MP's stand up in parliament

The news has really made me think, with some very brave MP's admiting to the 'taboo' of having mental health conditions. bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-...

Braver than I am...and yet admitting they do not know how it will affect their careers. If they feel this way, what hope do the rest of us have. I have already lost my job...something i consider to be the result of stress due to my OCD and anxiety impacting on my workplace.

Whilst I love volunteering, and get to do a similar job that way - nature rserve wardening - I miss the responsibility and crave the social status I feel having paid employment gives you. But yet wonder if anyone will ever employ me again?....

My OCD has improved by using CBT techniques. like Charles Walker, MP I operate in fours. I have to check everything a 'multiple of four' number of times, i.e. I check my front door is locked between 32 and 80 times (but always a number which is a multiple of four) when I leave the house or go to bed. This for me is a HUGE improvement, as in Decemer 2011 I was checking it 632 times...you can just consider how early I had to leave to ensure I wasn't late for things like work! - on top of similar checks of taps, lights, electric sockets, oven, internal doors, etc. And if I lost count I had to start again, but I had to allow enough time in case this happened due to my anxiety over being late. My OCD was debilitating, totally controlled my life.

I found self-help CBT guides really hard to deal with because they talked about examples of people doing things 16 times at a maximum, and my issues seemed so far beyond this. But with the help of a conigtive behavioural therapist, I came to see that the same techniques could still work for me.

Meanwhile my sister has a physical illness, something visible to everyone. She gets the support she needs, and when she complains about pain everyone is sympathic. Often I wish my conditions were physical...so much easier to explain, excepted by society, and understood. Instead even some friends and family I have told avoid the subject totally, whilst others say at least your not physically ill like your sister as if that makes things OK, and even my Mum regularly tells me I don't feel pain...but I do its just emotional pain all wrapped up inside!

My dad is my rock and without him I'd be lost, yet even he finds it hard to understand and deal with my mental illness, and admits he thinks its worst in a way because its not as obviously or accepted as my sister's illness. That he can find it so hard I think is a reflection of how society needs to change and the 'taboo' around mental health needs to be lifted!

So I fully support and am grateful to the MP's for there stand in parliament. But I do wonder how they are feeling 'after the event' and hope that they are not filled with anxiety and depression...they are brave people and I only hope society will take notice.

Final thought, it's amazing to think one in four people suffer but because its such a 'taboo' subject most do so feeling alone.

6 Replies

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  • Hi,

    Until joining this site a couple of weeks ago I have felt so alone for quite a long time, I have had Anxiety disorder for the last 4 years, but I have also Bipolar II, which I was diagnosed with quite a few years ago (not connected with the anxiety). I have all but come to terms with having bipolar what I cannot come to terms with yet is that it has to be (MY DIRTY LITTLE SECRET!!) because of some people in society who cannot accept people like us who have these disorders are only human and not monsters, mad etc!! unfortunatley we are not well, like you it really annoys me that because we all have a condition that cannot be phsyically seen by people anything to do with the brain seems to scare the hell out of people. I would challenge anyone to define the word mad, how the hell would any of us know if we had gone mad at least having Bipolar I have a great big certificate that says "I am not mad" can these ignoranous people prove that. My mum always quotes...Their go I but for the grace of god........ and my nan always tell me to "not give a cows udder about what someone thinks of me) not sure where she got that saying from but at least it makes me smile. I hope one day just like you society will listen untill then while I live my everyday life I have a secret or two and only when I am at home and on this site I can actually be me. Thank you so much for your blog Arctictern x

  • Thank you Seashell18, nice to know my hopes are shared. x

  • Very good Blog topic. I've thought about the question of meantal illness and how society perceives it. There's the old-fashioned stereotytpe of lunatic asylums filled with shuffling people who need to be restrained at times. I think that society has moved away from that perception - at least. That moved on to 'Mental Illness is for people who are psychos. Dangerous - murderers etc'. That still pervades, yet in-roads are being made to show that mental illness is not necessarily about 'people hell-bent on harming others'. For example, anorexia has long been recoginsed as a very lonely illness of a very docile nature. OCD usually receives sympathetic acknowledgement. 'That must be so awful....'. What I think happens is that people do not want to be 'bothered' with mental illness. To me, it's as if society considers it a drain on resources and that people should sort their own heads out. With this 'message' being sent out, sufferers will tend to hide their illness. And this is where a big problem lies.....

    At my work place, there have been a couple of people off for extended periods with mental health problems (Depression/other). Interestingly, nobody chose to critisize or denigrate the person or their illness. All employees were more *concerned* about how they were (getting better?) and welcomed them back with a smile and I did not detect one single suggestion of opposition to those people.

    BUT - when it comes to the question of me being off sick with a mental health issue - I'm convinced that they'd all be talking about me in a shameful way and that my boss would hot-foot it to HR to find out how to get rid of me.

    I'm not saying that there isn't prejudice against people with mental health problems, but rather that people with mental health problems *feel* that there is (rightly or wrongly) and that what needs to be addressed is that people who have mental health problems need to be encouraged to speak about it - and receive help. I doubt that there are many people in the country today pointing an accusing finger at those MPs who bravely stood up yesterday. Quite the opposite.

    Here...... we can speak freely.... and do. Shows there is a need to speak.

  • Thank you for you comments Meerkatz.

    I'm glad your company seem to be sympathic to mental health issues, and that you have enough self awarness to see you concerns about yourself maybe unfounded.

    But in my case the response was to "hot foot it to HR".

    Things may have improved by there is still a way to go before I believe having a mental health condition will be fully socially acceptable. There is still prejudice against mental illness, and I believe it mainly stems from a lack of understanding or mis-understanding - and the fact it is a 'taboo' subject means suffers find it hard to speak freely and openly.

  • Hi, as much as I tend to agree with some of what you have said. I have to say that from first being diagnosed with Bipolar I have had first hand experiences of prejudice, some even coming from acquaintances or the odd person I classed as a close friend. I was also cruelly pushed out of a work place and after filling in a application form to join a martial arts class I entered yes to the question( "do you have a mental health condition") so the instructor asked me what I had and I told him Bipolar and if that was ok and he replied "as long as you don,t bring an axe with you to the lessons and laughed". I had not long been diagnosed so was still reeling from that, let alone trying to figure out why someone would think I would carry an axe around with me and potentially use it on someone. I understand your point about we need to speak more freely about it but after experiencing some of that prejudice it pushes you underground to keep quiet and no I do not believe that everyone thinks that way x

    P.s times have moved on but I wish it would be quicker!!

  • what I think is very sad is that it is a taboo to mention . When you consider what some MPs have got up to including fraud, adultry, lying and assult but to mention you might have a mental health problem wow thats just not the thing to do.

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