In our weekly spot where we chat about mental health and wellbeing, a few thoughts on giving ourselves a release valve.
It’s Wednesday, it’s a funny old world, and we’re up for a natter. How you doing today?
I’m aware it’s been a bit sombre in these articles recently, in part driven by me having to process a bit of life stuff. The stuff that comes along, chucking bangers and banana skins in our path, leaving great big craters for us to trip in and bloody our knees.
It’s been a bit of a year. I’m imagining that’s reflected across so many households worldwide, changing, adjusting, moving on. I’m not unique.
But equally, I am an individual, and we all have different ways to cope when the craters start getting a bit deep. I’ve been struggling to get my chin over the pit edge following the news a family member has a brutal medical diagnosis. I’m now a carer.
It’s an odd word, carer. If we have empathy, then we are a carer regardless of our personal circumstances. But switch it from an adjective to a noun, and it’s something else entirely. It’s a world of responsibility, deadlines, maintaining positivity in the face of huge sadness, practical solutions to personal problems. And so on.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed. Words, thoughts, tasks go circling in my head. Lists left undone. Trying to negotiate the tricky middle ground of the needs of the cared for against that of outside parties and occasional family members who do not perhaps have the most altruistic motivations in mind. Add minefield to my crater makers.
This week I took what my mind has labelled a sweet escape (along with giving me the Gwen Stefani earworm to match). I needed time out. It’s been 15 months since I was in a bookshop. Time when I couldn’t sniff the new print scent, natter with enthusiastic booksellers. Browse with impunity. Leave with bank balance and heart considerably lighter.
Yup, I went shopping. My first unessential shopping trip since March 2020. It was glorious. I stayed local, visited a new bookshop that’s been tickling my subconsciousness. I’d forgotten how much I love a good bookshop rummage.
I took two hours out of the task list, had a walk, admired the cherry blossom in the church yard, spoke to people I’m not related too. I let go, for a bit. Created my own sweet escape.
Walking home, it was like I was walking on air. Something had lifted; the weight of worry that I’ve been carrying for months was for a time a little soothed. It doesn’t solve my problems, but it did give me respite.
I’ve been observing people all month, braving the north seafront air, blankets wrapped round their heads enjoying a pint, and I recognise that look, that need to be stepping out of the past 15 months and let everything lighten for a moment. I’m not at the pub and pint stage yet, but I get it. Buying two new books made me giddy.
How are you all doing? Have you found a way to lift your own chins over the crater edge, to stop your knees scuffing on the tarmac? Doesn’t need to be pints or shopping, it could be getting back to the gym, meeting your mates, or hugging your loved ones. Whatever it is, I hope you find a way to make your own sweet escape.
Take care and thanks for reading.
PS. I’m aware not everything can be cured by a trot out in the fresh air or a spending splurge, and not everyone can do these things for monetary or health reasons. For anyone struggling right now, please do consider reaching out for support. Some helpful contacts are listed below.
In an emergency, life threatening situation only, call 999 immediately. 24hrs a day every day.
For urgent but none emergency medical attention call 111 (or 0845 46 47 in certain areas of Wales.) 24hrs a day every day.
For your local crisis team contact 111 at any time of day and ask for their details. Crisis teams are available to offer support in times of a mental health crisis. This number works in England, Wales (also call 0845 46 47) and Scotland.
Phone lines are open 9am until midnight 7 days a week (including every day over Christmas and New Year) Volunteers are waiting to listen to your worries so please don’t suffer in silence. If you are over 18 then call;
0300 1020 505
Young suicide prevention society for under 35’s
Phone: HOPElineUK 0800 068 4141 – (Mon to Fri, 10am to 5pm & 7 to 10pm. Weekends and bank holidays, 2pm to 5pm)
Child Line for any issues at all for under 16s
Phone UK and ROI 24hrs a day, 365 days a year
Text 07725 909090
Email [email protected]
Welsh language line 7pm to 11pm 7 days a week
10am to 10pm then pre recorded crisis help after this time
0844 9674848 5p per min
Youth 13 – 20
British Red Cross
0344 871 1111 Mon – Fri 8.30am – 5.30pm
Borrow a wheelchair / disability aid line
0300 456 1914 Mon – Fri 9am to 5pm
Mind Mental Health charity info line
0300 123 3393 Mon – Fri 9am to 6pm (closed 25th 26th Dec and 1st Jan and all bank holidays)
Re-Think Mental Health
0300 5000 927 10am to 2pm Mon – Fri
Email [email protected]
The Mix 13 to 25 year olds
0808 808 4994
Their crisis messenger text service provides free, 24/7 crisis support across the UK. If you’re aged 25 or under, and are experiencing any painful emotion or are in crisis, you can text MIX to 85258.
Charity providing support if you’ve been diagnosed with an anxiety condition.
Phone: 03444 775 774 (Mon to Fri, 9.30am to 5.30pm)
CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably, for men aged 15 to 35.
Phone: 0800 58 58 58 (daily, 5pm to midnight)
Men’s Health Forum
24/7 stress support for men by text, chat and email.
Charity working with people with a learning disability, their families and carers.
Phone: 0808 808 1111 (Mon to Fri, 9am to 5pm)
Beat – for people battling eating disorders.
Phone: 0808 801 0677 (adults) 12pm – 8pm Mon to Fri and Weekends 4pm – 8pm or 0808 801 0711 (for under-18s)
Cruse Bereavement Care
Phone: 0808 808 1677 (Mon to Fri, 9am to 5pm)
Advice on dealing with domestic violence.
Phone: 0808 2000 247 (24-hour helpline)
Helping men escape domestic abuse.
Phone: 01823 334244
For people affected by or at risk of sexual abuse or rape.
Phone: 01926 402 498
Switchboard LGBT+ helpline
Advice and understanding for LGBTQ+
Phone: 0300 330 0630
Email: [email protected]
Financial difficulties and debt:
The websites below offer information on where to get benefits advice and financial support.
If there are any useful resources we’ve missed, please put them in the comments. Take care all x
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