All that I am, all that I ever was…

I am more than my mental health. I am more than my homelessness. I am more than any one aspect of me. I am Addy. And this is…

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Day 25: What is your opinion on forced/coercion in mental health treatment?

The 30 Days of Mental Illness Awareness Challenge continues, with:
What is your opinion on forced/coercion in mental health treatment

Perhaps my view of this would be different had I ever been the victim of forced treatment for my mental health issues, but I’m not a strong supporter of coercive measures when it comes to mental health. In fact, the only times I could understand its necessity would be if a person was a serious danger to other people or that they are so unwell (i.e. suicidal, psychotic, delusional) they are unable to make their own rational decisions.

I know there have been times during my life when I wish a mental health agency, psychiatrist or doctor had forced hospitalization on me (e.g. my suicide attempts in 2007 and 2008 spring to mind, as do numerous periods of psychosis). If such an action had been made, although I would have vehemently hated it at the time, it’s possible that such hospitalization would have saved me a lot of pain and distress. But then, it’s equally possible that it would have caused more pain and distress.

As for the forced help from a friend/family member, although it can be difficult to watch someone you care about spiral out of control, sometimes all you can do is wait for them to realise they need help, for forcing it upon them may push them further away and worsen the situation.

After all, the saying ‘you can’t help someone who doesn’t want to be helped’ is a classic for a reason.

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Loneliness: Bad For Your Physical And Mental Health?

The Lonely Fishing Hut

Image by Stuck in Customs via Flickr

The headline took me by such tremendous surprise I nearly dropped my sausage roll. At first I thought I was dreaming, perhaps a hallucination (I’m prone to those from time to time), but nope, there it was. After all these years proclaiming the same thing to an unbelieving world there was finally some scientific proof to back-up my belief.

“Loneliness often relates to a lack of support and acceptance within a social context. Removal of social support is almost always to the detriment of our mental and physical health.

It has been shown that loneliness makes it harder to regulate behaviour, rendering people more likely to drink excessive quantities of alcohol, have unhealthier diets, or take less exercise. There is also evidence that loneliness adversely affects the immune and cardiovascular systems, while psychiatric research has demonstrated links to stress and depression.”

Read the complete article at The Independent

Being lonely is detrimental to your health. According to the study it’s as comparable as excessive smoking and alcohol. Woohoo! I finally have a valid scientific reason for my declining physical and mental health! Man, I can’t begin to tell you how nice that feels.

So if loneliness is as unhealthy as this study and I believe to normal ‘housed’ people, how much more damaging do you think it is to the homeless? To the millions of people who have no face-to-face social contact whatsoever?

My mood over the last few days has taken a swing toward the feral. With each passing day it gets worse, because which each passing day the calendar ticks closer to 11 October 2010 – the three-year anniversary of the day I should have died.

If I actually had something in my life this anniversary would be something to sing about but with nothing to my name but a train-wreck of a life and an habitual skill of upsetting everyone I speak/email/tweet to, this anniversary just makes me feel even lonelier than I know I always am.

We all have days that are hard to get through. Days where memories creep back to haunt us, but most have friends who can be with them through these difficult times. Homeless people quite often don’t, they must deal with the hardness of their daily life as well as the trauma of the memories of times past.

With World Homeless Day just around the corner, spare a thought for the lonely men, women and children whose lives are played out on the streets, alleys and parks around you. People who may have little support and are trying to deal with life’s hurdles and heartbreak without the support you may receive from friends, lovers or family.

Would it be so hard to ask if they were ok?