A lot of people suffer in the UK with mental health issues ranging from anxiety and depression to full-on psychoses, and/or they have chronic health problems and disabilities made worse by stress. It follows that the current political chaos, highly-charged demonstrations and fighting, fear and hate, they all have the potential to make bad personal situations harder to cope with.
Since the 2016 referendum, antidepressant prescriptions have increased by 50 per cent. Tory NHS cuts, the exodus of EU nurses and doctors, have left many people without support. The sick and disabled are routinely interrogated harshly and often denied the financial support, housing adaptations and simple understanding and compassion they need to keep fighting. All that’s left is crisis management at the eleventh hour, which in cases of self-harm, harm to others and suicide is, by definition, much too late to effect lasting change and improvement.
Whatever view you hold of Brexit, people are dying or losing their grip because of the effects of it and nine years of austerity. The UK is sick and getting no better. It can feel like nobody cares. We can each only do so much but it’s important we do what we can.
Me, I throw my commitment behind the tasks of looking after my mum and caring for my animals because all of that loving, practical activity distracts me from the deep unease of living in a country where I don’t think I have a future to look forward to. Under this government things will only deteriorate. Tories take dreams away. They help you if you have lots of money. If you don’t, you are at best a burden to be shunned or you are standing in the way, spoiling the view.
A focus on helping others, human or animal, doesn’t get rid of the feeling of being hopeless or lost, but it does help you get through each grey day. Sunny days help. Smiles help. Little thoughtful gifts help. Offering to do a bit of shopping or gardening helps.
Don’t tell others to pull themselves together. Get off your arse and do shit to help them. You’ll find it helps you too.
Andrew’s latest book, myfibromyalgia: one man’s experience of living with chronic illness, is out now in all Amazon store territories the world over. The ebook is £5.99 and the paperback £8.99. UK Amazon link.