Tears of a Clown…

Mental health has been THE hot topic over the last few days… suddenly anyone and everybody has something to say about it…

And to be perfectly bloody honest… I’m sick and tired of hearing about it…

5 of Pentacles (c) Jordan Hoggard

5 of Pentacles
(c) Jordan Hoggard

But before you get on your high horse and tut tut your disapproval let me continue…

I have spent my whole life surrounded in some way, shape or form, by people with mental health problems…

Chronic disorders, endogenous depression, acute anxiety, general anxiety disorders, bi-polar disorder, psychosis… and the list goes on…

So why am I pissed off?

Because… I’ve seen many people with mental health illness carry on about their lives with very little and often zero support from those around them, other than the odd ‘helpful’ soul who tells them to ‘snap out of it!’

And now I see news feeds flooded with empathy and wise words and much gnashing and wailing about how they’ve been so personally touched  by the events of a stranger in the media spotlight…

And I find it very hard not to shout FUCK YOU!!!

Where are you when this affects the lives of people you know…. your friends, your neighbours, your family…

The people who don’t disappear when you log off…

On hand one… I do hope that media attention helps to remove some of the stigma that surrounds mental health…

But on the other hand… I know today’s newspapers are tomorrow’s fish ‘n’ chip wrappers and the topic du jour will soon be replaced and when it comes to real life…. My experience is that most people are uncomfortable around these issues and prefer to ignore them…

Then on the other hand… (yes… I have at least 3…)…

I find another worrying trend that disturbs me… an eagerness to over prescribe and medicate away parts of life that are normal…

A few years ago, I went out with a group of women and there were 14 of us and I don’t recall exactly how the conversation started but we all sat and dined around a big table and the wine was flowing and one of these women let slip to me that she was on anti-depressants… and she clasped her hand over her mouth as she had shocked herself with her reveal…

Now… I knew at least 2 other people at that table were also taking these tablets… I said to her… Don’t worry… you’re not alone…

Then what I did next surprised her but was an even bigger surprise to me…

I banged on the table like a toastmaster…

Hands up!!! Who here is currently taking or has ever taken antidepressants?

Two hands went up… a few glances were exchanged then 10  … yes TEN more hands went up

Out of fourteen people there were twelve that raised their hand…

Only myself and one other person had not taken them… I asked that one  – why not? and she said that she had been offered them several times but was terrified to take them…

I have also been offered them and the reason I have not taken them can be found here… My response is not ‘normal’

Mental health disturbs me on so many levels…

And I have spent many hours pondering on my own mental health as basically most traits of being creative hit tick boxes for getting you sectioned as a nutter…

I find people very uptight around the subject… when I’m with my friends, I can let loose my dark humour (or on stage… I have done a set on what it’s like to live with someone with OCD…) but online… well… I had a rather interesting encounter after putting up a jokey status along the lines of what is it with people with OCD…. they have a bloody place for everything except for where they leave my sodding car keys…

That led to an un-friending after being told how ignorant I was and it’s NOT funny! My son has it and you don’t know what you are talking about…

I’d been blocked before I even got to reply… But then fuck it! Why should I justify myself anyway…

The person who’d I written about found it funny… and if I didn’t find some way to find some humour in mental illness then I’d have probably have murdered someone in their sleep many moons ago…

So… I see people who want to pop a pill for everything…. oh… I feel a bit sad… Here! Take this! My Granny has died… Here! Take this! I’m a bit stressed…. Here!…. need I go on?

I see normal every day things being medicated away…

I see people with severe mental illness trying to live without medication as not only does it take away illness… but often it robs them of other things… Where’s your natural personality in all of this…

And often I see that it’s not that person who is ill but the environment around them that causes the problems…

I’ve seen people who’ve been using medication for years suddenly become miraculously better after changing who they hang around with…

A couple of years ago, I had a problem with one of my sons at school… It went on for almost 2 years…

He was highly stressed at school and would walk out of the building…

The school wanted me to take him to the Doctor’s and get him diagnosed as having a behavioural problem…

I refused to take him and argued that there was not a problem with him but with the lack of classroom management skills…

Now this class was so noisy that you could hear the teacher shouting two streets away…

But I got told – Nonsense! Your son is unteachable…

Yes… my unteachable son who now he’s moved school has a shelf full of awards for being gifted and talented… mmm…

And that brings me back again to Mental Illness???

How are you defining that? Because… I’m seeing it as society is ill and doesn’t want to deal with anyone that they can’t slap a label on…

Oh… and watch out! Because if they do slap on a label… it never comes off…. Not even if it’s a misdiagnosis…

Catch 22…

You know… I went online the other day and found a test… It was to see if you have a split personality…

I took it twice… I failed one and passed one…

In the mean time… I think it’s time to claim back eccentricity…

It’s a good old fashioned English way…

I can be as bat shit gloriously crazy as I like… and if I’m functioning happily and undisturbed by my quirkiness… then why the hell should anybody else mind…

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6 thoughts on “Tears of a Clown…

  1. Ha ha, well perhaps one half of your personality took the test first time, and second half did it the second time. I detest labels, especially when applied to illnesses. Not only have you got other people’s preconceived ideas of what that means, you then know how you’re supposed to be if you’re the one labeled. My mother (aged 75) has just been told she has spina bifida. Now obviously she was born with it, but nobody had bothered to tell her that’s what’s been wrong with her spine all these years, after several operations and lifelong pain. I think if she’d been told as a child, she’d have been in a wheelchair, but as it is, she’s decided it’s all a load of nonsense, she’s going to carry on as she was before they slapped the label on. Good! As I write this she’s probably up a ladder painting the ceiling. We’re all a little mad really; we all have our own quirks and preferences. It’s part of what makes us unique and special. I’m with you, if you’re not hurting anyone else or yourself, then why should anyone else care? Embrace your uniqueness I say! Let’s claim back our British eccentricity and be proud!

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    • Lol another thing that drives me mad is those customer feedback forms which seem to exist for everything these days… A friend said to me that she’d rang up to enroll on a night school course and was asked about her religion and sexual preference… She said to me – Why on earth do they need to know that? I said… No idea! I hope you told them Jedi and 3 times a night… 😀

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  2. Keep speaking up, Karen. 12 out of 14 on meds? Now that’s insane! Wait until they found out, like my Mr. S. did long ago, that their meds end up on those legal commercials about suing the pharmaceutical companies for meds he took that are not banned for this and that problem.

    There’s a find line here, of course, and there are some for whom some kind of brain-altering medication makes the difference between life and death, but for most people, it is just a part of the masking of issues that need facing (we used to use alcohol for this masking fun, but now there are other options).

    It is time to declare our freedom from mind-numbing…period. 🙂

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    • It is the blanket bombing to numb out emotions that bothers me… Particularly things like grief as surely that is part of the human expereince… Yet people are uncomfortable with it and don’t want to talk about it. I think that is one of the areas where organised religion came in handy as it gave people a support structure, someone to talk to and rituals to help through the process… The sense of community etc…
      I remember Seroxat being prescribed late 90s and hailed as a new wonder drug… A few years on it was everywhere… It’s a hideous drug and has lead to awful consequences for people… Having known a few on it for a while it was very badly handled… Repeat prescription after repeat prescription with no monitoring and also because not only does it wipe out the lows, it also wipes out the highs and life becomes one long flat line of emotional nothingness… Then people use drinks/drugs to self-medicate into feeling anything… Good or bad… Just anything… I’ve seen someone deliberately pick a fight to get punched in the face just to remind them that they’re still alive…
      Yes, there are people who benefit from medication and thankfully over the last couple of years I am seeing a better approach where G.P.s encourage self-awareness and management of the condition, keep meds to a min, employ other tactics such as CBT and a shift to viewing these things as being part of who you are and learning how to accept, recognise and understand how to get through life with it rather than remove it…
      I think it’s impotant to look at your environment and see how you can change things before you reach for the meds…
      Illness that debilitates is one thing but taking meds because you’re stressed/depressed because you hate your job… HELLO!!! Change your job!!!
      It’s taken me a long time to write publicly about this as it is such a complex issue and there is no one size fits all answer…
      A few months back I spoke to someone who been told by the G.P. – you’ve been on meds too many times for this to be reactive depression. It’s time to view it as part and parcel of who you are. Think of it as being like having diabetes… There’s nothing to be ashamed of and you will need to monitor it and think about your lifestyle…
      Ooops!! That reply was almost a blog piece in itself! 😀

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