May is all about speaking out and trying to understand Mental health and tomorrow is the start of Mental health awareness week.
I can remember thinking “I wish I was Just Normal” from a very young age. Growing up I had some understanding what mental health was due to living with my mum, but I truly thought that mental health was something very bad and made you very ill. As I reached my teenage years, I had so much going on that I was not aware really of the changes taking place within me.
I have had panic/anxiety attacks well….my whole life. I can remember my first anxiety attack (Just so you know, I am aware that there is a difference between panic attacks and anxiety attacks….I have struggled with both) I was about 7 when I had my first real one. It was about 8 in the evening and it was hot summers night. Anyone who has lived in an inner-city estate will know that kind of hot where its been baking all day and by the evening there is no air. Nothing moves and it feels like the heat is trapped between the blocks of flats. The night before something had happened. Something that had caused me great distress. And for some reason, the next night around the same time I started to feel…strange. That is the only word I have. I was sitting on the floor painting when all of a sudden, I become very aware of everything. I felt overwhelmed by every sensation in my body and then felt like I was going to be sick. I rushed to the bathroom and just sat on the edge of the bath…sweating and my heart racing. Someone came, someone who was in the house, and tried to figure out what was wrong with me. We ended up walking round and round my block…me saying that I couldn’t breathe. I can’t tell you how it ended. What I can tell you is how it’s been ever since…. there have been times that it’s so bad that I couldn’t leave the house. And no one ever took me to the doctors about it. Not once. Like I said, I had other shit going on so going to the doctor about that …was not even up for discussion.
I often wonder if my anxiety is learnt behaviour from the people I was around growing up or if its genetics from my parents. All I know is, I have done everything in my power to hide my poor mental health from my children so that they would never turn out like me.
To my knowledge only one has ever witnessed my poor mental health and only once. However, all my children suffer with mental health in one way or another, so I guess I didn’t hide it…or genetics…. or maybe society puts so much pressure on us that we all end up with mental health.
So, like I said, I have spent many years laying in my bed, mid anxiety attack or bad thoughts thinking “Why can’t I just be normal”
And then I found out something.
No one is normal.
Think about it. I want you to really think about this. In your head right now…and the name will come straight away…who is the most normal person you know? Have you got a name? Ok…trust me on this…that person will have stuff going on that you have no idea about. Trust me.
Here is something else for you. If your reading this and you are my family or my friend …. You are not “Normal”. All my friends and family have mental health going on. Yes…. even you. Do I go out looking for the crazies just so I don’t feel crazy alone…? nope…it’s because everyone has something going on.
We talk about mental health sometimes like its …I don’t know…an illness people catch. I think its part of life. And there is time when mental health can become a problem and can impact on your life in way that you can’t control. There are times that mental health can have an impact on the people you care about and there are times that you need professional health and support to get through it.
And that’s OK.
I think people are scared of mental health. I know I have been. I have feared my own mental health and other peoples.
That is also OK.
Daily I see children and young people so overwhelmed with life that they harm themselves. Crying and unable to explain what is going on in their heads. Children and young people who have been through unimaginable trauma unable to express how that made them feel or why and then find themselves unable to breath or think straight. Kids that have seen things within gangs that would make a grown adult want to lay in bed a never get up.
But its fine. We just get mental health professionals to jump right in and get these kids the help and support they need right away as no one would leave kids to suffer like this.
Do we fuck.
We make the referral right away. We try and get the support. The waiting list for CAHMS in my area…over a year. My own daughter…. over a year. I had a girl who disclosed about Child sexual exploitation …. proven…. big trauma….one of the most depressed children I have meet…she is on the waiting list…18 months until she is allocated an appointment.
The NHS is failing our children and young people. A report from the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has slammed the “Unacceptably long” waiting times treatment of children and young people with mental health issues and has criticised the NHS’s efforts for failing to deliver the required provision of care
And according to MPS, only three in ten children and young people with mental health problems are receiving the NHS funded treatment they needed last year.
PAC chair Meg Hillier said: “Children and young people with mental health conditions are being failed by the NHS. Provision is far below required levels and many people who do get help face long waits for treatment.
“This can be devastating for people’s life chances; their physical health, education, and work prospects.”
Hillier continued: “The NHS must accelerate efforts to ensure it has the right staff with the right skills in the right places. But there is a broader role for government in better supporting children and young people.
“Effective action on prevention and early intervention can help young people more quickly, as well as relieve pressures on health services.
“We will be keeping a close eye on the real-world impact of the measures proposed in the government’s 10-year plan for the NHS.”
You can read the full article Here
The thing is…we have not got 10 years for people to start getting this right. We need it to get better now. We have children and young people in crisis and many agencies don’t have the tools to support them.
The government want schools to identify every young person at risk of violence…. But will they put the support in place when these children are identified and may need support around that?
The government want to use toolkits to identify children that have been victim of child sexual exploitation, but will there be an emergency mental health services on standby to deal with the pain that will come with that…. no.
I was failed as a child and young person in many ways by many people. But the lack of help and support I received around not only my own mental health but also that of my mothers was the biggest let down of all. And yet it’s still happening.
And that is not OK
We all must do our bit to try and improve the mental health of those around us…because the government sure aint doing it.
Talk to people, listen to people, look for signs. You can sign post to helplines and organisations that will help such as Samaritans and Mind.
Reach out to people and let them know you’re not OK.
Like I said …. if you are related to me or I class you as my friend…you have mental health issues of some kind. I have friends who think about taking their life daily and you would never know. Friends who can’t do certain things or it causes anxiety. Family who are doing their best just to make it through the day sometimes. An I love each and every one of you for who you are. The world is a better place with you in it…serious.
Sometimes I like to play this song loud and sing it even louder (Which…if you know me….is not OK). So, play it…sing it…lets embrace mental health awareness week together.
Me…I have 4 cats and hate people, don’t like being hugged, gets anxiety when I am too far away from home, dental phobic, have constant night terrors, and can’t walk on 3 drains (who even does that) …. I also work hard every day to save the kids that no one else will, raise my pickney alone, have my own company and know exactly who I am ….say something.
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One Comment Add yours
Who you are,
Well I think I must be one off those normal people to whom Kendra was referring.
I am a family man first and foremost, my kids are everything. I have dedicated my life to protecting and serving others, sometimes at cost to myself and my loved ones. I live my life with the symptoms of my PTSD although with help and support I have recently learned how to manage them much better. I still need to sit facing the door so I can see an escape route, and I still can’t face visits to the Dentist or the opticians having things pointed at my face, (sorry to all the Dentist, Doctors and nurses). I am incredibly adept at carrying on with a smile on my face, when inner turmoil is lurking beneath the surface.
I try and use my experiences to help the young people I work with, I am now in a good place.
Come on people, say something!
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