Identity, Social Justice Warriors and a Need to be Different

If anyone reads this, I would first like to add that some of my opinions expressed may be somewhat controversial. These are my opinions:

The word identity has developed in meaning and variety over the past years; once predominantly about who you are and where you come from has now evolved more upon sexuality and gender identity. People’s personal identity is important to them, no matter what that means. It is important to them, whether it is focused upon their gender, religion, personality or country of origin. Anything that may have been misinterpreted or confused can cause offence. For a lot of groups of  minorities it took a significantly long time for them to gain the respect that they deserve.

Now, I do not wish to come across like a ‘social justice warrior’ as people like to nickname them, I simply believe that this is the way society has evolved and everyone is becoming increasingly easily offended. However, getting something wrong can feel upsetting to a person. This is not either person’s fault, but it is so easy to change. It is an easy solve – correct the person, resolve the issue. There is no reason for a person to go around and spread any sort of hate or extremist views due to miscommunication. People can be who they are, have their own opinion and express it if they wish. It can cause healthy discussions, but it can also cause hate crimes. If you are expressing controversial views, have a mind set that not everyone is going to agree with you. It should not cause any sort of harm towards you, but if it does – it was not your fault.

The more people in the world spreading awareness of different groups of people, the more understanding people will have and therefore less people will feel the need to cause a large amount of upset. If the world had only one type of person, one type of identity there would still be disagreements and arguments. Humans feel a requirement place people in a hierarchy and if there is no hierarchy there is no class, no order. Without different opinions and different ways of thinking there would be no education and governments and societies simply wouldn’t function, despite how derogatory having a class system can be. Where is the proof that communism has ever fully worked with no altercations? Nowhere.

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How Hospital Damages You

A lot of people who have mental health struggles have to be admitted into a facility to aid them in their recovery; whether that is inpatient or outpatient, hospitals or other units. As the title of this post suggests, this is about hospitals specifically and how it can deeply affect and negatively impact a patient during and after their admission.

Now, it wasn’t all negative over my two year inpatient experience – I made friends, we had a laugh, we were supported as a group and individually and learnt many coping mechanisms to aid me in my recovery. Some of the things I learnt, I would have never even thought of out in the community. As a group in hospital, the patients managed to support each other in both their highs and lows; celebrating the good and helping each other through the bad. Hospital opened my eyes to a variety of different problems people had that I had never considered before and gave me an insight into why people get to the point they are at. We messed around as rowdy teenagers, attended and kept up with education and had all kinds of themed activities (including a party for my eighteenth birthday this year).

On the other hand, there is a significantly larger amount of negative experiences. From being beaten up, seeing friends in distress to day after day of alarms – there is a shocking amount of trauma and damage frequently caused by psychiatric wards and hospitals; these places are meant to be places of safety and recovery. Sometimes it simply didn’t feel that way. For me, one of the hardest things was watching friends relapse, this can happen in the community, but in hospital there is no means of escape and you are constantly watching people’s conditions deteriorating.

My personal experience with these units was a long one, meaning I witnessed a big variety of different types of incidents and people struggling. I met a lot of people who were new to living in a facility like that and also many that were new to working in that kind of place, which could be very difficult on them. Time and time again, I saw how mental health affects the individual, their families, the staff, therapists and the doctors. There’s something about seeing all the sides of the service that make you start to truly understand how mental health isn’t that much different than physical, long-term illness.

There are many different ways that mental health is managed in a hospital setting. Firstly there is coping strategies of all different kinds, and therapy; then it becomes more of a physical treatment: medication (regular and PRN – as required medication), IM (intramuscular injections), restraint.

Agreement to being in hospital is called an ‘voluntary admission’, meaning you have chose to come in. If somebody believes you do not have the capacity to accept treatment or you are refusing although you need to be treated, you can be detained under the Mental Health Act under a variety of different ‘sections’. These can range from a matter of hours to months and, in some cases, years. If you are involuntary, in the UK, you do not have to accept any part of the treatment you do not want to – including medication – but being on a section results in a lack of choice and you can be forced to take medication (through IM injections) and can be restrained if you are at serious risk of hurting yourself or others.

One of the main issues with hospitals, I believe, is that putting many people with similar problems in a small space where they not be allowed to leave of their own will, can create a lot of anger and can make people result to dangerous behaviours. The issue is that patients learn from each other. They may see or hear what another person does as a self harming behaviour and start to do it themselves. People may set themselves back in their recovery because they want to ‘fit in’, which is extremely dangerous in a hospital setting. Being around peers, it can feel like you’re living in a school or with your best friends. People focus on each other, when at this time in their life they need to concentrate on themselves.

Some things I have seen are things I will never be able to ‘unsee’.

Perfection

My Thoughts on an Imaginary Concept

From a young age we are taught many words, and at a little later stage we are taught many more. One word we are taught from a shockingly young age is: ‘Perfect’. On reflection, I find it hard to understand why such a word would be told to or even be well understood by very young children. Teaching a word such as perfect to a young child, whose comprehension is quickly developing could be detrimental to their entire thought processes. Children are free spirits, yet having work in their books at school or something they do described as being ‘perfect’ by a teacher, parent or peer can build a need for a child to always achieve this ‘perfect’ work. Perfect, by what these children are taught is to have no errors or mistakes, a flawless piece of work, for example. As the child grows and develops their school work and other activities in life because increasingly challenging, making it therefore more and more difficult to achieve perfection. People are also taught (or otherwise shown) that being ‘perfect’ is desirable and something to look to be – this can be so damaging.

This way of thinking and teaching can heavily impact a person’s mentality and self-esteem, which can also lead to mental health complications further down the line. It makes young people compare themselves to others, it makes them judge themselves and the most damaging part of all is that it can make people want to change themselves to achieve what they are told is desirable or ‘perfect’. Once it becomes harder to attain perfection as you progress through life, it can also be a lot more challenging to maintain this status.

More of a Personal Thought:

As with most similar things in life, you have to remember that the idea of perfection is a social construct – made to place people in boxes and put them under pressure to act a certain way; often causing upset and anxiety. I would like to reiterate that the importance of believing in yourself and treating yourself as an individual, rather than feeling the need to conform to societies rules and expectations of people (unless, of course, it is for a legal reason). People often use the expression ‘Nobody’s perfect’, but how often do you believe it? Everyone has their flaws and learning to accept them and live with them is a major importance in life. You should never be afraid of being different.

Overall, I believe that nobody should be placed under scrutiny due to feeling required by themselves or another to be seen as perfect or to conform to certain standards – in any situation. Additionally, I don’t think this word should be used as a goal for anyone to achieve, nor should young children and teenagers have this idea put into their heads. They should be their own people with no fear of seeming different.

Nobody is the same and nobody is perfect!

Colours Fading to Grey

What if one day there was a power cut and the clouds were grey, you were then plunged into a world of grey and gloom and it was pouring with rain. It is colourless and lifeless, seemingly hopeless. You walk every day in search of a source for the darkness, to solve your dilemma. But when you think you’ve reached the answer, all you find is black paint and handfuls of stardust. Where is the bright blue sky? Where are the flowers, the grass, the rainbows? The colours have gone. People walk with a frown and even the happy puppies have lost their playful spark. The birds no longer sing. The air is still; not calm, but grieving over what the world once was… No more.

This is what the world can look like in the eyes of a person with mental health difficulties. The light, the colour, the happiness from the world has been drained; your life personally has been drained and the world you once knew fades far from your view. There is a heartbreaking uncertainty of the future. Your mind is plunged into negative thoughts, sadness, loneliness and overbearing anxiety. Whenever anyone attempts to light up your dark world, your illness extinguishes it.

It can feel like there is no way of moving forward and you are doomed to remain in a life of utter darkness and despair. It isn’t as though you can snap your fingers and rise out of bed one day magically cured, but nor is it the end. Nobody is going to be cursed to live their life colourless, lonely and sad. Depression is not a ‘terminal’ illness and will not die with you. It will not kill you. However, it can alter a person’s perception and quality of life as a whole. Death as a result of a person struggling with their thoughts is a choice that the person makes. This is not to say that they are in complete control all of the time. It requires a lot of thought, though. The thoughts and urges are not something a person controls or chooses to have, but the consequential acts people may take is a different matter entirely. Desperation and urges are not a choice a person makes. People don’t sit down one day and go: “I’m going to have suicidal thoughts today”. It can feel like too much a lot of the time, this is what drives people with mental health difficulties to their very last, ultimate option. It is not the Be All and End All.

I will leave you with a thought. Something that a very wise person once told me, a quote she had read somewhere that she (and I) now carries through her life:

10% is what life throws at us, 90% is how we react to it…

Take that with you.

 

Thus Far Untitled; A Poem

It was loud,
Or was it silent?
I’m not proud,
I’m not violent.
It doesn’t hurt,
But it’s not nice.
You say, “It has no worth”
And I’ll have to pay the price.
It was dark,
But it seemed so bright!
You say it’s a lark,
I clenched my fist tight…
I feel so alone,
Even with your hand in mine,
Cold as bone,
But I said I was ‘fine’!
I’m so cold,
But my head is hot!
I’m not very old,
Too young I am not!
It’s my decision,
To use this noose,
I use exact precision,
So nothing is loose,
It is my choice,
To commit suicide,
I will use my voice,
But there will be no pride.
I seem so excited,
But I feel so down,
I’ll never be united,
Socially, I drown.
I know you care,
I listened to you,
Really, I swear.
You can’t fix me with glue,
Now it’s tough,
I won’t fail,
I’ve had enough,
With perseverance I shall prevail.

Memory Hoarding

Memories are intangible, so that poses a question: how could you be hoarding them? Well, you don’t have to be holding something or feel it touching you to know that it is there; some things in life you are never going to be able to see or touch – it will not have a physical presence in your life.

I once read the book ‘On the Other Side‘ (by Carrie Hope Fletcher), which centres around a woman who dies and returns to the body of her twenty-seven year old self. The catch is that before she can enter her personalised heaven, she has to let go of her emotional or mental baggage that burdens her; as when she first attempts to get through the door, she is told that she is ‘too heavy’. Now, despite the concept being fictitious and personally not believing in any sort of afterlife, it got me thinking…

Every memory I regard as being ‘important’ to me – positive or not – will stay with me. This will not be a ‘stay with me’ as a short space of time or coming up every once in a while, they are a constant presence, disrupting my day to day thoughts and often the way in which I react to a variety of different situations.

Keeping memories hidden and inside hurts. This is difficult when particular memories arise. These can be triggered by anything; from the weather, certain songs to drives in the car. Memories are painful to me, whether they are positive or negative. The past is something I am constantly finding myself unintentionally dwelling on and every person does it. Do they have their lives disrupted and affected by the fear of accidentally concentrating on the past?

Of course, this could all be something that I experience because of my mental health struggles and has nothing to do with any sort of damaging life experiences I may have had. But I will leave this post with a last, single question:

People often smile on the thought of happy times,

Why can’t I do that?

 

Next Chapter

Hello, this is your newest weirdo to be intrigued by!

So here is my new blog, enjoy if you can. I am kidding, YOU WILL ENJOY! Sorry for yelling, I’m a little nervous about starting a new blog, after my last one stopped with a post with the title ‘Stopping‘ (go figure). Here I am, trying to claw back some sense of what is real, what is right and what is ‘normal’; oh wait, nothing is normal. (I will address this subject in future post.)

Now for what you will hope (or not hope) to expect to see in this blog, some dark, some light, some day some night:

  • Life updates
  • Likes and interests
  • Book reviews (when I get back into it properly)
  • Film reviews
  • Essays about many different life ‘things’ I have an opinion on
  • Working through memories and life problems
  • My poetry and stories
  • Mental health updates and sharing personal stories.
  • And a whole load of Harry Potter references

I would like to add that I have not created this blog to gain followers, popularity or fame. My true reason, I would say, is to work through the stuff in my head. If anything I say or add to, or any advice I may give helps anyone at all it will be a bonus and so would having followers – despite not necessarily creating a blog for that purpose, it is definitely nice to think that someone somewhere is reading…

A final addition to this strange introduction, is that I have decided that I am only going to use photos I have taken (and if I would ever need to use an image to demonstrate something, I will add that it isn’t mine. If I can find the original creator(s), then credit where credit is due).

I hope you found this somewhat interesting, however on inspection this is a bit of a boring introduction, so I will add a picture of my dog to add a little interest:

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Yes, she poses like that all the time!

Kian. J.