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Mental Health Focus: How to support someone with Mental Illness

By Health, Thinking4 Comments
mental-health-focus Supporting someone with mental illness can be difficult. What should you say and not say? What should you do and not do?

First educate yourself around mental illness. Mental health charities Mind and SANE both have informative websites.

You can see General Statistics for Mental Health in the UK here. You can see a A list of Famous People who have experienced Mental Illness here. You can also see 15 Lies That Depression Would Have You Believe here.

Second: You must look after yourself. You can’t support anyone else if you are not well physically, mentally or emotionally. You may find my blog post 10 Easy Ways to Improve Your Mental Health useful.

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On to the practical advice to support someone with mental illness:

  • Stay in contact with them. Ask them how they would like you to keep in contact. Some may may prefer phoning or seeing; whereas others may prefer messaging or texting.
  • Unconditional love and care. Let them know that you love them unconditionally and care for them deeply. Don’t have any expectation that they will reciprocate.
  • Listen to what they say and don’t assume anything.
  • Ensure that there are no distractions when you are with them or on the phone to them. Put your phone on silent and make sure any loud children are pets are out of the way (if you have them).
  • Offer practical support. Go shopping for them or with them, help them to clean, cook them a meal. Whatever it is that they need. They maybe resistant to the idea of practical help, so reassure them that you are happy to help and that you know they’d do it for you.
  • Remind them to take their medication or when appointments are due. People with mental illness tend to have poor short term memories.
  • Ask them about their appetite and diet. If they have an appetite but are struggling to make anything (due to lack of energy and/or motivation), find out what there favourite meal is and cook it for them.
  • Offer distracting activities. Distracting activities that you can both do together can give someone a break from their own critical inner of voice. The activities can be something as simple as a walk around the park. Make sure you are always led by the person with mental illness though. If they say that they are too unwell or tired to do the activity, don’t take it personally. And certainly don’t judge them or take offence.
  • Help them access support. This could include going with them to GP, counselling sessions or mental health service appointments. Offer to sit in appointments with them, but let them know that it’s okay if they want to be seen alone.
  • Be understanding. Someone with mental illness may cancel plans at the last minute. You may arrive at their house to find it messy and them unclean. Don’t take it personally, let them know that you understand and ask if there is anyway that you can help.
  • Be patient. Like any illness, mental illness takes the right treatment, the right support and time for them to start to feel better.
  • Limit questions and time spent with them, if you feel they are exhausted and need to rest. You’ll be able to spot if they need to rest by: pulling on their hair, forgetting what you’ve said to them, being very slow to respond, unable to think of words, dropping of their head, shuffling of feet and other body language people use when they look like they are about to drop off to sleep.
  • Be aware of your own body language and theirs. Try and display open body language and avoid mirroring.
  • Try not to give advice, as often it is unrealistic and unhelpful. For example never advise someone with depression to exercise more or have an healthier diet. This person has probably used all of their energy and motivation to get out of the bed. This single action has left them more exhausted than they have ever felt in their life. So advising them to exercise, eat an healthier diet or make big changes to their life will seem unachievable and may come across as if you are blaming them for their depression.
  • Sign-post them to useful resources. Such as: NHS Choices, Time to Change, Mental Health Foundation, Mind, SANE, Anxiety UK and Bipolar UK.

This blog post is part of a series that focuses on mental health. Other posts in the series include: Mental Health Focus: Treatment & Recovery, Mental Health Focus: A List of Common Conditions and Mental Health Focus: 5 Brilliant TED Talks About Mental Health.

You can read about my experiences of mental illness here: Life Hiatus – My Mental Health In-Patient Admission and Diagnosis of a ‘Mood Disorder’, My Health Woes: Clinical Depression, Dental Abscesses, The Lump and The Emergency Surgery, Finally…in Recovery and getting Back to Life and Mental Health Focus: I’ve Been One of the 1 in 4.

Take care,

Antony

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A List of Qualities in Good Friends

By Friends & Family, ThinkingNo Comments

Here is a list of Qualities I require in my friends. To me friends with these qualities are good friends and ones to treasure:

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A List of Qualities in Good Friends.

Blog soon,

Antony

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A List of Qualities in People that INSPIRE Me

By Inspiration, Life, ThinkingNo Comments

According to Google inspiration is defined as:

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Google’s Definition of Inspiration

Back in 2008, I wrote a blog post about People that inspire me. I could add so many people to that blog post.

But instead I decided to look at the qualities in people that inspire me. Here’s my list of qualities that those people display:

  • Accepting.
  • Authentic.
  • Balanced in their thinking.
  • Battle their inner demons.
  • Believe in fairness and equality.
  • Brings joy to others.
  • Can have a presence on entering a room or blend into the background in social situations.
  • Captivating Story Teller.
  • Careful in their actions.
  • Cares about others.
  • Comfortable with themselves.
  • Confident yet humble.
  • Connects emotionally with others.
  • Creative.
  • Describes their own thoughts & feelings through words well.
  • Determined.
  • Diplomatic.
  • Dislikes injustice.
  • Empathetic.
  • Enthusiastic.
  • Flawed.
  • Funny.
  • Generous.
  • Good communicator.
  • Has others following them.
  • Honesty.
  • Humorous.
  • Independent.
  • Influences others.
  • Intelligent.
  • Is a Collaborator.
  • Is a Doer.
  • Is a Dreamer.
  • Is Grateful.
  • Kindness.
  • Knows when, who and why to ask for help.
  • Makes others feel comfortable.
  • Makes others laugh.
  • Motivational.
  • Non-judgemental.
  • Occasional vulnerable.
  • One-step ahead of others.
  • Open minded.
  • Optimistic.
  • Passionate.
  • Patient.
  • Positive.
  • Relaxed in new situations.
  • Self-aware.
  • Sensitive.
  • Shares their Knowledge and wisdom.
  • Sincere.
  • Stands up for the rights of others.
  • Supports & helps others.
  • Unconventional.
  • Values community.
  • Vibrant.
  • Wants a better society for all.
  • Wants others to reach their potential.
  • Willing to fight for a cause.
  • Wise.
  • Works hard.

I’m sure there’s many other qualities that could be added to the list. I also know that as well as people, many other things inspire me. Things such as music, books, films, paintings, nature, animals and expressions of love to name but a few.

What qualities do you admire in the people that inspire you? Feel free to share by leaving a comment below.

Blog soon,

Antony

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My India Adventure (Part 3) – Shopping in Delhi

By Adventures, Friends & Family, Happiness & Joy, Love & Relationships, Money / Finances, Shopping, TravelNo Comments
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My spending money in Rupees.

If you enjoy shopping for clothes as I do, Delhi is the perfect place to visit with an empty suitcase. As Indian’s like their clothes.

I exchanged my money at the airport (see photo left). ₹500 (five hundred Rupee) is currently worth about £5 (five British Pounds).

My first shopping trip was on my first full day in Delhi. Robert, Michael, Neha, Neha’s sisters and brothers-in-law and I went shopping for an wedding outfit. Robert choose an attractive gold colour, Michael choose a grey and gold colour combination and I choose a fabulous purple colour.

Below is a photo of our wedding outfits, see my last blog post for photos of us in our outfits:

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Wedding outfit shopping.

Then we headed to an outdoor market where we bought some wedding shoes. These shoes were more about style than comfort and I named them The shoes of DEATH after they shredded my feet.

Prior to travelling to Delhi, I had been talking to a lovely guy named Eddie. I needed to buy Neha’s parents a thank you gift and was in need of a guide and shopping buddy. So I hired Eddie and a taxi for the day. Eddie was gorgeous, patient, kind and caring. We quickly connected and became more than friends. During my stay in Delhi I visited at least five Malls, two Bazaars and four outdoor market places.

On my first shopping trip with Eddie (there were a few) we went to Benetton where I bought a fleeced hoodie, a smart shirt, two plain t-shirts and two t-shirts with designs all for £55. On another occasion Eddie took me to an outdoor market and I got two pairs of smart work shoes for £8. I bought two real leather belts for £1.90. Delhi could be cheap or expensive depending on where you shopped and who you shopped with.

Eddie helped me buy some small gifts for close family and some of my friends. Believe it or not is where most of my money went – on other people. When Indian’s see foreigners they triple their prices. So having Eddie who spoke Hindi helped barter the prices down. I am extremely grateful to him for his language skills, superb company and for soo much more ;).

My favourite place to shop was Connaught Place. It had a good mix of shops, a Bazaar and an outdoor market place. Plus, it has plenty of places to buy good coffee. However most importantly for me, it was where Eddie and I created some amazing memories.

After much searching, Eddie and I found the perfect gift for Neha’s parents (to thank them for taking such good care of me). We found this lovely stylish mirror in the shape of the sun, which was the perfect gift for them.

Wherever you shop in Delhi there’s plenty of roadside stalls selling drinks and ice cream. There’s copious Tuk Tuk bikes and auto Rickshaws that you can use to get around. Or there’s always the Delhi Metro. The Delhi Metro is cheaper than Tuk Tuk bikes or auto Rickshaws and is quite an experience.

Eddie introduced me to the Metro and we used it together on about six journeys while I was in Delhi. The Metro in Delhi has been so popular that it is currently being extended. By 2020 they want 50% of people travelling on the Metro, which in the sky, and 50% of people using the roads. This will ease the current road congestion problem Delhi has, along with reducing air pollution. The Metro is exactly like the London Underground, just above ground rather than under it.

The first two Metro carriages of every Metro line are reserved for women, along with woman only seats in the other carriages. Getting on and off the Metro was a bit of a challenge at times, with a little fast-paced pushing and feet shuffling required.

I got plenty of stirs on the Metro because of my white skin. They were stirs of curiosity because most people hadn’t ever seen someone with white skin. After a while it did leave me feeling a bit awkward and unsure of how to respond. I wasn’t sure whether to stir back, smile or do a little dance. Luckily for the the other Metro users it was too cramped to allow me to do a little dance. On most journeys Eddie and I held-hands and no one stirred because of this or seemed to even notice it.

Whether you’re shopping or using the Metro there are many security check points. Where civilians in official, security, looking uniforms will ask you to walk through a metal detector and put your bags through an x-ray scanner. They then frisk you with a hand-held metal detector.

Eddie is gorgeous and looks so young. I want to reassure you that he is in fact twenty-two years old and I am twenty-nine years old. He is funny, kind, caring, intelligent and multi-talented. He has already had much success and many achievements. He seems to do well at anything he takes his hand to, which is no doubt due to lots of hard work and determination. I know that I’m a very lucky man. Here are some photos of the gorgeous Eddie and me:

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Eddie and I outside one of the many Malls we visited.

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Eddie & I on a Tuk Tuk Bike.

Can you recognise the brands photographed below?

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Starbucks Coffee :D.

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Me with a scary looking Ronald McDonald statue outside of a vegetarian McDonalds Restaurant.

Yep – Starbucks and McDonalds.

I was pleased to be able to get a decent coffee from Starbucks, but the prices where the same as in the UK making it an expensive luxury in India. Costa Coffee was much more reasonably priced. Coffee’s from both shops tasted the same as they would in the UK.

Other recognisable brands in Delhi, India included: Pizza Hut, Dominos, KFC, Burger King, Vans, Levis, Van Heusen, Nike, adidas and Marks & Spencer’s.

On the departure from London Heathrow my suitcase weighed 11KGS. On the way back home it weighed 20KGS, which just gives you an idea of how much I bought during my time in Delhi. And it didn’t cost me a fortune.

In next part blog post in the series titled My India Adventure (Part 4) – Delicious Food, I will be talking food. It will be coming soon, so don’t forget to check back for updates.

Write soon,

Antony

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