Cave-dwelling: depression, ‘wobbles’ and seeing the light

Once, as an outdoorsy, devil-may-care teenager, I went caving. Wading through the black, up to my nose in chilly water, I found it thrilling…until I had to shimmy my way along a horizontal passageway just inches wider than my body and I thought I was going to be stuck in the cave forever. I got […]

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The Sun & mental health: come on, you can do better…

As a former health writer and deputy health editor at The Sun, I’ve spent many an occasion batting off laughs, sneers and suggestions that Britain’s favourite red top couldn’t possibly ‘take health seriously’. When I wrote for the health section of the country’s biggest selling national newspaper, I felt privileged to have an opportunity to […]

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Bipolar snakes and ladders – what’s your visual image?

‘It’s a slippery slope, this bipolar stuff’. That’s how actor Michael Douglas recently described wife Catherine Zeta-Jones’ bipolar. Yup, definitely slippery. As someone who has struggled with bipolar disorder, I can vouch for that. But it’s something else, too. Waiting for the bell to ring in my son’s school playground recently, it struck me what […]

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Mental illness: it’s not about ‘choice’

Every day of our lives we apparently make thousands of choices, from the banal to the relatively momentous. I’ve thought about the concept of ‘choice’ a lot lately, prompted by mental ill-health and the inference that, perhaps, people like me ‘choose’ to be unwell. It rattles me. So now let’s get a few things straight. […]

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Mental health medication: is it always A Bad Thing?

‘So when can you come off your medication, now you’re feeling so much better?’, someone asked me recently. ‘Well…um, never,’ I replied. ‘It’d be good if you could come off it at some point,’ they said. ‘But I’ll always have bipolar – why would I want to do that?’ I said, trying hard to keep […]

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A big thanks to Time to Change

Apologies for my tardiness on the blogging front. I’ve been a tad busy on other related projects (more info to follow later), including, excitingly, blogging for the wonderful Time to Change campaign. Lately, I’ve been so impressed by the work of Time to Change and the way they’ve grabbed mental health issues by the scruff […]

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Mental health services for MPs: what about the rest of us?

MPs are to benefit from a clinic that’s being set up at Westminster to help growing numbers of them to cope with depression and anxiety. Officials have approved £25,000 per year to fund specialist treatment after doctors in the House of Commons reported growing numbers of MPs with these mental health problems. Unsurprisingly, the response […]

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Mental health diagnosis: relief or millstone?

After my last blog entry, one of my good friends commented, “I reckon you should say whether you mean losing friends before or after diagnosis. Now you’ve got a diagnosis, it explains why you were a bit random and crazy before.” Fair point. I would imagine there’s something very different about seeing a friend’s ‘random […]

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Those ‘crazy’ moments: losing friends & making amends

The author C.S.Lewis (of Narnia fame) once said: “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” I guess this kind of connection could refer to just about anything – a hobby, a love of the same eclectic read, splitting your sides […]

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Self-help books & Books on Prescription: an update

In my last blog, I mentioned the Books on Prescription scheme and how I’d try to find the ‘definitive’ list for books on mental health. I’ve been in touch with the Royal College of Psychiatrists and an RCPsych spokesperson has told me: “Several good ‘books on prescription’ schemes exist locally, but we’re aiming to roll out a national scheme with […]

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