I’m really happy with how this series has been going; the ability to share the stories of others who have experience with mental illness and mental health issues to a broad platform. I’m learning a lot along the way, and I guess that’s the point – for all I can say I think I know about mental health, there are a million stories out there containing things I’d never even imagine. Unlike the image thrown out there in the media, mental health is about more than anxiety and depression, it’s about more than going and getting a full nights sleep, eating right and exercising. The amazing Fiona, who writes at Sunny SpellsÂ and Scattered Showers, wrote a fantastic piece this week about her views on how mental illness is represented in the Irish media, which appeared in the Irish Times. Fiona writes on her blog about her experiences with BPD – borderline personality disorder – and the different therapies which she has encountered, the struggles and the triumphs and how it affects her and her family. I was thrilled when she agreed a few weeks back to join this series as I feel her experience is definitely one which we don’t get to hear much about and is so important to add to our understanding.
Since it’s Monday, that means it’s time for the Mental Health Monday series! It’s been going really well so far, with lots of amazing people sending me their stories and sharing them with the world to (hopefully) make anyone reading it feel less alone and less like they can’t cope. It sums up a broad spectrum of mental health issues; with a number of fantastic pieces lined up about depression, BPD, anxiety, panic attacks, and numerous other issues. The conversation does not, and should not, stop at depression and anxiety, it’s important that all mental health stories are spoken about.
For the second week of this Mental Health Monday series, the lovely Suzy from The Airing Cupboard is sharing her tale of suffering from anxiety. This is a subject which can be very difficult to discuss so I’m happy that she wanted to contribute to this series with it, hopefully to make someone else unable to put into words how they feel a little more able to express it. Suzy is a mother of two beautiful children, who uses great wit and humour to document her parenting journey at her blog, The Airing Cupboard.
We recently elected a new government, not that you could tell it in looking at our currently defunct parliament. In the 36 days since our votes were counted and those who were chosen by the people were officially elected, we have sat around watching them squabble like children, unable to pick their teams in a way that made anyone happy. They’ve racked up a whopping 1.75 million (and growing) wages bill – and that’s just the TDs – for their playground politics. Keep that figure in mind when you see the next one I give you – a proposed cut of 12 million from the 35 million budget ring fenced for mental health services. In our already fractured mental health system, the government is prioritising other things and taking funds away from helping some of the most vulnerable people in our society. I’m angry.
To kick off this blog series all about mental health experiences by parents, I’ve got a blogger whose telling of her experiences was not only inspiring to me during my darker days of PND, but also to many others, resulting in her win of Best Blog Post in the Blog Awards Ireland 2014. Karen, who writes at Beating Myself Into A Dress, describes her experience with depression in such a relatable way, and is a fantastic advocate for mental illness in Ireland today.
I’ve written before a few times on this blog about my struggles with mental health, and in particular with postnatal depression. It’s a topic which is very close to my heart and something which I am passionate about. It’s something I feel is coming a long way in our little country, and in the world as a whole – certainly in contrast with ten years ago it seems that the stigma is certainly decreasing – but there is still a long way to go.
Itâ€™s the most wonderful time of the year. Itâ€™s a time of love and joy and everyone is happy and smiling and nothing could possibly go wrong in this time of magic. Right? Then why are you feeling snowed under, like you want to crawl under the duvet and not return until someone promises to eradicate that Mariah Carey song from the earth? At a time of so much happiness surrounded by family and friends, it can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking the black dog, depression, the blues, whatever you want to call them, will take holiday leave and allow you to enjoy the tiny bits of sparkle and magic at the end of the year. Unfortunately, heâ€™s not into taking holidays much, and this time of year, he can sometimes pull a lot of overtime. You are not alone.
Last week I spotted a request from a journalist with Independent.ie, asking for bloggers to talk about their “happy place”, as part of their Mind Yourself campaign.
As I’ve written about mental illness and my personal experiences with postnatal depression and the impact it’s had on my life, I thought this might be a good idea – there is so much doom and gloom around it that it is important to see the light at the end of the tunnel, the happy bits which make life worth living. I had a bit of a think about specific places which fill me with joy (currently a bubble bath with a glass of wine sounds fairly idyllic) and came to the conclusion that it isn’t really a physical place that I can pick. Read More
Through blogging, I have discovered the power of talking about mental health and how it can not only help me to let it out, but also to read others writing about their experiences – a problem shared is a problem halved, and all that. I am of the belief that mental health is something we need to work to de-stigmatise in this country, the time of our sheltered attitudes towards people “suffering from their nerves” and shunning those who suffer in silence needs to be gone. Thankfully this seems to be a changing attitude in modern Ireland. We are living in a time where mental illness is becoming a public concern – recent reports have shown dramatic increases in the amounts of clinical depression diagnoses, linked to the economic crisis and it’s effect on family life in Ireland, while various charity events are held on a regular basis to raise awareness and funds for groups who provide mental health supports in the community. As a society, we are learning that it is important to talk. Read More
It’s been a few weeks since I’ve gotten to do one of these – life has been rather hectic around here with himself away with work, and our going up and down to Waterford and Wexford. We’ve also had some rather not-summer-like weather which hasn’t inspired much in the way of happy thoughts – it’s as if August took a holiday of its own and left November in charge, rather unfairly! Despite all of that though, there have been some good points, so as a form of a round up of the last few weeks, here’s what my Little Loves looks like this week!
When my child was five months old, I gave in to common sense and made a visit to my GP where I was diagnosed with postnatal depression, prescribed medication and referred to a consultant psychiatrist for further care. This was not my first foray into the world of mental health issues, but this to me was progress; I was on top of my game and making sure that whatever was going wrong in my head was to be remedied so that I could focus on making life as good as it could be for me and my new little family. Almost a year on, things are better, mostly. They are being reviewed constantly by professionals who know what they’re talking about and I consider myself more educated about different mental health issues and the effects that they have, my triggers and effects of the medication on different parts of my life.
It has been hard work, but I am getting there. Read More