Suicide is not a crime

Ending your own life has not been a crime in the UK since 1961 when The Suicide Act was passed meaning that those who attempted but failed to take their own life would no longer be prosecuted. The term “committing suicide” has remained however and I believe that this is part of the problem. The connotation of this term implies that the person ending their life is doing something illegal or shameful and in the normal use of the word would also warrant punishment for their actions.

Would you really want to punish someone who is mentally ill?

People choose to end their life because they are in an unimaginable amount of pain and do not see an end to their suffering.

The continued use of an out of date term, in my honest opinion, is holding the mental health community back as we strive for more understanding. If we shifted our speech and instead used words such as “completed suicide” or “ended their own life” it could pave the way for the beginning of a more informed public attitude towards suicide and mental health as well as encouraging the bereaved families to seek the help they so desperately need.

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The 27 club

The 27 club is a list mostly of musicians, artists, or actors who died at age 27.Their deaths are often attributed to drug and/or alcohol abuse, or violent means such as homicide, suicide, or transportation-related accidents.

Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, as well as Jim Morrison died at the age of 27 between 1969 and 1971. At the time, this coincidence gave rise to some comment, it was not until Kurt Cobain’s 1994 death however, that the idea of a “27 Club” began to catch on in the public’s perception.Blues musician Robert Johnson, who died in 1938, is the earliest popular musician who has been included in the 27 Club.

Then in 2011, seventeen years after Cobain’s death, Amy Winehouse died at the age of 27, prompting a renewed swell of media interest devoted to the club once again.Three years earlier, she had eerily expressed a fear of dying at that age.

An person doesn’t necessarily have to be a musician to qualify as a member of the 27 Club. Rolling Stone included television actor Jonathan Brandis, who died by suicide in 2003, in a list of “members” of the 27 Club.

Personally I don’t agree with the 27 club being a thing. I just find it disrespectful to those who have passed and their families

Body dysmorphic disorder

Body dysmorphic disorder or body dysmorphia, is a mental health condition where a person spends a lot of time worrying about flaws in their appearance. These flaws are often unnoticeable to other people. Having Body dysmorphia does not mean you are self-obsessed. It can be very upsetting and can greatly impact on someone’s life. It affects people of all ages, but it is most common in teenagers and young adults. It also affects both men and women.

Body dysmorphic disorder can seriously affect your everyday life, including work, your social life and relationships. It can also lead to depression, self harm and even thoughts of suicide

Symptoms

You might have Body dysmorphic disorder if you:

• worry a lot about a specific area of your body (particularly your face)

• spend a lot of time comparing your looks with other people’s.

• look at yourself in mirrors a lot or avoid mirrors altogether.

• go to a lot of effort to conceal flaws for example, by spending a long time on your hair, applying make up or choosing clothes.

• pick at your skin to make it “smoother”.

Getting help for Body dysmorphic disorder

You should visit your doctor if you think you might have BDD.

They will probably ask a number of questions about your symptoms and how they affect you. They may also ask if you have had any thoughts about harming yourself.

Your doctor may refer you to a mental health specialist for further assessment and treatment, or you may be treated through your doctor.

It can be very difficult to seek help for BDD, but it’s important to remember that you have nothing to feel ashamed or embarrassed about. Seeking help is important because your symptoms probably won’t go away without treatment and could even get worse.

Treatments for Body dysmorphic disorder

The symptoms of BDD can get better with treatment.

• if you have relatively mild symptoms of BDD you should be referred for a type of talking therapy called cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which you have either on your own or in a group.

• if you have moderate symptoms of BDD you should be offered either CBT or a type of antidepressant medication called a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)

• if you have severe symptoms of BDD, or other treatments don’t work, you should be offered CBT together with an SSRI

Paul Gascoigne – once a legend, always a legend?

Photo: Itv. “No one can be the next Gazza” – Paul Gascoigne

In Gateshead on 27th May 1967, Paul John Gascoigne was born. Football was a big part of Paul’s childhood, he was noticed by several football scouts and after several unsuccessful trials as a schoolboy he was signed by the team he supported, his home team, Newcastle United in 1980.

Paul’s childhood was plagued by instability and tragedy. During his early life his family moved several times, he witnessed the death of a friends younger brother and around this time Paul’s father began suffering seizures. He was taken for therapy at age 10 after he developed obsessions and twitches but soon quit after his father expressed doubts over treatment.

He developed an addiction to gaming machines, often spending all of his money on his habit and soon began shoplifting in order to fund his addiction. At age 15 he decided to provide for his family and professional football was not only a way for him to do that but it was his passion too. Throughout the years he had an incredibly successful career within football, everyone was incredibly drawn to what was dubbed “Gazza Mania”.

Alan Shearer – “he was a genius with that football at his feet”

Sir Bobby Robson – “when Gazza was dribbling, he used to go through a minefield with his arm, a bit like you go through a supermarket”

Gary Lineker – “part of his genius, part of his magnificence, is the fact that he was so vulnerable. Without that vulnerable side, without all the things that come with Gazza, I don’t think Paul Gascoigne would have been the player that he was”

Gary Lineker – “The most naturally gifted footballer England has produced”

Paul Ince – “probably the best player I played with. What more can I say? He’s a maverick, he just had everything”

Les Ferdinand – “quite simply the best midfielder I’ve ever played with. In fact, he had the ability to be the best player in the world”

Sir Alex Ferguson – “he was the best player of his era, a breath of fresh air because he played with a smile”

Frank Lampard – “he was the one I always looked up to and wanted to be”

Paul’s personal life however was plagued by controversy. He admitted to violence towards then wife Sheryl. They divorced in 1999. He has been the subject of a bankruptcy petition, a restraining order as well as a racism scandal.

Now here’s where it gets really sad…

Paul Gascoigne has an issue with alcohol. He has had this issue for many years now. Paul has been in and out of rehab several times over the years and has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He has been sectioned under the Mental Health Act three times and hospitalised over an apparent suicide attempt.

This is really sad to me because, as a fellow Geordie, Gazza was, and still is to a degree, a legend in Newcastle. I do feel however the legend he once was and the legend he is today are two totally different people. Paul Gascoigne, once a powerhouse in the football community is now a shadow of his former self and more well known today as a struggling alcoholic.

I wish Paul Gascoigne well and most importantly of all I wish for him to find peace.

Small Update

So… where to begin?

As you may or may not know I haven’t been feeling great for the last few weeks, having dizzy spells, feeling sick and generally not feeling my best. I went to the doctors appointment that was scheduled for 6th August and showed the doctor my log of dizzy episodes over the last two week period. The doctor agreed this is not normal and I now have to have blood tests as well as a tilt table test as the doctor mentioned the possibility of Postural Tachycardia Syndrome or PoTS for short.

I had no idea what this was until I came home and did some research and I now strongly suspect that this is what I have been experiencing, upon researching I have since discovered that PoTS is often misdiagnosed as anxiety and panic attacks, so on the plus side there is a very good chance that I don’t even have an anxiety disorder but on the downside unfortunately there isn’t a cure for PoTS, the symptoms can only be managed.

Now…what exactly is Postural Tachycardia Syndrome?

Postural tachycardia syndrome (PoTS) is an abnormal increase in heart rate that occurs after sitting up or standing. It typically causes dizziness, fainting and other symptoms.

Treating depression

Treatment for depression will usually involve a combination of self-help, talking therapies as well as medication.The treatment that will be recommended for you will be based on the type of depression you have.

Mild depression:

If you have mild depression, the following treatments could be recommended.

Wait and see

If your doctor diagnoses you with mild depression, they may suggest waiting a short period of time to see if it gets better on its own. You will then be seen again by your doctor after 2 weeks to monitor your progress. This is known as watchful waiting.

Exercise

There’s evidence that exercise can help depression, and it’s 1 of the main treatments for mild depression. You may be referred to a group exercise class.

Self-help

Talking through your feelings can be helpful. You could talk to a friend or relative, or you could ask your doctor whether there are and group therapy sessions in your area. You could also try self help books or online CBT.

Mild to moderate depression:

If you have mild to moderate depression which is not improving, or moderate depression, you could find a talking therapy helpful.There are different types of talking therapies for depression, including CBT and counselling.

Your doctor can refer you for talking treatment, or you can self refer directly to a psychological therapies service.

Moderate to severe depression:

If you have moderate to severe depression, the following treatments may be recommended.

Antidepressants

Antidepressants are tablets that treat the symptoms of depression. There are almost 30 different types of antidepressant.They have to be prescribed by a doctor, usually for depression that’s moderate or severe.

Combination therapy

Your doctor may recommend that you take a course of antidepressants plus talking therapy, particularly if your depression is quite severe.A combination of an antidepressant and CBT will usually work better than having just 1 of these treatments.

Mental health teams

If you have severe depression, you may be referred to a mental health team made up of psychologists, psychiatrists, specialist nurses and occupational therapists.

These teams often provide intensive specialist talking treatments as well as prescribed medication. 

Kurt Cobain

“Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are” – Kurt Cobain

Kurt Donald Cobain was born on February 20th 1967 in Washington, USA. His childhood was considered a happy one until his parents divorce when he was 9. This event caused Kurt to become troubled and angry. As a teen he frequently stayed with various relatives or friends’ parents, even sleeping under bridges occasionally as he began to use drugs. He was musically inclined from an early age, in the mid 80’s he began playing with local band the Melvins and created a homemade tape with the drummer. This tape managed to grab the attention of local bassist Krist Novoselic. Nirvana was created by Cobain and Novoselic in 1987.

One of their demo tapes found its way to record label Sub Pop who subsequently signed the band in 1988. Nirvana were catapulted to worldwide fame in 1991 with the release of the album Nevermind. Kurt was hailed as the voice of his generation, a title which never sat right with him. Kurt married Courtney Love in 1992 and welcomed their daughter that same year. In Utero, Nirvana’s final studio album was released in 1993 in which Kurt turned against his fame. He had been battling depression for a long time at this point as well as suffering from chronic stomach pain.

Kurt turned to drugs to treat his issues, his drug of choice being heroin, which he frequently used in the years after Nirvana’s rise to fame. To numb his chronic stomach pain he would take a variety of painkiller. Kurt overdosed and slipped into a coma in March 1994 while he was in Rome, this was later thought to have been a failed suicide attempt. April 1994, Kurt snuck out of a Los Angeles drug treatment centre and returned to his home in Seattle where he ended his own life. He was just 27. It was discovered that a high concentration of heroin as well as diazepam were in Kurt’s system, it was a gunshot that ended his life however.

My thoughts:

Kurt Cobains story is an incredibly sad one. The breakdown of his parents marriage clearly had a profound effect on him and it was something I don’t think he ever got over, he was clearly struggling and I am not 100% sure why he didn’t seek out help other than the drug treatment centre in LA. Maybe he didn’t realise how bad things were mentally, maybe he did but was too afraid or ashamed to seek help , or maybe he knew how ill he was but thought he was handling it?

We will never know…

It’s just incredibly sad to me because his daughter had to grow up without her dad. The Cobains lost their son,brother,grandson. And the world lost an incredibly talented musician.