I give mental health services hell, I complain and I moan. I realised recently that I have been in services most of my life and maybe it is hard for me to ‘go it alone’ now. I have also had to keep in my mind that we should think ourselves seriously lucky to have any sort of mental health provisions in this country, and pills and drugs. So many people I have met have an ongoing conflict regarding medication. But realistically, if you need it and it helps you should be grateful for that respite. All drugs have side effects and health implications but if you weigh it up and the benefits outweigh the side effects (which I know can be so awful), then you have to just try and be thankful. I have spent my life coming off and on medication and I would do anything to not have to take it for various reasons but in plenty of other countries in the world I would suffer, and I probably wouldn’t have survived as long as I have. It was hard enough with that support, hospital beds, nurses, doctors, psychologists, social workers. Every day I am thankful to be alive, enjoying my life with my children and my husband. I know, inside, that I was living inches from death for so many years.
Don’t suffer needlessly.
So when I have these gripes about services or individuals (I have had so many negative experiences) I have to try not to be angry these days, because I couldn’t have got here without that help. I am a creature of quite high principles and moral standards unfortunately, I am probably a hypocrite sometimes! I thought that today I would try and praise all the people who have helped me get to this place, the best place I could be in and managing to live and love and experience joy without elation and sadness without depression.
The first thing that springs to mind while I’m sat here writing is to thank Betty and Neil for donating a new laptop so I could continue to work. It has been invaluable to me, and was such a generous gift.
Going back, I would thank Fowad, who nursed me when I was fourteen and taught me how to play pool when I was severely depressed and who I waited for to see him drive up in his banged out purple porche listening to Smashing Pumpkins full blast. He has remained a friend throughout my life and his kindness got me through some very difficult hours and days.
I thank Jos for telling me I don’t have to explain myself to anyone. That one sentence empowered me. I thank him for accepting me the way I am and for teaching me how to play the guitar and about good music. I thank him for not giving up.
I thank Beckie for getting me through the night on the worst days of my life.
Alex has been a wonderful friend and has stuck around even when I can’t have been easy to get along with. She has given me love and friendship unconditionally.
My mum has talked and listened and listened and talked. I could never apologise enough for the hell I have put her through but she remains there, faithful and strong and wise.
I thank Jade for showing me what it is to truly love someone. For all the happy memories and the courage and the bravery and the unforgettable friendship that I would go through all over again in an instant, bad things and all. I would do anything to have her back now but I accept that she is gone, and I will always love her.
I thank Elizabeth for saving my life. I thank her for being my little light at the end of the tunnel.
Luke gives me hope.
Steven. Steven is the love of my life. I cannot see life without him. I thank him for sticking it out. For telling me I’m the most beautiful woman in the world every single day, for being so devoted that I never have to question anything. For giving me this beautiful life, miles and miles away from the places I could have ended up. For making me laugh and laughing with me.
I thank Eli Regan, Tania Hershman, Susannah Rickards, David Caddy, Sara Crowley, Tom Chivers and many more for supporting my writing.
I thank Annie for being gorgeous.
I thank Darren for listening.
I thank Russ for being there during crisis.
I thank Dr. Moosa for being consistent and for trying every possible means to get me better. For patience and for genuinely caring.
And there are more. When I was having Luke someone told me that the pain is easier if you are grateful. If you say thankyou to everyone around you as they help you through your labour. I took this on and it works in everything. Being grateful isn’t weak, it’s a powerful tool to have. I’m not always grateful, nobody is all the time. But I catch myself thinking all sorts of things I don’t want in my head and remind myself to be grateful for what I’ve got and what I’ve achieved. This isn’t positivism or some claptrap advice, it’s just about taming human nature and directing your focus at something warm as opposed to something unstable. If you begin to think of all the things you are grateful for, it literally never ends…