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Tuesday, 26 September 2017

What is a mental health crisis?

TW This post mentions self-harm and suicide

The other day on Twitter someone asked me, how do I know when I'm in crisis? When is it the right time to ask for help from crisis services.

Drawing by me

I think it is a hugely insightful and relevant question. It's something I asked myself over and over for many years. I spent years telling myself that if I asked for help then I wouldn't be believed. Indeed sometimes I built up the courage to ask for help and the help I needed didn't come.

If you've asked for help and it hasn't come, I want to tell you that you do deserve help. We are living in a society where access to mental health services is unfair. Access and quality of care is a postcode lottery. Everyone deserves access to support that's helpful to them.

Drawings from one of my notebooks

I have been turned away from services several times and have been through chronic invalidation. As a result, I denied myself the right to define my own mental health, out of fear I would be ridiculed or rejected.

After years of coming to terms with my experiences and finding ways of articulating them, I now know that I define myself. No one else does.

A flowchart drawn by me! (Click to enlarge)

I now have my own definition of what a mental health crisis is to me. Everyone is different. The word crisis is open-ended and means something different to everyone. Generally speaking, a crisis may be understood as a time when someone's life is not functioning as it usually does and perhaps someone is at risk of self-harm or suicide.

In my next post I will explain my own definition of crisis for me and my life.

Do you have any thoughts on the word crisis, how and when to use it? I would love to hear from you! Tweet me @TalkingAboutBPD.

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