Hello my dear, patient readers.
You may have noticed that I haven’t posted for quite some time.
I apologise for this. Sometimes life just gets in the way – and sometimes, like this time, it’s a matter of having to battle the serious ill health that occasionally pops up and completely floors me, this time resulting in a change of medication which is currently knocking me out in a most interesting fashion.
And just to make matters worse, I now also have a broken ankle!
My ankle is still very painful and I’m on some rather spacey painkillers too (which is only adding to the fun…), but I have been looked after wonderfully by all the medical staff who have treated me so far (yay for the NHS!), and by my fabulous family and friends, both online and off.
It is frustrating to be pretty immobile and unable to do many of the things I take for granted (including writing), and I’ve turned into a bit of a Dalek when it comes to the stairs – but at least I have a cast-iron excuse to lie on the sofa and binge watch Euro 2016 when it starts later this week!
As a result of all this medical mayhem (ahem) I may not be able to post much over the next few months, but I have put together a selection of bits and pieces that I hope you will enjoy – including some more choice vintage selections from the BFI film archive to be going on with.
I was also thinking that it might be nice to have a few guest posts from a few cool and groovy people while I’m laid up. If you are interested in contributing something, please get in touch (you can leave a comment here or tweet me).
With today’s final birthday guest post, we’re changing tack a little. When I asked Rose to write something about the stigma associated with mental illness, I thought it would be an interesting insight into a subject that is close to both our hearts – but with the recent suicide of the comedian Robin Williams and the public and media response to this tragic event, the topic has taken on a whole new significance. This is an honest and thoughtful post, and I freely admit that I strongly identify with a lot of what is said here. I am sure that this post will also strike a chord with others.
Rose blogs at the excellent roseversusblackdog about her experiences of and ongoing recovery from mental health issues. Even if you have no personal experience of mental illness (and especially if you do), her blog is definitely a recommended read.
August 11th 2014 – I woke up at 3am suffering from an anxiety attack and decided to have a quick browse on Twitter to distract myself. One tweet caught my eye – I saw the words “Robin Williams dead at 63 – Suspected Suicide”.
Tweet after tweet. Overwhelming sadness.
“Get help!” “Tell someone” “You can get better”.
Understandable messages from concerned well-wishers some who were probably worried about their own friends and family.
I also thought a lot about the exhortations to “speak up” and “tell someone”.
I would like to explain why this is such courageous act and why given the possible consequences, we should have understanding and compassion for people who wish to stay silent.
Today, we live in a highly medicalised society. There’s a pill, a potion or a treatment for almost anything that might ail you, and scientific research is being done into diseases previously seen as incurable. Medical treatment is available for all who need it rather than only those who can afford it (for now, anyway).
But it hasn’t always been like that. Go back far enough into our history and you’ll find that medicine – as practiced by both doctors and ordinary people – was once stranger than you could ever imagine. No, really. Stranger than that. Curious? Join me in the Another Kind Of Mind Time Machine (it’s like the TARDIS, only much cooler) for a trip into the past that will make you glad that the NHS still just about exists….
Got a headache? Most people nowadays would reach for the paracetamol, but our ancestors had some slightly stranger methods of treating one of the most common ailments we all suffer. One of the oddest involved wearing a lettuce or a cabbage leaf under your hat on a hot day in order to cool your head down, which, it was said, would stop headaches caused by the heat of the summer sun.