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

Mental Health Awareness Week 2017

Mental health problems can affect the way you think, feel and behave. They affect around one in four people in Britain, and range from common mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety, to more rare problems such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. A mental health problem can feel just as bad, or worse, as any other physical illness – only you cannot see it.

Some people think that there is an automatic link between mental health problems and being a danger to others. This is an idea that is largely reinforced by sensationalised stories in the media. However, the most common mental health problems have no significant link to violent behaviour. The proportion of people living with a mental health problem who commit a violent crime is extremely small. There are lots of reasons someone might commit a violent crime, and factors like drug and alcohol misuse are far more likely to be the cause of violent behaviour than mental health problems.


Warning Signs

There are over 200 classified forms of mental illness so its clearly very important to be aware of the warning signs. Mental Illness has no clear victim. It affects people of all ages, young and old, of all races and cultures and from all walks of life. Mental illness, like physical illnesses, is on a continuum of severity ranging from mild to moderate to severe.  More than 7 million people from the UK have a mental illness in any given year.  Mental illness affects one in four adults and one in five children. Very few people, however actually seek treatment for mental illness. Many aren’t even aware of the different types of mental health problems and struggle to spot the signs.

So what ARE the warning signs of mental illness?

In an adult:

  • Marked personality change
  • Inability to cope with problems and daily activities
  • Drop in functioning – an unusual drop in functioning, at school, work or social activities, such as quitting sports, failing in school or difficulty performing familiar tasks
  • Strange or grandiose ideas (impulsive, boastful, exaggerated, dreams and fantasies)
  • Excessive anxieties
  • Neurotic or repetitive behaviour (rocking, biting, hitting, head banging, pinching)
  • Prolonged depression and apathy
  • Marked changes in eating or sleeping patterns
  • Extreme highs and lows
  • Heightened sensitivity to sights, sounds, smells or touch; avoidance of over-stimulating situations
  • jumpy/nervous behaviour, easily startled
  • problems with concentration, memory and speech
  • disconnected from self or surroundings
  • withdrawal and a lack of interaction with others
  • Abuse of alcohol or drugs
  • Excessive anger, hostility, or violent behaviour

A person who is thinking or talking about suicide or homicide should seek help immediately.

In a child:

Having only one or two of the problems listed below is not necessarily cause for alarm. They may simply indicate that a practical solution is called for, such as more consistent discipline or a visit with the child’s teachers to see whether there is anything out of the ordinary going on at school. A combination of symptoms, however, is a signal for professional intervention.

  • The child seems overwhelmed and troubled by his or her feelings, unable to cope with them
  • The child cries a lot
  • The child frequently asks or hints for help
  • The child seems constantly preoccupied, worried, anxious, and intense. Some children develop a fear of a variety of things–rain, barking dogs, burglars, their parents’ getting killed when out of sight, and so on–while other children simply wear their anxiety on their faces.
  • The child has fears or phobias that are unreasonable or interfere with normal activities.
  • The child can’t seem to concentrate on school work and other age-appropriate tasks.
  • The child’s school performance declines and doesn’t pick up again.
  • The child loses interest in playing.
  • The child tries to stimulate himself or herself in various ways. Examples of this kind of behaviour include excessive thumb sucking or hair pulling, rocking of the body, head banging to the point of hurting himself, and masturbating often or in public.
  • The child isolates himself or herself from other people.
  • The child regularly talks about death and dying.
  • The child appears to have low self-esteem and little self-confidence. Over and over the child may make such comments as: “I can’t do anything right.” “I’m so stupid.” “I don’t see why anyone would love me.” “I know you [or someone else] hates me.” “Nobody likes me.” “I’m ugly. . . too big. . . too small. . . too fat. . . too skinny. . . too tall. . . too short, etc.”
  • Sleep difficulties don’t appear to be resolving. They include refusing to be separated from one or both parents at bedtime, inability to sleep, sleeping too much, sleeping on the parent’s or parents’ bed, nightmares, and night terrors.

If you spot any of these warning signs in yourself or in another person please speak concerns to a health professional such as a GP or a charity that can help with advice such as childline or samaritans.

For more information on mental illness:

Mind

Rethink

NHS

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

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

I’ve been staring at this blank blog post for a while now, wondering how I can express myself in order to raise awareness and understanding for Mental Health issues, considering it is May. May is Mental Health Awareness Month. It is also the month of my birthday.

Mental Illness is difficult. Some days are better than others. Some days take you right down to your core and you feel like you can’t fight anymore, but you get back up anyway. Mental Illness is misunderstood. We’re not crazy, we’re just ill. And we need support, we need help. Mental Illness has too much stigma. It’s nothing to be ashamed of – we didn’t decide to become mentally ill, just like people don’t decide to break their leg or get cancer. We’re just ill.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so let me tell you to be aware… (taken from May 2015)

  • Be aware that sometimes I want you to notice me but I can’t ask for your help
  • Be aware that my medication sometimes makes me tired. Sometimes it makes my Mental Illness worse – it worsens my panic attacks, my self harm and my suicidal feelings.
  • Be aware that I have feelings too. I’m not crazy, I’m just not very well at the moment. I don’t want you to isolate me and treat me like I’m a freak.
  • Be aware that I didn’t choice this Mental Illness. It chose me. My brain is not doing so good at the moment, this is not my fault.
  • Be aware that I put up a front and pretend to be happy because I don’t want to hurt everyone around me. Because I feel ashamed that I’m ill.
  • Be aware that the things you take for granted, such as catching the bus, talking to others, walking into a room of people, are very challenging and difficult for me.
  • Be aware that I attach myself to people that make me feel less alone and not invisible, which always leaves me hurt. I’m sorry if my obsession scares you.
  • Be aware that when I say “I’m okay” when you ask me if i’m alright, I’m probably not. It’s just an automatic response and saying you’re fine is much less complicated than trying to explain why I feel this way.
  • Be aware that when I have suicidal thoughts, its not because I don’t want to live. It’s the illness trying to tell me I’m better off dead. I don’t want to die – I want the pain to stop.
  • Be aware that I do have self-harm scars, and yes I see you staring. I accept them, so I’d like you to as well. They are my battle wounds, from when I fought with myself.
  • Be aware that when you get to know me, I am a good friend. I like to talk to people, I like going places, I can have fun and I can have friends. It’s just my mental illness means it’s difficult to do that.
  • Be aware that being mentally ill is not easy, especially when the people around you don’t understand. And it’s even worse, when the people around you don’t want to understand it. Please understand it is not my fault I am ill. Please me aware that Mental Health Stigma hurts. I’m human too. I’m just not well.

 Please be more aware this month than others, and just notice how the people are doing around you. Never be afraid to reach out to those who seem to be struggling – they may appreciate your kindness and interest.

Have a blessed May – be mindful, be observant, be caring, ask questions, and love.

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