*Special Guest Writers*
A Guest Poem from Dickie, aka BONK…
The thing with mental health and trying to write about it, is a curse,
It sometimes makes me wonder if it makes me feel much better or just worse,
Opening my mind to a flury of mad wisdom and inner chatter,
As I listen hard to understand the voices as they prattle and they clatter,
When my brain goes pop and I’m left here just shaking and twitching,
Pacing up and down, wearing a path back and forth from the kitchen,
Scratching and trembling I find it hard to understand and feel the flow,
Asking for answers to questions I don’t understand or really want to know.
They say it’s the creative side, unlocked I can explain why I’m insane,
But it doesn’t make much sense when the voices start to say that I’m to blame,
It’s hard for me as it hurts deep inside and spins my world apart,
So I’m writing this stuff down though it’s hard to catch the meanings as they dart,
Deep inside my head and running pictures like a movie though my soul,
Short circuiting my feelings and making me feel shit their only goal,
So I welcome both the duvet and soft fluffy pillow neath my head,
Cold drink beside me and a slightly open window by the bed.
Let in some light so I can see what’s real and what is not,
Searching out the boundaries ignoring that I’m cold and then I’m hot,
But my head it starts adjusting following days of heavy trouble and unrest,
It’s good that I could capture all these feelings as they spill out across my chest,
I tell myself to not stay down just take a little break and ease right back,
I know that I’m to far along to throw in all the towels and to crack,
Just need some time to get back where I was and give a damn,
And all the love that’s out their, from the people who believe in who I am,
Let my head drift off as I lay there finding strength to be once more,
The funny, laughing Bonk they know, the one who like a bird can really soar,
I’m floating now, my head is cooling down, and lost its frown,
Capturing these moment as they happen and then try to write it down.
I hope that this makes sense for those who’ve never been lost inside your head, the picture just a load of static on the screen.
Love and Best Wishes
Aside Posted on Updated on
Dearest Fellow Mentalists,
I’ve been Invited by Dawn to write a little piece about, who and what I’m all about….
Seven years ago I was diagnosed as being Bipolar!! After nodding at the doctor as if knowing exactly what it was.. I dashed for the Google search bar and in short after a roller coaster ride of new medication, one after another, and more MH Admissions than I care to remember, I began my quest for creating new things. After redesigning my house more times than a Blue Peter project I stumbled upon the fact that most things I wrote ended in a cheeky poetic verse.
Dave Lupton (aka Crippen), a disabled cartoonist, is also my Dad. I used to dream of being as creative as him. I found writing helped me to vent ‘pent-up’ frustration. I applied to Disability Arts Online to become an online blogger for ‘mental health’ to help others better understand what is that us so-called ‘nut jobs’ are really all about! About a year ago ‘Bonk Bipolar‘ was born… The character comes from Crippen cartoon strip called the Criptarts and Dave (Dad) said I could bring him to life. Since the first blog on DAO I’ve kept it going on a regular basis with assistance from Dad helping me to sub edit and illustrate my work.
In August last year I received a call from Colin Hambrook editor of DAO, telling me there was a memorial service in London to remember the 10600 people killed at the hands of Atos. He told me that many poets and people in the disabled world would be there and asked would I like to read one of poems!!! Eeeeeeeek! I accepted the challenge and what an experience it was to be able to share Bonk’s world’s out load with a supportive crowd listening in.
Since then I’ve been dedicated to the fight against Atos and I felt it was Bonk’s job to stand and fight on and for the behalf of the many. I feel that being a voice of the ‘weak and vulnerable’ is where I currently stand, not because of my personality or illness, but because of what this Government is allowing to happen to people like me, and I welcome anyone to come along stand beside me. I’m dedicated to the Atos demo on the 19th of Feb at present so excuse my artistic flow as it dives towards some politics, and dark reading.
Thanks for reading my first Mentally Wealthy blog, please take time to read one of my poems (below).
I hope I’ve made some sense..
And a massive thanks to Dawn for giving me this opportunity and to everyone involved in supporting my work so far..
Dickie (Aka Bonk Bipolar) xxx
“You ask me why I write in rhyme, do I really do it all the time?
Why I communicate in verse, does it make my thoughts seem terse?
What’s the reason for this style, easier my thoughts to file?
My poems they need to be compact, to cram in feelings and some fact.
Condensed, distilled, more punch it packs, I have to keep it on the tracks.
But then my verses can be dark, beware the bite that’s in this bark.
My anger it just spills right out, and then my poems become a shout!
All those feelings locked away, it becomes so hard to say,
what I really feel inside, where my secret thoughts all hide.
But with verse they seem to fall, from between my lips they call,
faster than the speed of thought, in my poetry they’re caught.
Feelings strung out in a row, like a life-line you would throw.
Perhaps that is the reason why, I think in verse no tongue to tie.
Then it’s rhythm to the fore, feelings knocking on the door,
waiting for my mind to turn them into images that burn
like a candle in my mind, spilling light as words unwind.
Into doggeral and worse, into badly fractured verse.
But it becomes what I can show, all my muddled thoughts that grow,
into something you can see, which in the end is really … me!”
You can see me here:
I was flicking through a women’s magazine and came across one of those celebrity interviews which I started to read. I did a double take when I saw…..”I just have this schizophrenic thing with chocolate and cake. My sweet tooth has to be satisfied”. What on earth does that mean? I emailed the magazine and they don’t know what it means either so I got nowhere. It’s worrying that a national magazine would print something it didn’t understand. Can I be the only one who finds the use of *schizophrenic* in this context totally wrong? I believe *schizophrenia* to be a useless, damaging and stigmatising word and I would ban it if I was able. If you’ve been diagnosed with *schizophrenia* you are likely to face ignorance stigma and discimination – you are also likely to be terrified by auditory and visual hallucinations, and other distressing and life affecting symptoms. The medication given for the condition is harsh with sometimes devastating side effects and the condition can be single episode or it can be life long. This is why it is not funny to use the word out of context. Politicians have called the economy *schizophrenic* and people will use the word *psychotic* where it does not belong and they clearly have no understanding of what the words mean. I imagine the celebrity interview example I gave could upset someone suffering with *schizophrenia*; it could make them feel belittled and stigmatised. Using this word out of context highlights the ignorance surrounding mental illness and flies in the face of the sterling work carried out by Time to Change http://www.time-to-change.org.uk and others. As I’ve often said, the script writers of our soaps need more guidance to prevent them using stigmatising language and so too do our journalists and it’s not acceptable for journalists to bandy the word *schizophrenic* around in the wrong context while admitting they don’t understand its use…..and not understanding how unhelpful it is to the one in four of us who’ve experienced a mental health problem or who are experiencing one. We need support compassion and understanding not ignorance and non acceptance. What do you think?
Hi everyone. It’s Amanda here from Beauty From Pain Blog.
Sorry this is coming to you so late in the weekend. I was being my usual procrastinating self!
Now I’m sure you’ve likely seen the announcement of the This Week in Mentalists Awards 2013. (If you haven’t, do please check them out, and get nominating.)
In doing this week’s round-up, I thought ‘why not go back and check in with some of last year’s winners and runner-ups?’ Let’s see what they’ve been up to and how they’ve been lately.
So here goes.
Firstly, I’d like to say that I do look forward to this year’s TWIM Awards, but in my eyes, everyone involved in the madosphere community is a winner, as we all play a part in it.
To begin with, an insightful post from Falling Short of Perfection on Acknowleding the Assistance the ED has given.
|I think it’s also ok to thank the eating disorder for the role it has played. If for no other reason than to come to peace with it, and ultimately come to peace with my own journey that this illness has taken me on.But the reality is that the eating disorder has given me things I couldn’t have gotten from anywhere else; and I think it’s ok to acknowledge and accept that. The ‘benefits’ of the eating disorder certainly don’t outweight the costs and the negatives and that is why I am choosing to work hard at recoevery. I’m expecting to be slammed down by other eating disorder advocates, who direct all the negative energy at the eating disorder. I think it’s important to get angry at the eating disorder and not the person, but I also think it’s important ot accept that the eating disorder wouldn’t exist if there wasn’t some kind of benefit coming from it.
For me, the benefits have been;
But in case there are any young people reading, who are just at the start of the illness – I’m not sure it will make much of a difference, but just in case it does, here is a very condensed list of what my eating disorder has taken from me. I’d write everything, but I’m sure you’d get bored by page 0.5/23123701841371283372.
– My dignity
I think it’s ok to say thank you to my eating disorder for being there when I needed it. But I don’t anymore, and my recovery means that I can say thank you, without the need to stay with it out of guilt, attachment or any sense of oweing it anything.Of course it won’t be that simple, but I am making steps.
I loved reading the hope in this blog post, and it also give me a lot more insight into eating disorders.
Werehorse describes why she would never voluntarily go into hospital again
|I would have a tiny, cramped bedspace in a room with four other people, with only the privacy afforded by a thin curtain and nowhere to get any peace and quiet. If I woke up in the middle of the night, or very early in the morning, as I often do,
I wouldn’t even be able to turn the light on, let alone have a drink and a smoke.I would only be able to go down to the garden for a few minutes every hour, and sometimes not even that if the staff were busy. I wouldn’t have access to a computer or the internet, and I wouldn’t be allowed to do scraperfoils, which are providing my main distraction at the moment, because the tool would be judged too dangerous.
The only activities available would be sitting on the uncomfortable furniture watching television, usually the soaps, which I don’t like, or colouring in children’s pictures with cheap felt-tips that are running out of ink, or completing the couple of ancient jigsaws with many missing pieces that I have already done several times on previous admissions. And maybe the occasional card-making session or Recovery group, complete with patronising tips on how to problem-solve, and set small goals, and eat healthily.
The only food on offer would be disgusting, when I am already having problems with my appetite.I would be even less likely to have a shower or wash my clothes than I am at home, and no one would notice if I didn’t.
The staff would rarely speak to me except to call me for meds. I would feel caged, trapped, imprisoned behind that locked door..
This is a post that I, for one, can certainly empathise with.
While psychiatric hospital can play a helpful part in the recovery process, Werehorse paints a vivid and accurate description of quite how bleak a psychiatric ward can be, and how it can be less than helpful at times.
Lottie at Just Me, Nobody Else, Just Me gives us a very brief update
|So when did I last post?
I don’t know
Things have been bad, I have spent most of July, August and September as an InPatient than at home, due to being initially “Manic” and then “severely Depressed” (according to the psychiatrist who initially sectioned me the first time, the last admission was informal, but not really, it was one of them if you
My mood is predominantly low/depressive and I can’t shake it, but there is a huge restlessness as well, I can’t sit still for very long and when I do my legs are doing that annoying tapping thing It’s like Im anxious of even my own company. I’m not sure what’s going on tbh
Sorry, I wish I could give more of a better update, but I just don’t really have much else to say
Lottie, it’s clear from your post how tough things are for you right now – and have been for quite a while. I don’t have any words of wisdom – I always wish I did – but please know that we are all willing you through this, and despite how it feels, and the fact that it likely makes little difference, please know that you aren’t in this alone.
Bourbon checks in , and describes a situation with his sister.
I’m really sorry I have been totally slacking in
1.) replying to any comments you leave me and
2.) leaving comments on your blogs.Truth be told I’m not really very present in my life at the moment really.
Things are very raw emotionally, truths are staring at me in the face, and a lot of the time I just do what I do best: dissociate from it all.A lot of the time I find it hard enough just opening my mouth to speak to my housemate, or writing a simple text to one of my friends.
I think perhaps I have gone a bit into maximum self protection mode.It is my sisters birthday in two days and we haven’t spoken since I cut off contact with the parents and she made it very clear she was on “their side”. I have been in constant debate with myself over whether to expose myself to her (like I did with the mother recently) and send a happy birthday message. Though a ‘happy birthday’ message seems a bit anaemic really given the circumstances but I am not prepared to get into conversation with her when I know she has been brought up to basically regurgitate the mothers beliefs and truths.
Either way, whether I write her a message or not, I feel like I am going to be under attack. If I do write a message then she has the means to write back and that is, quite simply, dangerous. If I don’t write a message then I imagine I will be cursed by the ‘family’ for being so bitter and family-destroying. And when I say cursed I unfortunately mean in the literal sense. The supernatural beliefs about my mothers ‘powers’ have unfortunately been stirred by the contact with her and Cat wholly believes that the email the mother wrote to me is purposefully laced with trigger words. I haven’t yet asked her which words (aside from the obvious: you have demons) because it makes me feel nauseous just contemplating that my mother can be that manipulative and cruel, even if just unconsciously.
So yes, chances are I won’t be writing anything to my sister. But it has put me on edge. Hopefully, weather/phobia permitting, Cat and I are going to abandon the therapy room tomorrow and head to the woods for a bit of ‘normal time’. Hopefully it will succeed in getting me outside of my head for a bit so I can get some distance from these mixed up thoughts from the past. My life has slowly crept back to being 99% trauma processing; how quickly I let fun and normality slip through my finger tips. It is time to get a hold on it again.
Bourbon, that does sound like a very tricky situation with your sister. I know how much of an negative impact sensitive family situations can have on our mental health, and this is something that you clearly have recognised.
I’m really hoping for you that you do get a hold on that fun and normality again.
My Crazy Bipolar Life wonders if she has made progress with CPN#2 at last
|So this morning I got a phone call from CPN#2 who said she was calling me for two reasons. One was to find out why I didn’t attend my appointment with her last week and the other because she had the notes from my A&E visit on Sunday night in front of her.
This is unusual for her to phone me for missing an appointment and also unusual for her to phone me because she’s seen I’d attended A&E. I couldn’t help but wonder if she had read that my support worker had taken me there at 11pm on a Sunday night and maybe the A&E nurse wrote something on the notes about how unhelpful I’m finding my appointments with CPN#2. Maybe the combination of both finally made her decide she better at least phone and appear as though she gives a shit… either way… she called.
So her first question to me was about my non-attendance of appointments. I could feel my heart suddenly beating super fast and hard in my chest, a huge wave of anxiety came over me because I knew this was my opportunity: be honest with her but not know how she’ll react – or – make some excuse up and let her carry on thinking it’s ‘me’ not ‘her’. There was a lot of noise in the background and CPN#2 said she could barely hear me so was going to move to another room and call me straight back. I used those two minutes to quickly decide whether or not to be honest with her and what the hell to say.
My phone started ringing again a few minutes later and with a deep breath I said I wanted to try and explain what was going on. I wanted to be polite about it, I knew if I started going on about all the little annoying habits she has like “setting an agenda” and the stopwatch app on her phone running all the way through our appointments I would just end up getting angry, sounding silly and not achieve anything. So instead I explained (as calmly as I could) that I felt she was only willing to discuss this Compassionate Mind therapy with me and that any time I have tried to divert away from that to talk about how I’m feeling or how my mood is, she’ll stop me in my tracks and say “this isn’t on our agenda”. I was getting the feeling she was going to start being all defensive so I added in that I *did* want to try and learn the Compassionate Mind stuff because it seemed like a positive step in the right direction… i.e. something that will help me in the future whereas going back to talking about self harming, low moods, etc seemed like a step backwards. This seemed to balance things out a bit as I came across like I was willing to take some responsibility for not opening up to her or being honest with her.
That does certainly sound like progress! From what I have read, that progress would not have happened without your honesty, so a big well done from me!
Charlotte at Purple Persuasion tells us of Five hot buzzwords in the future of mental health
|Yesterday I attended a day at health charity The King’s Fund on the future mental of health in London. The event was for stakeholders (which basically means people who are invested in the process of planning services) and attenders included managers and professionals from Mental Health Trusts, commissioners (the people who decide what services are needed and who should be paid to deliver them), local politicians and a really good showing of service users and carers from Rethink and Mind.
The aim of the day was to decide how mental health in London should look in five years time – what we should be doing more of, and what should become things of the past.I learned a lot about what current priorities are for the people who plan and deliver the services we use.
Of course, no event about the NHS would be complete without buzzwords and although this was a London event, if you live in the UK these buzzwords will shaping a service near you. There will be opportunities to get involved, but we need to be on top of the jargon used in the mental health field if we’re going to have our say. Here’s my attempt to decode some of the buzzwords, and think about what they might mean for us.
The five buzz words are:
- Intelligent data
and I hope you will head on over to Purple Persuasion and read more about them and what they might mean for service users.
The Masked AMPH gave us a list of abbreviations and other jargon used in his blog.
|I try to avoid using too much jargon in this blog, but I inevitably have to use acronyms and abbreviations for brevity if nothing else. So here’s a list of acronyms and other common terms that crop up, with explanations. Any legislation referred to is British (or more specifically, referring to England and Wales, as Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own Mental Health legislation.)Many of the explanations are highly simplified. If you want to know more about a particular topic, you can search the blog using the blog search box, or look up the Labels on the right hand side of the blog.If I have left anything out, or if you want any further explanations, please leave a comment.
AMHP: Approved Mental Health Professional An AMHP can be a social worker, occupational therapist, mental health nurse or clinical psychologist. They have the power to detain people in hospital under the MHA.
Appeal Patients detained in hospital under Sec.2, Sec.3, Sec.4, and Sec.7, and those subject to a CTO, have the right to appeal against their detention. Their case is then heard by an independent Mental Health Tribunal, who have the power to discharge the patient from detention. Anyone who appeals has the right to free legal representation.
ASW Approved Social Worker The predecessor of the AMHP. Before 2007, only social workers could detain people.
As you’ll see, I’ve included only the ‘A’ list here, so I do hope you will pop over to The Masked AMHP for the full list. A very handy reference tool!
On Beauty From Pain Blog, Katy performed a similar task, with a guest post of a Mental Health Jargon Buster , in this case listing a lot of the more informal but widely used terms we see used on social media.
|Hi, my name is Katy. I’m a friend of Amanda’s, and I asked if I could write a guest blog post using Beauty from Pain Blog. So a little bit about me and why I’m doing this post.
I’m not new to mental health issues but I am new to getting support from a Community Mental Health Team, frequent admissions, and more importantly in the context of this post, new(ish) to twitter.
When chaos ensued last year, I turned to where I knew people would understand, and that was twitter. It was such a relief to find so many people with similar issues, who I could ask questions to and could just have a chat and giggle with.
However, what confused me at first and still does occasionally, is all the abbreviations or acronyms relating to Mental Health which are used both in the real world and online.
Experienced online networking aficionados will know all the following terms I’m sure, but if you’d like to learn the basic terms so tweets, posts and even real life paperwork make more sense, here’s a list.
AMHP – Approved Mental Health Professional
Again, this is only a sample of some of the terms included in the jargon buster, however I do hope you will head over to Beauty From Pain Blog to see the full list. It’s a very useful list, so a big thanks to Kay for compiling it!
So, that’s a round up of some of the winners and runners-up from last year’s blogs and what they have been up to lately.
I am very excited about this year’s TWIM awards. I have no doubt that we will see many familar blogs nominated, but I do hope that you will nominate lots of newer blogs also.
So that’s it from me – until next time.
Let’s make sure it’s this side of Christmas, as ‘Merry Christmas’ isn’t something that I want to be wishing you just yet! :)
Author and Campaigner Judith Haire says:
“I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at the moment. Oliver James makes a valid point about the link between child abuse and psychosis. He isn’t the first, and won’t be the last..
But that doesn’t mean people who were not abused and become psychotic are any different from those who were. IMO neither has a *psychiatric* illness.
Both suffered some adverse life event whether emotional distress, sexual or other abuse and both became psychotic.
Psychosis (and I know what I am talking about I’ve been Psychotic) is a safe place to retreat when conditions and emotions are too intolerable. The Psychosis is the voice! We speak through our psychosis and when auditory and visual hallucinations are studied in a sensitive way,they can reveal the story of what happened to that person. All this time picking this issue to its bones – stop it please stop it, give your energy instead to helping poor souls who become psychotic and please don’t insult those of us who were abused by saying the OUTCOME was nothing to do with abuse it was somehow our fault, our brains. Please.”
Judith Haire www.judithhaire.com author of Don’t Mind Me.
A note and a heart felt plea from Mum and #MentalHealth campaigner Lynn (@SignSaveLives) #ukmh #wca #disability
A note and a plea from Lynn Blackmore:
“Please would people kindly sign this petition which ends 20th March. I have tried very hard to get this to 10,000 signatures but there seems to be apathy when it comes to signing it. I feel if this we’re for a basket of pretty kittens the signatures would have been there in a week like the badger petition, yet human beings who suffer mental ill health don’t seem to count as much in the publics eye! My son who suffers from schizophrenia, has been in a psychiatric hospital now for 31 months, yet he’s being hassled by ESA, WCA, DWP, asking him if he’s fit for work! This is crazy, and the bullying of the mentally ill and vulnerable has to stop! All I can do as a distraught and worn out mum now, is beg you to PLEASE sign this so I at least get this to 10,000 signatures, because the Government then HAS TO AT LEAST ACKNOWLEDGE THIS PETITION!”
Here’s a link to Lynn’s petition. With PIP (Personal Independence Payments) seemingly overlooking mental illness it is vital people act. Tie is running out for this petition. There are 23 days to get just over 800 people to sign, how hard can that be folks?