‘This is Me’ is a new VOX (Voices of Experience) blog series highlighting individual lived experiences of mental health problems. In this series, VOX members across Scotland share their stories and reflect on what must change to ensure positive mental health for all.
This series will explore a range of themes including barriers to accessing mental health services, isolation and loneliness, and the intersection of poverty and mental health. Please note some experiences shared may cause distress.
What are your experiences?
There is a vulnerability in trying to access services, which ultimately creates loneliness. Organisations and authorities are not being held accountable for their actions: they place too many restrictions and bureaucratic ‘red tape’ in the way of people needing help. They are reluctant to offer services when approached and this has a profound impact on your mental health. For me, it is fundamentally about accountability.
What matters to you in your life?
I want to solve the world’s problems. As humans, we need to show compassion, humanity, and patience with each other. We all have mental health, even people in the professional sector and people in authority. Accountability matters to me and we need more discussions across the board to bridge the gap with professionals. Bridging this gap will help us all to better cope with our emotional and mental health.
What matters to you in your mental health?
With my mental health, I think ‘there’s nothing wrong with me!’ however at times, things on the news can upset me, such as war, injustice and the inability of authority to address mental health as it should be. That has affected me so much and I am almost suicidal. It has upset me a lot and triggered flashbacks of other aspects of my life.
Mental and emotional stresses have become more challenging, and my anxiety has been much higher. The stresses of everyday life have compounded and made me paranoid. It is like dominoes, one thing leads to another…
It would be good for VOX members to discuss how individuals try to cope with their everyday life: what are the basic things you find difficult to do and what prevents you from doing them? Also, it would be good to look at what works and what doesn’t. Sometimes we are afraid to explore what doesn’t! Mental health is so complex and there is a need for open discussion on what matters and where we go from here – and for that to be followed up as part of a progressive journey. Practical and social support is crucial, and we could explore this through an in-person workshop away from ‘the tablet’.
It is important that voices are heard, amplified, and ultimately have an impact on those who could make a change for the better. We can’t just sit around a table: we need to understand what we can do practically and constructively to make things better.
What do you want to shout out loud?
I want to shout about the lack of understanding and lack of progress between professionals (such as those working in the NHS, social work, and private sector) and those of us with lived experience.