Blogger Spotlight: My Interview For A Life Flipped Upside Down

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Back in November 2016, I did an interview with Amanda Napper for her blog, A Life Flipped Upside Down.  It was published back in March. You can read it here.

 

Photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash

 

 

 

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Hello Darkness, My Old Friend: Part Two

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“I’ve been there, Caroline. I’ve been there.” My Dad repeated, his voice heavy with tears. My body felt like it was made of lead. I lifted my hand to my face. I had a breathing tube in my nose. It was tight around my face. I had canulas in both my wrists, and my left foot. The creases behind my elbows were bruised and punctured. Whoever had inserted the canulas, had obviously had a tough battle with my veins. Above my head, monitors beeped and pulsed. My left forefinger burned. I looked at it and saw that I had an oxygen monitor tightly clamped onto it. I felt naked. An ill fitting hospital gown covered the last shred of dignity I had left. Flashbacks of doctors and tubes and nurses flooded my brain. I lost consciousness again. Continue reading

Depressed Divas: A Rant About Social Media

Depressed Diva

How often do we see the word “depressed”, being misused? If you’re on social media, then the chances are, you’ll have seen it strewn around carelessly; like dirty socks in a teenager’s bedroom. An acquaintance you met at a party, posts a status about how “depressed” they are, because they can only get their eyeliner straight on one eye.What do I say to that? Lucky them.

They’re lucky, because they can pinpoint the reason they’re feeling “depressed.” If I had a pound, for every time I’ve spluttered “I don’t know” at my husband, whenever he’s asked why I’m sobbing over my Spaghetti Bolognese; I’d be writing this post from a yacht on the Caribbean Sea.

For people like me, depressed is the mood we’re perpetually locked in. We wake up depressed, go to work depressed, eat our meals depressed and go to bed depressed. Whether or not our eyeliner is straight, is of no consequence to us. If we were to write those kind of statuses on social media, they’d go something like this: “I’m depressed, and I have no idea why. I should be happy and I should be grateful for everything that I have. But I’m not. I’m absolutely destroyed, and I don’t want to be here anymore.”

And do you know what response we’d get? Not the same response these attention-seeking divas get, that’s for sure. There’d be no emojis blowing kisses, or sporting angry faces.There’d be no encouraging comments – there’d be nothing. We’d probably even be a few dozen friends and followers lighter. Bottom line: post an overly-dramatic status, about how you want to kill yourself, because your handbag doesn’t match your shoes, and the world is fully behind your “struggle.” But post an honest status about how you want to kill yourself, because every day, you feel like a contestant on Takeshi’s Castle and ending your life seems to be the only way to win the game against the Emerald Guard in your head; and you’re on your own.

I know I’m probably being a bit insensitive – or even too sensitive, but I’m so sick of mental illness being trivialised on social media. Yeah, bad eyeliner happens to good people, but so does mental illness. The difference is, bad eyeliner never killed anyone.

 

Liebster Award Nominations

Hi Everyone.

I’ve been kindly nominated for the Liebster Award by 4 fellow bloggers: maryangela  Starrelizabeth writingforjonny and weegiemidget . Thank you for the nominations guys.

Part 1: The Liebster Award

What’s The Liebster Award?

The Liebster Award is taken from the German word for favourite, and it’s a tool to help generate more interest in blogs, and for bloggers to interact and engage with each other.

Bloggers who have 200 or less followers are nominated by fellow new bloggers, to answer questions about themselves and their blogs; and nominate other bloggers to do the same.

What Do Nominees Have to Do?

Here are the rules for nominees:

Part 2: Answers To The Questions I’ve Been Asked

Nomination #1

Questions Asked By MaryAngela

1. When did you start your blog and why? (This also answers question 2 of starrelizabeth‘s questions.

I originally started Silent D And Me in May 2015. I decided to finally speak out about mental health after losing a relative to suicide. I deleted my blog in September 2015, and restarted it again in December 2015, following my friend’s suicide attempt.

2. What is your blog about?

My blog is mainly about my struggle with Clinical Depression (Silent D). I also write about all mental health issues, to raise awareness and reduce stigma.

3. What is your ideal morning routine?

I’m not really a morning person, so I have to ease myself into it. I like to start the day with several cups of tea and as little stress and noise as possible (I have 2 sons, so this isn’t always a possibility). I spend the majority of my day in my kitchen; drinking tea, listening to audiobooks and motivational talks on YouTube, baking and writing.

4.What did you do with your first salary?

I don’t remember exactly what I spent my first salary on, but I did buy CDs, Clothes and videos (showing my age here!) every week.

5. Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

Pedantic answer: in the mirror.

Sensible answer: I don’t live by a set blueprint, because life always seems to have different plans for me. I do have a list of things I want to have accomplished by the time I’m 40 though (which is only 8 years away! Eeek!) I don’t currently drive, so that’s first on my list. I want to have my house finished, as I’m currently living in a house full of half-finished jobs. I want to have travelled abroad at least once, as I’ve only been abroad once in my life. I want to get at least one of my many half finished writing projects completed, and published or commissioned. I also want to complete a university degree. My children will be adults then, and I hope they’re happy, settled and on their way to achieving their dreams.

6.What is your favourite song and why?

Oooft! This is a tough one. I don’t have just one favourite song (I know, I know EVERYONE says that). But it’s true. We all have different songs that conjure up different memories. To whittle it down, I’d say my favourite is Miss You by The Rolling Stones. It grabbed me the first time I heard it, and it still grabs me. It also has some pretty cool cover versions too.

7. If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

I’d be a mind reader. I have a habit of assuming people don’t like me. If I could read their minds, I’d know for sure. Also, mind reading would help me to identify the genuine people from the fakes out there.

8. What is your favourite flavour of ice cream?

Chocolate. Always has been, always will be. Yummy.

9. What is your favourite show/movie and why?

Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet is my favourite movie. It’s clever how Baz Luhrmann fused a classic masterpiece with a modern backdrop, all the while not losing the oldie worldie dialogue. It shouldn’t work, but it does. The soundtrack is brilliant too.

10. If you could have one wish, what would it be?

To bring back deceased relatives and friends, and throw a big reunion party.

11. What are your hobbies?

Blogging (obviously haha!), reading, cooking, baking, watching films, walking, spending time with my husband and children, visiting museums and art galleries, genealogy, socialising with friends, talking for hours on the phone with my sister, about a myriad of subjects and psychology.

Nomination #2

Questions Asked By StarrElizabeth

1.What’s the song that’s been stuck on repeat in your head lately?

Waiting For A Train by Flash and The Pan. I have no idea where it came from, but I’m really enjoying it.

2. Why did you start your blog?

See question 1 of Mary Angela’s questions.

3. What’s the best TV show or movie you’ve seen lately?

I watched The Help recently, and loved it. *Spoiler Alert* I love films where horrible people get what they deserve.

4. Who’s your biggest inspiration?

Blog-wise, it has to be Lisa Lynch of alrighttit.

In my personal life, my husband, children, Dad and sister are my inspirations.

5. Where’s one place you want to travel to before you die?

New York.

6. What’s your dream job?

I’d like to write for a living. Then I can work in my pyjamas. Haha!

7. If you could do anything for the next 24 hours, what would you do?

Sit on a secluded white beach, somewhere exotic; reading a good book and drinking cocktails.

8. What’s the goal for your blog?

I’m in a kind of write-and-see phase at the moment. I’m surprised that anyone’s reading it, to be honest. I’m just going to let fate decide where me and my blog should go.

9. If you were a cartoon character, what would be your signature outfit?

I’d model myself on Jane Lane from the 90s cartoon, Daria. She was really cool.

10. Do you have any pets? What are their names? When did you get them?

I have a cat named Figaro. We got her in August 2011, and I’m amazed she hasn’t run away yet.

11. How has your week been?

Last week was a mixed one.My washing machine broke last Tuesday, and I had to buy a new one. I started a new job where I work (sounds like a positive, but it’s really not.) I received 4 nominations for the Liebster Award (yay), and I had a really restful weekend. This week has started off quite busy, catching up on all the laundry I couldn’t do, or hand washed really badly last week. I’m hoping for a productive week this week.

Nomination #3

Questions Asked By Writingforjonny

1. If you could go back and teach your childhood self one thing, what would it be?

Perseverance. I gave up too easily on things, which is why I left school with virtually no qualifications.

2. What is your guilty pleasure?

I like to put my earphones in, block the world out and listen to music. I’m very anti-social in this respect.

3. Who is/has been your biggest inspiration?

My husband and children. They’re the reason I get up in the morning and face another day.

4. What is the favourite thing about yourself? (Get those feel good feelings going)

Hmmmm… I’m one of those people who sees the beauty in others, but not in myself. I suppose I like that I’m not vain.

5. Funniest thing ever witnessed?

I was travelling to work by bus, one snowy morning. The bus was packed with teenagers, on their way to school. Around 10 minutes into my journey, a small group of teenagers congregated around one of the bus windows. They opened the window, and one of the teenagers threw a snowball (they must’ve brought it on the bus with them) out of the moving bus window; and hit a guy square in the face. Yeah you guessed it, I have a sadistic sense of humour!

6. What is your main vice?

Smoking.

7. If you could go back in time and live in any era, which would it be?

The 1960s. I love the music and the fashion from that era.

8. What has been your greatest achievement?

My children are my greatest achievement. Being a parent is the toughest job ever.

9. If you could create your own TV show, what would it be called and what would it be about?

I’m currently writing a sitcom. I don’t yet have a title for it, but it’s about a group of women who meet each other at an evening class.

10. What is your biggest wish for the future?

To be doing a job I love.

11. If you could change one thing about the world we live in today, what would it be?

The next generation of adults wanting to be known for doing bad things to other people. They have a kind of anti-hero mentality, where they view villains as cool, and the super heroes as lame. Let’s just go back to seeing The Joker for what he really is – a massive dobber.

Nomination #4

Questions Asked By Weegiemidget

1. How did you choose a name for your blog?

I wrote down a list of names, and chose the one I could imagine myself saying on a regular basis.

2. How did you decide on the subject of your blog?

I have clinical depression, and I’ve lost a relative to suicide. I wanted to start a blog to raise awareness of mental health issues, and also have an outlet for my feelings and experiences.

3. If you could choose a film to be reviewed in this blog, which one would you choose?

Control. It’s the story of Ian Curtis, who was the lead singer of the Manchester band, Joy Division.

4. Why?

Because it isn’t a film I see being reviewed a lot. Also, Ian Curtis’ untimely death by suicide is something that isn’t discussed by the mainstream media very often.

5. Which of my film reviews would you pass onto a friend if you wanted them to see a film with you?

Terms of Endearment.

6. Why?

Because my friends don’t like being ambushed by a weepie. They like to go into a film, with the prior knowledge that they’re going to be an emotional wreck when the credits roll.

7. Which of my TV reviews would you pass onto a friend if you wanted them to watch a programme with you?

The Grand Designs review you wrote.

8. Why?

So me and my friend could play a Grand Designs drinking game. For example, if one of the couple has a trendy name, we have a drink. If the wife/fiancee/girlfriend/mid-life crisis mentions spending all her husband’s/fiance’s/boyfriend’s/father replacement’s life savings/pension on their “rural project” we have a drink. If the couple are moving from St John’s Wood, we have a drink. Judging by your very accurate (and very funny) review, we’ll be pissed by the first ad break. Haha!

9. If you could move anywhere as an expat, where would you move?

America. Although, we could just move to Cornwall and be considered expats. (Cornwall is a world away from our hometown of Manchester, that’s why I love it!)

10. Why?

It was a toss-up between America and Australia. But I’m not that great with snakes or alligators in swimming pools, so America for the win. I think mine and my husband’s Celtic appearances (we’re both of Irish descent) would be welcomed by our American neighbours. In Australia, we’d just be another set of “Flamin’ Poms.”

11. What 3 tips would you give to a first time blogger?

  1. Don’t over-think it.
  2. Use every social media platform to promote your blog
  3. Be yourself on your blog, and don’t self edit too much.

 

11 Random Facts About Myself

1.My maiden name is Caroline Murphy, which is the same name as Benjamin’s birth mother in the film, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

2. I had both sets of back teeth removed when I was a child, and a third set grew in their place.

3. As well as the books I’m currently writing, I’m also writing a script for a sitcom.

4. As a teenager, I was an Army Cadet. I tried to join the Army when I was 16, but failed the medical exam due to having mild asthma.

5. I left school with only 2 GCSEs – a C grade in English Language and a C grade in Geography.

6. Despite my poor academic performance, I have held some very well paid jobs. I used to be a salesperson, and I’ve sold software products, mortgages, escrow services and employment law services.

7. A teacher at my primary school said I had a flair for writing, when I was 6 years old. I was really annoyed with this, because I wanted to be a painter and live by the sea.

8. I got an E grade in GCSE Art.

9. I was very confident (translation: a pretentious little brat) in primary school, and played the lead in my year 6 performance of Aladdin.

10. I attended a drama school in the evenings, when I was 10 years old. I didn’t last long, as I found the other students’ larger than life personalities intimidating.

11. I’m a major procrastinator. I never finish what I start. Except eating cake. I always finish that.

Part 3: My Nominated Blogs 

My Nominations For The Liebster Award

1.LiveBySurprise

2.Amber

3.Jessica

4. ConfessionsOfAFlawedHuman

5. TheWorryGames

6. Sass&Shamrocks

7. Claire’sBlogSpace

8. ThroughSalt&Honey

9. HopToHappiness

10. MusingsOfAnInsomniac

11. OldSingleBitter(&drunk)

 

My Questions For The Nominees

1. Why did you start your blog?

2. What’s your happiest memory?

3. What would be the title of your autobiography?

4. Who would play you, in a film of your life story?

5. Which is your favourite season?

6. If the world was going to end tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?

7. If you had to pick a new first name for yourself, what would it be?

8. Who would be your ultimate dinner party guests?

9. If you could give your younger self a piece of advice, what would it be?

10. What’s your favourite quote?

11. What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

 

Thank you again to the people who nominated me for the Liebster Award, and congratulations to the fabulous bloggers I’ve nominated.

 

Depression fm

 

Radio“Good Morning, and welcome to Depression fm, home of convincing Caroline Cassidy that she should end her own life.

Here’s this week’s top 10 singles :

Down 3 places this week, to number 10: You’re A Failure

A new entry, straight in at number 9: Everything You Do, Turns To Shit

Still in the charts, after 12 years: You’re A Bad Mother is number 8

Down 6 places, one of DJ Silent D’s favourites: Nobody Likes You, at number 7

Another all-time classic: You’re A Horrible Person is this week’s number 6

The tearjerker of the week, it’s: Remember This Awful Moment From Your Past? At number 5

Tipped to be this year’s Mothers’ Day number 1, for the 8th year running: Your Children Are Better Off Without You, at number 4

An oldie, but a goodie at number 3: Nobody would Care If You Died

At number 2, it’s last week’s number 1: I Hope You Don’t Wake Up In The Morning

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for; I can reveal this week’s number 1, as voted for by DJ Silent D is………..

Just End It.”

Catchy tunes eh? They’re certainly what you would call “ear worms”. I’ve tried to tune back into Recovery fm, but I can’t seem to find the right frequency. If you have any ideas as to where it’s moved to, please let me know in the comments section.

Hang on a minute, this isn’t the A-Z of Mental Health Challenge

I’ve interrupted your broadcast, to bring you this news bulletin. As you can probably see, things aren’t so great, over at Silent D And Me Headquarters at the moment. I’ve been shafted royally at work, and everything I’ve tried so hard to build up has come crashing down around my ears. The best bit is: there is absolutely f**k all I can do about it. Super-F**king-Douper.

Being rogered up the tradesman’s entrance by my employer, has set the wheels in motion for an episode of depression. I don’t know how the work thing is going to play out, so I’ll save the whole humiliating story for another blog post.

Radio Blah Blah

Living with depression is like having a crackly radio inside your head. Every now and then, a clear transmission comes through and whatever is being played takes over your being. Sometimes the station you’re picking up is a good one, with plenty of silky, summery beats. But most of the time you pick up Depression fm. This radio station plays mainly droning voices repeating the same sentences, over a melody named “Toddler Playing The Saucepans.” I find that the veins in my temples like to throb along to this particular station.

It only takes one knock of the dial, and Depression fm comes booming out. The presenters inform you of the day’s schedule:

Having a stressful time at work? Our resident Agony Aunt, May Younotwakeup is on hand to advise you on the best methods of killing yourself. “

“Couldn’t be a***d cleaning the house today? We’ll be chatting to our resident Domestic Goddess, Gloria Stepford about lazy b******s like you; and how you should be taken outside and shot.”

You get the picture.

Hijacking The Airwaves

This week, I plan to set up my very own pirate radio station. I’m still working on a name, seeing as there’s already been a station called Radio Caroline. Today’s schedule will consist of:

Monday

“Sick and tired of Depression fm? We examine ways to silence the airwaves.”

“Can’t be a***d cleaning the house? Don’t panic. Our expert procrastinator, Ina Minute is on hand to share her hints and tips on how to make the house look clean, using the minimum of effort.”

“Really don’t want to go to work later? Have a look at your bank balance online. That’ll give you motivation to leave the house.”

“Need something to drown out the negative internal chatter on your way to work? We’ll be playing a motivational video by Tony Robbins, to get you in a kick-ass mood”

“Been shafted by your employer? Our resident careers adviser, Itsjusta Job tells you how to mentally punch your workplace backstabber in the face, while suppressing the urge to laugh like a maniac”

“Need something to get you through to 9pm, without jumping out of the window or telling your boss what they can do with your job? We’ll be playing a montage of photos of your children, to remind you of what really matters”

“Having trouble sleeping, due to the b*****s at work? Stop wasting your energy, I can bet that not one of those f*****s have lost an ounce of sleep over you.”

Stay tuned. I’ll be giving you regular news reports from my pirate station.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A For Anorexia

 

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“Caroline doesn’t have Anorexia. She weighs too much.” My psychiatrist explained to my mother, on his first visit to me on the hospital ward.

My mother wasn’t too convinced. She told him all about how I was checking the packets on the food she gave me when I visited her house (she’d left me and my Dad at this point.) She told him how I refused to eat certain things I once enjoyed eating. The baggy clothes, the feeling cold all the time, the obsessive ranting about how I needed to lose weight. The stealing of her partner’s Thyroxine medication (I thought I wouldn’t get caught doing that). She told him everything.

“Mrs Murphy, everything you’ve told me is circumstantial, and can only be related to her clinical depression. People who have depression lose their appetites, they wear clothes that keep them cocooned in their comfort zone, they steal medication to stock – pile for a future overdose. Based on Caroline’s BMI and weight, I’ve concluded that she doesn’t have an eating disorder. Yes, I agree that she’s slightly underweight, but only slightly.”

I was beginning to feel invisible in the room, while this conversation was taking place. My next feelings were, “he’s saying I’m fat.”

I’d been obsessing over my weight for around 3 months, prior to my suicide attempt. But more than that, I’d been playing a sort of game with myself too. I would see how long I could last without eating anything, and if I beat the previous day’s “high score”, I’d reward myself with a piece of fruit, or a piece of dry toast.

I was skipping school at this point, so I didn’t have to face the ordeal of explaining to my friends why I wasn’t eating my usual calorific chip muffins, or chips and gravy combos from the chip shop at lunchtime. Instead, I would sit at home and suppress the urge to raid the cupboards. I chain smoked to suppress my appetite, and I was drinking gallons of water to bloat myself. I exercised aggressively, and that became a game too. I would count how many sit-ups and press-ups I could do over the course of the day, and then strive to beat that score the following day.

Because I wasn’t formally diagnosed with an eating disorder, I’ve always dismissed that period of my life as just another episode of major depression. But now I’m older, and have read up on eating disorders, I can say that my psychiatrist was wrong. Furthermore, I’m rather outraged that he would even think of conducting his conversation with my mother in my presence.

What Are The Causes of Anorexia?

One of the main triggers of anorexia, is trauma. Young people who’ve experienced a traumatic experience, are more likely to develop an eating disorder. The reason for this, is the patient’s need to regain some control over their lives; because the traumatic event has left them feeling like they’ve had control taken away from them. The fundamental function that we all have autonomy of, is what we eat, when we eat it and how much we eat. No matter what life throws at us, we still have total control over that one aspect of our lives.

Another main trigger is low self esteem. Everywhere we go, we are surrounded by unrealistic expectations and examples of how our physical appearance “should” be. Ridiculously thin women stare out at us from the pages of magazines, skeletal models trundle down catwalks, fat shaming photos and videos are passed around on social media, while idiotic keyboard warriors guffaw and make offensive (and not very intelligent) jokes about the people in them. With all this ignorance around us, it’s no wonder young, impressionable people develop eating disorders.

The Failings of The Medical Field

Around a year ago, I received a letter from my eldest son’s school nurse. Because it was his last year of Primary School, he and his peers underwent a medical examination. Their height, weight and BMIs were measured and recorded. Then the results were sent to the parents. I was absolutely livid, when I received my son’s results.

In this letter, it said that based on my son’s BMI, he was considered to be overweight. The letter went on to patronisingly inform me that there are “resources” available locally to us, such as cookery classes and family exercise activities. Cheeky bastards.

My eldest son has played competitive football for 4 years. This means he attends football training once a week, and plays league games on Saturday mornings. At the time his medical examination took place, he was the captain of the school football team, and was also on the school rounders team. This meant that he trained 3 lunchtimes a week, and played competitive games twice a week after school. He was (and still is) a very active, sports orientated boy. He also has asthma, for which he is assessed annually by our practice nurse. She has never once raised any concerns with us regarding his weight or BMI.

As for the assumption that we are a family who leads an unhealthy lifestyle, what a crock of shit. My husband and I cook fresh meals daily for our children, and use only fresh ingredients in our food. Fast food is an occasional treat for our children, and we have a perpetually half-full fruit bowl on our dining room table. My youngest son also plays competitive football, in addition to never being seen outside without his beloved bike. Both my children are strong swimmers, and my Dad takes them to the local baths once a week.

My husband and I aren’t couch potatoes either. We both walk around 4 miles a day, and we only take healthy food with us to work. We both have medical conditions for which are monitored regularly, and our weight and BMI have never been a cause for concern to our doctors.

Anyway, back to the letter. I phoned the number on the letter, and spoke with the nurse. I told her how angry I was with the tone of the letter, and informed her of the above. Her response was “in some cases, very active children can measure high on the BMI chart due to their muscle density.” I asked her why this wasn’t taken into account when she took the readings, and her response was, “I have to follow the guidelines in my books.” So in other words, she isn’t allowed to apply her own common sense to her professional duties. Whatever happened to medical professionals being allowed to form their own opinions? Why does every person they assess have to be pigeon – holed into categories? Don’t they understand that everyone is different, and sometimes don’t conform to the generalisations in their textbooks?

This reminded me of my psychiatrist’s comments. I was displaying the behavioural signs of an eating disorder, yet because I didn’t fall into the right category on his chart, my symptoms were dismissed. When someone is already obsessed with their weight, the worst thing a doctor can tell them is they weigh too much.

And it’s this blatant callousness that provides the ideal breeding ground for weight issues in young people. Had my son seen the contents of that letter, would he have become self conscious? Would we have found ourselves sitting in an outpatients department, being told by a so called professional that he weighs too much to have an eating disorder? Would we have had to sit next to a hospital bed, while my severely malnourished son was being force fed through a tube? And for what? A poorly worded letter, written by some idiotic nurse and her bullshit textbooks?

Early Detection 

I feel, and this is my opinion; that doctors are failing to detect eating disorders early enough, because of these stupid charts. They are presented with a patient who is displaying the early behavioural symptoms of an eating disorder, but because their weight hasn’t decreased to the point that they fall into the correct category, treatment is refused.

It’s difficult to say whether or not a full recovery is more likely, if doctors intervene before the patient’s weight is deemed to be at a dangerous level. But it does make me wonder.

The other thing that sticks in my craw about doctors, is they very seldom listen to their patients’ parents. Parents know their children better than anyone, and they know when something isn’t right. But because they don’t have a silly chart and a medical degree, doctors dismiss their opinions. My mother reeled off several alarming symptoms, yet my psychiatrist wouldn’t deviate from his chart. I didn’t belong in the right pigeon hole, so my symptoms weren’t taken seriously.

What’s The Solution?

Just like when I examined the issue of addiction, I have no one size fits all solution to anorexia. I can only apply my opinion to this, and make the following points:

  • young people who’ve experienced trauma should be monitored closely by responsible adults, and the development of any unusual behaviours addressed in a timely manner
  • the media should take more responsibility for the part they play in the development of eating disorders in their audience. Airbrushed photos should be banned, and models of all body weights and shapes should be used to promote products
  • the medical profession should base their diagnoses on the bigger picture, and not just a small aspect of it
  • district nurses should be allowed more autonomy to use their common sense to the medical assessments they carry out in schools. Again, their opinions should not be based on charts
  • parents should be supported, and their opinions considered seriously by medical professionals
  • the plus-size sections of clothes shops and online shops should be eradicated. This system promotes weight stigma and shame
  • social media should monitor what’s being posted more stringently. All photos, statuses or articles which promote stigma and bullying should be removed, and the perpetrators banned.

 

I hope this post has been helpful, and I invite you to discuss your opinions, experiences and suggestions on this subject in the comments section.

 

 

 

New Year’s Eve And The 4 ‘R’s

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New Year’s Eve has arrived, and with it comes the 4 ‘R’s:Reflection,Renewal,Resolutions and Refreshments. Lots of Refreshments.

This is how ‘normal’ people observe New Year’s Eve isn’t it? Sitting in their comfortable homes, surrounded by the people they love, stuffing canapes and champagne down their necks and jokingly berating themselves, for signing up to the local gym last January and giving up after 6 weeks. The New Year’s Eve watchword for them is “New Year, New Me.”

Jools Holland finishes his last jazz piano number of the year, to allow Big Ben to take centre stage. Glasses are refilled, and the air is heavy with a mixture of anticipation and emotion. Finally Big Ben chimes his funereal countdown. At the last 5 strokes, everyone in the room begins chanting in unison. 5…4…3….2….1! Happy New Year! The scream. The sound is accompanied by ching chinging of glasses, and maybe even a marriage proposal.

On the TV screen, fireworks burst out in glorious Technicolor, and an upbeat dance track booms out; its lyrics informing us that the world is our oyster and we can achieve all our dreams in this new year.

Then comes Auld Lang Syne. We hold hands, and sing about old acquaintances not being forgot and left behind, while simultaneously forgetting them.

The Other 4 ‘R’s of New Year’s Eve

But what if this isn’t a description of your New Year’s Eve? What if you’re one of the many people out there who can’t face New Year’s Eve, and everything that comes with it?

What if your New Year’s Eve consists of a modest dinner, with a glass of something strong to help you sleep through next door’s fireworks, followed by an early night? What if the sound of Big Ben’s chimes induces feelings of horror and dread in the pit of your stomach? What if even the sight of Jools Holland tinkling his ivories on national TV doesn’t tempt you away from your bed?

What if you simply can’t bear the thought of having to go through another year of financial struggle, loss, rejection and depression?

What if you’ve lost someone you love this year, and you’re wrestling with the guilt at moving into a new year without them?

What if your New Year’s Eve 4 ‘R’s are Regret, Reclusive, Restless and Run Down? Well, you’ve come to the right place.

My recommended New Year’s Eve ‘R’ is to Reach Out. I’ve taken the liberty of listing some helplines below, which will all be manned tonight by people who make it their business to care.

Even if you have to dial that number from your bed, do it. I can’t guarantee that the phone call will change your life, but I can say that it’ll be the best thing you’ll have done this year.

Please don’t suffer in silence. Pick up the phone and speak to someone – anyone.

Helpline in the UK (taken from the NHS Choices website)

Samaritans

Confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair.

Phone: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline)

Website: www.samaritans.org.uk

PAPYRUS

Young suicide prevention society.

Phone: HOPElineUK 0800 068 4141 (Mon-Fri,10am-5pm & 7pm-10pm. Weekends 2pm-5pm)

Website: www.papyrus-uk.org

Refuge

Advice on dealing with domestic violence.

Phone: 0808 2000 247 (24-hour helpline)

Website: www.refuge.org.uk

Alcoholics Anonymous

Phone: 0845 769 7555 (24-hour helpline)

Website: www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk

Narcotics Anonymous

Phone: 0300 999 1212 (daily until midnight)

Website: www.ukna.org

Gamblers Anonymous

Website: http://www.gamblersanonymous.org.uk

Cruse Bereavement Care

Phone: 0844 477 9400 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm)

Website: www.crusebereavementcare.org.uk

Rape Crisis

Phone: 0808 802 9999 (daily, 12pm-2.30pm, 7pm-9.30pm)

Website: www.rapecrisis.org.uk

Victim Support

Phone: 0845 30 30 900 (Mon-Fri, 9am-8pm. Weekends, 9am-7pm)

Website: www.victimsupport.org

Beat

Phone: 0845 634 1414 (Mon-Thurs, 1.30pm-4.30pm)

Website: www.b-eat.co.uk

OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) Action

Support for people with obsessive compulsive disorder. Includes information on treatment and online resources.

Phone: 0845 390 6232 (Mon-Fri, 9.30am-5pm)

Website: www.ocdaction.org.uk

OCD UK

A charity run by people with OCD, for people with OCD. Includes facts, news and treatments.

Phone: 0845 120 3778 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm)

Website: www.ocduk.org

No Panic

Voluntary charity offering support for sufferers of panic attacks and OCD. Offers a course to help overcome your phobia/OCD. Includes a helpline.

Phone: 0844 967 4848 (daily, 10am-10pm)

Website: www.nopanic.org.uk

Anxiety UK

Charity providing support if you’ve been diagnosed with an anxiety condition.

Phone: 08444 775 774 (Mon-Fri, 9.30am-5.30pm)

Website: www.anxietyuk.org.uk

Helplines in the US (taken from the Healthy Place website)

  • Adolescent Suicide Hotline
    800-621-4000
  • Adolescent Crisis Intervention & Counseling Nineline
    1-800-999-9999
  • AIDS National Hotline
    1-800-342-2437
  • CHADD-Children & Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
    1-800-233-4050
  • Child Abuse Hotline
    800-4-A-CHILD
  • Cocaine Help Line
    1-800-COCAINE (1-800-262-2463)
  • Domestic Violence Hotline
    800-799-7233
  • Domestic Violence Hotline/Child Abuse
    1-800-4-A-CHILD (800 422 4453)
  • Drug & Alcohol Treatment Hotline
    800-662-HELP
  • Ecstasy Addiction
    1-800-468-6933
  • Eating Disorders Center
    1-888-236-1188
  • Family Violence Prevention Center
    1-800-313-1310
  • Gay & Lesbian National Hotline
    1-888-THE-GLNH (1-888-843-4564)
  • Gay & Lesbian Trevor HelpLine SuicidePrevention
    1-800-850-8078
  • Healing Woman Foundation (Abuse)
    1-800-477-4111
  • Help Finding a Therapist
    1-800-THERAPIST (1-800-843-7274)
  • Incest Awareness Foundation
    1-888 -547-3222
  • Learning Disabilities – (National Center For)
    1-888-575-7373
  • Missing & Exploited Children Hotline
    1-800-843-5678
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
    1-800-950-NAMI (6264)
  • Panic Disorder Information Hotline
    800- 64-PANIC
  • Post Abortion Trauma
    1-800-593-2273
  • Project Inform HIV/AIDS Treatment Hotline
    800-822-7422
  • Rape (People Against Rape)
    1-800-877-7252
  • Rape, Abuse, Incest, National Network (RAINN)
    1-800-656-HOPE (1-800-656-4673)
  • Runaway Hotline
    800-621-4000
  • Self-Injury (Information only)
    (NOT a crisis line. Info and referrals only)
    1-800-DONT CUT (1-800-366-8288)
  • Sexual Assault Hotline
    1-800-656-4673
  • Sexual Abuse – Stop It Now!
    1-888-PREVENT
  • STD Hotline
    1-800-227-8922
  • Suicide Prevention Lifeline
    1-800-273-TALK
  • Suicide & Crisis Hotline
    1-800-999-9999
  • Suicide Prevention – The Trevor HelpLine
    (Specializing in gay and lesbian youth suicide prevention).
    1-800-850-8078
  • IMAlive-online crisis chat
  • Teen Helpline
    1-800-400-0900
  • Victim Center
    1-800-FYI-CALL (1-800-394-2255)
  • Youth Crisis Hotline
    800-HIT-HOME

Hello….. Again!

Hi!

For those of you who remember me and Silent D, we’re back. Yep, even Silent D is very much alive and kicking – me in the backside!

For those of you who don’t remember us, here’s a little background:

I started a blog named Silent D And Me back in May 2015. The blog centred around my battle with Depression. I wrote rather candidly about my struggle with the eponymous Silent D, and her army of relatives; mainly her sister Stress, and her cousin Suicide.

I have first hand experience with suicidal thoughts and attempts, and I’ve also lost a relative to suicide. I started writing the blog as a way of raising awareness, and getting all the horrible stuff off my chest.

Fast forward to around September 2015, and you will find me hitting the delete button on Silent D And Me.

I called time on the blog, because I didn’t feel that what I had to say (or write) was of any interest to anyone. I convinced myself that my blog was rubbish, and it wasn’t doing what it was supposed to do; nor would it ever do. Nobody would notice it had gone, and more to the point, nobody would care.

Well I was wrong. Surprisingly, people did notice the mysterious disappearance of Silent D And Me. I received messages from friends during their lowest points, asking where my blog was. It appeared that they wanted to read what I had written, when my words were most relevant to their lives.

My response was to brush off the deletion of the blog with a blase, “oh the blog. Yeah I deleted it. It was a pile of shit, and I’m an absolute failure. Lol.”( Note the addition of “lol” at the end of the sentence I was beating myself up with. Typical old me.)

While I got busy making myself busy, to stop the all-consuming thoughts of “this would make a good blog post,” life decided it would show me what a mistake I’d made in deleting my blog – in the form of one of my friends making a serious attempt on her life.

Thankfully, she didn’t succeed. But she’s not yet out of the woods. She sustained some very serious injuries, and she has a very long, tough road ahead of her. But she’s still here. And I’m so glad she is.

I won’t let myself off the hook for not being someone my friend felt she could speak to about how she was feeling. She doesn’t know about my blog, past or present and I can’t help feeling that if she did, she’d realise that beneath my jokey, happy exterior, lies someone who truly understands. When she’s feeling ready to heal her emotional injuries, I’ll introduce her to Silent D And Me.

So yet again, the thief that is suicide has reared it’s ugly head in my life.

It’s time for me to take up arms, once more. I hope Silent D and Co are ready for this.