Tag Archives: mental health

Ruby Wax and Me – Nipple Poetic Story

There is a woman called Ruby Wax.

A more lovely woman you would not see.

She has cheeks of red which glow, and she hates them so.

Excitable she be and there are none funnier than she.

In earlier days she travelled around England to circumvent our inhabitants.

With Hit and Run, she met me.

Robert Lenkievitz’s model was I with breasts that you could anchor a ship on.

A study of St. Anthony found me naked on the BBC.

The next day, at my work, Boss was grinning like a jerk.

By lunchtime she’d made me coffee and then slyly asked me.

Yes, it was me.

Modelling naked on the TV.

Better though, I said, glowing rather red, was being interviewed by Ruby Wax.

I was immortalised on canvas and TV and that history could haunt me.

But proud, eventually, I would become; of my breasts, nipples and bum.

Meeting Ruby Wax who is a comedy best was the making of that assignment for me.

Afterwards, she went down to Longleat, for tea.

I went back to my bar, as the maid I really was, then I got fired because I’d posed naked for The Painter. See? One rule for one and another for me.

Now, I have Ruby Wax on my Facebook but she does not know that I was the body on which one of her episodes did close.

The End.

Thanks for reading.

https://youtu.be/TqlN3zJUWEY – you tube links are rather unreliable in UK so you could search for,

“Ruby Wax meets Robert Lenkiewicz in Plymouth, 1990. Hit and Run. “

Thanks for your time.

https://youtu.be/TqlN3zJUWEY

It took a year for this program to air – hence the two job reactions.

Lack of Fear and Wellbeing – Article

Behaving impulsively is a well documented human behaviour. Advertising agencies use this trait. Stores place enticing goods at eye level to increase profits. Generally being spontaneous and the odd impulsive gesture is often admired in our society. Wellbeing articles daily advise to ‘out of our comfort zones’.

For those suffering, and I use that word deliberately, with mental illness the advice out in the wellbeing world, is well meaning but must be handled with care. After all, you don’t need qualifications to write about anything. Mental health patients have to learn to avoid certain articles and advice.

Mental Health advice should never be one size fits all.

These wellbeing courses are all the rage in mental health services. I’ve attended one or two. Along with myself, a sixteen year old girl, five others and a fifty year old disabled soldier, an assistant and the consultant. All the patients suffering from very different disorders but being given the same advice in a room ill equipped to facilitate.

As a mental health patient who presents as well and has a healthy desire to actually get better and understand what is happening to me these classes do help some but there needs to be more support around the uptake of the advice.

It’s not always easy when many mental health treatments are group based generic situations focused on what can only be termed as living well when the patients are at the end of their tether with life limiting illnesses rather than just not looking after themselves properly.

The focus seems to be on cutting down on drug use (prescription drugs) and eating well, planning chores and looking after yourself as best as you can. All good stuff. I have definitely benefited. However, if half the group is already following several diet sheets because of physical aliments and needs their medication.

How are mental health patients then supposed to decide which of the generic advice is good for them to take?

I’ve come away from these classes so anxious about what I’ve learnt. I’ve stopped taking needed medications, started eating things I’m not allowed and have put myself in unsafe situations. Often taking months to re-establish my normal.

Often people with mental illness have no fear. This can mean fear of any type…fear of failure, fear of being laughed at, fear at physical harm for themselves or others. Imagine not having fear of failure…this is something I can relate to. Within one day I can convince myself and act upon an idea which would take others months to do.

I have no fear of new things. I love new things. Every day I have an idea of some sort to make money. I could pick up the phone, start a company, then calling a paper doing a story on the new company, putting an advert for staffing my new company, and marketing the company. I would have that company up and running within a week and could sell it to you here convincingly.

However, the next week, I would be physically sick, literary vomiting. My brain has not adjusted to the fact I’m ill. They call this mental illness ‘Adjustment Disorder’. My new company would fall apart, I’d have to wind it up with the inland revenue, try and cancel all the things I’d started…all whilst being sick. Tell the people I’d got all excited about their job it wasn’t going to happen.

I love meeting new people. I gave the sixteen year old girl, from wellbeing class, a lift back to her home as she lived near me. No fear. Lovely girl, she had been given time off school to attend the treatment classes. What sent me into another spin (after she got out of the car) was as a Jehovah witness she’d been home schooled. She believed that the Earth was flat.

Let’s think, it must be at least three years or so since I did the last treatment class. Refusing to attend another. I waited for a psychologist but the lists are long and the priority is elsewhere, with people who are suicidal and aggressive which can not be a bad thing.

So, after three years of waiting at Upton Road Mental Health as an outpatient who never seemed to get to the top of the list and after another long waiting room episode because of lack of my specific doctor (who I’ve never met ) I decided to withdraw.

After all I have found blogging and share my thoughts, stories and poems. I’m smart enough to realise this has been my therapy and is continually helping me. I have a choice what I read. I spend time conversing with people I want to and will often read something I do not agree on so I learn something new…no fear.

Thankfully I’m still be here. Previous attempts were obviously not successful. I’m safer because I have, what the professionals term as ‘protective factors’ . I don’t like to cause inconvenience to people. I can use this factor, to stop me from acting out the things I think. This I did figure out on my own.

For instance, I’m still thinking of a plan of revenge against my doctor but found one person who is totally reliant on him. Because of that one person I can justify to myself that the doctor is protected – at least one person would miss him. So I can stop revenge plotting against him in my head.

I have to do this thought process with many things. Suicide is avoided by constantly reminding myself that I have children and that they would be sad if I left.

Impulsive behaviour is a symptom of many mental health disorders. https://www.verywellmind.com/impulsive-behavior-and-bpd-425483

When I was younger and more able to control my physical illnesses my lack of fear enabled me to do and see things that I’m very grateful for. I’m the only female I know that has driven, across Europe from England to Israel in a blue Talbot Horizon. I’m one of the bravest or stupidest people I know.

My degenerative physical quirks have meant that the benefits of the mental quirks are now limited. And my mental quirks have made it difficult to deal with my physical quirks. However, I’m learning to save my hands for typing rather than wasting their precious energy on cleaning – mainly thanks to wellbeing classes.

Fear of the unknown is something I could handle. I love new experiences. Daily life is old, used and known. My world is repetitive, it’s retrospect and benign because that’s how it has to be. I’m learning to live in strange unrelenting fear. Fear of the known because there is no longer any physical escape.

My blog is my new ‘no fear’ living format. I blog about things which mean little to anyone but myself and add no value to others in advertising or marketing terms. I purposefully do not follow a theme other than just what I want to cover. Unable to currently acquire new experiences I live in my past and in the lives of others.

If my truth resonates with anyone it’s brilliant. It’s almost as good as performing on stage. Seeing someone like a poem or article I’ve written, it’s an ego boost, it’s great. Truly, it means more to me than sitting in Upton Road mental health’s waiting room for doctors who I may have little or no respect for.

Thank you for reading.

 

How Does a Social Housing Estate Work in Herts County Council?

I would like to know what Watford Community Housing Trust, who are a co-op, are doing about all the complaints they have received about the enforced housing development and the parking? Especially the lack of health & safety regarding traffic flow and parking on the Meriden Estate.

Munden View and Abbey View towers don’t look great from the outside but the flats are lovely. Ideal for me as there is no garden to be maintained, a rubbish chute, community central heating and dedicated parking outside. I love my flat but there are a few problems with the management.

They have disabled parking at the front. I am able to park and roll. I can wheel over the car park, through the electronic doors, into either of the two, newly refurbished, lifts and up to my floor. It’s all one level. It has a great view over Watford Mirror Print building, the GP surgery and I can see up to the Harry Potter Studio at Leavesden.

At the front of my tower block is a disabled space. Everyone parks in it, usually it isn’t a problem. Only over the past few months it has become a problem because of all the workmen using the parking and the increased housing stock. Residents and visitors must use the disabled bays as there isn’t enough parking, especially at the front of the towers.

The parking was adequate for blocks built in the 1960s when most occupants didn’t own cars. The 180 flats have just eleven spaces allocated at the front of the block.

There is also a yellow crossed ambulance bay – the one at the front is continually blocked by needy families or disabled people. Taxi drivers drive into the only available access and wait. They are waiting for residents who need them but just one car takes up the only assessible area.

A resident, desperate to get an ambulance to get to her sick Dad was trying to move the taxi. This causes friction. The issue is that the road was blocked so easily by one taxi. The waiting ambulance then started causing traffic problems down Garsmouth Way. This has major road works on which the residents already have reason to be unhappy about.

I often park around the back as there is no space at the front. It is security detailed by ramp gates and key fobs. I discovered I couldn’t get out of the car park because the exit ramp was broken and I had to just go back home. I called Watford Community Housing Trust.

The customer services assistant told me to use the entrance ramp but to ‘be careful’– I didn’t bother telling her I was disabled and unable to move that fast.  I felt she had given very poor advice for anyone. Ideally the entrance ramp should be left down if the exit ramp is broken. WCHT were considerate to then send me a text informing me that the ramp was broken.

When I tried to complain to the council about the disabled parking and ambulance spaces not being enforced, I was told that it’s WCHT land and their responsibility.  I spoke to the local councillor for the ward and was told that they’ve sent over eighty emails to WCHT regarding the parking for the towers and, also, about the lights around the estate.

Disabled people are protected under UN convention under Anti-Discrimination and Equality Laws. These laws state that any organisation over fifteen people must provide access to facilities and services for certain protected group, including tenants.

The UK ratified this treaty before EU law and as such sits within The Equality Act 2010 in UK law. It gives rights, in law, to certain groups. They are known as protected groups.

Disabled people are one of these groups. As such they are to be given assistance in achieving equality. Funding is allocated accordingly by Governments and Local Authorities. Feedback is supposed to be gathered for any services they provide.

I feel that Watford Borough Council should take it’s responsibility towards disabled people more seriously and uphold the law. We have a right to proper unrestrictive access our homes whether that is in social housing or private. We also have a right to give our feedback so services can be directed correctly towards those in need.

It appears to me that some simple changes could make a huge difference to traffic flow and parking on the estate. The towers surely must come under some consideration with its positioning between the M1 and M41 and having just one small access road. If an incident were to happen how would emergency services get to the location?

I would request a visit from the Health and Safety executive and the Highways Agency and their input on the access and parking situation. With special attention to disabled access and the ambulance bay.

As a last request could you explain to me why, when you do enforce a disabled parking bay with a ticket, in other parts of the borough, it’s only a £20 fine rather than the usual £60? This hardly sends the right message.

Yours sincerely,

Samantha Harris

Upton Road Mental Health Services

Upton Road, My Mental Health Consultation


According to both the docs I saw at Upton Road yesterday, I’m not mentally ill. I’m just dealing with a lot of difficult things and I am disassociating and seeing things because I’m so anxious, stressed and angry at the world.

I’m aware it is happening. Although I can understand what is happening, I am struggling to deal with the day to day manifestations. During my first consultation NHS mental health services they’ve told me they won’t be able to help me because I’m aware of my issues.

My angry is not the ‘right type’ of anger to be helped. After over two years waiting, two assessments and yesterday’s ‘consultation’ I was told unless I can find some funds to help with the costs, there wasn’t any help available. It seems being aware of one’s problems means you’re okay. I’m chronically ill. This complicates things because of medication intolerances, I can only take certain medications and usually only via liquid or skin patch.

I generally cope but the last few years it’s been getting harder. Admitting to stock piling drugs, plotting revenge attacks and wanting to slice my throat open with a glass smashed on the floor in frustration, is difficult, especially when you’ve just met. As was the case with this consultation. Feeling so close to really losing it will make you seem desperate, because you are exactly that. No one would share this stuff with people unless they had to.

So, I was reaching out for help. Shoot me. Surely, anyone would be ‘aware’ to do that? In fact in order to get seen by NHS mental health services you have to go and see your GP first, then attend an assessment and then wait for a consultation or treatment. Picking up a phone, or searching online, show a sense of awareness of a problem from the patient seeking help.

Let’s just say that the docs I saw yesterday were really correct and true with what they said. Why are the NHS mental health services treating alcoholism, eating disorders, transgenders, drug users and paedophiles? They are usually aware of their problems. I’m pretty sure they have to admit to their problems in order to get help. I’m sure some are forced into help but I think my point is made.

Previously I’ve been diagnosed with depressive disorder, ptsd, personality disorder and now I’ve been re-diagnosed with ‘unstable emotional disorder’ without any real time spent actually talking with me. I feel utterly deflated. Even something simple like writing to the correct GP seems beyond this clinic.

I would like to start going out again, become part of society in real terms. Not just online. My problems are so bad I cannot abide music or crowds, I cannot sleep well and have problems with eating as my throat is closed – apparently though anxiousness. I have impulsive thoughts constantly to do dangerous things. I want to lash out. It’s exhausting not reacting to the impulses.

I feel that writing this was more therapeutic than the time spent with the patronizing doctors who believed that I don’t deserve any help because I managed to drag myself into the bath, brush my hair and made eye contact.

Being able to see your life and sanity slipping away doesn’t mean it’s okay, it’s not okay. I’m not okay. Not being able to stand people close to you, even when you love them, is not okay.

Perhaps it really is that I am classed as mentally fit. If that is so then why would both these doctors say money would help me get the correct treatment? They agreed a psychologist could help but stated clearly that wasn’t available, in my case, apparently not provided on the NHS, but isn’t a psychologist mental health doctor? Who are other patients seeing?

I know I need help. It’s hard not to be paranoid that they are trying to make you worse. Perhaps they are trying to push you over the edge in order to earn more money when you become an inpatient? I joke but not really. These are my real feelings and emotions, constantly kept in check.

Last time I felt like this I ended up trying to commit suicide several times and ended up as an inpatient for three weeks. I really am desperately trying to avoid this course of action as I have people who care about me.

Where do I go from here?? I write, thank fully I can still do that. Maybe I’ll get super successful and be able to pay the £380 an hour to see a doctor.

Past Caring, Not Sharing

A Space in My Time.

by Samantha Harris.

So, I woke this morning still in a scene from ‘I am Legend’. It was the scene where the mutant is head-butting the glass to get to the last human. The last human contains the antidote to the mutancy that has destroyed every other human. The last human is stood in an isolation containment tank.

I imagine that I am the mutant. It is me banging against the glass. The thickness of it shattering outwards from the impact of my head in spangled spikes. Each time I’m withdrawing, slowly walking backwards, concentrating on the human inside the glass, viewing the enormity of the task, before dropping my chin, focusing my eyes and running back at it, shattering another layer.

I’m slowly breaking through the glass. It is very thick.

The human on the other side is screaming. She has her hands against her cheeks and her eyes are wild with fear. She is also me. What is this dream saying? I pull back the covers and make my way through to the lounge. I sit down at my laptop. I’m sat at a table in front of a window so large that it takes up almost the entire wall, I start to write. The nodules on my swollen hands hurt and the pain shooting up from my rear is distracting. I have Ehlers Danlos syndrome.

I spend my time between two windows. One window to see the environment which surrounds me, the other to see the environment which surrounds you. I sit looking out on the world. I rarely close the grey blinds. I need to be able to see the skies. I will see them coming. And I have my superfast broadband and trusty laptop to help me circumnavigate you. I fight my battle on more than one frontline.

I cannot help myself. I cannot stop being angry. This is the reason why mental health can be a problem. These days it is rarely about depression. Why would I kill myself? Why would I even self-harm? I’m in pain every day with an incurable disease. Not killing myself is self-harming. It seriously would achieve nothing other than to hurt the humans I do care about. And, anyway, what if killing myself didn’t change my actual existence? That would be typical.

I’m angry at the world. I’m angry with myself for ever being young, subservient, ignorant and now unable to follow my own dreams. I will, no longer, use a capital letter for father, mother or god. Why should I? I’m subservient to no one. My anger manifests as revenge plots which I would not act on. It disturbs me that I spend so much time thinking of these plans.

Ideally, I would hurt others. But who? Who is actually responsible? My natural mother? My step mother? My father? The Courts? The first man who found me sexual at seven? The second man who found me sexual at ten? My madam? My second husband? My GP? Religion? Multinational corporations? The list is endless.

I do fear those flying unknowns. The triangular ones in the sky. Not the invisible religious gods. The real ones in the huge ships with the hatches and symbols. They are looking. They are waiting. What do they plan as they move invisibly and silently across our skies? They fly by when no one can see. When I look out and just see cloud, I imagine them lurking behind. On a damp, rainy day they sit, adding weight.

My partner comes into the room. The atmosphere frosty from an unspoken argument yesterday. I attempt to discuss it in a clumsy manner. It doesn’t work. He collects his things. Have I gone too far? I make tea, stirring and dropping in milk. I think, briefly, about when he takes me. I mustn’t look at him when he is really close. If I do, his blue eyes disappear, replaced by sharp black ones which dart from side to side and scales appear as his skin peels away. His tongue is replaced by one which has a split end. It flicks my face. My human’s beautiful face goes, only returning when I close my eyes and desperately blink away the image. I know it’s not real. It’s an image seen whilst modelling in a tiny, studio in Chelsea. My confusion isn’t any easier to live with knowing it isn’t real. Let me explain.

Years ago a famous fantasy comic artist showed me something. I was sworn to secrecy but as promised dues still go unpaid, I see no reason to keep it secret. To be frank, swearing me to secrecy wasn’t helpful. Not all images give me issues, the majority I can usually educate myself through.

I don’t blame the artist. How could I? How could he know I’d be forever haunted? Or that my brain would do whatever it is doing? He showed me the private work because I told him I’d seen a spaceship. I had. He was riding high on my naivety and I suspect my interest was stroking his ego. The work he showed me, was fantastically brilliant.

There were large grey reptiles with huge copulatory organs engaging with human women drawn across the page. The women’s expressions neither terrified or happy. I viewed only for a moment before he, sorry for showing me, quickly covered it up again. It was long enough to see several intergalactic pairings across the huge paper, they stood in strange positions, strained expressions on the upstanding lizards’ faces.

I was disappointed, at the time, that the spaceship in the background was only depicted by the presence of metallic stands as the scene was happening underneath and looked nothing like the spaceship I had seen. It was merely his imagination.

Robert Lankiewicz is another artist whose sublime, realistic work is also thoroughly entwined in my thought patterns. His stories, paintings and image play often in my head. His death lays heavy on me, feeling responsible only part down to my paranoia.

Now that my mental illness is enjoying a little freedom these images are becoming alive. Why some images more than others? I’ve no idea. Over my years as a model I’ve worked with fantastic artists and painters. Perhaps now they taunt me because I cannot be distracted, no long walks, no longer able to sing or play the guitar to cheer myself. The autoimmune response to a medical implant means I cannot even abide listening to music.

It’s been over thirty years since I first started getting reality and fiction confused. I just deal with it. I’m just writing about the first few minutes of my day.  I have been diagnosed with ‘unstable emotional personality disorder’ and ‘post traumatic stress disorder’ as well as ‘depression’. Personally I don’t think they’ve got me pegged yet. Thankfully I have started writing and it is an outlet of some sort.

Perhaps waking up imagining your bashing your head against a glass wall with yourself on the other side is exactly the same for you. Perhaps you have also seen a UFO and your lover morphs into a lizard. If so, I’m glad. We will be prepared when they do arrive from the skies. If not, then I hope this little slice of my life will unable you to humour the people in your life who may be struggling with mental health issues.

Past caring but not past sharing

My Twenty-one.

My Twenty-one.

When I was twenty-one, I swallowed the contents of a full Paracetamol tub and went to bed.I had made the reasonable assumption that my life would always be painful. There was no one who needed me. There was no one who wanted me. I was being logical and courageous. There was no call for help. No attention was necessary. All I required for the job was at hand. I knew exactly and utterly what I wanted.

My expectation was that it would be a relief to those that knew me. That I would be found sometime in the next week, having died peacefully in my sleep.

As far as I was concerned, there would be no one to inform. No funeral necessary. No one would miss me. Perhaps the local shop owner would chat about me for five minutes with a customer. Maybe the ladies downstairs, in the tea shop, would have a natter about me for the duration but I was fairly convinced that my death would go unnoticed and I would be unmissed.

There was small part of me which felt some would feel pleasure when they did eventually get the news. Those whose lives had been made difficult by my birth. They would be grateful for my decision. They would finally see me. They would see that I had understood. That I was a courageous, strong individual and that maybe, they would feel sad that they hadn’t known me very well after all.

I fell asleep super easily. A glass of wine helping down the powdery pills. I swallowed the rest of my supply of contraceptive tablets too. I wanted the sleep of the Pharaohs, only ‘at peace’ and smiling. I had zero intention of waking up. I had zero intention of carrying on with my woeful existence. My pain remained whatever I did or wherever I went. There was never any relief. I feared each morning and each night. Sleep, when it comes to those in pain, is such a blessing.

Going to sleep that night was the best. Firstly, the pain relief was good. There was a panic that I was suddenly quite well. But thirty-two paracetamol will do that. After all they are supposed to help with the pain. I slipped into a lovely sleep thinking that there would be no tomorrow. No pain to wake up with or to. My painful life would be over.

Three hours into my ‘forever’ sleep I woke. Sitting bolt upright I realised everything was the same. My image stared back at me from the wooden mirror. The old dressing table barely giving room to anyone wanting to pass. The chunky Edwardian foot of the bed hiding my view of the door. Nothing had changed.

I pinched myself. I was still alive. Then, like something from The Exorcist, I vomited over all the visible matter in the room including myself. I cried as I cleaned up the sickly stench of my failure. This one so unexpected but at least private.

In the bath I contemplated my actions and thought of other options. I had no other medication. I didn’t own a gun. I didn’t have a rope or anything to hang it from. It didn’t seem fair to jump from the window as people were walking by and could get hurt.

That would be typical of me to hurt others without even trying so I put my plans on hold and went to work instead. If an opportunity to discuss what had happened to me that night ever came up, I didn’t recognise it.

By Samantha Harris

8th January 2018

Putting your money where your mouth is.

Well I finally did it. I almost forgot that I had done it, Whilst transferring savings to cover an Iceland shop I saw “wordpress” £36 and then I remembered that I had bought a blog space. It was not a quick decision, buying the blog, I’d been thinking about it for ages as I find it easy to type.

That is many thanks to Mrs Summerbee from  Durrington Comprehensive School and two years of typing lessons. I do love handwriting but let’s face it we are all getting older and anything easier physically works for me. And although pens are great these days I still cannot help myself from pressing too hard on the page and ending with familiar throbbing hands.

I have, for the last thirty-five years kept a diary, a journal. Mainly as a release of emotions that I had no one to share with in life. My journal was a way of offloading all the horrible thoughts in my head that I could not convey to anyone else. Sometimes it would be pages of moaning about pain, physical pain, sometimes it was about my emotional pain over parents, family or friends.

My journal was accepting of me. I needed that. I still do. Not so much now that I have a faithful and generous lover. One can never underestimate the effect of being alone can have on ones mental health. Remember that one when telling your friends that they are better off on their own.  Having someone who wants you in their life is one of the best feelings in the world.

My mother had left me as a one year old child with my Aunt and never came back for me. My father, having remarried, came to get me to live with him and his new wife and her little girl. I spent the next thirteen years being their eldest daughter.  As an adult I learnt to fake confidence to get on in society but would still run to my diary to write my deepest secrets and thoughts.

One of the few regrets I have in my life is the destruction of several years of diaries when I married my first husband. One of those ‘new beginnings’ situations. Throwing the history to the fire to start afresh, as if that history didn’t happen. I regret it as it did happen and now I don’t remember it all. None of it. I just have the feelings of the memories which are bad. They are dark feelings. However, I know for a fact, during those years there had been good times. I like to write an upbeat account of my day if possible. Now I regret not being able to look back on the years up to twenty one years old. Thankfully, as I said, I have few regrets.

My written entries in my journals have become few and far between the last five years or so.  This partly because of health but mainly the realization that I will die one day and someone will have to decide what to do with all my diaries. I looked into it and discovered that people are able to leave their diaries to the The Great Diary Project so that is what I will do with my written ones and well this digital version, who knows, maybe I will just disappear into oblivion lost in the digital world. Does it matter to me? I don’t really know.

Why do I still want to write a diary? No one has seen them to date. I have spent so much of my life trying to fit in and be normal that it is maybe time to explore the extraordinary life I have really lived. I do have a unique perspective. I left home at 17 years old and have managed to survive in the world without any family support. I’m 48 years old now, I think. I accidentally celebrated my 42nd birthday twice and as a consequence am now quite confused about how old I am.

Whatever, I have paid my money so I have to do it now. I have started my blog. Forgive me.