Posted in Archive, January 2021

Mental Health: It’s About Surviving Not Thriving

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The current times we are living in are unique. Nothing we have ever lived through before could have prepared us for a pandemic requiring multiple lockdowns and restricted social interactions. Reports on rising rates of depression, anxiety and mental health issues are really not surprising. There is no normal currently. Life has become about surviving not thriving through each moment, and focusing on the little wins as they come. If you wore actual clothes instead of fresh PJS today then in my eyes you are smashing Lockdown Three.

If you are struggling right now and feel like you need a bit of help please do explore the options below. I myself have tried several of them and am more than happy to discuss this if needs be. Simply send me a message via the Dystonia and Me facebook page and I will get back to you as soon as I see it.

NHS resources for Mental Health Help

  1. https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/?WT.tsrc=Search&WT.mc_id=Brand&gclid=CjwKCAiAr6-ABhAfEiwADO4sfRJl_Cdhon5SUEsyIIISYLnZpfvy7_X_HoT1E-XINaDydvctSQR3xRoCA9YQAvD_BwE

This link will take you to the NHS Every Mind Matters page. Take the time to really explore this site as it is full of information. If you are finding it hard to absorb maybe bookmark the page or print off some bits and come back to it. One of the great aspects of this site is that it has a feature called Your Mind Plan Quiz; you answer 5 questions and it creates a plan designed to improve and maintain your Mental Health.

2) https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/moodzone-mental-wellbeing-audio-guides/

If audio guides are more your cup of tea then these free NHS audio guides may do the trick, there are multiple ones to choose from depending on what aspect on your mental health you are struggling with.

A-Z Mental Health Charities Link

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mental-health-helplines/

Whether you need help yourself, or you concerned about a loved one, these charities and support groups will be able to help or point you in the right direction.

Urgent NHS Mental Health Helpline (England Only)

https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/mental-health/find-an-urgent-mental-health-helpline

This 24 hour helpline is available for people of all ages. The link will take you straight to the assessment which will get you started.

Posted in Archive, May 2016

Importance of Utilizing a Support Network

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Whether you are ill or not having a support system in place is something everybody needs. Everyone deals with varying difficulties in life, and whilst experiencing these a support network helps keep life ticking over and enabling you to feel like you can cope. Often during difficult times, it becomes very tempting, and easy, to simply shut yourself away from family and friends. I know personally that I would much rather deal with a problem by myself, this is simply because by talking to others the issue feels more real and daunting. However, acknowledging it and making plans to resolve it with people you trust is a key to moving forwards.

When I was first diagnosed with Generalised Dystonia in 2012 I shut myself away from most of my friends; even a trip to Tesco was difficult as I did not want others to see what had become of me and judge me. Reflecting back on this now, I know that this was more a fear of seeing others react to my spasms and having to admit that I really was having to deal with this. A huge chunk of me wanted to pretend it was simply an unpleasant dream. Despite knowing that talking amongst trusted individuals is helpful, I still fall back into bad habits whenever life goes slightly askew.

This past week I have been coming to terms and dealing with some difficult situations outside of Dystonia. Admitting that they happened and needed dealt with was a hugely difficult step, but a necessary one. My botox is a week late this time round, I am receiving it this coming Wednesday, so dealing with a combination of life being more flawed than usual and my spasms progressively increasing in severity, has been more than I felt I could cope with. This is where a support network is vital. Family and friends can help give an outside perspective on how to manage life events, and advise what steps to take. This is an invaluable tool! Sometimes though, you need more than just the loving circle of individuals. Realising this is key. I have just started talking to a councillor. This is something I had hoped I would never have to do again, but it’s been necessary and I know is helpful.

Living life with Dystonia is never going to be easy. I greatly admire every individual who does so. Realising when you need support is not a sign of weakness but of great strength. So please remember to talk to those around you. This condition drives us all barmy, sometimes we need grounding.

Posted in Archive, May 2013

Struggles develop strength!

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I have recently noticed that in life we underestimate our own strength and the strength of others. If you had told me two years ago that I was going to rely on a wheelchair, have seizures and suffer from agonising spasms every day, I would have told you that there was no way on earth I could deal with that. I also would have been terrified about the impact it would have on my family, my mum works full-time and studies for a degree, my step dad works full-time, my youngest sister is about to start her GCSE’s, my brother is just about to do his last GCSE’s exams and my other sister is just about to start her last A level exams, none of them would need me causing problems.

However now we are living that reality and strangely we are managing to cope. It is extremely hard and some days I have no idea how we are managing to deal with it all, but at the end of the day it does not matter how we are dealing with it, the fact that we are somehow coping is all that matters. I often feel like we are treading water and that at any minute something could go wrong, but it doesn’t.  Yes we have the odd incidence that knocks us back but as a family we support one another and that is what keeps us afloat.

There have been many evenings where my youngest sister, who is 14, has sat on my bed supporting my head and making sure that I don’t hurt myself while I seize or spasm. This sometimes upsets me because my 14-year-old sister should not be taking care of me, I should be taking care of her! Yet she is amazing and has the strength to do this, and she makes me laugh when ever I regain consciousness. My other sister and my brother have both also helped me on countless occasions. They are 16 and 18, again I want to look after them, however that’s not the reality right now.

The strength of my family amazes me everyday. Take this morning for example, I spent an hour and a half seizing and spasming on the kitchen floor, my mum also spent that time on the floor making sure I didn’t hurt myself. The rest of my family helped out, and then went around their own business like it was completely normal. I am so happy that incidences like this can be treated as normal as it takes away the ‘scary’ aspects of it.

I can’t imagine having to fight Dystonia on my own, and I am in awe of the people who do so everyday! Everything I have gone through over the last 10 months has been made so much easier by my family, I am so thankful that I have such strong, caring people in my life.

You never really know how strong you are until life decides to test you. A lesson I have learned from Dystonia is  never to doubt your inner strength, leap at every opportunity and fight with all your might every day. If you doubt yourself and back out you will never know what you are capable of doing. So embrace life and leap through every open door.

 

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