No Quick Fixes for Mental Illness video

Here’s Rethink’s new campaign, called, “No Quick Fixes for Mental Illness”. It’s a video featuring the voices of real people with mental illness:

For those who may struggle to hear, there’s a transcript here:

I plug not only because the first voice (the halting Northern Irish one) is mine!

I like this video for a few reasons. The first is that they have a woman talking about schizophrenia. A small thing, perhaps, but to me it seems the experience of women with schizophrenia is almost totally overlooked, in the same way that the experiences of from ethnic minorities often are, despite the prevalence of diagnosis in that group.

I like it because when they used parts of my interview, they didn’t focus on the things I said about mania that were positive, and that’s often the thing that gets disproportionate attention in terms of bipolar disorder. I think it borders on harmful.

I like the fact that it deals with severe mental illness at all. I sometimes feel the discourse regarding the more uncomfortable aspects of mental illness (such as psychosis) is stunted.

The oozy brain has been contentious- what do you think of it?

Let me know!

The Last Goodbye: Comedy fundraiser, 15th December

In honour of the comedian, Mackenzie Taylor, who died last year, there will be a comedy fundraiser in aid of Mind on December 15th-  Here are the details:

We are putting on a comedy night to celebrate his life and raise money for MIND, It would be wonderful if you could all come down a support the night.
The Laugh Goodbye – Comedy Fundraiser
Date December 15th 2011
Time 7.30 -10.30
A cracking comedy line up to celebrate the life of Comedian Mackenzie Taylor and raise money for MIND.
Line Up  Tom Wrigglesworth, Kevin Shepherd, Joe Wilkinson, John Gordillo, Holly Walsh, Richard Sandling and Tony Law
Cost £10 in Advance £12 on the Door (all proceeds go to MIND)
Venue: New Diorama Theatre
Box Office Number:
+44 (0)207 383 9034
Nearest Tube: Great Portland Street/Warren Street/Euston Square
Bus: New Diorama is directly on the following bus routes: 18, 27, 30, 88, 205, 453, C2, N18

Many Thanks

Kate Tucker

New Year, New You?

Hello chaps!

I’d like to pick your lovely brains on something.

I’m writing an article for One in Four on the subject of the New Year.  I celebrate the New Year (capitals and all) as a means of a sort of bookmark. “Done!” It used to be a celebration of, “Holy shit, I’m STILL ALIVE! Who’d have thunk it?” I think that does have a value.  It’s a more acceptable way of doing, “one day at a time”. And I will say I am personally a person who likes markers- like I said, bookmarks.  I need those little milestones, and I value them, and January 1st is as good as any.  I also like having that acceptable time to assess where I’m off to.  And 2011 has been a great year for me so damn right I’m going to see it out with a raised glass. So I’m aware a lot of people reading may feel similarly to me in that they value the bookmark of a new year as a means to move on.

But I bloody hate all this, “New Year, New You!” bullshit that gets hysterically vomited out of the press starting September.  I hate that the Old You isn’t enough anymore. I hate that in particular that it shrinks huge facets of your humanity down to easily marketable packages and does it under the loathsome guise of self improvement.  “Shit, you’re fat! Don’t be fat anymore! Buy this!”, “Shit, you look like a purse! Buy this purse, accessorise your purse face!” and etc.  I also detest the implicit message that if you just had enough willpower you could do anything!

It sets anyone up for failure (which is why I’m not making resolutions this year) but I think it can be even more so of a trap for people with mental health problems.  What if January 1st is just a day?  If Christmas was just a day? You’re still the Old You, with the Old Life.  And the, “willpower” aspect of getting over mental health problems- that you might have had in 2011, 2010 and before- is not a pleasant thing to play with.  You can’t be well by wishing alone, and the assertion that you can get anything by basically closing your eyes and wishing hard enough is dangerous.  Willpower can be good, it can help you quit smoking etc- but I don’t think that willpower alone is going to cure someone of schizophrenia or drug addiction, or loneliness.

I also think that, particularly for people with depression, the bollocks of a New Start is a bit of a kick in the nuts.  Some people may find it helpful, and that’s cool, but I think we should drop the superstitions around New Year and take what we will from it without it being shoved down our throats.  A new year could simply mean, to a lot of people, another year of shit and dread and wondering if you should be alive at all.

What do you think?  I’m having trouble getting my thoughts in order about the topic (maybe it’s not a strong topic?) and it would be helpful if you could tell me what you think and maybe what things you’d like to be discussed in regards to new year and mental health?

Thank you!

Reasons Why I Am Bloody Amazing

…or at least passable.  I’ve been in a bit of a slump lately, self attacking thoughts being very loud indeed and just wanting to sleep my nuts off.  Ah, winter! Hello old friend.

Anyway, I could make this privately but that means I’d end up at about 2 before starting to scribble cocks.  Also, I want you to have your turn.  Spread the early Christmas cheer, from yourself, to yourself.

Reasons Why I Am Bloody Amazing Or At Least Passable.

I am nice.  I may put my foot in my mouth an awful lot but I am not purposely unkind or malicious. I have mostly nice thoughts about people and I tend to see the good in people rather than the bad.  I am not spiteful and I find spite very ugly.

I like to make people feel comfortable.  I try to be sensitive and I like helping people.  I am compassionate.  I’m kind to animals, except for fucking cockroaches, which are not animals, but demons.

I am giving and  loving to the people I love.  I am picky about who I love, but when I love people, I love them…er, well.  That sounds incredibly pervy. I LOVE THEM HARD, OKAY?

Likewise I am ridiculously loyal.

I don’t get angry easily, and when I do I don’t stay angry for very long. (This is something I have developed over the years). I am generally quite equable when other people are angry, rather than being angry back.

I am funny.  I can turn a phrase when I feel like it.  I don’t mind making a dick out of myself.

I am quite patient these days.  I like my own company and I don’t mind pootling around.  I don’t get bored easily and I like just dandering seeing what’s what.  This is a good thing.

I’m intelligent, in an intuitive way.  I can be dense as crap but I admit to my blind spots.

I have a degree of charisma which I know not everybody has.  (Whether this is a good thing is up to debate as the confidence I supposedly exude is partly bluster, but I think this is very true of most people who seem confident on the outside).

I am quite active in my own life.  I don’t wait for things to happen, and I take a large degree of responsibility for myself.  I’m independent!  I GET SHIT DONE INNIT.

I do the things that scare me.

I am adaptable.  I’m open to and deal with change quite well.

I’m good with money.  This is a skill!

I am nowhere near as emotionally messed up as I should be given the things that have happened in my life.  Nor am I as bitter.  I am resilient. I don’t seek my self esteem from other people, and my self concept is pretty solid for the most part (this is also open to debate whether this is a good thing, given the good things tend to bounce off somewhat!)

Due to the ageing gene being missing me and my siblings, I can still pass for someone under 18.  This usually pisses me off as people tend to treat me like an imbecilic child (and deny to me my cigarettes!) but I know I’ll appreciate it in 4 years and I’m thirty and suddenly my boobs hit my toes and my faceplate falls off to reveal Predator beneath.


Despite what this list would attest to, I am not narcissistic or up my own hole!

Aaaaaaand, I can write, when I put my mind to it.

That’s all I can muster for now and by the formal language, you can see it was a bit difficult!  I am fighting the urge to write, “And here is why I am also an idiot”, starting with the fact that I am procrastinating by writing this!

Anyway, your turn.  Tell me good things about yourself!




Continue reading

My Family and Christmas

My London Family

That's Freddy in the middle. He's very handsome, and is, "The Older Man", being 29 and all.

My Belfast family


We need a new photo, Stephen!

I’m looking forward to Christmas.  I have found it increasingly less fraught as the years pass.  My eating problems aren’t so bad now. And I guess it means less.  It’s stopped being this magical thing and is now just a welcome respite from normal life, a chance to eat and sit fatly on a sofa without feeling bad about it.

And I wonder- guiltily- if it’s because I don’t have to go home and confront my dad’s drinking and him and mum trying to kill each other.  I miss him a lot at Christmas, but I can’t deny there are things that I don’t miss.  He took Christmas quite seriously, and that was infectious.  It made it an event.  It made every creak from our bedroom floorboards at 4am in the morning elicit a roar that shook the tinsel. I miss that a lot.  But he never took it so seriously he would stop drinking. Inevitably it would descend into tears and screaming.  Some of my worst memories are from Christmas.  But so are some of my best.  He didn’t the last Christmas he was alive, which I am grateful for, and it is a Christmas I cherish. It was the last time I saw him not a yellow papier mache dying in a bed.  He jumped into the taxi with me on the way to the airport.  Then jumped out at the off licence.  He took in my dismay, but it was pointless to protest-if letters and hospitals and pleading and screaming and tears and kicking out then taking back didn’t work, a weak, “Please” in a rushed taxi was not going to work either.  He pressed a twenty pound note into my hand for the fare and kissed me on the cheek.  And his breath was scentless- the last scent I had of him living, untainted by alcohol.

This year, Robert and Freddy will be coming to Belfast with me. It’s going to be weird!  Although Robert has seen me in many of my less glamourous moments in our 10 years of distrustful acquaintanceship and 3 of love, he has never seen me shout at my brother while wearing Primark pyjamas, nor has he witnessed my prestigious ability to eat more Brussel sprouts than the average farmer can grow in a month.  In one sitting!  It is a skill. I revert to Childhoodom, fighting with siblings, unabashedly farting, helping my mum with the stuffing and peeling gammon off the plate in the fridge and blaming it on Paula.

He knows of my family dramas- my dead dad, obviously and my dad mum.  But if he can handle me he can handle a Christmas amongst the Molloys.  It feels very grown up, though, moreso than last year when I spent Christmas in London with him, eating Polish food in our friends’ large and welcoming home.  We even went to Christmas midnight mass, which I found both moving and amusing.  I’d never been to a Church of England service before.  The reverend referenced Twitter and Facebook.  But it was quite lovely.  It had snowed and the church looked beautiful and made me feel very Christmassy.  It’s not a time to be cynical, it’s missing the point to be cynical about it.

Are you looking forward to Christmas?

The Recovery Truth

I didn’t realise my last post came across so negatively! Continue reading

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