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Mandy Lee Blogs

Student. Aspiring Journalist. Human

Mental illness should not be talked about…

Mental illness should not be talked about.

This is the statement I said to my 10 year old sister. Her response, “Why?”.

Why is there still a stigma attached to mental health when there are over 450 million people around this world who are suffering with a mental illness. A figure which grows every second I type.

Did you know that Anxiety and Depression are the top forms of mental illness? Every 1 in 4 people will be affected by a mental illness at some stage in their life.

After countless research I was made aware that people do not report their illness to anyone, as they are afraid of being socially isolated or discriminated by the people around them. They are so fearful that if they tell someone, they will either be sent to a hospital to be examined or be locked away in a psychiatric unit.

From my research I discovered that the search I made under, “psychiatric units in the UK” matched the search of “mental health facilities in the UK”. Apart from a few residential care homes and organisations which provide care for those suffering with mental health, there  were hardly any facilities which let the sufferers wishes be heard.

Is being taken away from their homes & given drugs a way of treatment?

How about the concept of creating mental health facilities which offer support and give the user a whole range of natural treatments. One to one sessions with professionals, a chance to speak to other sufferers of mental health and to be given  the opportunity to have their opinions heard.

This “mainstream society” we are said to live in, is a false image if we are unable to help the people we share this world with.

#NationalMentalHealthDay should not be a one day trend. It should be a fixed point in everyday that follows. We should freely be able to talk about mental illness.  People who are suffering silently should be able to open up about their mental illness not hide it away.

*I suffer with anxiety. I’m still the same person before you found out I had a mental disorder. – Keep that in mind.

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Sibling Rivalry 

“You can choose your friends but you sho’ can’t choose your family, an’ they’re still kin to you no matter whether you acknowledge ’em or not, and it makes you look right silly when you don’t.” – Harper Lee To Kill A Mockingbird 
Sibling rivalry has been the core of many family disputes throughout time. It is the base of having a brother or sister, or both in which arguing and fighting can occur on a daily basis.

Getting attention from the parents is a vital attribute where the child is hungry to receive from a early age. When another child is brought into it, the competition begins. 

The new born becomes the centre of attention. “The first born child” lets call them in this case, is finally given a bit of freedom where they are able to observe from a distance. The new given space is a unusual time for the child as they are now given an area to explore on their own.

However, the freedom of space is not what the child desires they want to be seen as the main child in their parents eyes. 

The child will now do anything to get the attention, even if this means getting in the bad books of their parents. Being loud and obnoxious is their main agenda. 

However, when the child grows up they will finally realise the importance of looking over their sibling(s). 

The rivalry will always be there, in whatever way, shape or form. This will maintain the base of their sibling rivalry. You can only learn from your mistakes, try and resolve them and then finally move on. 

Personal Struggles

The pain is back again, and this time I cannot seem to switch it off.  My heart is beating like it’s getting ready to burst out of my chest. My throat is tightening. I cannot breath. My eyes are filling with water,which only causes them to sting. I need food but not enough for me to crave an appetite. My joints ache from exhaustion. My muscles tighten as the pressure builds up. I can feel my blood rushing through my veins. My skin is cold to the touch, but not cold enough for me to shiver. I do not feel anything but my body and mind are directing me to thoughts. The imaginary audience are back, and they are talking about me. They are looking at me with smirks and swallowing eyes. The people who I thought were friends are pushing me away. But I’m doing the same. The people that do care, I’m beginning to shut myself away from. The question of why? Is unanswerable. Waking up in the mornings is draining. Falling asleep at night seems impossible. Controlling the mind is a constant struggle. I want to be like that person who doesn’t seem to fight everyday. The one who can be loud and confident without caring what people around them think. The individual who can accept their personal struggles and make that change. 

* These are the comments I have heard from people around me  aswell as being that person who has felt and been through these experiences. You cannot just change a person’s perspective of their life. They need time and comfort from those around them, and with time they will heal. 

~ M

Do we really care?

Everyday we are greeted by either new or old faces. The individuals we meet in our everday lives come with the agenda of a reason why they choose to speak to us. We start of with the regular speech of saying hello/hi/hey and then are automatically enabled to ask how the person is. The real question is, do we really care? 
We are all taught to respect the surroundings and the people around us. From a early age we start to develop feelings which we continue to carry with us through out the rest of our lives. As we grow older, we become wiser and more aware of what we say. However has this changed the way we were supposed to be or naturally feel. Mankind has developed so much overtime that a notion has come to note. Can someone really hear/see something and feel adamant to the cause or are we forced to react in away which we truly do not feel. An example which is common all the time in the media is; a death which has taken the lives of some people. No matter how tragic the incident may be, we automatically feel a sense of sadnesses towards the innocents who have lost their lives. But we as the audience who did not even know the victims, are tugged by our heart strings to comment on something that has no effect on us at all.
The honest truth is, if we aren’t affected by the news we see or hear, then the fact is do we really need to care. We live each day by a rule book of asking or answering questions that are designed to please the opponent or viewer. Real care is provoked by a cause which will have an effect on our lives, where we live and the people that are the closest to us. 

“The facts of living”
 With love – M

Living With A Curse; Anxiety

As a teen sufferer my self, my experience of anxiety first came on the first day of high school. Some people walk through the doors with no sense of what to expect, but I knew when I stepped inside this new world of being treated as a so-called “adult” my experiences would be different.

Primary school helped us all adapt from a child to a soon to be teen. However when it was time to leave, all we could do was hold on to the memories we had created in the last 6 years and hope we had adapted enough to start High School. Then came the summer holidays. I don’t know if it was just me who didn’t feel stressed at all about starting a new school, but those were the early days. Between me and the daunting “big school” were 6 weeks of summer. A time to relax and spend time with the people we love. To be honest with you, I’ve always hated the summer. To me it was like a cover up of the doom to come (kinda exaggerated, I know).

When summer was over, it was the time thousands of children perhaps  dreaded. Start of first term. This is when it started. As soon as I walked through the doors a rush of sickness and nervousness hit me as if a cauldron of the two had been thrown all over me. My heart raced, a feeling that can be described similar to watching a horror movie at the cinemas. The loud volume surrounds you. You have no control of turning it down or stopping the nightmarish sounds. The only power you have is to look away or leave the screening. Choosing the latter option only made you look weak in front of the others.

To my surprise the memories I can recall from my first day were fondly “good” recollections. The only negative experience I had that day was the frequent times I got lost or ended up in the wrong classrooms . But it’s those negatives that occur to many new students, and due to that it didn’t really affect me at all. I guess as soon as I got to know people that’s when it truly started. People didn’t treat me differently because of my personality it was because of my appearance. If it had been because of my personality I would have understood. Some people are treated differently because they have a trait of some kind, for an example arrogance. Someone who is arrogant is seen to be over opinionated, an individual who finds them self superior than those around them. This is a trait that can cause people to feel a sense of annoyance or uncertainty towards a person. But to my awareness I was lucky not to have arrogance as a trait, instead I was a quiet, reserved girl who only wanted to do her best and get through the next 5 years. 

I hate the word “bullied”, it’s a diction which pulls at your heart-strings and causes people to perceive you as a victim. I wasn’t a victim I was a person who occasionally got “picked on”. Nonetheless it did play a vital part in lighting the match to the “curse” which would devour me for the rest of my life. I knew my life was going to change as soon as I walked through the doors, but I never thought I would start hating myself so much that it would lead me to feel so low about myself, which would then push me into a “cycle of depression”.

What does one expect high school to be like. Our minds in a way are poisoned by what we see in the media. From television dramas to movies. We try to escape the reality of everyday life by believing in what we see on the silver screen. We have high expectations, which only let us down in the end. In the first 2 years of my life at my secondary school, the girl who had left primary school confidently, had changed into a person who wished they could close their eyes and never wake up. I had turned socially isolated, I lost my appetite towards food and mainly lost the belief in myself.

I didn’t tell anyone; not my parents, teachers or even my close friends. That was a mistake that I will have to live with the rest of my life. But it was a mistake that made me stronger. Due to the fact I didn’t tell anyone, I started pushing myself to ignore the (insert swear word) and start enjoying the ride.”Why should I let a bunch of scumbags ruin my education when all they were doing were wasting their own”. Most of them did get expelled at the end of the day. I guess its true when they say; “what comes around goes around”. They did bad to others and karma came back and got her revenge. 

There was a part of me that wanted to give up. I wanted to stay in bed, fake a sickness and avoid the everyday carnage I had to face. But I didn’t, not anymore anyway. I had already shed many tears for people who meant absolutely nothing to me. Looking back now its kinda hilarious, these people were driven by popularity not by their futures. We all grow old and things change. These people who had made my life a living “hell” had ended up being kicked out of school and with the struggle of getting into college. Their friends moved on while they stayed in the ditch they had dug themselves into.    

My anxiety had ruined a few a chances in my life at secondary school; being a senior mentor, trying out for head girl and being able to try that bit hardest without caring what people thought. But it made me who I am today. I can waste time by looking back and regretting or I can look to the future and aspire to become who I want to be. A journalist. 

I have recently left my secondary school. I’ve been accepted in to a highly regarded college, where I will sit my A Levels in the next 2 years. I still will and always carry the memories I had accumulated at my school, both good and bad. I will continue to live with anxiety and some days I will have those days where my heart aches from pain and all I want to do is stay in bed. But I will get myself out of bed in the mornings, I will face the day and any problems that I am thrown with and so will you. With time you will adapt and learn from your mistakes. You will become stronger from all the torment you have felt in your past. If your reading this feeling like crap or crying about someone who has hurt you. Stop and think, you are wasting your time and energy on people you don’t need, they will get whats coming to them or one day they will realize how they were like. Face the pain and move on.

Anxiety is a curse, it will come and go and then return and continue to do its job. But I will never stop it or the people causing it, prevent me from achieving my aspirations.

Not Now, Not Ever.

With Love – M  

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