Our Trip to Dover Castle

We went to Dover Castle a few days ago, but I have had technology trouble, so I haven’t been able to upload it to YouTube until now.


It was the first time I had been there in a long time, probably since childhood, but it was a great day.

We saw the tunnels and the WWII underground hospital. My personal advice would be to see the tunnels first, as they get very busy later on.

We then took the land train around the castle to see the medieval main tower. This was a very impressive sight and had the added bonus of an actor playing the part of the king.

My anxiety was high that day and it was a struggle to keep going, but it was worth the effort.

 

GP found dead after being suspended over bipolar disorder blog | UK news | The Guardian

I have thought long and hard about whether or not to write about this, but The Guardian doesn’t have a comment section for this article, so I needed to put my view across.

This GP who suffered from bipolar is the subject of an article in The Guardian. She was writing a blog about her condition and in that respect, giving a broad spectrum to the condition as both a GP and a sufferer.

One of her patients saw the blog and complained to the practice. She was suspended by the practice and even though they subsequently reinstated her, she went into a deep low.

Bipolar disorder is of course a very distressing condition to those who suffer from it and those who support them. I can’t help but feel however, that the practice could have given her more support over this issue.

I am sure that there are certain rules that GP’s have to abide by, but the fact that she was reinstated seems to show that she did nothing wrong. Maybe this shows a lack of compassion and understanding from the practice towards Dr Potts.

I think it also shows how far we still need to go as people to understand mental health. Having bipolar did not make Dr Potts a bad GP, but the fact that she had a mental illness seemed to imply that she was from this patients point of view.

Would this patient have thought the same way if another Dr had written a blog about their Diabetes?  Would the Dr in question have been suspended because of it?

Let common sense and medical knowledge not stigma dictate what happens, or there will be more tragic stories like these.

Is The Wait For Mental Health Treatment Too Long?

With people still waiting for weeks or months for help, is there a risk that more people will turn to suicide?

I have been part of a very interesting blog over the past few weeks. I won’t mention the site now, but something has become increasingly apparent. I have been reading more and more about how desperate people are becoming with their treatment.

Every day, there are people posting heartbreaking messages about how they are still waiting for a referral after weeks or months. Some have had a referral and are now waiting in a list for counselling. Others have access to crisis teams but find that they get no help when they call.

Surely there must be a better way to deal with a problem that is getting worse. Every study and research that has been published recently has stated that mental health issues are rising. Not just in middle aged people or the elderly, but in the young as well. With something that is affecting so many people, surely there can be a better way of dealing with it.

I was asked to take part in a survey recently about suicide and how it can be prevented. I saw only one way, that more money is given to the mental health teams who are struggling to cope with the number of referrals. They do an amazing job with limited resources, but on many occasions, they just can’t get help to people in time.

I realise that there are limited funds for the NHS and everyone has a need, but if the government want people back into work, surely they have to start dealing with the problems people are having instead of ruling that they are not sick enough.

Many people with mental illness still work and contribute to the economy, yet they don’t get the help they need. Many really want to work and probably could if they were given the right support. Simply denying they are ill is not the way forward and in the end will be counter-productive.

Maybe they should stop labeling all those who commit crime around the world as mentally ill instead of just criminals and focus on those with a real need.

A Letter to Anxiety – And Once Again, We Play Our Dangerous Game

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Dear Anxiety,

I kind of knew that things wouldn’t be calm for long. There is always something around the corner that makes you reappear. The only problem I have, is when I don’t know why you’re here.

If I make a mistake, drink too much caffeine, forget my meds, things like that, then I have only myself to blame. But for the past two days, you have been a constant shadow, following me and no reason why.

I liken you to Peter Pans shadow, independent, unpredictable and restless. But unlike Pans, you don’t want to play, you want to cause harm.

Despite your repeated appearance, I have sought to continue with things the best I can. Until I can no longer put up the facade to other people. Until I need to rest and recover.

It reminds me of my favourite movie, you know the one – The Hunt For Red October. When Sean Connery says to his men that they are playing a game of chess with the Americans.

That is how I see it with us. A tactical game that may never be truly won. But I hope for at least a few ‘checks’ along the way.

Yours Defiantly,

Steven

My First Anxiety Broadcast Yay!

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Today, I did something that even a year ago, I would never have thought about doing. For those that have seen my Periscope broadcasts before, you will know that I have mainly been showing things that have interested me. But, I have been thinking about talking about anxiety for some time now and I thought Periscope would be the perfect medium.

Because its live, you can interact and answer questions, but for those reasons I also worried about being live on the internet.

I kept putting it off for a while, but today I finally did it! I talked about some cool apps including Elefriends and also spoke a little about my own anxiety.

It wasn’t very long and only a few saw it…and I was probably rubbish, but it can only get better!

For those that want to see it, I will post it here:

A Letter to Anxiety – Thinking

 

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Dear Anxiety,

I was thinking about you last night, which is strange really. I spend all my time trying to not think about you when you are around and then when you aren’t, I think about you.

It is like that really annoying friend that you don’t really want to see, but you wonder what they are doing when they aren’t there. Is that how you are to me? Are you like an annoying friend? Would I almost miss you if you weren’t around?

My head would say NO!, but you have been around longer than many others things have. If there is one thing I can rely on, it’s that you will turn up sooner or later. I was thinking last night about how I can deal with you, how I can send you away for good. Then I thought about sending you a letter.

Is that odd? probably, would it help? I hope so. I have tried to keep my mind in the now instead of worrying about the future. The problem is that you give me things to worry about in the now as well as the future.

Like any friend who is not good for you, I have to distance myself from them and move on. I know that you will try to convince me otherwise, because you always do, but I have to do it.

I wonder how much time I spend trying to get rid of you? Just think of all that time I would have if I didn’t have to concerntrate on you. All those things I could do if you weren’t there to stop me. All the places I could go and people I could meet.

I hope I don’t see you soon.

Steven

Does Being a Man Make You Prone to Mental Illness?

How does being a man make you more likely to suffer from Mental Illness?

There is an interesting argument in The Guardian regarding the effect being a man can have on your mental health. The article talks about a film call ‘The Mask You Live In’ which deals with boys opinions towards feelings and if it is ok to show them.

Recent statistics have indicated that more men than women are affected by mental health in terms of suicide and binge drinking. It also indicates that this is because boys and men are not encouraged to show their emotions like the opposite sex are.

Boys are encouraged at an early age to ‘be a man’ and not to show fear or sadness. Researchers believe that this holding on of emotion is the reason more men develop mental health issues.

As a man, I had to really think about this, because I can’t ever remember being told to man up or not to cry. Of course, that doesn’t mean it never happened, but since I was raised by my mum from age 7, this seems unlikely.

I don’t readily show my emotions, but maybe I have been influenced by media and television rather than my parents? There are many male role models that are strong and dependable, who you would never see cry.

Does my problems with anxiety stem from lack of emotion? Have I bottled up all my feelings so that there is no outlet? I don’t really know, but the fact that many counsellors encourage you to talk about how you are feeling, maybe there is a point.

What do you think?

Are We Relying Too Much on Parenting Technology?

Is the rapidly evolving age of technology, causing us to rely too much on it to help with parenting?

I recently read an interesting article on the BBC News website that called into question the influance technology has on our parenting. In particular, it referenced new apps that are being trialled that monitor your child while it is at nursery or pre-school.

The app, called Mytoddlr, is currently used in Nigeria, but there are other trials starting in the UK. It works by notifying the parent on their computer or mobile, when their child goes to the toilet or has a snack. The information is recorded by the nursery staff so that those parents who work long hours, can maintain contact with their children.

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This had me thinking of my own daughter (now 10 years old). When she was born, there wasn’t as much in terms of technology as there is now. Having said that, we were worried about SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), so we decided to buy a sleep apnia mat that went under the mattress.

This was pretty new at the time and we debated whether it was a good investment or not. We decided that the peace of mind that it gave us, was more important than the cost or monitoring aspect. I think modern apps like Toddlr, are doing much the same thing. They are giving parents a sense of peace that their children are safe and being looked after while they are apart.

Some might argue that trust will be eroded between nursery staff and parents if they use the app, but we are now in a world where technology is going to impact more on our lives than ever before. I think we need to find a happy medium between being with our children and getting technology to do it for us.

What do you think? Are we relying too much on technology or is it making parenting easier?