I have been rather neglectful of my blog thus far in 2015 and today is the day to change that. Today is also the day when we can all pull together to fight the stigma of mental health.
Time to Change, the mental health anti-stigma programme run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, are encouraging people of all ages to take part in the national Time to Talk Day by taking 5 minutes today, Thursday 5th February, to have a conversation about mental health.
Hundreds of schools, organisations and members of the public on Time to Talk Day will come together to break the silence that surrounds mental health.
If you have been reading my blog you will have seen that I am not too shy about discussing my mental health. I feel that by blogging I can let people near me know what is going on without them feeling awkward but also it feels as a good way to process and evaluate how I feel rather than let my thoughts and emotion clog up my head.
I'm taking 5 today because no one should be ashamed of any illness - whether it is a depression or a sprained ankle.
In my own life I have been using my anti-depressants which do seem to work but I will admit I have been double dosing myself occasionally which has shortened an emotional crash I was entering. However, with January and February being so busy for work and for my pantomime, it is hard to know what I will be like in a few weeks once it is over. Later today I have a telephone appointment with someone from the Berkshire NHS Talking Minds Service. Whilst I have told my boss it is just a GP appointment, actually it is the next stage of referral.
For those of you who have not read my blog before I believe I may have bi-polar - something my GP said was a possible explanation.
Bipolar disorder (formerly known as manic depression) is a severe mood disorder. Individuals experience low moods, which might be characterised by depression, feelings of hopelessness, a lack of energy and social withdrawal. At other times, high, manic moods can bring confidence, energy and optimism, as well as a loss of inhibition.
For me, bi-polar fits as I am not permanently depressed; in fact some times I could be described as hyperactive. Also bi-polar disorder suggests that the mechanics of my mind are not quite right which also makes me 'happy'. To me it suggests that my previous attempts at talking therapy did work but 'gearing' is not quite right. The difficult part is that for 50%-70% of the time I am not low or depressed nor do I have any thoughts of self-harm or suicide. It is at these times that I wonder why I need anti-depressants or to go through the NHS' overstretched Mental Health services because who doesn't 'like' being hyper?
The stigma around mental health still exists which when we know that 1 in 4 people will be affected by a mental health condition is inexcusable. If you are mentally healthy, then you will know at least one person in your immediate freinds or family who has a mental health issue at some level - so how can it still be a taboo?
We have come a long way from the days of murdering our own troops for 'shellshock' or hiding mothers away with what we now can 'Post Natal Depression' and whilst it is true the current government has put policies out declaring that mental health be given the same attention as physical health; society still has a long way go to.
By reading this blog and other online things you are joining the fight against this stigma so go on your social media and share you support by 'taking 5' today.
Oh - and come see me in pantomime this weekend! Did you see Channel 4's Sunday Brunch a week ago? Yes that was me! hehe.
Thank you for tolerating me; Much love xx
You don’t have to be an expert
to talk about mental health.
Talk, but listen too: simply being there will mean a lot.
Keep in touch: meet up, phone, email or text.
Don’t just talk about mental health: chat about everyday things as well.
Remind them you care: small things can make a big difference.
Be patient: ups and downs can happen.
Find out more about mentalhealth and how to be there forsomeone at time-to-change.org.uk
This blog is part of the,Time to Talk Day 2015 #Take5ToBlog initiative.
"We are asking people to break the silence that stigma creates by joining our 24 hour talking marathon. Mental health is relevant to every family, workplace, school, sports group, place of worship, social club or community group, so let’s get talking…”
For information about Time to Talk Day and how you can get involved please visit http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/timetotalkday