In our weekly spot where we chat about mental health and wellbeing, a few words about, well, struggling a bit.

Hello and welcome to Wednesday, and our quiet step out of the weekly hump day.

It’s fair to say that this week’s article has not been a labour of love. My writing brain appears to have been switched into a perpetual noise, with lyrics provided by Rage Against the Machine. I am not coming from a place of harmony.

I had thoughts, ideas, all noted down and ready for action. Insights to share. A celebration of words, all at my fingertips. Ready to spring from my keyboard to your screens. I sat down, fingers poised to get busy and…nothing.

Brain porridge. The dream article I’d been compiling in my lucid moments had flown away. The words in my notes were twisted, formless. Useless. Just looking at them made my eyelids twitch in irritation.

I consulted my back up list of topics. Something must strike a spark there.

Nada.

I paced, I drank coffee, I put on a stupid frock for inspiration.

The list remained as pointless as before.

I started to panic. DEADLINE ALERT! Normally I’m super responsive to deadlines. They’re the one thing that can rouse my lazy ass without fail. Words tend to burst out, not always coherently, but in some form that can be wrestled with at the editing stage.

Word stew. That’s what was happening with my article. One which I had planned to be about the strength of words. Alanis might consider it ironic. I engaged my inner She-Hulk. Skulked around the block in big boots, kicking at clumps of mud. It might have been more convincing if I didn’t have a jaunty blue pom-pom on my hat.

Back home, staring at the blank page, I dumped my original notes. Other people have said the same sentiments, in far more poetic ways than me. Decided to be honest, both with myself and with you guys.

There are some days when I’m not doing well. This is one of them. When everything I touch or attempt to achieve ends up as flat as the mud on the soles of my boots.

It struck me that I should write how I feel. Change lanes, find another track. Stop trying to write words that have nice sentiments, but don’t ring true at this point in time. Hence – hands up, sometimes words fail. We fail.

Last week I compared our bodies to cars, in need of their regular maintenance check. This week, I’m flogging the driving analogy some more, by suggesting changing lanes. Which is a bit cheeky, given I don’t actually drive.

Our minds are the same. We need to grease them, give them stimulus to keep them ticking over. Right now, with lockdown, we are in a state of paralysis to an extent. My grumpy day, my anxiety, will be echoed in homes across the world. We are not okay. But we are doing what we can to get to a better place.

Sometimes a change of scenery is good for getting over those bumps in the road. Sometimes we need to head down a new fork, see a different view. Admit that what you are trying to do isn’t working.

It may be that what you were working towards has been diverted by forces outside your control, such as furlough or redundancy. It’s very difficult to switch tracks, to look for a path through the stones and potholes that mushroom around us. A walk doesn’t solve every crisis. Sometimes, it really does just provide a nice change of view.

If you’re struggling to see round the next corner of your own road, maybe stop what you’re doing and do something else entirely. Something that you’ve been putting off. Replacing lightbulbs. Clearing out under the bed. Making an appointment to chat to the doctor about how you feel.

Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, I hope you stay well and as positive as can be. But it really is okay to admit life is crap. For that reason, I’ve included contact details for a bunch of organisations that can provide additional care, if you think you could do with some support. Take care.

Support is available from the following organisations:

In an emergency, life threatening situation only, call 999 immediately. 24hrs a day every day.

https://www.nhs.uk/…/urgent-and…/when-to-call-999/

For urgent but none emergency medical attention call 111 (or 0845 46 47 in certain areas of Wales.) 24hrs a day every day.

https://www.nhs.uk/…/urgent-and-emergency-care/nhs-111/

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.

https://www.nhs.uk/…/urgent-and-emergency-care/nhs-111/

S.O.S – Silence Of Suicide

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

www.sossilenceofsuicide.org

[email protected]

PAPYRUS

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)

Website: www.papyrus-uk.org

Child Line for any issues at all for under 16s

0800 1111

https://www.childline.org.uk

Samaritans

Phone UK and ROI 24hrs a day, 365 days a year

116 123

Text 07725 909090

Email [email protected]

Welsh language line 7pm to 11pm 7 days a week

08001640123

https://www.samaritans.org

No Panic

10am to 10pm then pre recorded crisis help after this time

0844 9674848 5p per min

Youth 13 – 20

0300 7729844

https://www.nopanic.org.uk

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

https://www.redcross.org.uk

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)

Text 86463

https://www.mind.org.uk

Re-Think Mental Health

0300 5000 927 10am to 2pm Mon – Fri

Email [email protected]

https://www.rethink.org

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.

https://www.themix.org.uk

Anxiety UK

Charity providing support if you’ve been diagnosed with an anxiety condition.

Phone: 03444 775 774 (Mon to Fri, 9.30am to 5.30pm)

Website: www.anxietyuk.org.uk

CALM

CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably, for men aged 15 to 35.

Phone: 0800 58 58 58 (daily, 5pm to midnight)

Website: www.thecalmzone.net

Men’s Health Forum

24/7 stress support for men by text, chat and email.

Website: www.menshealthforum.org.uk

Mencap

Charity working with people with a learning disability, their families and carers.

Phone: 0808 808 1111 (Mon to Fri, 9am to 5pm)

Website: www.mencap.org.uk

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)

Website: www.b-eat.co.uk

Cruse Bereavement Care

Phone: 0808 808 1677 (Mon to Fri, 9am to 5pm)

Website: www.cruse.org.uk

Refuge

Advice on dealing with domestic violence.

Phone: 0808 2000 247 (24-hour helpline)

Website: www.refuge.org.uk

ManKind

Helping men escape domestic abuse.

Phone: 01823 334244

https://www.mankind.org.uk

Safeline

For people affected by or at risk of sexual abuse or rape.

Phone: 01926 402 498

https://www.safeline.org.uk

Switchboard LGBT+ helpline

Advice and understanding for LGBTQ+

Phone: 0300 330 0630

https://switchboard.lgbt

Email: [email protected]

Financial difficulties and debt:

The websites below offer information on where to get benefits advice and financial support.

https://www.turn2us.org.uk

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/

https://www.gov.uk/browse/benefits

https://www.entitledto.co.uk

https://www.nationaldebtline.org

https://www.stepchange.org

https://capuk.org

If there are any useful resources we’ve missed, please put them in the comments. Take care all x

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