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Blog Elle, Mental Health

Self Medicating (Elle)

Mind Palaver

As my consultant said recently, medication has its role, but it’s not the be all and end all. I really respect her for this view – it’s close to my own opinion.

So this had me wondering how else I ‘medicate’ myself aside from the meds I take.

My first risky run in with self-medication was with alcohol, in my early days of doing psychiatry. I hadn’t been diagnosed bipolar as yet, and was cycling out of control between hypomania and depression. When my father killed himself the stress and claustrophobia of that weekend in hospital were colossal, and when the life support was switched off my mood soared (stress has often made me go very high). I remember the train journey home with my sister feeling elated, superhuman, able to take on the universe. The sky was ethereal, the clouds whitest white and fluffy. I was staring down the…

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Blog John, Mental Health

Not Indestructible. John.

Mind Palaver

It expresses perfectly for me why I find ‘things’ so difficult – because I’m continually having to react to right myself, responding to internal change the whole time to keep myself upright and stable, dealing with placing my feet on a constantly shifting surface, and coping with the sickening feeling that the small challenge up ahead may just be beyond me. (Elle. What’s it Really Like)

Elle’s post yesterday on finding the correct language to describe what living with these conditions is like, has got me thinking on how others perceive what’s going on with people like us. The analogy she used about the elderly lady having to take a walk on perilous icey grounds describes perfectly what I went through for two years prior to responding well to a treatment.

I can’t hit the years exactly but I reckon around 2007 to 2009 I experienced my worst problems with…

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Blog John, Mental Health, Uncategorized

On World Mental Health Day Think of Elle.

A Facebook friend Ruth just posted this on her page.  "World Mental Health Day... the govt has appointed a suicide prevention minister. The very same govt overseeing and ensuring the absolute suffering of millions, including children, 4.5 million of whom are living in poverty in Britain. How is a counsellor in every school (an aim… Continue reading On World Mental Health Day Think of Elle.

Blog John, Mental Health

Treatment and Stigma.

As Elle is unfortunately still in hospital and I’ve got work on we’re going to reblog some of our favourite old posts from earlier this year. So here we are. Your thoughts and follows are always appreciated.

Mind Palaver

Some people feel as if a diagnosis somehow labels them, diminishes them and leaves them open to prejudice. I couldn’t be further from this position. I think that owning a diagnosis and not skirting around it is ultimately empowering, allowing you to take steps to deal with what needs dealt with.   

I really did enjoy Elle’s last post. She always shows such great insight when tackling a subject matter. Obviously a huge part of dealing with mental health issues is stigma. I’ve been with a mental health condition for twenty two years and have only decided to talk openly about it since last July. Deep down I can’t help but admit this has to be related to concerns over how people would perceive me. The happy truth is people in general have been really positive. Several have told me how they had no idea how these things have impacted on…

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Blog Elle, Mental Health

Getting the ‘Label.’ Elle

As Elle is unfortunately still in hospital and I have a writing deadline to meet. I’m going to reblog over the next couple of weeks some of our favourite posts. So here we are…

Mind Palaver

Both John and I experienced misdiagnosis before we were finally diagnosed with Bipolar 1. This I believe is a pretty common experience. The figure often quoted is that it takes on average 10 years from the onset of symptoms to the point where the diagnosis is made. There are a number of reasons for this as I see it – (a) Hypomania is usually seen by the patient as an entirely positive state of affairs, and is often not reported as a problem. This leaves a bipolar person reporting more on the depressive episodes, leading to a diagnosis of major depression. (b) As I said previously people may try to cope with the worsening symptoms on their own out of fear, shame or degrees of denial (I’ll talk about medicating with alcohol later). (c) Psychosis (as in John’s case) or intense paranoia can lead to false assumption that the person…

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Blog John, Mental Health

Inclusivity And The Arts. One Size Fits All. (John)

I met the first Transgender person I ever knew when I started out as a comedian back in 1999. It was at a workshop run by the Stand Comedy club for new wanna be comedians. The woman's name was Karen and I remember her making me really laugh out loud when she sang a song,… Continue reading Inclusivity And The Arts. One Size Fits All. (John)

Blog John, Mental Health

Joy! 25 Songs That Make You Feel Good.

  I suppose this is a continuation of my Songs Of Empathy And Mental Well Being blogs, but "25 songs that make you feel good. Songs Of Empathy And Mental Well Being." Is far too long a title for a blog. If you want to read the other blogs there are links below. Songs About… Continue reading Joy! 25 Songs That Make You Feel Good.

Blog John, Mental Health

Songs of Empathy and Mental Well Being. No.2 Shine On You Crazy Diamond.

Shine On You Crazy Diamond is a Pink Floyd song that is famously about their ex-lead singer Syd Barrett. It comes from their mega selling album Wish You Were Here which is also apparently a reference to Syd. Syd Barrett is regularly referred to as a 60s 'acid casualty'. That's an old fashioned language that… Continue reading Songs of Empathy and Mental Well Being. No.2 Shine On You Crazy Diamond.

Blog John, Mental Health

When Comedy Becomes Inhospitable. (John)

As a comedian I have my dream job. Of that I am never in doubt. However, as many can imagine there are times when my job can become a nightmare. I found myself at one such night this weekend and it made me reflect on a period when I was at my most unhappy and… Continue reading When Comedy Becomes Inhospitable. (John)

Blog John, Mental Health

Songs About Mental Well Being. No.1 Bridge Over Troubled Water.

When I was doing my show on mental health at the Edinburgh Festival last year I would put up wee notices about it along with a song about mental health. I think it might be a good thing to do here on the blog too. Perhaps one a week. So here's the first one. A… Continue reading Songs About Mental Well Being. No.1 Bridge Over Troubled Water.