Tag: mh

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? 

A Letter to The Years

Dear 2013,

Look where we are! It’s cold outside and we are looking at the start of a brand new year. To say you have been a year of two halves is a massive understatement. There have been massive highs and lows- that’s for sure. But maybe a person needs that kind of year every now and again so that we can truly understand the difference between the good and bad, and make the most of both. 2013 you weren’t that nice to me in the beginning, but you certainly built momentum. You took me through my GCSEs which right now seem so long ago. I sat large numbers of exams, some were successful and some were not so, but somehow I got through and passed all of my subjects. You are the year that I properly set about ridding myself of the eating disorder which has controlled me on and off over the last couple of years. A lot of people are unaware that food was, and is, an issue for me but many have provided me with valuable support which I can’t say thanks for enough. I would like to say I am anxiety free, but I’m still work in progress. You’ve been the year that I cemented my relationship with my beautiful guide dog and celebrated our one year anniversary. Now it feels like she is a limb of mine and without her I’d be completely lost. I also left school, which closed a very stressful chapter of my life. But my word that book was closed well- with a lovely prom and a fantastic summer camping trip with friends. As I’ve said before, school wasn’t easy, and many people helped me get through it when I really didn’t think I would. Thank you to those who have given hugs, been on the ends of phones for lengthy chats and listened to my keyboard screams through messenger. In the summer I went to the Czech Republic where I met lots of fantastic new people from all over the world. You also changed completely for the better from september onwards when I moved to my new college, which has definitely changed my life for the better. I have made amazing friends there who I refer to as my ‘non-biological family’ and I’ve also managed to keep good contact with friends at home. I am so lucky to have such amazing influences around me- friends and family, of both the human and furry variety.

Dear 2014,

You are so very close now. I wish my friends and family a very happy and successful year where their hopes and wishes can be achieved. For myself I aim to continue with the highs of 2013, and keep aiming to improve myself and my outlook on life. I also want to write more often, be more adventurous, hopefully raise some money for charity and keep speaking out about mental health. I also hope to be writing a similar post in a years time, accounting all the things I did in 2014 and wanting to see what’s next.

P.S. I know what I said to 2013 about maybe a person needs a year of highs and lows to acknowledge everything- but I wouldn’t mind if you cut out a few lows this year. 🙂

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To the lovely readers who stumbled across my blog, or were funnelled here by social media. Thank you for all your lovely support during the last year and for your ongoing readership of this blog. I hope next year I can carry on writing factual posts and keep trying to reach my aim of making this blog a bit more personal too. I think this post is a good start. Who knows maybe I will throw in some fiction next year? I want to get much more creative with what I do- both on here and on youtube and twitter. I hope you have a very happy new year, and I will see you in January!

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Music:

Mary Lambert – Auld Lang Syne

Sara Bareilles – Brave