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
mental health websites
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.

Brunch break

Eggs and Johnny cakesBloggers are frequently invited to free events, no doubt the invitee might expect their event or venue, will merit a blog post.

I recently received an invitation to attend a free bloggers brunch, complete with Bloody Mary’s. A cynic might have concluded, “there is no such thing as a free brunch” and declined the offer…I did not!

The stated aim of the venue offering the brunch, was to test run the menu prior to the its launch date,  scheduled for a week hence. They were keen for those present to comment on the quality of the food, the menu’s proposed pricing and service. I’d considered they might expect a favourable blog review. Didn’t they know I wasn’t a food blogger?  I wondered how, as an amateur blogger, more used to writing about my ways of remaining well,  I’d pitch my piece.

What I’d particularly liked about the invitation was that it stated the event wasn’t primarily about networking. The brunch was advertised as an opportunity for we guests to have a leisurely Saturday breakfast, with friends or family. The manager, and another very attentive member of staff, only interrupted discreetly to ascertain our viewpoint.

Other food blogging events, I’ve attended,…..(I like food)

mi' old yorkshirehad networking and brands as a significant part of the interaction. (not quite my cup of tea). Most in attendance at those previous gatherings were more concerned with eeking out an existence from small indie businesses, rather than making mega bucks.

At times I’d been hesitant to attend, would I be the only un-glossy  person there?  Although PR, food criticism and photography might be considered glam jobs, and professionals do frequent these events, I found them a decidedly unstuffy bunch. Their passion for food, writing blogs and photography  was most in evidence.

Naturally enough discussions about mental health are not a feature of these events. It can be disquieting to step out of circles where discussions on lived experience of  mental distress are commonplace. When I do attend, I try to dispel any discomfort I feel by reflecting that of the 20 or so present, most will have experienced life events that are equally difficult. Additionally I keep in mind, 1 in 4 members of the population are affected by mental illness at some point in their life, thus making it highly probable some in attendance are similarly affected. Appearances can be so deceptive.

Eating nutritiously, having an absorbing hobby, and sharing ideas with others has and remains part of my journey on the wellbeing route. Eating nutritiously is perhaps the one I do least frequently or well. I love tasty food and shopping for ingredients, but carrying them often sees me too tired to cook them straight away. Other interests, an inadequate kitchen space are all other excuses I make! Fortunately I know some quick fix recipes and some of Leeds cheap, quality back street eateries.

My companion and I were first to arrive for the brunch, a few blogging/foodie, cultural types sauntered in a bit later. I thought perhaps a nod of recognition would suffice, however many seemed more honed on the Bloody Mary’s, or Bloody Shames!.(all juice, no booze),  Pleasantries were reserved for the farewells, perhaps it was the post brunch, soulful, bluesy live guitar music, or the affect of the Bloody Mary’s, but people did seem more convivial by then. More used to seeing some with their other hats on, it was nice to find out a bit more about them while in leisure mode.

I felt a level of obligation to write a blog about.Soul Kitchen, my friend and I both enjoyed the Johnny cakes with eggs that we had chosen, however writer’s block had me seriously in it’s grip. Other writing and reading goals had me challenged, but I recalled the comments of a professional writer who’d said they were dubious about people who say that writing is their passion. He quipped they couldn’t be doing it right, which implied he too found writing, his chosen profession, hard. These comments helped me to stick with my attempts to transfer the ideas which swirl in my mind, in to typeface or on to paper.

In summary eating from the Deep Southern, Carribean, Creole influenced menu was no hardship, it was a very pleasant experience. I’ve since returned, the quality and taste was just as good. The pricing might mean it will be an occasional treat. Those watching pennies and calories, might choose the Fruit Loops. The venue, Soul Kitchen is situated in the airy space of the The Wardrobe bar, (opposite the bus station), an aptly named place to slip into something casual….perhaps not your pjs.

Soul Kitchen also serve evening meals.


Shiny Boots of Leather


Hello again.  On this dark wet afternoon, here’s a dark poem!  Some of you might be familiar with the title


The only men

Who are fully grown

And never childish

Are evil men.

I watched a film

Made by Hitler’s chums.

They thought the Aryan man

Was a macho man.

But in the discos

Of San Francisco

A moustachioed Nazi

Flecs his pecs

Admires his glistening chest

Scans the club

For the submissive.

Some ladies in the corner

Wearing stupid wigs

Just laugh at him.

‘Not to my taste darling,’

‘The seventies are over honey’

But the Nazi does not

Go home alone

He’s got himself

Something nice and naive

Who wants to see his camp.

Call it youthful folly.

But the folly

Is shocked

By the Iron Crosses

And swastikas.

‘Don’t worry,’ says the Nazi

‘It goes back to my punk rock days,’

‘We all used to do it.’

‘Before my time,’ says the folly.

The Nazi grinned, showing gold teeth.

‘Your my time is now, my love.’

Daniel Tavet (c)


( image from

More Blogging at Swarthmore

More Blogging at Swarthmore

We met up again at Swarthmore to discuss our blogging experiments and the Love Arts Festival and using the bloggies, small cameras that are surprisingly user friendly.  I have another poem.

Shaking Hands

Shaking hands

Grip tight

To a Big Mac

And medium fries.

Behind a large coke

Someone hides.

By Daniel Tavet

leeds well-being training day, a few photos from ‘mad’ Milan

I enjoyed the training in word-press/ well-being blog; I put everyone at ease with my happy, light, playful attitude. so no more words:

Old Chinese proverb: ”One [or 4] picture[s] is worth a 1000 words”

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Wellbeing Web Training

DSC00232 We’d like to encourage more people to write, and share photos and films, about what it is that we enjoy and keeps us well living in Leeds, so we’re organising some days of training over the Summer to tell people about our blog, and help them get started blogging with us.

The first of these will be at Swarthmore Education Centre on Thursday 18th July from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The day will be free, and we’re looking for 10 volunteers who:

 Have lived experience of mental health problems

 Are passionate about wellbeing and want to share their experiences of improving and maintaining their own wellbeing in Leeds

 Have a basic computer skills e.g. email, browsing the internet, word processing

 Have an intention to upload material to the Wellbeing Web once the training period is over

 Are comfortable working with other people in small groups.

If you’re interested in joining, or you know anybody else you think might be, e-mail: or phone Terry on 07929 421945. Places are limited, so please apply by Thursday 11th July. We’ll confirm your place on Friday 12th July.

We’d also like to hear from you if you can’t join us on that day, but would still like to be involved in some way – contact us and we’ll try and think of something. Perhaps you could write a guest blog about something you think is worth sharing?

You can also follow us on Twitter @Leedswellweb and it’s always great when people leave comments on blogposts.


widgets and tag clouds

While recently being housebound with a cold, boredom set in, since the accompanying conjunctivitis limited both computing and reading to limited periods of time, a slump into  low mood followedI …….the ‘what ifs’ of catastrophic thinking,………what if it’s something worse! …don’t get better?..never able to read or use a computer again? … or two days in pyjamas  can be therapeutic but ‘five days straight’? all like an ‘115th dream’ …..nightmare!. Perhaps previous experience of  mental distress make me vulnerable to this type of mood slump, I don’t have any answers,…… often times though a snooze, snatched during the day in my armchair, or the usual  overnight sleep, finds me awaken refreshed to enable me find an enjoyable pastime or a solution to whatever was troubling me. This week it was my inquisitiveness about ‘Tag Clouds’ and’Widgets’!! and the challenge of an assignment deadline which pushed my mood to lift……. Oh! I wonder what that button does……Tag clouds disappeared…….fortunately one of the other ‘administrators’ retrieved it/them…….pending further training…..but in the meantime I’ve branched out to try creating my own blog, where I can’t cause too much damage,…’s quite easy to design a page as Word Press have a large number of free design templates, mostly just a case of knowing the right  buttons to click!

When I’m clearer what I want the content of my blog to be I may publish.


Woodhouse song thrush

Hyde Park or Woodhouse Moor, as the Friends of: more accurately call it, has to be one of the most popular and busy open spaces in Leeds. I have a particular nostalgia for it as it was a place where,as children my brother and I played. Our family lived in Woodhouse Square. Little Woodhouse, (check out the stunning slideshow on Little Woodhouse Online

Several years ago my brother returned to live in this area, adjacent to the park, and it enabled me to regularly use the park for exercise and much needed time for reflection after visiting him. My brother’s long term, chronic mental health problems affected his motivation, preventing him from strolling with me, these visits often left me heavy hearted, but walks across the moor to town raised my spirits. Taking photographs there gave a creative outlet to my melancholia and feelings of frustration at not being able to ease his distress.

After one such visit on Good Friday this year the park was less of a bustle than usual, possibly because of this a song thrush felt bold enough to alight quite near me, being very short sighted I rarely spot birds, so it was a special privilege, it had it’s beady eye on me and stood his ground, tilting it’s head to listen to the few words I passed with him, too scared to scare it off by slipping out my camera phone, I simply enjoyed the few minutes granted me. It had been raining therefore he was too busy looking for a wormy treat to honour me with a song.

My day brightened. I planned to research  more information about song thrushes, as I was sure I’d read they were in decline and I planned  to return the following day with my camera…………..

…within the space of the next few hours I received news that my brother had died suddenly. The memory of sighting that chirpy little song bird comforted me and seemed even more special.

It’s my experience that loss of any kind…. opportunities missed when ill …… people close to us in death……can push us in to a state of transcendence, a heightened awareness which is not accessible most other times. I’m not sure I believe that birds are the messengers they are described as in myth and legend  but I like this Turkish saying  ‘his soul bird has flown away’.

I’m sure Woodhouse Moor will continue to be my favourite urban stomping ground for years to come, it feels a safe enough area for a lone walker to stroll, I’m reassured by the presence of the wardens who patrol regularly in their buggy.

The park has been the setting for some dramatic and  interesting events both during the civil war in the 17th century and in more recent times for my personal battle with the ‘stormy search for self’, I’ll save these stories for a future post, possibly on my own blog site! yes. although previously dubious about the usefulness of social network blogs etc, I’ve become so enthused during the training course to see it’s potential as a creative outlet for expressing thoughts and musings which might otherwise be left under wraps.

Sue Margaret

How to write a successful and interesting blog post – tips!

There are numerous perks of being a Community Reporter for Leeds Wellbeingweb one of which is free expert led workshops.  Recently we had a fantastic session on how to write a successful blog. The session was led by John Baron who is a Journalist and has worked for the Guardian.

We started with a brainstorm session: What makes a good story? Why is a print headline different to online? How to structure a blog post?

Here are some tips:

A story needs to be interesting, engaging, unusual – perhaps, and well written.  Like any good story, a good blog has a beginning, middle and end.

Start a blog post with a winning headline.  An online headline needs to be descriptive and informative. It should contain keywords which an internet user is likely to search for when using a search engine.  Printed headlines differ as they appear in context, alongside the written article and often with a picture. Newspaper headlines are more likely to be a play on words.

Next we need a clear introduction. The introduction needs to grab the reader’s attention and explain the story.  In terms of the story think about the following:  ‘What, Where, Why, When and Who,’  which are commonly described as: ‘The five W’s.’  John advised us to keep the introduction brief and suggested that it should be no more than 20 – 30 words in length.

The main body of the blog post follows and needs to engage the reader.  A well written blog flows well and is often quite punchy.  Here you can include facts and perhaps quotes.  We were told that writing short sentences helps.

The summary can include things which are interesting but not crucial. Internet readers tend to have short attention spans and tend to flick around from site to site.  Get the juicy bits in early on!

It’s not all about structure and writing though, a blog post could be fantastic but what is it without an audience? Link to other sites and use ‘Categories and Tags’  to increase ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ (SEO).  Linking and tagging means the blog will appear higher up in the results of a Google search,  attracting more readers to the blog. Remember to ensure the headline contains keywords that Internet users will search for rather than a play on words.

John Baron was a fantastic tutor and led a great workshop.  He also manages a local blog: South Leeds Life. He left us with some simple words of wisdom  ‘Write, rewrite and rewrite again.’

Finally, if you’re still reading and if you are interested in blogging there is an excellent article which managed an interesting headline, but also came up on the first page of my Google search: ‘Google Doesn’t Laugh: Saving Witty Headlines in the age of SEO.’

Happy Blogging

( oh and don’t forget to spellcheck !)