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Archive for February, 2011

Blast from the past!

This weekend has been a weekend of flashbacks… which considering my last post, may sound bad… but actually, it’s not. I have been tracked down by a number of friends from my youth, all because of a photograph!  A few friends from primary school had already tracked me down on facebook, so when 2 photos from that time were posted, I was tagged… which led to more friend requests and hey presto… it’s a bloody class reunion!

My last post told you about some mental health issues I have had because of my childhood, so you would have thought this ‘photo’ may have been distressing… but it has just reminded me of some of the good times as a kid. We all have them, out playing up the mountain, riding bikes and of course, you simply cannot forget the 1980’s fantastic tunes and silly hairdo’s we all had back then!   And we all thought we were so cool… dear oh dear 😉

My old friend Natalie thinks I have done so much… and in some ways, I have done a lot in my life, moved from Wales, got a degree, travelled to Italy and, of course, been on stage with U2 as a ONE volunteer (that one really impresses, but it was only 2 nights almost 2 years ago… you still need a real life). However, I haven’t really achieved that much in the grand scheme of things. We all have a destiny, whether it is being a parent, partner, improve your career… just because someone is not in the same geographical place they started from doesnt mean they have automatically achieved, just like staying in the same geographical place doesnt mean you have automatically failed…anyone can achieve great things, anywhere… if we just work at it… nothing is handed to any of us on a plate.

Chatting to a friend from the Pakistan Red Crescent has also helped me put my work life in perspective… in Pakistan, most of the children do not have access to education… so his country doesn’t have the same service that I work in here in the UK (running Red Cross workshops in schools)… there, the Red Crescent is always dealing with crisis, making sure children get food, water, shelter or schooling. It somehow makes my work worries seem silly and irrelevant… which really, I guess they are in a way.

Also, another facebook friend Simone in Sweden has given me a virtual ass kicking for not going to the gym… so I better start listening!  I may not have any friends living locally to socialise with, but I still do have friends… friends who I should be listening to.

Anyway, I guess this blog entry has been about me realising whatever shit has happened in the past, what happens next is down to me… and if I don’t want to sit about complaining about how shit everything is, then I’d better get off my fat ass and do something about it!!!

(In case you are wondering in the photo, I’m sitting 2nd row from the front, 2nd one in from the left… next to new found facebook friend Natalie with her hand on her chin because she was bored LOL)

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It’s a funny thing, mental health… what most of us do not want to admit, is that fluctuations in your general mental wellbeing is completely the norm from what I can see. The stigma that has been generated by society can be found in the day to day use of terms like ‘nutter’ or ‘mental’… we are still far from the acceptance that at some point in their lives, everyone is going to get anxious about something, depressed about something or maybe even a little paranoid, if the circumstances arise.

Clinical depression, which is what I have had, is basically anyone who has felt depressed for longer than 2 weeks… did you know that? I learnt that on a course I did once called ‘Mental Health First Aid’… which is aptly named considering my line of work. It was a course that Northumberland Council ran for those who were involved in assisting people after the Morpeth Floods of 2009. I was surprised to learn that tho, just 2 weeks. It is widely accepted that everyone gets depressed, it only spills over into the diagnosis catagory if it lasts an extended period of time… 2 weeks. How many people are out there who have never been diagnosed, but are actually clinically depressed? There is a fear of getting help for ‘mental’ issues, the fear that it somehow makes us stark raving mad… when actually, we are just normal people who need some help to cope. We label things to make them easier to deal with, like saying ‘look at that nutter’ will somehow distract from ourselves and keep our own mental issues somehow at bay.

Circumstances beyond my control as a child are the main reason for my mental issues now… I am about to start something my therapist calls ‘Compassionate Mind’ therapy. To be honest, for all it sounds artsy fartsy (and believe me when he said it, I nearly laughed in his face), the theory behind it kinda makes sense. What was the example he used? Oh yeah… see what you think… when we are a child, a young child, and you fall over and scrape your knee, it hurts, you bleed, the shock scares you, so the way you are nurtured then, kinda sets you up for life… by a good parent/guardian picking you up, treating your wound, kissing it better if you like, we learn 3 key things… 1) That I am valued, that somebody cares; 2) That this is real, that it is really happening; 3) That the hurt has an end, that you will be allright, that everything will be ok. So, if, like me, you didn’t really get that as a child, you then lack the ability to nurture yourself properly, that you do not learn you are valued, therefore do not value yourself. You can’t console yourself that everything will be ok… hence, the anxiety and depression.

Also, if your childhood was bad, it is not so easy to talk about it either. I had built into me as a child a fear of small talk, because in making general conversation, people talk about themselves don’t they, their homes, their cars, their holidays, nights out, etc… if your parents actively discourage you from telling anyone what is happening to you at home, that simple small talk can become the scariest thing in the world. So, without the prior knowledge that you are actually a person who is suffering, what is society meant to think? That you are anti-social, that you are weird, arrogant maybe (if thats what people are like at home)… a nutter?

Anyway, I think 2011 is the time where I will actually be writing meaningful stuff on this blog, stuff that might just help me or someone else… not random shit about my work that, lets face it, is a bit dull 😉

My compassionate mind starts here… I’m allright me, I’m getting there.

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