Category: Reviews & Resources

Write On – How to Prevent Blogageddon

Anyone can get a blog. A cyber-allotment to fill with opinions and experiences all of your very own. This is after all the nature of blogging. There is no point writing as a far detached onlooker on a topic found on Sky News that you know no more about than the majority of your readers. People turn to blogs for the niche market of unheard voices. If they want facts they turn on the news.

“Extremists have shown what frightens them most, a girl with a book”
Malala Yousafzai

Words have power. You can fight a war within a paragraph. A well thought out, punctuated, war.

So if you find yourself with the itching of an untold story you should head for the biblio equivalent of sudacrem and share it.

But little known stories are often untold for a reason- either they are weighted with taboo or people don’t want it to be told. But they can’t stop you. Here are the skills I have honed to free myself from the gags, and they fit handily into an acronym.

  • Willingness to Work – Post often and post quality. Otherwise what is the point?
  • Resistance – If you get criticism don’t let it silence you. The more adversity you are met with the more reason for you to speak louder. People might not like the fact you are writing or what you have written, but if it is the truth, eloquent and respectful- on what grounds can they stop you?
  • Invent – think of different ways to get your words out there. If you have no internet, text your posts to a friend with your account details and get them to post what you sent to your blog. If this isn’t a possibility do the same via paper. If all else fails just keep writing and then post when you finally have access to the worldwide web.
  • Time – Coming off the same point- it doesn’t matter when you post. Post six months after you write if you must- just make it clear in your content what you have done so your story has consistency. Take time to evaluate real life people before you hand over your web address. The last thing you want is someone dropping you in the dirt!
  • Educate people with what you say. Explain things clearly and don’t be afraid to talk emotion.

 

  • Observe what is around you. Your ordinary is someone else’s extraordinary! Inspiration can come from anything if you look into it enough.
  • Nameless. Use pseudonyms to protect the identities of those you write about. Whether you are writing a flattering poetic verse or a 500 word rant- if you don’t name people they become hypothetical identities and are harder to oppose. Giving yourself a pen name can help free yourself up a bit too.

 Write On! Your stories are worth fighting for! 

a hand holds a light 

To Anyone Considering Working with Mentally Ill Young People

Dear Doctor, Psychiatrist, Occupational Therapist, Nurse, Manager, Health Care Assistant. Or the soon-to-be any of the above.

So you want to work with young people with mental health problems? Or maybe you already do. Welcome to the wonderful world of child and adolescent mental health services.

You are likely to be, or have been, met by a group of young people. Some of whom will be kind and nice to you and some of whom will not. But don’t rule any of them out just yet. Because even the nicest, kindest and friendliest person on this ward will have days where their illness gets in the way of being just that. Mental illness blocks the light and makes pleasantries difficult sometimes. If you are boasting that your experience is all based upon having survived being a teenager yourself- stop. We are ‘average teenagers’ minus the ability to ‘get it together’. We are average teenagers with acute and chronic illness that -were it anywhere else in the body- would lead to hospital tubes and wires. Today the young people are ignoring you, but please don’t take it personally. They aren’t ignoring you- they’re trying to ignore the demons you can’t see. Some illnesses can’t be helped by tubes and wires.

You’re going to work long hours with, I won’t lie, people who will sometimes wish you didn’t bother. You’re an OT pushing a new group, a psychiatrist cutting a medication, a nurse saying no to leave and a HCA pushing dinner. You will be sworn at. You will be insulted. But we need you to keep trying because you can bet that of any group of kids we are the ones who have seen it all. Collectively we’ve had abusers, attackers, family issues, health issues- the works. And if nothing else we have stand alone mental health issues that have bulldozed our lives for a bit. Don’t expect to be told you are doing a good job everyday- but aim to be told you’ve done a good job when your patient goes their own way. You can’t cure us all but you can help us open the box, rearrange the pieces and fill in the gaps.

I wouldn’t fancy your chances in a debate. Especially over issues like suicide. We need you to keep us safe until we can do it for ourselves. One day at a time. If you say something wrong, apologise. If you’re going ‘tough love’ on us don’t be mad when we return it. We’re unreasonable, unlogical and sometimes painfully understanding. It’s you we need to annoy us but not hurt us. Our illnesses are consuming. We need to know that when we shout you will still be back in the morning. We need you to tell us that you are going to do your damnedest to make it okay. If you can’t do this, then you’re in the wrong job. 

… So… Are you in or out? 

Shed Some Light

a oman in UV light covered in shining glitter

“She was elusive. She was today. She was tomorrow. She was the faintest scent of a cactus flower, the flitting shadow of an elf owl. We did not know what to make of her. In our minds we tried to pin her to a cork board like a butterfly, but the pin merely went through and away she flew.”

“When a stargirl cries, she sheds not tears but light.”

‘Stargirl’ by Jerri Spinelli is by far the most inspirational book I have read this academic year. It is particularly close to my heart as I read it in one go on my very first taxi journey to college. It is filled with such wonderful and inspirational passages and I am so glad I picked it up. As soon as I saw this picture on tumblr I instantly linked it to Stargirl, prompting this post. After finishing the book I have found myself constantly longing to become the free spirited heroine from its pages. If you haven’t read it, it doesn’t matter what demographic you are in, you must. It is a modern masterpiece.

Monday Mantra: Shed Some Light

Living With Me and My OCD

'Living with me and my OCD' banner

As it was Mental Health Awareness Week this month I felt that this topic should be represented in SSS. This Month’s cause is ‘Living With Me and My OCD’. It is a project which was put together by Claire Watkinson. It started in 2012 with the aim of raising awareness of the disorder through a film which would eventually be sent around the world. Claire herself is a sufferer of OCD and has interviewed 29 people, travelled 7,000 miles and has done countless phone and skype chats with other sufferers.

Having spoken to Claire I can feel the immense passion she has for this cause. She has a burning desire to spread awareness of this highly misunderstood condition and to help people diagnosed with it.

‘Living With Me and My OCD’ needs funding to have the final film assembled. This money will also help with distribution and production.

You can donate here.