Friday, 4 September 2020

Your MIND Matters

Hi everyone, I'm sorry it's been a while since my last post but I have been busy working on a really big project, (yes the same project that I've been hinting at occasionally for about the last two and half years!)  Well that's because it is FINALLY happening :-D And I can't wait to tell you all about it in my next post.  So look out for that.  It's been a very long process, a lot of work (understatement) and I am SO excited to finally share it with you all.

But for today, we're going back to something else that's very important to me, mental health awareness.  In my last blog post I spoke about my experience talking to a counsellor and about some of the charities and organisations that offer further support. One of them being the charity MIND.

I first met with a counsellor from MIND many years ago when I was referred to them by my GP and I saw someone for about 8 weekly sessions. For me personally, I didn't feel it help at the time, as the person I saw literally just listened but didn't give any advice, which is what I needed and why at first, I was reluctant to see a counsellor again this time around. But it just goes to prove, you can't go by one bad experience!

So, I just assumed that was all MIND had to offer.  Little did I know that 9 years later, the charity had been completely reorganised and now offered a whole host of new ways to help!

After hearing about MIND from my counsellor and then researching a little more, I was amazed at the amount and various types of support, and events that they can now help with and I really wanted to tell you guys all about it.

They can help with everything from housing issues and jobs, to training scheme, therapy, befriending schemes and even offer support groups like arts and crafts, or groups with like-minded people that can share their issues.  As well as various online events and groups to cater for the current situation!

You also have the opportunity to give something back and help them, because of course they are a charity and can only keep going by donations and public support!  Why not help with campaigning, become a member or spend some of your spare time volunteering and use your own experiences helping others!

Because every little helps and we all need that little extra help sometimes, especially at the moment in these crazy times.

You can find more information and phone numbers for your local MIND charity on their website HERE

I hope this helps xx
Until next time, Stay Happy and Stay Safe

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Sunday, 26 July 2020

Mental Healing - Counselling


Hi everyone, firstly I just wanted to say a particular hello and thank you, to all my new subscribers, as there's been quite a few of you since my last post.  I'm very grateful and thank you for joining my little space on the internet :-)

Ok, on with the post (sorry it's a long one).
Just over two years ago, I went to see my GP to ask if I could see a counsellor.  I'd been going through a pretty rough time and was struggling to cope with everything that was going on in my life - little did I realise what was to come over the following year would be so much worse - but even so, I was in need of help.  So she put my name down on the waiting list.  I was told it could be a while (understatement), and while I was waiting I would be sent to see a mental health practitioner to start off the process.

About a year later, yes a year, I finally had an appointment come through to see the MH practitioner.  She was really nice, very easy to talk to and helped in many ways.  She explained that the few sessions I had with her would be a temporary measure until I was able to see the main counsellor but at least it was someone to confide in to begin with.  After discussing with her how I was struggling to cope with my health condition and the constant pain I'm always in, she put me on another waiting list to go to a Pain Management course, which I wrote all about here after going on the course last November/December.

Then finally in April this year, I had a letter arrive telling me to call to make an appointment with a counsellor.  When I called, the receptionist explained that due to the lockdown, all appointments would be over the phone for the foreseeable, which I was quite happy with, as it meant I could sit in comfort in my own home and not have the effort of going out (which I struggle with, with my health condition).  And so finally a few weeks later in May, after waiting for just over 2 years, I had the first of my appointments, that were to carry on for the following 8 weeks!  I was able to choose the day and time that suited me best too, which was sooo helpful and found that early evening was the best time to be able to talk.
I wanted to make sure that I made the most out of all the sessions, so during the time I'd been waiting to talk to her, I wrote lists and notes for everything that I wanted to discuss.  I planned to talk about one or two issues each session (as there were so many), so that I knew I'd covered everything.  And thankfully that plan turned out well.

Each week, I would go up to my room just before 6pm, get my notes out, my notebook and a packet of much-needed tissues and of course a bottle of water, and sit there ready with my mobile.  We talked through each problem and about how to either resolve them or cope with them better and by the end of each hour-long session, we'd spend 5 minutes at the end just calming down and she would check with me that I was ok and tell me to try and relax for the rest of the evening.


I also found it incredibly helpful to jot down notes as she was giving me advice and tips.  Because my memory is terrible and I knew over time I'd forget something important.  So to have those little notes there to always be able to refer to, is priceless.  I was also able to write down all the websites she gave me to look at and contact details for various helplines etc, for future reference, (some of which I'll leave below).

But after all that, I expect what you actually want to know is, did it help!?  And the simple answer is, yes 1000%.  I have been struggling with so many past issues and traumas that have been happening to me throughout my life as well as recently and still every day, and to be able to finally talk fully, completely openly and confidentially about everything with someone, was just what I needed.

As my counsellor told me, it doesn't always work for everyone, but there are so many different ways to help with depression, anxiety, PTSD etc.  Going to my GP, even though it was a long while ago, was the best decision I made.  It was the start of my healing process, the start of helping me feel like 'me' again!

After each session, I felt like a weight had been lifted.  Like I'd finally dealt with the issue and could put it safely in a drawer in my mind and move on.  Sure there will always be triggers for my issues, but I have coping methods now, I don't feel as mixed up anymore.
Before I started talking to my counsellor, I saw myself as a damaged, traumatised, depressed mess.  Confused, stressed, anxious and I just couldn't cope with life, I didn't want to and at times, even felt like I couldn't go on, life's struggles were just too much and too hard.

I still struggle, I'm not 'cured' but now I can finally see myself as a capable woman, who's stronger than I was before.  Who can deal with life better, calmer and I feel so much more focused and clearer in my mind.  I can see a way forward now instead of just feeling dragged down by my past and current problems.  Those that tried to help me, I used to ignore and push away because nothing made sense, I felt such a mess, I couldn't process anything.  But now I've been able to openly talk to the important people in my life and explain what was going on in my head, explain and apologies for letting them down or not being there when they needed me and to properly thank them for trying to help.  My mum for one, has always been there for me, no matter what.  A tower of love of strength, trying her best to help me.  At last now I feel I can be there better for her too.  And hopefully, it can only get better from here on out.


I've been told that if I do feel I need to talk to a counsellor again in the future, just to go back to my GP, but hopefully I won't need too, and there are loads of organisations that can help and be there for support along the way.
One of them is MIND, an amazing charity.  But I'm going to talk all about them in my next blog post, to coincide with a little giveaway I'm doing.

Another website my counsellor advised me to look at was - getselfhelp.com This website is AMAZING, absolutely full of problem solving tips, self help advice and mental exercises to help during panic attacks etc.  A very long list of various mental health issues and ways to help deal with them, as well as loads of general professional advice and so much more.  It would take a week or more to get through all the information that's on there but it's most definitely well worth looking at.  One of my favourite self help exercises is called 'Flipping the Thought Coin'.  Especially great for when you're feeling anxious about something particular.  Flip your thoughts, and try and think of the opposite feelings.  Instead of something terrible could happen, flip it to, what if it all goes well for instance.
There are loads of great tips like this, that I will be doing posts on in the coming months, so I really hope they help.

To finish off (at last), here's a list of contact details for various help centres and agencies.  If anyone would like to contact me for further help, please DM me on Twitter @DaniJ72 or message me on Instagram @crystalsparklydreams and I will get back to you.
C.A.L.L.Helpline - a free 24 hour helpline for Wales - 0800 123737.  Or text HELP to 81066 (I've spoken to someone a few times and they've been really helpful).
Parabl (North Wales only) 18 and over - 0300 7772257 - parabl.org
Staying Safe - Help for anyone who is considering suicide - stayingsafe.net and an app called Stay Alive available on Google Play.
Samaritans - 08457 909090 - samaritans.org
So until next time, Stay Safe and Stay Happy

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Monday, 11 May 2020

What to Binge Watch on Netflix


Hi everyone, Netflix has been a total saviour for me; on days when I'm feeling really ill, when I'm going through a rough patch of feeling really down or just when I manage to find 30 minutes to sit and need to relax!  There's a show for every need and every various mood I'm in.

So to start with just so that I don't repeat myself too much throughout this post.  I just want to put it out there that I am totally obsessed with all the shows I'm going to talk about, I absolutely love them!!
I have to start with my all time favourite, Stranger Things - If you haven't heard the hype about this show over the last few years, where have you been!  And more importantly, why are you not watched this already!?!  I'll admit the first episode verges on childish and seems more suited to the younger generation.  BUT, do not be fooled, this show is far from childlike and gets very intense - Season 2 episode 8!!  That's all I'm saying.  Definitely 100% give it a go if you haven't already.  You will thank me.


Another absolute favourite is The Umbrella Academy - Oh My Gosh what an amazing series, I cannot praise this enough!  So cool, So quirky and just awesome.  Season 1 has THE best final to any series I have ever watched, and that's saying something!  Also Claus, coolest character by far!


Chilling Adventures of Sabrina - Now this is kind of a 'marmite' show, you either like it, or you hate the idea of '90's kids show' Sabrina being turned into a dark Satan worshiper!  Personally, I think it's awesome and I absolutely love the revamp.  I enjoy the 'dark-side' references and the quirky characters.  If you're into anything remotely fantasy based with a fun twist, you'll probably going to like it.


YOU - Two words spring to mind straight away with this show; Sexy and Dangerous!!  I was fully enthralled right from the get go.  Joe's smouldering good looks, intellect and hopeful romantic intentions are enough to make you want to say 'I do' BUT, then there's the unfortunate sinister side of him, that he just can't help escaping.  It is very captivating, very steamy and VERY high on the shocks factor!!  I absolutely LOVE it.


Shadow Hunters - An ass-kicking fantasy with a brilliant, very good looking cast, very cool outfits and storylines that will keep you entertained for hours.  If you ever saw the amazing film Mortal Instruments (one of my favourites) or if you've read the books, you'll have a good idea what the series is based on.  I promise you, you will Not be disappointed!!


Sex Education - Yes it's rude and a little X rated, But it's also really funny and actually has a great storyline.  I've just finished season 2 and I already hope the next season will arrive soon.  Maybe not a show for the more reserved among us but it's a good laugh and relaxing to watch (if you're not easily embarrassed!)  And it has Gillian Anderson in (Scully from The X Files) I'm a fan :-D


The Colony - Set in the future, a wall divides the colonies while an alien race guides the government/army to keep their people in their place with strict rules and curfews.  It's very addictive, it stars Walking Dead's Sarah Wayne Callies, and is just very entertaining.  The only downside being, there are only two seasons and the follow up has not be released to the uk, boooo!!  But still worth watching I feel.


Insatiable - Ridiculously funny, outright shocking (I do love a good shock-factor) and at times, just plain crazy.  I love it!!  (Just to add, as a trigger warning, it does contain body image/food related issue) but it's dealt with a quite an amusing way, the main girl certainly has an interesting way of working out her issues!


Baby - If you're like me and you love to watch something with a bit of oomph and grit, this is for you.  I've been working my way through season 1 for the past week (now on season 2) and I can't get enough of it, totally obsessed!  Plus it has an awesome soundtrack!  I'm really excited to see where it goes.


Friends - An age-old classic that will fill you with every emotion, mostly happiness and laughter.  Need I say more!

I would love to tell you about more great shows but since I have 35, yes 35 on my list still to watch, I will definitely be updating this and doing a part two sometime in the future.
I hope you enjoyed this post.  Let me know in the comments if you already watch any of the shows I've mentioned, or if you start any after reading this, come back and tell me what you thought of it.

Until next time, Stay Happy

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Thursday, 9 April 2020

Music Therapy


Hi everyone, For a long while after going through a particularly bad 18 months of my life, I felt I just couldn't listen to music anymore.  I stopped listening to all my favourite songs and I stopped singing, both of which have always been a big passion and influence in my life.  but lately I tried again, I started with really old favourites that I knew would make me feel good and it worked!
That was about a month ago, and since then I've been able to really get back to listening to a lot of my absolute best songs and even singing again, which has actually felt so amazing!  I'm still working up to certain other songs that I know may trigger bad memories but I'll get there because I feel I'm on the right road.  But the best part is, I feel I have part of 'me' back, a part of my soul that was missing for a long time, and it's helped my mental health SO much!!

Yesterday my best friend Shelley tagged me in a facebook challenge, the 30 Day Song Challenge and me being me, completely obsessed with music and very passionate about SO many songs, I just had to turn it into a blog post, especially now that I have music back in my life again!

Also I haven't done a tag post in forever and to help beat the boredom at the moment, I thought it would be fun for you guys to join in and post your answers too, either in the comments or on your own social media pages, and get others to join in too.
I've also added a few more questions, because why the hell not and because there's just so many songs I love that needed to be mentioned.  Plus I couldn't help but add more than one song for some of the answers, I just couldn't decided because more than one song fitted the bill :-)

So finally, here is the tag -

1. Song you like with a colour in the title? Black & Gold by Sam Sparrow and Behind Blue Eyes by Limp Bizkit
2. Song you like with a number in the title? A Thousand Years by Christina Perri
 (so beautiful)
3. Song that reminds you of summertime? Replay by Iyaz (full on summer :-D)
4. Song that reminds you of someone you'd rather forget? Unfortunately there's several, mainly Bleeding Love by Leona Lewis
5. Song that needs to be played loud? Lost in the Echo by Linkin Park (Amazing track!!)
6. Song that makes you want to dance? On The Floor by Jennifer Lopez, 4 My People (the Basement Jaxx radio remix) by Missy Elliot, Blow by Ke$ha AND Please Don't Stop the Music by Rihanna (Love, love, love them) :-D
7. Song to drive to? (I don't drive but) Liberate by Eric Prydz (still sounds so cool when you're going down the motorway with the top down and the wind in your hair lol)
8. Song about drugs or alcohol? Happy Little Pill by Troye Sivan or Morphine by Michael Jackson
9. Song that makes you happy? Shut Up & Dance by Walk the Moon
:-D
10. Song that makes you sad? Sooo many but My Immortal by Evanescence
11. Song you never get tired of? Moondust by Jaymes Young (gorgeous!)
12. Song from your preteen years? This Ole House by Shakin Stevens
13. Song you like from the 70s? You've Got a Friend by Carole King
14. Song you'd love to be played at your wedding? Never Gonna Leave Your Side by Daniel Bedingfield or A Thousand Years by Christina Perri
15. Song you like sang by another artist? Cold Water sang by Hobbie Stuart (it's AMAZING!!)
16. Song that's a classic favourite? Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen
:-D
17. Song you'd sing a duet with someone on karaoke? Time of my Life from Dirty Dancing
18. Song from the year you were born? Nope, not answering that one!
19. A song that makes you think about life? Everybody's Free to Wear Sunscreen by Baz Luhrmann (Brilliant track!)
20. Song that has many meanings? My December (live) by Linkin Park
♥♥
21. Song you like with a person's name in the title? Valery by Amy Winehouse
22. Song that moves you forward? Beautiful by Christina Aguilera
23. Song you think everybody should listen to? Take It All by Ruelle (amazing!) PLUS all the other songs I've mentioned that you don't already know!
24. Song by a band you wish were still together? Numb by Linkin Park
;-(
25. Song you like by an artist no longer living? Underground by David Bowie
26. Song that makes you want to fall in love? Insatiable by Darren Hayes AND All of Me by John Legend (Beautiful song)

27. Song that breaks your heart? Goodbye My Lover by James Blunt
28. Song by an artist who's voice you love? Lost by Michael Bublé (voice like melted chocolate
)
29. Song you remember from your childhood? Daddy's Home by Cliff Richard
30. Song that reminds you of yourself? Bitter Sweet Symphony by The Verve

15 Extra bonus questions, because, why not!
1. Song to relax to? Teardrop by Massive Attack or Children by Robert Miles
2. Song that makes you cry but you love? Goodbye to You by Michelle Branch (this version)
3. Song that reminds you of great times? Any 90s dance!!  I.e. You Sure Do by Strike or When I'm Good & Ready by Sybil, so so many!! :-D
4. Favourite song to sing to? Bring Me To Life or Imaginary both by Evanescence
5. Song that makes you smile? (Apart from 90s dance!) If I Lose Myself by One Republic

6. Song you listen to when you're angry? Wth>You, Figure 09, Qwerty or Victimized all by Linkin Park
7. Your least favourite song from a band you love? The Little Things that Give You Away by Linkin Park
8. Song you love that someone else introduced you to? Shatter Me By Lindsey Stirling & Lzzy Hale (thank you Shelley)
9. Song with the best beginning?  No More Sorrow by Linkin Park (Best beginning ever)
10. Favourite rap duet? Love the Way You Lie by Rihanna & Eminem, Airplanes by B.o.B and Hayley Williams and Champion by Chipmunk & Chris Brown
11. Song you can fall asleep to? MCXMC album by Enigma
12. Song that you think is just really cool?  Starboy by The Weekend (love it)
13. Your karaoke song? Warwick Avenue by Duffy
14. Old song you love that's your parents favourite? Heartbreaker by Free (it's awesome, in fact the whole album!)
15. Over-all song you love? Mr. Vain by Culture Beat :-D 


I have absolutely LOVED doing this tag because I've re-discovered so many songs that I love that I'd completely forgotten about and haven't listen to in so long.  I hope you give it a go, it will definitely make you smile and I think we could all do with that at the moment.  Plus I highly recommend having a listen to all the tracks I've mentioned, because they're ace :-D

So until next time, Stay Happy and Stay Safe

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Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Quarantine for a Newbie


Hi everyone, so we're now in to the second week of quarantine, some of you may be sailing through it while others are either going stir crazy with boredom or are genuinely struggling to cope.

For someone like me having a chronic illness, my everyday life is like self isolation.  I generally only go out about once a week, sometimes once a fortnight, because going out for the day makes me feel so exhausted and in extra pain.  So as I spend the majority of my life indoors, and because of this I like to find as many things as I can that keep me busy, keep me entertained and things that I enjoy doing because I suffer with depression and anxiety too.  I know, fun!

I also know many of my readers have a lot of the same issues, so I wanted to write a list of ideas to help you beat the boredom and also to try and help if you're struggling mentally too.

So here's my 'How to Stay Sane List' -

1. Keep in touch with people, family and friends - I think this is probably one of the most important ones, it helps you to still feel connected to the outside world and at the moment, as everyone is in the same boat (and for a lot of them it's a new worrying experience), it will help them not to feel so alone.  You can share your tips and ideas to get through the long days and maybe chat about other things in life (ie not just the dreaded virus) to help calm each other and take your mind off the current problems!
One of my favourite ideas is to Skype or video chat with friends that you would normally meet up with.  Why don't you and your friend make a nice drink/food etc, wear something nice and go in a different room to video chat with each other, just as if you were going out to meet them. That way it will feel more 'normal' and make it a bit more fun.

2. Netflix - my absolute saviour on days when I just need to get out of my head-space.  And there is Sooooo much to choose from.  I'll upload a post next week of all my favourite films and shows that I love to watch to give you a few new ideas.

3. Pamper/play with your pets - they will need a lot of comfort just as much as you do, as their routine is going to be very different too.  They will also need something new to occupy their mind and to give them exercise as they won't be able to go out for their regular walks or be able to socialize with other dogs!  Have a look at this RSPCA article, for the latest pet advice, updates and tips on how to best care for your pet while in isolation, as there are some great ideas on there and of course a lot of important information too.  Have a fun play with them and sit and cuddle them, you will both enjoy it and it will be time well spent.  (Currently sat here now trying to type this with a very fidgety poodle on my lap!  But it's lovely.)

4. Pamper yourself - have a relaxing bath, a face mask, paint your nails, do your hair etc, anything to make you feel 'nice'.  Treat it like a spa day!

5. Read - how many times have you started a book and thought I'll finish that one day, now is that day!

6. Get baking - whether you live alone or with family, you can always appreciate some fresh home cooked cookies or cakes, plus it makes the house smell delicious hmmm!  It's times well spent, great do to with kids, and really enjoyable fun, plus you have something tasty to show for your efforts afterwards.

7. Exercise - this is really important even if you just do 5-10 minutes of stretching each day, it makes you feel so much more awake and gives you more energy.  Try doing it twice a day if you feel you need an energy boost.

8. Start a diary - it can be a journal of your thoughts, sometimes writing down how you feel, even a little bit can really help clear your mind and put things in to perspective.
A book of your favourite quotes, I have one of these and I add to it often, because I love quotes and it's also lovely to look through at times when I need a little 'pick me up'.
A gratitude diary, because even though things are not good right now we all still have a lot to be thankful for each day.  Family, friends, pets, good health (if you do), sight, hearing, any little thing in the day that made you smile, it all helps!
Or you could start a bullet journal, there are hundreds of great videos on youtube all about them.  I started one over a year ago for this year and I love just sitting down for half an hour or so and drawing little doodles, it's very relaxing.  I'm planning to film a video for my YT in the next couple of months to show my progress.

9. Start a new hobby or pick up and old one - crafts are THE best way to relax, use your time wisely and you can even make money from them. Anything from painting, drawing, card making, upcycling, etc and you can always get any bits you need ordered online.  Another hobby could be starting a blog, you tube channel, learn an instrument, take an online class (there are free ones around), make a scrap book etc

10. Go in your garden and appreciate nature - for those that can, this is something people are still able to do at the moment, so make the most of it. Feel the sun, get some air, let your dog have a wander and stiff. If you have a small garden close to others I think the government advise not to spend too long outside, but even for a few minutes you can still stand at the back door, catch some rays and listen to the birds!  If you have more of a quiet secluded garden away from others, spend a good bit of time outside when the weather is nice, plant some seeds in pots and make a pretty area in the garden or take a book outside and find a shaded corner to sit and read.

11. Keep a routine - even if you're not at work/school etc, still try and maintain a routine, ie make your bed, get up and go to bed at a good time, eat at the same times etc.

12. Do something you've been putting off/didn't have time to do before, like a DIY project, tidy a cupboard, make something, watch that documentary you've had on your watch list for ages, listen to an album you didn't have time to before, clean the kitchen! etc

13. Put on some of your favourite music and dance!  Music is one of the best things to help make you feel happier, it's a known fact.  And you can turn it in to another fun thing to do, go on Spotify and create a playlist of all your favourite songs to dance to!

14. Write letters/emails to old friends you'd love to get in contact with again or distant family that you haven't been in touch with for a while, check up on them.  Maybe start up a new thing with your best friend of writing to each other regularly like Pen-Friends, like when people used to actually write letters to each other instead of just texting every so often.  Add little homemade gifts or photos in the your notes too.

15. If you live with others, make sure to find time to be on your own, even if it's just 5 minutes.  Sometimes just taking a minute for yourself, especially when several people are all stuck in the house together, all feeling anxious, it can get a bit much and a bit stressful.  So it's really important to take a step away, go in another room, do something on your own for a little while, just have a breather away from each other.  Believe me, it will make all the difference

Finally, and this is just my personal advice; obviously it's important to keep up to date with the latest government guidelines and rules, and to know the extent of the situation.  But, try not to dwell on it all, try not to let your mind wander and worry about possible future problems any more than you have to.  You'll notice I haven't mentioned anything about going on social media.  That's because the current world problems are pretty much all everyone is talking about and at times it's better to try and limit your time spent reading through it all, and have a break away from it.

I hope you find this post helpful and if you can think of any other tips or ideas, please write them in the comments to share with everyone.


Most importantly, Stay Indoors and Stay Safe

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Monday, 17 February 2020

Mental Health - Suicide Awareness


Hi everyone, news of yet another suicide this week has prompted me to write this post, as suicide awareness and mental health is something very close to my heart.
Whether it's celebrities we hear about in the news, close loved ones or if you reading this now are feeling this way, suicide is NEVER the answer!

There is help out there for those that are brave enough to reach out.  But sadly not everyone gets to know about that help, or can find the courage to search for it.  So I feel it is our job and our duty to help spread far more awareness, reach out to those in need and help stop the ignorance that many people still seem to have about this issue.
It amazes me that even now in this day and age, when so many people suffer with depression and anxiety, so little is known about where to get help, that SO many people STILL ignore the signs and the whole subject is still a taboo and something people are ashamed to admit they suffer with!

People NEED to start being kinder to each other!  This world is cruel, unforgiving, selfish and egotistical.  And people are suffering in silence because of it, to the point where they feel they don't even want to live life anymore!  That is so absolutely, truly tragic and saddens me to my very core.  Too many people suffer alone and take their own lives every day, so something has to be done to help them!

I have been on both sides of the scale, I've watched two people I deeply care about suffer with such severe depression, they've tried to take their own lives, several times.  Coping with that is incredibly difficult, worrying and upsetting.  Never quite knowing if you're saying the right thing to help them or if the worst might happen and their attempt will be successful.
And, during bouts of my own severe depression, I have been in that frame of mind myself in the past too.  Being in such a dark place and not having the slightest clue how to get out, it's a very lonely feeling.

While in that vulnerable state recently, I eventually talked to my GP who put me on a waiting list to see a counsellor.  For me with my long term issues, it was bearable but I did find it very hard waiting almost 5 months before I could talk to someone and was basically counting the days!  Also many years ago after a bad breakdown, I asked to see a counsellor then, and was told it was a 12 month waiting list!!  Crazy!

These waiting times are absolutely ridiculous and it's purely because there are just not enough counsellors available in many areas for people to see.  Many GPs aren't equipped enough to deal with the level of mental health issues.  If it hadn't of been for my counsellor (when I finally got to see her) I wouldn't of known about some of the helplines and other mental health therapists that are available to talk to immediately, because my GP never even told me about them!  Again this is not good enough.

Therefore the more people that speak out and ask for help and the more people that speak out to help those in need, the more the NHS will have to listen.  GPs need to be more aware of the needs of sufferers and most importantly, be able to give them some immediate help and guidance so they don't feel so alone and abandoned, just adding their name to some list and left to get on with it!

Here are the contact details I was given and some others that I feel would be of benefit (Uk only) -

Shout helpline (originally called Crisis Text Line) - text 85258 (I highly recommend this one)
Live Fear Free (originally Welsh Womens Aid) - call 0808 80 10 800 (24 hours)
Mind Uk - www.mind.org.uk or call 0300 123 3393 (9am-6pm).  Email info@mind.org.uk or text 86483
C.A.L.L. Helpline (Community Advice and Listening Line) - call 0800 107 0900 (Uk) or 0800 132 737 (Wales) or text "Help" and your question to 81066
Samaritans
- call 116 123
Childline - call 0800 1111
You can also visit www.ntw.nhs.uk/selfhelp where you can find loads of various pdf leaflets that cover all kinds of issues from depression to abuse to self harm to bereavement.  You can click to view them or pay a pound per leaflet to download them.  The information is actually quite detailed and there is also a long list of specific helplines etc at the end of each one.

I hope this post helps even just one person out there.  But you (my readers) can help too by please sharing this post or at least sharing the message with those around you to do what you can, to help lift the taboo surrounding mental health and suicide, and help end the silent suffering.


So until next time, be kind

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