I´ve only been in hospital once. I hope never to be in hospital again. It´s not because I was sick but because of the way I was treated. I live with bipolar & back in 2005 I was in a really bad place. One day I was in a particularly bad place & I took a lot of tablets with a bottle of wine. I know a lot of people don´t understand mental illness. I´ve been shunned on many an occasion by many so called friends because I live with bipolar. Society can be very ignorant when it comes to mental illness. I hadn´t expected hospital staff to be judgmental but they were.
My partner came home to find me in a state & he took me to the local county hospital. They kept me in for three nights before releasing me. I was kept in the same clothes I was admitted in. I wasn´t allowed a wash. I wasn´t offered refreshment or food. My partner bought in things to feed & water me. He took me to the toilets to freshen me. It was as if the staff couldn´t bear to come near me. Maybe they thought bipolar (or mental illness) was catching. I don´t know what they thought but I did feel they weren´t feeling the care they should have been. If nursing staff don´t understand mental illness how can we expect society to understand or care. After all it´s said that nowadays one in four people suffer from depression or some form of mentalm illness.
Depression cripples you emotionally & there is nothing you can do about it. Depression rules your life – or the loss of it. Many of us who walk with depression are led by it to either take our own life or attempt its taking. I know – I have been there.
People love to whisper. Many people in my life not only whispered but shouted! ¨How could she do it? ¨ ¨Why is she being so selfish? ¨ These whispers do me an injustice. They don´t speak of the truth or of understanding.
Feeling down is a matter of course throughout life but depression is a form of mental illness. The sad thing is that society is afraid of mental health. It´s something that is shunned & not talked about. It frightens people; some have even suggested to me they are frightened they´ll catch it!! Physical illnesses are more acceptable. You can see a broken leg or broken arm. People are far more sympathetic & understanding to something they can see.
Forty to fifty years ago cancer was barely mentioned; hardly mentioned in daily conversation. How times have changed. Cancer is now spoken about openly. It´s a shame the same hasn´t happened with mental health. Suicides & self-harm could be greatly reduced if mental health was given the same profile as cancer is these days.
Those of us who suffer from mental health need the support & understanding of society. We need support to find out what is hurting us. We should be accepted & not shunned. We need to know we aren´t alone.
How does suffering from depression affect a person’s life? You feel as if your life has been blown apart. Everything is a struggle & you feel so helpless. It´s similar to walking in a tunnel where you are enclosed in darkness & the damp walls press against you. You feel as if normality unachievable; something you can´t pursue…. People have often told me to get a grip; get a life. But would they tell someone with a broken leg to get up & run? Of course they wouldn´t.
Depression can take many forms; there are many extremes. In most cases symptons can include extremes of emotions (depressive downs & manic euphoria), being socially isolated, recent loss, insomnia (& irregular sleep patterns), thoughts of death & feelings of helplessness.
We send cards to people who are physically unwell telling them we are thinking of them & that we are wishing them well. We often visit them & maybe take them a bunch of flowers. Why don´t we do that with people who suffer from depression? I´d love society to change its attitude but don´t think it will anytime soon.
In the meantime I´ll just go on ringing my bell whilst I call out ´unclean, unclean`…..