Another Suicide

A thirteen/fourteen year old girl who went to my old school has committed suicide.

I don’t know her identity yet, it’ll probably be revealed later on. She had a little brother. She was the same age as the kids I used to teach drama to. As I don’t know her name yet it’s still possible that she could be one of the kids I used to teach drama to.

That makes two deaths from suicide in two years at my old school. Am I the only one who thinks this is shocking and appalling? Am I the only one who is angry and frustrated and almost in tears right now? Am I the only one with the guts to stand up and say something?

Suicide is terrifying. It’s bloody, fucking scary. We don’t want to talk about it, we don’t want to think about it. I know my head teacher, he is a spineless and cowardly man. He came up to me at my friend’s graveside when I was in pieces and told me sternly that he expected my grades to be maintained. I think this is sickening behaviour.

WHY IS IT SO HARD FOR US TALK ABOUT SUICIDE?

How many more of his students need to die needlessly before he works out that ignoring this isn’t going to make it go away. I’m so lucky that I managed to get through those years. I’m so, so bloody lucky that I somehow managed to scrape through with my life.

I was offered no help, I had nowhere to go… I didn’t even know what was happening to me. The girl who died is the same age as I was when I made my first suicide attempt.

I feel so angry right now, I feel so frustrated and so overwhelmed with emotion.

I want to do something. I can’t sit by and let this fear overwhelm me and everyone else any longer. I said after B died that it was only a matter of time before it happened again.

This school offers no education about mental health (I doubt it’s the only one) it ignores mental health problems, staff are incapable of recognising when a student is in distress- even when it’s right under their noses. They have laughable pastoral support and are led by a man who is obsessed with image and the easy way out. He drags them forward whilst neglecting the basics.

Mental health should be so easy to treat, so easy to spot… it should be so easy to avoid disaster. This isn’t cancer, this isn’t epilepsy, this is psychology. Mental health problems are always treatable. All we need to do is provide education and promote knowledge and openness. How hard is that?

Mental health is something we need to be proactive about, mopping up the aftermath just isn’t working any more. It’s a sick joke and I am beyond angry. No lessons have been learnt from B’s death.

At the end of the day, a child is dead. A young girl is dead. I don’t know the details. I don’t know if anything could have made a difference… the really sad thing is that she was never given the chance to see if it would have.

Well done to my pathetic old school.

’til next time,

Wren x

Pagan Music

It’s a cold, misty night here in North Yorkshire where I live. In order to stave off the chill and keep you occupied I’m going to post some of my favourite Pagan music.

I think that music is an incredibly powerful thing. It can change our mood and transport us away in an instant. At the moment I’m feeling a little down and so hopefully these tracks will help to relax me this evening.

Some of these songs are Pagan, some of them are not- recently I’ve been listening to more mainstream music, not because it particularly speaks to me, just because it’s easier to stumble across. I miss my Pagan sounds, but it’s becoming harder and harder to discover new ones.

I love listening to the OBOD’s monthly podcast; Druidcast. It gives me a taste of the Pagan music and events that are floating around at the moment… but that’s about it. I’m really missing the Pagan Radio Network and Numinosis. (The latter was formerly known as ‘A Darker Shade of Pagan.’) I’m on the look out for a new Pagan music. Any recommendations are more than appreciated!

Hope you’re having a good evening, wherever you are.

Blessings,

Wren x

 

Writing About Writing

I’ve been writing stories since I was very young. Writing has always been a part of my life and it’s always been something that I want to carry on and develop. At the moment I’m thinking about writing another novel-length story (by that I mean 80,000+ words.) I’ve written about five stories of that length over the last few years and I have lots of ideas for more.

However, before I start this big project I want to write something smaller (30,000+ words) to try and warm up. The problem that I’m having is that I have no idea what I write about.

I mean, that’s kind of a lie… I have some ideas. (I’m thinking ww2, it’s the time period I know the most about and am most passionate about.) I just don’t have a plot, or characters or anything else really.

Writing has always been such a huge part of my identity and my life, it’s been really sad for me to leave it behind over the last couple of years to pursue acting. I do, however, think that I’m at a point now where I’ve had a lot of life experience which has freed me up in terms of writing. A couple of years ago I was hitting a brick wall, I had a lot of stories that I wanted to write but I didn’t feel that I had the maturity or the experience to do justice to them. Right now I feel that I have developed both of those things… long term readers of this blog may beg to differ…

So, in short; I love writing, I want to get better at it by writing a novella- the plot of which has yet to be decided- and then research and write one of the novel length stories that’s been beating around inside my head for the last five or so years.

Any ideas, thoughts, suggestions or just comments about writing are more than welcome.

After years of searching it feels a little bit like I’m finally home!

’til next time,

Wren x

Updates

Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated…

You will be pleased (or not) to know that I am alive and well and still planning to blog as usual. Sadly last week was a trying one and I just needed to take a break from here deal with what was happening. If I’d have tried to blog it would have been rubbish and depressing. So I took a little break.

The short story is that my Grandma died on Thursday, she deteriorated rapidly from Monday onwards and I spent most of Wednesday with her. She was an old lady and she had a peaceful death with her family around her.

With her death we’ve lost the matriarch of our family, the glue that held us together. I probably won’t see many family members now that she’s not here for them to visit.

I was lucky enough to have a great and close relationship with my Grandma. She lived a few streets away from me and I saw her frequently. She would come to us for Christmas day every year, so this year will be very strange.

I don’t have any grandparents now. Just a couple of Aunts, an Uncle and a few cousins. I don’t count the family members who don’t bother to make contact with me.

The world feels a little lonelier right now.

I’ll be back on Wednesday.

’til next time,

Wren x

Wandering

I love to travel. I especially love to walk.

I think that travel and exploration help to strengthen my faith and expand my mind. When I was younger I was a home bird, I didn’t want to go anywhere. I was content to stay at home, huddled up in my room.

Don’t get me wrong, I love being at home. I love lounging around in my domain with my things and my creature comforts. However, I love being at home even more when I’ve recently been away.

I’m very lucky to live in a beautiful place in an old country. There’s history everywhere around here, and I love to explore it.

I think that wandering strengthens my faith. It allows me to see and appreciate the past and the present. I can get up close and personal with nature, something that is getting increasingly harder to do in this modern world. This makes me feel wonderfully calm and peaceful. Seeing the wilderness of the moors or the raw power of the sea connects me instantly to the Gods.

Recently I’ve managed to start doing rituals again. This is something that I’ve been struggling with for a year or so now. I just seemed to stray from my faith, not in my beliefs, but in taking time to observe them. After getting back into the swing of things I feel ten times better. I feel relaxed, at peace and with a confidence about my future and the world around me.

I’ve also been making time to have little breaks and spend time away from home. I’m so glad for every weekend away that I have. Exploring and travelling- even when I’m not that far away from home- gives me a perspective and a curiosity that helps me to enjoy and appreciate both my faith and my life.

Travel can widen our horizons, I think that we all need experiences of losing ourselves somewhere new, exploring and finding our place in the world. For me, travel feels like a gift from the Gods, it allows me to see the world that they have helped up create.

Blessings,

Wren x

Thoughts on ‘Broadmoor: Part Two’

What this episode really focussed on was the future for patients of Broadmoor, it looked into the options they have as they recover.

Mental illness is an illness, therefore it is treatable. It can get better (or worse) and people can even recover completely. This means that even the patients on the highest security wards could eventually be treated and released back into the community.

I think this is something that will unnerve a lot of people, they see Broadmoor as somewhere ‘mad’ people are sent to be locked away. Just like anyone who is sent to prison for murder, these patients will eventually be released. In a way, surely they’re safer than a mentally healthy person who has committed a crime and gone to prison?

If the mental illness is what’s making them commit crimes, then treating it will mean that they don’t offend any more.

As they get better they’re moved from post to post, gradually being sent to wards that have more freedom and less security. Eventually they will be sent to units outside Broadmoor.

Something the programme also highlighted was the risk faced by staff and the training that they are given. It showed the nurses being taught how to control patients using riot techniques. Staff at Broadmoor at taught techniques that very few others nurses ever have to know.

There was also debate about medication in this episode. Medication is such a difficult issue, it can help a lot but will never make things all better- it also comes with some awful side effects. You won’t know truly how it feels to be on medication for mental illness until you’ve been there yourself. Does medication make someone ‘safe’? I think it helps, but it’s not the only answer. The general public seem to see it as being the only answer, which is a frustrating misconception. Medication can help a lot, it can also make you worse. It varies from person to person.

Something else that was brought up was the issue of psychosis and consent. The whole problem of any kind of psychosis is that you think your behaviour is normal, and therefore you will refuse any treatment. You can’t understand that you need help.

What is really striking is that nearly all of the patients in the programme seem to have experienced abuse as children. Maybe we should be directing more resources into looking out for vulnerable children? Perhaps this is something that could prevent mental health problems in the next generation. Of course, this wouldn’t account for everyone who experiences mental health problems, but it could be a start.

Finally, they brought up the point that Broadmoor and the mental health services in general provide a safe place, a structure for their patients, which could make them reluctant to leave. This is something that’s been noted in prisoners as well. Being in a unit gives them routine, a place to sleep, regular meals and safety.

’til next time,

Wren x

 

Who’s Afraid of Will Cornick?

In Leeds on the 28th April a fifteen year old boy murdered his teacher by repeatedly stabbing her in the back. He did this in the middle of a lesson, with little warning. She eventually died from her injuries.

The boy’s name is Will Cornick, now aged sixteen he has been convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison; that’s a minimum of twenty years.

As expected the press have reacted by labelling him as ‘psychotic’, ‘evil’, ‘deranged’ and ‘psychopathic’.

The interesting thing is that after extensive time with psychiatrists it has been concluded that he is neither psychotic nor psychopathic. The current evidence seems to suggest that he has an emerging personality disorder. What’s incredibly interesting is that Will Cornick, whilst certainly displaying the lack of remorse and empathy that we associate with ‘psychopaths’, completely lacks other indicators.

The main thing that seems to be confusing people is that he had a seemingly happy home life with supportive parents- so supportive that they stood with him in the dock during the court case.

He was a clever, quiet but enthusiastic boy who seems to have slipped under the radar for most of his life. He’d never hurt anyone before and had no history of mental health problems or violence. He was as normal as you or I.

As well as this his name has been made public- something that is certainly not standard procedure- for him ‘life’ will mean life. He’ll never be able to get away from what he did, he’ll always be the evil, remorseless, psycho killer.

The judge who chose to make Cornick’s name public stated that he did so as he felt that it would be in the best interests of the public. In doing so he’s assured that his boy will never be able to move past this. I’m not saying that this is necessarily a good or bad thing, I’m just stating the facts.

The public attitude towards this case has been overwhelming, maybe I just feel like that because I live right next door to Leeds, but everywhere I look his mug-shot seems to be staring out at me.

What I really want to address about this case is the way that Will Cornick has been struck off by society. He’s been labelled a ‘psychopath’ and a monster. I’m not saying that what he did was in any way excusable, I’m just saying that we’ve written off a sixteen year old boy, we’ve put him in a box and tried to convince ourselves that he’s ‘evil’.

Guess what? I don’t think evil exists. I think that we’re terrified of this boy, and we’re not terrified of him because of the things that he’s done- we’re terrified because he was ‘normal’, he could have been our son, our brother, our friend, our nephew, our cousin, our boyfriend. So we label him as a ‘psycho’ because we need to assure ourselves that he’s not like us, he’s one of the mental people and we could never, ever know anyone like him.

People are baffled at the fact that he came from an apparently happy home. Right, because only people who spent their childhoods being beaten and raped can ever have any kind of mental health problem? Only people who’ve exhibited violent tendencies in the past can commit murder? Only ‘mental people’ can kill others in cold blood?

I have no doubt that there’s more to this boy than meets the eye, especially in terms of this mental health. What angers and frustrates me is that whilst we claim to live in one of the most enlightened and advanced countries in the world we still think that it’s okay to condense someone into the word ‘psycho’.

We are absolving ourselves of any kind of social responsibility. He has mental health problems, maybe the government should be putting more funding into the mental health services so that people with problems can be spotted and treated before they escalate?

Oh, of course, silly me… that’s not how things work at all. We just need to label him as ‘evil’, convince ourselves we’re good people who wouldn’t do anything like that and move on with our lives.

He may have emerging mental health problems but Will Cornick is not a psychopath. He has a good family and a good education. In those respects he reminds me of a lot of my friends… and that, ladies and gentlemen, is why we’re so scared of him.

For more information click here, here, here and here.

’til next time,

Wren x