveness (superficially) by what they sound like as opposed to what they look like.

Is there a particular question you get asked often because of your disability? If so, please explain below.
I think what can you see’ is or was the main question I was asked at school when people found out I suffered from a visual impairment. However as I try my best, for better or worse, not to draw attention to the fact I have a visual impairment I don’t get confronted with that many questions.

What are the positives of having a disability?
Free public transport is a boon as the cost of that is ever increasing. However unpopular this may sound, having the security of state benefits is also very reassuring as it gives the disabled a chance to live a reasonable life, if not living it up if managed well you aren’t poverty stricken either. However recently this has become a bone of contention in the conservative party as they have taken it upon themselves to change up the current benefits system and introduce a lot of uncertainty into a lot of disabled people’s lives, including my own.

What are the negatives of having a disability?
Although I previously mentioned this as a [positive, having to rely on state benefits for my income is a huge disadvantage. I feel trapped by them, they don’t offer me the freedom to look for work without the risk of losing my benefits. As a family man I can’t afford to apply for a job, get it, then lose it again after finding myself unable to manage the job and have to go without either pay or benefits in the intervening period. My family needs money to live and right now I see no other way to obtain that other than benefits. I hold those who suffer from disabilities, especially visual impairment and hold down a full time job in the highest of regards as I could only dream to be among them doing the same.

What would you say is a difficulty for you being VI / disabled?
Difficulties come thick and fast when you have a visual impairment. The smallest thing a fully sighted person might take for granted from making sure they are wearing matching coloured socks / shoes to having clean nails and tidy hair. To the larger things such as getting from A to B and shopping. Sure these things can be overcome with adaptations and the reliance on friends or family. But having to rely so heavily on other for everything make you, or at least me, feel like a burden on family, friend and society as a whole.

As a person with a disability, what are the things you face on a daily / weekly basis that frustrate you?

*In your home
Not being able to find things such as my mobile phone or my toothbrush, as has been mentioned by some of your other interviewees is a major bugbear of mine.Along with identifying the difference between shampoo and shower gel in the myriad of different bottles that turns up in the bathroom thanks to my partners addiction with buying what seems like one of every kind on the market. Finding and identifying specific toys when playing with my young son and baby girl is also difficult and somewhat upsetting .

*outside your home
I find getting around using public transport very difficult, with my unwillingness to use a cane or identify myself as being visually impaired I find locating the right bus to get to where I need to be when traveling alone next to impossible, the same applies when using the train.

This issues raises it’s head when shopping too, I find myself taking the best guess when asked to go collect something from the shop by my partner and just hoping I have enough money in my pocket when going to the till as I have no idea how much anything costs as I am unable to read and unwilling to ask. So a white bread request from my partner is often a brown loaf of bread when it arrives home and semi skimmed being delivered as full fat.
Are there any tips or tricks you use in daily life you’d like to pass on to another VI/ disabled person?
I wish I had a few tricks that made my life easier but the only one I can think of is utilising the talkback feature on my android phone. That paired with a bluetooth headset makes it possible for me to use the vast majority of the features of my phone either at home or out and about without feeling self conscious. Not all third party applications are compatible or take advantage of this feature fully but just being able to phone and text is a huge benefit.

Do you use Assistive technology in your daily living?
I use windows magnifier and narrator on my home PC and the accessibility features on my phone. Apart from that I don’t take advantage of any other assistive technologies although I’m sure there are plenty out there that would make my life a lot easier.

What piece of advice would you give to someone newly diagnosed? Or going through a deterioration in vision / or mobility?
Find someone that can help you come to terms with you condition, weather that be a counsellor or your GP, a charity like RNIB or action for the blind. You need to come to terms with it and move forward with your life, don’t let it take over and dominate your life like it has with mine. It has held me back for so long, I’m 29 years old and haven’t achieved anything with my life. Don’t let the same happen to you. Look on me as an example of what not to do.

Any advice you’d like to give to a person with sight / no disabilities?
Don’t assume, don’t assume that people asking for the destination of the bus they are about to step on are just too lazy to look at the front of the bus for themselves, instead, if you know the answer, just answer or perhaps look for them. Don’t assume that if someone walks into you in the street that they are instantly a trouble maker, perhaps they didn’t see you and a simple gesture of kindness and a passing ‘are you ok’ might be in order as opposed to a hail of insults. Don’t assume that ‘if they need help they’ll ask for it’ because that isn’t always the case, if you see someone struggling, offer help, maybe they’ll accept your offer, maybe they won’t until you offer you won’t know.

Did you seek out any specialist services / charities to help you and your family deal with your situation?
I have sought out help in the past from specialist groups and charities in the past such as action for the blind but as I touched on earlier, I sometimes feel like an imposter and find it hard to seek out help from these charities. I feel like a huge burden on society as it is and don’t’ like to put on others. This may be my mental condition talking, but I can’t change how I feel.

Where can people find you out in the world?

youtube.com/whitecanegamer
facebook.com/whitecanegamer
twitter.com/whitecanegamer
Instagram.com/whitecanegamer
twitch.tv/whitecanegamer
whitecanegamer.com




Wow Matthew, thank you so much for opening up and being so open and honest with your struggles with your mental health, and the impact it has had on you as a person, alongside your visual impairment. It’s brave of you to do so, and i’m glad you felt you could.
I am always here if ever you want to talk, and i’m sure i’m not the only one who will reach out to you, once they too have read your raw and thought provoking interview.

Please don’t forget to follow his links, and why not share the love? Leave him a comment, we would both appreciate it!

If you, or anyone you know, would like to take part in my Campaign, do not hesitate to contact me on the following:
Email:SassysWorld6@gmail.com
Twitter
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If you enjoyed this interview why not check out the others in the series so far?
Interview 1
Interview 2
Interview 3
Interview 4

You are most welcome to subscribe to my mailing list so you do not miss any future interviews. For that I would be most grateful! 🙂

Thank you once again Matthew.

Much Love, Sassy x




Letter To My Younger Self

A letter to my 14 year old self.

Your biggest worry right now is that you’ll never grow boobs, i’m happy to say that you do, but unfortunately it won’t be for a lot longer than you hoped!

I need to prepare you, things are going to start getting tougher for you Sassy. Your sight is going to start deteriorating, and it’s going to be a source of vexation and stress for you and the entire family, don’t worry, it doesn’t go all at once, but the decline starts at the end of year 10. I feel like I need to prepare you, you are defiant, stubborn, short tempered and irrational exclaiming such things like you’ll take your own life if it gets any worse.

You need to make sure the school support you adequately, don’t just try and muddle through, academically you are far more capable of what you achieve, maybe if the support was put in quicker, you’ll find it easier to study for the exams you detest.

Things are going to get worse, and you are going to have several operations, as well as treatments.
Dump the methotrexate, you were right all along, it did nothing for you. I still feel sick thinking about you taking it even now.

********

You will be hesitant at first, but going to a college for the blind is your best option, and it will turn out to be life changing in so many ways.

You will make friends that you would never expect to, but hold them tight, these friends will be invaluable to you.
Friendships are strong and fickle during this time, walk away. Every time.having the last word gets you nowhere but trouble. Oh and both times you and your friend have gut instincts things are going to go wrong, listen to them. Stand your ground, and let her stand hers.
It’s not worth the consequences trust me.
You will fall in love, and it will be amazing, but you will also ruin the relationship because of your depression and anger.

You should seek help, not from inside though, you are right not to trust them.
But if you don’t accept it’s over, and acknowledge you need help, things will only go from bad to worse.

Depression is Anillness, and although you think you’re fine, and it’s everyone else who has the problem, sadly you’re mistaken.
YOU are the problem.

There’s no point sugar coating it, you are not the only one to blame, but it’s better to understand now.

things are only going to get worse unless you seek help.

You are going to lose your sight more than once.
With deterioration you feel out of control.
Don’t deny it, or deal in anger, you’ll only end up hurting yourself.

********

Do you want to hear the best bit? It’s not as bad as you dreaded.
You WILL cope, and you WILL live.
Of course times will be tough, stressful and heartbreaking, but those are blips in the road.

In the grand scheme of things, it’ll be nothing. You are so strong and resilient. At this time you will find who your true friends are, and although it will hurt at first, you’ll realise they weren’t worth the effort in the first place.

So many things will happen to you between this age of yours and the future.

But not all of it is bad. Far from it. You are the happiest you’ve ever been. I bet you never thought that would be the case huh?

Take the bad times and roll with it, because throughout it all, you will come out a stronger, better, kinder, happier person.

And aside from your eyes, your of good health. Be thankful. Cherish everyone around you, and forgive quickly.

There’s no point ruminating.

You are going to change, but it will be for the better.

One massive tip though; take your bloody MacBook to the shop as soon as it plays up! Leaving it for months because you were too scared to head to the city by yourself knowing how little you can see now, just ask someone to take you! Pay for their travel/lunch, it will be a nice bonding experience. I know you are stressed about always relying on people But the worst that can happen is they say no… It’ll give you the opportunity to learn how to finally navigate your way around Apple better.

Who knows, you may start blogging earlier?

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I believe everything happens for a reason, and no matter how much I would love for you to know this information, it’s moulded you into the person you are today.
Every story has it’s scars and these are yours.

Suicide

Suicide: A Guest Post.

For this piece I am stepping out from behind the clown mask. I am hoping to do more here than share a laugh or deliver an opinion piece. I am putting humor aside to talk about something very important; about something that is affecting many people in this world of ours, and has been for many ticks of the clock. The young and old, the rich and poor, the black and white, none of it matters because this monster doesn’t discriminate, anyone can be a victim.

I would like to talk about suicide. I would like to share my personal battle with it and how at one time I thought it was the only way out. I thought it was the only way to silence the demons that were relentlessly attacking and poisoning my soul with never-ending self-doubt and vicious lies about my reality, every day trying to destroy the foundation that was my life.

My desire is to show others in a similar situation that when they feel they are at their lowest or at their breaking point that they are not alone and that there is help out there. There are ways to relieve the weight that burdens your shoulders, but it’s not in a drug/drink, nor is it with you lying on your back six feet under with a face full of dirt.

Suicide stalks its prey like a highly skilled assassin, ever so silently and with deadly precision, and if you’re not cautious, you or a loved one could be its next target.

“Just because someone is smiling on the outside, doesn’t mean they aren’t hurting on the inside.”

Close up of a young boys face looking through a hole in a box, sunlight ilumanating one eye

(Suicidal) When the wrong feels right…

“God, should I come home now?” is a question that I have asked myself many times before, and I’m sure I’m not alone.

We’ve all had times where we felt as if the world was against us. As if everyone was screaming our name, and not like an adoring fan would scream the name of their favorite rockstar, but rather like the way a bloodthirsty mob would scream for your head as you were about to be hung. All you want to do is run and hide, but no matter where you go the voices just won’t stop.

On the outside it is bright and sunny. No one could tell from looking at you that something was wrong. However, on the inside it is dark and gloomy, your mental state is not well and your life is on the edge of devastation. You don’t know what to do. You’re like that whimsical cookie jar that sits on the counter, on the surface you seem all together, complete and even at times upbeat. Although the truth of it is that on the inside you are emotionally disheveled, scattered and spiritually broken into little pieces.

You want so badly to shout out to the world how tortured you are, but at the same time you don’t want to be perceived as weak and/or any less of a person by doing so, and as a result you hold it all in. Because of this decision the pain stews inside of you, making a mess of things both emotionally and mentally, leaving you a total wreck, spiritually shattered and intoxicated by misery and despair.

You can’t believe that your loved ones don’t notice that something isn’t right with you. They aren’t aware that your life is in shambles and that you have no idea how to fix it. This makes you feel damaged, lonely and desperate for a way out.

Yet you put on an Oscar worthy performance to make sure people don’t find out what’s really going on. Doing all you can to put your best foot forward to keep your deadly secret hidden within the confines of your soul. You are torn, you feel as if all the clues are there to help them solve the unfortunate case that is your life, but in all reality you have orchestrated a crime so masterfully that even CSI couldn’t solve it. This is absolutely a no-win situation and cannot end well for anyone involved.

How can you stop the sadness? How can you find peace? Is there a way out or are you destined to go through life depressed and constantly fighting for the happiness and comfort that seems to come so easily to those around you?

You start contemplating suicide. You start thinking that with your dying breath the pain will finally cease and you will be comfortably at rest and in your own skin.

Your absence wouldn’t matter to anyone, because obviously they didn’t care when you were alive so why in death would things be any different? What would be the right time? How would you do it? Should you leave a note? These are just some of the things that cross your mind as you think about moving forward with your ill-fated plan, as you consider the best way to execute your personal mission for mental stability and closure on the agony that is your being.

“Admitting that you need help isn’t a sign of weakness, especially when holding it in could mean death.”

Two hands reaching for one another with text saying "Asking For Help Does Not Make You A Failure"

(Cautious) Living with untreated depression is like taking permanent residence on death row…

Unfortunately there are some people who actually follow thru and succeed in ending their lives, and then there are others, who by the grace of God manage to make it through these dark times and move forward in a positive direction. Gratefully I am the latter.

I was close to calling an end to my time here on this planet a few times, each time believing it was the only way to correct things and to truly put my mind at ease. I felt like it was the only way to get past the torment and heartache. Thankfully though, I had a great support system and was able to open up to people to let them know how I felt, which wasn’t easy by any means but absolutely necessary for healing.

Life is hard and unforgiving at times, if you let your guard down for too long it will swallow you up and drag you down to the depths of hell. I know it’s not all doom and gloom, but the truth of the matter is this, life is not all that kind and will tear you apart if you don’t prepare accordingly.

We can’t just assume that people know how we feel, especially when we go out of our way to disguise our true feelings (as stated above). We must be able to trust our loved ones with our innermost workings and allow them to help when they can. We can’t be afraid to ask and/or seek help when needed, professional help if applicable.

Your mind is extremely powerful, and at the same time very dangerous, especially if you have not trained it correctly. You could be your own best friend or your own worst enemy, completely depending on your overall mental health. When battling depression you become a hostage to your own psyche, which in turn, if not treated properly acts as the judge, the jury and unfortunately the executioner of your being. It is a menacing adversary who will do any and everything within its power to have you succumb to its will. This is not a war you want to fight alone because you won’t stand a chance, call in for backup!

You have to reinforce the barriers that protect your weak spots, train your mind to follow your lead, instead of it being the other way around. We must be strong and steadfast in the face of depression, so when these situations arise we can conquer them, and do so in a healthy and productive manner. If you’re not careful, your mind will bully you and beat you down, leaving you for dead…literally.

From the birth certificate to the obituaries, life can be a cruel mistress. Whether it is that tasty treat that you can’t have until you finish your icky dinner, or something more adult oriented like the loss of a job and/or bills piling up faster than you can knock them down. I’m sure you’ve heard this many times before; life is not fair and doesn’t play nice. The game is difficult, but totally worth playing, so put your game face on and play to win!

“Depression is the fire, and playing with it will get you burnt.”

Lady behind a rain coved window with one hand touching the glass.

 

(Due Process) Here comes the judge…

We all know the expression, “don’t judge a book by its cover”. The reason why we shouldn’t, is because until we read the pages of that said book we don’t really know what it’s about. Those pages may consist of unspeakable horrors, soul crushing pain and severe hardships. The cover may be all rainbows and unicorns, and the pages dark and depressing, and you’ll never know unless you move past what’s on the surface. Don’t discount someone due to superficial reasons; if you do it could lead to dire consequences.

For those of you who think that suicide is a sign of weakness, something that only a coward would do and/or something that only affects the most desolate of people, you’ve got a lot to learn. I am thankful that you’ve never had to endure the deadly sting that is depression and hopefully you never will. Don’t be foolish, because trust me this can happen to anyone, no matter who you are and/or where you are at in your life.

You may not personally be the one who is battling with depression and/or with the thoughts of suicide, but someone you know may just be, so keep a watchful eye out for the warning signs and don’t be afraid to act if necessary. As I said prior, due to an unfortunate stigma in this country when it comes to mental health most people are ashamed to speak up out of fear of ridicule and/or being considered weak. Bottom line, they are not going to come to you, you have to go to them.

Sometimes your perception of things is askew, things aren’t always how they appear. With that said, do your loved ones a favor and pay attention, don’t take anything for granted because by the time you finally realize there’s a problem it could already be too late.

We classify many different conditions and addictions as diseases in this country, which I can only assume is to make people feel better about overindulging, physically, mentally and of course financially. However, when it comes to depression we dare not speak of it in public out of fear of being labeled crazy, insane or mentally challenged in one way or another, hence the reason why we have such a problem with suicide in our country. This fact completely amazes and leaves me scratching my head in utter confusion. Needless to say, this has to change if we truly ever hope to rectify the issue at hand.

We ask each other, “How are you” but we don’t really want to know, we only do so to be perceived as caring individuals, of course not all but most for sure. God forbid they actually tell us their troubles, because then they are considered complainers and in our busy lives and hectic schedules we don’t have to for that.

We are programmed to act concerned and compassionate to our fellow humans because it’s the right thing to do, but the truth of it is that we don’t really want to be bothered. With the social stigma that already comes attached to depression, this way of being only makes it more complicated and risky for someone to feel comfortable enough to open up and honestly share what hinders them with us. We need to start being there for each other, and stop trying to hide from each other!

“Remember, sometimes a crowd is the loneliest place of all.”

Single Yellow flower in a field of grey ones

(Misconceptions) Walking a fine line, the razor’s edge…

Some say that suicide is selfish, which may very well be the case to those who’ve lost, but when someone feels lonely and abandoned who exactly are they being selfish to; at least that’s how they see it. Consider this, in their mind your loss is their gain, makes sense?

The old adage, “time heals all wounds” may be true for some, but it is definitely not true for everyone. We’re not all the same, and you’d be wise to remember that. To quote the Diff’rent Strokes theme song, “Now, the world don’t move to the beat of just one drum, what might be right for you, may not be right for some”. More accurate words have never been spoken, and if someone tells you otherwise, feel free to let them have a, “What’chu talkin’ ’bout, Willis”? No one has the right to tell you how long you should, or shouldn’t grieve, regardless of the circumstances.

Some personalities choose to stew over their plights; it’s just how they were made. They let them slowly cook like a meal in a crock-pot, and unfortunately by doing this; their internal temperature rises and things eventually boil over leaving nothing more than a hot mess.

Without help and/or a healthy way to release this pressure these individuals could possibly find themselves in dire straits. The aforementioned “time” that is supposed to heal all wounds becomes a catalyst for disaster and ultimately ends up doing more harm than good. Moral of the story, don’t assume that the way you handle stress is the only and proper way of doing so, because those assumptions could be very costly to you in the end.

“There’s always someone who has it worse”, is a statement I have heard thrown around many times as an attempt to “help” someone realize that their burden isn’t really all that bad in the grand scheme of things. Now this may very well be the case, and to some this may even be helpful advice, but unfortunately to those with depression this knowledge does little to ease the anguish that haunts their spirit, if anything it diminishes their pain and adds more fuel to the already raging fires. Be mindful with what you say and to whom you say it to, because your attempt to help may result in your outstretched hand becoming a clinched fist.

You know that you’re not to be negative, your glass is always supposed to be “half full”, because that’s the politically correct way to think. You’re not to fall down and stay down, you’re to pick yourself up and have a feel-good “Rocky” moment, where you kick ass and take names. Anything else makes you inferior to the masses, or at least that’s how you see it. Believe it or not, it’s perfectly acceptable to admit defeat and to ask for help when you need it. Doing so doesn’t make you any less of a person and/or weak, if anything it takes more courage and strength, so that is something you should take pride in.

“Don’t assume that others know how you feel about them, make it known.”

Girl with her head in her knees curled up, in a dark surrounding.

(Coping) The living dead…

This section is not about mindless zombies who crave brains like some of us crave chocolate, but instead the individual who is left behind after the person he/she cares about commits suicide. Their life becomes an out of control emotional rollercoaster filled with many “what ifs” and “whys”. Nothing makes sense anymore and they are as lost as a kid on the back of the milk carton.

There are cases where people realize there is something wrong, the warning signs have been heeded and the necessary actions taken. They try to help but their efforts are all in vain, their reached out hand is met with a stiff barrier reluctant to move. Their words fall on deaf ears; to the damaged psyche you come off sounding like Charlie Brown’s teacher. This is not because these people don’t want help, but rather because they don’t feel they are worthy of it, in their minds they are already at the end of their rope. No matter what how hard you tried, nothing got through to them and ultimately still decided to extinguish their flame.

Then sometimes even with the subtle clues and whispered cries for help a person can be blind to the issues at hand and not pay them much mind, they just write it off as a bad day or trouble getting over a pothole in the rearview on the road of life. Does this mean they don’t care, of course not, they just can’t see the pain and suffering through the overly happy façade of their loved one. Now although this is not done intentionally and/or with hate in their hearts, this is a costly mistake that could come back to haunt them when all is said and done.

Is this torment deserving and/or warranted, especially in the shadow of a recent loss? It is not, but regrettably it comes with the territory and is an unrelenting burden that the survivor(s) must bear until they learn to cope with the tragedy in a healthy manner.

“They have taken their life and left you feeling dead inside.”

 

Close up of an eye welling with tears

(Hope) The light at the end of the dark road…

This may be hard to believe, and even somewhat cliché to say, but there is a way to overcome the barrage of devastating punches life has bestowed upon you without having to throw in the towel. Keep your chin up and do your best to not give up on yourself or your loved ones.

I hope and pray the best for everyone, and if you ever need to talk feel free to let me know. I may not be able to solve every problem, but at least I could be an ear willing to listen and/or a shoulder to lean on if need be.

I’m speaking from experience my friends, I know it’s not easy, but you’re worth fighting for and doing whatever is necessary to live a happy and healthy life. When it comes to suicide the quote, “that which does not kill us, makes us stronger” has never been more fitting. Don’t be a statistic, be a survivor!

Truly words to “live” by!

“No matter what side of the coin you’re on, there are no winners when it comes to suicide.”

The End, but hopefully not for you…

When it comes to mental health screw society and its standards! We must be able to talk about it freely and without the fear of condemnation to truly be able to help those in need. Spread the word! #ChangeYourMindChangeTheirLife

“Bring flowers to someone to show them how special they are to you, not to decorate their grave after they’ve passed on.”

MJM

Helpful Links/Numbers:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Phone Number: 1-800-273-8255

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – Official Site
http://www.afsp.org/

Suicide Prevention: How to Help Someone who is Suicidal
http://www.helpguide.org/mental/suicide_prevention.htm

“Battlefield of the Mind”…a great book with lots of helpful practices and techniques to strengthen your mind, spiritual or not, this is a good read.
http://www.joycemeyer.org/battlefield/

Warning Signs – https://www.afsp.org/preventing-suicide/suicide-warning-signs

Cope – http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/end-of-life/in-depth/suicide/art-20044900

“Suicide” was Written by MJM
Original can be found at: http://the-insane-asylum.blogspot.com/2014/03/suicide.html
For more information check out: Mikejmele.wix.com/mjmwriter




 

I would like to take this moment to say a massive thank you to Michael for writing this raw, honest and heartfelt peace.
He and I became friends just recently, I have been following him on Twitter for a long while now, but as we got chatting, I plucked up the courage to ask if I could use his piece on my blog as a way to spread awareness of suicide and depression. He very kindly and humbly agreed.
I feel Michael has captured the way I have felt within my lifetime, and put it so eloquently. Unfortunately suicide is still very much a Taboo subject in today’s world, and that makes me very sad.
Suicide hits you when you are at your lowest point, and feel like you have nowhere else to turn. But there is hope, and there is so much help out their available to any person struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts.
Please reach out, people dO care and want to help.
here are a few UK support links:

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Suicide/Pages/Getting-help.aspx

Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year.

PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.
***disclosure*** Michael gave me permission to post his piece on my blog. I included the images.
If you would like to contact him regarding this fantastic piece you can find him on: https://twitter.com/MikeJMele?lang=en-gb
He also runs and publishes 3 very interesting and successful blogs:

The-insane-asylum.blogspot.com
The-nerdy-side-of-life.blogspot.com
Extremechristian.blogspot.com

Please comment and share this post. Our aim is to spread awareness of suicide and depression, by sharing this we can reach more people, and together show them that they are not alone!

Thank You ❤️

 




Let’s Talk About Depression

Depression is a chemical imbalance not a personality flaw. Mental illness  affects 1 in 5 people, with 1 in 4 people suffering from depression.

It can affect anyone, rom any background, at any time. We can all feel low, fed up and down at times, and this will usually pass within a week or two and doesn’t interfere with our daily tasks or living. Depression makes it hard to function and enjoy life like you once did, some people describe it as a black hole or feeling of complete emptiness, other people have described feeling angry, irritable, agitated or restless. There are many signs and symptoms of depression  which I am going to list below.




If you’ve had any of these signs or symptoms for 2 weeks or more, please seek help.

Signs and symptoms:
  • You feel hopeless/helpless
  • You’ve lost interest in friends, activities and things you used to enjoy.
  • You feel tired all the time.
  • Your sleep and appetite has changed.
  • You can’t concentrate or find previously easy tasks difficult.
  • You can’t control your negative thoughts, no matter how much you try.
  • You are much more irritable, short tempered or aggressive than usual.
  • You are consuming more alcohol than normal, or engaging in reckless behaviour.
  • You are self harming.
  • You have thoughts of suicide, or feelings that people would be better off without  you around.
Mental illness has such a stigma around it that people feel ashamed, embarrassed or deny that there is something wrong with them. People don’t want the label of having a mental health condition, or to be labelled as “crazy” or judged by others. As I said previously 1 in 5 people suffer from mental illness, with 1 in 4 suffering with depression. It could be your neighbour, coworker, or even a family member who may not have opened up to you.
We need to end the stigma around mental illness and depression, because in most circumstances a person just needs to be reminded  that they are still loved and thought of. You would go to the Doctors /  Hospital if you broke your arm, so why won’t you go for your mental health? Our brain is the main organ in our body that keeps us breathing, thinking, running and smiling, we need to remind ourselves that if our mental health is suffering, then
our body will too.
The ultimate protection from the discrimination and stigma associated with mental illness is to tell no-one, and keep it a secret, however this protection comes at a cost, feeling more alone and vulnerable than ever. In order to combat the stigma, and relieve some tension, you should find a confidant, someone you can truly trust, and will listen. This may be a health professional, close friend, family member, or even writing anonymously on forums/discussion boards.
There are so many benefits to opening up to your confidant; you no longer have to worry about keeping the secret, you can be more open in your day to day life, those you choose to tell may express support, and value your honesty  in confiding in them, those you share your story with may share similar stories o confirming you aren’t alone in your circumstances or experiences, your disclosure may help others in need, and of course it can help to  diminish negative connotations and stereotypes of mental illness.
My Story:
I myself suffer from depression, and looking back as  far as February this year these signs and symptoms started to appear. Unfortunately  I didn’t truly pay attention to myself,  any time I had a really bad or low day, I put this down to external circumstances and moved on. It wasn’t until August that I truly started to realise my behaviour and mood was drastically changing, and my partner and I had an open discussion about things and he suggested it was time to visit the doctor to ask for help.
I visited the Doctor, and my partner and I explained how I was changing, my mood was erratic and I felt hopeless  and exhausted, but then I would change to being extremely irritable, angry and  crying daily. During this talk I got emotional and said I hated feeling like this and treating my boyfriend this way. She was extremely patient and comforting. I was given a questionnaire to fill out, and told to fill it out thinking of my worst days, she asked me to bring back the form and she would look at my results and we would discuss options and where to go from there.
I returned and the Doctor said that my results ranked very highly  on the depression scale. We discussed options; I could choose to take anti depressants, speak to a counsellor, or do both. I opted for the anti – depressants, as I had never been on them before, whereas I had spoken with a counsellor in the past.
Every medication has side effects and that includes anti depressants, and I was told this before I had decided to opt for medication. The Doctor explained that it would take around 2/3 weeks to see any affects of the anti depressants, and I was to go back for a review in 3 weeks to discuss the treatment, I was also informed if I suffered any side effects I should contact the Doctors ?Surgery immediately.
The first few days were pretty crappy; I had dizziness, nausea and was extremely tired… I read the side effects and surprise surprise those were there, what was amusing was the side effects were also; feeling wide awake, overly tired, restlessness, irritability, increased appetite, loss of appetite, weight gain, weight loss, suicidal thoughts… As you can see they were contradictory effects, and essentially covered symptoms of depression its-self. Obviously depression isn’t funny but my partner and I have a warped sense of humour and thought it silly and amusing. I did suffer from several side  effects but chose not to go to the Doctor, as  the side effects were so extensive, I decided to just wait it out and see.
I’ve now been on my anti depressants for 3 months now, and can genuinely see and tell the difference, my sleeping pattern is far more regular, i’m nowhere near as exhausted, and I can concentrate and pay attention to things like I used to, and I am back in contact with friends socialising a lot more! As I mentioned the first few weeks were tough, but I don’t have any of the side effects now, and I’m beginning to really feel like my old self again 🙂
I know medication isn’t for everyone, but I just wanted to share my story and say, if you’re feeling hose persistent symptoms/signs above, don’t be afraid to reach out to someone you can trust. I’m thankful my partner and I are so open with one another, he noticed my changes from the beginning but he had to let me make that final decision on getting professional help.
It’s OK to ask for help and admit that you’re changing and not happy with it. Please never battle alone, or think that no-one cares, because that’s never true.
I’m more than happy to talk to anyone privately about their worries, or any questions you may have. I am also going to link some really helpful links below for people/organisations to contact if you so need to.
I’m also going to write a more in depth insight of my depression to give you a fuller insight, but i’d just like to take this opportunity to say thank you for reading, and I hope this information was useful to you.
Take care and best wishes!
Much love, Sassy x
NHS Support:
http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Depression/Pages/Symptoms.aspx
Samaritans:
http://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help-you/contact-us
Mind:
http://www.mind.org.uk
9 Thinks You Didn’t Know About Antidepressants:
http://www.thedebrief.co.uk/news/real-life/9-things-you-didnt-know-about-being-on-antidepressants-20151258066?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Social&utm_campaign=Hootsuite