Mental Health Assessment Day

August 23rd 2021 = Primary Mental Health Assessment Day.

The dreaded and long awaited (not really, I only waited a few weeks) telephone call with my Local Primary Mental Health Team.

It actually went well. It was not my first time having an assessment, but I must say, I did prefer this telephone method, as well as the assessment itself being better, I felt more at ease than previous assessments.

I won’t go into much detail at the moment, as I want to ensure I get the right support first and avoid any further excuses and delays to my Divorce (The Divorce is on the final stage, so I can apply whenever, however, waiting on finances and property….still). But when I feel it is appropriate I will be more open. I am also very aware that people are going out of their way to look into my life and pass details over to certain people – But at the end of the day I have nothing to hide, I am telling the truth and if you want to condone abuse and violence, then do not bother trying to use the words ‘Be Kind’ or ‘Mental Health Matters.’ For those of you ‘Flying monkeys’ (Google it if you are unsure) and those saying you support mental health, support domestic abuse victims or even work in bealth services, teaching or caring industries-You are a hypocrite and should find a job in a more relevant area!!

I felt reassured that I am not ‘crazy’ or ‘imagining things’ as I have previously been told. It was a reality check for my mind, that it isn’t just physical abuse that leaves scars, but gaslighting and emotional abuse too, especially over a period of time.

I fear for those that still have the real side to experience, I fear their happiness and their lives. It is hard to adjust when you have shared your story (or part of it) and go unbelieved or not heard. There is only so much you can do.

They will learn one day….

“I never said that!!” – What is Gaslighting?

Have you ever heard?

  • “I never said that”
  • “You’re imagining things”
  • “I didn’t do that”
  • “You are being paranoid”
  • “I always make an effort, you just never bother”
  • “You’re imagining things”
  • “I was just joking”
  • “You twist things”
  • “That never happened”
  • “You need help”

Sounding familiar?

Gaslighting is a term that seems to appear quite often now, compared to 5 years ago. It is a term that basically means a person is being made to question their own sanity and the world they are living in. It can be described as “walking on eggshells.” Gaslighting can cause a person to completely lose trust, not only in others around them, whether strangers or not, but in themselves.

In my case I truly realised I was being gaslit towards the end of my marriage (especially after I left-Everything sort of clicked). Once I knew my wife was interested in someone else. Despite me having clear evidence of the behaviour it was denied, I was told I was overreacting, twisting words and imagining things. Long story short, I was not, what I had heard and found was indeed true. However it often is the case that until a relationship is struggling, or ending/ended you really do not realise how manipulated you truly were.

Once I had left my home, so much started to make sense, I really started to come to the realisation that pretty much the whole time I knew this person, it was one big fake lie.

Many people who are being gaslit may not even realise it themselves. Which can cause problems if others question the situation they are in, simply because it will be denied. It may be “normal” to them.

The best thing to do is support them the best you can. One day they will be grateful for that support. They will need that safe person – that believes their truth.

How so much can change in a year!!

Do you remember what you were doing one year ago?

I was sat in my home, practising my Safe Medicate (Maths for my Nursing Degree), unaware that the year ahead was about to change so much – and not just because of the Coronavirus!!

Other than the issues that came along with the Coronavirus, the last 12 months for me have resulted in me filing for divorce from my Wife.

  • Am I upset?……….Deeply
  • Am I hurt?……….Very
  • Am I showing it?……….No
  • Is there a reason for that?……….Yes

The reason for me not showing my sadness and hurt is simple. I was expecting it. I knew things were tough and I knew, despite thinking things would change, they never did and never would-not in the way that results in a happy marriage anyway. What I did not expect was the lies, sneaking around, cheating and gaslighting that came along with the ongoing problems.

This image was taken around a year ago, at my 29th Birthday Meal. It may have a filter applied to it, but I am smiling, I look happy and during that meal, I was happy. However, behind the smile, behind the shining blue eyes lay a secret. I wanted to be dead, I wanted to hurt myself, I wanted to grab my dogs and go somewhere we could never be found. My antidepressants were, and still are, at a high dose. My anxiety sky high and self esteem pretty much non-existent. I hate speaking to people, going out and have more bad days than good. I doubt everything I say, I do. The clothes I wear and decisions I make. My pain and fatigue flares (which led to a diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) where pretty much never ending. I have been programmed to think everything I say and do is wrong. My gut instinct, that proved to be correct, was and often still is even doubted.

I will never doubt my gut again!!

I am now sitting in my, still legally, jointly owned home, here for the purpose of work, alongside going through the house, sorting out my possessions, packing and working out what needs going through to decide ‘who gets what.’ Within a couple of hours of arriving here, the pain and fatigue flare hit. I am not saying I’ve had no flares since leaving, but my second day here was more or less wasted as I could not move. Proving to myself that extreme levels of stress does result in a flare-also helping to explain many flares that have happened over the last few years. So far in 2021 my flares have been minimal-I put this down to factors such as leaving a toxic environment and relationship. That may sound harsh, but the reality is that it was toxic. No good for either of us, especially myself.

I sit here, mid-afternoon, staring at piles of things that still need going through, a hallway that needs clearing and the box room being the only 100% gone through room (with the exception of a box by the door that just needs moving out, a black bag and 2 bags of recycling I need to put outside. I look at these items thinking that they make up nearly a third of my life, married or seeing one person (we were engaged 2 weeks after starting to see each other and married on our 2 year anniversary). Some items I had before, some gained during this time. Some of my items I will take with me and either keep or destroy, larger items will either stay here and never be seen again by me and others will stay here as long as possible, until I have to put them into storage. That itself will cost me a lot of money, that I will need to find.

I will be losing my home. I pretty much have already. I cannot help but compare myself, many people I went to school with are buying homes, getting married, engaged or having children. I’ve lost my trust, marriage and home- I will be divorced. It definitely is not how I saw myself at 30 when picturing my future as a younger person.

A young me!!

You may ask “Why is she sharing this?” My reasons could be listed below, but I am only going to give one reason here, my main reason, which is to share my experience, well some of it, normalising a less “perfect” portrayal of people online. We only ever seem to see celebrity news or “perfect” lives online and in reality people are going through a tough time. People are being forced to keep quiet or portray themselves as happy or show that nothing is wrong.

I am speaking up for myself. I refuse to hide anymore. I have spent too long being quiet, saying nothing or only saying what I was allowed to say and I have been hiding my true self because I was told “they won’t understand” or “it isn’t worth it” and resulted in people not liking me or seeing me in a different way, criticizing me or even shouting at me and talking badly behind my back to others, all because they are not seeing the real me. So I ask you kindly, if you are reading this and do know me. Maybe now is the time to talk to me, get to know me now, with no other influence on how I act, what I say or do and then form your own judgement. It may take me some time to build myself back up, but I will be ME again.

Domestic Abuse

What is Domestic Abuse?

The World cloud above contains 100 words, phrases, signs of domestic abuse. I could have gone on and on but had to stop somewhere. Abuse takes many forms and it is not always a Man doing it to a Woman!!

According to the ‘Office For National Statistics’ Crime Survey for Wales and England‘ the figures estimated 5.5% of adults aged 16-74 years old experienced domestic abuse in the last year (Year ending March 2020). That works out to be 2.3 million people. 1,288,018 domestic abuse related incidents were Police reported, although Greater Manchester Police are not included in this figure. Although 41% (529,077) of these incidents were not then recorded as a crime, the other 59% (758,941) were recorded as a crime related to domestic-abuse.

BBC News reported an 80% increase in people contacting them during the first 2020 UK Coronavirus Lockdown. Many other social media and News sources have written about the impact of lockdown and Coronavirus on abuse and how it has worsened during these times.

They also provided the below services; (click here to see the publication)

For information and support on domestic abuse, contact:

Police: 999 press 55 when prompted if you can’t speak

Refuge UK-wide 24-hour helpline: 0808 2000 247

Welsh Women’s Aid Live Fear Free 24-hour helpline: 0808 80 10 800

Scotland National Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriages 24-hour helpline: 0800 027 1234

Northern Ireland Domestic Abuse 24-hour helpline: 0808 802 1414

Men’s Advice Line 0808 801 0327

Online webchats and text services are also available.

I aim to raise more awareness and write more about this when I feel the time is right for me, but please get some support if you are experiencing abuse or something doesn’t feel right. Please do not go through it alone.

In the UK you are still legally allowed to flee abuse if your area is in lockdown. Women’s aid offer some good resources and things to consider during lockdown and Coronavirus – click here.

You are NOT alone.

What is going on in the world?

TW (Trigger Warning) Discussions of bullying and suicide.

As I have found myself with a lot of spare time this week I have been trying to keep up to date with the news and one topic seems to be coming up more often than others and it has really hit me….

BULLYING

Seriously, what is wrong with the world? Why must people hurt others so much it makes them want to be dead?

A 14-year-old boy has ended his life in Wales this week due to bullying in School. I’m sure that this is not the only death this week due to bullying, especially in younger people and children.

Other young people are reported to be afraid of returning to school following the Summer Holidays because of bullies. Schools have bullying policies but are young people really being protected.

I was bullied when I was in school, towards the end of Primary School and in Secondary School. It possibly played a part in my anorexia in Secondary School but I sought help for the bullying when things got to a certain stage (most of the time but a lot of incidents went unreported because it was just too much effort to report). It really affected me and quite often the only thing done was a discussion between bully and teacher, sometimes with me present-nothing seems to ever be taken further. Not that I am saying that every time someone is bullied it should go to the police, but when we live in a world that is seeing an increase in Mental Health difficulties and awareness, suicides and the carrying of weapons such as knives and guns, we never know when things will get really serious or how long it will take someone to be tipped over the edge. Some people will brush bullying off their shoulders and their feelings build up over time , but other times that first instance or first severe threat or comment can result in the end of a life.

I will go further into bullying in later posts but there is an increasing level of stories about bullying in schools, homes, streets and workplaces and many of us are suffering and the bullies get away with it. Often bullies get away with their actions because of their status, their family or the fact that they have been in a company for a long time and ” would never do that” – even when other staff have reported it. One situation I have experienced is being treated badly and having a witness to this, but then this person has been spoken to and denied it and they are believed, even though I had a witness to the incident. It is incidents like this that make me not like people (and I like people!) but I have been let down and treated badly so much in life, one thing I hate is if I witness a bully, bad treatment, ‘slagging off’ or gossiping and talking badly about someone, it takes a hell of a lot of persuasion for me to make a good impression in my mind about that person, if you are one of these people I often hold a grudge against the person, you won’t know it, because I remain civil (unlike a lot of people) but secretly I do not trust you and do not like or respect you as a person.

I do not respect bullies. I will be civil and treat you with general respect – because that is the type of person I am. But I will not like you and probably not change my mind.

I am glad that Heads Together have started a campaign regarding workplace bullying.

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https://www.headstogether.org.uk/2018/09/10/the-duke-of-cambridge-launches-mental-health-at-work/

I recommend a visit to this page, and encourage workplaces to use this also as the number of people who have experienced bullying in their current workplace is a huge 48%!! Here is the webpage the page also directs you to;

https://www.mentalhealthatwork.org.uk/

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Mental Health Monday – Monday September 10th 2018

This week, it is all about Money.

hustling sabrina the teenage witch GIF

 

Mental health and money go hand in hand. Mental ill-health can make managing money difficult (not always!) and worrying about money can make mental ill health worse. It can be a vicious cycle.

I recently talked to someone from the Mental Health and Money Advice Service.

https://www.mentalhealthandmoneyadvice.org/

I had no idea how much they can support people ( I wish I used them and their help when I was off work!) Seriously check them out if you need some support with money. They can even help you if you do not know where to start; (The link below this screenshot is for Wales, so make sure you select the right part of the UK in the options in the top right corner of the website);

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https://www.mentalhealthandmoneyadvice.org/wal/how-can-we-help/