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June 2016

Birthday Eve – Life staring at 29

Tomorrow I turn 29.

I have nothing together.

The only victory I have to celebrate is that I still exist.

My mental health rules the roost and it’s a bastard.

I have no money, no property and no health.

I am scared of going outside so I don’t run – if I make it outside for something I have to do for say work then it is a major victory.

I am medicated to my eyeballs.

I feel very little I just exist.

Someone asked me what my dreams are.

I don’t dream anymore.

I exist.

That is all.

Life like this is miserable.

I don’t feel often.

I miss feeling.

I miss the ups and downs and all the joy that comes from the emotions that ruled me.

I want to have dreams again. I don’t want to consider surviving a major achievement.

I spent most of my day in a major panic attack because I had to get myself into town and be normal for a few hours.

I then spent my evening de-briefing my mind because I know I have to see people all weekend and the thought of that is tiring.

Previous birthdays are full of joy and friends and memories. Each birthday I take it upon myself to think about the past year and the coming next year.

Where will I be? Where have I been?

The only successful thing I have is my relationship and even that I feel like a constant drain.  I am not an equal partner. I am a sick person.  Someone who needs looking after.

I miss who I used to be and I hope that I get to see a professional soon.

Bipolar at 28 soon to be 29 is crushing me.

The only thing I know is that I am here thanks to sheer determination to fight my demons but even that gets slowly eroded away.

I have no idea where I will be in a years’ time.  I would like to hope it’s a lot further along than where I am now.  I would like to think that I can think of some achievements other than existing.

Currently I feel like I contribute nothing to life and society.

But I guess it’s my birthday eve so things could always improve from tomorrow.

Happy Birthday me.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

So my last post (which you can read here) was on the frustration I have felt with the NHS waiting lists and the fact that I have to wait 12 weeks to see someone to review my medication.

I decided to direct my frustrations into doing some research and found out that I will need a tidy £300 to see a private psychiatrist.  In my naivety I thought maybe I could get covered by private healthcare but it turns out that no one will cover a pre-existing condition and also most don’t cover mental healthcare.

So now I am faced with a decision.  Do I use what little resources I have available to me and pay to see someone privately?

I am so incredibly frustrated with the NHS service in Manchester.  I have to specify that it is in Manchester that the service is terrible and not all over the country.  In other parts of the country and let’s face it I have moved around a lot, I have had some excellent services.

Manchester has been awful though.  I don’t know how people who are in crisis cope.  Personally I phoned Mind.  An excellent charity and they really helped calm me down, and suggested some numbers for me to call.

A great resource when you don’t feel quite ill enough to need to talk to the Samaritans for example.

(In my head phoning the Samaritans is reserved for absolute crisis point and I didn’t want to take some phone line space for someone who may have needed them more)

So first of all – I cannot speak highly enough of the charity options out there available for helping you.

Second of all – I cannot believe that despite paying taxes etc. we have to resort to charity work to supplement a shoddy service by the authorities.

I shouldn’t have to go private; I shouldn’t have to phone a charity.

I should be able to be treated in a timely manner by the NHS.

However, the world is full of shoulds.

So now I have to decide what I am going to do.  Still worried about the money side of it I have decided the first step is to try and talk to a GP next week.  (Plus even if I go private I still need a referral letter from the GP to the private psychiatrist).

I don’t think I can wait the 12 weeks to see the NHS psychiatrist so I guess the decision is kind of made.  Now to somehow afford it; anyone want to buy one of my vital organs!?

I’ll let you all know next week what happens but it looks like I’m going to attempt to go private.

Money is overrated anyway.  Who needs it………….

PS If you need to talk to the Samaritans their contact details can be found here:http://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help-you/contact-us

Or if you need some advice from Mind their contact details can be found here: http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/helplines/

 

Manchester your Mental Health Services are Appalling

I’m currently in tears because I have just had a phone call that I had to wait 2 months for, to be told that I was referred to the wrong place and I now need to wait on a waiting list for the right place which takes 12 weeks.

I just want my medication reviewed so I can get the hell off these terrible pills.

I’m ill all the time, either crying and low or maddeningly manic.

Because I can function and work as a writer despite all of this I don’t seem to be a priority.

I am so angry right now.

I’m crying because I’m mad as hell.

What an awful underfunded ridiculous way to treat someone with a mental health problem.

I am very lucky in that I am married to a doctor and looked after by friends and family.

Other people are not quite so blessed.

God knows how they cope.

When I lived in Stafford I was seen so rapidly it was brilliant. When I lived in Reading I had regular care and rapid referrals too.  Manchester has really let itself down.

I don’t really like to post negative things if I can help it but I am fuming.

It shouldn’t be so badly funded that it takes this long to be seen by someone.

The NHS is an excellent concept with some great individuals working within it but thanks to the way that government has under prioritised spending on mental health we have the situations that I’m in now.

Manchester is a huge area and I do not doubt it has its fair share of people with mental health issues.

I do not know how they cope.

I wish I could afford to go private and see a doctor that way.

This NHS post code lottery is ridiculous.

If you have been subject to waiting times that you feel have impacted your mental health as well please comment below or on the Facebook group.

 

 

Guest Blog: Having Your Trust Betrayed

I’ve talked before on this blog about my anxieties and how they affect me generally.

Normally I can find a way to tune out most of the worst of it, but recently something happened that caused me to lose faith in myself and others.

I found out the hard way what it was like to have your trust betrayed by someone I thought I could trust last week.

As a person with social anxiety I find it hard to trust people anyway but after several years and some quite deep conversations with this person, I thought I could open up.

The situation arose from comments to this person from a parent at the group where I volunteer.

This person has also been helping me to keep the group going during a shortage of help.  The parent had noticed some of my coping strategies (retreating to the relative safety of the kitchen has been fine previously when I’ve been feeling a bit anxious, but as I have had to step up and be much more of the front man in organising things and running nights, which is so much more stressful, it’s not so good).

It’s a fair observation and I have no problems admitting it as it helps me.
So I decided it would be a good time to be honest about my anxiety and why I felt the need to retreat every now and again.  I told her about the anxiety issue and she said we could work on it and she would help me to keep an eye on the issue.
What I found out the following week was that she had also used this information to try and justify my behaviour.

She actually took my anxieties and spread it to the parent of a child who I work with.  This information was then passed on to at least one other person, the wife of another helper at the group, who then passed it back to me (I don’t know how far this information was actually spread beyond this).
So my immediate reaction is great, now everyone thinks I’m crazy and not fit to look after their kids.

I confronted this person, and she said she passed it on in order to help the parent understand why I do these things and also to point out that it is a direct action of us not having enough help.

While this is a fair point, I was quick to point out that for most people no matter how you write down or explain mental health issues…they look bad, especially when you’re in a position of responsibility.  She did apologise for what she had done.
As a very single guy who works with young kids voluntarily, you always wonder what people think of you but I can get past that. Throw in mental health issues, even ones like mine that are relatively mild compared to some…and I’ve been worried about what people think.

So I already had a low mood and this then sunk very much lower quite quickly after this.

I didn’t want to trust anyone again, and I just hated people in general.  This low mood has haunted me for some time as a result.

At the time I just wanted to quit, I wanted to know why these people felt that they had to betray me like this and pass on such sensitive information.

I decided not to ask in the end though.  I guess there is no real positive I can take from this story other than the fact that I will try and push on…. because I still feel bad and I’m worried something will happen as a result of it.

I hope the person who I thought I could trust would learn not to pass on information like that in future, but I guess I’ll never know.

Please note that anonymous guest blogs have a featured image to associate it with the same person.  If you want to find more blogs by this guest blogger look for the football photo on previous posts.  

Can you call me Crazy?

Well no, it’s not OK.  I can call myself crazy but it’s probably not OK for you to do the same.

Is it really OK for me to call myself crazy?

Probably not too, it is probably a way to bring myself down by using derogatory language about myself.

It’s an interesting minefield the world of what language is OK when discussing mental health.

Some think it’s insulting to always refer to mental health issues, illnesses and conditions.  Others see this as normal everyday language.

I was recently part of a heated debate about whether you can call antidepressants happy pills.

My stance was that you are adding humour into a difficult subject, but others saw it as demeaning suggesting that the term made it sound like you just needed to buck up a bit with some magic pills and your depression would be cured.

I can see where they’re coming from but I still maintain that humour in the face of a tough subject is something that I think we should all attempt.

It makes it less awkward to discuss.

Let’s be honest people already tip toe around the subject area with awkwardness as it is.

Let’s lighten up and actually open the conversation up.

Of course it is also a matter of intent.  Someone could use derogatory language on purpose to demean and belittle you.  Well that obviously is not OK.  So maybe we should seize all language and filter it….wait that’s not OK either.

It’s a fine line to tread but as long as the speaker isn’t trying to be horrid, and the listener can explain why certain things make them feel certain ways then I think it is an area we can navigate together.

So what do you think?  Am I being disrespectful by even suggesting we lighten up?  Or am I trying to open the conversations and get people talking on a subject that is already heavily stigmatized?

Comment below or on the Facebook group! (Link to the Facebook group is here)

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