The Gaps in Awareness

Last week was a double whammy in Mental Health Awareness with World Suicide Prevention Day on Wednesday (the 10th) and R U OK Day on Thursday (the 11th).  People were posting messages of support to their loved ones and it was great to see so many people shining a light on Mental Health.

I think it’s great that there are days devoted to Mental Health Awareness, days where it’s almost applauded to share stories of our struggles.  However I do wonder just how effective these days really are.  I’ve had a bit of reservation about R U OK Day in its simplicity for a while now and the more I thought about it, picking it apart, the less OK I felt about the whole thing.

suicideWhile on the surface I absolutely agree that the conversation needs to be started, we need to be talking about mental illness, it needs to be made less of a taboo.  I do worry about the long term good that it does.  Many of us are unequipped to deal with someone who may share with us that they are having struggles mentally.  I don’t think that they day should be scrapped all together, but I do think that more information needs to be provided.

This year R U OK Day introduced the Mateship movement and included resources on their page about how to ask the question and more importantly, how to help them once they answer.  I really think this is a great step in the right direction.  However this kind of information needs to be more readily available.  Many people aren’t aware of the help that they can access to help with any mental health issues they may be experiencing.

People are left in the dark when it comes to taking the next step.  There are massive amounts of information on the internet but it can be quite overwhelming trying to navigate this while you or a loved one are in a crisis.  Many of these resources also have limited funding and so people in need are turned away.  Rural, small towns see the worst of it.  Without transport, the mentally ill are isolated, unable to seek treatment, if there is any available.

The government needs to step up and start providing funding to the public system.  A person shouldn’t have to be in crisis in order for them to receive adequate treatment.  We are a developed country and yet the way the mentally ill are treated is still very much miles behind the eight ball.  Unless you can afford private health cover or pay out of your own pocket, then mental health treatment is very limited.  The rate of mental illness, isn’t getting less and yet the funding is being cut more and more each year.

It’s simply not enough to start the conversation.  There needs to be more than a conversation.  It’s disheartening when you finally gather enough courage to reach out for help, that you are told to go away, you aren’t sick enough, there is no place for you here, our units are filled to the brim.  Something needs to give, and I’m afraid it will continue to be the mentally ill.

Linking up with Jess for IBOT!

Addicted to the Numbers

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I must confess that I am an absolute stats addict.  It first began when I discovered that there was a statistics section on my blogger blog.  I loved to watch the numbers rise and see the weird and wonderful search terms that would land people on my blog.  Although checking stats isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

From the blogger stats, it moved onto Google Analytics.  This opened a whole different world of terms.  This was were I learned about unique views vs page views and how these were different.  Part of me wishes I had added GA from the start so that I could see the growth, but there is another part of me that is glad this preoccupation with the numbers was delayed for a little bit longer.

It’s interesting that I found a range of similar feelings to the up and down nature of the stats as when I was weighing myself daily.  My day can be either made or broken depending on that number.  In the case of the stats it’s an increase.  I know logically that there is always going to be a natural fluctuation of the stats on a daily basis.  Especially when I participate in link ups.

However, just because something is logical doesn’t mean that an anxious mind will believe it.  At the start of the year I watched in horror as my stats went lower and lower.  There didn’t seem to be less comments on my blog and I just felt completely hopeless.  It really started to have an impact on my desire to blog.  I was ready to give up, I felt like I was being left behind and there was nothing I could do about it.

It was at that moment that I realised that things had to change.  I knew from previous experience that a cold turkey *no more stats checking* ban was not going to be helpful.  I had to change the way that I approached the numbers and the way that I thought about them.  The numbers are what they are, stressing about them won’t change it.

So I set about doing things that I knew could have an impact on them.  I focused on making sure that I was doing everything I could manage to ensure that people were clicking through to my blog.  I worked on the guilt, and I put the numbers into perspective.  Breaking the numbers down really helped me because I was able to see that while the numbers weren’t improving in the way I wanted, there were parts of those stats which I was proud of.

I still check my stats daily, I have tried to cut it down to once a week, or even 2 times a week but my fear of missing out is too strong.  At the moment I am happy to work on one of the sources of anxiety (especially when working on that area has seen an increase in my stats!) because I no longer feel trapped when I see a drop in the numbers.  I use that as a place to grow, rather than become stagnant with fear.

Are you a stats addict?  Do you feel trapped by the numbers or do you make them your bitch?

Linking up with Kirsty for I must confess!

New Beginnings

She clutched her book bag close to her chest.  There seemed to be people rushing all around her, people who seemed to know more than her.  She had arrived at the train station early, she didn’t want to be late on her first day.

The voice booming from the speaker in the station offered no solace that day.  She could usually find a calmness in the predictable tones as the voice alerted commuters as each train pulled into the station.  She checked her watch again, it was still 5 minutes until the train would appear.

She looked around the station, searching for a friendly face, someone she could sit next to and maybe strike up a conversation.  She needed the distraction today.  It seemed that she had picked the wrong time of day for friendly faces.  All of the travelers had grim expressions painted on their faces, readying themselves for the start of another working day.  Oh how she longed to be one of them, to find something in common with the rat race.

The familiar voice boomed across the station letting her know that her train was approaching the platform.  She searched the faces of the commuters, looking for a face that was uncertain, thinking that helping a fellow traveler might take her mind off the anxiety of what lay ahead.  Her shoulders slumped as she noticed all of them striding confidently to the edge of the platform, forming loose lines to make it easier to board the oncoming train.

She took a deep breath and stood behind one of the groups, this was it, there was no turning back now.  Her book bag suddenly felt heavy against her shoulder.  Was she making a mistake?  Could this really be the new beginning that she needed?

Her children had urged her to sign up for a course at the local university when their father had passed away.  She knew that she needed to do something.  This was the first time in her life that she been allowed to do something on her own, she was almost giddy with the excitement of it all.  She was finally out from under his power, it was time to start from the beginning again, even if she was doing it at almost 60 years old.

Linking up with Zanni for Sunshine Sundays.

We are Family

Welcome to The Lounge!  For those who are new around here, The Lounge, is a weekly link up where the only rule is that there are no rules.  Each week on our Facebook Page a theme is announced and you can either join in or hit the link freestyle!  We also accept brand spanking new posts or ones from the vault because we know that sometimes life just gets a little too busy.

This week the theme is Family!  I’ve spend the last week and a half with my family and it’s been nice.  Mr 5 and I jumped on the train and surprised my mum with a visit just in time for her birthday!

Family means lots of different things to different people, but to me it means love.  Love for each other and love for the time we spend together.

This is our only family picture...at Mr 5's first birthday!

This is our only family picture…at Mr 5’s first birthday!

 

 

 

 

 

 

What does family mean to you?

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Bugging Me

It’s 9:50pm on a Monday night, my laptop has 57 minutes worth of power left and the cursor is mocking me…just blinking away on the computer screen.  I seem to have bloggers block, I thought I had all of this stuff down pat.  Now the ideas seem to have dried up.  So I am going to borrow an idea from Lydia of Where the Wild Things Were.  Occasionally she writes a post about things that have been on her mind called ‘Riddle me this..’.

Here are the things that have been bugging me lately:

  • Why do the people who are in charge of organising the television show line-ups put all of the good shows on one night?  Surely if they put their new show on a night when nothing else is on then they’ll get better ratings!
  • Why is it that Mr 5 will happily eat spag bog but if I dare to change the pasta he won’t touch it!?
  • Why does the dye I do myself at home last longer than the hairdresser stuff?
  • Why is it that I have trouble falling asleep at home and yet I was dead tired by 9pm all last week while I was at my mum’s house?
  • Why hasn’t someone invented the ability to teleport yet?  Seriously, I have an almost 8 hour bus ride to get home on Wednesday and I would really appreciate being able to give that miss.
  • Why does absence make the heart grow fonder?
  • I’m currently watching an early episode of The Mentalist..how is it that Jane and Lisbon look like they haven’t aged at all, despite the show now being in its 6th season?  Hell..none of the actors look like they’ve aged..I want to know what serum they’re all taking.
  • Why does the last 10% of battery always drain the fastest?
  • Why does Facebook always glitch at the start of the month?  Really, it’s been bugging me for a while now.

What’s been bugging you lately?

Linking up with Jess for IBOT.