Cut off from the world by my own head…

Mentally, today is not a good day for me. I feel cut off from the entire world by my own head. I am feeling my illness stomping around inside my head, looking to see what damage it can do today.

I see my illness as a complete entity. It’s female as well. Don’t ask me how I now that, I just do. She is a mean and nasty bitch. She takes over part of my head, whether it be my paranoid part, my bipolar part or one of the many other parts she could go for and manipulate.

I just feel that it is so important to get this down before I get too unwell. My carer is with me so the boys are fine (they are 18 and almost 17) and both autistic. As long as they have a games console in front of them and someone pushing food at them along with the occasional can of coke, they are happy.

So back to the she bitch otherwise known as my mental illnesses. She seems to be quite keen to be giving my bipolar a good poking and she has been doing since around 4pm yesterday. Instead of listening to my head and getting the hell off Facebook and getting some rest, I carried on and eventually being that stupid I allowed myself to be triggered over a stupid bullshit news article. I posted in in outrage that could happen in the free world, that people could allow this to happen. Then, one of my best ever friends (and rightly so) posted her reaction to the post.

I lost my shit because I thought that I had upset her ( I know I haven’t now) but at that time it was horrendous. That insidious creeping guilt.

Then my head bitch took over. It almost feels like she locks me in a cage inside my head and I’m rattling at the bars and shouting that I’m in here but people just cannot hear me.

She starts to wind up whichever part of my illnesses that she wants to and she loves to make my life hell. It’s like she has a long list of the things that my ‘father’ and my ‘ex’ used to say to me and she reels them off one after the other so I’m constantly being told just how bad I really am. Then there are times when this illness decides to speak for me. She becomes a spitting, snarling demon who says the most horrible things to those who are closest to me and I cannot stop her at any time. This just breaks me inside, it truly does.

Why am I laying myself low and open to possible inspection and judgement? Because I believe that it is hugely important for people to be aware of what mental illnesses can do to a person and how we can be laid low by this uninvited visitor in our heads.

If you read this and you are feeling the same as, or worse than I do, then I urge you to get in touch with your GP. As soon as you can.

There are other things that you can do within the UK. If you are feeling so low that you can’t see a way out then please get in touch with The Samaritans Their number is 116 123 and it is free to dial from a UK landline or mobile. It’s important to know that the number will not appear on any phone bills, so nobody can check any phone calls that you have made.

There is the SANE line on 0300 304 7000 and they run from 6pm to 11pm 365 days a year.

The silver line on 0800 4 70 80 90 aims to help people over the age of 55. They run 24/7 365 days a year.

CALM is a line for men feeling distressing thoughts and feelings. They are on 0800 58 58 58 and run 5pm to 12pm 365 days a year.

Switchboard, the LGBTQ+ helpline on 0300 330 0630 which runs from 10am to 11pm 365 days a year.

Papyrus HOPEline on 0800 068 4141 are there for under 35’s who are struggling with thoughts of suicide or self harm.

Whomever you talk to, I beg that you talk to someone. Please don’t make the mistake I made and say nothing until it’s too late. There is always somebody who will listen.

It is vitally important that we take the lead and make people hear us. That we show people that mental health problems are nothing to be afraid of or stepped around and ignored. #timetotalk

I’m now needing to get the hell off the internet and cry.

Be kind to yourselves.x

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Unboxing my February ’18 Blurt Foundation Buddy Box (subscription box)…

My box arrived yesterday and was wrapped in plastic, which was a little bit of a downer as I couldn’t neatly open it to repurpose it. There was a tear in the corner of the bag. Looking suspiciously like someone had tried to peak inside. However, as the boxes are plain brown apart from some gold lettering and pictures on the lid, it wasn’t possible to see what was in the box. Whoever peeked probably thought, “Dirty cow’s been buying sex toys!” 😜😜😜 However in all seriousness I would like to see some recyclable/biodegradable outer packaging. That would be nice.

Why do I have a Blurt Buddy Box? Quite simple really. It’s my friend Jenna’s fault. Yup. Blame squarely at her door, on her shoulders, however you want to say it. Hahaha, just kidding. Love you dude!

So who are Blurt?

Well, quite simply put, Blurt are like a big cuddle you can get on the internet when you feel like your black dog is snapping at your heels. Whether you are newly diagnosed with depression or have known for a long time, we all occasionally need help. Blurt are here to give that help.

What are Buddy Boxes?

Buddy Boxes are a subscription box service that exist to bring some self care and happiness through your letter box once a month. They also help The Blurt Foundation raise much needed funds to continue its hugely important work. They cost £21.50 a month and postage is free within the UK. They do ship internationally but I’m not sure about costs. They do a Buddy Box which has five items and a Buddy Box Lite which has three. Obviously the Lite box is much cheaper.

I stress at this point in my post that I was not provided to me for free. I received a box from a very kind friend who has bought me a subscription for my birthday.

What’s on the box?

As I mentioned before, the box is a sturdy looking plain brown postage box (fnarr fnarr) and the top of the box is embossed with two gold llamas and the words Buddy Box.

(See what I mean? Sorry my camera just wouldn’t take this picture any better.)

What’s in the box?

I gave said box a jolly good sniff before I took the lid off. There was a definite smell to it but I couldn’t quite make my mind up what that smell was.

February’s box theme was “You’re the llamas pyjamas”.

As the box lid came off, the smell became much more noticeable and distinct. Not an unpleasant smell but not the nicest smell ever. (My favourites being cinnamon, ginger, and patchouli). The box was covered inside with white paper with black llamas drawn on it and was quite cute. Both the gift box and the llama paper could be repurposed so huge brownie points awarded there for sure.

As I peeled back the llama paper, there were two postcards sitting on the top of the contents. The first one was an orange one detailing the contents of the box (which I deliberately avoided looking at so I didn’t spoil my surprise). The other one was blue, with llamas on, along with the words “You’re the llama’s pyjamas”. It’s blank on the back, so that one can be kept in a collection or sent to someone to cheer them up.

Then I located the source of the smell. The stronger it got, the more unpleasant it got. It turned out to be a “fortifying green bath lotion” from MOA. The scents were peppermint, fennel and fir needle. The only smell out of those three that I like is fir needle. I loathe the smell of fennel especially as it smells like aniseed. However I’m not sad about it. You can’t like everything in every box every time right?

Next comes a llama keying craft kit that you can make yourself. It’s super cute!!! However as I have physical conditions that restrict my hand movement, my partner in Buddy Box crime, Jenna, has very kindly volunteered to make the llama keyring for me. She can have my bath lotion as a thank you for that. Strange girl… she likes aniseed.

Next comes a small sachet from “Conscious Water” which is a water enhancer. It has a hint of lychee rose flavour. It’s a tiny sachet, only 5mls but it does flavour your water. The taste isn’t unpleasant, but I don’t think that I would buy it again.

Then my absolute favourite part of the box. A pack of three llama’s pyjamas stickers! They are a decent size too so can decorate drawers, walls, folders, whatever you choose. I am a sucker for stickers I am!

Then we come to the fabulous book. It is called Believe in Yourself and is full of affirmations and things to boost your self esteem. I love it. Sat and read it though with a cuppa. Going to keep it next to my bed so that I can read it when I’m panicking. It’s invaluable.

Just some random page examples.

Finally we have the little “Blurt zine” that has uplifting things in it. It’s only four pages at A6 size so don’t expect it to be huge.

This is the first subscription box that I have ever had and on the whole, I loved it! I loved the whole experience of opening it up and finding the treasures within! OK, I didn’t like the bath lotion. Big whoop. I’m exchanging that in order to get help to have my cute little llama made for me (thank you Jenna!). We can’t expect to like everything, every time as I said. I loved this and cannot wait for March’s Blurt Buddy Box to arrive so I can tell you all about it. Take care and love yourselves people!x

An open letter to those who have prejudice against the mentally ill…

I see you. You point and whisper. Your words slither through the air and slide down my ears like a poisoned caress. You make horrible comments. You use words like retard and think it perfectly OK to do so. You don’t see the wounds that your words and actions can cause.

OK, I get that it that if you are seeing someone have a meltdown/panic attack and you have never seen this kind of thing happen before, then yes – it can be a scary thing to deal with. But you wouldn’t point and whisper about seeing somebody having an asthma attack, so why should the reaction to meltdown be any different at all?

Do not use words like crazy, insane or psycho to describe yourself. Those words have been used to mock, dehumanise and exclude mentally ill people since their conception and they are not yours to reclaim.

OK, sure, it is human nature to fear what we don’t understand. Since many people don’t understand mental illness, they fear it. Mental illness also carries a stigma (a mark or sign of disgrace), and that stigma prevents a significant number of people from seeking help. People use stigmatizing words like “cuckoo,” “psycho,” “wacko” and “nutso.” Just as we wouldn’t mock someone for having a physical illness, we should not mock someone with a mental illness. The following are examples of some myths and facts:
Myth: Mental illness is caused by a personal weakness.

Fact: A mental illness is not a character flaw. It is an illness having nothing to do with weakness or lack of will-power. People do not choose to become ill.
Myth: Those with a mental illness are violent.

Fact: Those with a mental illness are more often the victims of violence.
Myth: Schizophrenia is split-personality.

Fact: A person with Schizophrenia may have audible hallucinations such as “voices” talking to the individual.
Myth: A person with Depression can just “snap out of it”

Fact: Until the brain chemicals have been balanced or the precipitating factor has been resolved the individual will most likely continue to have the symptoms
Myth: You can’t recover from a mental illness

Fact: With proper treatment and support you can recover

So next time you think it’s cool to mock somebody with a mental illness, I’m here to tell you before you start that it is not OK. You have no idea at all of the damage that you will cause by your ignorance. If you see something that unnerves you then take a step back, walk away and make an effort to try and learn something before you open your neurotypical mouth and cause an immense amount of damage.

Learning about mental illness should be a part of every school’s curriculum. Every school should have a mental health nurse available during school hours – the number of teenagers who have been diagnosed with a mental illness or experienced suicidal ideations in the UK in the last 12 months is one in four. They need support at school. Not ignorance from others.

Likewise adults should be able to access mental health care when at work. They should have the support to be at work if they wish to be there.

You know what stops people from functioning and living their lives? Your ignorance. People have worked so very hard to try and get through the day and then your callous words can rip it all down in a matter of seconds, and the person is back to square one and has to fight through hell to get back there.

So please. The next time you are about to make an off the cuff remark about any aspect of mental illness, don’t. You have no idea who is standing near to you and what they will hear.

Thank you.

THINK before you donate…

I have always been an ardent supporter of charity. Even if I don’t have a lot of money, I will always stop to drop some coins into a charity collecting tin. I donate to the National Autistic Society on a monthly basis on behalf of my boys.
But I don’t give to other charities. I have stopped giving to oxfam, save the children and amnesty international. Why? You may or not know this, so if you do, apologies if I am repeating information that you are already in possession of.
The pay for senior level executives of charities has continued to rise, despite a campaign to curb that rise. Going back to February, 32 out of the top 150 charities’ executives were paid over £200000 which is up from 30 in 2013.
The number of charity leaders paid over £300000 has also increased from nine to twelve in the exact same two year period.
The highest paid of all was the executive at an independent hospital, the London Clinic. The person is unnamed and earns between £850000 and £860000 a year! That really sticks in my craw!
Nuffield Health, a hospital and fitness centre provider came in with the second highest salary, paying between £770000 and £780000!
The third highest payer was St Andrew’s healthcare, another medical charity who’s former chief executive, Philip Sugarman was paid £750000-£760000 in his final year with the charity.
Nuffield Health claimed their figure included redundancy payments and their chief exec, David Mobbs, was paid £640000-£650000 a year for his role.
However, I am more concerned in writing this post with regard to well known charities. With a little digging around, it was easy enough to find out Oxfam’s CEO’s wages. Lady Stocking was paid £119560 for the year 2012-2013.
Let’s now look at Save the Children. Justin Forsyth, the Chief Executive was paid £167000 last year.
Nine (yes, nine) of the executives at Cancer Research UK earn more than the prime minister! That included the chief executive Harpal Kumar who pockets £240000 a year!
The CEO of the NSPCC, Peter Wanless earns £162000 a year, which is £40000 more than the guy before him got!
Here are some more for you. Amnesty’s Salil Shetty gets £210000 and Age UK’s Tom Wright gets £190000. Marie Stopes refused to reveal Simon Cook’s wage, but his predecessor got £263000! Christian Aid’s Loretta Minghella gets £162072. The RSPCA’s Gavin Grant gets £160000.
I can go on and on about the astronomical sums that these people are getting. It makes my blood boil. If all the money that these people made was put into the charity, just imagine what could be achieved!
Call me whacky, but I thought the whole point of charity work was to give your time freely for the benefit of others? Not to bleed a charity dry of its profits to line all of your greedy pockets!