Welcome to the blog for Free Your Mind mental health anti-stigma campaign

This is the blog for the Free Your Mind campaign which aims to battle stigma towards mental illness through the use of music, art, film, and culture.
The blog consists of informative and, hopefully, entertaining articles/posts.
Enjoy! :-)

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

New Poetry!

Eleven new poems have been added to the Free Your Mind 'Creative Bank'

The first new entry is a submission from a writer known as 'Spizzie 69'.

Past the Expiry 
The Darkness deepens as the pointless Plot thickens And the Black Clouds Weep at the memories of the past.
They have now just become shadows that fade into the nothingness of time
The once effective have became the rejected and now put aside to become The forgotten
Like the autumn leaf that now falls to the ground with its use expired
to be absorbed back into the soil and become the muddy foot print of something that once was!
Or as easily disposed of as the discarded waste from the night before!
So as the sunsets for the long night ahead, often wondering if there will be a dawn?
No new Day? No new Hopes? No new Dreams? No Life? No existence?
Best Before!....... Sell by! ..........Use by! .........Warranty invalid!........ Sold as seen....Dispose of carefully.....and Please DO NOT RECYCLE!!!

The following (10) poems, which have also been added to the 'Creative Bank', were originally posted to my Myspace blog in May 2010 and April 2009.
~Nicola Edwards
Falling in love is a common affair; 
a task arranged to be an ultimate end
to the loneliness that I bear.
I want more than just a one-night stand;
I’m looking for someone I can depend
on, and someone who is willing to care.
I want someone who will always be there.
To never know love just doesn’t seem fair.
They talk about love in songs and losing
your heart to the one they promised would come.
But, no knight in shining armour ever comes
to rescue me from life’s knocks and bruising.
So, I remain alone, my heart intact,
not knowing if love is fiction or fact.

Science Fiction
What wouldn’t I give to travel with Kirk and Spock
and boldly go
where no man has gone before.
Or run with the Doctor where nothings ever slow.
To enter the TARDIS and claim
“It’s bigger inside” before we go.
I’d leave this life and runaway.

if it were all real,
I wouldn’t plan this to be my final day.

Deep in the darkest part of her soul
is where her lover lies.
On the other side of the river, 
as far away from home as allowed,
she lives a double life
which will bring her trouble and strife.
But her heart tells her it’s alright.
She has hidden her fear
that her lover will find out
she is another man’s wife.
Love Hurts
With all the will in the world I push him aside
until he is nothing
but a distant memory;
until the pain he caused is fleeting.
No more will I be needing him.
From here on out,
it’s me, myself and I.
No more heartache,
no more crying
with him I made a mistake.
From here on out
I’m alone.
How I missed this painless bliss!

Lonely Woman
Whisky in hand,
in a dark, dingy bar.
It’s late and the bar is almost empty,
but the woman is unaware of the time
and even her
Only the no-smoking sign is apparent.
She downs her drink and rises from her stool.
Outside in the cold
she lifts a cigarette stick to her lips;
she inhales
and wonders what happier women do.
She exhales.
Time to call a cab; these streets aren’t safe for a lonely woman.

The Lonely Pupil
Troubled teenager, crouched in the corner
Shrouded in darkness, hair all a mess
Tear-stained face, lip split open
Covered in purple bruises.

The bell rings, and the student gathers her books,
Composes herself
Thinking how to explain away the damage
As the lonely pupil heads to her next class.

Do You See Me?
Do you notice I’m here?
Do you realize how I feel?
You’re oblivious
and it’s killing me.
Do you see me?
Do you even notice I’m standing right here?
My feelings run deep
and it hurts like tiny cuts.
Do you know I exist?
Do you even know I’m there?
My feelings for you
are like a cyst on my broken heart.
Will you ever notice me?
And how I can’t resist your tempting looks?

The End
The point-of-no-return
is getting closer.
Turning back
all I see is darkness
and the people I’ve left behind
Walking forward
I pick up my pace
making my heart race.
Unsure of what I’m heading toward
but I’m resilient and know I must carry on.
As I get closer
the light becomes brighter.
I’m scared of what lies ahead,
this path is unknown to me
and anyone who walks it.
I’m almost there now.
My breathing slows,
it becomes hard to think,
and my heart beats its final beat.
This is my stop. The end of the line.

Public Transport 
A curse on public transport

which bears the stench

of greasy takeaways;
and a curse on their sticky floor,
which invokes a sound like Velcro as you cross it to your seat.
A curse on public transport

for being unreliable, 

leaving me the commuter, 
to stand out in the drizzle.
A curse on public transport

for being a stifling oven 

in the summer,
and then below freezing in the winter.
But a final blessing on public transport

for without you I could not travel.....

On a bus
Looking out of a window
scenes rush by
- a woman drops her shopping –
on the bus a baby cries. 

Monday, 5 March 2012

The Problem with Armchair Psychology

An "armchair psychiatrist" is a person whom is not trained in, or has no background knowledge of psychiatry, but will still continue to give advice concerning, and often attempt to diagnose, the mental health of others.

Although people do perform these same type of armchair diagnoses of physical conditions, it is more commonly done with mental illnesses.

I believe that armchair psychology is a problem because the armchair psychiatrist is often under the impression that diagnosis of a person's mental state can be simplified down to a list of symptoms. It seems to me, armchair psychiatrists often see mental health diagnoses as capable of being easily sorted into neat categories by using a set of simplistic lists of symptoms.

But, I feel, this particular attitude towards mental illnesses, in many ways, trivialises mental health conditions as those whom are often the givers of this sort of "advice" seem to fail to understand the true complicated nature of mental illnesses.

I think people feel more confident to give uninformed diagnosis' of mental health conditions, as opposed to physical illnesses, due to the non-visibility of mental illnesses, which to a layman can make mental illnesses seem possible of diagnosis by observation simply by use of lists of symptoms.

I believe another large contributing factor towards the simplistic views of  armchair psychology is the regularity of so-called "experts" giving their opinions on the mental health of those in the public eye, or "celebrities", despite the fact that the discussing "expert" would never actually have had any contact with the person under discussion; certainly not in a context where they would be able to provide an informed opinion of that person's mental health!

Because, in reality, if this person really was under the care of the "expert" giving their "informed" diagnosis - or, to term it more accurately, their opinion - of another's mental health, then said expert would be bound to the rules of confidentiality and, therefore, would be unable to provide any public comment of the condition of that person's mental health.

Armchair psychology can be a problem due to the simplistic nature of an armchair diagnosis, particularly as the arrogance (for lack of a better word), often displayed by an armchair psychiatrist in the accuracy of their highly uninformed opinion of complex mental health conditions, not only trivialises mental illnesses; but, also, to a layman, a seemingly simple and easily reached diagnosis can make treatment of a condition also seem simple and easily accessible when, of course, this is often not the case.

I understand that engaging in armchair diagnoses of complicated mental health conditions can be a fun past-time or activity, but armchair psychology can have a damaging effect especially when an armchair psychiatrist begins to condemn another for disregarding their advice concerning their mental health - regardless of the fact that the armchair psychiatrist is, ultimately, wrong in giving their uniformed and/or simplistic "diagnosis" or opinion, of a complex condition.

Armchair psychology simplifies mental illness - and, in many ways, trivialises it - as it instills confidence (or arrogance) in what is generally an opinion born out of ignorance, or out of a lack of understanding and knowledge, of either mental health conditions and/or the person under discussion proceeding an armchair diagnosis.

This, I feel, is the problem with armchair psychology.