Daily Archives: May 20, 2016

You know you are an advocate when…

Five reasons that demonstrate I am a mental health advocate:

1). You write a blog about mental illness

2). You share your story with others in hopes you may help someone

3). You teach Mental Health First Aid

4). You do a video at church that talks about mental illness labels

5). You do a Twitter chat #chat4mentalhealth while on a plane

Guess if I had any question about my destiny I have my reassurance list now.

Suicide is never a blessing

Please note: Since publication of this post XOJane has apologized for publishing an article that “perpetuated stigma and diminished the lives of people with mental illness.” In a list of top ten fucked up things I have recently read the article, “My Former Friend’s Death Was a Blessing,” is definitely number one. XOJane published this […]

Dance Recital

So today is the dance recital.  I used to look forward to it because it meant the end of dance for the summer.  But not with the competition team.  So now it’s just another event to check off the list. WE practice all summer for Disney and the final competition for Company.  WE get the last two weeks of JUly and the month of August off then start back up again.  Sigh,

So my mood is not as good as it should be. I took a Xanax to see if it would improve it and all it has done is make me sleepier.  But we will make it

THe girls will  be gone next week–the middle one is going to Disney World with a friend and  the youngest is going to see her grandparents.  I’m not sure what I will do next week but I do know I don’t want to sleep it away.  We have some plans–we’ll go out to eat some and will go see Captain America Civil War at some point.   We will see how it goes.

Pray for us to make it through the day and night.  Keep reading!


Foodie Friday – A Week Of Good Eats!

I finally seem to be getting my energy back after a long winter of pain and fatigue. While I am still up in the middle of the night, I am feeling more rested with whatever sleep I do get. With … Continue reading

Nice Cuppa & a Biscuit: a Post Surgery Blog

Today’s top tune

… and blatantly obvious photo …

Mr & Ms Blue Skies

Mr & Ms Blue Skies

Post general anesthetic hallucinations are subtly different from bipolar ones. At least, mine were.

Both, though, are fairly dull. I’ve yet to see Jesus on the telly, or anywhere else, for that matter. God may well be a Yorkshireman, but his lad doesn’t hang around here much. (1)

There are angels, though. Quite a few work for the NHS. (2) One who doesn’t, so far as I know, is a poorly lady who I’ll call Lily. She was one of the patients on my ward.

The nurses & their assistants brought me a very welcome cuppa – my second since leaving surgery, and returning to the ward – but didn’t have any biscuits. Apparently Hob Nobs, custard creams, and bourbons are recent victims of government cut-backs, and austerity.

Lily, gods bless her, took pity on a slightly dozy American (3), and offered me two of her own packet of Rich Teas. I’m not usually a Rich Tea fan, preferring a nice Penguin, or Jammy Dodger, or the fabulous chocolate-covered biscuits sold by Ringtons, the tea company which delivers to your door. (4)

Those two Rich Teas, and the cuppa that accompanied them, were the nicest cup of tea & biscuits, ever, in the History of Man&Womankind.

Post surgery, & back home. Still crap at selfies.

Post surgery, & back home. Still crap at selfies.

I’ve now had my first general anesthetic, and surgery. I’m nearly 57, so I’ve done well to have been a surgery virgin for so long, and I’m grateful for it.

I wrote the first draft of this blog whilst still in hospital. The lovely ladies who work in the local breast cancer care department were spot on when they said I’d be allowed home “when you can eat, drink, & pee”.

Bless them, & bless whoever it was – my cancer key worker, I suspect – who warned me that I’d have blue wee for awhile after surgery. It makes sense: the dye which the surgeon inserted to help her locate things has to come out somehow/where. Still, I wasn’t all that with it when I first went to the ward toilets. I’d hate to have pressed the buzzer in a panic, over what was perfectly normal post-surgery pee.

It was a beautiful blue. Also the first – and, I hope, last – time I’ve ever been tempted to take a photo of my urine.

Mural man frowns at the thought of wee photos: Sheffield, 2016

Mural man frowns at the thought of wee photos: Sheffield, 2016

No, I’m not posting a picture. I do think of my readers from time to time. Also, what a daft reason to be kicked off WordPress, eh?

I’m not posting a picture of my blue right nipple, either, as not just WordPress, but also, I suspect, my ISP, probably have rules about that sort of thing.

Having a photo taken of my blue boobie just for me to see, however, is on my list of things to do now I’m back home.

A bit higher up the list are slipping on my favourite pjs; ringing Dad, & my sister; contacting friends, & tidying away the contents of the overnight bag I took with me, “just in case”.

First item on the list? A nice cup of tea, and a biscuit.

This blog is dedicated to Lily, and with heartfelt thanks to all the doctors, nurses, nursing assistants, & other hospital employees who looked after me, and made my stay such a short, yet pleasant one.

Here’s to the NHS! x

A nice cup of tea, and a ginger biscuit. Day made!

Nice cup of tea, & a ginger biscuit. Job’s a good ‘un!

(1) I’m sure there’s folk here who would disagree.
(2) Gods bless the National Health Service (NHS). It’s saved my arse – and millions of others – many a time. I pay my stamp with pride, & thanks.
(3) Read that as meaning, “even dozier than usual”. Which is pretty damn dozy.
(4) From a plug for the NHS, to one for Ringtons.

Tagged: austerity, bipolar, breast cancer, Cancer, Doncaster Royal Infirmary, DRI, government cut backs, hallucinations, hospital, NHS, Rich Tea biscuits, Ringtons, surgery, tea and biscuits

An Open Letter To Amanda Lauren From Someone ‘Beyond Help’

When I nearly died by suicide six years ago, I can imagine what people would have said about me. They would’ve talked about my deep depressions, my unpredictable rage, how lost I was.

Maybe, like you, they would’ve said that I was better off dead. Maybe, like you, they would have callously remarked that some people with mental illness can’t be helped.

Here’s a letter for you, Amanda, from someone “beyond help.”

You were right to judge yourself for exploiting Leah’s story, because it’s exactly what you did. You took the life of a mentally ill person and diminished it, deciding to use her struggles for your own personal gain.

Mentally ill people do not exist as entertainment for you. They do not exist as a sensational story to tell. They are not a product for your consumption. We are not property, we are not objects, we are not paychecks for you.

But ethics were never a consideration for you, Amanda.

Let’s look at the facts: You celebrated the death of a mentally ill person. In doing so, you told people everywhere, “Some people with mental illness are better off dead.”

And you believed it, too, it was the crux of your entire essay. You, a self-declared expert on mental health recovery, have decided that some people with mental illness would be doing themselves and the world a favor if they died.

I want to ask you something. What did you think you were offering the world in writing this? What good do you think you were doing? I can’t see the good, but I can see the immense damage and pain that you’ve caused my community and myself.

I can think of a mentally ill teenager that would read your essay and say, “Maybe I can’t make it after all. Maybe I’m not supposed to.”

I can think of a society that already stigmatizes mental illness saying, “See? Sometimes they’re just crazy and there’s nothing to be done.”

I can see relatives of mentally ill people saying, “Just give up already. There’s nothing we can do.”

I can see a police officer pulling the trigger, deciding in a split second, “He’s crazy, that makes him too dangerous.”

Mentally ill people die because of attitudes like yours.

They die because they stop believing in their ability to recover in a society that tells them they can’t. They die because the stigma around their illness – stigma that was rampant in your essay – prevents them from seeking out help or accessing treatment. They die because their support systems abandon them. They die because law enforcement ends their lives.

We are the victims of violence and trauma because we encounter people every day who see us as less than human – people like you, who believe that being crazy is an invitation for tragic mistreatment and even death.

Six years ago, they might have said that I was beyond help. They sure liked to emphasize how severe my disorders were, how dysfunctional I was. Like your “friend” Leah, they might have said that death spared me from a life of institutions and burdening my loved ones.

(Maybe an asshole ex-friend would’ve made a buck at xoJane talking about my life with bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder. A kid can dream, right?)

But let me explain something to you, Amanda.

I wasn’t beyond help.

And it took six medications, and it took a psychiatric hospitalization, and it took a hell of a lot of support from the people around me (who, no doubt, felt the burden of my illness at times), but I am slowly but surely climbing out of the depths of severe psychosis and depression.

People counted me out for years, thinking that I could never reassemble my life after mental illness had torn it apart. But those people were wrong.

And you were wrong.

You don’t get to decide, Amanda, which of us are “beyond help.” You also don’t get to decide which of us deserve to live. You don’t get to decide who has a chance and who doesn’t.

Leah could’ve had a chance – and while you toss confetti on her grave, I can’t help but think about all the people that would’ve done the same to me prior to my recovery.

It’s easy to take a glance at someone’s suffering and count them out. It is difficult – and it’s called empathy, you should try it sometime – to see that person as a whole human being that is irrevocably worthy of care, validation, and support.

Leah was deserving of that and more, not death – whether or not you believe it, regardless of what your essay says.

There are so many people like Leah in this world, grappling with severe mental illness, who are told that they will not or should not survive. They’re counted out before they’re ever given a chance to live. They’re reduced to their illness and denied their humanity by people like you.

But every mentally ill person, including Leah, deserves the chance to live their life and pursue recovery on their own terms.

And every mentally ill person has the right – the goddamn right – to be treated with dignity.

I know that there’d be a lot of confetti on my grave if I had died six years ago. But I’m glad that I made it through. And I’ll tell you why, Amanda.

I’m glad because I am still here to fight for mentally ill people. People who are considered too much, too sick, too crazy. People who are written off before they’re ever given a chance. People like Leah, and people like me.

Because we don’t deserve to die. We deserve to live, and not only that, but live to tell our stories the way they should be told.

Not by people who want to exploit our struggles, but by us, celebrating the people we’ve become because of them.

Leah doesn’t get that chance. But there are people out there who still can.

And I hope they take your essay with a grain of fucking salt.

Saying It With Bubbles And Strawberries

The family that lives above us in our townhouse building consists of a young couple, her parents, and three young children, two girls and the youngest is a boy. They have been here about three years since he was just a … Continue reading