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Help

Mental health and wellbeing, Uncategorised

Help…..I need somebody (or something)…

 
Over the past week or so, I have seen a few worrying examples online of people asking for help for their mental health and having some really difficult and invalidating experiences.  And whilst psychologists do not take a hippocratic oath, I felt that I couldn’t sit back and say nothing, in case I could share something that might possibly help someone.
My current job involves helping people to find the right mental health support for them as well as training and providing consultation to other non-mental health professionals (e.g. GPs, social workers, housing officers) about how best to support and work with their own clients.  After fifteen years NHS service, working with many clients with a vast range of mental health difficulties in the community as well as in-patient hospitals and prison, I feel I have a good understanding of the help available.
Many of the stories I have read online have reflected what can only be described as poor practice and a clear lack of compassion and understanding.  However I do want to just take this opportunity to say that GPs have an extremely challenging role; many have limited specific training in mental health, despite so many people presenting to them with these difficulties, and mental health services are often over-subscribed with long waiting lists.  This can result in them feeling unsupported and overwhelmed and very unsure as to where to refer their patients.  And although this can never excuse bad practice, I always try and hold this in mind.  So many people present to them with mental health difficulties, and with nowhere to refer these people, it can become a very difficult situation for everyone.  Continue Reading

Uncategorised

Learning to ask for help

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As I reach the third trimester, my anxieties have started to increase.  The closer we get to the time we lost Orla, the more the fear of history repeating itself kicks in.  Add in a couple of other challenges and bumps in the road, and my anxiety this week has hit an all-time peak.
 
I knew from the start that I would struggle to ask for help in this pregnancy.  Despite knowing that I would need to at some point and that this would be completely understandable, I still struggled to see how I would do it.  How would I know what warranted asking for help and what I just needed to learn to tolerate and manage for myself?  Would it be a slippery slope and that as soon as I asked once, the floodgates would open and I would be calling my midwife or the hospital every day?  Would I be demanding to be admitted until the baby was born, banging on the labour ward door, hospital bag in hand, begging to be allowed in?
 
I think I have, and still do, worry about these things.  But above all else, I think that asking for help means admitting to myself and others that I am feeling vulnerable.  That I am scared – utterly terrified – that my life is going to be ripped apart again.  That I have failed again.  To ask for help means that I am not coping, and that the burden of responsibility that has weighed heavily for the last few months has become too much. Continue Reading