Tuesday, 31 December 2013

New Year, Not New Me



So, just in case you didn't know, it's new years eve. Tomorrow morning is the start of the new you, just in case you didn't know.

I don't believe in the whole "new year new you" rubbish, if you really wanted to change that much would you wait until one specific day to do it? No. Just start when you feel like it. I feel like making a resolution generally sets you up for failure because by the 5th January everyone has caved and is either heading for the wine or the chocolates and that gym membership you paid for a mere 5 days ago is a waste of money. Most magazines are throwing all of the "get your bikini body" front pages at us, c'mon, you live in England, weight loss is not what you need in winter. We get about one week a year to get our milk-bottle legs out and the rest of it is spent wrapped in about 100 layers to make our awful weather almost bearable.

Eeee I should stop moaning on like an old lady!

On a more positive note, there are lots of lovely things I wish to happen in 2014 but I won't say them out-loud because then they might not happen. I think that's the way resolutions should be, secrets, then there is less pressure to keep them. If they happen YAY but if not noone will be able to tell you that you failed. So I hope all of your secret resolutions work out!

I will say one out-loud resolution: This year I will buy a new work shirt because mine is getting a bit ridiculous.

Hannah x

*Beth, you little angel, you know the crack...or at least you will at midnight :)

Thursday, 19 December 2013

15 Minutes Live - Just Like Heaven



Sorry for going a bit quiet, been mega busy! However, I come baring good news! At the beginning of November I was in Leeds with The Writing Squad and Slung Low Theatre for 15 Minutes Live, and now the radio plays are finished. Here are all of the plays on Push 3:


Definitely all worth a listen!

Merry Listening

Hannah x

Sunday, 8 December 2013

This Week



This week seems to have went on forever and has been really difficult for a number of reasons, so much so that I am out of words. I'm not sure I even know what I want to say never mind how to say it so I'm going to borrow the words of others in my current time of blankness.

"My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations." 
John Green - The Fault in Our Stars

People say that bad luck comes in threes but I'm telling you I'm probably closer to thirty-three lots of bad luck in the last 6-8 weeks. I'm just starting to wonder when on earth this streak is going to end, I'm hoping for a positive start to the new year because my little head is a bit crushed by it all at the minute. When I say I have no words at the moment I think it's because my brain is having a hard job processing everything that is going on at the moment. My head is worried about friends struggling with mental health problems who are just generally feeling life to be an upward struggle at the moment. The other half of my head is sad, I go to a lovely close knit church with my mam and this week an amazing woman, Christine, died; it came as a shock to everyone and her family are in my prayers at such a difficult time, especially how close it is to Christmas. I thought I'd share with you the bible verse from today's service, which seems appropriate in troubling times:

"Suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us."
Romans 5:3-5

My head is trying to make sense of so many things that it is actually making sense of nothing which, as a writer, I find very difficult. Usually I understand things or if I don't I can write for a bit and find the answers but as I said, I've got very little words of expression at the moment. At this time of year I am normally well into the Christmas spirit, my spirit normally starts in September! But this year I feel a little bit cut off from things and don't really feel like involving myself in much at all. Yes, I am still seeing my friends and going to work but it all feels like going through the motions and the fact that I can't actually explain this properly makes everything just hard.

“Did you ever walk through a room that's packed with people, and feel so lonely you can hardly take the next step?” 
Jodi Picoult - Second Glance

So, when you're dashing around in a blur of Christmas cheer this festive season spare a few moments to think about those who won't have quite as smooth a time this year. Those of you who fall into this category, you have my prayers. God bless.

"We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken."
John Green - Looking for Alaska

Hannah x

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Clustering and Slipping Through the Net


Care clustering in mental health is something that I've been wanting to write about for some time and today my anger at the system has finally reached a level which warrants me ranting it out on here.For those of you who don't know clustering is a method of coordinating care in a way that mental health service users are compartmentalised into different groups in accordance with the characteristics they display. Basically, in order to receive treatment from certain areas you have to tick the relevant criteria, so what happens if you don't tick those boxes? You can't get treatment and slip through the net.

What we have here is a health system that raves on about early intervention at the same time as running criteria-led services; surely I can't be the only one thinking these are totally incompatible concepts? Two areas in which I think criteria-led services are particularly destructive are: eating disorders and addictions where a service user is also suffering with another mental health need.

There is tons of literature which support the need for early intervention in anorexia in order to increase recovery chances however, here lies a problem. Criteria-led services make this almost impossible, I wish it was enough for people who feel like they both need and want help to be able to access it and if I'm honest I think it needs to be that way. The state services are in at the moment you have to be almost at deaths door in order to be taken seriously. It has to be one thing or another: you either go for early intervention or you have people needing to tick boxes to fit criteria. Well you know what, funnily enough, people don't work that way. Not every illness is textbook but should that mean that they aren't offered the treatment and support they need? I think not. Imagine if you walked into A&E with a broken arm and were met with a Doctor who told you it wasn't quite broken enough because it hadn't broken the skin so they can't treat it until it's at that state? It's hard to imagine isn't it? That's because it wouldn't happen. So why is it okay to tell someone with anorexia their BMI isn't low enough to meet treatment requirements? It shouldn't be.

Which came first: the chicken or the egg; the substance misuse or the mental health problem? Does it really matter? Well, according to services at the moment, yes, it matters. Then BAM you end up with inter-service politics of mental health services not wanting to treat someone until they have dealt with their substance misuse problems; I don't understand why the "system" won't allow for both to happen efficiently side-by-side. If substance misuse and mental health are in fact synonymous with the chicken and the egg scenario surely to achieve ultimate recovery in both areas they both require addressing at the same time to avoid one constantly causing a relapse of the other? Instead however you get people trying to self medicate with illicit substances in order to cope with their mental health problems in a bid of self-help because lets be honest, this sort of treatment system lets people down.

Clustering and criteria-led services cannot possibly be a sustainable future for mental health care services; surely sometime soon people are going to start and realise that by trying to fit people into neat little categories they are letting the people who most want and need treatment down. This makes me genuinely sad because once someone gets into services there are some fabulously dedicated professionals working hard to support those in need; it's getting to that help that's the problem.

Hannah x

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Bus Blogging 3rd December 2013


This is my first post of my "thoughts on my way to work" series and it's related to last nights post on Tom Daley making headline news for coming out to be dating a man. I mentioned in the previous post that coming out as gay/lesbian/bisexual isn't going to be made instantly better just because it's splattered across front pages everywhere; that just shows it to be such a big deal when it would be nice for it to just be normal. This brings me on to what I actually want to say, you know what is sadly normal for young people? Hearing gay as an insult. My friend did a talk on "the gay silence" and other than it making me cry it made me think how impossibley difficult our society still makes it for the LGBT of our community. I mean, don't get me wrong, I've had my fair share of name-calling hurled at me but I guess I knew that once I got out of year 11 those people who had nothing better to do with their time would disappear and everyone else would grow up. The use of gay as an insult, however, hasn't disappeared, I still hear it at least once a day and still wonder how and why it is actually a thing? Most people are like "why do you care, you aren't gay" that's true, I'm not, but does that mean I shouldn't care? I hope not because after hearing the torment my friend had to put up with was enough to make me care more.
Hannah x

Monday, 2 December 2013

What's News?


I am currently watching the 10 O'Clock news and a breaking news story is the fact that Tom Daley has came out to be dating a man. Towards the end of the show Daley's face was also seen to be plastered across the front of tomorrow's tabloids; reporters protesting how great this is for LGBT equality. How is that headline news?! The news had people wittering on about how brave he is and how it will make it easier for other young people to come out. Exactly what about plastering it as shocking headline news will make it easier. You know what would make it easier, making it normal. Dating a man should be just as normal as dating a woman. This is by no means a criticism of Daley; more a criticism of society and the media. What Daley did by making a Youtube video was normalise what he had to say; there was no big drama or spread in a trashy woman's magazine. There was just a man telling people he is happy to be dating someone and it doesn't matter if that someone is a man or a woman. Some people like men, some people like women, some people like both and some people like neither; that's just how it is, time to get over it.

For those of you who haven't seen Daley's video here it is:

Hannah x