Member Advice on Mental illness
9 reviews from the community
Review of "Member Advice on Mental illness"
I have a brother who over the years has suffered very badly with mental health issues, to the point that following a failed suicide bid he was then diagnosed with having had bi-polar disorder (manic depression) for most of his adult life. This is going to be a very difficult review for me to write, but I do so hope that it is going to be of some help to one or two people.This particular brother is ten years older than me (my other brother being two years older than him again so twelve years older than me), and about ten years ago he had just lost his third job in a row whilst being in south Wales and had moved back to live with our parents in Plymouth. The reason for him having lost his job was because he had been drinking heavily, both in and out of work hours – but no-one seemed to know why, as he had been in very well paid jobs; he had a flat of his own which he shared with his then fiancé, and live if general seemed to have been going in his favour.
But after a short time of being back at home following splitting from his fiancé, he was to be found on his way to the top of a local multi story car park – enough said. However with a lot of after care and suchlike, the reasons behind his erratic behaviours where then understood – but this is of no concern to anyone on here, for this is his own personal business (he doesn’t mind me sharing this much so far). His actions from the past few years where recognised as having been a kick against what had happened to him, and we could then move on with things.But as I was the only closest member of the family who just so happened to be in Plymouth that night, it was down to me at the grand old age of twenty one to try and sort it out. My other brother was living in Exeter with his family at the time which was over an hour away (although we did keep in touch all night by telephone), and my parents were away in North Devon for a few days to visit my mum’s family as they were all putting on a surprise party for her 60th which had only been the week before (the only reason we weren’t there is because my mum had chosen to have a number of parties to spread the celebrations out for a week or three!).
I felt completely out of my own depth at the time that it all started to happen, but my own personal Christian faith did kick in and help me through it – without wishing to preach, I can know see by looking back on this time that I felt a closer presence of God beside me during that time. Preach over!He was able to access all of the necessary treatments and support services in order to help him to get back on his feet again, however in my own personal mind this was in some ways very fabricated. His GP was the Clinical Lead in Plymouth at the time for a lot of the mental health services, and with my brother being a social worker with drug users and those who also had other forms of mental health issues then accessing the right places was easy enough for us all.
But one thing that really annoyed me was that I got to know someone through work after all this had happened and my brother was back to work (on medication and suchlike to help him to keep on an even keel) who had been through similar things, but her son had actually been able to go ‘the whole hog’ and actually end his own life at the young age of twenty five – none of the support or help that my brother had received had been offered to them as a family, and they were none the wiser as to any of the support that was out there because of this.And as a result of this, we were then able to campaign to get the level of access of care and support made more widely known in the area for those people who really did need the help but who were not able to access it through the simple means of not really knowing about it because it was not advertised. This worked, as soon after the whole mental health part of the local NHS was completely revamped to allow people to self refer (or refer a person who was close to them) for the support they desperately needed in order to try and get their lives back in some form of order – this had been a major milestone, as in the past it was only a GP or other such similar health care professional who would have been able to refer anyone for further support whether it be one to one counselling; group therapy, or other such form of support and/or treatment.
One thing that I will say that although this whole period of time has to have been the worst part of not just my or my brother’s life but also for those of us around us, it has actually bought us all so much closer together. And hopefully as a response to all of the hard work that we did, many other people who may find themselves in a situation such as this in the area can also get the help that they need.One thing I learnt through all of this is that the person who has a mental health issue is no different to anyone else, but also that although they are suffering in such a way that cannot be seen doesn’t mean that they are not suffering as they are – even more so in many ways, than someone who has a physical problem to contend with as at least then when it is something that you can see then other people will be able to make an allowance for it.
Having a mental health issue does not make an individual ‘unclean’ or ‘untouchable’, it just means that people need to have a greater amount of sensitivity in being able to interact with them. Yes of course as I have just pointed out it is not always physically recognisable, but sometimes people can also show a more physical side such as there being some evidence of self harm (slit wrists/ upper arms; chunks of hair being ripped out), or they may have lost a lot of weight or just look generally uncared for.There are of course many degrees of mental health issues, but this is neither the time nor the place in which to go in to it! However, my brother was at the very extreme end of it – this was the only cry for help that he could think of, but others may just do it in a better to deal with way. But anyone who asks for help is genuinely wanting to change – after having lived with this for so long, I think that I can safely say that by my brother’s call for help he did mean it, as he had spent so long living with something on his own.
However the worst thing is of course trying to find that help, as not everywhere will have had the insight to change as Plymouth did. I have since heard of people in various areas who have gone to the GP with someone else by their side who can help them out, by fighting their case in order to get the help in motion. Otherwise, the person who is ill just simply going on their own may not be able to push enough to be able to get that help – after all, they may have found it hard enough just to simply owning up to the fact that they have a problem that needs sorting.The only advice that I can give in a situation such as this is if a person is not willing to open up and admit to needing help, then just support them as best as you can in any way that you can. I am no expert in this, but I have found sometimes that some people just are thankful for knowing that other people are aware of how they are – even though they cannot change at the time.
But if someone comes to you asking for your help, then do all that you are able to do for them in order to help them to get back to some form of ‘normal life’ whatever that may be. It may just be to sit with them at the doctors’ surgery, or it may be that they want you to access any further support for them.I do so hope that this has been of some help to you, and thank you for letting me share a little bit of my life experience in this field with you.
Thanks for reading!
Product Information : Member Advice on Mental illness
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Listed on Ciao since: 16/10/2002