Wednesday, 20 April 2011

An Apology before I continue.....

Before I continue, let me apologise to the colleague who rightly corrected me when I said that the greatest cause of anxiety was the current 'Fit for work' assessment.  This should have read 'current' source', as the real cause of anxiety is the illness itself and how to get help without being stigmatised by friends, family, work colleagues and even your own GP.  For some unknown reason, when we finally get up the courage to ask for help, we are told that there is nothing ( visibly ) wrong with us, like 'physical' ailments such as a broken arm or vomiting.  Far worse, is that we immediately get labelled as being 'mental', as clearly as a Jew in Warsaw during the holocaust in World War Two. 

Although we don't actually have a yellow star pinned on our clothing, we become segregated from the rest of society because of the illogical fear of an illness that cannot be seen and is, therefore, more difficult to diagnose. So, instead of being properly assessed, we are sent to our GP to be given some pills that will, hopefully, stop us being an embarrassment to family and friends. "Pull yourself together, you fool", "You just need a jolly good kick up the backside".  Over 70% of people who are regularly presenting symptoms of 'mental or emotional' problems are dealt with in this manner, with 'the pill' being the magic solution, instead of a proper psychiatric assessment that would manage to identify those in need of specific treatment for potentially serious conditions that may be life-threatening.  This is the only way to identify the type of care needed for all those of us who become corralled by a system that uses the shotgun approach to treating the mentally ill.  By this, I don't mean that we actually get shot, I mean the the local practitioner ( metaphorically ) fires hundreds of lead shot at what he sees as the target, in the hope that at least one will hit its target.  This is too 'hit and miss' and is the greatest fault with our current system of mental health care.  There has to be a way of reaching those who suffer in frightened silence, in order to prevent their conditions worsening.  Most importantly, it is imperative to reach out to these poor souls before - like me - they get to feel left with no other option than to attempt suicide, because they 'have no useful purpose in life', 'everybody hates them, because of stigma and an unwillingness to help', or 'I am in everybody's way'.  Fortunately, for me, I have some great friends who I am able to call, knowing that they will adopt an empathetic attitude towards me.  It doesn't matter what I say, or how distressed I am, my friends wait, patiently, using soothing and complimentary words that help to distract me from wanting to self-destruct.   Most of all, they give me the sense that I am loved and that, with their help, I will be alright - calm, and able to begin a day of constructive, useful activity. Although my family don't want to know, I am blessed with a wonderful Community Psychiatric Nurse, a brilliant Psychiatrist, a Psychologist who has given me purpose and the ability to see my worth, and a loving friend who is my 'Eliza'.  They are always there for me and I am no longer ashamed to ask for their help anymore.  No one should be afraid to talk about their problems.  If your family  won't help, talk to a counsellor, or one of your own religious faith who will be committed to helping you.  My heart aches for the 30 or more adolescents, from around the Bridgend area who didn't get 'heard' and took that awful, irreversible step that leaves us all saying ( I fervently hope ) "Why couldn't someone have done something to prevent these tragedies ?"
You are not alone - there is always help - so please, just ask ?
Thank you, my friend for correcting me.  Please help me to remember to do the correct act of caring for others like us, who may benefit from our experiences of being ill. 

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