An update, and the last from North London


I should really post these updates on my other blog since I so extravagantly heralded my exit here. But it’s vaguely mental health related (as in, I will reference it briefly) so, er, it goes here and I kind of miss writing here sometimes.

I seem to start most of my posts with a chirpy, “Hello!” but that’s how I feel when I begin them. Like I’m kicking open a door and interupting a conversation, obliviously, outrageously rude. So,


for the even ruder.  Not as chirpy as I…well, type.  Especially right at this moment where I am in a pyjama top, pants that don’t fit and a frightwig of currently awful hair.

It’s all change here.   I’m not going to write about the world or politics here because I would just sound like a knob.  So have my tiny life instead, it’s what I know best.

So, what’s been going on:

*I rather desperately need a job.  I had an interview yesterday for one I hope I’ll get.  I’d be working in the same place as Robert and numerous friends, which would obviously be brilliant.  Part of the, “Argh!” about starting new jobs is the new girl feeling, making new friends and etc.  I’d do that, too, obviously, but it would be nice to have some friendly faces there.

*I’m enjoying studying a lot! I like going to SOAS on a Tuesday and huddle outside the giant block of windowlight and breathe smoke into the air. I like struggling, in a way (not struggling exactly, but it’s all new and shiny! Newness! Shininess!). I like staring at a page of complex diagrams of this system ticking inside me and you and everybody else and watching it all dissolve into nonsense. I still want to study mental health nursing but I’m surprised, too, at how much I’m enjoying relearning biological stuff. That said, I mostly perked up when we were going over brain structure, so my heart (which is 15cm, apparently) is still in psychology.  Brains are unwieldy, ugly things.  I really want to hold one in my hand then fwing it into the air to see what happens. On Saturday, I’m spending all day in a lab!

I’m in module 2 now. My overall grade for my first module (introductions to health, nursing and midwifery) was 74%. I did a happy jig. I had my first test last week and arsed it up due to revising absolutely the wrong thing, but I know now where I went wrong.

*Still writing, but have been astonishingly busy. I’m not used to having demands on my time and now I feel a little bit like I have wasted three years not doing enough creative stuff.

*I had my baby brother staying!  It was his birthday.

He's the one that looks like me.

That was on the way back from an abortive attempt to see the Manics.  My sister can’t count!  It was lovely to see him, and strange how grown up he is now.  I’m not very good at people staying with me, due to being viciously protective of my space.  But it was nice.  He stole salt shakers from the chinese restaurant we took him to. Robert is a bit in love with him.

*I’m moving house on Monday.  I can’t wait to get out of here.  I shall be living with Robert. Finally, he will clean a toilet (OH MEN YEAH YEAH YEAH? PSH! TSCH! ETC!) because it’s his toilet, not my shameful toilet.  I’m moving to East Dulwich- well, the slightly more cred-filled “borders” on Denmark Hill in South London.  My estate has a mascot.  LOOK AT HIM. He is fantastic.

He is a friend dog. What is his name?

We chose this area to move to on the very-off chance that I get accepted to Kings. It’ll be good, hopefully. We spend a lot of time together anyway so it won’t be a shock, and I dearly love domestication with him. After almost two years, everything is still fun with him, even going to the shop. And he is a giant idiot as well. On the 9th he’s doing a performance as his alter-ego, Wolfgang Moneypenny who now genuinely lives in South London. So, hopefully it shall all be good.

All in all, though, I’m pretty good. Stressed out, concerned about the future, but not at all unhappy.

I did a podcast with Rethink (who I love) last week, which was fantastic. There were seven of us there- three Rethink staff, then a bloke who’s doing his PhD on the Rethink Time to Change page. There was the Talk moderator, me, and a psychiatrist. I didn’t realise he was a psychiatrist for a while and we were chatting, chomping bread sticks and drinking orange juice.

The podcast was about social media and mental health (I’ll post it up when it’s, well, up). It was surprisingly balanced. With these kind of things, I sometimes anticipate blanket praise. But there was both positive commentary and criticism. Some of it from me. They asked me how blogging had helped/hindered my mental health and how it had changed my life. It has, undoubtedly, I wouldn’t be there if not for my position as a prominent ex-blogger. But I explained the reasons I have mostly stopped, and some of the things I think people need to consider carefully with mental health blogging. One is that by starting a mental health blog, you are now someone with a mental health problem and that’s the attraction. It is an identity I began to feel was dangerous towards the end.  Some blogs (none I’ve linked here) get too focused on statistics and who’s reading- that can lead to exaggeration and crisis-making when things start to wane.  Again, dangerous.

It also opens you up to criticism, which, if you’re in a bad place, can make you feel like ass. Because I’d written that I had body dysmorphic disorder, certain knobheads zeroed in on it as a way to hurt me. By sharing your life- and your past, present, feelings- then people assume ownership of them. Before I privated most of this blog, someone was going back and quoting my own 4 year old posts at me as proof as to why I should never be a nurse, despite the fact it’s not only four years later, but I’m 25 now, and rather older and wiser. That horrified me, and was a reason why I pulled the majority of my posts.  It’s my frigging life, you know?   I always appreciate advice and support, but in the end, it’s my life, my past, my future, my blog, my choices.

There’s the problem of recovery as well. I felt almost concerned about getting better because then I didn’t fit into the blogosphere anymore. I feel guilty for doing alright and not having stuff to write about. Isn’t that silly? But I know it’s how other people feel. I also know some people out there would love to see me fail, so now I feel less inclined to share when I’m not feeling so good.

That said, I wouldn’t change it, I wouldn’t go back and not write it. All the mad shit that has come from it- from the play, to doing comedy, to my friends that I’ve met- I wouldn’t change. The pros have outweighed the cons, and I’m sure I’ll be back. But it was good to discuss that and hear what other people think. Gil- the psychiatrist- actively encourages his patients to write and look up information, which is unusual, certainly with the doctors I’ve met. One great thing about blogging and the internet in general- and I wish I’d mentioned this- is that it’s a brilliant leveller. Psychiatrists and nurses hold the power balance in the relationship, but on the internet, we all comment on each other’s stuff and email each other. I don’t feel so intimidated by doctors and nurses now- and reading mental health nurse blogs is partly the reason I want to be one.

I like Facebook and Twitter as well.  I use my Mentally Interesting page to talk to people who read this blog.  I’m not so into Twitter but I’ve seen it used for great things, particularly activism, news and protests.  I just don’t really understand how it works, unfortunately.

On the internet, particularly with mental health, there’s also the problem of medication second-hand scare stories and antipsychiatry people trolling blogs. In the wrong frame of mind, it could stop someone taking their medication. Grr.

In general, it was really good. I enjoy doing stuff with Rethink. I’m blogging their webchat on the 10th, so that should be interesting. It’s with Chris Grayling on the subject of welfare reform.   Anyone can get involved so go and submit questions!

10 Responses

  1. Hey Seaneen, I am so glad you keep coming back with updates. Your point about people coming onto the blog and trolling against psychiatry and meds is certainly a concern, but don’t underestimate the power you have to refute those arguments. Your exploration, and that of your readers, into the need for meds–and which meds-as you are recovering, shows the validity of the process. We all benefit from watching this honest trek in the life of someone else. We all live with these questions, disappointments, struggles. Thanks for being candid. At this point, your struggles are familiar, but your progress brings amazing hope.

  2. Thank you for your wise words and all the very best with your move. I enjoy reading what you write, not least because you are an excellent writer – I hope you find/make the time to continue to do so.
    Be gentle with yourself for the next few days, moving has a stress all of its own. 🙂

  3. Good luck with the move missus! x

  4. Fab to hear your news, good luck with the move, the job, the interviews x

  5. Hello Seaneen,
    You have still along way to go to take hold of this condition, which includes medication combined with so called fashionable talking therapies.

    Sleep is also one of the most important aspects to control ,see previous comments above, why are they writing late at night.?

    Good Luck with your life.

    Kind Regard,
    David Gosling.

  6. i have lurked your blog forever and we are fb friends – you have inspired and scared and amused and kept me going when my life was very grim.
    You will be an awesome nurse and you are a formidable writer.
    Thank you and the best of luck as you build the life you want and deserve

  7. actually scratch the fb thing – momentary lapse of concentration/ reality / multitasking and got it wrong
    new psychiatrist tomorrow – nervous and still up at 3.20

  8. Hi Seaneen

    Good luck with getting you place and hope the move has gone ok. I’m sure you will dowell in whatever you choose to do. x

  9. Also very glad you keep sneaking back from time to time. Your departure left a bit of a gap. Punching the air a bit to hear about your progress and good direction xx

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