Saturday, 10 October 2015

World mental health day 2015-Dignity for all

Today is world mental health day and this years theme is dignity.
I wanted to write about my experience in being treated by medical professionals in what I feel is a distinct lack of dignity, respect and understanding, something I have talked about before and I feel is common amongst sufferers of mental illness.

Suffering from a mental illness is hard enough, accepting you need help even harder, being able to access help harder still, then being faced with being treated with a lack of dignity and respect purely because you suffer from a mental illness, something of which you have no control over? Near impossible, at least from my experience and a lot of people who've contacted me through my youtube channel seem to feel the same.

You'd think mental health professionals would know better than to treat you as just another anorexic in their day or like every other depressed person they see.  No person is the same so why should anyones illnesses be the same. Being treated as just another person with that label strips you of your identity, of who you are, making it more difficult to feel that you will ever be anything other than the anorexic, that you will ever be able to be free of the illnesses torturing you.

It's not just specialist mental health professionals I've encountered that do this either. As soon as any medical professionals see the word mental illness on your medical records things change. Any illnesses or ailments aren't taken seriously. There is a stigma attached with mental illness and being made to feel that any physical issues you have are just 'in your head' is demoralising. As is being told "what do you expect you're anorexic". The depression that has plagued me since childhood? Burgers will fix that. I told my Dr I was hearing voices, getting so distressed and anxious I was repeatedly banging my head against the wall and was once again told what did I expect.
Yes a large part of that is a lack of understanding and obviously it goes without saying that mental health is vastly underfunded but treating someone with dignity and respect costs nothing so it's not about lack of funding or money
These people have been through medical school and they don't know how to treat someone with a mental health problem. The only person I've ever found who's treated me with any dignity or respect was my neurologist, it's just a shame he couldn't actually help the physical issues I was seeing him about.

Sometimes it can be hard to know what to do or know what to say when someone has a mental illness so you avoid saying anything, this is the worst thing you can do! If someone you know is suffering from a mental illness and is showing signs of feeling distressed, show that you're there even if you don't know how to help. Just letting them know that they're not alone is help in itself. Random acts of kindness go a long way, and I don't mean presents I mean letting someone know you're thinking of them by way of a text, email or phone call. Communication, kindness and friendship are far more valuable.

If someone is really low PLEASE don't turn your back on them, this is the worst thing you can do. It perpetuates the feeling of them being alone. If you don't know what to say, tell them that, say I don't know what to say right now but I'm here and I can talk random crap at you if you want but I'm here for you.
I hope he won't mind me saying this, but my brother and I have had the silliest text conversations, if he's caught me when I'm feeling really low. He could have just said ok bye which is turning away, and you know what, there's nothing he can say to make my pain go away. I know that, he knows that so we talk fart jokes for a few minutes....

I hope this post has been helpful in showing what it's like having to deal with the stigma attached to mental illness and how the medical world have really got some way to go in treating people with mental illnesses the correct way not only to ensure their illnesses are best managed but that they themselves as human beings, the person behind the illness remains intact as much as possible and that can only be done if they are treated with more kindness, dignity understanding and respect. We're human beings and names not labels and stereotypes. I also hope that if you know someone suffering that you can take from this the best way to help and support them.

Thank you for reading and don't forget to subscribe and get the latest posts by email if you want to keep updated

                                                                        Nail of the day. So for todays nail of the day I thought I'd add an extra touch to make it tie in  with the subject in hand. Purple nail varnish infused with diamond, which is known for its strength. I thought these images were in keeping with the last section of my post about not turning away from someone with a mental illness and showing them compassion, I especially liked the 3 people embracing on my thumb which you cant really see.


  1. I love your blog love your nails too I sure enjoy reading your blogs take care

    1. Thank you very much i'm so glad you you're enjoying them x