Mental health is something that affects me and a large majority of people around me as well.
Stigma is defined as a sign of disgrace or discredits, which sets a person apart from others.
Recently within the last 5 months (28th December 2017 – 6th May 2018), my life has spiralled out of control with problems that snuck up on me without my control.
My physical health has got so bad that my mental health has begun to get worse over time, I’ve had knee problems for nearly 3 years now, they didn’t hurt as much before but within the last 2 years they’ve got extremely bad, bad to a point where I had to quit my recent job over it as my managers didn’t believe me yet I provided evidence from physiotherapists, doctors letters, medication etc…it was a fight and a journey that really I began to realise you are only a number within these companies, these people didn’t care about me, I used to work 40-50 hour weeks always on my feet, breaks honestly I didn’t know what they was at all, I broke my back for people with no sympathy back.
After I quit I was in talks with my physiotherapist and it was agreed that I needed rest and to do minimal exercise, I had a gym membership that I could no longer use, I’m still in the process of getting devices being put in my shoes to help me walk properly, I have crutches that I probably used once or twice that I should’ve been using every day but to be fair I hardly left my room, I didn’t open my blinds or curtains day in day out I was sat in darkness, the only light I got was artificial light from my television or phone screen, did I leave my house? Hardly, there was no point at all, if you have me on snapchat it probably looks like a different story to you, but honestly I hardly left my house, probably been to London 2/3 times, I’m normally their all the time, but I had no energy to go back and forth, honestly my mother told me not to leave the house without crutches (London + crutches= error 404) It doesn’t make sense, because honestly who had the time for London Underground and hospital equipment because it certainly wasn’t me!
My sleeping pattern is ridiculous I have sleep insomnia and sleep paralysis the worst combination since avocado on toast.
Sleeping paralysis is the worst thing I’ve ever encountered, when I tell you I’ve seen things, been spoken to, touched, dragged down my bed, sometimes I fear to go to bed because I never know what will happen in my next episode, I used to get so frightened when it happened the first few times but now not so much, I don’t fight it because it’ll be over before you know it, but the things you encounter and see is just not normal, I believe in hell so much more now.
Before I started my recent new job on the 8th May 2018 I used to sleep at 4,5,6,7am even sometimes way later I’ll literally remove myself from the bed and sit downstairs and just stare into oblivion, then go back to bed try and sleep, no matter how much I slept it was never enough.
You must be thinking why are you talking about physical health when this is meant to be about mental health.
Physical health can deeply affect your mental health, being bed bound for 3 or so months was an extreme sport and ferociously boring, I never thought I’d get bored of my phone but I did, me and my Xbox fell out, I thought having all these gadgets would keep me entertained they absolutely did not, I was bored my friends were at work while I was at home, I lost small small bit of weight, while I lost weight I had a small episode of (I don’t know what) but my sugar levels dropped, I actually went out to get food Lord had me that day, because I was so close to fainting, my sugar levels dropping I thought I had anemia which apparently I do not, yet I wasn’t allowed to give blood and my sugar levels drop regularly also I have the sickle cell anemia trait yet no signs of sickle cell.
Okay, that’s enough about me, let me start talking about other issues with the mental health community!
Before I throw myself straight into it, something occurred on the Twitter timeline the other day, it actually scared me a lot.
I was on my timeline around 2/3am scrolling as I do, and I came across a tweet from one of my followers that I couldn’t just scroll past or I would’ve felt extra guilty for, the tweet was something like ‘I can’t do this anymore’ I was thinking hell to the no, so I messaged who it was yet I got zero response so I checked her followers to mine and found the mutuals we normally chat to on the timeline, I was asking around yet I got nothing, until a few people popped up and I managed to find her best friend through it, long story short the person overdosed on a lot of tablets and thankfully one of her friends found out through Twitter and rushed over to her house and called the ambulance, her best friend was absolutely lovely kept me updated on the situation. The person who it was, was extremely ill for a few days but over time got better, it’s now been less than a month since this happened and the person who it was has flourished so much, bagged an amazing opportunity and I honestly wish them all the best in the future, their not a follower anymore more like a good friend.
This urges me whether you’re on social media or in person, check up on your friends at all costs, if something looks sketchy check in on them, I have much more information in my previous blog ‘Black and Asian Mental Health’ on how to reach out to your friends, family or associates.
Mental health glamorisation
Mental illness is hard to understand by this I mean if you haven’t experienced it yourself. Growing up I began to learn about mental health by seeing it around me, learning about it or even watching documentaries, that’s the only way I would’ve learnt, unfortunately you can experience it for yourself there’s more to mental health than depression, I always see on social media ‘oh I’m so depressed’ ‘I hate being depressed’ I’ve seen certain mental health illnesses trend online and not for the right reasons either, before you say your depressed do you actually know the meaning of what depression is, there are real people in this world who are suffering yet we have people jumping on the bandwagon saying they’re depressed, anxious, get panic attacks, schizophrenia etc.
A time when I saw mental health glamourised/romanticised was on the internet when I was around 12/13 years old, this was when Tumblr was popping back in the day to be fair I had a Tumblr account, still do but I have no idea how to use it at all, but while I had my account and became more affiliated with socials I saw a lot of illnesses spoken about or put in image view preferably in black and white.
Twitter is where I saw glamorisation for mental health grow on a large scale, people are drawn to people’s tragic stories, some people have supportive-friends or partners, viewers start to glorify this image and wish it upon themselves, everyone is extremely different you can’t wish an individuals needs on yourself, if life was so sweet none of this would exist, but unfortunately it does, and some people really need to learn to deal with it properly, don’t look to social media for the answers because more time it’s just opinions on here.
Growing up seeing all of this I certainly wasn’t enticed by anything getting shown, seeing scars admired like it was art, or seeing depression as cool, these illnesses eat away at people, on constant medication, in & out of counselling sessions.
Why was I seeing eating disorders idolised?
An eating disorder is when you have an unhealthy attitude towards food which can make you ill, it can involve eating too much or too little or even becoming too obsessed with your weight and body shape.
Anorexia nervosa: When you try to keep your weight as low as possible by hardly eating food
Bulimia: When you binge eat constantly in a short amount of time and then are deliberately sick to restrict yourself from gaining weight
BED (Binge eating disorder) When you regularly lose control of eating large portions until you feel uncomfortably full and guilty
It’s easy to idolise someone whether it be a celebrity, famous YouTuber, television personality, but you’re literally misinterpreting and fetishising someone’s illness.
I remember being at school in year 7 and being told I had a thigh gap and everyone wanted one, that was just apart of my figure, I never knew what the hype was with a gap within your thighs, I never had an eating disorder, but I always saw thigh gaps being worshipped in mental health videos, when people came up to me saying ‘ I wanna have a figure like you’ ‘ wow you’re so skinny’ ‘ You’re so lucky to be able to eat what you want’ honestly times it felt good but they were admiring something beyond my control, don’t get it wrong I love being skinny sometimes I wish I was a bit fatter (I’ll get there in due time)
Stuff like this, it ain’t cute
Some of these mental illnesses need to be broken down for some people, depression isn’t a one-time feeling, it’s a constant battle.
Different types of depression:
SAD ( Seasonal affective disorder) Depression that usually not always occurs in winter
Dysthymia: Continuous mild depression that lasts more than two years, also called persistent depressive disorder or chronic depression
Prenatal Depression: Occurs during pregnancy
PND (Postnatal depression) occurs in weeks/months after becoming a parent, usually diagnosed in a woman but can affect men too
Depression summarised is a low mood that lasts for a long time and affects your everyday life.
In its mildest form depression can mean feeling low every now and again but it doesn’t stop you from leading a normal life but makes a few things harder to do.
Being sad once or a few times doesn’t necessarily mean your depressed, please for your state of mind get help, don’t self-diagnose yourself, it’s not fair on the people that go through this mental state of mind day in day out.
Other mental health illness meanings
GAD (Generalised anxiety disorder) A long-term condition that causes you to feel anxious about a wide range of situations and issues, rather than one specified issue.
GAD is a common condition estimated to affect 5% of the UK population
Anxiety is common but it comes with a lot of physical/psychological impacts for example
Rapid irregular heartbeat
Loss of self-confidence
Anxiety can be in your genes, how you were brought up, life experiences etc …
Schizophrenia is a severe long-term mental health condition, doctors often describe schizophrenia as a type of psychosis, this means the person may not be able to distinguish their own thoughts from reality.
Hallucinations: Hearing or seeing things that don’t exist
Delusions: Unusual beliefs not based on reality
Changes in behaviour
*Schizophrenia does not cause split personalities or violent behaviour*
The exact cause of schizophrenia is unknown
Suicide is the act of intentionally causing death to one’s life.
Thousands of people end their lives each year by suicide
More than 6,000 suicides are recorded each year in the UK
Suicide is the leading cause of death among young people aged 20-34 years in the UK and is considerably higher in men.
One reason that men are more than likely to commit suicide is that they’re less likely to ask for help, unlike women.
The statistics for suicide is still highly stigmatised.
Fuck that, the stigma within mental health is fucked overall.
Other mental health issues/illnesses/disorders
Oppositional Defiant Disorder
A childhood disorder defined by hostile and defiant behaviour directed by adults
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD
A group of behavioural symptoms that include inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness, mainly diagnosed between the ages of 6-12 years old
A range of antisocial behaviour displayed in children and adults
Severe mental disorders that cause abnormal thinking and perceptions
Previously known as manic depression, when your mood elevates then drops significantly
Paranoid & Narcissistic Disorder
Mental Disorder characterized by paranoia and a persuasive long-standing generalization of mistrust
An anxiety disorder characterized by reoccurring panic attacks
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
An anxiety disorder caused by traumatic and stressful events
Social anxiety is the everlasting fear of interactions with people
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Common mental health disorder in which a person has obsessive & compulsive thoughts, it can develop at any age and affect all genders
BDD (Body Dysphoric disorder)
A mental disorder which you can't stop thinking about one or more flaw in your appearance
A condition that involves disruptions or breakdowns of memory, awareness, identity, or perception.
Drugs (Recreational & Alcohol)
Recreational drugs are substances people take to either feel better, have a pleasurable time, to fit in or see what it feels like
Characterized by an impaired relationship with reality.
Traumatic brain injuries, brain tumours, strokes, HIV and some brain diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and dementia can sometimes cause psychosis.
A mental disorder diagnosed when symptoms of schizophrenia are present for a significant portion of the time within a one-month period
A neurological syndrome characterized by repetitive, involuntary, purposeless movements caused by the long-term use of certain drugs called neuroleptics
* Drugs that can cause TD*
Metoclopramide (treats stomach problem called gastroparesis)
Antidepressant drugs such as amitriptyline, fluoxetine, phenelzine, sertraline, trazodone.
Antiparkinson drugs such as levodopa.
Antiseizure drugs such as phenobarbital and phenytoin.
There are many more illnesses/disorders but I wanted to show that there are many issues within the community that shouldn’t be stamped out.
MEN AND MENTAL HEALTH
I’ve always felt a certain way towards this particular topic with men and their mental health, I feel like it’s very secluded, from what I’ve seen not many men talk about their mental health and it’s quite disturbing.
I recently wrote a very short thread on Twitter in regards to ‘Men’s mental health’ and also received a few answers back thankfully enough, hopefully, this can summarise whatI’ve wanted to say.
I remember very recently on ITV news 26/03/18 on top of the ITV building they unveiled sculptures of men, when I first saw it I didn’t understand the point until I read into it, they wanted to raise awareness around male suicide. Male suicide is the biggest killer with 75% of men under the age of 45.
Every single week in the UK, 84 men take their lives
Each sculpture that was on top of the ITV building, represented a real man that took their own life
12.5% of men in the UK are suffering from one of the common mental health disorders
Men are nearly 3 times more likely than women to become alcohol dependent
Men are less likely to access psychological therapies from a women
73% of adults who ‘go missing’ are men
87% of rough sleepers are men
Men have measurably lower access to the social support of friends, relatives and community
On average, 191,000 men a year report stress, depression or anxiety caused or made worse by work
In 2016 there were 5,668 suicides in Great Britain. Of the total number of suicides, 76% were males and 24% were females.
When I saw all of these statistics I was quite startled, personally I think women over stereotype men way too much
I found a project to help young African Caribbean men between the ages of 15-25 called ‘up my street’ to build resilience or strength and helps them speak to each other and their families, with this project they will come to you whether you’re on the street or a youth centre. ‘Up my street’ has projected that they want young people to get the mental support they deserve and need in a flexible and informal way.
WOMAN AND MENTAL HEALTH
Woman are more likely to be treated for a mental health problem than men
About 25% of people who die by suicide are women.
The traditional roles for women from some ethnic groups living in the UK can increase their exposure to these risks.
More women than men are the main carer for their children and they may care for other dependent relatives too
Women are over-represented in low income, low-status jobs
Physical and sexual abuse of girls and women can have a long-term impact on their mental health
Recently I was looking through different organisations for mental health and came across @InsideoutUK_ I was really intrigued by this particular organisation I found it quite comforting that a young black woman named Vanessa Boachie founded and started up a tremendous project, I read one interview and one small sentence struck me ” Now her focus is maintaining the relationship she has with Black women but do more to reach out to black men, who she said do not speak out enough”
THE MENTAL HEALTH STIGMA
I’ve written about mental health in 3 of my previous blogs and never addressed ‘Stigma’ properly, now seems like the right time, as a Blogger I try to blog on as many important topics as I possibly can write and think off, I’ve worked within mental for three years and I partly feel like it’s my responsibility to keep raising awareness and to hopefully break the stigma.
What do you mean?
It means showing people that having a mental health disorder/illness isn’t weird or erratic, it’s like watching the news or reading a headline where an individual has shot up a school or theatre and straight away labelled as ‘psycho’ or ‘crazy’ without the full situation being dealt with in an appropriate manner, I’m not saying doing any of those things are correct but individuals do not represent or portray everyone, a majority of people or even groups of people are labelled, for example black people are branded as ‘aggressive’ ‘animals’ ‘bitter’ as a young black woman I feel like a lot of people from other racial groups antagonize us and when we respond we are an issue, white Americans are labelled as ‘ill’ ‘mentally unstable’ as soon as they shoot someone, yet if it was a black or Asian individual we’d be locked up in an instant. It’s one rule for one and 60 rules for another until discrimination stops nothing will get better.
I’m still battling my mental health today, I have good days I have bad days, my moods still flip uncontrollably, I’ve agreed to get help on that. If you read my previous blog on ‘Black & Asian mental health’ I mentioned how I’ve tried to continuously overdose, from December to April I was trying a few more times but eventually gave up since the tablets kept on agreeing with me, I took a step back and I really looked at my life I decided to try and turn to God not heavily like going to church because that really isn’t me at all, but I looked at a few scriptures, looked online for prayers, I occassionally started praying for people again I didn’t start feeling better straight away that was just impossible but the clouds started clearing from over my head one step at a time, I started to leave my room and actually utilise my house, I think my mum could sense a difference in behaviour as she’d tell me to go out get fresh air but a few times I declined, normally I’m always out, come home when I want but after a while I started seeing some of my friends again, I’m one of those friends to people that I’ll help with your problems but also tell you a straight answer, I have a lot of time for people no matter who you are, for my friends that live round my area they always know my door is open to any problems, I like helping friends, associates, family etc…but I can never help myself. I’m learning to take a step back from other people and sometimes pick myself, it’s now May 17th and life is looking up, I feel in a much calmer, satisfying place I still have a lot of work to do physically and mentally but I whisper to myself at least 10 times a day “You can fucking do it” and I do I carry on.
I have my platform to share my experiences and so that others can feel comfortable to do so as well…
I saw what Theresa posted on Twitter about mental health awareness week and it made me extremely angry, I don’t know how she found it in her right mind to speak on this issue when she has literally no right! Talking about end the stigma when the NHS has no money, we expect free healthcare yet we only have 147.7bn going into healthcare, we still have no final headcount from Grenfell, we now have people from that building suffering from all sorts of mental health issues, Grenfell could’ve been avoided. Black & Asian people are still finding discomfort in the system since we have no one that thoroughly understands us.
To be honest, you’re not crazy, don’t let anyone label you like that either, except that you’re different, everyone’s brain works different, growing up/livelihood was a whole different ballgame, I’m a blogger even a mental health advocate, I’ll never let anyone treat me any which way so you shouldn’t either! Nothing is wrong with having a mental health illness/disorder.
Some days I’ll be super happy, the mood I love to be in, and sometimes my mood will hit an all-time low, but I’ll remember I am who I am and no one can tell me any different
There are experts in the world, and they honestly do try their absolute hardest to get us diagnosed, a lot of them don’t get paid enough yet they still help, some diagnoses some of them completely miss the signs but you can always swap and change, and you never know the next one can find the problem and you can go to the next step
When I was younger I felt a lot of resentment, my parent’s divorce really hurt me but as I grew up and knew it was for the best, it took me a long time to move on from it, some things today still upset me, for a while I thought it was my fault but me being so young I knew damn well it wasn’t my issue.
When I got to year 7 I got bullied once by two people, it didn’t last long at all, I have two older brothers who are very protective of me, the whole bullying situation got shut down in minutes, but from year 7 to year 11 my behaviour spiralled out of control always getting in trouble, normal teenagers would pattern up by year 10, nope not with me I went on till year 11, my grades were still okay but if I focused when I was meant to instead of getting into arguments I would’ve got much further in life, but we live and we learn.
I didn’t get help for a very long time, more time I just thought those feelings would pass, I tried cutting myself once but it never went deep enough and I’m thankful it didn’t, I really love my skin and body and I just didn’t want it to look dismantled.
Now I continue to fight and debate most days, I want to educate, be involved in one way or another, one day I want to create my own educational platform, I’m living to help myself and others, I don’t want to leave this world not being remembered, If I can leave this world as a mental health educator or a mental health panellist I’d be extremely happy, it may seem like such small goals but when I say I love talking about mental health and raising awareness I mean it.
Believe in God and he will guide you
I posted this on Twitter as I thought it would be a good place where people can tell their stories anonymously without being judged, thankfully I got 30 submissions all stories are different as everyone is a unique individual
If you’re wondering why they’ve numbered it so I wouldn’t lose them while uploading and also the order is important.
ANXIETY UK: 03444 775 774
MIND (Promotes the views and needs of people with mental health issues): 0300 123 3393
NO PANIC (OCD & Panic Attacks): 0844 967 4848
OCD ACTION(Includes information on treatment): 0845 390 6232
PAPYRUS (Young suicide prevention): 0800 068 4141
SAMARITANS: 116 123
SANE (Emotional Support): 0300 304 7000
RAPE CRISIS: 0808 802 9999
VICTIM SUPPORT: 0808 168 9111
EATING DISORDERS: (Adults):0808 801 0677 (Under 18’s): 0808 801 0711
MY 2ND NUMBER: 07710184765 (Text Messages Only)
This is not my main number, but I’m always active on my phone if you want to send me a message and I’ll try my best to help you, in whatever situation you are in, however, if I receive any abuse I will block your number, I’m here to help only.
I’ve now come to the end of my mental health blog, in the near future I will be bringing out a platform solely based on mental health, I’ve had it as an idea for a while and I would love to bring it to life.
Always remember you are worth it, you are on this earth for a reason! Serve your purpose, you may think no one cares about you but you’ll be surprised who is looking out for you on a low.
One thing I’ve seen that sounded very true: