Posted in Blog, Mental Health

Music As A Medicine

I haven’t had a chance to write about The Drums gig I went to in November, which was actually quite monumental for me, and unfortunately I don’t have any pictures from that night, because my phone from then has deceased 😦 

I actually almost didn’t go, because I found out that one of the members had left and also I wasn’t feeling well in myself mentally.

But music is always my go-to mentally; even when I can’t face the rest of the world, I can face my favourite band.

This year in particular, music has had a profound effect upon my mental health. I  would use it to get myself out of bed as an alarm for my teacher training mornings and wherever I go, I always listen to music.

As a child, I couldn’t sleep in silence, I found it deafening and needed music to sleep to. Personalised playlists helped my on my runs and my highs and lows of life has a soundtrack to it.

I don’t just feel a connection to music spiritually, I also feel it psychologically. At times, it’s not even the words that speak to me: I go to gigs and realise that I’ve been listening to a song on repeat for ten years and don’t even know most of the lyrics, because I’ve been listening to the bass or something. Since disconnecting with God, I’ve found a church in music. There’s no greater feeling than standing amongst a group of people who are all on at least some same wavelength as you, just riding a beat – what goes on outside doesn’t need to matter for those couple of hours. Sharing communion.

However, this year within the chaos of my mental health deterioration, I have taken stock of who I am listening to and what they have gone through in their own personal lives so that I am not selfishly consuming. This is why I still love The Drums regardless of being one man down, because I know that Johnny Pierce has also used his music to help him through his depression and having grown up in a strict Christian family, which also had an effect upon his mental health, the stars aligned the night of that gig in Hammersmith, when Johnny decided that he had to speak. He spoke openly about mental health, and about not letting anybody tell you who you ought to be.

“Too high functioning”

I’ve been looking into the use of music to treat clinical depression, more so since I was rejected from the Community Mental Health services for being to “high-functioning” because of the fact that I go to gigs, yet my mental health state has never been worse.

Last year I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, and after seeing a Personality therapist at the Community Mental Health services, it was decided that instead I have Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder. These diagnoses are useless to me.

I’ve been taking antidepressants intermittently since my late teens and consistently for three years, and each dose increase has had no effect on my mood like music does.  There is methodology in science to suggest a causal correlation between mood and control, which I have personally seen within myself and for days following a gig.

Science of course perceives music as more of an experimental therapy, however research is ongoing, particularly in the field of neuroscience.

In terms of healing, music-making can engage a patient holistically: it engages the patient’s perceptual, mental and responsive motor-functional capacities, while the act of listening to music creates an ambient and sheltered environment, which also promotes healing for the mind, body and soul.  Some people find it in gospel music and blame it on the holy spirit.

“Part of the design”

Lately I’ve taken to listening to classical music to create an ambient atmosphere in my bedroom, as it also helps a little bit with my mental health too.

Therefore, the music is only a part of the design: you also need the extras in order to create the atmosphere, which is how “Musical Psychopharmacology” is created. For example, at a gig, you would have lights, a crowd, sounds effects, acoustics, encores. You can actually pay to go to place to create this all for you too!

But now imagine how therapeutic gigs are, and then tell me that a) they’re a waste of money, and b) they make mental health sufferers who are also regular gig-goers, “too-high functioning”.

XOXO

 

References

Rudinow, J. (2014). Soul music : tracking the spiritual roots of pop from plato to motown. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com

Posted in Blog

What’s With Lore???

I’ve had an extremely exhausting week emotionally, as well as mentally and apart from working on a project for uni I’ve completely shut myself off from the rest of the world.

My partner and I almost broke up this week because it’s been a struggle.


I’m currently watching the TV series “Lore” on Amazon Prime and I’m on the second episode about lobotomies. I’m so mortified, I had to take a break to come and to the toilet and be sick halfway through. An ice pick in the eyes??? Why do movies and old skool cartoons pretend that it’s some kind of brain swap, or brain on the shelf thing, when it was actually even worse than that?


And why is mental health still something that is so misunderstood even now? The narrator was exclusively talking about the brain, when mental health is about the mind too. It’s like a battle of the two. Sometimes that’s the problem.


And with the way the system works now, dishing out anti-depressants is almost like being lobotomised in a way…


My main issues this week are to do with being so poorly let down and I’m beginning to want to live an apathetic life, which is in contrast to my personality, but I’m exhausted. I’m a minority in every single sense with nobody standing up for me.


I try to be grateful for what I have, but let’s be real:

I started off the year with a career, money, independence, friends, prospects, goals..

Now, I may have goals, but I don’t have anything else, apart from love.


My friends all got tired and deserted me because depression is boring (including the ones from a recent post. These recent weeks have been a burden to them).

And the rest you already know about.  


Anyway, I’m going to go back and watch “Lore”.

Perhaps an old skool cartoon lobotomy would be a good idea, to feel apathetic and not feel guilty about it either…🤔

Posted in Blog, Mental Health

When Racial Microaggressions Become Aggressive Racism

White people are funny.


One minute you’re having a conversation, which without your consent then becomes a debate. 

But that’s ok, because you can hold your own. But then there’s more of them than there are of you, so what do you do?



Well, you still hold your own because this is a debate, except they gang up against you, because you’re more intelligent than them and suddenly this is an argument and now they’re overstepping the mark.

Now you decide to respectfully leave.

Some are blocking your exits; some chase you down alleyways; some follow you down the staircase.


But this isn’t real life. This is social media.  


I took myself out of a situation on Facebook and now I’m being stalked on Twitter, and there’s nothing that Twitter can do because they’re not saying anything nasty to me. They just weren’t friends with me on Facebook, and I fell out with a mutual friend of ours, who didn’t like the way things ended, plus they also happen to be the bullies I mentioned, who were part of the “debate” and have somehow tracked me down on Twitter to ask me “what my problem is?” with unbelievably poor spelling, punctuation and grammar 🤪


These women were implicitly and aggressively racist.

They were aggressive in their methods, yet did not realise that they were being racist and this is the problem with white people today in Britain. They allowed their insecurities about themselves to get the better of them, which controlled their emotions and turned them into bullies; perhaps my friend has always been racist or perhaps she lost herself in this moment amongst her schema (social environment)… who knows? 


As for her mother… well… we all know what Freud says about mothers, so there isn’t much left to say is there really?! The fact that she would have to fabricate stories, on behalf of her daughter about my disability to try and alienate my Twitter followers says it all really doesn’t it?

These are the sort of women who will say:

But her nephew is mixed raced, how is she racist?

I have five Black friends, how am I a racist?

Mate, my partner is white, and most of my friends used to be too, however l have no problem in declaring my issues with White people, because of their problems with me.


I’ve experienced ontological insecurity before: always in breakdowns of relationships with white women, and therefore, I know the warning signals. Another reason why these women came to find me on Twitter was clearly to gaslight me, which just proves really that they really are racists. So if that’s the kind of person my friend was, based on her behaviour, plus her mother’s and friend’s too, then I’ve had a fucking lucky escape. 

You have a right to protect your mental health 💜

Posted in Blog

A New Found Confidence

I’m currently working on a Research Project on invisible disabilities, particularly discrimination and disability hierarchy theory (which off the top of my head I can’t remember who came up with, but the research behind the theory proves that society shows more empathy towards visible disabilities). 

I had a seizure on Sunday afternoon and therefore spent the rest of the day in bed recovering. It’s now 5.17am on Monday morning and instead of sleeping, I’m wide awake because I spent the day sleeping off the post-seizure migraine.

A LOT has happened this weekend – too much for me to get into right now – to trigger that seizure, because of society’s ignorance, causing me to feel like I’m not wanted. So when I saw this quote, I just had to share:

Quite frankly, I do not give a damn what you think, or whether or not you believe I’m sick because “I don’t look it”. 

It’s not my job to fix your stupidity. 

But one day, you will need me to complete your picture. 

Posted in Blog

Parental Rejection

http://www.spring.org.uk/2016/10/rejection-parent-personality.php

I came across this article tonight after reading on Twitter that a friend of mine had finally been rejected by her father. I say finally, because it’s been a slow, drawn out process. The rest of her family have turned their backs on her following her transition (she’s transgender) and at first, her father was the bridge of support, claimed to attempt to support, to reach out to the other party, etc., etc. But then she had fears that he was pulling away – we didn’t want to believe it, especially me, having experienced it myself, but he was acting super sketchy and no longer being as supportive as he once was. 

Then tonight, he was no longer taking her calls. He’d cut her off. 

HIS OWN DAUGHTER. 

What kind of parents have children, only to reject them? Let’s forget that we’re adults, we’re still your children. Professor Ronald, co-author of the study in the article, says that it doesn’t matter what culture, race or class you come from (surprisingly, considering we’re talking about Psychology here!) rejection from a parental figure has a significant effect upon the development of your personality. Rejected children tend to be more anxious and insecure; it also makes us aggressive and angry – who do we trust? And why should we trust people? What if you let us down? 

Rohner then goes on to say:

“Unlike physical pain, however, people can psychologically re-live the emotional pain of rejection over and over for years.”

According to the article, empirical research claims that the same parts of the brain activated for physical pain, are also activated for emotional pain. 

There are still days when I can’t breathe because the pain of separation is unbearable. 

I’m also finally coming to terms with being an orphan, because I never thought of my father rejecting me before. I’ve never had to deal with him walking out because I’ve always been so consumed with my mother’s failings, which the article discusses. 

Why do people even bother to have children? 

I’m sorry that this isn’t an uplifting post; I just can’t even…

I spent three days in bed with a post-stictal migraine, feeling like I’d had a stroke and not knowing what was going on, not knowing who I am, barely able to speak and the only thing I was sure of was that my parents didn’t love me. Because I get to relive that over and over again, especially when I’m too sick to escape my insecurities.  

Posted in Blog

My Anger (which is not “Black Aggression”)

White people just really don’t get it.

The sense of displacement, the feeling of isolation and anger, to know that my ancestors, my grandparents, my parents and then my sister and I were lied to and white people continue to lie to us. The constant lies and abuse on social media that white people throw at me is unreal, because white supremacy is so insidious that white people in 2017 believe that they are intellectually superior to all Black people, regardless of levels of education.

I’ve also become passionate about the idea of segregation, because the education system, in particular is so psychologically damaging to people of colour.

For example, as a Learning Support Assistant, I learnt and taught students that the slave trade was abolished by Britain. Not true. It was the slaves rioting and striking, which forced the Government into a corner. So don’t you EVER tell a Black person that we owe you our freedom, because it’s not true. 

And Freedom! What Freedom? During the Windrush, you “invited” my grandparents over to Britain as migrants, promising milk, honey and glory after the War – you gave them shit. They couldn’t even afford to return home, so they died here in this country that doesn’t even accept their granddaughter as a British citizen, let alone them.

Why do you even keep calling them migrants? To make you feel less guilty?

In school, I learnt that Africans were complicit in capturing and selling Black people in exchange for gold, guns, tobacco and superiority. Not true. European Traders psychologically manipulated Africans for their own gain, to force them into inferiority and to help the Slave Traders chase and beat their own people into slavery. They even physically mutilated Africans “because it made them smarter”. The Europeans saw tribes of people who were intellectually superior, with their own cultures, religion, languages, education and manipulated them into passivity. African people didn’t need guns and gold. Those are lies that have been written into history books to make them look like greedy savages and feed the narrative that we’ve been trying to shake off ever since.

I was born here and I don’t want to be here, because the “hunters’ continue to glorify themselves. All through my teacher training career, I was never allowed to take credit for my work because privileged white people would take credit or constantly insult me by accusing me of plagarising my work, because a black person couldn’t possibly be so intellectual. I still suffer from the nightmares now – those privileged ghouls just keep popping up in my dreams.

People have no idea of the damage that racism does. Slavery didn’t end in the 19th century. Black people are still subjected to slavery mentally in Britain.  Native Americans have their own education system because America acknowledges the damage they’ve done psychologically. Why can’t we have that?

In my studies in Cultural Psychology, I came across this article: Psychology in the English-speaking Caribbean, which I would definitely recommend for further reading.

What breaks my heart the most, is the disdain that white British people feel – not for the system, but for the feeling of betrayal Black people feel and for us speaking up: “How dare you?” they say. “We freed you, you’re so ungrateful!” they cry. “Oh stop using the race card”, “Stop talking about race”, “I don’t see race / colour, so why do you?” Do you realise these are racial microaggressions? And cannot be dismissed. 

So I went to this “exhibition” this afternoon, in Poplar, for Black History Month marketed as an exhibition for the stories of migrants during the Windrush. This was it:

IMG_20171002_163501

I’m not going to give too much away, as I want to speak to the photographer first, but I was upset. So much so, that I had to sit down to compose myself.

I’ve spoken to my nan about the Windrush and I was looking forward to this, because her story really touched me and I was intrigued to see how others’ compared. I was pissed off that this was it for Black Caribbeans, with a piece of A4 about the photographer and in fact, there was more about the photographer than my people on that piece of paper. But “just some photos on a board” – which is actually how the librarian described it herself when I asked for directions, does not tell a story, nor does it do justice for my grandmother…. But anyway, let me not get into it, until I’ve spoken to her about her intentions.

XOXO

Posted in Blog

Bitch, I Ain’t Fat!

If you remember on Thursday, the reason why I decided to treat myself to some new make up was because I had such an awful day. It began with the trolls on Twitter, followed by a New Patient Healthcheck with the Practice Nurse at my new GP Surgery.

I hate these appointments; I hate throwing shade at Practice Nurses because I’ve worked at GP Surgeries and I’ve worked, with some highly qualified and educated Nurses. However, the ones who work in the surgeries I’m always registered, at always seem to be dumb and prejudiced towards Epilepsy and people of colour.

My appointment was at 11am – I stupidly rolled out of bed and straight into the Surgery, without having anything to eat even though the week before, my partner had told me that he had had to wait over half an hour for his own appointment because the same nurse was running late. I ended up waiting over half an hour. The receptionist apologetically informed me that the nurse had struggled with some baby immunisations earlier in the morning.

The nurse finally called me almost forty minutes after my appointment time, offering no apology for running late. Then she saw a patient she knew and left me in her room to take this other patient to another room. I could hear them chatting, she was offering him a newspaper to make him more comfortable while he waited. I even heard her offering to make him a cup of tea! All while I was standing in her doorway, waiting for her. By this point I was furious and close to passing out.

The Nurse finally returned, still didn’t apologise but came in and sat straight down. I informed her that I she was running late, she had offered no apology, that I had Epilepsy, had not eaten and was extremely upset. Instead of apologising, she replied: “oh were you told to fast? You didn’t need to”. I then informed her that my medication makes it did difficult to wake in the mornings and that it also makes me sick, however that doesn’t excuse her lateness. She then told me that I could cancel (!) At this point, I’m ready to smack her, just apologise! And get on with the appointment. I had to explain to her that this was my second attempt to see her, as the last time I booked an appointment, I had a seizure and was rudely told by the receptionist that if I miss another New Patient Healthcheck I won’t be registered with the Surgery.

She then apologised.

Now, the reason why I keep making a big deal about her failure to apologise straightaway, is because when I told my partner (who is white, and so is the Nurse) what happened , he told me that the Nurse apologised straightaway and couldn’t apologise enough.

Yet I had to beg for mine. Because I’m Black, right?

She then took my height, weight and blood pressure.

She didn’t say anything about my weight, but I knew a lecture was coming…..

She told me that my blood pressure was high – no shit. We’ve just been arguing! However, she tried to convince me that I had high blood pressure because “people like you do”. And there we go, health professionals making assumptions. Instead of taking into account the fact that she had kept me waiting for over 30 minutes for an appointment, without any food and then provoked me into an argument, she instead diagnosed me as having a high blood pressure problem. She ordered me to come back and see her in two weeks time. I immediately refused and ordered her to read through my medical file, to which she will find that I have never had a high blood pressure issue.

Lion

(Image source)

Which of course was confirmed in my records.

As for my Epilepsy, she told me that she has a patient who also has Epilepsy and can talk themselves out of their seizures. I told her that was a lie, and I am under the care of a great team. She disregarded that, and recommended that I try Tai Chi for my seizures, “just like her patient who can talk herself out of her seizures”. 

As people of colour, we need to educate ourselves. This same dumb woman who is telling me this shit about my epilepsy, was also trying to diagnose me with a blood pressure condition I know for a fact that I don’t have and also told me that I have a weight problem.

I’m not skinny, but I’m not fucking obese either. Since I had to stop working and my seizures became worse, I’m not as active as I was and I’ve noticed a little weight gain around my middle, however I’m nowhere near as heavy as I was 2 years ago.

Last year I went to see a Psychiatrist, and when I told him I was a UK size 12-14, he looked at my like I was lying, and in the clinical letter, he actually wrote that I was “clearly lying.” This was actually one of the reasons why he also believed that I was lying about having Epilepsy and therefore diagnosed me as having Borderline Personality Disorder.

Anyway, the point I’m making is  *breath* as women of colour, especially in the U.K. we need to challenge Primary Care clinicians more, because they have no idea what the fuck they are talking about, especially when it comes to our health. The BMI calculator in particularly, was not created for us! I’ve weighed my boobs and each one weighs 1.5kg! Our body fat is distributed differently in comparison to White women, which the BMI calculator doesn’t take into account. We have booty and also a higher bone density: physiologically we are completely different to the White European “ideals” that the BMI calculator was created from. When you go on the NHS Choice website to check your BMI, all you see are White women telling you how to be like them. Eurocentric standards healthcare are one of the reasons why so many women of colour have eating disorders. It was one of the reasons why I spent most of adolescent years with an undiagnosed eating disorder.

I found this great article by Linda Lowen about Black BMI, which is a great starting point. I’m definitely going to stay healthy, but I’m also going to be doing my own research.

XOXO