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snowleopard
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 10:11 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I hope it is ok for me to explain what I am about to as it is not really about beardies but it is important and I hope that it may help anyone else who may find themselves in similar situations.

At the age of 10 I began to be bullied by other children, this took the form of being physically beaten and name calling, this went on until I was 14 years old. I was beaten up most days, my ribs and nose would be broken and I had knifes helped to my throat. I became used to the beatings but the name calling got to me the most. My education suffered because of this and also because I was dyslexic and dyscalculia but did not know this then, which I only discovered by accident about 4 years ago. I was led to believe by many people that I was stupid and worthless and I would not amount to much in life so my dream of becoming a scientist and working with animals could never be achieved.

I think for genetic reasons, due to the bullying and other things in my life that were not nice to live with, at the young age at 14 I developed obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). At this time it was not publicly known what this mental health illness was, as no one really talked about it, so it was hard for me to talk to anyone about what I was going through until I was 25 when it became so bad I had to speak out and I got some help. This illness is so hard to live with, it causes depression and you become so low itís hard to think you will ever make it through.

But I want others to know, especially young ones who may be going through what I had to that we can make it through and all we have to do is reach out for help, you donít have to go through this on your own, you just have to reach out to one person. I donít want to hide my illness anymore as I am so tiered of doing so and the more people who know about OCD the better. In the past I have had to make excuses that I cannot make it to places or events as I have not been to good and I want to be honest about this. I wanted to go to Crufts but am just not up to it today to go as the last two years have been difficult for me but I am coming back.

The only thing that has been constant in my life are animals but I thought I could never get qualified in anything to do with animals because I was led to believe I was not very bright, so I educated myself about them and I got to learn all about them and I got to work with them as well.

When my daughter was born 15 years ago she inspired me to go back into education which I did. I got into University by writing three essays on animal behaviour but at the time I was still not diagnosed as dyslexic so I struggled in some ways so I had to leave. Not defeated I started at the beginning and made my way up to a foundation degree in behaviour. Two years ago I decided that I would try and study again at degree level which I am now doing and I have been offered two places to study for an MSc if I wish and can afford to, we can never give up on our dreams, never.

I am not a confident person buy yet when I work with animals a confidence surrounds me and a calmness comes over me in a way I dont really understand. I think that my illness has given me an insight into fear, phobias, anxiety and stress that I could not have gained in any other way, we can read about it but itís very different when we experience it for ourselves. I like to think in some way I can inspire the dogs I help to overcome their own fears. But a therapist who works with people with mental health problems cannot feel sorry for the person as then they would not be able to help them and itís the same for dogs I think. I have to be strong emotionally for them, I feel their pain and suffering but I give them my strength.

I hope that my honesty will help others who may be suffering to seek help and that with help and support we can still work towards and achieve our goals in life.

Thank you

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judy g
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 12:50 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Chris, your post took some courage to write and share - I for one applaud you and extend my heartfelt sympathy and support.

I am sure you will achieve your degree and a further M.Sc. - already the dog world is a better place with you in it. Your life experiences have given you a unique insight into behaviour, dog or human, and I think it is a very good thing that you are pursuing your dreams.

I wish you all the best, and thank you again for telling us about yourself. We read your posts with great interest, and admiration for your knowledge.

Way to go! Smile

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Jacquietwig
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 2:02 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Exactly what Judy said, but she puts it so much better than I could Smile

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 4:01 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Learn from the past, prepare for the future, perform in the moment. I think you are doing just that Chris.

You have fire in your belly to keep going and in doing so, are a source of great knowledge and support to so many. Anyone who reads your intensely personal post should consider themselves privileged to have an insight into what makes you tick. There are not many who would be prepared to share such feelings and experiences and I am moved by your words. Thank you.
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snowleopard
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 5:25 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Thank you so much Judy, Jacquie and Sally for your lovely and supportive posts, they mean a lot to me.

I have never told anyone before about me having OCD accept for my family. I have lost friends over the years because I could not explain to them why I could not do things at certain times due to my illness and I donít want to lose anymore. I want to be honest about myself and honest to my friends, being honest today has been like lifting a big weight off my shoulders.

Thank you so much.

xxx

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judy g
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 5:50 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Well, we are all flattered that you felt comfortable enough around us to tell us...xx

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 8:48 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

judy g wrote:
Well, we are all flattered that you felt comfortable enough around us to tell us...xx


That's right Chris.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 9:28 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Another interesting post and how brilliant what you have achieved that's not meant to sound patronizing.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 6:40 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I've read your post with great emotion and admiration, Chris, and thank you for trusting us here. You are a beautiful, strong and loving person.

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snowleopard
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 8:50 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Thank you so much Nicky and Nina for you lovely posts and kind words, I really appreciate your support.

I wanted to highlight the important parts of my original post.

As a young child when being bullied itís hard to really understand your emotions at that time and you ask why me, what have I done. You feel alone and isolated and you live in fear of leaving your own home to go to school or play out. These are complex feelings that no child should have to experience or even think about but sadly it still goes on even as adults in our work and on social media. There is an old saying and I am not sure where it comes from but it goes like this ďSticks and stones will break my bones but names will never heart meĒ this is so wrong. I have a very high pain threshold now due to being beaten which caused me many wounds but when someone calls me a horrible name that cuts deeper. There are many anti bullying originations out there so if you are being bullied and you canít talk to your family members please contact one of these great originations, they will help you through this and it may not feel it but things will get better.

I have often been asked how I feel about the people who bullied me, and the truth is I have no feelings for them. I never give them a passing thought anymore as that is in the past and we canít change that, we can only live in the now and this is what dogs do, their horrible experiences are in the past, they don't think about them as such but they experience the emotional fallout from them in the now.

I wanted to highlight OCD and the effect this has upon people who suffer with it and their families. I feel itís like you have a rational side and an irrational side and you are in constant conflict with the irrational side. You know what you do and the way you feel makes no sense but you feel compelled to do it which causes a person great stress and upset. I suffer from fear of contamination and I have intrusive thoughts. Thankfully at the age of 29 I asked my Doctor to refer me to the Maudsley Hospital in London as they were doing some pioneering work on OCD. They accepted me and a gentleman who was there then called Martin changed my life, he gave me skills to overcome my fears and how to cope with intrusive thoughts and I use these skills every day of my life. I have to face many fears each day but I have to try to overcome them. One friend has already looked at this website which is wonderful and here is the link if anyone else would like to know more about OCD http://www.ocduk.org/
By going to one of their talks on OCD and by Good Morning Britain covering mental health issues has encouraged me to talk about my own illness, so thank you to them both.

At the age of 8 I was told that I was not very clever and that I could not read very well (not by my mum or dad) and the school I went to constantly reinforced this believe I had about myself, so did many adults. So when you are told something as a child you believe it and that is then hard to change as you grow older. Schools define how intelligent children are by how good they are at English and maths and they fail the children who are not academically inclined. When I used to give talks in schools and we went outside to look at the wildlife the children who were not academically inclined excelled in the field, they shone and the excitement and joy in their faces was lovely to see, these children are amazing, they are bright and have lots to offer. Please never let anyone, anyone tell you that you are not clever or no good and don't let anyone say to you that you cannot achieve your dreams as you can, you just have to believe in yourself.

The last but important thing I wanted to highlight was animals. All I can say about animals, especially dogs is that they saved my life. Last night on TV Crufts highlighted the brilliant work dogs do in helping people in their day to day lives which was just unbelievable to watch. When I lost my mum my world ended as she was my strength in life, what an amazing women who constantly thought for me and got me the help and support I needed. Due to the stress my OCD hit the roof and I suffered with panic attacks, I could not walk 20 feet without having one. A friend and neighbour who had known me from a child came to my help with his lovely dog Nelson, who I loved and he seemed to love to too, we were great mates and I never had my own dog at this time. Each morning they came to my home and they walked with me just a few feet up the road, the next day we walked a little further and then a little bit more. Before long I was walking miles with Nelson and running round all over the place. I felt so relaxed with Nelson by my side, he gave me the courage and strength to recover and I have never had a panic attack since. Even today by beardie Buddy who has helped numerous dogs which are scarred and frightened also helps me. He helps me face many of my fears each day and he has not been trained as an assistance dog but he is to me, he is my friend.

I have talked about some serious issues that have affected my life but please be assured that I love life, I love to have a laugh, I love to smile and love to see others smile back and I hope I am fun to be around.

Thank you so much for allowing me to share my thoughts and feelings.

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tb
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 9:03 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Chris we admire you for being you. If we have a problem you.are on top of the list for people to go to for advice. It takes a strong person to write as you have, the respect you have from people on fbc is massive .

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 9:03 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Duplicate 😮

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 9:19 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Double duplicate 😮😮

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 10:01 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Chris i read your post yesterday and it made me cry because I know how much courage it must have taken for you to post. Although I don't suffer with OCD, i can relate to a lot of what you have said. I'm a very private person when it comes to my personal life and not one to post about it on social media, but reading about your difficulties stuck a chord with me. I have had numerous hurdles to deal with over the years and I always got through with the help of my mum, but this time was very different. I feel like all my past events caught up with me and i was unable to cope, so for the last few years I have suffered with depression, stress and anxiety and it is very easy for people to judge and like you I have avoided situations and people.....i still have to dash out of the supermarket if i see someone i know, because i just can't handle it Embarassed What you wrote again this morning about how animals help and I saw and thought the same when I watched crufts last night. For me, my dogs are the only reason that I am still living and breathing, they are my world and Bax especially seems to sense my moods and is always there for me, my rock Smile and my reason to get out of bed in the mornings when all i want is to do is give up.

I believe there should be more awareness of mental health issues. People can easily see physical problems but when it comes to mental health they simply don't understand what makes people sometimes act they the way they do. We all have different ways of coping.

I have no doubt that you will achieve everything that you set your mind to. Your love and dedication shines thorough in your posts and are always interesting to read Smile Thank you for sharing such deep and personal thoughts with us. I wish you every success.xx
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 11:39 am Reply with quoteBack to top

This is such a good thread, weaving our most deep emotions in with our love for dogs, and their attachment to us.

This is a site full of understanding and empathetic people. By knowing why a friend is not functioning well, at any time during his/her life, it enables us to go that step further, as we can either understand or empathise. Often we may not be able to help in a practical way, but often what is most needed is just loving acceptance.

For me, knowing that the people I care for know about whatever situation I may find myself in, even though they are unable to help in a practical way, is enough - because I know that THEY know.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 12:33 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Thank you Tracey and Sandie so much.

Hi Sandie,

So sorry my post upset you Sandie and I have been genuinely moved by yours and the courage it must have taken you to tell us about your depression. It sounds like you are suffering right now and to be able to open up and talk about the way you feel to us all is massive, as I think the only way we can move forward is to talk, but we can become so withdrawn it becomes even harder to do that. So I think for you to have done what you have takes guts and without sounding patronising I am so proud of you and more importantly you should be so proud of yourself.

If you havenít already Sandie ask your GP to refer you for some CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) which is really good in helping us move forward and away from our worries. I am unable to offer you guidance as I am not qualified in this field and don't understand what's going on in my own head half the time Confused but I am always here if you need to talk to a friend with similar problems. When I met you at Crufts a couple of years ago I was struck by what a lovely, friendly and happy person you are and it would be lovely to see you there again one year.

It was amazing last night watching those dogs, the way the lab let the gentleman know his blood sugar was too high and the working cocker spaniel that let the young boy know his blood sugar was to low or high even when he was playing football, I think some of these dogs should be getting an OBE or Knighthood, I have given Buddy a knighthood but itís not really official Very Happy. I tell Holly that if Buddy is a Sir then she should act like a lady and she should stop sniffing peoples bums when they fart, but she wonít have it.Very Happy

Arenít beardies just brilliant dogs, they just seem to connect with us so much it always amazes me. I remember I was helping one dog once which was not a beardie and I started to act daft as we all know beardies just love this and he just looked at me like, what is that idiot doing, he made me feel embarrassed, Embarassed I thought I wish he was beardie.

So glad that your dogs help you Sandie, sounds like they deserve awards as well. Take care of yourself and remember we may feel alone at times and isolated but a friend is never too far away.

Lets kick the crap out of depression.

xxx

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 12:38 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

judy g wrote:
By knowing why a friend is not functioning well, at any time during his/her life, it enables us to go that step further, as we can either understand or empathise. Often we may not be able to help in a practical way, but often what is most needed is just loving acceptance.


Oh! How much I agree with that, Judy!

Also, love of animals has been mentioned several times in this thread, and I am convinced that the love we give to and receive from dear dogs and cats (and other species as the case may be), added to human friendship / love or on its own depending on the person's situation, is a tremendous help in overcoming or at least bearing health or other personal problems.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 1:21 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Thanks Chris Smile Yes, it's still an ongoing battle Sad and for me, my coping mechanism is to put up barriers and withdraw, something which my Mum has found difficult to understand Sad i have had counselling Confused but didn't really find it of use Sad Embarassed The waiting list was so long for my area Rolling Eyes I have turned a corner in the last 6 months, but recently had another issue to deal with that knocked me again Sad (I prefer not to go into details) but i will cuddle my dogs and plod on, one day at a time. thank you.xx
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judy g
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 3:23 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Sandie, we are all beside you as you keep going forward....xx

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 3:30 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I have had some therapies that have not really helped, there may be others that are more suited to you Sandie and if we donít like the therapist much then I have found it hard to open up. It takes a long time here as well to get an appointment and despite what is said more investment needs to be made in mental health services.

On our own I think sadly we find coping mechanisms that are not productive to our recovery, but if we can get the right help and support we can be given better strategies and CBT helped me very much with that.

I think anyone who suffers from a mental health condition has amazing inner strength and determination but sometimes that is not clear to us but I could not go through what I have if I didnít and we could not have posted about the things we have if we didnít have it. When I was beaten up something inside of me kept me going and I was determined to do something about it which I did. I went to the gym and built myself up and at 14 years old I stuck up for myself. I remember it clearly a boy from the year above came into my class and punched me in the face and kept doing it and then something inside me snapped and I got up and beat the crap out of him and the teacher came in and saw me do it and walked out again so I could, as he knew what I had gone through. After I got up I faced all the bullies and I said to them if they want to fight me then I will take them on one at a time, they bowed their heads and walked away and sat down. From that day no one ever touched me again.

That inner strength has stayed with me thankfully and OCD will never beat me. I may have off days or times but I will fight back.

Take care Sandie.
xxx

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 4:19 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

judy g wrote:
Sandie, we are all beside you as you keep going forward....xx


Exactly that.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 6:04 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

As I donít like violence looking back I dont know if what I did was right to beat up a bully, as did that make me no better than he was, I donít know, but it felt at the time I had no other option and my life depended on it.

When dogs have experienced traumatic times in their life they can easily shut down and they do so to protect themselves from the things they fear, I think we do the same. When I have shut down I isolate myself and donít want to talk to anyone and I make myself safe as I can. This is my own view and may not be that of a human behaviour expert but when something happens in our lives that causes us upset we need time to process that, how can we expect anyone to jump up and carry on, we just canít. I defiantly donít expect it of dogs so why should we expect it of humans, animals have to have time to think to grieve and to feel sorrow. When I say I fight ocd and depression I still may shut down but if we do this for too long then itís not good for our mental and physical health. There has to be a time when we have to enter back into life itself or the stress this may cause us if we donít can be mentally and physically detrimental to us and this is the same for many dogs and counselling or therapy can help us do this, like what I may do for a dog. How can I ever ask a dog to try and face its fear if I canít do that myself, I can never give up on a dog and we canít give up on ourselves.

There are so many parallels between humans and dogs when we really look at it.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 7:04 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I wasn't going to comment on this thread. I was just going to read it all as people commented.

Not going into details but as some people on here will know, I have had a lot of problems over the last 5 years with mental health. I have been through number of mental health workers, self help worker and many psychiatric assessments & sadly not really got anywhere. I still have my days or even weeks still but have got a lot better but still needing help on a few things.

Hannah

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judy g
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 7:55 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

It is so courageous of all who have posted here about their health - getting it out there, as it were. We are all family on on this site, I feel. Smile

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 8:22 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Chris, I admire you immensely, firstly for still being willing to help us with problems our dogs have, and secondly for having your own problems and still posting fantastic, intelligent, logical and caring replies to ours. Thank you for that.
As to bullying, the Headmistress of my Grammar school told me that only I could stop the bullying, by doing what you did aged 14, fighting back. Bullies only continue if you let them, they are cowards at heart if you stand up to them. Well done for that as well (my school had it's own way of dealing with it, which wouldn't be allowed now)
Sandie and Hannah, I think that the two of you are very brave to admit what you are going through, but must be half way there if you know what is happening. Keep up the good work, respect to all of you.
xxxxxx

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