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‘Twas A Mammoth Task, But Well Worth it!

Well folks, I am delighted to be able to announce that having inadvertently wiped the entire ‘Member Blogs’ listing from our ‘Member Blogs’ page I have now finished re-entering all of the blogs and sites and have checked that all of the links are now working properly.

(Does little dance round his office chair to celebrate)

With over 350 mental health related blogs and sites currently listed on our membership records it was no minor task to re-enter them all.  But as I said before “You really are Worth it!”

And on that note, it really is extremely important to me that no-one who has been or who desires to be a member (and who fits with our membership requirements) is left out or inadvertently missed.

So what I would very much like is for each member to check that their Site/Blog is listed.

Which brings me very neatly to my next request.  We all understand (I would think) that sometimes the names of blogs can change.  Perhaps because we have reached a different point in our journey with mental health or because we simply fancied a change.  Obviously – with so many members – it is not possible for me to keep up with these changes.  So, if you have changed the name of your blog or site, please do let me know so that I can update the listing for your blog/site.

However, please be aware that membership is awarded to the blog or site under the original name. Where the blog/site’s name has changed but the ethos and subject matter has remained the same this is not an issues and the membership can be transferred.   But, should you have drastically changed the ethos or subject matter of your blog or site membership might not be transferred.

Once again, my apologies for having inadvertently wiped the listing before and for the delay in completing its rebuild.

Kind regards and God bless you

Kevin.

 

Ps. Don’t forget to update your Membership Logo on your blog/site.

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The ‘So Called Friend’ Who…

It’s been quite a while since I wrote and posted a piece on my personal mental health related blog, and so – since it is one of my goals to do so and since this thought came to me in the middle of the night/early morning I thought I would post it. And – since it is somethng that I feel a lot of our members can relate to – I thought I would share it here as well. Kind regards and God bless you. Kevin.

Voices of Glass

I have this friend.  Well actually it depends on your definition of ‘friend’.  If you go by the usual (Miriam Websters’) definition of “one attached to another by affection or esteem.” then no, ‘Friend’ is certainly not the right label.

But then if the title or label of ‘friend’ is assigned (as it so often is) as a result of an attachment placed on you – or assumed that you have – by others well then yes, I guess ‘friend’ is applicable.

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Remember when you were younger and there was that ‘friend’ who your parents and family never liked you being associated with?   Well this ‘so called friend’ was certainly…

The ‘So-Called Friend’ Who…  my friends and family never liked or accepted for me. 

Remember when you were younger and an association was formed which you never really wanted but somehow you just couldn’t seem to shake or get…

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I Don’t Know How To Make It Better.

As members will know, I have a policy of encouraging members to submit unique, original and previously unpublished pieces for publication as a ‘Guest Post’ here on the guild’s blog. And I have always been delighted by the response in both the submissions that I have received and the feedback that these have generated.

Today’s ‘Guest Post’ covers a very important topic which comes by way of a personal story.

It is one which I think will resonate with a lot of folk – especially our younger readers. And, given my article of yesterday concerning Mental Health in Children and young people I am extremely grateful to ‘D’ for sharing this with us at this time…

I Don’t Know How To Make It Better.

MR.MADELEINE.jpg MR.SAVANNAH.jpg MR.ELISE.jpg

Other people wear their scars on their skin. I wear mine on my mind.

My inner voice was my torturer.

Though to be fair it was only repeating the words it heard outside.

Words that stung the first time. Rolling over and over in my mind, and as it went, stinging just as hard as the first time I heard it.

You know, the usual:

– rude

– aggressive

 – loud

– dirty

– gross (like a porn star)

– this is why you have no friends

Perhaps nothing would have stung so badly if it wasn’t backed up by social proof. No one liked me.

I was invisible except when I was being recognised for something negative.
When a drama substitute teacher couldn’t control the class, I was the scapegoat. Not because I was acting as badly as everyone else, but because I was talking to two girls instead of being in my group, which were at that time rolling on the floor trying to use markers on each other.

The girls I was talking to weren’t in their groups either. No one else got punished though, but for me they had to bring back a special punishment that wasn’t even used any more.

I had so much social proof that I was worthless. They’d write all sorts on my report cards, and my mother would agree with them.

– everybody cannot be wrong

MR.MADELEINE.jpg MR.SAVANNAH.jpg MR.ELISE.jpg

In fact even when I had managed by some miracle to stay out of trouble, my mother would read the unimpressed cards, the ones hinting at my unsatisfactory-ness, and she would make a big deal out of it. And I would die more and more on the inside.

And then when she was gone and my sister was gone, and I was alone, I’d hurt myself. Not physically. I’d just repeat everything I heard, everything implied but not explicitly stated, everything backed up by social proof.

She was right. He was right. They were all right. I’m not sure how the last of me died. I don’t know if it was from something someone did to me, or something the torturer repeated long after I had heard it. Or maybe nothing happened and I just gave way out of sheer exhaustion from all the sustained trauma.

Nobody said any kind words to me in those days. Not my mother, not my sister, not my father. And my friends? Well nobody liked me remember? I didn’t have any friends. Not really anyway. I was the side character at best. Hardly the friend.

So I started listening to music. Like it was some kind of drug. Even when nothing was playing I was playing something in my head. When people spoke I sang the words they said to the tune of a similar song. Of course I was called annoying, told to shut up, I can’t even sing etc. But at least I was sane. Sort of.

That holiday my mother tried to take my music away from me. A laptop has no place in the kitchen. I just wanted to listen to music while I had to wash the dishes. I couldn’t do it it otherwise. I couldn’t do anything otherwise. I had finally found a voice to drown the ones
torturing me in my head. If I didn’t have the music they would kill me. And not just on the inside this time.

So my mother “washed her hands of me”. She said she would never buy me another laptop.  And I would regret wrestling with her for it. I shouldn’t have worried. Things were exactly the same. She never spoke to me when I was at school. Or maybe she did and she stopped. She would probably say that’s what happened. But it made no difference to me. I was occupied with fighting my demons.

These scars, that I have. They matter now. They still matter. If you could see the mind, you’d see large raised scars. And they can’t just fade away. They probably never will. Because the cuts were too deep. Because two or three or maybe four years after the laptop incident my mother told me I was ‘mentally insane’. Those weren’t the exact words she used, I’ve worked extremely hard to forget them. That mellows the effect a lot. If you manage to forget the words even when the meanings stick.

Because every time I have a goal to write something down I remember the time I was accused of cheating and disqualified from the writing competition. I remember that I’m not allowed to win at anything. That’s not for people who look like me, who sound like me, who act like me who walk like me who think like me.

Because I see the discomfort in the eyes of people who talk to me. They can’t really see my scars but they can see them. I can’t make new friends without lying to them. Without hiding from them.

Because every time I have a goal to do something or be something I am paralysed by an emptiness that cripples me. It’s like the emptiness has taken over the bad voices. The big deep gashes have healed. The blood has dried, the muscle connected back together. Yet there is a deafening silence where the voices used to be. A silence that was never there before. I imagine at one point they were saying kind things. But they’ve all gone.

So I can’t get out of bed if it’s not for class. Groceries? Forget about it. Gym? Sport? Societies? Hanging out? Ha. ha. ha.

Well things have gotten better now. Sometimes I write. Nothing like before but at least it’s something. And I go out to see friends. But I don’t hear the good things they say in my head when they’re gone.

And I don’t know how to make it better. I don’t know how to bring the good voices back. I don’t know how to make my relationship with my mother better. I feel like I have to cut out half the things she says to me because they’re from the reel of the past era. Something the torturers would have repeated to me until I drowned in the blood from the gashes they made.

I can’t explain it to her because she doesn’t understand. Because she’s not trying to hurt me. Because my confidence is so easy to break down. Because she’s my mother and she loves me. Because (she thinks) she knows who I am. Because when I try to explain my sister gets angry that I’ve upset her. Because they both have logical reasons why they’ve said something that hurt me. I don’t know how to make it better.

D. Williams

© 2017


[Editor’s Note:  Again my thanks go out to ‘D’ for sharing this with us and I hope members will take time to comment on it.  As someone who grew up experiencing mental health issues from a very early age – albeit at a time when mental health and mental illness were far less understood than they are today, and thus dealt with in an extremely poor way – I understand (at least to some degree) the challenges that they can present to anyone – especially they younger sufferers.  

I feel this is such an important issue and I have to say that I believe this piece to be both a valuable resource and very well written. ]

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Actually, You Really Are Important!

important-stampAn important message to all our Members.

Our mental health can be a very fragile thing sometimes, can’t it?  And, in truth, even the seemingly smallest thing can impact it. Very often resulting in  an attack – whether from within or without – on our self-worth.  And the words, “Actually, you really are important.” can be words that sometimes we really need to hear in order to combat such attacks.  So I am very much saying those words to you now and I truly mean them.

you-important-blackboard-positive-affirmation-words-vintage-slate-55072998

Of course, mental health issues present themselves in different ways in different people.  For me personally, one of the ways that they present themselves is that things start to slip.  Almost always without being noticed until such times as something reaches a crisis or near crisis point and it is brought to my attention.

Years of experience have taught me that, when this happens, I then need to take stock and look at everything else to make sure other things aren’t in a bad order or even reaching the same point. And that is exactly where I was a couple of months ago.

In fact things had slipped to such a degree that, this time, the ‘recovery phase’ – a phase often comes after the ‘panic phase’ and a phase which I am far too familiar with – was going to take a long time.  Especially since the Christmas period is for me one which is usually very busy with other activities.

And, as I am sure so many of you can relate to, once you have realized that things have slipped that far and are thus facing a long and difficult ‘recovery phase’ that in itself can have an adverse effect on your mental health.

Maintaining this guild and this site (and all related emails etc) was – sadly- one of the things that I had let slip.  And for that I really do apologise.  Of course, and again I am sure many of you will understand, in terms of ‘panic rating’ it didn’t feature as highly as other things.  Things such as paying bills so as not to have essential services cut-off, sorting out finances, getting my meds straight again, etc. But it was and is still important to me.

As a result of this I have over the past day or two been trying to repair and get back up to date with guild related matters.  I have answered a whole plethora of emails. (I still have some to go so please be patient with me).  I have updated the guild logos for this year.  And I determined to work through all of the Member Blog links and bring them up to date.  As many of them were broken or linked to sites and blogs which were no longer being written.

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In truth, I knew that this would be a long and sometimes difficult job – especially because my mental halth is still not great and additionally I am fighting some sor tof flu bug which is kicking my proverbial butt so to speak.

What I did not anticipate however, was my accidentally wiping all of the links on our Member Blogs page!

computer-frustration-293x300But I will not be defeated by this!

Thankfully I did keep a printout as a back up – just in case of such emergencies.  So all is not lost!

And I am therefore now in the process of entering all of the links back onto that page.

In terms of the process I have decided to enter all the names of the Member Blogs (as detailed on that back up) and then add the navigational links to them.  (So far I have got as far as the ‘Bs’ on that list).

So please be patient and please know that I am working on it. But as I am sure you can appreciate, it really is a very laborious task.

However, it is one well worth doing because as I said before – “Actually, you really are important!”

As I am working  through the list I am also checking the links and am removing any entries which are reporting as broken links or blogs/sites which no longer exist.  So, if your blog or website is listed on that page but you have recently changed your blog name or your blog address please could you email me to let me know.

Many thanks and my apologies again.

Kevin

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Are we mindful enough of our Children’s Mental Health needs?

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I am fairly confident that if I were (as I have below) to quote the lyrics of this popular Whitney Huston song, most folk would recognise them and a lot of you would even know what song it was part of.

I believe the children are our are future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier.

And indeed they are beautiful words and convey a beautiful message don’t they?  But the question is, are they – is the message they convey – a reality for our children?  Especially when it comes to their Mental Health?  In fact – I would suggest – that even the song itself conveys a certain scepticism.  Check out the next few lines for example…

Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be
Everybody searching for a hero
People need someone to look up to
I never found anyone who fulfill my needs
A lonely place to be
So I learned to depend on me.

Not exactly the most optimistic of statements is it?

People need someone to look up to
I never found anyone who fulfill my needs
A lonely place to be .

As someone who has suffered with Mental Health issues for most of his life, I can tell you that as a parent I was – and still very much am – acutely aware of how my mental health impacts my children.  Just as I think most parents who also experience mental health issues will be.  But of course it isn’t only the way our own Mental Health impacts our children and of course not all Mental Health issues are genetic.  What about children’s mental health?

As a child, whilst I was acutely aware of how my mental health issues impacted me – my life, my perspective and my relationships.  I did not understand why and I didn’t know how to deal with them.  Which then resulted greatly in my trying my best, where possible, to hide them and also resulted in a tremendous sense of isolation and lack of self-worth, even a sense of self-loathing.

I do, of course, recognise and accept that I grew up in England in the 60’s and 70’s when any form of Mental Illness or mental health issues were; so very badly misunderstood, extremely poorly handled and – sad to say – completely stigmatised.

And I am of course very much aware that things have moved on and our understanding of mental health has improved greatly.  But, even so, we have to ask the question, “Even if our understanding has improved greatly has our handling of them really improved enough?  Especially in the case of our children and young people?”

upset boy leaning against a wall

Because a recent survey conducted by the Guardian Newspaper in the UK would suggest not.  And in respect of the services available to Children and Adolescents in the UK it even states..

“Seven in 10 psychiatrists deem Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services to be inadequate at best” (Quote from the Guardian Monday December 26th, 2016)

You can read the full article in the guardian by clicking here.  But I have to tell you that it is a concerning and saddening read.

And I don’t think it is a huge leap of logic to suggest that the UK is not alone when it comes to an inadequacy of mental health services to children and young people.  And we have to, I believe, ask ourselves if indeed the ‘children’ who were ‘our future’ a few years ago aren’t already the part of the crises that we are facing or beginning to face within Accident & Emergency department as reported by the BBC who made the following disturbing statement…

 “Experts say a lack of early support means patients are reaching crisis.

Data compiled for the BBC by NHS Digital showed that between 2011-12 and 2015-16 the number of patients attending A&E units with psychiatric problems rose by nearly 50% to 165,000.”

And who went on to make the even more disturbing statement…

“For the under 18s alone the numbers almost doubled to nearly 22,000.”

( You can read that article on the BBC website by clicking here.)

youth-ae

“For the under 18’s alone the number almost doubled.”  Isn’t that a staggering and deeply concerning statistic?  And we should remember that behind this particular ‘statistic’ are 22,000 young people under the age of 18 for whom their mental health related issues themselves have reached a crisis point.

There is no doubt about it, at least not in the mind of this writer, it is long since time when we – should be investing in providing proper care – including education – in respect of the Mental Health of our young people.

I believe it was Walt Disney  who said, “Our greatest natural resource is the minds of our children.” Well here’s the deal.  If it is, then it is a resource of minds which are all too often damaged and all too often improperly cared for!

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This Year’s Logos

Hi all,

I have today just uploaded this year’s logos for both ‘Member Authors’ and ‘Member Blogs’.

Some of you have emailed me concerning the obtaining and displaying of these logos and I promise that replying to you is on my to do list (which I have to admit – due to health issues and other personal commitments – is pretty long as it is) and I apologise for the delay in getting back to you and I assure you that I will respond to all those that I have received.

But, in the mean time, feel free to visit the ‘Member Authors’ page or the ‘Member Blogs’ page and to copy and display the appropriate logo on your blogs.

Kind regards and God bless you.

Kevin

 

 

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Apologies For Absence, again!

Man lostTransBordWell all, it seems that I am back in a position where I need to apologise for yet another long period of absence.

The truth is that the way my mental health issues present themselves is generally not with a sudden dramatic or obviously noticeable ‘crash’ (although yes they sometimes happen) but with gentle, slow, gradual declines.

Which of course means that very often I – and others – don’t notice them.  Until I reach a point where the resultant fall-out – bills not being paid, the house becoming a total mess, greater levels of isolation, emails not being answered and thus mounting up etc. reach a point where they do become noticeable.

It also, of course, also very often means that the resultant damage of such episode is greater as the episodes themselves are more drawn out than with a sudden crash.  And additionally, since I do tend to isolate most of the time anyway and since most of these signs are specific to the confines of my home or personal accounts , it also means that to all intents and purposes to any onlooker, I appear to be ‘coping’ normally.

So yes, I do apologise to all those who may have emailed me or submitted articles for inclusion in respect of the Guild and it’s blog.  My apparent lack of response or enthusiasm is neither intended or deliberate.  Nor does it reflect on your emails or articles.  It is just a result of where I have been within my own head for some time now.

Once again, I find myself in a position where, as I look at my own personal blogs and blogs such as this one and others which I run as a community service or in order to raise awareness of issues close to my heart, I am stunned by the amount of time which has passed since my last posts.  And this concerns and saddens me greatly.

You are all, very important to me. Just as are the issues for which these blogs are written around. And I am so very sorry for the long void of activity.

I am hoping that over the next few days/weeks I can catch up on the emails I should have responded to and also begin to publish articles or guest submissions which have been submitted.  Should they be suitable of course.

So please accept my apologies and please bare with me.  I will do my best, I promise.

Kind regards and God bless you.

Kevin