A NEW YEAR A NEW BEGINNING

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 As 2018 Comes in and 2017 enters the past its a time for looking forward in hope of better times and good health and mental health.

As we look into this upcoming year its a chance to reinvent our lives and take positive action in support of ourselves , time to kick out those things that caused us bad mental health in 2017

So lets reassert our self esteem our own self worth and face into this new year with confidence and a determination to succeed at any challenge that will face us.

                         Happy New Year

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LOOK FOR THE SIGNS,AND REACH OUT

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Over the past six ( 6 ) months I have been lucky enough to meet some of the finest and bravest people anyone could ever hope to meet in a life time.

We all had one thing in common,we all suffered from depression to varying degrees, from acute to post traumatic stress disorder to bipolar all of which plays havoc with our minds.

The feelings of being useless and a burden to our family and friends can and does drive our mind to the darkest of places

During conversions where we talked to each other as we went through the recovery program we all had one other thing in common and that was the contemplation of committing suicide and or self harm ( bad thoughts !! )

We all had different reasons / triggers for such bad thoughts, as we had different experiences in our lives, for some it was peer pressure,or the trauma of losing a loved one, for others it was trying to deal with end of life issues like retiring from your job,ill health, or reliving a early life trauma like child sexual abuse or trying to recover from rape,or a recent episode of sexual or mental abuse within a relationship or from a family member ie a brother sister father mother uncle or aunt, plus of course a so called friend of the family

All of us avoided that final settlement because we had support someone we could reach out to, someone who cared and would listen to where we where at, not to understand the whole picture but knew enough that we needed help, or in some cases stopped ourselves because we realised the hurt, damage, and shame such an action would have on our families, but the most important thing was we all sought help, our mind illness was so severe it was the hospital or the casket,we chose the hospital.

We were the lucky ones ,we had that outreach that helping hand to get us past that crisis.

As we all know Christmas can be  for many people a very lonely place, where all around there is the parties , the shopping , the Christmas dinner with family and friends, but for some, things are not right we are down and not fitting in with the festivities we are alone in that crowded room, our head is burning and spinning and screaming I need to get out of here I need quiet, I need peace, I can’t go on anymore,I need to end all of this.

 THIS IS WHEN YOU NEED HELP.    YOU NEED TO REACH OUT. ITS NOW YOU NEED TO SPEAK TO SOMEONE, BUT HOW DO YOU DO THAT ? WHO CAN I TALK TO ?

NOW IS THE TIME TO MAKE THAT CALL TO A HELPLINE  CALL ;

THE SAMARITANS: PHONE FREEPHONE 116 123

AWARE FREE HELPLINE: 1800 80 48 48

 CALL YOUR GP OR YOUR CLERGY MAN :

GO TO YOUR LOCAL A&E :

 

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A Thought For This Christmas

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As we move into the season of Christmas I can not but think of the state of our world, where greed in the name of god has driven countries to war creating poverty through  out the world.

Even here in our little country we see the the results of such greed as our people die on the streets because they have no home, family, or job,who in many cases suffer with a mental illness.

We see it every day on our streets as they beg for a few cents to buy a cup of tea as our government put banks and profit before looking after the most needy and vulnerable in our society as they wash their hands off the problem and say look how we fund the charities that is now their responsibility. That reminds me of how this state used the charities to run that  other great scandal { The mother and babies homes } and look how that ended , the current policy is once again brush it under the carpet.

SO MY REQUEST THIS CHRISTMAS IS PLEASE DON’T IGNORE THE HOMELESS OUR OLD AND INFIRM A FEW CENTS A CUP OF TEA OR JUST AN HELLO COULD MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE TO THAT PERSON THIS CHRISTMAS

 

Homeless Geraldine


 

WRAP: Wellness Recovery Action Plan

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Today 6/12/ 2017 I have just completed a six (6) week Course in St Patrick’s University Hospital For Mental Health:

It’s Called WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan ) This is a recovery plan which is used world wide by people who are dealing with all kinds of health and mental health issues, and life challenges. The plan was developed by a group of people who suffer with / from mental health issues.

The program is set up as a self management tool that promotes a higher level of wellness, stability and quality of life, which will empower you to take control of your life, and to embrace /achieve your  life goals and dreams.

It gives people the tools to re-discover themselves, their own self esteem, their confidence and self worth and motivates people to face the world after a serious episode of a mental health illness.

This program was formatted by Dr Mary Ellen Copeland PhD

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The WRAP program does not replace other treatments i.e. medication etc but rather it can be used to compliment them and if the method is adhered to it can be used as an  early warning system to help keep you from falling back into an acute depression.

The WRAP program consists of eight (8) modules:

(a) The Wellness Toolbox:

( b) The Daily Maintenance Plan:

(c) The Triggers and Action Plan:

(d) Early Warning Signs and Action Plan:

(e) When Things are Breaking Down and Action plan:

(f) Crisis  Planning:

(g) Post Crisis Planning:


The program lasts 6 weeks, two days per week, 12 days in all, and it is given by  trained and certified therapists, who are in most if not all cases fully qualified nurses and social sciences workers  who have a wide varied experience in their fields of expertise who will make you feel at ease with them and the other patients who shared the course with me.

Over the next few weeks I will give an over view of each module and how I was able to benefit from the program

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The Sins Of Fianna Fail, Fein Gael And The Irish Labour Party and The Catholic Church, Against The Children and Mothers of Ireland, Many Of whom died of Broken Hearts Or In the Magdalene Laundries

They were sent from orphanages from the north of Ireland and Britain to Australia with the promise of freedom. Many ended up in the care of the notorious Christian Brothers where they were treated as slave labour and suffered horrific physical and sexual abuse. Between 1947 and 1967 up to 10,000 children were shipped to […]

via The Stolen Children – Hopes and Dreams Deported Down Under — Stair na hÉireann/History of Ireland

Retirement ,Old Age, And Depression

 I write this article in tribute to the testimony of the  Older Generation that I encountered during my stay in Saint Patrick’s University Hospital Dublin.

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As we go through our early life and teenage years we rarely if ever think about our old age, it’s all rock and roll, parties, girlfriends, boyfriends, school and university.

Its a time where we are full of energy and ambitions. It’s when we are free to try and fulfill our dreams of travel, excitement, and discovery of the world we live in, its also a time of great joy and   challenges.

As you are off on your travels you are sure in your mind that Mammy and Daddy are at home where there is a warm bed and roof to lie under, this is your safety net.

IF IT ALL GOES WRONG THERE IS ALWAYS HOME.

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Eventually somewhere along the line you will meet the boy /girl of your dreams.

This is the point when you will turn into a man/woman, you become an adult.

You then do what society expects you to do, it’s called human conditioning !!,

Your conditioned to be, in the case of the male to be the breadwinner, the supplier of security, as your wife is the home maker  and mother to your children and so it goes around.

Even at this stage old age or retirement does not enter your mind, you’re paying into your pension / insurance schemes and all is bright and beautiful.

Then as you create your own family the circle of life begins once again.

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Your mother / father become grandparents as  they now  start to face into retirement and their own mortality.

Its a time, after years of hard work for reflection, evaluation, but most of all it’s a time when society turns you, just like the horse, out to grass, because in their eyes you have now served your purpose, that is in spite of the fact that we did not wish to retire as we still feel that we have something to offer society, but more important we don’t want to feel unwanted or surplus to requirements, we don’t want people saying in surprise “you’re looking well for your age” because age doesn’t matter its what is in the mind that matters !!!

But whats in the mind of an older person ?

Is it a feeling of rejection ? A feeling of joy ?

Is it a feeling of loss ?

Is it a feeling of despair / abandonment ?

Is it a fear of the unknown?

For most it can be a time of joy, a time to share the long love and comfort of each other, to look back at your successes as you proudly look at your children and grandchildren and murmur to yourself , we didn’t do too bad after all, its time to let go, its now our time.

Its time to live the dreams, to visit the places we always wanted to, to do the bucket list !!, it could be a round the world  trip, it could be an exotic train journey across Russia to China, or the orient express across Europe.

Unfortunately we can’t all be so lucky in our old age.

For most of us it’s the bowling club, the men’s shed, that walk everyday, the night out to dinner every week. But then our biggest fear arrives, just like that old broken  car in the drive way, we start to feel the pain in our joints. we start to slow down, our memory starts to fade, our age starts to catch up as   we are faced with our own mortality and health issues.

Old age is setting in and as our mobility is now less effective we start to feel isolated.

 Our children now have responsibility for their own  children, we see less of them or even worse they may be in some far off land where our only contact is by Skype or Social Media.

While all this movement is going on around us we start to become more and more isolated and fear of being a burden to others grows.

Then one day we wake up and we can’t/wont get out of the bed.

As time goes on we spend more and more time in bed and our sense of loss, feeling uselessness and loss of self esteem grows as we fall unknowingly  into a deep depression

 A depression which can and does become life threatening.

A depression which becomes even more dangerous when we mourn the loss of our partner and enter  widowhood.

It’s a trauma and sense of loss that few will understand until they themselves experience it,

I know I didn’t understand as a young man the depth of that suffering when my father died and my mother was left alone, its only now when I hear the heartbreaking stories of bereaved partners that I can now fully appreciate that suffering,

 Because now as I sit here in front off this computer I too at 69 years old, I am now facing my own mortality.

But for whatever time I have left on this world I will always  look back at the gifts that god bestowed on me, my brothers and sisters and say Ireland is a better place now from when they where born into this Island,

My own 4 children and my beautiful wife Catherine,and say we did not do so bad after all

WHILE I EXPRESS ALL OF THE ABOVE I WOULD SAY EVERY OLDER PARENT  WOULD EXPRESS THE SAME SENTIMENTS ABOUT THEIR FAMILIES

 

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    IF YOU KNOW A ELDERLY PERSON OR COUPLE THIS CHRISTMAS/ NEW YEAR SEASON  PLEASE CALL IN AND SAY HELLO

YOU MIGHT JUST MAKE THAT COUPLE/PERSON’S       CHRISTMAS A HAPPY ONE

 

Where To Begin, A Journey Of Self Discovery Through An Illness Of The Mind

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Some people describe an illness of the mind as a nervous breakdown or a breakthrough of the mind, or madness, or “Oh he / she has problems with their nerves “!! all the usual cliche’s made by the unknowable / unacknowledgeable  people in  society who, without realizing the actual damage that they are doing to the person they are referring too.

In reality it’s called creating a stigma

I always refer to my recent encounter as my breakthrough, as an illness of the mind, not unlike any other illness I have had through my life, and I have had many, all of them life threatening, but none more so than my illness of the mind.!!

An illness of the mind in all cases is challenging to the sufferer, who becomes detached from the world around them, and their family and friends.

This is manifested by withdrawal from reality by way of sleeping all day, loss of motivation or purpose, loss of self esteem, loss of concentration, loss of self worth, and a conviction that whatever I do its wrong.

While the above does represent a number of sufferers but not all and certainly not the  most serious of cases, there can be people who suffer from psychosis / Schizophrenia, and bi-polar depression  but the one thing that is common among all sufferers is a feeling of unity as we are all ill of mind and we all suffer from a lack of understanding from people who have not had the misfortune to suffer an illness of the mind.

 It is estimated that at least 30% of the Irish population will suffer an episode of depression in their life time.

In many cases it explodes into their lives without warning or without the sufferer realizing it or understanding the reasons for it.

That is until in many cases they are hospitalized by their GP ( as it was in my own case).  I had all the symptoms of acute depression but as I was convinced I had a physical illness my focus was on a medical cure for my chronic back pain, which I was convinced was as a result of a major surgery I had in January 2015 which led me through 2015/16  having every medical test possible to try and discover the cause of this unbearable pain but to no avail, as this pain continued unabated and in many cases and on many days it got worse.

For me my loss of energy, concentration, sleeping for long periods during the day, being angry at those around me, feelings of uselessness and a burden to those who care the most for my welfare, this pain was so severe that I wished my doctors would tell me  I was terminally ill,

Unknown to me I was terminally ill but not as I had suspected, I was suffering from a different type of terminal illness it’s called extreme stress / depression/ anxiety.

This was to lead to a serious and acute bout of depression, which can lead, and sometimes does to a person making a terminal decision  with regards their own life.

My initial response to this event was one of fear, a fear of the unknown and the future, what would people say? what would my neighbors think ? what would the in-laws and out- laws have to say or think ?!!

After a couple of weeks in hospital I was to understand that it did not really matter what they said or thought, because at the end of the day this was  my illness and mine alone.

I  could lie down under it or I could turn it to my advantage, I could make the  decision to accept responsibility for my own recovery with the help of my medical team .

It was at this point that I decided that my life had to change, I needed to unconditionally accept my illness and do my share to achieve a full recovery.

AND SO I WAS TO BEGIN MY JOURNEY OF SELF DISCOVERY.

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During my journey I was to discover who I am;

I AM A FATHER.

I AM A HUSBAND.

I AM A GRANDFATHER.

I AM AN UNCLE.

I AM VULNERABLE.

I AM COMPASSIONATE TO OTHERS.

I AM VALUABLE TO OTHERS. 

I AM LOVED BY OTHERS.

I AM NEEDED BY OTHERS. 

 I AM SPIRITUALLY ALIVE.

I AM EMOTIONALLY ALIVE.

I AM AT PEACE WITH MYSELF.

I AM RECOVERING AND I WILL ALWAYS BE.

I HAVE BEEN THROUGH THE TUNNEL OF DARKNESS, AND I AM OUT INTO THE BRIGHTNESS OF A NEW DAY AND A NEW LIFE.

I AM NOW RESPONSIBLE FOR MY MENTAL HEALTH

                                I AM ME !!