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….

Last Placement Block of Year 2!!

Well I am not quite sure how I have got to this point (especially after the last 6 months – not even taking COVID into account!!)

The last placement of Year 2 – Obviously, I cannot say the location, but it is definitely an area I hope to gain some good experience in ( as well as get Year Two signed off and hopefully some spoke placements*)

*SPOKE PLACEMENTS

A Spoke Placement (also known as a ‘Spoke’) is is an extra learning opportunity during a placement. An example of this could be working on a surgical ward and having the opportunity to spend time in Theatres, with Physiotherapy or perhaps the Occupational Therapists. It could range from a one off visit or one procedure, to entire shifts (or set of shifts) in that area. It provides a great learning opportunity, but not necessarily mandatory to pass the Degree. I still have not done any spoke placements.

My Degree journey definitely has not been smooth sailing. I have faced ill health, both acute and chronic issues (including physical and mental health), including a cancer scare, resulting in a 6 month deferral from the course. Problems with my personal life, as well as money and confidence issues. Add in the Coronavirus Pandemic, cheating and emotional abuse – which has lead to a breakup and me having to leave my home, now at the stage of a pending Divorce and issues with the ex that she is determined to drag out – and her added smear campaign of lies. I am really surprised that I have actually made it this far!! I am now completing my degree over 50 miles away from my University. Luckily lectures have been virtual and I have been able to do these in the evening and nights, if my insomnia is an issue ( to be honest it is never not an issue these days). Placement on the other hand has taken some more mind power to sort out.

Second Year Blues, I thought, was something I either wouldn’t experience, due to my poor mental health anyway but even when studying virtually, it does exist. I will post further about this soon.

Have I ever considered quitting – OH YES!!!!

Do I still consider it most days – MOST DEFINITELY!!

I think at this point even though the end is in sight, the year 3 planner is out and finance applied for and partially approved. It still feels so far away. I still go onto a placement or lecture and think “How an earth am I suppose to register and practice independently next year. Apparently these thoughts are normal and it is a bit like driving, you study to pass the tests and become competent and safe, but it is not until you are out there doing the job, that you actually begin to learn.

Whilst my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is so much better since leaving my ex (and the home-Coincidence?? I will let you decide that as I think I know the answer) It is still kicking my butt. When I was younger I could study several courses, work several jobs, travel and live on hardly any sleep, but currently I seem to be a permanently exhausted pigeon – Now I also have nothing against pigeons, well apart from when I have to stop in the road, as they will not get out of the way and I refuse to run them over-but that is another issue all together. There is no way I could do that now. Everything seems so daunting and tiring, I can see why people keep giving me a shocked face when they hear me say I do not drink or like Coffee. Tiredness is a real issue. So if anyone has any tips that genuinely work then please throw them my way.

So Wow!! Here I am, nearing the end of year 2 of the BSc Nursing (Adult) and I don’t really know what to say. This time next year I will nearly be done. I have a lot of hours to make up before I can register, but I guess that is life with Chronic Illnesses, another challenge to try and beat. We all have our own individual journey and these hurdles are obviously something I need to conquer.

(ABC/Mike Rosenthal)

“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.

Why learning is important to me and how it’s impacted my life? – The Short Version….

I have decided to answer this question;

Why is learning important to you and how has it impacted your life?

 

  • In my second Primary School I met my best friend.
  • In Secondary School I went skiing in France, visited Italy and had an audience with the Pope (and thousands of others), visited New York, Philadelphia and Washington D.C as well as other trips around the UK.
  • In college I adjusted my hours to work and live with my first true love.
  • During University I joined the cheerleading squad, had a miscarriage and learnt to juggle 3 jobs as well as a Full Time Course, before leaving University, with nothing but the experience, 20 University credits and a diagnosis of Meares Irlen Syndrome and Dyspraxia.
  • During my time at my distance learning University I had difficulties with my physical and mental health, finding an online support system in a group format and finding life long friends (even though we have never met!).

Learning is my past, my present and my future.

The points above show some of the life challenges that have accompanied my learning. Without these events occurring hand in hand with learning my life would be very different. I have always been aware of those in the world that have to fight for education, those that are killed because of their fight and those that never experience education. For me, education is a privilege and to be in a country where I am given a free education (well until University anyway!!) is an amazing thing.

Learning has saved me in so many ways, I expressed my eating disorder through my art and escaped to the world of Hogwarts thanks to J.K Rowling. It is important to me to be a good example to my siblings and younger people around me, nobody in my family has been to University and whilst I am definitely taking the long way around gaining a degree, I have been rescued so many times thanks to learning and education. Education has at times been my mother, father, sibling, friend and comforting stranger when nobody else has been around.

At age 17 I started my University applications for Midwifery and Nursing and year after year was unsuccessful, I tried my hand at other things and had to move around a lot to find the work – I was chasing work to build my experience, to better myself for University and I am getting closer to my ultimate dream. There will be struggles and there will be (more) tears but I will do it!!

This Girl Can!!

cropped-healthwise-wales-promo-picture

 

I am a big believer that we all deserve an education and the right to knowledge and development during our lives, that learning doesn’t have to be University, learning is unique to each of us. Not all of us get the chance, so I grab it with both hands and love the experience. It also keeps me up to date and my brain ticking!! Learning is important to me as it helps me realise what I have overcome and allows me to believe in myself.

Learning has saved me.

Why is learning important to you?

https://www.activia.co.uk/scholarship-uk

Topcashback Review (plus COMPETITION details)

Have you heard of Topcashback?

It is a cashback site, basically, you need car insurance (or takeaway or shopping….etc) so you go to your TopCashBack site and make sure you are logged in, find the shop you want and click on the link via the site and as long as you meet the rules you get cashback on your purchases.

I used it for everything we needed when we bought the house, insurance, boiler cover, shopping, car insurance and generic shopping.

They also have ongoing competitions where you follow the daily clue and a flying hummingbird appears and you can win money and prize draw entries.

HINT – Today’s clue is GLOSSY BOX – Search them and when they appear the hummingbird will appear and click on it for your prize!!

Screen Shot 2018-06-13 at 02.13.52

I cannot recommend this site enough, especially if you are moving home or due renewals on insurance. You can also get gift cards for following a referral link like the one I will post below.

This post is not endorsed by TopCashBack, I am just sharing something that I think is great. For example, I wanted a free trial of a magazine service and I could sign up for the free 2 weeks and I got £6.30 for not spending a penny.

Screen Shot 2018-06-13 at 02.20.17

Through taking out the necessities for the home I managed to pay some bills whilst I have been off work and receiving SSP (statutory sick pay).

Click here to follow the link and sign up for an account. There’s plenty of free cashback available at the moment – plus you can withdraw your money in the form of gift cards and get bonus money on top, or just have it sent straight to your bank.

Let me know if you have any questions.

p.s if the link above doesn’t work just copy and paste:

https://www.topcashback.co.uk/ref/staciemai

You are Welcome xxxx