It’s Mental Health Week here again in the UK (12th-18th) and this year’s focus for the MHA is anxiety. I have only ever had one full-on anxiety attack, it came about 18 months ago shortly before I briefly considered throwing myself off of a cliff. It’s not pleasant and can include any of the following:
- Heart palpitations
- Chest pain
- Muscle tension
Because it has only happened once, I do not envy those for whom it is a matter of course. The chest pain itself was oppressive, I felt as if my heart was going to explode and my breathing was uncontrollable. I tried to focus on my breathing, specifically slowing it down and eventually I calmed and immediately collapsed to the floor in a mess of sobs. I wanted to vomit and was shaking all over, all of my muscles ached. And what was worse is that I was alone.
It was unpleasant to say the least and I hope never to feel that again. My heart goes out to everyone who has to live with this day in, day out. I’m going to find some posts on anxiety this week and will share any of particular interest.
Meanwhile during Mental Health Awareness Week, we’re reminded that funding for MH services in England is suffering the continued austerity plan of the coalition government. Already an underfunded service of the NHS, now mental health patients have to travel farther and farther to receive care as services as scaled back to save money; further, in the last few years some 1500 beds have closed. I am a great believer in the NHS and will defend it with a passion, particularly against American right wingers attempts at smearing it. No other health system in the world covers Mental Health as part of its socialised healthcare, no other socialised healthcare system covers the sheer breadth of health issues.
So I want to say a big thank you to NHS Mental Health Services for doing an especially difficult job that seems to get harder by the day.