The politics of Mental Health – Should people who use services commission them?

I recently attended an event at York University; run by the Social Research Council.  I went as a Blogger and as someone with an interest in Mental Health policy.  This interest has been borne out of my personal experience of using Mental Health services and wishing that this experience had been different and seeing the flaws in the system.

The event was concerned with  ‘Co-production and commissioning services.’

Co-production is the fancy term for involving people ( who have used or use services ) in producing mental health services. People may be involved in delivering or designing services.   This event was concerned with true Co-production which means involvement from the start which includes the commissioning of services.  

co-production

Traditionally it has been Health Care Professionals who produce, deliver and shape these services.  Commissioners currently decide which services are needed and where the money should be spent.  But should people who use services also commission them?

There is currently a move towards people with lived experience becoming more involved in delivering services. Employing people with lived experience is logical as there is huge value in this lived experience at the same time it helps to dismantle the ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ culture.  However cynics see Co-production as being a response to austerity and say that it is a way of making people responsible for their own health as though it is a personal achievement.   Organisations often involve people who have used services but this is often as unpaid volunteers and then what happens to people in the long run?

We discussed the imbalance of power between professionals and people who use services.  People agreed that more authentic relationships need to be developed and that  “Professionals need to take off the protective mask and engage. ”  For a service to be more effective it needs to be human.

Pamela Fisher of Leeds Beckett University saw Mental Health Services as political areas which cannot be left to professionals alone.   So therefore does it makes sense that people be involved in commissioning?

Anne Rogers (University of Southampton)  criticised the NHS for largely commissioning and creating a culture which depicts mental ill-health as a biomedical diagnosis which is to be treated with either medication or  IAPT services or both. She talked about the importance of a person having diverse support networks and having ‘Weak tie relationships’  which may include a regular ‘hello’ to a  fellow dog walker in the park.   She explained that weak ties are particularly important as too invasive support such as an overbearing family could actually block people off from getting involved in other things. Diversity of support is important.

Commissioners do get things wrong.   A table of people from Liverpool informed the room how their local Library was closed in order to be turned into a recovery college.  A recovery college may sound great, but people actually wanted their local library. This resulted in a recovery service wasn’t used very much and no library. They wanted to know who decided this?  Co-production can open these decisions up to scrutiny.

Currently if people who use services are involved in commissioning,  it is often towards the end of the commissioning cycle when a lot of the decisions have already been made.  We discussed how true Co-production needs to take place at the beginning of the commissioning cycle.  When the public work alongside commissioners,  questions are framed differently,  and a different agenda emerges.

The event was one of a series of events by the social research council on Co-production.  In attendance were a  mixture of academics, people who work in the health services and people who have used services.   They have their own blog which you can view here if you’d like more information or to be involved.

Please feel free to comment on our blog or on our Facebook page or Twitter!

Thanks for reading.

Edinburgh Fringe (2016)

At 70 years old next year, I think I am right in saying that the Edinburgh Fringe is one of the most long-lasting festivals in the UK.  

As we meandered through the busy and bustling streets of Scotland’s capital, it was difficult to imagine that the Fringe of 1947 may well have included only a hand-full of events, which perhaps took place in perhaps a dozen venues (or less). This is a far cry from the number of venues that host the festival’s events today; a total that I think comes very close to the 200 mark.

The bit of the Fringe we saw most of, was that which happened around the Royal Mile. This is a street that is located towards the south of Edinburgh, and runs horizontally to that prestigious piece of architecture that is known as Edinburgh Castle.

Try ambling and navigating through the Royal Mile (and surrounding areas) during August, and you’ll find it easier to ride a frighteningly tall unicycle backwards. To put it simply, at this time of year the Royal Mile is “choca-blocked”. If people aren’t watching a piece of entertainment outside, they are attracting passers-by to their show, travelling between venues, or possibly taking a  moment to enjoy the weather.

My visit to the Fringe this year was the first time I had been, and before I went I was used to hearing “well we came out of the Fringe but we’re going in again”.  I tell you, I now fully appreciate what people had meant by that. When you are at the Fringe you are inevitably part of the festival. However upon leaving there is the sound of night crickets, the view of stars, and the feeling of a kind of instant numbness.

We didn’t go “back in” again, but during the time we spent there I for one got a sense of the buzz and momentous cultural significance that the Fringe has come to symbolise. 

The first event of the day we were there, was a book tour. This runs on most days of the year, however we booked our places through the Fringe. The tour took us on a journey through the Edinburghs of different decades, right up to the present day. Amongst the things we learnt on this tour were that some of Alexander McCall Smith’s Number one Ladies Detective Agency series was published by the Edinburgh University Press, and that the Waverley area of Edinburgh was named after a series of books written by Sir Walter Scott.

The next thing we saw was an acrobatics performance. This show featured two break dancers, a drummer, a keyboard player, a basket ball player, a cyclist, and a hoop user. It is difficult to say in writing how spectacular this act was, and the incredible and captivating effect that was achieved by blending acrobatics and beat-boxing. The dance music was impressively, mostly all created with the synthesiser player’s voice, and many outstanding special effects switches. 

The final event we saw was named Fast Fringe. This comedy show lasted for one short hour, but in alot of ways it had all the substance and material of 12 separate stand-up shows. 60 minutes, 12 acts, 5 minute slots for each of them. This event really was an inspired way to see some of the many comedians that the Fringe offered, within a short space of time. It also gave the new audiences an opportunity to experience more of what the Fringe is all about. It came to mind that the skill of the featured comedians in making full use of the snippets of time they were allocated, had to be admired. 

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival then, is the perfect festival for anyone who feels that they have the opportunity to take a few days away during the summer season. With so much on all at once, the Edinburgh Fringe truly allows viewers to have a tailor-made cultural experience. 

By 1blogger3

Are you lonely?

 

Our 21st Century lives mean that more and more of us are struggling with loneliness.   Sometimes this is a transient phase but often it is chronic.   It’s been said that loneliness can lie at the root of most mental illness.

 

There is a difference between loneliness and solitude. The Campaign to end loneliness claims that “Loneliness is a bigger problem than simply an emotional experience.  Research shows that loneliness and social isolation are harmful to our health: lacking social connections is a comparable risk factor for early death as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and is worse for us than well-known risk factors such as obesity and physical inactivity.”    It is staggering isn’t it.  Comparable to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

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I once sat in a Mental Health Awareness training session with a  Trainer who was very experienced in community mental health. He said it would be helpful for many people to find a loving and supportive relationship – but we can’t prescribe a boyfriend and just pull one out of the cupboard.

Our humanness is often something we as a society have pushed away – it’s pretty inconvenient in this fast-paced world at times.  But that’s exactly what we are, human.

Hope is a good antidote to loneliness.   Keeping my mind occupied and stimulated can relieve me of the negative effects when I feel lonely and  I know some people that can take great joy from art.  If I am feeling lonely I have to really make an effort to look after myself and,  of course,  to reach out to others.   We can take small steps such as phoning an acquaintance for a coffee or joining some kind of group or social activity.  Sometimes it requires being brave.  I haven’t read Feel the Fear and do it anyway but someone has recently recommended this to me.

Voluntary work is a good idea, even if you are working as there are one-off events too.  I recently volunteered at an 80’s festival and I also built a path.   Do it Org is a great website where you can find voluntary positions all over the country.

The digital world is abound with options and there are online groups such as meetup which offer everything from walking groups to cinema outings.  It’s true ,though,  that we can still feel lonely with people around.   Perhaps that’s because when socialising with people one doesn’t know so well it feels safer to wear a mask at times, at least it does for me.  Perhaps another little step is to lower this mask?

 

If anyone would like to share their thoughts on the topic of loneliness please do so, either in the comments on the blog, Facebook or Twitter.

 

When the Chase for Perfection Ends

Mother and child As far back as I can recall, I have always strived for ‘perfection’. I was raised in a single parent household; my mother abandoned our home when I was aged 9 and my brother, Tom, aged 3. Our father was a hardworking executive who always put his children first, and I always wanted to show him that we would be alright without Mum. When Mum first left us, I used to hear him crying in his bedroom, though he never openly shared his pain with us. I, too, cried every night for many months, but I did not want Dad to know how much we missed Mum.

I took on the role of mother in our home, preparing meals for Dad and Tom and somehow still managing to get top marks at school. Every day was a struggle for me in adolescence and I felt that although my teachers always told me I was an excellent student, inside, I was not worth half as much as they thought. I felt like I had to work harder than anyone in my class to do well, for I wasn’t an intellectual by nature and what I really wanted to do, was be an artist. Summer in Leeds was always one of my happiest times, for I could set the books aside, pull out my canvass and head for Middleton or Chevin Forest Park, painting the beautiful natural landscapes which surrounded me and eased my pain. When I painted, I could finally be myself and that felt very liberating.

It wasn’t until I was at Uni that my drinking problem began. I started drinking at parties in my first year of Law, but soon, alcohol became part of my routine wind-down every evening after attending lectures and studying. It didn’t help that my flatmate, Martha, commonly downed at least a bottle of wine every night.

At first it was fun to get wasted and lose ourselves in the haze that is the party lifestyle but I soon got a warning from one of my favourite Professors, that the last written assessment I had handed in was way below my usual standard. She said she had noticed that I wasn’t showing up for lectures or tutorials either, and asked if I had a problem. I denied it, of course, but after hitting rock bottom a couple of times, I spoke with my Dad and decided to go to rehab. The following summer I completed a six-week stay at an inpatient centre, and continued to seek outpatient care when Uni began.

The ‘gold standard’ rehabilitation programmes often require that recovering addicts quit alcohol or drugs altogether, but somehow, I found that the ‘cold turkey’ approach didn’t work for me. I worked alongside my therapist on a ‘harm reduction’ programme, meaning I gradually began reducing my alcohol consumption. From a bottle a day, I was soon content with just enjoying a glass or two in the evening, and upon my therapist’s suggestion, I joined the University art club, meeting with other painters every weekend and heading for lovely areas to paint, sculpt and share our views on the current art scene. It was there that I met my good friend, Laurie. She introduced me to yoga, something that has become an important part of my life. Yoga helps me disconnect from stress and find the acceptance I think I had always struggled to find.

I received a mixed reaction from my friends when I told them about ‘harm reduction’. ‘Shouldn’t recovering alcoholics completely abstain from drinking?’ they asked. Of course abstinence is ideal, though sometimes drinkers just don’t have the strength to quit all at once; I will admit to having had two ‘relapses’ during which I binged on alcohol. One binge occurred when my father passed away eight years ago; the other on the first year anniversary of his death.

These days, I have completely stopped drinking. The yoga lifestyle has saved me, I often say, and I tend to seek my ‘highs’ in my legal practice (I specialise in Intellectual Property), in exercise, and in painting. To this day, I still spend any free time I have in my favourite park, capturing some of the most beautiful moments in the beautiful landscapes of Leeds.

Anne Peterson

Further reading: http://www.hscic.gov.uk/catalogue/PUB12994/drug-misu-eng-2013-rep.pdf http://www.rehabs.com/pro-talk-articles/exploring-the-impact-of-trauma-culture-and-policy-on-womens-health/ http://www.ihra.net/files/2010/05/31/HIVTop50Documents11.pdf http://www.nta.nhs.uk/uploads/nta_review_of_the_effectiveness_of_treatment_for_alcohol_problems_fullreport_2006_alcohol2.pdf http://www.ihra.net/what-is-harm-reduction

Resilience

Resilience is something of a constant on-off meditation. I’ve had to think about what resilience means? Being resilient makes me happy: I said recently to a friend:

“There is no such thing as adversity.”

Yes, I live from that more and more, a very resilient thought creating joy for me and others?

“There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way”

The Dalai Lama.

We have to be very mindful, because there is no belief system of absoluteness, in mindfulness, or Buddhism. If you have the neigbours from hell then move; conditions are important, but only as important as you make them.

I was a ‘depressive’/ ‘despairive’/despairer’, although I do not now have disabling or clinical depression, as I have basically recovered, my friends will be relieved to know. This recovery took me many years. In those years I despaired of ever healing and recovering. However apart from good friends, two things really helped me change my life, ‘gainst the ground-hog days we all suffer indeed:

Buddhist practices including meditation; there is contemplation to induce the practice of wisdom-compassion in your life, but at least 5 other practices. However.meditation alone will not change your life.

Therapy and counselling. I count them as the same difference as unlike certain therapist and counsellors, they argue over very little and the prime focus should be the clients needs to heal, not professional intellectual differences!

And my acquaintances too:  I mustn’t forget the latter for a very simple reason: every source of support is necessary to overcome the low self esteem behind mania and depression, or any other form of self-defined distress. Both are Jungian overcompensations for something denied and that something is low self esteem or more graphically self hatred.

I will say again one needs a massive support system to overcome even mild depression, moderate despair or the worst manic and suicidal despair depression.

We need to be extremely mindful, aware and kind to ourselves, and others in order to overcome the worst in ourselves and make the best of the rest of our lives. The only point about being mindfullly-aware is to develop the insights for you to be compassionate yourselves, and to others.

Despair depression and other mental ‘illnesses’ are deeply ground into being-karma, so the medicine must be strong, varied and penetrate to our unconscious depths. This allows integration of horrible and repressed demons, our worst fears and doubts and to overcome the fear of freedom from neurosis. But as I once discovered if we don’t watch it it can kill us. Neurosis and psychosis killed my dad and brother many years ago, and deep mental pain, anguish can make life not worth living. If we fully recognise these realities and talk to our friends, nurture friends who earn trust, then slowly we can recover with consistent practice of recovery techniques, invented or not, over time.

Mindfulness (being in the mo-ment, enjoying life, being efficient, being joyful, but not driven, etc.) also makes one very aware in ones home garden, bus or wherever of one body in a relaxed yoga like fashion. In fact just taking 5 percent reduction of my high speed mania, helped, or adding 5 per cent to lift myself from despair pits worked. Tis the middle way, not foolish ground-hog day overcompensation.

I cannot value therapy/counselling, Buddhist practices, or friends over and above one another. In a sense the telling thing is they are all friends, OK a professional listener was paid by me as an exception, but if you feel it is merely about the money, then be firm with your counsellor or therapist (search this website for more on talking listening treatments counselling and psychotherapy).

The Buddha said ”Do the wholesome. Do the wholesome always.”

Conclusions:  For people with disabling despair, depression anxiety-neurosis, psychosis, or people with distress,  it is important to look after yourself by asking for help (there’s a future blog of this title coming soon), by nurturing self insight/ self help, asking friends and therapists for help, but don’t be exploited by any unethical ‘friends’ or therapists .

Stick with the bad-weather friends, and genuine people – those who will stick by you in thick and thin. And who love you even for your faults, which they see as amusing and delightful and charming. Those who nurture you and love you.

You can recover. Indeed. It is totally true – even the worst cases can transform their lives to contentment happiness and a greater kindness.
You can change.
But you need self insight and to ask for help so sharing, and halving your problems.
You need to stop the Ground-hog Days of unconscious addictive karmas, and if you fall back into despair anxiety and mistakes; that’s OK there’s no such thing as failure only feedback.
Create a massive support network
Be happy,  that’s the only point of living after all, without harming others through anger, drugs, battles, resentments, verbal darts – in fact cultivate the opposite of these weeds of the mind. Please cultivate the lotuses and sunflowers of our lives. For the rest of our lives.

If you want to learn mindfulness for resilience, more humour and more joy and wisdom in your life, please leave a message on this post, or e-mail us at Leeds Wellbeing Web.

or google leeds buddhist centre or mindfulness or buddhist centres leeds u.k.

Enjoy your life, I lick the lid of life.

Milan Buddha Ghosh

More Poetry from ‘Mad’ (i.e. a True Individual) Milan, otherwise affectionately known as ”trouble”;

Please Come to Leeds Survivors Poetry, if you fancy writing poetry

You never know, you might even enjoy it, but you won’t know if you don’t try!

If you are fed up or not or bored, give yourself a chance of more happiness,
by Being Unpredictable in a creative sense, and try somat new.
Why not suck it and see?

Introduction:

M. Ghosh was asked by Shahid Sardar of Diverse MINDS to write a poem for their magazine,

also called diverse minds

On the governments Women’s Mental Health Strategy 2005

Promoting choice, empowerment and self-determination

There is a cruel world and there is much suffering

Part of this is the disgrace, the sorry side of the human race.

Part of this is gender oppression, in other words a full recession of both female and male in society, and more depression.

In particular, in vernacular or common parlance the ordinary woman doesn’t stand a chance.

Of equality, solidarity, choice, the excruciating pain of not having a voice.

Yet in our heart of hearts we all know, women foremost, but some men too sexism is so unnecessary.

Gender oppression what does it mean? What is the best way to say, to reflect the pain of women’s dejected, collective soul.

Well here’s my guess: many things like a young girl’s or woman’s mind and voice constantly devalued. Her intelligence too. There’s rape, sexual abuse, domestic violence: my mother and I were beaten for 15 years. There’s so much words can’t say experience is the greatest teacher as Khalil Gibran a Sufi, Muslim prophet said.

I was an advocate on the wards for 6 years. Women told me of rape, physical and mental abuse, forced dependency into despair, depression and ECT. Yes women get the most ECT. Then there were rapes on the wards by other patients, and staff too, well they’re mad they made it up didn’t they!?

All these horrific things are real, true and repeated; that’s how patriarchy and racism become routine accepted, invincible, the oppressor makes you feel there is no possibility at all to repeal what seems like a law of the universe but yet which is literally ‘man -made.’

And so I repeat we can defeat we can and will defeat gender inequality.

With struggle, collectivity, unity, solidarity, empathy, empowerment choice.

With allies too there’s no need to be blue.

With this and half the battle has been won, the struggle for the positive begins, the struggle for positives: self esteem: personal and political, for the personal is political, for women, feminists, mental health service users and survivors who I prefer to call 9 – livers.

To reiterate, from the negative battle of getting rid of the power of men comes the positive alternative: self-determination of a community, a whole nation in fact.

With positivity in image, in mind we can be free, not victims living like animals cowing in terror, living a dog’s life. With positive social support: nurseries, work crèches and more specific mental health services and refuges, with respite, most carers are guess what… women. With the respect that comes from confident self-help in mental health or mutual support groups of whatever kind, with the respect, grudging or not, that comes with education with anti- domestic, anti -rape pro -women and pro- humanity laws!

The weeping sores can heal, the archetypal woman shall rise into the skies

She will feel alive as never before. Believe me anything, ‘owt as they say in Yorkshire is possible

Value women’s strength ability and potential

Value women’s strength ability and potential!

Value your allies. Value not only white Western women and feminism, but Black, Asian and ethnic women and womanism.

Choose, choose (!) to learn to repeal the past never, never allow your womanhood to be put last again.

For I really do believe freedom once tasted does establish, though 2 steps back and 1 fore…… does adhere. Can you see – but can you hear?

Value women’s strength ability and potential

Value women’s strength ability and potential!!

P.S. If you would like to write poetry beginner learner, starter you can always start something new.
you are FREE EE EE to write poetry at  Leeds Survivors Poetry

1st and 3rd Fridays of each month at
Leeds Civic Hall      Leeds LS1 1UR

The LSP Workshops for March 2015 are:
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY:
Fridays 6th and 20th
at 545pm – 745pm
LSP  Workshops for April:
Fridays 3rd and 17th

LSP Workshops for May
Fridays 1st and 15th

Please contact Tez via his blogs and this website. He’s happy to answer any questions you have.

It’s therapeutic, it’s good; it can uplift your mood, even save your life; art and poetry with mediation, good diet and therapy saved my life along with all the other good friends and wholesome practices in life

Is there anyone out there who could you, would you, help Terry Simpson advertise LSP  Workshops, suggest any workshops to publicise  LSP for free?

Asking for Help: Only you can benefit, and your friends and everyone who cares about you….

Milan Buddha Ghosh

Asking for help is something I find very difficult, and I know it is really necessary for my well-being.

Because of 17 years of domestic violence, racism at school, and mentalism, the bigotry against the ‘partly’ or so-called mad-folk, who can be just as individual as others. We are all valuable individuals who need help at times.
By definition we suffer as human beings, and we can learn to be happier, much happier.

We all know that it can not only be terribly difficult to help ourselves by asking for help. But also even terrifying, at times. You see, when you’ve been beaten for years called ‘Paki’ etc. go home trust is a hard thing to allow. It is hard to pick up the phone, even when you choose the mostly trustworthy people and friends, or kind strangers.

However the good news is it gets better, by fits and starts and uneven journeying, over the years. And many people do say how much I’ve changed. They usually say you changed so much.” If I prompt them further with questions they say
”you’re much happier, lighter even more playful than you were before, fitter” etc.
So the good news is that just like exercising a muscle, wholesome practices reduces the fears anxieties resistances to asking for help.

A problem shared is a problem halved; and I’m sure many of us could for our own benefit, no ones else’s, practice sharing our problems in hard times. Likewise we can mutually coach each other in sharing problems and processing them, with love understanding and inspiration.

Sharing our burdens – that’s why we ask for help isn’t it?
And somewhere deep down inside we know we are OK, that others are OK, although we may well have to steer clear of, b**tards, robbers, rapists, thieves and a host of other foolish people who become as bad as their practising harm, or evil even. You see human character or personality is not set in stone what the mind dwells on it becomes, another solar rule of karma is how we behave what we do becomes us.
We create our own lives with our actions, thoughts and good or bad thoughts about others.
If we understand this, then
There really is no permanent depression, despair or anxiety hearing voices, eating disorders or any other forms of distress, because primarily, karma means ”with our thoughts we make the world, our suffering or happiness. Karma means ‘choice fir the good’
So, if you have been told you are of a certain mental health diagnoses for life, or incorrigible or incurable – well, it is total NONSENSE.

Terry Simpson is a great activist in many health positive circles.
He said to me years ago when I was low ”Create a massive support network.
Last January when I was low, but my lows have got further and farther apart, he said ”Don’t let anxiety run away with you, its an unrealistic fear Milan”(I’m paraphrasing him). He said also ”Be like a peasant ” my paraphrase when it all goes upsides down and you’re down pick yourself up dust yourself down and start all over again.
And I know many friends coach each other out of the blues and horrible anxieties, even out of hearing voices, or befriending them, and paranoid and aggressive alienated bits of ourselves that are voices.

I can vividly remember about 12 years ago, when I realised it was better to ring 1 friend a day rather than not. Or I would be down and have horrible anxiety for the rest of my life. it was a moment of presence-truth. Whatever mood I was in high, low, neutral, numb, dissatisfied or satisfied. Tony Lawson was one of the friends I rang, and Terry. I soon realised and felt like a fool for the depressed past, because no one refused help. People thought of me as a really nice man, more or less unanimously. They even expressed admiration for my humour my vulnerability and hearts openness, speaking my mind and body e.g. warming up floors spontaneity. I was SHOCKED in a nice way. It made me feel lighter, a bit more unburdened more playful and joyful serious-er too at times, but in a contemplative way which allowed deeper insights. My mental knots were untangling. My life transformed. Later on I became a Buddhist.

So, yes we sometimes ask for help without words we just turn up at art groups (see my blogs re Buddhism, Chat N Create and Inkwell interview with ark ruse and the recently posted poem call A Pint of Inkwell. You don’t have to talk, but just do something good which you enjoy, if catharsis or therapeutic talking is not your style.

Others sources of help
leeedswelbeingblog
mental health websites min.org. http://www.leedsmind.org.uk
Please post your self help groups, fave counsellors, business cards only or NHS giving their consented info, please share about anything that has helped you ask for help, on leedswellbeingblog – your voice on keeping well in Leeds.
That’s what leedwellbeingweb is for – USE US!

Self Help Empathic Conclusions – or, you are worth helping, suicidal, in horrible anxiety, sad, or happy or whatever state of mind
So, yes it is hard really hard, even terrifying to ask for help and support, but no one can force us to ask.
Nor should they. We don’t need pressure. We need good listening by friends and to use them more, and v,v.
Asking for help started by assuming from friends, but asking for help is about any source of support encouragement and nurturing, not just friends, although good friends do save live and symbolically whatever our mood we are uplifted by a good friends listening.

Use any source of help. Here’s part of my creative massive support system. Why massive dya tink?

Allotment gardening, home gardening enables wholesome healthy contemplation, solving problems, taking in the air nature is my friend and I ask it for help, the birds, bees trees, foxes, insect. I’m an organic gardener. No man-made polluting chemicals, leaving polluting residues and killing wildlife. Doing art poetry: writing performance and blogs. dancing
When someone is dumping stuff I draw up a boundary and say ”You are better than your shadow voices dumping aggressive depression irritability on me. You are strong and happy if you use your friends expect less, and do more of the things that make you happy without harming others. If you want an ear, i’m all ears, but abuse is not part of my territory. Friendship is”

You can be more content and less conflicted and unhappy, and it needs you to self help by asking for help. Does that sound grim; it aint! I have never regretted asking for help. OK, sometimes people rejected me or were cruel, but most of all I realise vis the experience of asking friends for support, getting more person-centred counselling, going to art writing groups and that there was little to fear. I learnt even more out of the halving of problems to choose carefully in future to reduce the chances of those false friends and bad places that caused me distress I am so happy and calmer more often and less hypo-mania. I don’t regret it

one final thought, yes ask for help, and create options for creative loving and living,
BUT please don’t expect people to listen above what is realistic: empathy whether natural of untrained friends or helpers, is not mind reading. Empathy is not mind-reading – a title of a future blog of mine
peace, friendship and love.
Please share your own experiences of asking for help, as we know isolation at least doubles distress; please share the good things you learnt from exercising the courage to get help.
Thank you.