What does ‘recovery’ mean?

Understanding what recovery means from a mental health aspect can feel rather complicated. Essentially it is the journey that an individual experiences as they work to increase the following aspects:

Finding hope

Establishing a secure base

Developing an understanding of self

Building supportive relationships

Empowerment and Inclusion

Learning and practice of effective and healthy coping strategies

Gaining a sense of meaning

What do these mean to you? What do they mean in practice? How do we describe them?


Smile because recovery is possible! x

In the Dark

I suppose you could consider this post to be my New Year’s resolution, so apologies that it’s three weeks overdue. Apologies too if it’s a bit too personal for comfort; it’s difficult to get the mixture of public and private right when you run a blog.

Anyway, regular followers of this blog will know that I had some problems with my mental health last summer;  I posted a partial explanation here.  I completed a course of treatment last autumn and have since been feeling much better.  Words can’t express my gratitude to the people who looked after me when I was unwell nor to the friends and colleagues who put up with my unexplained absences for so long.

In November last year I came across a website run by Time to Change Wales which was in the middle of a campaign to get people talking about mental health issues…

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Diagnosis and Crisis – What’s going on?

My mood dropped dramatically recently. I had been feeling rough for a few days and as soon as my last assignment had been written there was a ‘tipping’ point.

Within two days I was so acutely suicidal my friends felt the best place for me was hospital. After having to wait two hours for an ambulance in my last crisis they took me by taxi. On arrival I was greeted by a polite male receptionist – a good start!  He took my details and asked us to sit in the green area, so we did. There was only one person in front of me so we got to see the first medical person, a nurse, rather quickly. She was rather rude and comments she made about my situation that were very unhelpful – I had to use every ounce of my control not to seek to complete my plans. We were then left to sit for two hours, no description of me was reported to security for all they knew when they called my name I could have been dead for nearly two hours,  thankfully this didn’t happen. Feeling somewhat let down by the first nurse I encountered, I felt much better about those in the nursing profession by the third,  getting better care with each one than I had with the previous.

The third nurse had come down from one of the mental health wards. Previously the mental health assessment had been the worst part. This nurse was, in my opinion, excellent! She did ‘make me better’, I didnt expect her to, but she supported me. She was honest and frank about my situation,  understanding of the risk and fully explained why admission wasn’t the best option. She helped me to understand my rights and responsibilities.
Remember I said she was frank and honest? Well it turns out my community nurse and psychiatric consultant had been considering a disgnosis of Emotional Unstable Personality Disorder (Borderline Personality Disorder). For the purposes of correct assessment I can understand why they might have considered not telling me what they were considering but the fact that they mentioned nothing and I appeared to find out accidentally unpset me. It still does.

Within 12 hours my low mood had past and I was on a high again. I had made it through by the skin of my teeth. I was, and am, alive. It is the weekend now and I have an appointment to see my consultant early next week.  I have been left with a multitude of questions:
– What is my actual disgnosis?
– What support and treatment will I recieve?
– How am I going to cope with the stigma associated, not only with personality disorders, but being known as someone with Borderline Personality Disorder?
– Is there any ‘peer’ support in my local area?
– How do I tell my family and loved ones? Apparently it is partly due to events during childhood – that is going to be difficult to explain sensitivity!
– How am I going to handle telling my emplyer and University staff?
I have a list ready for next week….!

Hopefully I willbe able to get some answers! My life feels like a massive maze with no map right now! Not even a water damaged one :p

It’s ok to be unwell today!

Everyone feels a sense of pressure in the build up to Christmas but for those with mental health illnesses or mental distress it can be a difficult time.

It can feel very pressured for those, like myself, who live with their depression over the holiday season. Your illness doesn’t know it is Christmas,  it’s not like work – you don’t get time off. It can feel even more isolating  than ever.

There are two things I would like to share:

If you are living with depression remember it’s ok to feel low today,  if the business of celebration becomes too much take some time out, you could go for a walk have a nap? 

For those who might have someone with depression among them over the season – which is a lot of us (I am not the only one in my family who is living with depression)- here are a few tips:

It might not be a good idea to get onto people when they dont seem happy, I am sure they wouldn’t want to be experiencing low mood or distress, 

If you see someone, who you is living with depression or distress,  finding things difficult remind them that it’s ok to be unwell! 

Happy holidays, Merry Christmas!

Mental ill heal…

Mental ill health feels just as bad, or worse, than any other illness – only you cannot see it

Quote taken from:www.mind.org.uk/help/diagnoses_and_conditions/mental_illness

On 24th December 2012