It’s Okay to Not be Okay

Last week I found out that one of my previous clients, Ethel**(not her real name) was in the local hospital.
I’ve always admired Ethel and got on very well with her. An ex-school teacher, she has survived a lot in her life including domestic violence and being a sole parent. Ethel’s mind is as a sharp as a tack and we have often discussed books, craft and world events and enjoyed a good laugh together. Her sense of humour is absolutely wicked. She is a ‘call it as she see’s it’ kinda lady.
So when I heard she was in the hospital, I went to visit. When I arrived, she was in deep discussion with two other people so I took myself off for a 20 minute walk and returned later. Continue reading

“Enjoying” nature

After I had finished my blog post and caught up with emails yesterday, I went out to the kitchen to eat breakfast and do the little things that need to be done of a morning. Once the Tween was off to school, the GG turned to me and said “I’m going for a walk this morning”.
“Okay” I replied.
“Come with me.”
Thoughts jumbled through my head with the predominant one being “It’s Wednesday. He must mean he is going to walk into town to buy the local paper. Sounds great. I’ll come.” However in the next breath he said “I’m going out to Barney“.
Suddenly the headache that I already had  began throbbing in my temples even harder and I remembered that the “Fish Man” was to come that afternoon. Continue reading

Journal Prompt #8

This morning I was stuck on what to write, so I went to my friend Mr Google and typed in “Give me a journal topic”. I picked the second site on the list and opened it and then closed my eyes and pointed at the screen to find my topic for today.
Drum roll please………
Write about a difficult decision you have had to make
And the first thing that jumped into my head is the decision I made this time last week. Continue reading

Fellow Blogger – Jill from Jill’s Experiences

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Actually the full name of Jill’s blog is Jill’s Experiences with Mental Health, Stigma, Alzheimer’s Disease, Grief & Grieving & Serenade2Seniors but it was a little long for the title of this post. As you can see by the title, Jill writes a lot of amazing articles about these issues. Jill’s posts are a combination of factual articles and memoirs of her life experiences. Her son suffered from Schizophrenia and in her own words this “ripped her family apart”. Jill’s husband later developed Alzheimer’s disease. Sadly she has lost both of these men in her life. On January 3rd, 2012 Jill received an award known as the Ministry of Health’s Shield in honour of her voluntary work in the field of mental health. She was awarded this within the Knesset (Parliament) in Jerusalem. You can read more of Jill’s story on her ‘about‘ page.
She shares wonderful memories of her husband in the post Being with you is like opening a can of Springtime. (How could you not smile reading a title like that)? and shared her anguish of her son’s illness in What we found in our late son’s notebook. In all of my dealings with Jill, I have found her to be an intelligent and lively lady with a beautiful and caring nature.

Welcome to my couch tonight Jill. I am truly blessed to have you here. I want to ask you what prompted you to begin blogging?

After my son developed paranoid schizophrenia and suffered for 16 years as he was medication resistant, he gave up and took his life. Some years later, my husband developed Alzheimer’s disease and passed away four years ago.

I know they are only words, but I am very sorry for your losses. I have found you to be a strong and brave woman. So you began blogging to write about his. How long have you been blogging Jill?

For two years.

And does your blog have a theme?

Yes, I blog about the blame, shame, stigma and discrimination accorded people      with a mental illness, Alzheimer’s or other brain illnesses and other handicaps. I also blog about the coping process and grief and grieving.

I’m sure that you have a wealth of knowledge in these areas. It is so good of you to wish to share this knowledge with others through your blog posts. Have you, yourself gained anything from blogging?

Yes, I have met dozens of people online who mail me and we have conversations.

I count myself as one of those lucky people. 🙂 Has blogging been a way of helping you deal with the challenges in your life?

I dealt with all my challenges before I was able to blog about it all as I wrote two books and many articles and short stories that were published.

So although blogging was not a way of dealing with challenges, writing about them definitely was. (A list of Jill’s books and articles can be found here).
How often are you able to blog Jill?

Every single day.

And where do you find inspiration for your daily posts?

All from personal experience and as I am turning 75 in February, I have had a lot of difficult times, as well as wonderful times as I was fortunate enough to have a husband who knew how to give me unconditional love. We were married in  1959.

How lucky you were Jill to have known true love for such a long time. And you have a birthday coming up! I will have to remember that so that I can wish my ‘blogging grandma’ friend Happy Birthday. You’ll have to let me know the date 😉
Do you have a particular quote or mantra that you believe fits your life?

Yes, and it was my husband’s favorite. Here it is:    

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. The courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

I believe the Serenity Prayer is definitely a favourite of a lot of people. Thank you for the reminder to us all.
Whilst you write each day, I am sure that you visit other blogs. What draws you to these blogs?

I find the varied subjects that people blog about fascinating. I am also impressed and a bit jealous of their superior knowledge of computers and the way their blogs are set out compared to mine!

I don’t think there is any need to be jealous. Each person has stamped their individual style on their blogs and you have managed to do the same with your own blog. I have enjoyed chatting with you tonight Jill. Before we go, do you have anything else that you wish to share?

Just thank you for the trouble taken to draw up these questions and distribute them.

Jill, you are so very welcome. Have a beautiful day 🙂

The correlation between physical health and mental health

This weekend I am having a couple of “Grey Sky Days”. I know I will get through it but I am really down. I don’t feel like doing anything except lay in bed and sleep. However, I want to work on my quilt and I have promised the Tween that I will take in her graduation dress under her arms. Although we purchased the dress a couple of months ago, I have put off doing this until the 11th hour as she is still growing and changing shape. I was right, I need to take in very little under her arms now.

Anyway, as I was laying in bed I was thinking whether how we feel physically affects depression and mental health. I wondered this because I am not feeling well. I have a sore throat, a cough and my head feels dull and heavy. I wondered if this might be the catalyst for my grey days. So I have been researching and reading and discovered that I am right. The rates of depression amongst those suffering disease such as diabetes, heart failure, coronary disease and hypertension is almost double that of those in perfect physical health. In the UK, 11% of adult health care costs are attributable to physical symptoms exacerbated by mental illness. So it appears that physical and mental health are very closely linked. Whilst many of the articles I read indicated that those with serious illness are at risk of developing mental health issues (especially depression), many hinted at the fact that those who already are suffering depression may find their depression exacerbated when they are unwell.

So I will continue to eat healthy (as much as possible with the silly season upon us and Fruit Mince Pies beckoning me) and wait for this lurgy to pass. Whilst I am waiting, I will continue to look for the beauty and blessings in the every day.

Here is my list for today:

* I don’t have to alter the Tween’s dress as much as I initially thought

* I have found some more fabric to cut and add to my quilt. (I used the wrong pieces earlier on).

* I am breathing

* The First Born celebrates her birthday today

* The Diva let me pick her up this morning

* The Garden Gnome has been good with giving hugs today 🙂

Have a blessed day everyone.

This morning I sang (and I will again tomorrow)

Dancing queens: Christine Baranksi, Meryl Streep and Julie Walters

When I was younger I spent a lot of time singing. Out loud. I was in choirs and ensembles and enjoyed using my voice. Music and singing was a big part of my life. I would sing in church, in the car, in my bedroom and in the shower. One night (whilst I was practicing a choir piece in the shower) an unknown person ‘rocked’ our roof. It became quite the joke amongst my family that my singing had driven someone (my guess it was the teenager who lived a couple of doors away) to throw rocks on the roof. Continue reading

Make Mine a Labrador

Winston Churchill is famous for a lot of things particularly some of the things he said. Perhaps the one thing that he said that resonates most with me are his comments about depression. Like many people in this world (great or otherwise), he was diagnosed with clinical depression. Mr Churchill referred to his diagnosis as the ‘Black Dog’.  The fact that he gave his suffering a name would indicate that it was a constant companion. Throughout his life he often referred to the impact that his depression had on his life such as the time he stated that if he stood on a train platform he would like a pole between him and the oncoming train. It wasn’t fear of trains that made him say this. It was his fear of doing something irrational to ease his suffering. Winston Churchill was not the only great man to suffer. Abraham Lincoln also said that at times he was the “most miserable man alive”. Continue reading