Sort of joking at a Ted x ed talk that i wanted to do a Ted talk. A very kind fellow gave me the platform to do a little more practice, on my own without the comfort of a confrence or seminar with others.
A solo gig.
It went really well to be fair. the feed back was possitive and valuable. I met some fantastic people I wouldn’t have ordinarily. I even recived an email saying some one was putting what they had learnt into practice.
120 people. I spoke some of my truths in order to lessen the feeling of isolation and loneliness to 120 people.
Instead of reading having a relaxed conversation with the Tod. I jesticulated more than expected and ended up far more relaxed than I thought I would be, though still nervous, I deliberately don’t see the audience, it’s just a blurry mass of colour until it’s Q&A time, then I can cope with seeing you wonderful people. There just wasn’t enough time to talk to everyone who approached me and run the “My Village” activity. I have a remedy for this next time.
The way people approach me is absolutely my favourite part of the day. It can be subtle and conservative, I knowing smile or it can be giddy excited “oh my goodness thank you I totally get that!” it’s the same as when I show paintings that resonate with mothers or survivors. I love that little space and connection between people with similar stories or circumstances.
The tables were turned on Friday, when I was the giddy one going up to a person having shared their lived experience. There is something beautiful in this knowing, peer support has huge potential but is not widely available safely……..yet.
Today, World Suicide Prevention Day, The Guardian Printed An article to which I gladly contributed. Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing therapy allowed me to understand why I struggled with my mental health and how deeply trauma had effected how I process information and how little authentic confidence I had. While doing EMDR I drew and painted to further process the nightmares and violent thoughts that occurred during recovery. This was my Eyes, Teeth and Vagina’s phaase. I was understandably very angry, and needed to put it somewhere safely. By this point I had a working studio, where I could paint, then walk away. Ensuring my bile didn’t spill out at home. This was during one of the worst times of my life, except now not only was I dealing with what I was living through I was FEELING as it happened. I moved out of dissociation and started feeling and learning to name it. I was most disgruntled to be honest. Dissociation is has its perks.
Doing EMDR allowed me to turn and face my truth, to own that mess. It allowed me to feel confident and incontrol, of myself and life but as a parent, allowing my child to feel confident that he was contained and safe. It was during this period that I also used my voice to ask for help. It gave me the confidence to lean into the feeling that I was enough,to be cared for and supported. This is when and how I grew #MyVillage, because I was able to be honest and present. I learnt to say out loud some of the most vulnerable sentences that I thought I would never be able to say. By saying them I was able to understand how very wrong the “normal” I had been born into was. EMDR is how I found my voice, The Compass Outreach is how I learnt to use it. Which is why I create Finding a Voice exhibitions, a cellebration and a platform for these voices. The #FAV17 Finding A Voice 2017 was about my celebration of having done the work in therapy and no longer needing intensive involvement of services. This year #FAV18 is about celebrating those voices that “get it” and other “service users” who happen to mothers and artists too. Sometimes a voice isn’t verbal.
When I become a philanthropist ( we all need a dream) I would back and fund The Compass approach, because it works, and what I learnt has stopped the behavioural loop of intergenerational trauma, priceless.
During half term the show I have been planning all year will be on here in Norwich #FAV18 a small group show by some incredible women. The show comes at parenting and mental health in a very forward approach, this year we have focused on maternal and children’s mental health and the intricacy of this is powerfully represented. Alongside the show is a set of family art workshops and Practitioners seminars, including a The psychology of Domestic abuse and a service user experience seminar.
First up 1stOctober is Anti-Bullying Day, bullying at school, work or from a narcissist has a huge impact on a persons wellbeing and can be a stepping stone to different mental health struggles. I have been a bully, a narcs flying monkey, I was bullied at various schools, older boys than girls my age. In our house, we pick apart bullying behaviour and wonder in what way that person is hurting, and discuss how what they are doing is shitty and how to avoid it or not engage. Finding ways to bolster self-esteem, and not let the bullies words be a script for your inner dialogue. Bullying can be incredibly powerful if your family culture has no emotional vocabulary which is where I was until about 3 years ago.
Emotional Intelligence Month & Dyslexia Month share October. which I find beautiful because I was bullied by my first school teachers getting called “slow coach” and “lazy bones” when age 7. Many schools later, in uni, I had full dyslexia diagnostic, turns out, I have a really poor working memory. I was stunned when asked to read a few short paragraphs and asked questions after each, how little I had retained. One of the fun bits is writing back to front when typing and writing I’ll start a word with its last letter first. or sometimes I swap the first and last letters around and don’t even notice.
Before Dynoboy was born reading occasionally to my siblings was fine, reading out loud at school filled me with dread, sweaty palms and racing pulse, unable to make sense of the word “the” it was uncomfortable for everyone when a temp teacher asked me to read aloud. However, Dynoboy loved books, as soon as he could sit up on his own he was all over them. Enjoying the interaction of being read to. The local libraries are brilliant in Norfolk, it’s there that I got over my inability to read aloud. The repetitive nature of young childrens needs meant I could read some with my eyes closed and did. There did hit a point years later when he learnt to be patient and kind, exhausted bedtime stories with smaller text and longer chapters, that sneaky word THE knotting my tongue again.
In those times I wouldn’t have been able to describe how it felt or why reading to and with loved ones was important. There was very little emotional intelligence radiating from the adults around me growing up. Difficult things where discussed by what someone had done to you, not how it or they made you feel. Events and scripts where verbalised but never emotions. WHICH is really scary come to think about it. so glad I escaped that nightmare!
31st HALOWEEEEEEN! Halloween is like Christmas for me and my siblings, we get more excited and the house is more decorated, we do more things together than we do any other time of year. My theory on why it turned out this way is pretty dark. If I feel up to it I’ll make a video telling a spooky story about a creepy little family that found happy in the strangest places. #ThisIsHalloween most likely in my insta stories. @findingavoice
Im writing because in many ways I am lucky, I have never experienced a loss caused by a death by suicide, I have experienced it’s edges. My own personal plans at age 14 and a life endangering recklessness and self harm from then till 21, then a steady depression into my 30s, my brain often shows me how it wants to die, but I have to acknowledge it and get on with something else. Like caring for Dynoboy who has from time to time had strong urges to end his own life.
Im a fulltime carer because of my child’s mental health. I live in a house with one blunt kitchen knife, razors hidden and anything that could be used as a noose I keep tabs on. This is the advice given to us from CAHMs and school, school takes the same precautionary measures. Im disclosing this because, I don’t know many people like us, which can be frustrating and lonely. This is one of the reasons I speak about social isolation and Loneliness, it sucks!
Talking about lived experience means less people feel alone.
I got through to NHS’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) by going through the GP, it took a lot of time even though it was an urgent case. Depending on your postcode the services offered will vary as will the waiting lists. I strongly urge any parent who is worried about their childs MH to seek help soon and be persistent, chase appointments and find out what is available in order to ask for it, I learnt to be pushy. For us the services and schedule offered by CHAMs wasn’t robust or flexible enough, I cannot understand why there are only a set number of appointments given to a patient, why they can not be treated until they no longer need it. (it’s lack of funding I know, mega eye roll) “Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds worldwide counting for 8% of all deaths In the UK, suicide is the leading cause of death in young people, accounting for 14% of deaths in 10-19 year olds and 21% of deaths in 20-34 year olds” Suicide by children and young people, National Confidential Inquiry
If it’s you, your child, a family member, or a friend, ignoring suicidal thoughts won’t make it go away,
but naming it won’t cause it either.
You cannot put the idea of suicide into someones head just by talking about it. It isn’t a communicable disease either. If you are worried, say it out loud. There is a lot of pressure on those with mental health problems to talk, but that can be one of the scariest things in the world. So why don’t you do the talking. By naming it, and offering a space to talk you are offering a life line, listen without judgment. If they still try, call a social services crisis team (in norfolk you call the general line for Norfolk County Council and wait to get through to the “ if you are worried about an adult/child bit). If they still try, it’s not your fault. It’s important that you’re able to be safe and supported to, look in your local area or on line for support.
You may need to call 999 or take yourself, family member, or child to A&E, it isn’t an easy choice to make but if you need help, this is how to start it going. (take snacks and drinks and a charger)
In 2016, 5,668 suicides were recorded in Great Britain. Of these, 75% were male and 25% were female.
Suicide is the most common cause of death for men aged 20-49 years in England and Wales.
This is the biggest piece of advice I can give. Go be with people, have a friend over or go to a friends house. Go for a walk with someone. To get through the summer holidays me and Dynoboy hang out with grownups that are good at regulating their emotions and making us feel safe and respected. It sounds intense, but if one of us is feeling vulnerable for a sustained period it can be a strain, if we hung out with our more unpredictable high energy friends we would both suffer from heightened anxiety.
Keep Hugging, soothe & smile
How do you feel when someone smiles at you when you walk into a room? when some one is happy to see you? it feels good, don’t be stingey! The most spectacular parenting advice given to me in crisis is “keep hugging him” it sounds simple, but esspessially as teens and if we are feeling cruddy or we have sensory overload, physical contact can be difficult, but always make it available. It it’s not something you are used to, go with it, there are good brain chemicals in hugs. So have dinner with someone kind, get them to come to you if you need. If thats not doable right away make plans. Call or msg someone, just for banter or for more if you trust them. Throw a message into an online forum or private facebook group. Pop round a neighbors for a cuppa, you don’t have to disclose the gritty. Just don’t be alone. You and your family are worth caring for, worthy of space and time in the company of others. This is why we have #MyVillage. I’ve fallen in love with twitter becasue it is there that I see the most discorse and supportive language around MH struggle. #survivourculture is a current favourite. Come join in @Findinga_Voice
great resources, information helplines, websites, messaging services and practical advice can be found