Mental Health Awareness Week 2018

   Mental Health Awareness week  2018.      14-20 May.                                                                

                       

 

 

 

Organised by the Mental Health Foundation, this year the main subject of the day is Stress.

In everyday life, this word is used loosely and often incorrectly to describe an emotion that may or may not be linked to a physiological change in the body.

An Acute stress reaction can occur in individuals without any other apparent psychiatric disorder, in response to exceptional physical and/or psychological stress. The symptoms can show considerable variation.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) Arises as a delayed and/or protracted response to a stressful event or situation of an exceptionally threatening nature.

There are a number definitions related to stress, but the bottom line is that the autonomic nervous system and the hypothalamic and pituitary-adrenal axis respond to the trigger. The well-known reaction referred to as the fight or flight response is activated through a number of different pathways, with the overwhelming cascade of symptoms.

Is stress a mental health problem?

 Research has shown that there is a strong correlation between true stress and the onset of mental health issues. Although stress isn’t a psychiatric diagnosis, it is closely linked to mental health in two important ways.

An example of this is, if you struggle under pressure to the point of becoming overwhelmed by stress, then these feelings could lead to anxiety or depression.

Raising awareness of stress being a key factor in some mental health conditions, it follows that stress management is key to successful treatment.

There are many avenues of help available. It is important to talk to loved ones and friends. Visit your GP or Practice nurse who can signpost you to the appropriate professional who is specifically trained to deal with stress and mental health conditions. In addition, there are a number of extremely useful websites:

https://www.mind.org.uk/…/types-of-mental-health-problems/stress

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/s/stress

www.nhs.uk/Conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/

 

Check out the story of ‘Alice’ written by K L Loveley and published by Austin Macaulay. This family drama raises awareness of how stress can lead to a breakdown in mental health.

 Alice by K.L Loveley

 


‘Alice’ is available from Amazon, Waterstones and other leading bookstores!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Temporary loss of my writing retreat.

 

Our cottage on the water, otherwise known as our lovely Canal Boat, is to be out of action for the next six weeks, while the boat exterior is painted and generally spruced up. As regular readers of my blog posts will know, this is my special writing retreat, a place where I can let my imagination go into overdrive.

However, the good news is that I have now completed the first draft of my next novel Union Blues, which will also need to be spruced up, by way of editing and proofreading.

We have just returned home after sailing the boat to Kegworth for the said paint job; by way of Sawley on the River Trent.  We moored overnight close by Sawley Marina and much to my husband’s amazement and delight we discovered a wonderful bonus awaiting us.

I knew something good had occurred when my husband returned to the boat grinning after going out to check the river level in preparation for our onward travel.

‘ Guess where I have been?’  he said while trying to contain himself.

Knowing that he was pleased with himself about something, I tried to play it cool and replied.

‘To the next lock perhaps.’

‘Katie, there is a micro pub right next to the locks, it’s brilliant, do you fancy going tonight?’

So after our evening meal, we walked along the canal towpath to The Lockkeepers Rest.   It was originally the old Lock keepers cottage and belonged to the British Waterways. I must admit, it was the quaintest little micro pub I have had the pleasure of visiting.  The interior of this friendly pub is fascinating, especially if you are interested in the inland waterways. There is a good selection of  Real Ales and Ciders. If you enjoy this kind of place, then it is well worth a visit.

Adjoining the pub is a fabulous coffee shop with outdoor seating and a nice terrace, brilliant for families.

I guess when we return the boat back to our moorings at Mercia Marina in six weeks time, we will be once again visiting this quaint little watering hole.

 

The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Society Film Review

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                

 

When I first encountered the publicity around this film, my first thought was. ‘Wow, that’s a long title.’ However, it certainly got my attention, therefore it was an ingenious move on the part of the author. Sadly the original author of the book (Anne Shafter) did not survive to complete the story and from what I understand; it was finalised by her niece (Annie Barrows).

Now if you are a regular reader of my Blog Posts, you will be aware of my interest in Historical films. You can, therefore, imagine my delight when this film hits the screens and not only is it a historical production, it is also a story about a young author? A perfect combination of my love for all things literary.

Set in post-World War Two Britain, we are first introduced to Juliet (Lily, James) as a young, wealthy but dissatisfied author. Juliet is a very attractive, upper-class young lady who has a passion for adventure that takes her to Guernsey; having corresponded with  Dawsey (Michael Huisman)

Dawsey, a book lover and Pig Farmer, who she later discovers is a member of the Society, found her name in a second-hand book. At this point, he wasn’t aware that the name belonged to an author.

With books being scarce as a result of the German Occupation during the war, he corresponds with her, resulting in Juliet sending him a book to read. This connection leads her to visit Guernsey and her intention to write a newspaper article about ‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society’ which Dawsey mentioned in his correspondence.

This is a story of romance and mystery. The flashbacks to the wartime German Occupation provides the background information to the very quickly formed Society. Juliet soon realises that there are many secrets related to the time of the occupation, resulting in the locals abiding by the saying. ‘Loose lips sink ships.’ It takes some time for her to get to the bottom of the mystery that the society wishes to keep to themselves. However, along the way, a romance develops between the author and pig farmer; much to the disdain of Juliet’s wealthy American Fiancé.

Without giving away too many spoilers, I can report that this is an endearing film that kept me interested throughout. I enjoyed the opportunity to learn about the occupation in Guernsey and the social history related to the Islanders.

As a result of watching the film, I have been on the lookout for similar books and have discovered, The Guernsey Novels’ written by Anne Allen. The novels are all stand alone, however, I started with ‘Dangerous Waters’ and have since read the second book in the series. I highly recommend these books, if you wish to be transported back to Guernsey and the Channel Isles. https://amzn.to/2Hm7tb2

 

 

 

A Poem to make Grown Women Cry.

                                                              A Poem to move one to tears.

 

This year, for Mother’s day, I received Poems that make Grown Women Cry. My daughter, knowing how much I enjoy reading and writing poetry, gave me this anthology; edited by Anthony and Ben Holden.

The collection includes masterpieces chosen and introduced by some of the world’s most eminent writers, actors, artists and academics. In addition to this list of famous and respected people are broadcasters and activists; making for a fascinating collection of poems.

Whilst I have enjoyed reading the whole collection, there was one in particular that really did make me cry.

Written by the English war poet, Siegfried Sassoon (1886 – 1967) this poem sends out a clear and painful message about a young soldier who died in the ‘hell we’ll never know’ in the First World War trenches.

 

Suicide in the Trenches.

I knew a simple soldier boy

Who grinned at life in empty joy,

Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,

And whistled early with the lark.

 

In winter trenches, cowed and glum,

With crumps and lice and lack of rum,

He put a bullet through his brain.

No one spoke of him again.

 

You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye

Who cheer when soldier lads march by,

Sneak home and pray you’ll never know

The hell where youth and laughter go.

 

 

Simply writing down these few powerful words is enough for me to visualise the trauma these young men must have suffered in the hell we will never know. Driven to the point of taking their own life as a result of post-traumatic stress disorder; the families of these so-called cowards were made to feel ashamed. At that point in time, it was considered an act of treason to commit suicide in order to remove oneself from combat.

I find it so hard to believe that a parent was unable to grieve as they would have done, had their son died in combat. The words, ‘no one spoke of him again’ I find particularly sad.  My sadness transforms into anger as Siegfried Sassoon delivers the final punch. ‘You smug-faced crowds.’

 

Autism Awareness Day

 

World Autism Day 2018

 

We are approaching the eleventh annual autism day of 2018. A day when autism organisations around the world, celebrate the day, by way of unique fundraising events and raising awareness of the condition.

Raising awareness is fundamental in the strides forward that need to be made in order for this developmental disability to be recognised and fully understood.

Autism is a developmental disability that remains with a person for their entire life. Each child or adult with autism is unique. For this reason, a person is described as being on the spectrum. This describes the condition as having a range of similar traits of various degrees.

Most notably autism is characterised by noticeable impaired social skills, difficulty with communication and restrictive and repetitive behaviour.

This spectrum is why each person with autism, is unique and as such, their treatment plan should be bespoke. Early intervention, involving the entire family is the most effective treatment.

Asperger’s is a form of autism. It is characterised by impaired social skills, repetitive behaviours and often a narrow and limited set of interests. However, linguistic and cognitive development is not delayed.

Asperger’s is explored in the story of Alfie, the protagonist in Love, Secrets, and Absolution. Love, Secrets, and Absolution - novel

Alfie is not like other little boys, that much is clear from a very young age. He is a lonely boy, full of obsessive thoughts and repetitive behaviours. His young life is one long struggle for him.

Before the increased awareness of Autism, such children, all over the world were considered naughty and strange. No professional help was offered, or even available, and their lives and the lives of their families was made difficult.

 

Thankfully, the whole world is moving forward with the understanding of this neurobiological condition.

                                                                   Together we can make a difference.The Inner Wheel club of Warsop has been hosting events in support of Autism East Midlands.

Happy International Women’s Day

.                                   International Women’s Day 2018

 

A day that brings together women’s organisations, global governments, businesses and charities. The day will be marked with rallies, talks, networking events, marches and performances on a global scale.

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is #PressforProgress. A strong call to whole communities, colleagues and friends, to think, act and be gender inclusive.

This is a call for motivation to change the gender parity gap. The Worlds Economic Forum’s Global Gender Report of 2017, suggests that it will take 100 years to close the gender parity gap.

The original aim of International Women’s Day was to achieve gender equality for women – this has not yet been realised.

With the many scandals surrounding gender issues and the recent Hollywood scandal, it is now time to #PressforProgress.

 

MeToo movement.

I read with interest that the OSCARS goodie bags this year contained: pepper spray, a rape alarm and a test to discover if your drink has been spiked. These offerings were as a result of the #MeToo movement; where women from all over the world came forward to share their story of sexual harassment.  How forward thinking of the OSCARS  management team.

It seems to me that this last decade has uncovered a lot of detritus, with profound results. I will watch with growing optimism, the progress as it takes place over the next decade and sincerely hope that the changes are in favour of our daughters and granddaughters. Sadly and to my disgust. The gender pay gap still exists in The United Kingdom, where women earn up to less than 14% less than men.

We have a lot to thank the suffragettes for, and all of the other women throughout history and the current times; who have valiantly pushed forwards and made sure that their voices were heard loud and clear.

Ladies I am proud of you all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Army of Grandparents Mobiliized

 

Army of Grandparents mobilized.

 

Up and down the country as schools and nurseries were closed. The army of Grandparents was mobilized to the front. While the Beast from the East enveloped most of the United Kingdom, Grandparents everywhere were being called to arms.

Blizzards, strong winds and drifting snow caused chaos, reinforced by the message from the Met Office as they issued a red warning – it’s most severe alert.

‘Your country needs you’ was the cry from frazzled parents as they attempted to make their way to work, fighting through the snow storms and icy conditions.

It is well documented that Grandparents provide immense support for their children and grandchildren alike. As the cost of child-care increases so does the need for struggling families to become dependent on their ageing parents.

Just because you don’t live next door doesn’t mean that you are exempt. Oh no. Armed with snow shovels and de-icer, grandparents pushed onwards to the front, ready to face any battle.

But does it end there? Once again. Oh no, my friend. Having found a way to push forward against the enemy of the force of nature, there are rules and regulations to be observed.

As your offspring wave a cheery goodbye and fight their way down the path that you have forged with your own snow shovel, they call out the final orders of the day.

‘I don’t suppose you could stay until the end of the week could you, only I’ve heard that storm Emma is on the way?’

Celebrating World Book Day

 

Celebrating World Book Day in the United Kingdom.

 I cannot think of a better gift for a child, than a book or a book token. Growing up, these were always my favourite gifts; and even now as an adult, I count book tokens and books amongst my favourite things.

On World Book Day, every child in full-time education in the United Kingdom is given a voucher to be spent on books. How amazing is that?

What could be more magical than reading to a child? Stories open up a world of wonder, feeding the imagination and educating at the same time.

 

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

 

 

The ADHD Foundation are calling for action from the government

 

The ADHD Foundation are calling for action from the government.

 

Victoria Derbyshire, an English journalist and broadcaster, today interviewed Dr Tony Lloyd on the BBC. Her live current affairs and debate programme discussed the call for action by the ADHD Foundation.

The charity says that there is a big economic impact in terms of ADHD going undiagnosed. An example was given, that some children with undiagnosed ADHD end up in Pupil Referral Units. The issues around early intervention are compounded by the fact, that these children cannot be officially diagnosed until the age of six.

Dr Tony Lloyd stated ‘nine out of ten exclusions at school are children with learning difficulties and other additional needs.’

These additional needs are explored in the story of Alfie, a young boy who is the protagonist in the book, Love, Secrets, and Absolution, available from Amazon and Waterstones.

Blurb.

‘People in the village gossip about Grace’s son Alfie. He is a lonely boy full of secrets, lies and obsessive thoughts.’

 

Love, Secrets, and Absolution - novel

 

Obsessive thoughts are one of the many issues that some children with ADHD suffer from.

OCD and ADHD Dual Diagnosis written by, Dr Amitai Abromovitch  a neuropsychologist and research fellow and Andrew Mittelman,a research coordinator; report that research suggests, one out of five children with OCD have co-occurring ADHD.

Seventy-five percent of all individuals diagnosed with ADHD are diagnosed with the impulsive hyperactive combined type.

Reference.

Abromovitch A. Mittelman A., Dual Diagnosis Misdiagnosis and the cognitive cost of Obsessions.

Strike Three. But J.K.Rowling is not out

 ‘Strike three, but J. K. Rowling is not out.’

Once again J. K. Rowling, writing under the pen name of Robert Gailbraith has written another striking novel.

Joanne Rowling, CH, OBE, FRSL, FRCPE, the British novelist, screenwriter and producer, is best known for writing the Harry Potter fantasy series. Her journey into the world of writing crime fiction has demonstrated once again the unending talents of this remarkable woman.

 Career of Evil, the third book in the series, about the private investigator, Cormoran Strike was aired on British Television recently and has proved to be yet another brilliant piece of work.

This follows hot on the heels of the previous two books in the series: The cuckoo’s calling and The Silkworm.

 Credit to.

Tom Edge who wrote the scripts and Charles Sturridge, the director who have quite clearly looked into the heart and soul of the books and transferred the story to screen magnificently.

 Review.

The story follows Cormoran Strike a private investigator played by Tom Burke; and his sidekick, wannabe sleuth, Robin Ellacott, played by Holliday Grainger.

Their highly flirtatious relationship adds another layer of anticipation to the drama, making for a crime-fiction drama that is softened at the edges.

But there is nothing soft, about the story content. Career of Evil begins with the gruesome delivery of a parcel containing Red blooded mail.

Not the variety of’ Male’ that Robin is accustomed to accepting at the office. The twist associated with this delivery is the symbolism of the content. No spoiler intended.

 

 

For those of you, who in the past have read my list of literary personalities I wish to invite for dinner at mine. You will have noted that J.K.Rowling is high on my list. I expect I will have to get in line amongst the thousands of others, who like me believe that her success is well deserved.

I eagerly await the concluding episode of Career of Evil and look forward to reading further crime-fiction novels written by, Robert Gailbraith.