The world’s a nicer place if only we slowed down

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I was out shopping yesterday, I passed two little girls. One aged about 10, and another aged about 6. The little girl was rushing ahead, and the older one was a little bit slower.

Continue reading “The world’s a nicer place if only we slowed down”

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The fight for my life

About 18 months ago I got sick. Very sick. I ended up in hospital, and was to stay there for almost nine months. I was embarrassed and ashamed and felt that I couldn’t tell anyone where I was. I told some people I was on holidays, others that I was away for work. But the truth was that I was on a psychiatric ward fighting for my life. I say fighting because that’s what I felt I was doing.

It all happened rather quickly. One minute I was bridesmaid at my sister’s wedding and the next thing I was inpatient on an acute psychiatric ward. It all happened so fast and in a number of weeks I unravelled in spectacular style.

At first I was afraid. I was so afraid of the thoughts that were going on in my head that I didn’t tell anyone. I kept it to myself. I’m very lucky and have great friends and family but couldn’t find the words to tell them how I was feeling so as far as they were concerned I was fine. But I wasn’t. I was far from fine and was in such a bad place that I just couldn’t find the words to explain how I was feeling. I believed that I would be better off dead and that my friends and family would be better off without me. Continue reading “The fight for my life”

Young leaders nomination

So recently I’ve been nominated for a Young Leaders award for my work as a mental health advocate, and for my work here at Unwind Your Mind.

Usually things like this make me feel pretty uncomfortable but I have to say it’s a great feeling and I feel very humbled by it.

You can read an interview I did with the guys at o2

Check it out here

Bipolar awareness week

quote: What defines us is how well we rise after falling

I’m re-posting this blog post as this week is Bipolar awareness week.

By Anon

About seven months ago I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. Although this came as a shock, I had known that something had not been right for a while. I had suffered from deep dark depressions  for years which were followed by periods where I was unable to sleep for days. Although the diagnosis was scary, it did come as some sort of relief. Finally I had a name for what was wrong with me.

But I doubted the diagnosis, how could I, a normal 26-year-old who experienced a few highs and lows be diagnosed with something ‘crazy’ people had. I thought of all the celebrities  who had been diagnosed with Bipolar disorder, Britney Spears and Kerry Katona were two names that came to mind. But how could my Doctor compare me with two celebrities who had clearly gone off the rails?

Since then I’ve been unable to come to terms with the diagnosis. Until yesterday I hadn’t spoken to anyone about it, mainly because the diagnosis scared me, but also because I didn’t want anyone to think differently of me.

But yesterday I was in a conversation with someone when for some reason I dropped my bombshell. We were talking about life and the obstacles that it throws at us, and suddenly before I knew it I mentioned that I had been diagnosed with Bipolar disorder. I couldn’t believe that I had divulged such a private detail about myself. Especially something that I was so ashamed about.

But I guess it happened for a reason.

As it turns out my ‘secret’ wasn’t such a bombshell after all. In fact the person I was with was completely understanding, and had experienced their own highs and lows.

I guess the moral of the story is that I was so busy keeping my secret that it was in fact eating me up. Sure, I don’t have to tell everyone that I have Bipolar disorder- as it’s none of their business. But that doesn’t mean that I have to let it burn a hole inside of me either.

I’ve realised that it doesn’t matter if I have ups or downs, that is not what  defines me. What matters is that I pick myself up after each fall.

That in itself is liberating.

People still afraid to seek help for mental health difficulties

Despite advancements in mental health treatment, people are still afraid to seek help for mental health difficulties according to a report released today.

A recent internal survey among service users of St. Patrick’s showed that many people live with the distressing symptoms of mental ill-health for long periods without accessing mental health advice or treatment.

Forty-one per cent of those surveyed had lived with their symptoms for at least one year before seeking help.

It seems that stigma is still a huge factor in people being afraid to seek help, with thirty-eight per cent of people feeling ashamed in asking for help.

Prof. Jim Lucey, Medical Director at St. Patrick’s said although a lot of work had been done to address the stigma of mental illness, a lot more was still to do. “Nobody should feel ashamed for being ill. Like every other illness, early intervention is essential”, he said.

“In today’s society it is inexcusable that lack of awareness of mental health issues still causes such significant delay for people seeking treatment.”

 

Frightening survey reveals quarter of teens have felt suicidal

The Irish Independent

By Eilish O’Regan Health Correspondent Tuesday June 07 2011

More than one-in-four young people has felt suicidal in the past, a new survey reveals.

And one in five said they had self-harmed, the report into adolescent mental health showed.

Although emotional distress is felt by both sexes, girls have battled psychological stress more than boys with nearly one in three admitting to feeling suicidal at some stage.

The results were described yesterday as “disturbing and heartbreaking” by Melanie Verwoerd, chief executive of UnicefIreland, which carried out the survey.

Ms Verwoerd, who will launch the report entitled ‘Change the Future: Experiencing Youth in Contemporary Ireland’ in Dublintoday, said the pain that many 16- to 20-year-olds experienced was evident not just in the statistics, “but also in the comments made by many brave young people who took part in the survey”.

The online study revealed:

?Half of young people surveyed reported that they had suffered from depression.

?More than one in 10 said they suffered from anorexia/ bulimia.

More girls struggled with mental health problems, with 32pc saying they had felt suicidal compared to 24pc of boys.

They are also hit in higher numbers by depression, with 59pc suffering the condition compared to 49pc of boys.

And they are also more likely to self-harm — 27pc of girls admit to this compared to 16pc of boys.

Significantly more girls suffer from eating disorders — nearly one-in-four girls (23pc) had anorexia or bulimia compared to 2pc of boys.

Some of the young people are fighting a series of problems including depression, feeling suicidal and eating disorders.

Significantly, there is a clear link between bullying and the young people reporting serious emotional distress.

It showed that two-thirds of young people who reported being bullied had suffered depression, self-harm and felt suicidal.

Many of these young people remain troubled — 41pc said the problem they suffered was ongoing, including 73pc of girls.

The young people with on-going mental health issues rises until the age of 19 and then there is a noticeable fall at the age of 20.

The report notes that many of these teens are not receiving any treatment. Just 18pc of those who reported ongoing troubles said they were receiving help.

Only 14pc of young people in Ireland specifically reported that they had not felt or suffered from any of these mental health problems in the past.

Depression

Ms Verwoerd said: “With one in every two young people reporting that they have experienced depression, the scale and importance of the task of promoting positive adolescent mental health should not be underestimated.

“This is a serious problem and should be dealt with as a matter of urgency.”

She pointed out: “In many cases, individual young people experience the overlap of issues such as depression, eating disorders, self-harm, etc.

“This suggests that services which seek to promote and defend the right to positive mental health must be integrated and comprehensive in addressing the myriad needs identified by the young person themselves.”

The results are based on a representative sample of 508 teenagers between the ages of 16 and 20 who responded to an online survey — some of whom took part in forums organised by Unicef. This is the second in a series of four reports based on research carried out at the end of last year.