Saturday, 7 February 2015

Stop!

 
In this busy world that we live in in which life runs at break neck speed and we have all the information we could possibly need at our finger tips (thanks Google) it can be very easy to kept swept away by it all. Everyday life can become a series of  connected patterns and rituals. You get up each morning having set the alarm for the same time each week day, shower, get changed, grab breakfast, then leave for work at the same time each day. They just become integral parts to our day and become so embeded, due to their frequent use, that you don't even give them much thought anymore. You just do them semi automatically, drawing on muscle memory. Going through the motions as they say.
 
 
However while having these patterns are effective and necessary living life in a constant pattern or as though you are following a check list it can also push out emotion. So every now and again it's really important to say stop! Stop the ride. And do a spotcheck to ask yourself some important questions.
 
Am I happy?
 
When was the last time I felt truly happy?
 
When was the last time I had a really good laugh?
 
Do I have good friendships?
 
Do I feel supported?
 
Do I feel loved? (not just romantic love)
 
Questions that get lost in all that daily grind but questions that we need to ask ourselves from time to time.
 
 
Hopefully the answer will be yes. But if it isn't then it's time to start asking yourself why? Why aren't you as happy as you perhaps should be? Perhaps the answer is something simple or maybe it's something a bit more life changing. Either way there's some decisions to be made and a good deal of thinking time. But you know when it comes to investing in your happiness it's certainly worth the time. And if you don't think so well then think about that too. Because unless you're a really really terrible person (and I'm talking the really bad stuff) then you deserve to be happy.
 
Sian x

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Love February

 
First of all have you seen my new blog banner? Talk about love. Thank you so much to the fabulous Charlotte for creating this illustration. Her blog is http://mookpixie-chronicills.blogspot.co.uk/, so go check it out.
 
February is the month we most assossciate with love. Although I could argue that December is more worthy of the title with it being the month of spending Christmas with family and friends and showing them how much you care. But anyhow... February is still a month when love in all it's red roses and heart shaped ballooned glory is celebrated.
 
Following on from my January blues series of posts on mental health I wanted February to be a month of facing those issues raised in my January posts and deal with a love that many of us forget about. And that is the love we have for ourselves. Sound arrogant? Well no, this is not about arrogance it's about self confidence and self worth. Sound cheesy? Ye, maybe. But loving ourselves is important and can trigger a deeper sense of wellbeing.
 
And it's not about being selfish. Because actually although you need to think about yourself, being generous and devoting times to others can promote that sense of well being. As long as it's done genuinely of course.
 
So things will be getting a bit warm and fuzzy around these parts (and oh boy does that sound wrong). I'll be chatting confidence, self worth as well as some fun posts on things to do to to promote happiness for yourself and others.
 
I'd love to know what you do to make yourself feel good. Or what makes you feel more confident.  Leave me a comment.
 
Take care everyone
 
Sian x

Sunday, 1 February 2015

January blues: Crisis Teams

 
Ok it's technically not January anymore but I've been working on this post for a while and it follows on from my last post on accessing urgent help. Actually I have a few more mental health posts in various draughts but I am planning to publish them in May now, as part of mental health awareness month. As I want to start a new mini series for this month (details coming soon.)

I think the fear with having a mental health crisis (as defined in my previous post) is that you will end up locked away and sectioned under the mental health act. And while some people will, the shortage of beds and the advance of more community based care means there are more options available. The decision to section a patient is a serious one and there are strict procedures in place to do so. And in act the majority of patients at inpatient facilities for mental illnesses are not sectioned and are there voluntarily. And likewise with people in eating disorder units only some will be sectioned.

However in most cases there are other options available. In this post I'm going to be talking about an option that is available for care and treatment for those more severely affected by their mental health.

If you have sought support through you're GP or seen a psychiatrist following a trip to A&E in a crisis then they may make a referral for a community or crisis team.

Crisis teams or home treatment teams as they are also called (there are also other names depending on your area) are designed to help patients in crisis without them being admitted to a psychiatric unit. They often refer to themselves as a ward within the community. And offer treatment to patients within their own home. Meaning that patients can live in their own comfortable and familiar surroundings (where it is safe for them to do so) but still receive all the benefits of regular contact and treatment. This can be daily or every other day or even once a week depending on the level of support you need. Every area should have a crisis team or home treatment team. And they can be accessed through referral by your GP or hospital after an assessment. Or you may be referred to them as part of your intergration after being in a mental health unit.

Following an assessment by the crisis team you will be allocated a mental health nurse or team who will be familiar with your case. On your first visit, or on other visits, you may also be seen by a psychiatrist, especially for medication reviews or to be prescribed any new medication.

Together with the team you will develop a care plan to help you overcome your crisis; in which you identify the key areas in which you need help in order to function more normally again and manage your day to day life. This can include medication, relaxation techniques, CBT, distraction techniques, ways of controlling anxiety and self harm. As well as who to contact if you are in desperate need of help.

Depending on your situation they can also help with more specific problems that have arisen due to your mental health and help you to access services that could be beneficial. These could be help for mental health problems as a result of alcholism or drug abuse. But also more basic needs too. MIND have produced the following list of examples:

managing money, such as budgeting or paying the bills

housework, such as cleaning, cooking or shopping

using local services, such as peer support groups, employment services, or day centres

transport, such as using a taxi, minibus or bus pass to attend appointments or services

managing relationships, such as relationships with friends, family or neighbours

aids and adaptations to your home or help with mobility issues

personal care, such as washing or dressing

benefits and housing, such as help with applications, attending appointments or getting advice or information

accessing or staying in training, education or employment

support from a specialist social worker or support worker

For cases of social anxiety your team can help you intergrate and manage social situations. This may be through exposure therapy; taking you out and helping you to put into practice coping stratergies you develop with your team, whilst having the safety of a team to help you through it.

At times with this care you have to be prepared to put in a lot of effort and hard work in order to help yourself to get better. And it can be frustrating. However it is an investment in your health and wellbeing and you deserve to find that peace. For more information about crisis teams and the role they play visit MIND's dedicated page. You can also find out what services are available in your area through your GP, council website or local MIND service.

I hope that this series of posts has been beneficial to either yourself or someone that you care about and if not now, then perhaps it will in the future. Mental illness can be a very lonely place, and one that it can be very hard to recognise that you need help, or even to physically form the words to ask for it and try and put the whirlwind of thoughts into logical sentences. Recognising that you need help is a huge step forward, and one that can be difficult to take. However in doing so you are opening yourself up to the world of help that is out there. Help that you probably didn't know about. Take it, use it and regain yourself in the process. 

Like I said I will be reposting more mental health related posts in May. If you have any suggestions for posts you would like to see, or would like to share your story through a guest blog post then please get in touch.

Take care everyone

Sian