Recently, in conversations in the real world, I’ve realised a lot of my friends and family don’t really know much about mental illness (both specific illnesses and more generally) so basically, I thought some info might help. I was actually the other day asked if BPD is what serial killers have – no joke. So yer, I think some people really don’t know much about mental health. But then again, why would they if they’ve never had to worry about it?
I’m not going to go over what each of my illnesses are exactly, or exactly what the problems surrounding understanding of mental health are because other people and places do it better. So I decided to put up some links from really bait websites to help those that haven’t learnt about them yet to get some quick info without having to search at all. None of it is stuff you can’t find without a quick google, but I know a lot of people just don’t think to google. This isn’t specifically for support or other useful blogs, but purely info based. It’s very U.K. orientated so apologies if you’re from the vast majority of the world that isn’t Britain.
If anyone has any suggestions, feel free to let me know.
Two websites will come up in a lot of categories, so here’s a little explaining.
Mind are a mental health charity and their website offers a non-clinical way of looking at mental health. It tends to be non-judgemental, very accessible and aims to help those who don’t suffer from mental illness to understand them, whilst being supportive and informative to sufferers. They are a brilliant charity and deserve a lot of time and funds. I’ve used them for counselling before and they can often reach people quicker than the NHS can (due to waiting list times) so are a really useful charity.
NHS Choices give a more clinical approach to mental illness, but they do lay out the symptoms and the guidelines to what treatment sufferers should receive on the NHS (although these treatments are often unavailable to people). They have overviews and treatment options and symptoms and complications and stuff, plus knowing what you NICE recommend you should be receiving makes it a whole load easier to fight for it (IMO – at least, it’s worked for me).
I could add Wikipedia, but I figure that no one could be that lazy.
Mental Health Generally
- Time to Change are a group trying to tackle the stigma and discrimination that surrounds mental health. It’s a massive issue in this country, especially in terms of employment, benefits and NHS funding. They have a lot of good things to say, especially around ending the shame a lot of people with mental health problems suffer from.
- Rethink Mental Illness work with people with mental health problems – “helping those in crisis to live independently and realise they are not alone.” They have loads of info on things like housing and benefits, as well as crisis support.
- Mind – Understanding Mental Health Problems
- Mind – Early Signs of Mental Distress
- NHS Mental Health – I think this page is a tad on the optimistic side of what the NHS can actually provide. Some of it is really useless if you have a serious mental illness as a lot of it is designed for people who are stressed or feel emotionally unwell in some way, but some of it is more useful and it has a ‘find local support’ search bar for the most common mental health complaints (depression and anxiety, as well as therapy more generally) as well as looking over some issues like men and mental health treatment and how to access therapy etc.. It isn’t really designed for those in need of more intensive treatment though.
- Beat are a really useful source of info and support for those with eating disorders of all kinda and the people who care about them. They offer online support and run group sessions all over the country. Again, they deserve any funds you can give them because they helped me a lot. Their forums don’t have enough traffic though so aren’t always the most helpful.
- Mind – Eating Problems
- NHS – Overcoming Eating Disorders (there’s lots of info here on how to support those who suffer from EDs which isn’t always helpful, but is better than nothing).
- NHS – Anorexia Nervosa
- NHS – Bulimia
- NHS – Binge Eating Disorder
- ED Bites is a blog by a recovered AN sufferer who also happens to be a science writer. It can be hard to troll through to get the info you need, but there is a lot of up to date science on eating disorders and recovery there if you have the time to look. It’s easy to read as well because its a personal blog with her own experiences in mind. I found it really useful.
- Gwyneth Olwyn has a blog dedicated to recovery from eating disorders. She predominantly deals with AN. I think her latest posts are more in response to the forums, but here early blog posts were really useful info for me at the beginning and during recovery.
- Giant Fossilised Armadillo has a section on her blog called D.I.Y. Recovery which goes over a lot of info and helpful advice if you’re trying to recover from AN as an outpatient or without any formal treatment. Again, this was invaluable to me in recovery. And again, because it’s based on personal experience, it can often resonate more I think with sufferers.
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
I’ll be the first to admit that this is an area which I’ve found less useful info pages for, but there are some so bear with me. I’ll add as I find more.
- Personality Disorder have a lot of stuff on what Personality Disorders (PDs) actually are, ways to access treatment, leaflets on self-management and information about treatment more generally.
- Mind – (BPD)
- NHS – BPD
- DBT Self Help goes through a lot of DBT techniques and is a really good place to get started on learning things like mindfulness, self soothing and radical acceptance etc. This site was useful to me both during recovery from AN and now.
- Mind – Self-Harm
- The Site have a lots of information on self harm, first aid, when to go to A&E, medications and misconceptions. Plus they also have a load of videos which make can make it easier to digest. They also have an online community support section, but I’ve not used it so don’t know how responsive it is.
- Self Harm U.K. isn’t all that great, but they have a good info section covering the facts, the myths and how to stay safe. Staying safe is obviously the most important thing.
- The National Self Harm Network have a lot of info on misconceptions, facts and why people self harm, as well as what may still be a reasonably active online community. I haven’t used it since my teens though so I couldn’t say for sure. They have info for family and friends too, which is good.
- NHS – Self Harm
- Recover Your Life – This one is risky, but it’s the community I find most useful. I think it’s because I’ve used it since I was very young and found a place there. It can be triggering if you’re not prepared for it though and probably needs tighter moderation, but it is recovery orientated. The forums are full of teenagers though, so it can be a bit difficult to find people on your wave length if you’re older, plus the chat area is almost useless for those in serious distress. However, again they have a lot of information on self harm, the reasons, the myths, the misconceptions but most importantly, a really detailed first aid section and exactly what wounds need A&E attention. They also have an eating disorders forum (they think of it as a form of self harm. They are wrong IMO), but I think it should be avoided by those in recovery really, a mental health problems forum (which is a lot more useful) and a crisis section, which can help you make to make the right choices because responses are pretty rapid, but is by no means an alternative to treatment. The forums have a lot of info on have to minimise scarring, how to hide scars, how to dress wounds etc. They get a lot of traffic, so responses come pretty quickly and there really is a lot of info there. Regardless of its faults, their first aid info in the advice section is the best and most detailed I’ve foun
To be honest, I haven’t done a lot of research myself into PTSD, depression or anxiety. I probably should, but I really haven’t started to deal with these issues yet. I think that the depressive and anxious aspects of my brain will hopefully improve with treatment for BPD. I really should look into finding more information about depression though because it is seriously misunderstood. I’m less sure if the trauma work in my BPD treatment will be helpful, but the severity of my PTSD symptoms are seasonal and I didn’t even know I had it until March 2012 (which coincides with my symptoms easing up). Maybe over the winter months I’ll find myself looking for more support. It’s the same with anxiety and panic attacks – I’ve had them for years, but am only recently diagnosed so didn’t know what to search for. Plus they emerged when I was less internet savvy so I didn’t even think to search, and now I’m just used to them. When I’ve had serious episodes of depression, I’ve always been too depressed to go on the internet. I stay in bed and watch sad foreign movies because if I’m reading the subtitles, listening and watching, I’m occupying more of my brain. They are sad because when I’m depressed, hope isn’t coming from anywhere so I may as well wallow (that’s not fact, but it is how I feel at the time).
Although I haven’t done all the web searching for these problems, they are often very serious conditions and I don’t mean to lump them together as if they’re not. It’s literally only because I haven’t done enough searching. Something I hope to rectify soon.
- Depression Forums have a lot of personal experiences information on medications for depression, which soothed my mind a lot when I’ve been prescribed so many things.
- Mind – Antidepressants
- NHS – Antidepressants
Anxiety and Panic Disorders:
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: