Yessica's Journey Blog

Welcome to the Yessica's Journey Blog Site, a Journey through Mental Health, Wellbeing and Creativity.

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My journey continues – not feeling well

© Copyright 2012. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images/text.

I have not managed to update my blogsite on a regular basis as I have been unwell since January. I have entered most of the newest posts recently as I am slowly starting to feel better and I find writing has really helped me. It helps to focus your mind on something, be creative and express yourself through the power and magic of the written word. I sometimes find it hard to express myself verbally so writing and blogging is great for your wellbeing and gives you the opportunity to have a voice and share with others. I don’t find it easy as I am dyslexic and it takes me ages.

I came off my medication last May and saw my doctor for the last time in July 2011. I really thought I was better, not even Bipolar, in fact I believed I had been misdiagnosed and never really accepted it. I was pleased that I no longer needed to take medication to feel well, chemical free – how I was before 2008, I thought I had finally beaten it. I knew I was not exactly the same as before but at least I could sleep for 5 hours which is better than no sleep at all. Sleep is extremely important for your mental health and wellbeing and lack of sleep and insomnia can be one of the first signs that something may be wrong.

I was struggling from September but managed and coped very well under stress. However, I think the stress just slowly built up in me and in January something just tipped me 0ver the edge and I became very unwell and I feel lucky to still be here. I thought I could control it and would never become unwell again but I was wrong and it has really shocked me. I think I have finally started to accept that I may have a long term mental health difficulty but with medication and talking therapy I can hopefully learn to manage it. I don’t think I will ever give up trying to come off my medication but I realise that it is quite dangerous now and makes me very vulnerable. I also realise that certainly for the duration of the ‘Yessica’s Journey’ project, for the next three years, I need to stay on the medication to remain well and be able to complete the animation which means a lot to me.

I have been given such an amazing opportunity through the funding support of the Wellcome Trust, Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind, the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and Rethink to create my animation ‘Yessica’s Journey’. I would like to thank all the people who helped to support me on the project and have given me their time, listened to me rambling on at times and helped me. I realise that I owe it to them, the organisations who have supported and funded this project, my family who have been so understanding, Oz Osborne who has helped me so much and has always been there for me and myself to keep well and take responsibility for my own health. I know this animation is going to be successful and I hope it will help many people. I would like to thank all the people who have supported me, encouraged me and helped me to get to this point, too many to mention.

From recently feeling unwell I would like to thank my family who have been so understanding, my GP and the CRHT team at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust for all their help and support.

The CRHT team were absolutely fantastic and thank goodness there is this service where you can ring up and talk to someone for help and reassurance, hope and professional expert advice and people who understand mental health. I would also like to thank Oz Osborne who has always given me such good positive advice and has kept me going and Ian Jones from the BDRN (Bipolar Disorder Research Network) for his recent support in helping me. Also Roz Brooks who was very supportive from the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust. I would also like to thank some of the Service Users from the Service Users Council for their support, they have been fantastic and one person in particular has been so kind and it really means a lot to me.

It really does mean a lot to someone who is unwell when people just pick up the phone and say ‘Hello, are you OK’, email you or pop round, it is such a small thing to do for someone but can make such a huge difference to your wellbeing. At times I found some people just tended to ignore me and when you are unwell this really does not help. I found it quite upsetting and stressful at times but I am learning to accept it and move on and concentrate on the people who do want to communicate. Some of the Five Ways to Wellbeing is CONNECT, TAKE NOTICE AND GIVE. But if you don’t have anyone to connect to, listen to, or take notice of you or give you help and encouragement many people with mental health difficulties will just become very isolated and lonley.

I am lucky that I have had the support I have been given so far, although my journey has certainly not been perfect at times and very hard, I know I am lucky to have the people who care about me in my life. I think COMMUNICATION is so important when helping people with Mental Health Difficulties. I sometimes think it is sad as our society seems to have forgotten how to just simply talk to one another. In this fast paced age of amazing technology, internet and mobile phones, money and profits we have forgotten the most basic human need of simply how to connect with one another, how to talk, listen and communicate effectively.

Unfortunately I was too unwell to go to the ‘Yessica’s Journey’ meeting with all the organisations which was to be held at The Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust in February. This really upset me as I just was not well enough to give a presentation of the project. The meeting was also to discuss funding and support for the project. I want to apologise to everyone invited to the meeting and the Trust for having to cancel the meeting, the 3rd time I have cancelled a meeting for some people. I also want to thank all the people from the organisations who sent me really supportive and kind emails which really helped me – Roz Brooks, Maggie Wheeler, Peter Edge, Ian Jones, Oz Osborne and Marie-Lise Sheppard.

I would also like to thank Jane Finch for her support, Matt Oliver and Orna Sallinger.

Unfortunately, I have been unable to go to many events and continue with my teaching job and project because I have been so unwell. I am improving each week so it just takes time but I will get there through strength, determination, resilience and willpower and trying to remain positive.

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BDRN have launched the National Centre for Mental Health

Website for the BDRN National Centre for Mental Health

© Copyright 2012. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images/text.

Ian Jones is a Reader in Perinatal Psychiatry, MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics, Department of Psychological Medicine and Neurology
Cardiff University. Ian is supporting the project ‘Yessicas Journey’.

He recently told me about a new National Centre they have set up which you may find interesting. Please click on the link above for more information.

More interesting links below including Yessica’s Journey on BDRN (Bipolar Disorder Research Network) and Genomicminds website.

Bipolar Disorder Research Network (BDRN)    
Bipolar Education Programme Cymru (BEP-C)
Bipolar Disorder Information                       
Genomic Minds 

Yessica’s Journey on Genomic Minds Website

Yessica’s Journey on BDRN website


Article – On the brink of a mental health revolution

Website for article – BBC News On the brink of a mental health revolution

© Copyright 2012. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images/text.

I found this article which is really interesting about psychiatry becoming more like other medical specialties and more medical which includes a range of tests rather than just diagnosing someone solely on talking to the person who is unwell. It includes ideas about looking at the human brain through imaging, looking at brain functions, using blood tests and psychological tests to find out about susceptibility factors to mental health difficulties, help with diagnosis using different methods. They hope that this new research will help with diagnosis and treatment.

The BDRN team who are the scientific partner and one of the supporters of my project are also helping with this research.

The assessment and diagnosis of mental health difficulties at times I feel is flawed and is not an exact science – from my own experience. Even more reason to be careful. To diagnose Bipolar you really do need to take your time and consider everything. You need to meet with the person several times, talk to the GP and family members. This does not always happen. A lot of mental health difficulties cross over and this I think causes confusion. It seems that diagnosis is too readily given and not considered carefully. Because of the latest fashions in mental health, latest drugs, and insurance, this effects diagnosis.

I found this article interesting but have no idea whether it will work but at least through research hopefully the diagnosis of mentally unwell people will become easier and more accurate and hopefully help people.

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Article in Radical Pathway Redesign Newsletter

This is the newsletter for the Radical Pathway Redesign at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust. I am a member of the SURC group – Service Users Redesign and Communication Sub Group. I am really pleased as they published my quote in their newsletter on the second page under Engagement. This is what I wrote as a quote:

‘I see the new ‘Service Users Redesign & Communications Sub Group’, as an opportunity for us to share our experience, knowledge and ideas with the Trust to help to improve Mental Health and Wellbeing within the NHS. I feel very passionate about trying to give Service Users a voice to be heard – it’s about good communication – sharing, listening and learning from each other and hopefully this group will help to achieve that.’ Please see Screenshots below.

© Copyright 2012. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images/text. Newsletter created by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Trust.

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Thank you to Animation Supplies

Animation Supplies Website

© Copyright 2012. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images/text.

Thank you to Andy Simmons at Animation Supplies for his help and support and excellent friendly service. He kindly fixed the Magician Armature I bought from them which I do appreciate.

Fixed Armature from Animation Supplies

It came in a kit which I had to make up but I had several problems with it. Apparently the problem was with the application of the threadlock – it hadn’t got right into the threaded holes. They kindly fixed the armature and sent me a new bottle of threadlock together with an applicator. They said that it was helpful to them looking at my armature and as a result will now supply applicators with all their armature kits which is great. This will ensure that the threadlock gets right into the threaded holes, guaranteeing a solid, permanent bond.

The armature still has bits of foam stuck to it when I made the body up. This armature will not be used in the animation but will be useful in workshops and events to show how the armature of the puppets are made.