Tag Archives: United Kingdom

Around the World…

I’ve decided to start doing a ‘shout out’ to my readers, viewers, friends and followers across the world, from the first ‘top 3’ countries as per my Word Press blog stats.

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So today’s hello, welcome and thank you goes to our friends in (drum roll please):

The United States of America, The United Kingdom, and The United Arab Emirates!

Wow, amazing to glimpse where you’re from, thank you for following 🙂

P.S. It’s not stats alphabetically, that’s just coincidental that they are all ‘United’…it’s the top 3 countries from which people have given me the most views.

If you feel like commenting and telling me a little about life in your country, that would be amazing…otherwise, a big heartfelt welcome (including to all of my other readers of course too, I just thought this would be a bit of a fun thing to do) :).

Also, no matter where in the world you are reading from, feel free to share in the comments which country you are in and anything about your country that you’d like the blogging world community to know! 🙂

 

The times, they are a-changing…

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Well today, the day after the United Kingdom held its European Parliamentary elections, Prime Minister Theresa May has announced her resignation, to be effective as of  Friday June 7th, two weeks from now.  She spoke of how she tried her best for the country she loves, and how she was motivated by her public duty and her democratic obligations to the will of the people, speaking specifically about the referendum vote three years ago that resulted in a simple majority to leave the European Union…or ‘Brexit’ as it has come to be known.

Most people feel disaffected with politics, although there has been expressions of sympathy towards Mrs May who was choked with emotion at the end of her resignation speech.

We face new challenges going forwards, and who knows what the rest of the world thinks of the United Kingdom in this respect. Yet, whatever our political opinions, persuasions or if we choose not to get involved at times, the Christian’s responsibility, regardless of personalities, politics or any other such thing, is to pray.

We are admonished in 1 Timothy 2:

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all people, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all…

Mental Health Awareness Week 13th – 19th May 2019

This week in the United Kingdom is Mental Health Awareness Week. Although this particular Awareness Week for 2019 ends tomorrow, the need to be aware of mental health is so important each and every day for a myriad of reasons, personally and societally. 

Mental Health affects everybody, just as physical health does. And we each find ourselves somewhere on the scale between mental wellness and mental illness just as our bodies at different points in our lives can be well or ill. Similarly, we may each be prone to various physical or mental conditions that affect our health and wellbeing. 

Somehow though it has become easier and more acceptable to talk about an injured limb, organ or other physical condition than to talk about an injured mind or brain. Thankfully, the societal and personal stigmas surrounding mental wellbeing and mental illness are gradually being addressed and it seems that we are slowly beginning to accept that these things aren’t shameful, just as it isn’t shameful to have broken one’s arm, and that it is incredibly important to dissolve unnecessary stigmas and talk and raise awareness about such a vital part of human life. We have come a long way, but there is still a long way to go. On a personal note, I had to confront my own stigmas and challenge those of people close to me and listen to the advice of those friends who saw me at a particularly low point and told me that I needed to get help. Years of childhood and adult stress, a chronic situation that our bodies and brains aren’t supposed to be under, resulted in me experiencing full blown symptoms of complex post traumatic stress, severe clinical depression and severe generalised anxiety disorder. I didn’t, however know or understand what was happening to me, and it was very, very frightening. I blamed myself and felt ‘responsible’ for my mind, without realising that these kind of injuries can’t simply be ‘thought better’ and were not one being ‘weak minded’ as for me anyway, they were a result of my body and brain’s ‘default’ being to exist in fight / flight mode, imbalances in chemical regulation physiologically including with the hormones cortisol, adrenaline and the chemical sertraline. I have two first class degrees, and additional awards, and hold down a full time professional job within an organisation that focuses on helping the society and community and individuals facing difficulties on many levels, so having worked so hard to overcome the damage that a severe period of bullying in childhood and adult stress had done to me, and working in a profession that helped ‘really’ traumatised people with actual severe life situations, I felt and thought that I ‘ought to be’ able to function normally. And yet, the reactions my body, brain and mind were experiencing were in fact very normal reactions to difficult life events…and I had in fact done so well to have come so very far, and still be helping society on some level, even while I was experiencing frightening flash backs, severe low mood, fear, anxiety, chronic pain, intrusive thoughts, disorientation, dizziness, dissociation, insomnia, nightmares and severe depression. I had to fight hard to do simple things like even wash a cup or make a meal or walk across the room. I felt like my brain was exploding and there was no off switch or mute button or way to turn it down to get relief. So out of absolute helplessness and necessity for my survival I reached out and went to the doctor (something I was frightened to do, and something I was also advised against in case it affected my career – it didn’t – in fact I have since been very supported at work), and with the encouragement of some friends I finally took that brave step a few years ago and I am so glad that I did. Despite waiting lists, the help from the NHS I have been given both in terms of medicine and psychological support has been incredibly beneficial. Don’t get me wrong, there was no ‘quick fix’ – it has taken several years of commitment, showing up, doing the hard work to be in a place where I can manage my symptoms rather than them ruining my life. And I realise that I have a ‘toolkit’ to be able to get stronger and stronger and help other people too, so this blog post is a real victory, and I thank God for that. 

I want to encourage you if you yourself are struggling….with anything…or know a friend, family member or colleague who you think might be struggling with their mental wellbeing to be brave and take that first step to reach out. I do believe you will be listened to and supported. I know it can be daunting, but there are so many resources out there, and there are professionals who understand what is happening to you even if they don’t necessarily know or understand your individual life experiences, and it could just change or save your or somebody else’s life. 

I don’t know what the best resources are in other countries, but in the UK, here are some very helpful, caring, professional sources that you can reach out to – even if you don’t have any issues as such but just want to learn more whether that be to grow in awareness of mental health issues, or to gain understanding of someone you know, then these are a great place to start.

Please do leave a comment if there are any particular things you’d like to raise awareness of as I would like to write more about mental health and learn from you too as this is so important and might be just what somebody out there needs to hear.

I’ve also linked to a YouTube channel of a licensed mental health professional who is very relatable, so that’s something anyone can access which is good if you’re based in another country.

Love to you all and thanks for reading, and for being you. Never be afraid to reach out and ask for help – that’s what it’s there for, and everyone is important and valuable. Also, if you know of any helpful resources in your country leave a comment in case someone else is looking for help where you are. Thanks. xx

NHS: https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/nhs-services/mental-health-services/how-to-access-mental-health-services/

MIND: https://www.mind.org.uk/get-involved/mental-health-awareness-week-2019/

Samaritans: https://www.samaritans.org/scotland/how-we-can-help/contact-samaritan/

Breathing Space: https://breathingspace.scot/

The Blurt Foundation: https://www.blurtitout.org/

YouTube Kati Morton Licensed Therapist: https://www.youtube.com/user/KatiMorton

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Elections, Choices and What makes a Good Leader

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Picture courtesy of Google Images.

If you’ve been following world news lately, or live in the United Kingdom, you will know that today, 8th June 2017 is polling day for the UK’s General Election.

The election was called unexpectedly in April this year by the UK’s current Prime Minister, Teresa May. It was unexpected as she had previously announced that she would not be calling a ‘snap election’, but clearly politicians have the prerogative to change their minds! She was voted in as the new leader of the Conservative Party by her party, and consequently became Prime Minister, following David Cameron’s resignation after the majority of British voters voted for ‘Brexit’, ie to leave the European Union, in a referendum in June of last year. It was not the result that Cameron hoped for nor anticipated.  His successor and the incumbent Prime Minister, Teresa May also wanted to remain in the EU. However, as leader of choice (by her party, at least), she is currently in the position of leading the country forwards in the direction of the voting population’s simple majority decision in favour of Brexit.

Teresa May could be nicknamed for a time, ‘Teresa Maybe’ or Teresa May or May Not’, due to her delay or reluctance to push that metaphorical button and invoke Article 50 which would set things in motion for Britain to leave the EU.  However, finally May took decisive action and invoked or triggered Article 50 in March 2017, less than three months ago.

With further decisiveness in April of this year, Teresa May, taking on the stance of Teresa Will announced a general election to take place in June – today being that day!

It is difficult to truly discern a politician’s motives from what they actually say. Perhaps May sees this election as a way to formalise her mandate and strengthen her position in negotiating a strong Brexit deal for the country and / or to increase the Conservative’s majority in Westminster. Presumably no Prime Minister would call a sudden election well before its time (the next general election wouldn’t have been due until 2020) unless they were confident that they and their party would win.

However, despite being a small nation, and an island at that, the United Kingdom isn’t altogether united. There are fractions and divisions and competing points of view that mean that the result that May is anticipating (which we will find out tomorrow) may not turn out to be what she desires.

From the division of the ‘Remain’ and ‘Brexit’ camps, to divisions in Scotland over the results of the ‘Independence Referendum’ that took place on 18th September 2014, and a narrow majority voting for Scotland to remain as part of the United Kingdom (55.3% against independence, 44.7% in favour of independence) to all the multifarious shades of the political spectrum and opinions in between, notes from this small island of Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales, report that Britain remains somewhat divided and uncertain about its future.

For several years, Westminster politics has been characterised by a rivalry between the ‘big two’ parties across opposing sides of the debating chamber: The Labour Party and the Conservative Party. However, in more recent times there have been coalitions between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats to form a majority, breaking the run of Labour Party rule, and finally returning to the Conservatives as the simple majority party in power.

Currently of the leaders of the ‘big two’, Teresa May and Jeremy Corbyn, although there may be pockets of die-hard supporters, on the whole most people have very mixed feelings towards them both, their policies and their trustworthiness.

While perhaps finding some things in either leader or party that one can resonate with, there are other elements that grate against our consciences. Politics has become synonymous with corruption, false promises and even deceit. As in the United States of America, when faced with the choice to elect either Hilary Clinton or Donald Trump for President, many voters on both sides of the Atlantic feel that they are being cornered into choosing the lesser of two evils. Gone are the days where members of the public look up to their politicians as paragons of virtue, a special breed of humanity with leadership qualities that shine forth with radiance – people deserving of our trust and respect. Perhaps such days never actually existed…?

It brings us to consider, in this hotch-potch of political choices what does make a good leader, and where can we find one? They are certainly not ‘a dime a dozen’, nor does anyone in particular in the world of politics spring to mind.

I think this reality exacerbates political frustration, despondency, apathy and confusion. I would quite frankly despair of this world were it not for the fact that I do have a Leader Whom I can wholeheartedly respect, admire, trust, believe in and follow without reservation.

Everything He does is imbued with infinite and perfect Love, Wisdom, Kindness, Goodness, Integrity and Strength. He Is a Wonderful Counsellor, a Prince of Peace.

He humbled Himself to teach us that to truly be a Leader, one must first become the Servant of all. He only ever works for Good, and Is completely and utterly Faithful and Trustworthy. He lived out self-sacrificial love, doing what is good for others at an unbelievable cost to Himself. He died to bring us salvation and Is Risen and Reigns over all.

So despite the madness of the world in which we live, the frustrations of politics and the despair over the leaders of the world, I have an infinite hope.

If you don’t know Jesus Christ personally – the One Who Shepherds His people with kindness, goodness and love, this may all seem a bit strange, as if it were perhaps just an ideal to be longed after. But He has proven Himself to me time after time, to be real, and good and utterly trustworthy, and so despite the results of these elections or all the other things happening in this world, I know that I follow and serve and belong to One Whose ways are perfect, just and kind.

Even if you don’t share my faith, I am sure you would find it fascinating and encouraging in contrast to the leaders of the world today, to look into and examine the life and ways of the historical person of Jesus Christ.

Thousands of years before He made Himself manifest to us, the prophet of the Old Testament, Isaiah proclaimed:

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulders: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace”. (Isaiah chapter 9, verse 6).