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Awareness. Thursday September 15, 2016

Recently our sleepy little town hosted an annual cancer walk, and this year there were over 2000 people who took to the streets and walked 7.5km. As I was walking I thought to myself, how many people who do this for Bipolar or depression? The answer... possibly none, or maybe just a few.

The problem with our society is that people only truly feel sorry for people who have signs of illness, but most of the time we don't show signs that distinguish bipolar or depression. People who suffer with depression and bipolar often have thoughts of suicide or self harm, and people tend to think that it's attention seeking. Well it is not!

I often, when having a bad day, am told to snap out of it, or to get over it, or the best, change my attitude! Some days I really struggle to get out of my bed and face the world, and then other days I can't wait to get out of bed. But how do I describe this to people? I love the comments of... I read that on the internet... or the internet says. The internet is not me and to be honest the internet does not describe in detail how bad a bad day can be!

So how does one get people to understand what we suffer from? Simple, we need to explain it to them, we need to create an awareness and make people realize that, just because they cant see our pain or frustration, that their judgements are unjustifiable.

So I challenge everyone to help create an awareness. Let's make our diseases known.


A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Chris Thu, Sep 15th 2016 @ 6:56am

Hi Talana,
I so agree with you.
Shall we organise a walk then?
I am up for it,
is anyone else?

Andrew Thu, Sep 15th 2016 @ 7:17am

Up for that - definitely. Count me in!
When I have had to stop working in the past, following serious bouts of depression, I yearned for a plaster cast on my leg, or crutches... Some obvious outward sign. People would say ' oh no, what happened to you, you poor thing - I bet you'll be convalescing for a good few weeks after that - take it easy now - don't overdo things - take your time' - etc etc' Instead, people wonder why you're 'able to laze around the house all day but not able to work' ....
It's odd - there are millions who have never experienced cancer themselves yet absolutely get how important it is to support research into the disease and people suffering with it. The same however cannot be said for mental illnesses, depression, bipolar etc. And yet it is as common. And can be as debilitating.
Here's to awareness - It's time to talk!

Vincent Thu, Sep 15th 2016 @ 7:47am

Good points?And finally?I receive the moodscope email again after didn't find them in my inbox, there must be something wrong.

LP Thu, Sep 15th 2016 @ 7:53am

Hi Talana,
That's my experience too. I was treated horribly at work when I was ill. I simply wasn't believed.
As someone else mentiond, I too didnt receive flowers when on long term sick, just an akward card. Flowers were not seen as being appropriate. I underwent "informal" procedures which felt disciplinary making me significantly more ill. Management have a certain amount of duty of care towards staff, but they just wouldnt acknowledge that it was work related stress. With a bit of union backing, I raised a point from the equality act and that has helped to protect me. The ethos that is presented is a very different one to my experience.
It's been a year since all that and I'm in a good place at the moment. I havent forgotten what they are capable of though. You have given me food for thought when it comes to raising awareness. Thank you.
Another beautiful day in London. Positive energy to all LPxx

Jul Thu, Sep 15th 2016 @ 8:43am

Hi LP. I couldn't believe the identical situation I was in at work. The one you describe mirrors mine exactly.I am glad you are in a good place now. I had union backing too but they acted for the management too so I didn't get anywhere. My problem was work related stress and depression and as Andrew says above, your colleagues think what a lazy so and so not coming into work and doing nothing all day at home. Julxx

LP Thu, Sep 15th 2016 @ 9:19pm

Hi Jul, Yes, you must have mentioned the flowers thing. Like we didn't deserve them! When in reality, I was having panic attacs having dropped my daughter to school, so isolated myself and after getting a horrible unofficial letter which was made to sound official, throgh the post, I began to jump at the sound of the letter box. Litterally scared of getting mail in my own home. Shocking really. Thanks for your reply Jul. Xx

Barbara Thu, Sep 15th 2016 @ 8:11am

I'm up for that! If u guys organise a walk in uk, I'll try to organise one in Spain for same day. Maybe folk in other countries/areas could also? Have been thinking on how to raise awareness re bipolar and/or other mental illnesses and this may be the way. Thank you.

Barbara Thu, Sep 15th 2016 @ 8:12am

Pls. Love your name Talana.

Duma Thu, Sep 15th 2016 @ 8:43am

And I yours, Barbara, thanks for yesterday's compliment and hugs. I do humbly apologise, for forgetting my manners. Cheers, Duma.

Duma Thu, Sep 15th 2016 @ 8:44am

And I yours, Barbara, thanks for yesterday's compliment and hugs. I do humbly apologise, for forgetting my manners. Cheers, Duma.

Duma Thu, Sep 15th 2016 @ 8:44am


LP Thu, Sep 15th 2016 @ 9:22pm

Me too Talana! X

Mimine Thu, Sep 15th 2016 @ 8:25am

I live in London. How about a 3 or 5 km walk through the centre of the city. An awareness pack/email could be made up to explain how to go about joining and tee-shirts could be printed in a specific colour. A national or world day of awareness would be brilliant!

Frankie Thu, Sep 15th 2016 @ 10:32am

I'll walk with you Mimine! Frankie

Frankie Thu, Sep 15th 2016 @ 10:32am

I'll walk with you Mimine! Frankie

Duma Thu, Sep 15th 2016 @ 8:49am

I would so buy a tshirt! Can you get one in XXXL? Please?

I'd organise one in Glasgow, but people would probably think it was a march for Indyref2, or somesuch, trifling local matter.

We're kinda busy up in this neck of the woods.

Cheerfully yours, Duma.

PS - I like your name too, Talana. :)

Jul Thu, Sep 15th 2016 @ 8:49am

Hello Talana. Thinking about it, no I have never heard of an awareness or fundraising event or walk for depression! The current mental awareness campaign the UK Govt is funding seems to be for children and teenagers which is quite right but I rarely read about ordinary people like myself and people on Moodscope who carry on, have done for years with this illness lingering in the background. You read about company directors, who "bravely take time off work" on full pay due to depression and stress with the blessing of the chief executives shareholders etc and who generally return to work refreshed and ready to assume their duties. Us mere mortals have to fight our own battles. You have raised an excellent points Talana. Jul xx

Tutti Frutti Thu, Sep 15th 2016 @ 8:54am

A walk as Mimine suggests with some decent publicity materials would be great and if it was in London I'd certainly try to join you.

I think it's at least equally important though to try and tell people we know about our conditions in order to remove some of the stigma. I have told quite a lot of people, to the extent that I forget exactly who does and doesn't know (which can be a bit awkward). It's always hard to do/hard to decide when is the right time but I have almost always had a good reaction and people often turn out to have had an issue themselves or know someone else who has. The only occasion it (may have) gone wrong was when I made a pigs ear of telling someone because I said something in passing forgetting she didn't know already. She seemed fine at the time but dropped me afterwards but then our children had just started at different schools so I can't really be sure that it had anything to do with mentioning my condition.

There are some people I don't tell; clients, parents of my daughter's friends since she started at secondary school (I think it should be her decision) and junior colleagues (I don't want to freak anyone out about the prospect of working for or being managed by me). What rules do others have?

Love to all
TF x

Duma Thu, Sep 15th 2016 @ 9:01am

I mostly tell pretty much everyone, mostly. And I have a certain...reputation. I only know one other Pure Manic. He's VERY stigmatic, so we can't share stories. But He's still a good (family) friend.

Andrew Thu, Sep 15th 2016 @ 8:55am

There is this -
It organises a National Awareness Day (in the UK) and has a fair amount of presence on twitter, as well as in the more enlightened schools and colleges....if you are serious about organising an event, rather than re-ivent the wheel, it might be worth looking at their Events Toolkit and piggybacking their existing infrastructure...

Frankie Thu, Sep 15th 2016 @ 10:31am

Excellent point Andrew - thank-you! Frankie

Leah Thu, Sep 15th 2016 @ 10:22am

thanks for your blog. I am sorry for your experience.
In Australia we have an RUOK day when people are encouraged to ask how their friends work colleagues or anyone they know how they are.We also have bike rides that raise money and awareness for depression, long walks by individuals raising money and awareness for depression, walks by charities to raise money and awareness for bipolar and depression. There is also mental health week/month. There are many organisations that create awareness for mental illness,
I am sure it is the same in other countries.

I suppose because I was first diagnosed in the 1970s I feel things have changed and there is a lot more awareness. I realise this will vary from town to town or country to country.

The other day a footballer taunted another footballer because he had time off for a mental illness. There was so much bad publicity he was forced to apologise to the player privately and make a public apology. Times have changed.

There was an article the other day that complained about RUOK day and said too much money is spent on awareness of depression but not enough money spent on mental health services.

Sorry for the length, but I just wanted to explain what was happening in Australia. It is far from perfect but is much better than it was 40 years ago!!

Frankie Thu, Sep 15th 2016 @ 10:33am

Brilliant points Talana - thank-you! Frankie

Brum Mum Thu, Sep 15th 2016 @ 1:24pm

I am in my first job in 25 years of work that has been truly supportive of me and my mental health condition. Being open about this depends on knowing that you are in a safe space to disclose and will be supported. My boss is a former psychiatric nurse and I thank my lucky stars that I am managed by him.

What about MIND? Don't they do walks, marathons etc?

Andrew Thu, Sep 15th 2016 @ 1:40pm is supported by MIND I believe....

Julie Thu, Sep 15th 2016 @ 4:28pm

Yes, time to change is endorsed by both Mind and Rethink mental illness, I am a member of the latter and you two can join and become a campaigner or group member. They have a really good website with loads of information about mental health, it's definitely worth a visit and let me know what you think. Julie.

The Gardener Thu, Sep 15th 2016 @ 4:56pm

I think the invisibleness, wooliness, lack of outward signs (I reckon few of us 'let on', bottling up, keeping it 'in the family'. If you've got the energy to march you're probably not depressed at that moment, if depressed you're not going out of the house anyway. Can't imagine rattling a tin for the cause - but as is obvious to all Moodscopers depressing is life and soul-destroying and an increasing scourge whilst scientists work away at lessening/beating more 'visible' maladies, and those with quotable statistics. It looks like a mass join of Mind and Rethink could be a viable proposition for 'awareness'. Been quite a lot on depression on media lately - on 'Ask me, I'm a Doctor' I think, with a web-site to consult. My great cloud of despair about the worsening state of Mr G has been much alleviated by loads to do and fascinating visits by total strangers - but it won't make what is becoming acute fear for the future go away.

The Gardener Thu, Sep 15th 2016 @ 6:20pm

Lots typos - typing fast in French and English, confusion reigns. First sentence unfinished - really, how to present a case for depression which will 'get' people

Nicco Mon, Oct 3rd 2016 @ 6:21pm

Yes, I too have yearned for a plaster cast or something similar, but I fear people still wouldn't understand even if it's explained to them - some just don't want to understand. So I quietly battle on. It has been liberating though to actually come out and say, "I suffer with depression", and I'm amazed at home many others have it, too. It's been said that depression is the '...bread and butter' of doctors' & psychologists' consulting rooms - I truly had no idea so many people suffer with it.

arah Tue, Oct 4th 2016 @ 8:14am

Thank you Tutti Frutti. Loved your blog roomates I found inspiring and helpful. For your encouragement. You felt the pain but did it anyway! "This is the advice from the Mindfulness course that I took in the summer.

I will be back to visit your blog

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