Not stressed but frazzled!
Here in the UK, last week was Mental Health Awareness week. It was good to see lots of activity on social media with all manner of articles about mental health including items about support and how to get it. As an anxiety sufferer, I was really interested in what I read and have shared a few here.
It’s all about the words
My week started with a piece by Natalie Trice in which she describes the symptoms of anxiety and how it makes you feel and how it can disable you for a time. She explains that ‘anxiety’ can feel like failure and reassures her reader that being anxious is not as uncommon as you might think.
The list of suggested support includes simple things like going for a walk, meditating, crying and talking. Above all, it stresses the fact that, especially nowadays, ‘Anxiety isn’t a dirty word’
…but what do you say
…if someone tells you they are feeling down? Do we try to cheer them up? Tell them to pull themselves together? I was once told that if someone said that you should ask where the handles are to do it!
We can feel very awkward, faced with someone else’s poor mental health. We know about plasters and medicine for cuts and bruises and we can see those but how do you go about diagnosing something you can’t see? We have been brought up to fear the unknown. Just think about the films and dramas that have been made which depict sufferers as totally mad and dangerous. It is the element of danger that brings the fear I think.
The wonderful Ruby Wax, who like many of the comedians who make us laugh is a sufferer of depression herself, has hit upon a great idea. Let’s get folks together who are not feeling too good and provide a safe but lovely space where they can sit and chat and share. That joint healing that so often has a magical quality that no medicine can provide.
Not stressed but frazzled
She has opened up a Frazzle Cafe. This is a space where those who are feeling a bit on edge, or maybe worrying about a loved one or just simply want to share their concerns can meet, have coffee (and jammie dodgers!) and get some peer support in a safe environment.
By using Frazzled rather than Stressed, Ruby hopes that the stigma attached to mental health, which has kept it in the shadows for far too long, can be brought out into the open.
If it gets too much
Sadly, the support that many need may not be there and they find themselves at the very edge where suicide seems like the only option. Although I have felt desperate in the past I am so thankful that I have never got to that point. For those that do, the Maytree Suicide Sanctuary is just that and it offers the skilled support needed at these dark times. The house is not like a hospital. There are no wards and starched uniforms and those who attend are guest not patients. It offers that link between the work that an organisation like the Samaritans provide with its telephone support and hospitalisation.
Moving to self-help
Someone who has benefitted from the support the Maytree provides is my dear friend Pooky. She has suffered from depression and suicidal thoughts but has found a way to ease the pain. She writes poetry. I have been a fan of her daily poems which follow her life as a mum, a wife and her many roles within mental health including an ambassador for the PSHE Association. Her poems reflect her state of mind and reading them, you can track how she is coping and what sort of day she has had. They provide a window into the journey that she and her family take every day and the poems are now available in a book. It may provide some solace for you in those ‘not stressed but frazzled’ times. Just click the picture for the link
Modern life is fast, busy and often chaotic. We can feel all at sea as we try to keep up. We may find that some days we do feel frazzled. Do take care that you don’t move into being stressed and depressed. There are lots of ways you can get support. Just ask!
Can you relate to any of this? What was your solution?