I came across this article written by Matt Haig earlier today. Matt writes extensively about living with mental illness, and this piece really sums up some of the struggles faced by many of us at Christmas.
I admit, I don’t spend my Saturday evenings watching I’m a Celebrity, but the show, and in particular, Iain Lee, has been brought to my attention today via Twitter.
I’m sure you will have heard about him by now.
He was the one that cried during last night’s show.
Yes, HE. A man cried on TV.
He took part in one of the challenges (which sounded pretty horrific), and suffered an anxiety attack, meaning he ultimately failed the challenge.
He returned to camp and broke down.
Everyone seemed to show compassion, reassuring Mr Lee, but later Rebekah Vardy (I’m not sure what one of those is) said she didn’t like to see crying as it shows ‘weakness’ and Amir Khan agreed.
Luckily support and words of wisdom came from Georgia Toffolo (apparently a star of Made in Chelsea) who said during a conversation with other members of the camp
‘Yes, because the stereotypical man doesn’t cry and that’s wrong, that shouldn’t be the case.’
This is exactly the problem.
Crying isn’t a sign of weakness, in fact, I’d say it shows strength that someone is quite prepared to expose that raw emotional side of themselves.
Anyway, Mr Lee has now become the target of Twitter users calling him ‘pathetic’ and poking fun at him.
Because anxiety is so funny, isn’t it?
Depression is a perfect opportunity to call someone crazy, isn’t it?!
Despite what you may or may not think, mental illness of any sort is no reason to abuse someone.
It’s not an opportunity to attempt to push your own twisted agenda.
I can imagine that if I’d been in the same situation as Mr Lee, I’d probably have had a panic attack.
And in case you didn’t known, here are some of the VERY REAL physical symptoms of anxiety –
- Stomach cramps
- Tingling in hands
Now imagine experiencing just one of these whilst being in a huge tank of water about to attempt a ‘trial’ on a TV show in order to feed your team mates.
Tell me you would be able to do that and not feel emotion.
Mental illness of any sort is no reason to bully and harass someone, whoever they are.
Maybe if people start accepting that it’s ok to show emotion and it’s not any kind of weakness, things will start to change for the better, but as long as names like ‘crazy’ and ‘pathetic’ are being hurled at people struggling daily, morning is going to change at all.
So, it’s 4am, and I’ve not yet slept. Hurrah for insomnia!
I’m no stranger to this stupid fucked up sleep cycle, I’ve been living with it for years, but I’ll never get over the fact that 4am is so utterly boring!
I’ve been looking at recipes. Mainly healthy ones. It can never hurt to try to eat healthier, can it?
I’ve been browsing the Shitty Watercolour Facebook page.
Listened to another episode of Paul Temple.
My brain isn’t ready to switch off.
A million and one things are racing round my head. I wonder how they all fit in there.
Just had a mug of hot chocolate, but now I feel sick.
I should probably go back to bed as I have important things to do tomorrow.
It’s too late to take a zopiclone, as I won’t be up before lunchtime if I do that now, and if I was to be, I’d have the mother of all hangovers from it.
I kind of hope that spilling here will allow me to get at least a couple of hours sleep.
I wish I could put my finger on one particular thing that’s bothering me right at this moment, but I guess it’s a culmination of things. So many things in this old brain.
I applied to go back to uni, so I’m on pins and needles waiting to hear about that. I’d love to be able to finish my Film Studies course, but unfortunately, it’s not as simple as it may seem.
I’m totally lacking motivation to do anything at the moment, so that’s making me feel guilty. I enjoyed the sun the other day though, and went for a nice walk. Baby steps.
I wish people would mind their own sodding business, and focus on their own lives rather than trying to ruin other peoples. Makes me think of the old ‘people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones’.
I’m worried about this whole election business. Still no one seems to know what Brexit is, and whilst the media are talking about Diane Abbot getting muddled up in an interview, the government are pushing through some very worrying policies that will affect our young people.
One of my cats has been more clingly than usual since she was spayed the other week, and I don’t know if I should be concerned about that or not.
I feel terribly guilty for not making more effort to see people this past goodness knows how many months. I currently don’t have a car, so I’m feeling somewhat isolated. I liked being able to just go out for a drive sometimes, particularly if the weather was nice. Just go and see places.
I don’t have a light summer jacket. I have cardigans and winter coats, but nothing really in between, so I was thinking of making the ‘bomber jacket’ from Gerties ‘Gertie Sews Vintage Casual: A Modern Guide to Sportswear Styles of the 1940s and 1950s’ (seriously, something I’ve been thinking about whilst unable to sleep!).
There was something about shoes too, but that’s not in my brain any more.
I worry a lot. I think too much.
I need to sleep. It’s now almost 5am. Fingers crossed for the sandman.
13 years ago I was diagnosed with chronic, clinical depression for which I have been taking medication since. I also suffer from Generalised Anxiety Disorder, crippling tension headaches and panic attacks. I take medication for the latter.
Back at the end of March, I lost my home. The same week, my uncle passed away very suddenly. The following week, my long term partner split up with me, and following that, I lost my job as a result of my depression. All this in 14 days, a lot for anyone to deal with I’d think.
I currently reside in a caravan on the Worcestershire/Herefordshire border – a 23′ touring caravan, not a huge static. I have no shower or toilet facilities in my caravan. I use my parents address for correspondence.
The site I am using is not a residential site. I am technically homeless, yet I still have to pay rent. I’m not, however, entitled to housing benefit.
I am registered with Shropshire Home Point – my registration took less than 24 hours. On Friday 1st July I took a paper application into the Hive to register for Worcestershire Home Choice Plus, as there is some sort of problem with the system that wouldn’t allow me to register online.
Yesterday, I received a letter from WHCP saying that I had not put my connection to Worcester on the form. I’d clearly written ‘Mother – *name* lived in Worcester for X years’
They said they also needed information about the length of time she has lived in Worcester, as well as her address. I wrote in section 16 (as I had been asked to), that there is no room for me at my mothers house, and that I use he address for correspondence
My C/O address is quite clear on the form also.
I stated on the form that I will be asked to leave my current site within a month, as it is not a residential site, and that my living situation is affecting my health.
I have been sent a medical assessment form.
Please bear in mind that to go and pick up my post is a 60 mile round trip, costing £10 in fuel. WHCP could have emailed me.
I apologise that my situation isn’t straightforward, and that people may have had to use their brains, but I am desperately trying to make my life better, and I am met by obstacles at every turn.
I have been going through hell trying to sort out Universal Credit, I have been patronised and spoken to like I am sub-human.
And now, for some reason, WHCP are playing delay tactics, that if they just used their brains, wouldn’t be an issue and I could start trying to look for a home.
Needless to say, not one part of this is helping me illness, and I am truly concerned for my own welfare at this point. I recently started a part time job at 6 hours per week, which I am seeing as a stepping stone to getting my life back on track, but the fact that there is no help, no easily accessible advice, and a seemingly arbitrary system in place for any government services, it’s not exactly helping my things.
I can’t help but wonder that the overall plan is just to get rid of all people suffering from mental health issues to make things easier for the people that could make a difference.
It’s funny, I’ve worked since I was 16, and paid taxes, yet I’m treated like I’m the one sponging off the state. £317 per month is meant to keep me. I still have the same bills as I did at the beginning of March. What do you get from the taxpayers each month? Are you constantly treated like you’re taking directly from someone’s pockets?
I urge you to read my blog at www.widdleswobble.wordpress.co.uk for more in depth information about what I have been put through at the hands of the benefits system and how this impacts on ones mental health. It seems as though people like yourselves that are able to make a change are completely oblivious to what actually goes on.
I look forward to your reply.
Just more of the fun & games with the government system, huh? This letter has been sent to Robin Walker, Harriett Baldwin and Stephen Crabb.
I’ve been unemployed since the beginning of April. I made a claim for Jobseekers Allowance, and was put on Universal Credit. I had to wait until 10th June to get a payment of £238. I still have all the bills I had to pay before losing my job, so I wonder how people cope, as I can guarantee that I’m not doing so well. I guess one benefit is that I don’t have to pay for my prescriptions.
Going through the benefits system has been nothing short of traumatic. I have been patronised, spoken down to and treated like a sub-standard human. I have asked if I know how to look for a job, been told that I shouldn’t be overdrawn and given incorrect information time and time again.
I have been in work since I was 16, so I know how to look for work. I am not uneducated, and I’m certainly not scum, so why do employees of the DWP feel it necessary to treat me this way?
From speaking to other people, this is common practice. It’s almost as if we a taking money from their own pockets.
At no point have I been offered any kind of support.
The benefits system is seriously failing people with mental health issues.
How can Stephen Crabb (Secretary of State for Work & Pensions) even imagine that the system is fine how it is?
When information and support is deliberately withheld, how can this be a good way to run the system?
For instance, I read about budgeting support. I’d quite like that help. I was given a leaflet from Debt Advice. If you ask, you can have your benefits paid bi-weekly, but you have to know about this in the first place to be able to ask.
Universal Credit is meant to ‘reflect the world of work’, but I was paid weekly, all my bills were set up weekly, I budgeted weekly, so how does that system help me? The amount of Universal credit is roughly what I earned per week, so far less than minimum wage.
I honestly wonder if the system is set up in such a way that they hope to kill off people with mental health issues. It wouldn’t surprise me.
Maybe Mr Crabb doesn’t realise how this affects someone with such an illness?
Let me enlighten you.
I already mentioned having exactly the same bills now as I did when I was employed full time. You start getting threatening letters because your bank account is overdrawn, you get phone calls from people wanting the bill paid. As a sufferer of depression and anxiety, you dread the phone ringing, you don’t know what to say to them, so you ignore it. You don’t know how to deal with it. You feel helpless.
You try to eat a healthy diet because you know it helps you feel better, but you can’t afford the good food that you could when you were earning, so instead you start living on pasta and sauce and cheap ready meals. Your stomach constantly feels bloated and you feel sick. You feel lethargic and even less inclined to leave the safety of your bed.
You can’t go out anywhere because you can’t afford the petrol. You certainly can’t afford to socialise unless you’re being paid for, and that causes feelings of shame and guilt. How can you replay them?
You dread your bi weekly visits to the job centre to be judged by someone sat behind a desk, tarring you with the same brush as those ‘benefits cheats’. The dread starts a few days before your appointment, and when sat in front of the guardian of the money, you bite back the tears as they decide if your attempts to find work in a place where no work exists were up to their own standards. You want to yell and scream, but you turn into a tiny, quiet little mouse. You just want someone to help, but know it’s not likely here, and you have no idea where to turn. They’ve beaten you down.
All the while, those with the power to make a difference put in their expenses forms whilst you struggle to get by on the pasta and cans of beans you had left over from the last time you were able to do a proper food shop.
I wonder if Mr Crabb will read this? I wonder what his thoughts are?
This is why I want to move. I want to make a better life for myself, but how can I even make that happen when I can barely afford to feed myself? It’s a never ending spiral of worthlessness, failure and shame.
I wonder if Mr Crabb would like to donate? He could always claim it back on his expenses…
Please consider donating to my Go Fund Me
I’VE GOT A JOB!!!!
It’s only 6 hours per week, but there may be the possibility of more if I’m needed, but I HAVE A JOB!!!! After being unemployed for going on for 3 months, I can’t tell you how happy I am at this news, plus, as it’s so few hours, I feel it is totally managable, and will be of great benefit to improving my health overall.
Plus I’ll be able to feed myself and the girls!
After a wonderful weekend at the Tenbury Music Festival (where I was papped!!!), this is just the perfect start to the week!
This news (ironically) came at a very interesting time.
Last night I was browsing the interwebs and I came across an article about Go Fund Me campaigns.
Maybe first I need to give you a bit of backgroud before I move on to the request…
When I was a lot younger – 14/15 – I was having a really awful time at school, being bullied relentlessly both in and out of school. I took to the internet (it was dial up at the time…!!), and met a group of people with similar interests to my own. One of those people was a wonderful lady who came from Sweden. We met at a group meeting from the webchat we used, and she came to stay with me in Yorkshire for a few days. As happens, we lost touch at some point, but I came across her LinkedIn profile some years later and got back in touch. We keep in touch regularly now, thanks to the wonder of Facebook.
So, we’ve had an idea that we’ve been throwing around for a while, but the time never seems to have been right.
My friend has suggested that I move to Sweden, and start afresh. The time couldnt be more right. I have no permanent home (although a caravan is a permanent home of sorts, it’s not actually ‘permanent’ permanent), no friends in the area, and, although I had my good news today, I don’t have a career here. So why not?
So I started a Go Fund Me campaign.
That’s what I was doing when I got the call about the job.
As I have now got a job, and money I can put towards my fund myself, I will, of course.
I need to get passports for the girls, which can cost up to £200 each. I’ll need money to live and pay rent until I get a job (I am already sending my CV to companies out there), and of course I’ll need a plane ticket.
I’ve decided that anything over my target will go to the mental Health charity Sane, as well as anything left after I get a job.
Sane have helped me through one of the worst periods of depression I have experienced since I was diagnosed so many years ago. They do amazing work, and I want them to continue helping people in the way they have helped me. I can honestly say that their TextCare service has been one of the things to have kept me going this past few months. Please take a look at their website to see the amazing work they do.
This is my chance at a brand new start, and I’ll be very honest, asking for help is not something I do easily, but I here am asking for your help.
So, my request; please, at the very least, share my funding page – https://www.gofundme.com/2acc9xw
I don’t expect anyone to donate, but I’m seeing it as a way of at least trying, and if it doesn’t work, what have I lost?
Thank you so much
I came across this rather interesting article today. It talks to 2 cyberbullies who were imprisoned (and fined) for their actions. Have a read…
I was bullied almost every day of my secondary school life, and beyond, right up until I left the town I was born in. The reason? I’ll be honest, I’m not overly sure of that one, but somehow, the girls that were the ringleaders really has some problem with me. They were younger than me, and didn’t mix in the same circles as I, but they regularly made my life a living hell with their awful, venomous words. They dripped poison into the ears of anyone that would listen.
Now, many years later, I’m encountering similar people. In fact, the situation is very much the same – people I don’t know, people I don’t mix with (funnily enough, I have no desire to either!) dripping poison into those waiting ears, and not giving one thought about the consequences.
It’s very reassuring to know that cyber bullying is taken seriously, it can be hard to prove someone said something about you in the street, but with the ability to screenshot from pretty much any device capable of viewing the internet, the odds of being taken seriously by police are much increased.
It is difficult to know how to deal with any kind of bullying, you’re made to feel insignificant at the hands of others who are clearly exceptionally insecure. You’re made to feel weak by those who need to do so in order to feel good about themselves. You’re made to feel stupid (really? Being bullied at age 33??!!), but in actual fact, it’s the bullies that are each of these things, and not the victim. A strong person doesn’t need to make others feel bad to boost their own sense of self worth.
I think the quote from Ms Sorley says it all;
If you’re putting someone’s life in danger or making them feel scared, that’s different to free speech.
It’s not free speech to make threats of violence against someone and their property just because you think, in your tiny mind, that you’re somehow, in the right. It’s doing nothing other than spreading malicious rumours and gossip, and causing someone to fear for their safety.
I still fail to wrap my head around how anyone would think that this kind of behaviour is normal or acceptable.
I don’t understand how someone would think it is fine to make someone feel awful, but I suppose if they didn’t feel some kind of power, they wouldn’t do it, would they?
Saying ‘ignore it’ doesn’t work. I tried it at school, and I’ve tried it over this past few months. Perhaps I should be flattered that I made such a huge impact on their lives in the few seconds they took to yell at me?!
It’s really rather ridiculous when you think about it, isn’t it? Some may say it’s childish, school yard behaviour.
And I’m inclined to agree. Bullies are nothing more than silly little kids, whatever their physical age.