autism · journey to recovery · mental health · mental health blogger · mental illness · personal journey · Uncategorized

World Autism Awareness Week [2017]

The 27th March to the 2nd April 2017 is World Autism Awareness Week.

The term ‘autism’ is used here to describe all diagnostic profiles, including Asperger syndrome and Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA).Without understanding, autistic people and their families are at risk of being isolated and developing mental health problems.

Autism is much more common than many people think. There are around 700,000 people on the autism spectrum in the UK – that’s more than 1 in 100. If you include their families, autism is a part of daily life for 2.8 million people.

Autism doesn’t just affect children. Autistic children grow up to be autistic adults. Autism is a hidden disability – you can’t always tell if someone is autistic. While autism is incurable, the right support at the right time can make an enormous difference to people’s lives.

70% of autistic adults say that they are not getting the help they need from social services. 70% of autistic adults also told us that with more support they would feel less isolated. At least one in three autistic adults are experiencing severe mental health difficulties due to a lack of support. Only 16% of autistic adults in the UK are in full-time paid employment, and only 32% are in some kind of paid work.

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What is Autism?

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others.

Autistic people see, hear and feel the world differently to other people. If you are autistic, you are autistic for life; autism is not an illness or disease and cannot be ‘cured’. Often people feel being autistic is a fundamental aspect of their identity.

Autism is a spectrum condition. All autistic people share certain difficulties, but being autistic will affect them in different ways. Some autistic people also have learning disabilities, mental health issues or other conditions, meaning people need different levels of support. All people on the autism spectrum learn and develop. With the right sort of support, all can be helped to live a more fulfilling life of their own choosing.

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How can you help?

You can help autistic people and their families by:

  • spreading understanding about autism – sign up to support the National Autistic Society’s Too Much Information campaign
  • donating to the National Autistic Society so they can continue to give millions of people information and advice about support
  • Talking about autism on social media and to friends and family
  • Sharing this blog post

 

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journey to recovery · mental illness · personal journey · Uncategorized

Let’s Talk about Suicide (Signs and Awareness)

Suicide is a topic that is usually not talked about. People are afraid of the word suicide. No one wants to imagine someone they love thinking about or dying by suicide. This is why no one talks about it. But the thing is, we need to talk about it, because its not as uncommon as people think. One in Four (26%) young people in the UK experience suicidal thoughts.

One person dies every 40 seconds by suicide worldwide – that is an estimate of 1440 deaths by suicide a day! By 2020, the rate of death will increase to every 20 seconds. 2880 people will be dying of suicide a day… How can there be such a negative stigma surrounding suicide when it claims so many lives in simply a day? Suicide has now become one of the three leading causes of death among those aged between 15-44. More than 4,000 children under the age of 14 tried to take their own lives in the UK in the year 2007.

The point is: if you’re not experiencing suicidal thoughts, someone you know is. Many people have suicidal thoughts at some point in their life. Feeling this way means that you have more pain than you can manage at the moment, and that’s totally okay.

Remember that someone who has thoughts of suicides may not necessary attempt suicide. Suicide thoughts are different to suicide attempts but this does not mean their feelings are invalid or should be overlooked.


A person may be at high risk of attempting suicide if they:

  • threaten to hurt or kill themselves
  • talk or write about death, dying or suicide
  • actively look for ways to kill themselves, such as stockpiling tablets

A person may be at risk of attempting suicide if they:

  • complain of feelings of hopelessness
  • have episodes of sudden rage and anger
  • act recklessly and engage in risky activities with an apparent lack of concern about the consequences
  • talk about feeling trapped, such as saying they can’t see any way out of their current situation
  • Self harm – including misusing drugs or alcohol, or using more than they usually do
  • noticeably gain or lose weight due to a change in their appetite
  • become increasingly withdrawn from friends, family and society in general
  • appear anxious and agitated
  • are unable to sleep or they sleep all the time
  • have sudden mood swings – a sudden lift in mood after a period of depression could indicate they have made the decision to attempt suicide
  • talk and act in a way that suggests their life has no sense of purpose
  • lose interest in most things, including their appearance
  • put their affairs in order, such as sorting out possessions or making a will

If you notice any of these warning signs in a friend, relative or loved one, encourage them to talk about how they are feeling.

Also share your concerns with your doctor or a member of their care team, if they are being treated for a mental health condition.

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Responding to warning signs of suicide

Speak up if you are worried

Talking to a friend or family member about their suicidal thoughts and feelings can be extremely difficult. But if you’re unsure whether someone is suicidal, the best way to find out is to ask.

You might be worried that you might ‘put the idea of suicide into the person’s head’ if you ask about suicide. You can’t make a person suicidal by showing your concern. In fact, giving a suicidal person the opportunity to express his or her feelings can give relief from isolation and pent-up negative feelings, and may reduce the risk of a suicide attempt.

How to start a conversation about suicide:

  • I am worried about you because you haven’t seemed yourself lately.
  • I have noticed that you have been doing (state behaviour), is everything ok?

Questions you can ask

  • What can I do to help you?
  • What supports have you called on so far?

What you can say that helps

  • I want to help you and I am here for your when you want to talk.
journey to recovery · mental health · mental health blogger · mental illness · personal journey · Uncategorized

The Devastating Truth: Depression

Depression is often viewed as an emotion or feeling that isn’t really that serious. The true reality of Depression though is that it is a slow-moving killer that makes your original, happy personality turn silent and isolating. A lot of people who suffer from depression go on to commit suicide. Around 90% of people who have killed themselves have had Depression or another co-siding mental health problem. Even if people do not take their life if they have depression, the illness still makes them exist and not live. Life will become meaningless, exhausting and not very enjoyable.

Depression leaves you to reflect on your life as well as trying to reconstruct happiness, all whilst balancing feeling utterly alone. Depression brings along an entire stream of confusion, unhappiness, rage, grief, loneliness, exhaustion and physical illness.

The reason so many people do not talk about the raw truth of Depression is because Depression isn’t really talked about out loud. The raw truth is that it makes people uncomfortable. People who haven’t experienced Depression or any other forms of mental illness will question why a depressed person is sad in the first place or encourage you to simply ‘be happy and think positive’. The reality is that there isn’t always a reason why a depressed person is sad. Sometimes it just gets too much. No one has any reason to judge another person whose struggling, and for the person who is depressed, life is absolutely unbearable to cope with most of the time. No matter how much that depressed person is loved, they can still feel absolutely worthless.

When you have Depression, everyone else around you seems happy. They seem to have it all together and cope amazingly with everyday situations. If you’re suffering, you don’t want to take their happiness away by involving them in your problems. You isolate so that others around you can feel the happiest they can be without putting any of your problems on them.

Depression makes you unworthy of people, help and love. However, when you take a step back and view yourself at a different perspective, are you really a burden to others? All the things we can’t do in Depression set us free. Depression is a gut wrenching and isolating disease but people truly help. Having people around not only provides comforts but also support in the darkness.

No one suffering from Depression is alone.

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If You Know Someone Suffering From Depression

What you say to someone who suffers is important. Remember not to take it personally if they can’t or won’t open up to you. Compassionately reach out.

When they do open up, do not brush it off or ignore them. There is nothing for you to fix. Just listen. Sometimes, just knowing they are not alone will help them move out of the pain.

The goal of helping is giving people who suffer from depression a voice and allowing them to be heard. This pulls them out of isolation and helps them feel loved.

Reach out to them, be with them, listen to them.

This will and can save a life.

Depression is a disease of the heart, one that equals sadness.

Suicide is not reversible, but sadness, if it is caught early enough is.

With compassion, empathy and kindness to one another, we can reverse the disease. We can save each other with sympathy, honesty and love.

journey to recovery · mental health · mental illness · personal journey · Uncategorized

8 things not to say to someone with mental illness

The 8 things below have been said to me during my battle with mental illness. I’d love to hear the things people have said to you that they shouldn’t have said in regards to your illness!

1. “You have everything going for you. You have people who love you, you’re going to university, you have an amazing family…etc.” Although I appreciate that I’ve gotten into university, that I have people who love me and amazing family…I still have a mental illness. Although I may have ‘everything going for me’ I don’t feel as though I do. I did not decide to have these thoughts or behaviours so please don’t talk as though I can change so easy.

2. “I don’t really think you should be taking your medication, you’ve been on it a while. Maybe you should cut it down or stop it altogether.” My medication allows me to function. If I didn’t take my medication, I’d have panic attacks every single day, even just getting out of bed. At the moment, I do not feel better with a decreased amount of medication. It is not addicting, so please don’t worry.

3. “You can’t be like this forever. You’ll have to get a job, get married, and have a family. How do you expect to get friends or a boyfriend like this?” Many of my mental illnesses have been with me since I was a small child and I’m sure they’re not going to budge any time soon. I don’t know how long my mental illnesses will last, but they will never go away. Someday I may enter recovery, but I will still have mental illness.

4. “You’re just attention seeking.” Trust me; if I could choose not to be mentally ill I would! I didn’t choose this for myself. No way in hell would I want to suffer with deliberating anxiety and depression everyday, with panic attacks and thoughts of self-harm and suicide. I wouldn’t be starving and exercising if I truly loved my body.

5. “You’re not the only one.” I’m aware that around 450 million people in the world suffer with some sort of mental health condition, that doesn’t make it any easier for me. Although I feel for these people and know what they are going through, I cannot get better simply because others suffer too.

6. “Some people have mental illness worse.” I am so aware that people have mental illness worse. I know I am lucky to not suffer from debilitating hallucinations and voices 24 hours a day, but everyone with mental illness struggles, whether it be because of Anxiety or Schizophrenia.

7. “Don’t you want to get better?” Of course I don’t want to be this way forever but it has been the only way that I know. Mental illnesses has become a safety blanket which makes it difficult to imagine a life without it.

8. “Everyone feels the same way sometimes.” Although everyone experiences a range of emotions, not everyone has a mental illness. Everyone gets sad, but not everyone experiences the hopeless pit of despair that comes with Depression.  Being anxious for the dentist is not the same as having a panic attack.

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