How you can support LDV’s #timetotalk Day posts

You can’t be truly free if you are constantly fighting illness without the support that you need. That is why Liberal Democrats are so passionate about making sure that people have the right mental health support.

For five years during the coalition years, Liberal Democrat ministers were at the helm of pushing through positive change. Norman Lamb, as the Minister responsible, totally got it. Of the many things he did, the Crisis Care Concordat was a really good example of helping people when they most needed it .

He also fought for parity of esteem between physical and mental health.

In doing this he had the full backing of Nick as Deputy Prime Minister who made sure that he put as much funding as he could into mental health.

What I liked most about Norman’s many interviews on this subject, though, was his forthrightness. Rather than pretend everything was fantastic, he always said that what was happening wasn’t good enough and what he wanted to change.

Every year on the first Thursday in February, Time to Change hold Time to Talk Day. It’s aimed at ending the stigma around mental health and enabling people to be more open about the impact that mental ill health has on them.

I’ve suffered with Anxiety and Depression for a fair part of my life. Fortunately, I’ve been in reasonable health for a while now. However, I got a reminder of how debilitating and exhausting it can be to live with this week. I am utterly petrified of snow and ice. I always have been. When the other kids at school were making slides, I was cowering away on the sidelines. I just couldn’t stay upright on them. And then snowballs were such a useful weapon for the school bullies. Winter is not fun for me. Since a bad fall in the 90s, I’ve had a horrendous phobia of snow and ice. I’ve managed by either good luck or good management, to avoid it as much as possible, but I had no such luxury this week and had to go out in it. I coped, after a fashion, but by the end of the day I was absolutely shattered. Adrenaline is great as long as it lasts and then there’s the crash. But it only snows for a few days a year. When people suffer from Anxiety, every day is like that. Imagine what that must be like. It takes huge amounts of energy and determination just to get by. It’s renewed by respect for people who have to deal with this. I knew perfectly well how inadequate the Government’s Work Capability Assessments are for understanding the impact of mental health conditions on people, but this gave me a sharp practical reminder.

Back to Time to Talk Day. Liberal Democrat Voice has often taken part, with authors writing moving, challenging  and motivating pieces about their mental health and what we can do about it. It’s just under two weeks away, so if you have something you want to say on that day, write it down in 500 words or less and send it to us at [email protected], making clear that it is for Time to Talk Day.  We look forward to hearing from you.

If you aren’t writing for us, please comment and share what you see on the site that day.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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6 Comments

  • Helen Dudden 20th Jan '18 - 8:07pm

    Carol, your comments were something I felt great sympathy for. It must be difficult for you at times.
    Norman Lamb, has always been a voice on the subject of Mental Illness. I’ve read much that he written and said. Mental Illness for those who suffer can be debilitating and little understood by some.
    It doesn’t show, it’s a hidden disability. No one should feel at a loss in life, or that they are unheard when asking for help.
    I hope things remain as stable as possible for you.

  • David Warren 21st Jan '18 - 11:45am

    Thanks for posting this Caron.

    I am currently experiencing a depression that I now realise has been with me on and off for a number of years.

    It is tough and the lack of help is a major issue.

    Counselling if you can get it is rationed and any other types of support are minimal if they exist at all.

    I feel very let down and angry as a result.

    The country that I love has failed me.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 21st Jan '18 - 6:09pm

    Thank you, Helen.

    Dave, I’m sorry to read that you are going through this. I guess the only thing that gives me confidence when the Black Dog decides it’s going to give me one of its unwelcome strangling cuddles is that it will pass.

    Is there anything that helps give you a bit of relief? I always know that if I eat healthy food and try and get a bit of exercise it will help but actually finding the motivation to do it can be pretty tough.

  • Thanks for those kind words Caron.

    I am going through a bereavement process at the moment which is very hard.

    That combined with the fact that I left behind my old life in the outside world several years ago to care makes things even more difficult.

    Feelings of emptiness and abandonment prevail.

    Sleep is a major problem too.

    So I am doing what I did during my last bout of severe depression which is to be patient and look after myself the best I can in the meantime.

    I have managed to get counselling after a struggle but it is coming to an end soon when I could do with it continuing.

    What support there is out there is limited and difficult to access.

    Much more is needed.

  • @Dave Warren

    So sorry to hear about your loss and struggles.

    I fully agree with you about how difficult it is to access adequate talking therapies.
    The NHS taken this one cap fits all approach to therapy with a set amount of sessions is just plain wrong. Mental health does not work like that. People are unique, we all have different needs and we all heal at a different rates.
    I personally feel that putting someone who is vulnerable on a restricted set amount of sessions, can at times do more harm than good, Because it can cause the person to start putting pressure on themselves, or question themselves on failure for not getting better in the time expected.

    All I can suggest is to really be firm with your therapist, at least 4 sessions before your last and tell them you do not feel the foundations are there enough for you to have the therapy taken away from you yet and you want further treatment.
    I would also consider asking to be appointed a lead care proffesional, beings you have had episodes of mental health previously.
    This does not mean you will be in continuous therapy, but they will ensure you are signposted to other services and you will have a point of contact if you feel things are deteriorating and you need help quickly.

    I don’t know if this is going to help, but if I may, I would like to give you a couple of tips of what I try to do when I find my thoughts are getting intrusive, especially in the evening when I also have troubles sleeping.
    Try this very simple Distraction game http://slither.io/ it is very simple but most of all it is calming on the brain, almost to the point of numbing, when my brain has gone quiet, I sometimes find it easier to sleep.

    I also try to set myself a challenge every day ,on a subject that interests me and learn something new about it, unfortunately for some, my obsession is with Brexit and Europe lol. But being able to focus my energies on something does give me respite at times from more intrusive and damaging thoughts.

    I really do hope things get easier for you soon and you get the support that you need.
    But please just know, there is always someone willing to listen, please don’t think you have to go through this alone.

    Take care

    Matt

  • Katharine Pindar 22nd Jan '18 - 12:57am

    Dear Dave Warren, Caron and Matt: as a practising counsellor I am glad of two things here. Firstly, that counselling when you have received it, though difficult to obtain, has proved effective in helping you. That is not always the case. Secondly, that writing on LDV has given you a bit of an outlet, both in the writing itself and in the responses you receive.

    I find myself that I have a sense of some congenial company on the site, and I remember thinking after New Year, when I had actually spent some ten days almost entirely alone and without phone calls, that I had been glad of the LDV contact. I had actually enjoyed the leisure, catching up with many things, but on reading much lately about loneliness, on this site and elsewhere, I did wonder if I would have felt lonely without this resource. I asked a couple of elderly neighbours in for coffee, but LDV was actually the most significant of my contacts, my friends being mostly busy with their families. So I hope the site continues to provide touches of kindness to people needing it, although, as with counselling, it does not always succeed.

    Very best wishes, and do keep trying for a little exercise or activity, hard as it will be to motivate yourself, when depression strikes.

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