How do I feel about the recent talks that €12million will be taken from the mental health budget ? My answer a question directed to you as a Department of Health and the HSE as a whole , but to you as a person. As a father, Uncle, as a big brother or as a best friend. Are you willing to let down the person that comes to mind every time you hear a sad song, the person who is on your mind when you lay silent in bed at night , the first person that you worry about as you sit on the bed to take a moment to tie your shoes and hope that she/he will get through their day okay. That they will try to get out of bed today and even go for a walk ? Or that they will get through their day without having to rush home from work with a panic attack terrified of the stigma surrounding them in their head. That they can make it through the day with out harming themselves ? Or like my parents and family at times just so afraid to look at their phones incase they get that call. The call to say “you are after making an attempt to end your life” or the call to say ” I’m so sorry but she did it this time, we just couldn’t save her. ”
Every one of us knows someone suffering, everyone knows someone who’s smile can light up a room but their eyes tell a completely different story. I can say for a fact the person I’m thinking about yes I knew her and she was an amazing bubbly character, but I used the word knew. The last time I say her I remember looking at her and she smiled and I looked away.. Something made me look back and when I did her face told another story. Being fourteen at the time and in the midst of teenage antics I did not think too much about this but that was the last time I say her face, and now I will only ever see it in pictures.
I’ve had my demons and I’ve battled with myself for the last eight years. You could go as far to say I was my own worst enemy but no baby is born like that. Self hate ? But sure what eleven or twelve year old girl would hate herself ? My answer the one who learns to hate herself gets taught by her peers. And that is how Justin beiber is so big. When we are young and hitting puberty our peers are very impressionable, likewise our idols, wouldn’t really say at twelve my mother was my idol but now at nineteen I can say she is. The point I’m trying to make is we don’t even want to wear bra’s at that stage never mind make a decision based on what we like. We don’t want to be us or individual. We want to be the same. We want to fit in. So if Betty Crocker says “best chocolate fudge” we are going to believe it’s the best chocolate fudge. I don’t even know if our brains are developed enough to know our sense of self. So if were brought up to believe that as a person we will never achieve something , it’s true we may achieve it but not with that thought. We have to battle and work on our minds and change the cognitive pattern. We need to believe we can achieve it.
We need to believe that we are worthwhile and that this world is worth seeing. That this life is for us and that not every person is out to get us. That we can have faith in humanity and as Irish citizens we can believe in our country. To be bluntly honest if suicidal thoughts were going through my mind at this time and I seen that there is plans to cut the mental health budget by over a third, I would feel like I had been stabbed in the chest. I would lose any bit of hope I had, and feel as if I wasn’t worth saving.. And that is the perception you as a government of health are giving us people.
When I read it I felt sick to my stomach not for me but because the thought angered me so much. For me yes , but most importantly for my best friend that short little fiery blonde the one that makes me laugh through the tears every time I’m sad, who makes me want to just tell her constantly how much she means to me (unfortunately I can’t due to how much she would slag me for being so overly emotional) but I want to tell her everyday. For my first love that made me want to experience life, who cared when I was at my most run down and desolate place and who I still remember to this day went out and bought me cupcakes because she thought it might give me some bit of comfort. For my family the ones that have had to be told on a continuous basis that I was after making a very serious attempt to end my life while being nursed on one to one observations. To be told I was being forcefully given my medication through an injection while I screamed that it wasn’t fair and I didn’t want it. To have had to be told their sixteen year old daughter , granddaughter, niece and big sister was being sent on a high court order to a medium secure hospital in England because it was a life and death situation and this was the only way they could keep me safe while getting the appropriate care and treatment. I was there 22 months. With one 6hour visit back to Ireland in that time, but this isn’t my battle anymore, this is my loved ones battle. This is your best mates battle. Your lovers battle. Your battle. And this is our country’s battle.
I can say thankfully somewhere through all the attempts and heartbreak I am here now and I’m alive. And I want you to be able to say that too one day. All of you.
Right now the government are looking at the mental health crisis and they are seeing and focusing on (It breaks my heart to write this word) is the statistics. The deaths. There failing to see all the attempted suicides , the accidents and car crashes that were suicide. But they just can’t come out and say that. There not seeing the people living in complete darkness because let’s face it we live in Ireland we all the know the stigma associated with different things. We are the masters of concealment. We are all an indifferent face hiding some bit of pain. They are not seeing the bigger picture just a tiny fraction.
So I ask you again as a health department and HSE but as a person are you willing to bury your loved ones ? Your best friend ? Your neighbour ? No of course your not so why should we bury ours. We all hold the same value , we all deserve to be loved the same so why are some people not important enough to you ?