My realisation of the Day

  • You cannot find the “higher power” without finding your inner power first 🙂

    awakening

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  • Mental Health – The Stigma from all Angles

    I touched on the Stigma attached to mental health in a previous post, and something I experienced recently made me realise that ridding of the Stigma is a mammoth task.

    A few days ago, I went to visit a friend I made when I stayed at a Mental Health ward recently – see post Psychosis – he had left before me and unfortunately, as I suspected, returned a few days after I left. I say as suspected due to my view on how patients are cared for in a Mental Health place, see post My Take on Mental Health.

    As I was sat with him and a few other patients friends in the smoking yard, this woman came out shouting and screaming, went to sit on the ground some way apart from anybody else and started ranting to “herself”.

    She obviously grabbed my attention and as I listened to her ranting, I realised she was in a similar position as I was when I had my psychosis. She was talking to someone (I suspect God) and was very angry, shouting that she couldn’t understand why this was happening to her, that she was an honest person and had never lied.

    I looked back at the guys and said “poor woman”. Their answer? “Don’t mind her, she is loopy, she is a right pain in the arse, last night she kept us up til 5:30 am with all her screaming and ranting, she has no respect for anyone”. Shocked, I tried to explain to them that she probably couldn’t help when her ranting would happen and didn’t do this to be a pain. They wouldn’t have it. They being people with mental health issues!

    So I gave up trying to convince them and went to speak to her. I sat on the floor in front of her and asked her how she was. Instantly, her behaviour changed. She started to talk about herself, her life, her passion for guitar, a little support group she got involved starting up which is now a registered charity and many other topics that blew my mind away.

    All it took was for someone to listen. But no-one at the Mental Health ward, staff or patients, had bothered before. This really re-affirms my thinking that professionals have no clue and the Stigma starts with patients.

    Today, I had another example of this via Facebook. Time To Change posted a little story of how Asda had removed a fancy dress costume from their shelves after they realised their mistake. The costume was “Mental Health Patient”. One of the comments was from a girl who said “How appealing, I will never shop there again”. There the Stigma just there. “Why not” I commented under her post, “They’ve made a mistake, acknowledged it and removed the item, I think they should be commended myself”.

    When I started thinking about the Stigma, I emailed a few people who knew me at the time of my first stay in a Mental Health Institution in Canada and who were aware of where I was. I asked them how they felt. Of the 10 or so people I emailed I received answers only from four.

    Here are the answers of those people who kindly agreed to reply:

    “I can tell you what I felt although it probably won’t be too typical, because my best friend growing up was diagnosed with a mental health issue and on more than one occasion has been sectioned.  I felt profound sadness, helplessness, I wouldn’t know how to help or reach you. I didn’t really feel going in to care would help you, apart from stopping you be a danger to yourself.  I didn’t think it would ‘cure’ you, just remove you from society so you weren’t an embarrassment and a worry to others.  These feelings are just as you asked maybe not justified but they were my true feelings rightly or wrong”

    “you had a broken heart, you were not crazy ever.
    You were dehydrated, and under nourished and the mind becomes confused, happens to everyone. You could not grasp the reality of what was happening with those closest to you. A broken heart is not a broken mind. Your answers are inside you not from us. Walk in nature and spend enough time alone with no distractions to find.”
     
    Mental health issues and seeking the help of professionals is a positive approach to taking care of your mental health.  Our mental health is so important – it is important to us all. (Perhaps even more important than our physical health and the protector of our physical health). We must all be vigilant about our mental health at all times.  Yes, our society can put a stigma on being in a mental hospital but we are so lucky to have hospitals that care for the mind and spirit.

    I hope you are feeling better.  It is a process and must be cared for daily.  You have nothing to be ashamed of”

    When I first heard you were going into care, I was afraid for you, my friend and what you were going through. I knew you would eventually “straighten out”, but felt bad that you were having such a bad time.

    I was sure that being in care was probably a good thing, as I didn’t want you to hurt yourself (or others, although I wasn’t too afraid of that happening). When we are experiencing great grief, we don’t always think very clearly and can take actions we might regret later.
     
    I feel like I may be “smarter than the average bear” about mental illness and acceptance of others who need help from counselors/psychiatrists as I suffered depression for years and had a break down in my late 20’s.
    But I also felt a need to distance myself from you after you wouldn’t listen to reason about getting more sleep. Lack of sleep is one of the most toxic things one can do to kill brain cells and it makes one unreasonable. 

    So, although it pained me to do it, I did withdraw from you (as you pointed out to me), knowing that you wanted to be “fixed” and no one could fix you until you had faced the demons/issues in your life that you had indeed been running from for too long.

    As much as you were looking for someone to make you happy and feel better than, (or group or activity), you needed to take that down time and depression and just deal with it. I’m certain it made you stronger and and that’s a large part of why your happier today.”

     
    Food for thought don’t you think?
     
    Shame, fear and hopelessness seem to be emotions that go with Mental Health issue.
     
    I will clarify that these days, I don’t feel ashamed of what has happened to me, and going into a Mental Health place was the best thing for me at the times. The only fear I feel is the reactions others may have towards me when I return to work, as I have been away for a month now and my immediate colleagues now know where I have been, others won’t know and really, short of sending an email to everyone (which I will not do), I am not sure how I am going to deal with this situation. 
     
    With regards the hopelessness, this is the main issue for me. How do I break this barrier down, which keeps people away from you when you need them most.
     
    Educating people is the answer, I know it. Because people who have never gone through it will never understand what Mental Health issues are about. I heard recently someone talking about a friend of mine who has been labelled as suffering from multiple disorder that “he isn’t helping himself”.  I have suffered from depression once in my life, and believe you me, we know damn well what we should be doing, however, we are unable to function properly.
     
    And one more thing – why is it ok for some people to suffer from Bipolar (or manic depression as some prefer to call it) and not for others, example:
     
    Stephen Fry – respected
    Britney Spears – poopooed
     
    Empathy is the key word here, not sympathy, however as most people have never experienced Mental Illness directly, most are unable to give empathy. So it’s sympathy if it touches someone they like and lack of it if it is something they don’t.
     
    As I said at the beginning, mammoth task changing this Stigma. Still, I have hope 🙂

    Signs from above

    Recently, something quite strange has been happening to me, and it is part of this feeling of disconnection I mentioned in my previous post.

    Here is an example of what is happening to me.

    A couple of days ago, I fell on this little preview of Louise Hay’s film:

    2 mns 20, this is me: at the age of 43 I suddenly realised that I had never loved myself. At all. And so my life had been a mess, desperately looking for love in the wrong places, using alcohol and dope to escape my reality. 

    In the 24 hours leading to my psychosis, I decided to prove God he had been wrong to give up on us, I suddenly found an enormous amount of love for myself. I felt pride in who I was, not scared of standing up to anyone who I felt was wrong, including him, and explain why. This filled me with an enormous amount of love for myself. True love.

    I don’t “need” anyone to love me now because I do that job very well myself. I am confident about who I am and what I stand for. I will debate some of my ideas with others, of course, as I mentioned before this is the best way I learn, however there are some I will NOT budge on.

    • I will not tolerate physical violence of any kinds to any living being, whatever your motive.
    • I will not tolerate abuse of any kind to any living being, whatever your motive.
    • I will not tolerate cruelty of any kind to any living being, whatever your motive.
    • I will promote honesty, always.
    • I will do my utmost to do what I can to help clear up litter from this earth, starting by my town
    • I will learn always, to better myself. I will learn when to speak, when to listen and when to shut up – not easy tasks for me, believe you me.
    • I will always be against religion because I believe it to be the cause of far too much trouble in this world, worst still it is the cause of many many deaths.

    From this day on I am happy to stand for what I believe, even if I am alone. Because I trust my judgement. If I make a stand for something, it will be something I have thought about long and hard.

    Today, I was walking to pick up my car from its service and I was thinking about this awakening – It seems my faith is at its strongest when I wake up, I am one of those rare people who are full of energy on waking up and this is where my connection is at its strongest – and, as it was afternoon, some doubts started to creep in, negative thoughts started to enter my head. “Is this all for real?”, “am I on the right track?” “who do I think I am anyway to think I have the slightest chance of making a difference?”

    As I started to walk a bit faster due to starting to feel anxious, my eyes feel on something I was just about to walk on, a card on the floor, which I picked up and read:Image

    Thinking back to the original introduction to Louise Hay’s thinking, the film showed a girl filled with negative thoughts and suddenly she falls on a card that a positive person walking past dropped whilst picking up her phone and carried on walking.

    I shivered when I found the card.

    He knows what it is I deeply want, just a little reminder:

    In the meantime, I am going to carry on working on me and my life, working on being the best I can possibly be, nothing else will do now I have had my eyes opened. I am feeling pretty good about myself these days 🙂

    Disconnected

    Since being “connected“, I seem to have a new problem: feeling disconnected to some people, mainly the people who knew the old me.

    I wish I could just start afresh somewhere new. My outlook on life has changed so much that I don’t know how I will fare in my old world.

    This morning, I went to have my appointment with my care co-ordinator, only to find that she was unwell and unable to make it.

    I decided to have a coffee in a place I’ve never been, right opposite the medical centre and to have a bacon sandwich. I went outside to eat it so I could smoke and an older man came to sit at the same table, the only one outside.

    I had one of those strange encounters with him, the ones you know happen for a reason.

    We had a bit of a chat and he went on his way, after leaving me bits of wisdom for me to ponder, in particular he said I seemed to worry too much. He told me that after we had chatted 5 minutes and only about this and that.

    On the way back home by foot, feeling quite light and listening to my mp3 (Faithless was playing) as I had left my car at the garage for its service, I met the neighbour at whose house I experienced my psychosis 3 weeks ago.

    We hadn’t seen each other since that time and it took a lot of strength for me to say hi and speak to her.

    I was scared of her reaction to me. She witnessed something literally out of this world and I know she had been traumatised by it. I know because my primary nurse spoke to her at one point when I was in hospital and my neighbour refused to give her the information she was asking because she told her she didn’t know whether she could trust her and that it wasn’t me on the phone. Being french, I have a very distinctive accent, also, the information she was after wasn’t that big a deal (who was organising to have my cats looked after).

    Despite my fears, I decided it was time to face her so I crossed the road to meet her and said hi and had a chat. As we were talking I could see her eyes tearing up, she is a very sensitive girl too and I could sense the pain of what she saw was coming back to her.

    I told her I would be going back to work on Friday after an assessment, she asked me if I felt ready and I answered I hoped so, as I needed the money. She said “don’t rush it”.

    This is my problem, I want a normal life again, despite everything having changed. 

    I am a little worried about not belonging in this world any more, knowing what I know. It’s a bit scary, I guess this is where Faith comes into it – I need to trust everything will be ok for me, and not necessarily as I plan it.

    My problem with Booze

    Twice in my life, I have stopped drinking completely because I felt I needed to. 

    The first time, some two weeks after my husband left me, the second three months ago, I can’t remember the date, nor do I care.

    Each time, I had an awakening.

    The first time, I didn’t want to believe what I felt and so a few months later, I started drinking again to mask how I felt about life. Once I was out of my depression, alcohol became part of my life again and I started drinking to “feel better”.

    After the first time, I attended an AA meeting and was appealed by what I saw.

    First of all, it isn’t God’s responsibility to get you out of the clutches of alcohol, it is yours.

    Secondly, by forcing yourself not to drink at all, you let alcohol rule your life, yet again.

    These days, I understand the term “appreciation”and I can now appreciate a nice beer. It’s not about moderation or abstinence, it’s about appreciation. Then alcohol doesn’t control your life.

    I haven’t met many people in this life who understand that.

    Because of my past history with alcohol, I have decided never to drink with friends, keeping the occasional beer I drink as a private pleasure. So far, it has worked really well, I haven’t wanted a beer very often, and when I have, it feels as it should do. I don’t even feel any effects at all, just the joy of drinking a nice cool beer. One.

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    I could go on and on about how dangerous alcohol is but there’s no point. Those with a problem deep down know they have a problem. Up to them when they decide to quit abusing it and start appreciating it. I did it all on my own, I’m pretty sure they can too…if they really want to 😉

    The Book that is changing my life

    Similar to my previous post as to which piece of advice from my father has changed my life, I was always stuck with the question, “which book has changed your life?”.

    I now realise I hadn’t found it yet.

    A few weeks ago, as I was having dinner at a Church, a weekly ritual girl friends and I had started for no other reason that for the yummy home-made food they served very cheaply every Friday night, there was a display of “stuff” on a table. I went to have a look and a book caught my eye for its cover and its title.

    It was a very simple cover, with grey fish going one direction and a bright Orange fish going the other direction and the title was: “Think differently, Live differently”. 

    The reduced price was really appealing to me too. 

    I picked it up, flicked through it to see whether it was full of bible bashing stuff, noted it wasn’t and put it down again to browse more items, stones had caught my eyes and I picked up one which said “Smile”.

    I picked up the book again and decided, “what the heck, I’ll buy it!”.

    As soon as I started reading it, I knew I had made the right decision.

    Now, I have a problem reading books, usually my brain doesn’t switch off long enough to concentrate on words for a long period of time, hence why there is no way I could ever read the bible or why I prefer posters with simple sentences to learn. So I have since picked up and dropped this book many a time.

    But every time I pick it up, I have awakening moments. This morning, the book finally revealed to me everything I have ever felt about the bible and more recently God.

    This book is an affirmation that everything I believe is true. I am not learning it from any books, people, or anything else, I have learned it through my thinking. That’s the magic of this book to me, confirming I am right in my beliefs.

    If you are struggling with your Faith, I would highly recommend this book.

    I have also noticed that it comes in different covers on ebay, amazon etc, I would suggest picking the one which cover works best for you. Funny that, there is a saying that says “don’t judge a book by its cover”, well in this instance, I highly recommend you do.

    And if you don’t find one that fits, don’t buy it, you won’t be ready for it.

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    My father the Hero

     

    Have you ever been asked “what’s the best advice your father gave you?”

    I have usually struggled with that question, unsure what its answer might be, As fathers do, he has given me a few advice throughout the years, none particular stuck to mind.

    However, this morning, it dawn on me that the best piece of advice was given to me during my first psychosis two years ago.

    I am going to call those psychosis awakening moments from now on because, to me, that’s what they are.

    I had my first awakening when I was at a friend’s house in Reading, UK. I was visiting from Canada to see whether I could move back to this Country after splitting from my husband in Canada and was staying at hers before going to Norfolk, where I still had a house.

    I will never forget that true awakening moment, I fell to my kness, in fload of tears, put my hands together as if praying, looked above me and kept saying “Thank you” over and over again, thank you that He chose me, thank you for revealing himself to me. That was in my friend’s spare bedroom.

    The moments that follow were a bit crazy, I decided that I should walk the streets with as little possession as possible and help people wherever I was needed, and that my friend’s little girl should decide what I needed to take with me, as being a child, she was pure.

    The only thing I was worried about was my passport, it would have needed to stay in a safe place.

    I called my mum to let her know she should be proud of her daughter for she had been chosen to be the second coming, I also emailed a friend saying I had just discovered we were all going to heaven.

    My dad was straight on the phone to try and bring me down back to Earth. As I was listening to him I was looking out the window in that bedroom and my eyes fixed on a Tree.

    The words he said that possibly changed my life were: “Le Paradis est sur Terre, pas dans le ciel” – Paradise (heaven) is on Earth, not in the Sky.

    Most powerful words he ever spoke to me, and only now do I understand truly their significance.

    Today, I am so happy to be alive 🙂 Merci Papa.