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"Opening up about mental health experiences can be beneficial to yourself as well as others. "

27 August 2019

About Us - Our vision, mission and values

Carlisle Eden Mind is a leading local provider of mental health services. Our services support individuals recovering from mental ill-health, they also educate and provide information to the community in a hope people will have a better understanding of mental health within the community.

Our Vision - We won’t give up until everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets both support and respect.

Our Mission - To provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. To campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.

Our Values - 

Open - We reach out to anyone who needs us

Together - We’re stronger in partnership

Responsive - We listen, we act

Independent - We speak out fearlessly

Unstoppable - We never give up

Our range of services are in line with our vision, mission and values, aiming to provide understanding, support and advice to anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They are also designed to raise awareness of mental health within our community.

Individuals using our services will feel empowered to make choices, feel supported whilst being encouraged to fully participate in society and educated to ensure they know how to stay well.

We believe that the condition does not define the individual.

We will campaign to raise awareness of mental ill health and combat the stigma surrounding mental health condition, to make sure no one faces a mental health problem alone.

By Michael Boaden, 27 August 2019 – 0 comments

11 August 2017

A Beacon of Light

The Lighthouse

Caption: The Lighthouse

Matchstick Lighthouse

Caption: Matchstick Lighthouse

 A Beacon of Light

 Having had a long period of bad mental health I am well acquainted with charities and the fantastic work that they do in supporting and empowering victims of this modern day curse.

 When Caroline first mentioned the Lighthouse project to me, my initial instinct was to volunteer to help in whatever way I could. I listened to what they wanted to achieve and visited the homely, welcoming offices, and I desperately wanted to be a part of it. Unfortunately its opening coincided with one of my ‘dark periods’ and I was physically unable to commit.

 What I did instead was to put my mind to thinking how else I could help. My thoughts were that this great project required a model, a beacon of light to match its purpose. And so my labour of love began. Caroline duly sent me a copy of the logo that was to be on their paperwork and off I went to work.

 I’ve only been doing matchstick models for just over a year but it turns out that I seem to have a knack for them. For more years than I care to remember I’ve struggled to find a hobby that would distract me from my ‘difficulties’. I’ve tried many different things from painting to clay modelling but nothing kept my interest; and then came matchsticks!

 In all this model took me around forty to fifty hours to complete. Admittedly a fair chunk of the time was thinking about the logistics of the model but it was still time spent away from my ‘other issues’.

 I’m happy with the results and hope that the Lighthouse Project can be similarly successful in bringing hope, light and distraction to those lucky enough to file through its doorway.

 

- Rick

 

 

 

By Chris Wood, 11 August 2017 – 0 comments

21 July 2017

Work Experience


Q. What do the following phrases have in common?

  • EU Brexit repayment due

  • Boris Karloff playing Frankenstein’s monster

  • President Trump in charge of the nuclear button

  • Overdraft limit reached

  • I’ve got Mental Health problems

A. They’re all too scary to even think about!


***


I’ve had bad mental health problems for the past 20 years, or rather, I recognised that I had MH problems 20 years ago, and one of the hardest things for me to accept was the fact that I was no longer fit for work. Me being me, I initially refused to accept this fact and struggled on “manfully” for another 5 years before I faced up to the inevitable and signed on the sick. What damage this period of not acting on my better instincts did is debateable, and a subject for a later blog.


Once I had ‘recovered’ I made a couple of attempts at returning to the workplace; neither of which were successful. They failed quite simply because I was neither ready for work, nor, accepting of the true nature of my illness.

When I finally accepted that I could “no longer do what I used to be able to do”, I got my act together and started volunteering. Anyway, that too is the subject of another later blog; this one is about the general public’s view on mental health.

 

***


Three long months ago, I woke up one gloriously sunny morning and decided that it was time for me to return to the workplace. I reasoned that after 15 years on the sick and 10 years working with services towards my wellbeing, it was now time to put all of the lessons into practice and collect a weekly paycheque.

At my interview I was brutally honest with the manager and told him about my mental health condition and the effect that it has had on my day to day living. I explained that I’d done voluntary work for over 10 years, specialising in MH. When he asked why I hadn’t done paid work instead, I told him how one of the benefits of volunteering was that if I was having a ‘bad day’, I could simply phone in and no explanation was needed.

Truthfully, I think that it was my honesty that got me the job and very probably, against his better judgement. For three months I worked like a Trojan. I was never late; I was always willing to do anything and to help anyone; I worked harder than I should have because, after all I had 15 years of pent up energy to expel.

Finally, and almost inevitably, my illness caught up with me.


***


One thing that I am extremely proud of is that when I feel a crash approaching, I take the necessary action, however hard it may be.

I loved working. I was proud that the money I was spending was coming from my own labours. I enjoyed the camaraderie with my new colleagues. But, on the other side of the coin, I was using the strength that I normally reserve for my constant battle with my inner destructive voices on manual labour at work instead.

On the morning that I handed in my notice, I was shaking like a leaf. Not from fear but from complete exhaustion. I no longer had the strength to control my basic motor functions.

Reluctantly, I walked into the boss’s office and told him that I simply couldn’t work anymore because my MH was starting to play up again and I was heading towards a crash. At this, he nigh on exploded and started shouting about having the chance he’d given to me thrown back in his face. I walked out of his office and left him with the words “if you’re not going to listen I’m not bothering to explain”.

Anyway, after 30 seconds of calming down I was called back in and the manager apologised for his outburst. He then uttered the dreaded phrase, “if you’d walked in with a cast on your leg I could see that you couldn’t work, but with mental health, I didn’t have a clue”.


***


I’m pretty sure that everyone who suffers from bad MH has at one time or another heard those exact words. My question is;

WHY?

In these technologically advanced days, there is no shortage of information on the internet. Most reasonable sized towns and all cities have support groups for relatives and friends of sufferers. The media is forever highlighting celebrities who have had the courage to be open about their battle with MH. And probably most importantly of all, with over one in four of us suffering, we all know someone personally with bad MH.

Anyway, I’m going to leave it there because those of us that do understand don’t need another rant about the general public’s ignorance of our condition, and those of you that don’t understand, you should be reading up on other stuff.

RAISING MENTAL AWARENESS
RAISES SOCIETY

- Rick

By Chris Wood, 21 July 2017 – 0 comments

16 March 2017

How does one eat an elephant?

Admit it. You just scrunched up your face and said to yourself; you don’t eat an elephant…

That was exactly my reaction many years ago, when a counsellor said this to me. But please stay with me!

This little saying has stuck with me, maybe because it was different. But I like different; I am different. I’ve not had an easy life and it is not going to get better overnight. Yet I’m still here, and let me tell you why.

Those unexpected painful nights, the break ups, the seemingly impossible blows life sometimes throws. Any time I have felt stressed, hurt or even the few times I’ve felt like giving up. This saying, echoed in my ear.

“How do you eat an elephant Marie? …one little piece at a time.”

I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression since I was a teenager. I’m now a single mum bordering thirty and this has never seemed more relevant. Oh, and to add to the circus, I now study a bachelors degree in Psychology and counselling. It’s safe to say I often feel a tad overwhelmed. In fact, just last night, whilst fighting sleep deprived brain fog and the final cut off for a deadline looming, I crumbled.

I reached out to my best friend, crying as I struggled with the words. He as ever listened and talked softly. “I’m going to say this, breathe. You’re doing amazing and just remember, how do you eat an elephant?” Well, he said a lot but honestly, this got me laughing. This silly phrase has managed to work its way to anyone who knows me well. For something I brushed off as something a radical therapist said as to just break the ice was still making me laugh now. Simple, silly, memorable and effective.

The ‘elephant’ is, of course, something huge; you cannot tackle eating one whole, right? For someone who used to have panic attacks in public and anxiety made me breathless, I must always remember how far I’ve come. We can condition ourselves to believe something is out of reach. One or a few bad experiences can truly shake us up, believe me, I know. We can begin to underestimate ourselves, especially if those around you do.

I’m here to tell you, you shouldn’t.

I left school before completing my A levels as I spiralled a little out of control. I did not see the point in trying. I married young, which inevitably was to go wrong. In fact, for a long time it seemed everything was.

I now know that keeping this secret inside and pretending everything was fine, was slowly breaking my soul and making me unwell. The anxiety and depression triggered by this need to keep quiet. Until I simply couldn’t anymore. I won’t lie, it was not easy. However, just a few years later, I’m here, reclaiming my life. The man who stole what felt like everything from me is in jail. I have a new life to live for; my girl.

I’ve learned a lot over the years. I’ve learned to stop sometimes and simply breathe. To count my blessings, not my struggles. I’ve sadly learned that people can and will let you down. But I’ve also learned I’m much more capable than I ever thought possible. I’ve also met some truly beautiful souls who like me have found strength in their pain.

Everything I’ve been through just makes me more determined. I have this fire inside I once thought had been extinguished. I found my voice, and now I’m working my butt off to give others theirs back too. Sometimes life is hard. Sometimes life is unfair. Sometimes we cry. I’m here to tell you, to give yourself a break. If you feel scared, say it. Talk it out.

Break that elephant up and take that bite. Fight. Nothing is ever as impossible as it initially feels.

 

-Marie Conaghan

By Chris Wood, 16 March 2017 – 1 comments

02 March 2017

By day 31, mentally – I was on fire!

Cathy had no idea what an effect R.E.D January would have on her life when her friend signed her up...

Joining R.E.D January was the idea of my running buddy Keira. I’d never heard of it and when she suggested we should run everyday, I hadn’t realised it was a sponsored event – I just agreed to do it as a fun way of losing some Christmas wobbly bits. Although, I have to confess that it took until the third of January to publicly admit I was doing it, not because of the running but rather that with family, work and a commitment to support a friend running an ultra in the middle of the month I genuinely didn’t know if I would be able to get out and find the time to run for 31 consecutive days.

This did, of course, prove to be the hardest part BUT what I did discover was that it was a whole lot easier logistically than marathon training as I only ever run a maximum of an hour and a half on the days when I fancied a long run and on the days which proved difficult I simply shuffled along in the dark for 25 minutes.

Physically, I got progressively more tired as the month wore on with a stack of old injuries vying for attention by day 31, however, mentally – I was on fire! I achieved a tremendous amount throughout the month just because I had to be more organised and I never once spent a day staring wistfully out of the window thinking “I should really go for a run.” I just went.

The bonus runs were with my running buddy Keira where an unspoken rule meant that we both brought homebaking for an after snack which, combined with our “natter pace”, meant for a thoroughly uplifting hour of laughter and mental wellbeing. Our runs usually started with a resigned sigh, tying our laces, starting Strava and then complaining for the first few kilometres about how shattered we were before hooting with laughter as we missed another path junction due to talking too much or grimacing across an unplanned river crossing while failing to take a selfie due to stiff middle aged fingers.

I thoroughly enjoyed running every day in January (I still can’t believe that I can say that!) and while it wasn’t easy, like everything that is very hard work it was immensely rewarding. If you are thinking of signing up and giving it a go; stop thinking and just do it. You never know what you can achieve until you try……

- Cathy Casey, R.E.D. January 2017

To read Cathy's entertaining account of the month in full, click here.

By Chris Wood, 02 March 2017 – 0 comments

Categories

  • Time to Change Cumbria Champions share their lived experience of mental health
  • Your Stories Opening up about mental health experiences can be beneficial to yourself as well as others.
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