Do You Care…Or Are You Aware? Campaigning For Change in Mental Health Care.

Do You Care…Or Are You Aware?  Campaigning For Change in Mental Health Care.


Guest Blogger, Sam Ward, Questions Awareness Campaigns, and Their Effectiveness…


 

In the interest of breaking the stigma, and taking the advice of Hemingway, I’m going to “write hard and clear about what hurts.” Mental illness hurts. It hurts those directly affected, it hurts their family, their friends, and it hurts us all as a society.

Lately we have seen the long overdue beginnings of recognition. National campaigns, such as Time to Change and The Guardian’s ‘Let’s talk mental health’, and more local campaigns, are starting to raise awareness and educate people of the severity and size of the situation.

Awareness is important. Without it, nothing can change. But like each viral craze on the internet, awareness can be everywhere one week and nowhere the next. How many of the people who poured a bucket of iced water on their head are still campaigning or raising money for Motor Neurone disease? How many of us are still talking about Ebola…much less helping?

Awareness is something easy to give. It takes little to no effort. Here lies the success and failure of awareness campaigns. They achieve great results because they ask so little of people but they will always fall short because they receive so little long term support. Awareness is passive participation.

Awareness alone doesn’t help the people who would do almost anything not to go home; those who curl up and lose their days to TV shows they don’t even like; the parents at their wit’s end because they don’t know know to help their mentally ill children; the parents that are at their wit’s end because they don’t know how to cope any longer, but hang on anyway like a suspension bridge losing one wire at a time; the people trapped between isolation and the immobilising terror of social anxiety; or those who live with a constant sorrow and vague dread.

Of course, in time, awareness becomes acceptance, and in time that leads to incremental change; but for anyone suffering now, that is too late. It’s not about stopping these campaigns, or criticising them, this is about making sure we kick off from the start they give us and really work to make change happen.

The best example I can give to support what I’m saying is to talk about loneliness. Loneliness is a consuming, bitter black treacle. It is also something familiar to many with  mental health issues. We all sort of know that we are becoming more lonely and isolated even as we plug ourselves into the internet ‘connection’. Social Media might allow us to talk, but it also lets social interaction and – for many – anxiety, invade our personal space. If I were to launch an awareness campaign about loneliness and millions of people started talking about it, would it eradicate loneliness?  I don’t think it would, because even though loneliness doesn’t need billions of pounds or huge changes to infrastructure to overcome, it still requires honest, long-term commitment from us all.

Talking about mental health, and loneliness, on social media or face to face does brilliantly to unite people, de-mystify it all, and present a truer picture of the state of things . We need to encourage it to become the norm. But we shouldn’t be forced to rely on each other for all of our support. If you have Cancer, talking to someone with Cancer can be comforting and the shared experience can give strength, but you wouldn’t be expected to administer each other’s chemotherapy or remove each other’s tumours.

I sought medical help for depression once. I wasn’t so much as offered an informal chat. I was given small prescriptions for anti-depressants and told to come back in regularly. The outcomes were always the same only the doctors had changed. Each time a new face to whom you had to explain (again) the intimate details of how you felt and how you lived. The drugs didn’t work. They didn’t work in the doses given so I took them in batches. I drank upwards of three litres a day of cheap cider or wine. I had no internet, no smart phone. I had a freezing bed-sit with no heating, a hair-dryer, and a few books. The drugs weren’t working. I went to tell this to a doctor, whichever it may be.

Once I had told this new doctor, a Hungarian man, about my worsening situation he started asking me some slightly probing but compassionate questions. I thought this was the beginning of something better, some actual treatment. I answered the questions as honestly as I dared and the doctor paused. He then went on to tell me the condensed tale of how his grandparents, along with his infant parents, had managed to escape from a concentration camp during the Holocaust. He told me of their resolve and their hope, but most of all he referred to their grit. Then he doubled my prescription strength, handed me the slip, and advised me that it was my choice whether or not to take the pills, but he advised not. It was the closest to a professional ‘man up’ you can get.

I walked past the pharmacy and I felt like shit. His family escaped the Nazis and there I was…and here I am ill. I never did put in that prescription. I changed alcohol for weed, which in the short term was better. I self-medicated and to this day have gone without the long term support I need.

What I want to say is, that whether you are taking part in the poorly named “It’s okay to not be okay” campaign at the University of Portsmouth, or posting on social media, or even just talking about mental health, don’t stop there. To quote mental health nurse turned novelist Nathan Filer, mental health care is “an utter, God-awful mess” in Britain. It is going to take more than awareness to fix it.

Written by Sam Ward


More of Sam’s writing can be found here!


Sketches of The University Interlude

My Fluid Self: My search for a narrative

In Gil Scott-Heron’s autobiography there are scattered poems, new and old. Unsurprising given who he was. But reading them was surprising. It was pleasing to see rhythm that grew from the page and didn’t fit into, or get trapped by, the guarded confines of poetic metering. The structures of the poems were precisely aligned with their meaning and tone. I thought then about his effortlessness in pitching the self as a photo negative of larger conditions. I hoped then, and still do, that I would find a coterminous instinct in my writing. I read the poems and I tried to bounce in loose synapses of a private silence a few improvised lines. A few prototype rhymes of mimicry. The first step is to master the masters and then create, or so an artist probably said according to a motivational meme. Those words that shot up like fireworks soon dissipated that…

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Disconnect The Poor In The Internet Age

Disconnect The Poor In The Internet Age

The Internet Is Not A Luxury.  It needs to be said before we go any further.

If you have children, they need it for homework and studies.  They need it to send in assignments and to keep up to date with coursework.  “Libraries!” I hear some of you shouting, “Go to an Internet Cafe!”  All well and good, but for a lot of people, their nearest library is in the centre of their town or city and would mean a two mile walk each way.  Sometimes more.  The walk would have to be done daily after school–because buses are not cheap and feet are free.  This is, of course, after leaving the house at 7:30am, walking the half an hour to school in all weathers and putting in a full day of studying.  Internet Cafes’ charge for the privilege of using the computers.  It is not a viable option for most.

To not have the internet at home, a child from a poor family would have to stay out of the family home for approximately (in our case and based on the distances my daughter walks to school) another three hours.  She would not get home until around 7pm at night…and would have to walk in the dark, through a not-exactly-great area of the city (neither myself or my husband drive; we cannot afford a car…and cannot afford the lessons anyway).  Meg is a straight A student.  She dreams of university life and becoming a doctor.  It is all she has wanted to do since she was four years old.  At just turned sixteen, she keeps a relentless study schedule.  She works from 8.00am through to 9.00pm as it is.  At home, she is safe, [mostly]warm and can eat her dinner as she studies.

The Internet Is Essential.  We are told the way to lift ourselves high and achieve riches untold, is to be well-educated and get a professional career.  Are only the children of the comfortable and the rich allowed to follow this dream?  Are the children of the poor to be raised with the depressing knowledge in their young heads that their lot in life is to serve the children of the rich?  To clean, and sweep and toil and slave, with no hope of realising their aspirations and dreams…because school work now requires an internet connection, to get the best education available.  Each time a struggling family is told their internet is a luxury, they are told their children do not deserve the access to it in the home.  They are told their children should be thankful for their lot, and stay in the ‘place’ they were born.

There are disabled people, housebound and alone for weeks on end.  They do not have the option of walking the two miles (or more) to their library, to be able to sit down and make some contact with relatives living apart from them.  To see pictures of their newest little cousins, or a new grandchild.  They cannot spare the money from their living allowances or benefits to use an internet cafe.  To say to them that the Internet is a luxury they can do without, to save money, is to isolate them and cage them in their loneliness.  The quality of life of the elderly and infirm increases dramatically, if they are taught to use a computer, laptop or even a smart-phone, and can access and utilise the web.  Depression caused by isolated living is lifted, just a little.  Shopping can be done, friends spoken with, people contacted, programmes watched.  The Internet is essential.  That they need to choose between eating, heating, or human contact is appalling, and they should not be expected to make that choice.

Job seekers are told, by the Job Centre, to apply for an initial interview online.  School Admittance Forms? Fill them out online.  Best grocery offers?  Online.  Job searching?  Property rental?  Council Housing Register?  You’ve guessed it–it’s all online.

Is it reasonable, therefore, to look at the poorest sections of our society and tell them to save money–sometimes as little as £6.99 a month–by getting rid of their internet.  Are we, as a society, so judgemental that we believe those in the poorest households must sit in the dark, without a television, without a computer, without communication?  Is that what we have become, now, thanks to the portrayal of poverty in the media?  To take away the web, is to disconnect more than Google.  It is to disconnect ourselves.


If you are affected by any of these issues and would like to chat, or ask for help, please do contact my Facebook page HERE.  I answer all messages that come through to me and will always try to point you in the right direction if you need help/advice.

The Graduate Trap

An Interesting Perspective of The University Path.

My Fluid Self: My search for a narrative

I graduated but I didn’t attend graduation. I had made the choice long before then that I wasn’t to be cajoled by sentiment into paying out yet more money I didn’t have to attend pomp. Instead, I rewarded myself for battling up through the tumult of Portsmouth’s hostel system – a web of housing associations and halfway-houses harder to ride out to a successful conclusion than an evening alone with Amnesia: The Dark Descent – and visited Granada, Spain. It may have been, in hindsight, a luxury too late and money misplaced to indulge my fancies so close to the end of my undergraduate lifeline.

As the day of my graduation loomed, the contents of my bank withered and the possibility of a late moment of caprice was revoked. Graduation, at least from an undergraduate degree, would be an experience to pass me by. Thankfully, I was granted a small…

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There Are No Right Words.

On Grief, Loss and Bad News…

We have all had that call.  The one that comes out of the blue and shifts our world to a new, unknown, place.  The call that might not be totally unexpected, but suddenly rips the life raft of hope from our hands.  It leaves us floundering, drowning.  Facing a future in which our life is changed irrevocably.  Forever.

I have received that call.  I would do anything to have never had it.  To have not heard those words.  “…is dead.”  “…won’t make it.”  “Nothing can be done.”  “At least there’s time to say goodbye.” I think we have all heard them, by the time the threshold of ‘mid-thirties’ is passed.  Death becomes a way of life as we say goodbye to grandparents, parents, family and friends.

As age creeps up on me, the calls become more common.  The pain remains as rare.  The sense of injustice never changes, nor does the futile hope the doctors are wrong.  Medicine will work.  A cure found, a life saved, grief averted.  Life will carry on and that one person shall still be at the end of a phone.  I will always be able to call them.  Tell them how much I love them.  Laugh with them and hold them close.

Until I can’t.  The call comes and life changes.

It’s natural to want to scream and deny the reality.  But we can’t be ‘selfish’; there are others affected.  Spouses, children, parents, family, cousins…the list seems endless.  There are, quite swiftly, no words that can be said and no way to take away or ease the pain of all those who shall be left behind.  As the grief builds there’s no right thing to say.  There is no right way to deliver the news; no right way to receive it.

No right way to be the one left dying, surrounded by dozens, maybe hundreds, of people who have to face a new altered future.  That has to be as hard, if not harder.  Being the one knowing time is nearly up, knowing it’s time to leave.  Not being able to stop what is going to happen.

Age, in this case, gives no answers.  Death, as ever, gives no dignity.  To be told we are losing someone hurts.  It cuts into a heart and saws at emotion with a serrated blade.  We put down the phone, we sit, stunned, and we try and adjust to the news we have been given.  Be it a friend we grew up with, a friend we made at work, a friend we have slowly grown close to through the internet…none of that matters.  The grief is still real.  Still there, choking us.

Reflection brings memories.  At first they hurt.  It’s easier, less painful, to push them away.  A flash of a smile can bring us to our knees, crying afresh.  Eventually, though, they bring comfort.  We welcome them and hoard them.  We make them, knowing that we are planning for the day their face, voice, words, aren’t there for us.

We say goodbye, slowly.  Knowing the end is coming, we build our future and pray we have enough memories to pull out and examine, when they are needed.  We stand, wait, hope, help, love…all the while knowing there are no right words.  There is nothing that can be said.  Nothing to ease the weight of loss.  We hold each other and cry, laugh, smile and remember.  We visit funeral parlours, choose music, plan wakes…making sure everything is ‘just so’.

Or we wave goodbye as an ancient V.W Camper is packed to the roof with painkillers, clothes and quilts, holding back our tears as that final adventure is embarked on.  We might be privileged enough to be party to the Bucket List and grin at the thought of paddling in the icy waters of Morecambe, eating potted shrimps from a pot; watching a sunrise in the Scottish Highlands; being in the presence of The Gutenberg Bible; just holding hands and watching the tide come in…small things that will leave memories.

There are no right words.  There is no right way to say goodbye.  Yet we manage to speak silently and express every word we need to say, without uttering a sound.

And we remember.

Here is my interview with Kathleen Kerridge

This is my interview with the lovely Fiona! I’m very stunned and pleased to be asked to interview.

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Name Kathleen Kerridge

 

Age 36

 

Where are you from

Southsea, way down at the arse end of England, in Hampshire.

 

A little about yourself; i.e. your education Family life etc  

I am a married mum of four with three children still at home and a lovely dog called Neffie.  I work as a full time writer and cook a lot.  I’m educated to AS Level – I fell pregnant at 15 and had my eldest, then just when I thought I was safe, I went back to college at 24…and fell pregnant with my youngest at 25.  I have no desire to go back for a degree and get child number five.

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

I went accidentally viral with my third ever proper blog-post and have created a small tornado of feelings and divisive sentiments…maybe it’s a good thing, though.  I…

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The Upsetting Truth…Part Two!

The Upsetting Truth…Part Two!

Everything I do seems to have a sequel.  It’s funny how life can be like that.  I really felt that some points needed to be addressed, however.  There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding the Unseen Poor.  Let’s kick back with a cuppa and have a chat about a few of them, shall we?  Make yourself comfortable and come sit with me.  Keep your coat on, it’s not cold enough for heating, but you’re probably going to feel the chill in my house if you’re not used to it.  My family and I are used to it.  Our old house never had heating for three years, thanks to an indifferent and incompetent landlord.  While being evicted when he sold the house was distressing and has left me terrified it will happen again, this house is better.  Even with penetrating damp, crumbling walls and mould.  We had white fluffy mould and green mildew in the last house–this time we have black mould.  It’s good to switch it up, don’t you think?  Look carefully and you can make patterns and faces from it.  It passes the time.

Comfy?  As warm as you’re likely to get?  Great!  Let’s do this thing…

  • Jamie Oliver did not deserve your anger.  How dare you insult him?  He’s trying to help you, you ungrateful b**ch.  Get a grip, he’s doing the best he can.

Okay, now.  Hold your horses and calm down a little.  Take a deep calming breath.

My post was not a direct attack at Jamie personally.  I am disappointed that I am unlikely to get the chance to divorce ‘The Hubs’ and marry Jamie now, but it was not a sensationalist piece of writing done with the sole aim to piss off all my fellow Jamie fans.  What angered me is that the tag line for his show was “You Can Eat Like A King Whatever Your Budget.”  My budget, Jamie, is £45 a week to feed a family of five.   I eat healthy and I eat well, but it sure ain’t like a king.

I manage to do it and I never said I could not feed my children.  I said that there are times I might have to make do with a bowl of rice, so they can eat the 20p packet of spaghetti with a home made tomato sauce, pimped up with some Tesco Value dried oregano, so it tastes Italian.  I have said that there are times that I can’t afford to heat my house (I already spend £20 a week on gas, thanks to the meter taking a debt as well) and I have to choose between heating, or buying food.  I will drink a lot of water, instead of eating a lunch, if the cupboards are depleted.  The kids need that food, I am old enough to wait and bide awhile.  My mum helps a lot, but I do get by on the budget I have.  I don’t find it too hard, either.  I never meant to imply that £45 is not enough for food, it is.  Mostly.

Now, Jamie, what upset me…really upset me to the point of nearly crying, was when you, on your programme, Money Saving Meals, tried to tell me, with my £45 a week food budget, that I could save money by buying a £22 shoulder of lamb.  I am certain Jack Monroe was likewise appalled at the blasé presumption that this richly priced joint of meat could ever be seen as affordable by a large portion of the people you purport to be helping.  I hope that clears it up a little bit for anyone who thought I was simply laying into you for no reason.  My ire was not only directed at you, but at the producers, programme developers and all the rest of you who, rightly, do not have to live as I do.  It is not budget.  Give me a call, Jamie–you taught me all I know, I would be more than happy to teach you in return.  I make a wicked vegetable curry.

  • Sell your computer.  Get rid of your TV.  You have luxury items.

No, no and…no.

This is indicative of how well we are socially conditioned to believe those left wanting can heal their situation simply by getting rid of parts of their lives deemed superfluous.  My children, the three at home, are all at school.  Their homework requires the internet.  A lot does.  My son’s college course is entirely computer based (it is a computer course, so this makes sense).  He would love a laptop, but I can’t get him one.  He works part time and has recently had to purchase a new bed for himself as I could not afford it.  He went to Ikea and got a nice one–and my youngest daughter received a ‘new’ mattress as a result.  This is how things work, you see?  We re-use, recycle, stick together and get on through!  We have the one computer, which is my main source of income.  I am an author, I am just starting, in the scheme of things.  I have no agent, no publicist, no advertising budget aside from my Facebook Page and word of mouth.  And now this blog.  Yes, I will use it to promote my work; I self publish and I am only just starting to see anything come from it.  I had my first book out for free, to get my name seen, for several months, while I wrote the sequel.  I write–it is how I will make money and get off benefits.  If there are any legit agents out there…well, you know, I’m free.  You all rejected me once, but I’m open to the idea of a second chance 😉

To tell me to lose the web and to sell my PC (A GIFT FROM A FRIEND) is to tell my children they cannot do their coursework, studies, homework and research to the absolute best standard available to them in this country.  It is to tell me I do not have the right to work as an author.  Work.  I do not, as has been said, lounge around writing blogs for my entertainment.  I am a selling author and have been for 7 months.  I have no intention and no reason to sell the TV.  It is the only one in the house, and the kids enjoy it.  Why shouldn’t they?  Giving up the TV will not make the hard times better.  These suggestions are painful to read.  You are telling me that I can ‘fix’ my poverty by removing a television and my source of income.  It’s not fair to assume a torn off limb could be mended with a plaster; please realise this situation is not going to be helped by losing my children’s source of enjoyment and it will be worsened if I cannot write and earn royalties from my books.

Thank you so much, all of you who bought a book.  You have no idea how fast the 29p royalties add up when hundreds are buying.

  • You took your daughter to Cardiff

This one is an easy one.  I should not have to justify taking one of my four children somewhere for their birthday, but I will.  I’ll also tell you how I did it.

Meg, my daughter, turned 16 shortly after the new year.  All of her friends are doing the big American parties and ‘Sweet Sixteen’ stuff.  I said I would try and find a free hall, maybe pay for a DJ and lay out an Iceland Party-Style buffet.  She said no, thank you but no thank you, because it would end up very expensive and she’d have nothing to show for it afterwards.  She said it was a waste of money.  I save up for the Big occasions, and 16 is a milestone.  I told Meg I would give her a party, that I could afford it.  She said no.  She asked, instead, to go to The Doctor Who Experience.  She asked in October–do you know many 15 year old girls who would have the foresight to ask 4 months in advance to go to to something where the tickets cost £16.00 for an adult?  Me neither, but my daughter did just that.  I Immediately went onto hostelworld.com.  They gather all the backpacker hostels on one site, you punch in a postcode, they show you what’s available in that area.  We stayed in a room with bunk beds and a single bed.  My mum came to help cover the cost of the room, and to buy us some food while we were there.  Luckily, the Nomad has a big kitchen you can use, so it’s almost like self catering.  They also feed you cereal in the morning.  All this is £40 a night for the room and breakfast for three people.  I booked in October and paid a £20 deposit.  I then started squirrelling the money away for the extortionate train tickets and the tickets for Doctor Who himself.

We did not spend a fortune in the mall–I said go prepared to spend a lot, because it is very expensive…if you buy anything.  I should have added that we window shopped in that mall for 6 hours.  It was good fun.  They have a Lego Store and we looked at individual Lego, but we did not buy any.  We walked to Cardiff Castle, and we looked at that too.  We did not pay £22 each to walk up the stairs and actually see it.  That’s how much they charge, to walk past the gates.  I never had that much in my purse, not for me and Meg to go.  Had she really wanted to have seen inside, I would have paid for her ticket and sat looking at the walls, with my mum.  Meg said no.  The Saturday night was spent in the recreation room of the Nomad, talking to a backpacker and watching the voice, munching on a Tesco salad bowl.  The high life of luxury?  Not quite.

I loved visiting, but I found it over priced and impossible, even though I left all my family at home, bar one daughter.  Please do not resent her birthday present.  She has a right to be allowed gifts and treats, just the same as other children.  Without my mum, we could not have gone at all.

  • You should not have bred.  You shouldn’t have had children.  You’re not fit to parent.  You should have got Critical Illness Cover.  Kill yourself, they’ll be better off.  Just go die somewhere and stop moaning.  You should have insurance.  You should have saved.

This is simply ignorance at its best, isn’t it?

Because I am poor, I should not have children?  I work and work hard.  So does my husband.  We did not know what was coming and we were young enough to feel immortal.  Why would I have thought of critical illness cover?  I have life insurance–when this illness kills me, which it will one day, my husband and children will be shooting out of this poverty trap.  I have to die to fix this.  I will not cancel an insurance I had the foresight to take out aged 22.  Not to save pennies.  It’s a good policy and I got it before my condition.  It will leave my family comfortable.  I myself will be going off to medical science when I do die.  Rest assured, it won’t be because I have taken the above advice though–that would void my insurance.

On a side note, when I said ‘the good times’ they were simply comfortable, not rich.  I could fill my cupboards and not worry about feeding us all.  I was able to replace shoes/trainers and I could meet expenses.  At no point have I had enough to take my kids abroad.  They have been on two Haven Holidays; one in 2004, to Warmwell (it was amazing, even though I was pregnant), and one in 2006, just before it all went downhill, to Clacton-On-Sea.  They loved it and I hope to be able to go again, one day.

Now that’s over, onto the good stuff!!! (Yay, I was depressing myself, and I’m not a gloomy kind of gal.)

  • Food Banks do not require Social Services Intervention.  You will not be deemed as Too Poor To Parent, if you go to your GP and get a referral.  The Citizens’ Advice Bureau can also do this, as do some churches, outreach programs and community-based groups.  Some do not need a referral.  If you are in dire need and cannot find these resources, please contact your local Sikh Temple.  I was contacted by a few dozen lovely people from a temple who said all are welcome to sit with them, enjoy a vegetarian meal.  It is, to the Sikh Community, a religious obligation to help their fellow humans and treat all equally.  They will welcome you and your children.  Women, please wear a headscarf, if you have no scarf, they will supply one for you.
  • There are a lot of benefits a lot of the ‘invisible working poor’ are not aware of.  If you are struggling, please go to your Citizens’ Advice Centre.  They will make bloody sure you are getting all you can.  I have done this and I *do* receive all I am entitled to.  It is simply not enough to cover rent, council tax, heating, water, electric, other bills…you get the idea.  You, though, may be in a different place and there may be more help available to you.  I shall be applying for this PIP allowance everyone has told me about.  I have had a little over a thousand messages and comments telling me about this.  I was turned down for DLA, but who knows, eh?  I’ll be doing that next week.
  • There are community groups that might sound a bit like a communist soup kitchen to the uninitiated, but are actually amazing when you delve a bit deeper.  These places will have community gardens and often an attached hall.  Sign up, learn some gardening, cook and eat what you grow with new friends–all in the same boat.  You can ask about these at your local council offices.
  • Poverty is a big issue amongst LGBT people.  Please know there is support and people out there who will be able to talk to you and help you.  There is no need to be alone.  If you want advice, a chat, or help with anything, please contact Stonewall as a starting point–they will point you in the right direction.
  • You can get emergency payments to cover rent, from your local council, if you are entitled.  It is not simply Housing Benefit.  This is a further award that might be given, if you are in dire straits.
  • There are support groups as well.  These vary considerably depending on where you live, but they should be there.  If not, come out as ‘poor’ and see if one can be started.  I have had an overwhelming response.  Not simply from people who are jobless and on JSA, but nurses, teachers, office staff, waiting staff–the list is as varied as any community ever is.  I…we…are not alone, and we have nothing at all to be ashamed of.  Poverty shaming only works if you allow it to work.  Group together and stand tall.

Please please please feel free to contact me via my Facebook Page if you need a friendly ear, or are unsure of which way to turn, just email me or send me a FB Message.  You are not alone.  I have asked a friend and my husband to help admin the site.  We are keeping on top of all messages and, where we can, we will point you in the right direction, if you need help.  Even if you just need to offload and reach out to someone, that’s okay too.  Please be aware that my page is all about full equality in all things.  Please be respectful of everyone who likes it and pops by to visit.  We’re a motley bunch of all things Rainbow.  We don’t care how you identify, what your sexual preference is, or where you come from.  You will be welcomed.

I would also like to say if you would like to donate and help food poverty, contact your local food banks or The Trussel Trust, who will be able to help you.

Please feel free to pick up one of my books (shameless plug, I know, but it is seriously the only job I have to be able to work my way out of the Grey Area).  The series is called Searching For Eden, and there are currently two books available here (uk) and here (rest of world).  The paperback of #1, Into The Woods, can be found here.

Thank you all again for all the support.  I am humbled by you all.