Monday, 16 May 2016

Mental Health Awareness Week: Top Relationships for Me


From the 16th until the 22nd of May, it is Mental Health Awareness week. 

Mental Health Awareness Week is about recognising the different aspects of life which affect your mental health (for better or for worse), thanking those who support you and encouraging others to get help. This year, there will be a specific focus on relationships, in recognition of the fact that having healthy, and supportive relationships can reduce the risk of ill mental health. The Week is a celebration of all of those relationships (from your family, to a colleague, to your pet, to your GP!) that add to our wellbeing, and protect and sustain our mental health. By taking notice of the connections that make you feel safe and supported, it is hoped that many will join in the campaign to ensure that decision makers address the current barriers that prevent people from forming such important relationships.

#1
Name: Diane Wilson

Why have you chosen this person? I wouldn't be here without her
Your relationship e.g. Mum, Cousin, friend, partner etc. : Mum and Daughter
How long have you known one another? All my life!
How did you first meet? In a bit of an awkward situation...!!
List three highlights from your relationship so far.
1. When I passed all of my GCSE's against all of the odds! My Mum supported me through all of the complications and set-backs (biggest understatement EVER!) that surrounded my exams. And I'll never forget running in to her work and telling her I passed them all; she picked me up and swung me round, and then took me all the way round her work so she could tell absolutely everyone. It's one of two of the proudest moments in my life.
2. The second highlight is actually the second most proudest moment of my life; my celebratory event for reaching over 100k readers on I'm NOT Disordered. My Mum was a massive help in organising it and setting everything up; and hearing her speech about me, my recovery, and the success of my blog, was incredible. My Mum was there from start to finish; from being given flowers on the morning of the event to then sharing a bedroom at the event venue (a Hotel!) afterwards and staying up late just gushing about how incredible it all was and looking at everyone's photos.
3. This isn't exactly a specific moment, but a series of moments. All of the small victories we've shared. The day I was discharged from hospital and moved into my own home. The day Dolly came home. Every time that I've been offered an amazing opportunity and automatically call Mum.
Has there been any low or difficult moments in your relationship? If yes, how have these been overcome? Obviously, the years spent with me hallucinating, self-harming and attempting suicide, were hard on our relationship. No; not hard... Challenging? No... It was life changing. For both of us as separate people and for both of us as Mum and Daughter. In the beginning, my Mum was at a loss as to why I was doing the things I did. Once I finally told someone about the abuse, that was a whole other journey for us. But, we've made it! Being so far away from Mum for so long (in the psychiatric Hospital around 300miles from home for over 2 years) helped me to appreciate her so much more, and to properly enjoy our time together. These days, we talk a million times a day, send each other photos, and see one another as often as we can. I love my Mum. I have always loved my Mum. And I always will.
Do you have any differences of opinion, views or beliefs? If yes, what are they? I think our biggest difference is that my Mum is a very private person; she doesn't share her business with many people. I completely understand her need for privacy, and to a degree, I do have some similarities in that there are certain aspects of my life that I don't disclose on social media, or discuss on I'm NOT Disordered. But there are also things that I might mention on my blog, or on social media and my Mum wouldn't have done. Still, though, she appreciates and respects my opinion on privacy and knows that disclosing some personal details, has contributed to helping others.  
List three things you have in common. 
1. Our love for cats!
2. Our advocating of honesty and trust.
3. A bit of a twisted sense of humour!
Is there anything you're looking forward to with this person? Yes, we have lots of travel and trips planned!
Describe this person with one word. Inspirational.
Write one sentence of something you would like to say to this person. I can't - there never seems to be enough words to do justice for my love, respect and gratitude towards my Mum.

#2
Name: Dolly

Why have you chosen this person? She's who I share my home with. She's there when no one else can be.
Your relationship e.g. Mum, Cousin, friend, partner etc. : She's my pet. And my bestfriend. And my family.
How long have you known one another? Since November 22nd 2014.
How did you first meet? I found Dolly on a website called Pets4Homes; I was searching through kittens for sale nearby. When we actually met (November 22nd) one of the hospital staff drove me and my Mum to see her.
What was your first thought/opinion on this person? 'Oh my God! She's so cute! I want her!'
Has this changed? She's still so cute. But I have her now.
List three highlights from your relationship so far.
1. Obviously, the day she first came home and looked absolutely tiny as she explored. And if I went into another room and she hadn't seen, she'd sit and cry until I came to her!
2. Her first Christmas in 2014! She loved the tree. And she was still only three months old so she was playful and excitable like a child! I have this photo that my Mum took on Boxing Day and I'd fallen asleep on the settee and Dolly was just lying flat out next to me! 
3. The little things are very special. Like, seeing her after we've been apart for a while, seeing how she is completely loving towards me even when visitors are here; she'll hiss at them and I'll call her name and she'll come trotting over squeaking (she doesn't meow) and rub herself against me. Cuddling her is the one time that I use mindfulness skills by completely focusing on the feel of her fur on my hand (she's longhaired!). And the moments when I look at her and I'm reminded that all of the hard work I've put in to get to where I am today, was worth it.  
Has there been any low or difficult moments in your relationship? If yes, how have these been overcome? When I went to collect Dolly from the Vets after she was spayed, they told me that she'd been really aggressive and she was brought through in a cage covered by a blanket. They warned me to be careful but once I opened the cage and she saw it was me, she came running into my arms, snuggled in and started purring; the nurses said she was like a completely different cat. Since that admission, she has never been the same. She has very anxious and restless moments and the worst is that she's aggressive with visitors. She was always so friendly and now she's actually hurt my friends and one of my support workers. It's embarrassing and awkward; but whilst I was worrying and considering getting her help, everyone told me she was just being protective. But I knew. And I was right. She was diagnosed with an Anxiety Disorder (yes you can laugh but not for long) and I've now bought her everything available to help her and she's now booked in with a pet Behaviour Therapist. It's hard to see her get upset; and to worry about having friends over because it'll upset her, but it's also encouraged me to believe that I do know what is best for Dolly and I do make the right decisions for her; I'm a good Mum!
Do you have any differences of opinion, views or beliefs? If yes, what are they? I know I wrote these questions but when I did, I didn't think of filling them in about Dolly! Although, I'm pretty sure that she believes it's ok to wee on my bed - which I disagree with.
List three things you have in common.
1. Long hair?! And we love having it brushed?!
2. We love each other. And I think it's safe to say that we're each other's world.
3. We like our food!
Is there anything you're looking forward to with this person? I love the thought that because cats can live so long, the chances are that Dolly will be with me when I meet someone, when I get married and especially; when I have children.
Describe this person with one word. Forever.
Write one sentence of something you would like to say to this person. I will do anything to make you better. And you will get better.