Quick request

Just a little favour to ask tonight. I started a petition on Change.Org last night. It’s titled “Create a “Sexual Violence” warning for all tv shoes and programmes”.

That’s pretty much all it is. Thousands of people experience sexual assault / abuse in their life time, and when it’s thrown in to films and TV, often to just cause some controversy, it can be extremely triggering and traumatic for victims. (I hate using the word victim, but it’s the best word I can use to put my point across).

So if you lovely people could sign and share it round, I’d be very grateful. It will take all of 2 minutes, won’t affect anyone unnecessarily, but it would potentially save causing further suffering to someone who doesn’t need to relive any details of a traumatic past.

Thank you! (link below)

https://www.change.org/p/ofcom-create-a-sexual-violence-warning-all-tv-shows-and-films?recruiter=816006808&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=share_petition

The many benefits of pets.

Something I’ve been thinking a lot about this week, off the back of my mental health post. Pets can be a really great addition to someone who is suffering with both mental and physical illnesses.

We got our (not so) little puppy back in July. I really wanted one anyway, I was unemployed so had time to train him up, and to be honest, I was really lonely when Keith was out at work, especially with him staying away quite frequently. I’d been trying my luck for a while, and after a spate of break ins round our estate, I managed to convince him a guard dog would be a really good idea. Yano for safety and stuff.

We looked at rescuing one, as ideally that’s what we both would have liked to do, but with me wanting to try and train him as a possible diabetic alert dog, plus having the cats, we decided we’d be best getting a puppy. On the Thursday, we set a budget, had a look around and on Sunday (I’ve never been known for my patience) we broke our budget and did the 8 hour round trip to Essex to bring home our Golden Retriever, Max.

If you follow me on Twitter, or basically any social media, you’ll know I’m always posting photos of him. I adore him. He quickly became a brilliant guard dog, barking whenever anyone comes to the house, never being aggressive, but just alert. It put my mind at rest massively. Someone actually did try to get in to the house while Keith was away a couple of weeks ago, and I think Max scared them off, because for a 5 month old, 17 kilo puppy, he sounds a lot bigger!

Mentally, he’s helped a lot. I absolutely adore our two cats, and they can be really affectionate, but they’re very independent and not often very interested in sitting cuddled up on the couch. Max is the total opposite, if anything, he’s too clingy, but I can’t help but love it.

Now I’m not suggesting for a second that you should get a pet just to make you feel better or to cheer you up. Puppies especially, are really hard work and there were some days when I thought I’d cry because he was peeing all over the carpets and biting anything and everything. With some stern words and lots of training, he’s now (touch wood) really well behaved. He’s going to be such a big dog, it was vital we got him trained early. But he’s really helped me. Not just for the big furry cuddles whenever I need them. It gave me a reason to get up, a reason to get out the house. I could take him out to the park, get some fresh air, just have a bit of purpose and focus. You can’t sit on the couch in a ball if you’ve got a puppy that needs fussing or taking out.

When it comes to being a diabetic alert dog, he has not picked it up at all. We had a glorious couple of months where Diego (the black cat) would notice if I was having a hypo. He’d scratch at me and bite me until I realised what was up, even if I was asleep. I mean, there was also the time when he picked up the packet of glucose tablets I was using to treat my hypo and ran off with them in his mouth, so I guess it all balances out. He soon lost interest, but it was brilliant while it lasted.

At the end of the day, alerting me to blood sugar changes wasn’t a big issue for me, it just would have been a nice bonus. All 3 pets are so docile and loving, and that’s the main thing. They’ve all helped so much in their own ways, and they’ve brightened my life after the past year more than I could explain. If you’ve got the time and the money, not to mention the patience, it really might be something worth considering.

(Pictures of aforementioned pets below, Max at 9 weeks and Max at 5.5 months, Diego and Paco below on the couch.)

World Mental Health Day.

With it being World Mental Health Day, I thought I’d share a little post.

I came out of my last job, back in December for mental health reasons. I wrote about it, I don’t need to bore you all again, but it was tough. The ten months that followed weren’t any easier.

On paper, I am so blessed. I’m healthy (dead pancreas aside), I got engaged in February, I get married next October, I’ve got 3 animals that I absolutely adore, we moved from a little flat I hated into a house with a garden, and my family are all very loving and supportive.

But it wasn’t enough. I wasn’t myself. On the surface I probably looked fine, but inside I was falling apart. I hated life. On more than one occasion, I honestly decided everyone would be better off without me, and nearly acted on those feelings. How Keith put up with me this year is beyond me. I had the worst mood swings, I lashed out, I was constantly crying for no reason. I lost count of the amount of days I could barely get out of bed. If I showered or brushed my hair, that was a bonus.

I’ve been on a waiting list for counselling since October 2016. I chased it up in June and was told I was still about a year away from being seen. I was that low at that point, I didn’t know if I planned on being around in a year. I was offered group counselling, to try and at least help the anxiety. Ironically, I explained that my anxiety would be way too high to do something like that, talking with a room full of strangers. I was told if it was noted that I’d refused, I’d be pushed back on the list, so I reluctantly accepted.

I didn’t expect to be lucky enough to land a job in the time leading up to the first session. I rang and explained I wouldn’t be able to make it, my reasons why, and was there alternative sessions I could attend etc? I was told I’d be sent a letter confirming.

2 weeks later, I’ve had a letter, DISCHARGING me from the mental health service. I’ve tried ringing and pleading my case, only to be told I’ll go to the back of the waiting list now.

I’m very lucky in that this new job has given me a focus and a sense of purpose, for the first time in a long time. I’m not cured, and I could wake up tomorrow and feel awful again, because that’s the way of depression. But how is it in 2017 and with more people than ever being diagnosed with depression, there is still such a massive shortage of help available? This past year we’ve lost some big celebrities to depression, and yet some people still think it comes down to materialistic things.

If you’ve never suffered depression, I’m well aware that you will never fully understand it. You see throwaway comments all the time, “why not just do this” “why don’t you try this” etc. There was times where I was telling myself that. People don’t necessarily understand that it’s an actual medical condition, an imbalance in the brain that you can’t physically see. You don’t have to be able to understand something, to be able to help. Everyone deals with depression differently. Little gestures can make the world of difference to people. Ask how people are. Ask about their day. Just talk, be there. Some days, I wanted Keith to leave me well alone. Other days, he sat next to me, in silence, just holding my hand. And it helped.

Don’t assume someone is attention seeking for being brave enough to speak out, always listen to what they have to say. Unfortunately, as with all things, there will be people who greatly exaggerate. People who have one bad day, or one bad thing happen and they decide it’s depression. There’s a huge difference between feeling down or sad, and suffering depression.

It really doesn’t take much to be nice, as cliche as it sounds. You never know the difference you could have on someone’s day, the impact that smiling at someone could have.