#Me Too

Their are times I don’t agree with certain social media movement #tags their are times do and #me too is one of those that do people been empowered to speak out say me too if been a victim of sexual assault or harassment. Anyone regardless of age, sex, sexuality,race,faith,disability is at risk at sometime in their live at risk off.

I have varying Mental Health Diagnosis an all of which I have no choice but self maintain because they are the result of the trauma of been a childhood sexual abuse victim it’s taken me a long time too no longer be ashamed of myself, to no longer feel dirty, to no longer hate myself, I had to learn to love myself see the good in me to be able let my family in to let them love me an me be deserving of that love an me love them back and to trust them let them be apart of my life trust they’ll protect be and be their, I tested them, pushed them away took the pain an anger I felt out on them it took them to say you scare us when you get angry but we know your hurting it’s ok was the big breakthrough needed I didn’t want no longer take my pain out on me and nor them either, I didn’t blame them.

I once got the opportunity to film a portrait of my life sadly my old trust didn’t air or broadcast but that doesn’t bother me because my mum whose also been hurt in the past got to watch and got to see and the girl on the screen me got to tell her I didn’t ever blame you an never did.

Been a victim of childhood sexual abuse continues to impact my life also does my 3 1/2 year old sons life if people pass comment about him, parents judge his behaviour and tell him off have been known turn me from calm mum to psycho mum because in my eyes I perceive as my child’s at risk from harm risk of been hurt the child abuse victim in me goes into survival self destruct and attack mode it’s not nice for me nor people around me experience and in instances I flee just scoop my son up and go but fleeing does me then a greater harm because I then internalise all the anger an frustration onto myself the childhood abuse victim inside me turns on me I’m a coward, why did you run, challenges me and can make me feel then very intimidated and in cases be paranoid and intimidated by others.

As my son gets older he’ll get used to how I am an he’ll get used see how get and he too is at risk of unnecessarily learning survival mode Behaviour I can’t help how I get nor can I help my son learning the person who hurt me though he’s too blame he preyed on me, groomed me an manipulated me destroyed me for a time an my family he’s too blame. Everytime I go into survival mode it’s because I was vulnerable, a child, I couldn’t protect myself, keep myself safe my control was took away and to an extent my abuser still has a hold on me still has some power over me.

Speaking out though gives me some control, some power, gives me strength to speak out and say Me Too and I don’t do for pity I do because I want others that maybe not yet spoken out feel that they can do too because the more people say Me Too the more control and power we can reclaim back, people that have victims can become surviviours no longer blame themselves an be ashamed.

I recently chatted with someone about my abuse they asked me because I’m a Christian does it mean I’ve to forgive my abuser an I told them no it dosent it’s ok to be rightouse about my anger towards my abuser in time I may want to work towards forgiving him but at the moment I don’t as would mean overcoming an working through that trauma an at the moment trying pretend is not their and boxing up is easier, I did tell them though I have had to work on forgiving myself an forgiving myself for the hatred had towards myself, the child abuse victim inside me has had learn to forgive me because a part inside me blamed her but she was defenceless an I see now I couldn’t prevent what happened I can just protect that part now as I do my son, I’ve had to forgive myself for blaming myself, holding myself responsible and for been ashamed of myself and even allowing myself be further sexually exploited when put myself at unnecessary risk from harm when behaved in promiscuous ways because hated myself that much.

Saying Me too and speaking out means I too can take off that burden of shame held onto and used against me an now let go off.

I hope people reading and Too been victims can find strength say Me Too as you’ll see not alone x x x Time to Take your Power Back x x

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Exhibiting your Bench A piece to remember you by Art for Recovery Exhibit 2016 x

Today on my Facebook Timehop the pictures of your bench been exhibited at Leeds Art for Recovery Event popped up Tim, I remember during the time my grief felt raw an after I’d got to know Gary, Jon Swales an met your friend Kim at St George’s Crypt and the love she had for you an the journey you were on I knew as a family we had to honour that, recognise that an even say sorry that we didn’t take time see the Recovery Journey you were on, You were quiet, You loved helping make beds up in Crypt, helping out in the kitchen been one of the team, You too enjoyed blending in to the surroundings have a cuppa, meal read your paper you felt safe, welcomed even at home, we met Joe he told us what a good lad you were, wiped away my tears when the guilt hit why didn’t I get see this Tim, We heard all about TCV, Hollybush on clearing your things from that place you didn’t feel home or safe we found the files you kept certificates for various recovery courses, and your pride an Joy the Bench you’ld been working on it was beautiful. We got your Bench finished off a plaque put on, We framed some of your certificates sat them on the bench placed a cushion underneath to kneel on it would be a place sit an remember you by. I remember in my pain also feel excited about exhibiting for you, was nervous too, I remember anticipation Gary finding out if we could exhibit as subject was art for recovery and relief when said ok, I remember when I emailed your bench’s submission. A place to remember you by it honoured your journey, your fight for recovery an would now be a place we’d sit at talk to you as we worked through the devastation of your loss. I remember the day Gary collected for Mum’s I was nervous, prayed be safe in storage, be safe in transit hope people saw our sadness an pain but also our Joy for you, I hoped you’ld be watching down from heaven an beaming our Katie did good and she’s seen I did good too an hope you were smiling because you were an artist an one that was in recovery you were beating your addictions, you were giving something thing back, been a friend you were working your way back up, your Bench, your certificates they demonstrated that I just wished you were their with us as we celebrated and honoured that, I remember the day the exhibit arrived I was nervous, panicked an again excited worried would get their in time. Relieved my friend Gary from church was taking me across from Bradford to Leeds think in the car on the way over talked his head off don’t think he minded though, was lovely see my friend Sue from Church their too. I remember awaiting mum, Nat an Jay arrive was getting nervous would they make in time, also really wanted see your exhibit first before opened up to everyone but remember had wait whilst judging finished hoped they’d got your piece would see the love we had for you. I remember they opened up the exhibit their was a circus themed piece one were put heads in gaps an pic below pictured us do that, by your Bench their was a statue of a deer or horse facing your exhibit if you’ld have been their you’ld have attempted ride it, bargain for it probably would have found away have exhibited at home. I remember seeing your exhibit tucked in the corner , remember sitting an chatting with you couldn’t wait mum, nat an jay get their show them your spot when they came in their sadness an pain they were sombre nat had go early she’d let the guilt overwhelm her in wishing we’d seen your journey sooner and you should have been their wish I’d told her you wouldn’t want see her sad an you knew in your heart we were their and you understood, I wish could have told her felt same an that in away hoping entering your exhibit said that. I however though didn’t chase after her as thought would then be running out on you, your exhibit, your memory. I remember stood awaiting judging your category came up it didn’t win I felt crushed thought why didn’t they see the love for your journey your memory and felt sad for mum wanted floor swallow me up but then one of the judges said they had a prize for someone that epitomised why they were their, the reason why they put the exhibit on for, for the journey of recovery and you won the overall prize I wanted jump up and down scream yes you did it and know yes it was recognised, I remember showing you your certificate, your trophy an telling you wow you did it, I chatted to a few of the fellow artists remember mum n Gary an one of his colleagues an our jay stood chatting by your Bench an about you we all laughed and had same thought about the horse statue an in that moment I looked an smiled at your Bench because their we all were surrounding you an remembering you by. Your trophy know stands by your casket at Mums an your Bench has a place in my bedroom with your certificates on an your best shoes an cushions underneath like have a piece of you too at home with me and each night I tell you I miss you, I love you remind Myles it’s your Bench not his and laugh because your Bench really has become that place, that spot, that piece I will always have remember you by and I laugh because I know your laughing at the sentiment an I know you now know we were proud hope that when I talk to you, you look down and sit beside me and that your with me as I know begin recover from the pain of your passing, I love you forever an not a day goes by don’t miss you, I love you Tim.

#I have Mental Health #Itsnotbecauseofstigma why choose not speak out.

The buzz word in Mental Health Stigma, we must speak out, we must were it label it lovely smiley faces on twitter at the moment I have Mental Health its ok say have , it’s ok you get help. I salute you for being proud, I salute your optimism, I used be loud, be proud open about my experiences was told was inspiring it boosted my confidence, lifted my self esteem a short lived adrenaline buzz but sadly no changes came were made, society gets an understands stigma are open to help they just don’t know we’re go, were access and get doors opened to care, Joe bloggs on the street does care, does understand I usually knows someone or even they themselves affected by. I don’t engage as much now with speaking out campaigns, wear my label on my sleeve now because I lost my brother to a preventable suicide he had both Mental Health and Substance Misuse he didn’t face stigma from his family or friends it was from the services that were meant to support him those that are now behind twitter campaigns like #I have Mental Health, I saw my brother at times at crisis took him to A and E be told he’s to ask for help is not sat in A n E over 8 hours in height of crisis not asking for help, when did ask for got turned away past from pillar to post, Even when stopped taking drugs was always told “it’s the drugs” it’s the drugs. Never asked him why he ever became an addict, Never explored his childhood upbringing, never asked Why if did ask Why they’d have seen then yes it was because of the Mental Health but they never did they stigmatised because of the substance misuse. My brother was stigmatised because of a Dx he was given Anti Social Personality Disorder the condition shut doors to access to recovery, was probably why assessments for suspected learning disability got passed up, passed up not just one professional that suspected was most who came into contact with him, why did you not do when came to you when spoke out said I’m here I need help, his protector Dennis a doll became his tormentor took his identity offer, the doll got into his head told Tim what do we his family asked for help knew he possibly wasn’t mentally ok even asked for support an help but got turned away. I do have Mental Health needs myself an manage I recognised certain things in my brother, Hearing Voices, Dissociative Identity, Depression, Obsessive an Compulsive Behaviour, self harming because he’d felt lost control needed help was not helped he openly said had but didn’t get so is why know I struggle support an engage with #IhaveMentalHealth. I’m only doing this blog because need rant get my upset, anger, frustrations out I’ve to do that to manage mine so don’t obsess about, get worked up about, have it bring me down and me turn on myself internalise and berate myself for not speaking out an challenging the #IhaveMentalHealth. The angry voice inside me wants say it’s patronising, that those that failed in my brother’s care murdered my brother they didn’t carry it out but nor did they step in an prevent it’s too late now for sorry. Campaigns like #I have Mental health are belittling to individuals and families affected an they’re belittled by the association of the unnecessary use of the word stigma, we must talk about yes stigma led to my brother doing what did but it wasn’t because of lack of understanding but care for all those professionals sharing their photos, retweeting posts ask yourselves why are you sharing, retweeting are you actually as a result of that post go out make a direct action, something that does get help, get changes made and actually stand up make a difference it’s time moved on from speaking out an do for those brave enough do, speak out, do for those who ask for help and on my post look at the photo and do for my brother Tim someone who said #IhaveMentalHealth help me the person whose voice not heard and do for my mum, my siblings an our children who have to live with his loss, live with pain knowing asked for help and enough not done because we don’t want people going through what we are.

Mental Health, Austerity an the Postcode Lottery

On Wednesday I’m going to Westminster with National Mind an the MP’s to their bring to the table event to discuss Mental Health Going Forward and what needs be done, theirs lots been highlighted about austerity, of postcode lottery, even the diagnosis lottery an conveyor belt. These issues are complex, challenging and have crippling impact to individuals affected by Mental Health. I’ve been asked to represent Yorkshire an Humber I will to an extent highlight my brother’s death and failings in his care. I have also spoke with my friends at Lighthouse Academy in Leeds an to my friends at Healthy Minds in Calderdale and I was alarmed at some of concerns raised and highlighted and that as much as we shout out for better mental health care we are so far from it.

Services are been closed without proper consultation to the service users that access and they’re unable be referred into alternative therapies as they don’t fit the recovery timescales, diagnosis to complex been told all has been to try help them and worst of all they’re now struggling find private alternatives because that one thing that made a difference has been took away.

For some accessing treatment and support and getting the foot in the door is hard specifically for rehab for overcoming addiction and I see regularly individuals, friends, little communities forming trying to support each other overcoming addiction and it breaks my heart to see them stumble because you know they are desperately trying following things like routine, keep busy, avoid temptation but the underlying issues not addressed, no support to detox, withdraw and overcome addiction and the space an Time and safe place to do and rehab is what would make all that difference but for some they are sadly overlooked, the waiting lists are too long that people are told waits of up to 2 years no point referring you in. Why then are their no alternatives why are we not demanding more specialised services why are we overlooking this vulnerable client group. Is it because they don’t deserve help, is it because society says they don’t fit just as services say we can’t help because we can’t fit you into a box. Austerity is penalising these individuals setting them up to fail be persecuted, isolated, attacked and further dehumanised and sadly why so many life’s are lost and in today’s society we should be holding up those most vulnerable.

People’s mental wellbeing is been impacted by austerity people know it’s good to volunteer, want to volunteer are told by professionals do it will aid your recovery and then they do volunteer and do little bits building themselves up, getting skills may not necessarily have an then bam DWP is taking them of benefits that awarded because of their conditions an impact has an been told well you can volunteer you can go on Job seekers or some universal credit been set up to fail not supported sanctioned if don’t apply for x amount of Jobs, write cvs do job searches and get x amount of interviews and many get passed up, employers won’t take on an so they get hit with sanction after sanction money stopped go without food, heating, hot water, basic provisions, spiral further into debt trying keep a roof over heads and the pressure of and lacking basic needs is detrimental to their health and we are turning our backs on them what are we doing to challenge the hardest hit be supported we’re are we fighting for their right to health equality not inequality.

One guy mentioned to me he wanted work volunteer be phased an supported in he’s not worked in a long time just finding his feet got placed on Job Seekers could I ask for more supported employment programmes I wished I could but sadly those services are few an far between an waiting lists get on are high so for him I pray he doesn’t stumble because of the dwp system setting people up to fail. DWP shouldn’t be allowed treat people in the inhumane way they are they are having a detrimental impact on health.

Mental Health is impacted by physical, housing, social, financial influences, influences that government need address especially if mental health support has a chance to change improve an save lives as part of the 5 year forward strategy on Wednesday when I take people’s voices to the table I’ll try ensure heard because I can’t sit back an watch the most vulnerable be forgot about anymore.

Escorted Leave

Today after calling in an visiting my mum, I jumped on the bus to make my way to Lighthouse for Academy it started of as an ok journey we past a nearby mental health unit 3 people got on at the stop outside, I guessed one was a Health Support Worker, one was an informal patient an one was a sectioned patient. The member of staff sat in the middle seat an a patient either side, one of them asked the member of staff how long take, I leant across an told her if not many people get on 20 minutes an as I told her could picture her working out how long would have out, she asked did I know we’re best stop get off for we’re she was going to and I told her, I heard her talking to the member of staff about wanting an id for her pass as was getting crumpled and the HSW described many different options she could get and were probably find, I picked up from the conversation lady was going to look into a cookery course, I also picked up from the conversation a family member was going to visit an maybe another trip off the ward “that be nice picked up on HSW say, I put my head down looked out the Window and a lump welled up in my throat I remembered back to when that was me the person excited for escorted Leave and some of the places went to usually was only places like town centres easy get to usually a market stop and quick coffee I heard the women working out if time do pleaded with the hsw please let’s not rush back heard hsw say we’ll be pushing it for half past three. I wanted lean over plead with the hsw for the woman who asked in a meek, child like manner, I wanted say please don’t rush, let her have her freedom her space time out you’ll go home tonight she won’t please, I wished I’d asked didn’t like idea she’d feel rushed, panic not have chance embrace outside, I wanted ask are u ok,, treating u right, but I couldn’t I was paralysed in my past I was once that women childlike do anything to stay away from a ward longer, even though panicked an scared still felt a slight tingle at been out or should I say Free. I heard the HSW speak to the other lady about what she was going to do I picked up the other lady was informal she was going to go Window Shopping because she could and then on bus back to the Tesco then she’d get a taxi so not miss tea an the taxi wouldn’t be all that much even though I felt sad for them I smiled, I gathered all was quiet on the Ward this morning an that’s good felt saying yep it’s good when no alarms going off, not being restrained or seeing others in incidents as the words quiet on unit means no incidents and again I drifted back to a time when I was in that place and again my throats welled an a tear rolled down my eye, I wanted phone my mum, my sis say I was sad, say was catapulted to my past but I couldn’t because back then when I was on escorted Leave I wouldn’t have wanted anyone guess, would have wanted them think a group of friends out an I was normal not see was really mentally unwell and was probably why didn’t verbalise out loud kept to myself, When it got to their stop I saw them get off, I looked up saw the informal person slowly following the lady an member of staff and pictured they’d probably all stay together, I put my hand on the window whispered I was you once enjoy your time out and hope your out soon again and then be home. Then as the bus pulled out it dawned that even though my life had moved on I couldn’t escape my past that I once was unwell and a mental health inpatient and that would always be a part of me something that I’d not really ever leave behind.

How to Save a Life – Patient safety – All Tim Needed.

On social Media I’ve seen people debating Patient Safety in relation to my brother I’ve realised that more could have been done for him and that Patient Safety did not come into his care. To help me come to terms with his passing I’ve to understand an process why and find the solutions to could have what made a difference it is what manages my self care an also putting pen to paper gets my thoughts an ideas out an mapped out. So today while I’ve had an empty house an cleared up house listening to the song that played at the start of my brother’s funeral I listened to the song ” How to Save A Life by the Fray and asked myself that question. I asked myself how Services from a Patient Safety point of View could have saved a Life and been all Tim needed and here’s what I came up with.

1.See me as a Person

2.See my Circumstances

3.Include my family and Friends in my Care

4.All Services needed to work together an not in Isolation

5. Choice an Opportunities

6. The important one Listen When I ask 4 Help

7.Judgement Free Care

8.Check my Records be it Safeguarding,Crisis,Suicide Prevention,Care Plans and Recovery Plans are all up to date, working an implemented an everyone including Me an My Family were made aware off.

9.Take Responsibility Don’t keep passing me to service to service from Pillar to Post.

10. Carry out All assessments

11. Don’t exclude me from Services Because of Labels Attached to Me

12. Support through Major transitions

13 Finally Compassion an Understanding as Human Beings we are all entitled to having that met.

These things don’t seem like much but to my brother they’d have made a big difference and he’d still be here for all those looking at Patient Safety please look at this and ask yourselves could you have been All Tim Needed.

Pill shamed for not taking – You can’t really be depressed then.

Theirs been lots in the media debating the pro’s an cons of taking Medication for Depression, BBC Panorama highlighted the dangerous of an how individuals became mass murderer’s an that’s in extremities.

I suffer from a Dysthmic Disorder in layman terms a neurotic mood disorder, Depression,Anxiety, Obsessive and Compulsive Behaviours, I have complex PTSD hear voices and Dissociate.

I don’t take medication for my conditions I used to they were harmful for my physical health I ballooned to just under 19 stone was a walking zombie did not interact, engage the world passed in a blur and still I was seen as disengaging by services it wasn’t that I was disengaging but the needs completely shut of all my receptors so I couldn’t engage.

The conditions I have are the result of Childhood Abuse, Losing a Child Born Still Born and the result of been a revolving door patient on an off throughout my teens to my early thirties. The medications I were on varied from Anti-Deppresant’s, Mood Stabilizer’s, Anti-Psychotics, Relaxant’s and Sleeping Pills. The medications just sedated my so called behaviours to me their now just my traits be it survival, be it instinct, be it my defensive mechanisms. Dissociation at times though can be a pain when things in my locked box want to surface as that hits when am at my most vulnerable an most risk and I’ve just to ride it out.

It’s been hard not been on medication and not easy but I try face each day as I can medication will only plaster over the scars of my past, therapy can help me address but the unstable emotions and how I handle things they’re what I’ve to learn to address, I recently nearly ended up back on medication I struggled with coping with my brother’s passing thought long an hard and in my heart knew wrong as it may take the pain away numb it but eventually have to face it and so may as well fight may way through it now but also the anger side of my cptsd has come in handy as I’m using that part of my grieve to fight for him wished did more when he was alive, also if agreed go back on the slow cocktail of men’s would build up again I’d be talked into needing more for different things and different behaviours an probably extra Dx and my son he needs me, he needs me to be strong for him be brave for him most importantly be alert and functioning and be all he needs so as hard as the days are I throw myself into It theirs days I feel mentally drained, exhausted, on edge, thoughts scrambling but for my son I attack each day, I also do for my family, I do for my brother too as he so wanted overcome his past.

Medication can help mask things and give me a rest from but in the end they’ll stop me from seeing the beauty in the world even though theirs too sadness in it, the voice i thought so hard to re-find would too agin be lost and one thing I’ll always tell my son fight for what you want well if I’m not living it he can’t practice it.

Don’t get me wrong it’s not easy theirs days when I can just drag myself up ready, Myles though he’s always immaculate, theirs days I’ve snapped my anger lids burst an that’s not been good for person who got brunt off, theirs days I have just crumbled just broke look liked a car wreck and all around gets to much and times to preserve myself I’ve to shut out the world keep my bubble to myself .

I’m not telling people to stop taking mess nor if they help you to stop believing that they don’t an to stop.

I’m asking that as I respect medications for you please respect though it’s not for me an in fact has been life altering an harmful an I don’t want that for me, I also need you to respect that just because I say no also does not mean I don’t have my conditions an my experiences an opinions like well you can’t be that bad if you don’t take because I can be.

The brave face people see is just a mask as if accepted people a) don’t get or understand me so I give up trying explain, b) if I don’t try I give up an where does that leave my son an family and c) if I go on meds the world will be shut out again.

If their was better monitoring of my help, safeguards an provisions that stopped me going on more an more mess then maybe, but I know for me I have to address my pain be it therapy, be it pretending life’s ok or be it writing my blog like now, I’m exploring having faith in my life that’s been a challenge an battle of perseverance, I throw myself into soft play just as much as Myles an that s my anger energy, we do crafts, go for walks we play the child in me likes that as that’s reminded sometimes life is good, being an activist for awhile was hard but then I missed it so am slowly going to re-dip my toes in the water and look to do again as my heart an a part within me missed that an so listening to myself keeps me going.

I suppose because I didn’t feel listened too an knowing my brother wasn’t listened to is why I’ll always shy away from medication in time that may change I’ve to meet that one person who will listen and give me the perfect care package so till then I’ve just got to listen to myself.

Whilst I do that though please don’t shame me an belittle my depression, my pain just as I don’t pill-shame you an vocalise the drugs are bad. It is these debates that create divides in the mh community an we need to be supporting each other and each getting the support that works it’s time focus on getting it right for everyone as at present services aren’t working and we need to work together to get that so let’s #endthepillsdebate.