My personal Story: Is it My Fault?

It’s been 19 years, I still can’t get my head round what happened to me. Is this normal, natural and real.

It doesn’t matter how many showers i have per day even after nineteen years, i still feel extremely dirty and filthy and i can smell there intense, disgusting and revolting body odours all over me. What honestly did i do to deserve this?

Every stupid, slight noise has got me jumping out of my skin, i am a stupid, foolish, weak, whimpering moron.

My partner thinks I’ve lost interest in him and that I’ve found someone else, for goodness sake it’s me. I genuinely have no idea what to say, most times it’s easier not saying anything. My mind is still playing tricks on me, and at times my lips are touching each other’s we are having sex. It is like i am being intimate with my abuser, i have had to recoil away from David, i had know other choice, it’s never went down well and its definitely not easy.

I know and understand by now i should have reached out and confided in David, what the hell would i say and how would I begin the conversation?

The thought of intimacy with anyone including my own partner just makes me feel sick and dirty, like i shouldn’t be doing this and i am doing something wrong.

He has tried to get me to talk and express my feelings about what’s going on in my daily life, he knows that i have been self harming, i just can’t hide that anymore, the last thing i want is hearing my own voice let alone the sound of his lecturing me.

I am still having problems sleeping, i wish i could get more at least i would forgot for a few hours, on the positive side at least i am having less nightmares. I feel so lightheaded and exhausted because of my sleep patterns, i want and need to sleep, every time i close my eyes he is there, i see him , standing directly over me. Seriously what I’ve i done to deserve this?

I was once happy, HONESTLY, even though i am taking part in activities and make the most of incredible experiences and opportunities i can’t remember a time i was truly happy, my life is ruined now, i just want this nightmare to go away. It would be amazing to wake up and it was a huge nightmare, it won’t unfortunately though.

Thinking back i realise that i could have protected myself in so many ways. If I hadn’t left my home that evening to visit my family or left my Aunties and uncles later than i expected then i wouldn’t be in this situation. I feel so stupid for not realising the consequences even when others were holding me down and that bastard was tugging at my trousers. To be honest it really didn’t cross my mind that he was going to do what he did. I thought maybe the worst that would happy would be stripping me naked and steal my clothes, i could have handled that but this.

I honestly wish they all killed me, at least i wouldn’t have to live with these consequences.

I have never been able to stop thinking about what happened 19 years ago is this normal? I’ve been replaying it in my mind since it happened.

I could see there figures in the pitch, black darkness of the evening, i could see them coming closer towards me, shouting offensive names, faggot, poof and battey boy, they eventually caught up with me, but didn’t think they were going to do that. They caught up with me, beat me to a pulp and dragged me to the group, taking it in turns to kick and punch me .

I begged and pleaded them to stop, they were like a pack of wolves, i honestly thought they were going to kill me. He sat on my chest continuing to call me gay boy and faggot. I couldn’t breathe, the only thing i could do was to spit on the bastards face. He hit the roof, went nuts and insane with me, my own fault really. I was hit so strong my nose and mouth were gushing with blood.

He got them to pin me face down and he did it, I can’t remember how long the incident lasted, all i remember is the extreme and horrendous pain. If i knew what was going to happen i would have walked a different direction. I honestly didn’t do anything to provoke him.

I probably look dreadful, i most definitely still feel it, I hate pretending that everything’s amazing and ok and have to put on braves faces where ever i go.

I feel so alone and depressed, i am concerned, frightened and worried just Incase he has done this to other people and I’ve done nothing about it. I feel so ashamed and I am a idiot, i hate myself for letting this happen. Honestly what kind of man am i, am i even a man, i hate myself as much as i hate him.

Steven Connelly

Men suffer abuse too

Domestic violence against men caused by female partners and abuse in same sex relationships is not well acknowledged and respected but unfortunately male victims of domestic violence exist too, it’s time to change and talk about it.

As young boys we were always taught and brought up not to express our emotions, to man up and be a proper man( what even is a proper man and how do we become one). It’s shocking and ridiculous as these attitudes towards males and what’s expected of us can be extremely damaging to young boys, especially if they find themselves living with a abusive partner in years to come. We honestly feel we can and will deal and cope with these situations ourselves and as men feel discouraged to open up and talk about what’s going on in our personal lives, we feel all alone, know one would care or believe us, so really what’s the point, that’s how I feel anyway.

Males feel ashamed, guilt and embarrassed as we believe, we are men, we are strong, powerful and our role in life is to look after our family and go to work. Making it difficult talking and expressing how you feel.

Although most domestic abuse cases that are reported are of abuse against women, men in this country are also abuse victims. Typical and ignorant people only think of abusers as men which is ridiculous.

If you are a man living in a abusive relationship it’s important and essential to remember that your never alone and it’s not your fault. It happens to men regardless of sexual orientation, cultures, and from all walks of life. I can’t stress this enough, men are abused too.

Men Hesitate to Speak Up

When a man is the person being abused, he’s not as likely to speak up because of the stigma attached. He may feel that no one will believe him or that he’s exaggerating the situation. Very often, men have no one to turn to, or if they did, they’d find it difficult to express that they’re being controlled especially by a woman.

Abuse of men has risen sharply in the last few years, but no one knows exactly how many cases there are, since many men don’t report incidents.

The types of abuse of men by women can be similar to what abused women experience. Men may be pushed, slapped or hit, have objects thrown at them, or may be threatened with a weapon. The domestic abuse isn’t always necessarily physical. Many women use abusive or hurtful language.

Accusing a man of being a failure or a coward has a different psychological effect than it would on a woman. Many men can be more seriously affected by emotional abuse than they are physical violence. While men usually resort to physical violence, women who emotionally humiliate their spouse, especially in public, can inflict serious emotional damage.

It’s very difficult to recognize a man who’s a victim of domestic abuse. First, although there are statistics to support estimated numbers of men being abused, there are no accurate numbers. It’s also difficult to get reasonable statistics, since most men never report the incidences.

Social service agencies and advocates have done little to encourage men to report incidents of domestic abuse. Another difficulty is that there are numerous resources for women who are victims of abuse, but the community at large has done nothing to address the problem of men who are victims which is shocking.

Since the actual harm done to men in most cases of domestic abuse is emotional rather than physical, the impact on the community isn’t as great. The stigma attached prevents many men from reporting abuse by their spouses. If someone has suffered a noticeable injury, most people assume it was caused by playing sports or friendly banter with some friends. A lot of people wouldn’t believe a woman could inflict an injury on a man that’s so serious.

Like men, some women are more prone to violence than men are. Women who are abusers usually fall into one of three categories.

1: Alcoholism: One of the worst problems is that many women who abuse their spouses are alcoholics. Alcohol is responsible for triggering violence in many cases, and women in particular who have a history of alcohol abuse, become easily angered and frustrated, and are more likely to hurt someone else, usually the person closest to them.

2: Psychological Problems: Psychological disorders account for many cases of domestic abuse against men. Women with personality disorders are often violent and abusive. One of the conditions that may be responsible is borderline personality disorder, which occurs more often in women than in men. This disorder also causes women to lie, become suicidal, have mood swings, or be prone to alcohol abuse.

Unrealistic Expectations: The third category is the woman who has unrealistic expectations of the relationship she’s in. She blames her emotional state which may have been caused by past trauma or alcohol, on her husband or partner. They feel there’s something wrong with their partner and not them. When the man doesn’t meet her expectations, she turns on him.

What often triggers an incident of domestic violence by a woman against her spouse is she’s upset about something and he attempts to work through the situation. When her temper gets worse, he gets defensive and doesn’t want to discuss anything. The abusive woman may feel he doesn’t care or understand her. He may feel he can’t discuss anything without fear of her losing his temper.

Situations like this can go on for months, but sooner or later, something will happen and domestic violence against men can be the result. It’s especially damaging if these arguments take place in front of the children, and they must listen to abusive comments about their father. He may reach his limit and slam his fist down on something. She may then encourage him on by asking if he’s going to hit her next.

No one should be the victim of abuse, whether physical or emotional, and it will take a serious toll on everyone involved.

A man may stay in an abusive relationship because he somehow feels it’s his fault. He may be blaming himself for events in the past that he had no control over but is assuming responsibility for. It may be a case of co-dependency. The man may feel dependent on his wife either emotionally or financially.

Some abused men stay in relationships that are harmful because there are children in the home. He’s afraid his wife will tell the children he’s a bad person, or he might be afraid of her getting sole custody and not being able to see them again.

Steven Connelly

First Aid for Self Harm

Trigger Warning: My blog piece offers first aid for self harm and I talk about personal experiences, therefore might be upsetting for some people. Read with caution.

Shocking and disturbing Statistics suggest that each year, 1 in 5 females and 1 in 7 males engage in a form of self destructive behaviour which could possibly include, cutting, burning, punching or hitting walls, individuals and objects, hair pulling, overdosing and deliberately starving yourself.

Self harm can be very difficult to cope with and discovering a friend or loved one has been engaging in this behaviour can be challenging and difficult to accept.

Self-harming is associated with a contrast of all diverse issues such as anxiety, loneliness, depression, stress, bullying, pressure, health conditions and rape and sexual abuse. Self harm for some people is a way to cope with issues that are causing distress negative thoughts and feelings from the past or the present day.

Sometimes it’s not really clear why people harm themselves making it extremely difficult to make sense of and people might not understand the reasons for self harming, this is ok though, you are never alone and will always be supported, just ask for some help, we all need it from time to time.

I understand as i have inflicted extreme pain on myself through cutting and burning. I don’t regret, have any guilt or shame towards self harming, but rather disappointing with my self though.

Personally for myself self injury was a way to relieve the build up of pressure from all the negative and distressing thoughts and feelings that I was experiencing. I used my body to express the overwhelming worry, upset, anger and distressing feelings that I was faced with every day, I couldn’t say my feelings aloud so i took it out on my body and because of this i am alive today, telling my story and providing support and encouragement to individuals which I am proud about.

There isn’t any shame to self harm, however and I can’t stress this enough. It’s exceptionally vital and essential that you look after and care for your injury’s and yourself after each time you self harm.

When you feel the need to self harm please find a safe, peaceful place where you will not be disturbed and that you feel calm in, always use new blades where you can and have your first aid kit ready to hand. I certainly do not encourage the use of self injury, i simply accept that self injury is a coping method for some people at difficult times and I encourage people who are determined to self harm to do it in as safe and controlled way as possible to minimise harm.

The main points when considering first aid after cutting is that you must control the bleeding and prevent any possible infection.

If you lose a great deal of blood, you can go into shock. This can get pretty serious as the brain and heart can be deprived of much needed blood.

Once the urge to cut yourself has passed and you can concentrate on treating your injuries you need to be sure to:

1: Assess the damage. If blood is pumping out from the injured area, in time to your heartbeat then this means you have cut through an artery as blood is under high pressure when pumped from the heart- therefore immediate direct-pressure is needed, and you must not remove pressure at all for at least 3-5 minutes – Please consider calling an ambulance;

2: When the area of the wound is particularly large then try and press the edges together to prevent further damage.

3:The bleeding needs to be controlled to make sure blood loss is minimal. Cover the wound with a clean dressing and apply direct pressure to prevent bleeding.

4: When blood trickles or oozes out of a wound then it is a less immediately serious injury, but veins, tendons and nerves may still have suffered damage.

5: If the area of injury is on a limb then raise the limb to reduce blood flow to the area, reducing blood loss and allowing time for a blood clot to form.

When direct pressure is not appropriate, such as when something is stuck in the would, then you may use indirect pressure by pressing the would together – do not remove the object, but call for an ambulance. Some people suggest using a tourniquet to give indirect pressure and reduce blood loss, but using a tourniquet requires a lot of skill and so you should call for medical assistance.

Support for Burns.

your method of self harm might be burning by scalding or using a heated object then the most important thing you can do is lower the temperature of the affected area. The tissue damage that has been caused can progress very rapidly so you must rinse the area under cold running water for at least 10 minutes.

Do not apply any creams, balms, oils, moisturisers or anything except cold running water.

If there is any clothing surrounding the burn please remove this by either taking it off or cutting it away; this also applies to removing constricting objects such as rings, watches, bracelets; just take it off. This is done because once tissue has been burned or damaged swelling of the area will follow; also the tissue can become sticky and attach to clothes or other things.

IMPORTANT If there is anything that is already stuck to the burn, DO NOT remove it, this could make the situation worse.

The skin can also be burned when it is exposed to certain chemicals. If the chemical you have used is liquid, wash this off with lukewarm water for at least 30 minutes. If the chemical is dry, then brush the chemical off before rinsing the area in water. Please do not try and neutralise the chemical; if you have used an acid DO NOT try and reverse it by adding an alkali.

All chemical burns should be referred to a Doctor, either by attending your local Walk-in-Centre or the nearest A&E Department.

Whatever your going through, don’t do it alone, the following organisations are here to listen and offer support:

Samaritans: 116 123

Breathing Space: 0800 83 85 87

Mind: 0300 123 3393

Young Minds: Parents Helpline: 0808 802 5544

Child line: 0800 1111

Survivors Manchester: 0808 800 5005

Survivors UK: survivorsuk.org

Steven Connelly

Men, Sex and Epilepsy

Some seizure activity can involve sexual feelings and actually cause erections and ejaculation, the experience of epilepsy is more likely to lead to a decline in sexual energy or libido rather than an increase. The culprit most often blamed is the debilitating effects of many antiepileptic drugs.

 

There is in fact a range of solutions to impotence and medications such as Viagra(Sildenafil) appear to be appropriate and adaptable with anti–epileptic medications. If such medications help and approve the situation it is possible that the difficulties are actually not based on epilepsy but are the same dilemmas and frustrations that millions of men without epilepsy experience every day.

 

As men we can develop and experience a variety of medical issues in our lifetime. Epilepsy should not be viewed as the culprit in every case. It’s vital

and essential to talk about anything that worries and causes you concern with your Epilepsy Consultant, Epilepsy Specialist nurse, GP, family member or friend that you can rely on and trust. Talking is powerful, it’s important to use communication to express how you are feeling, what is concerning you, and addressing negative thoughts and feelings that you may be experiencing. Talking has positive and effective impacts on a person’s life, you can move on and live a happy and normal life, it’s crucial we all express our feelings to each other on a daily basis.

Steven Connelly

Epilepsy and cannabidiol

The use of medical cannabis unfortunately still remains a contentious and debatable subject matter. The issue of prescribing cannabinoids to treat burdensome and serve epilepsy syndromes such as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Rasmussen Syndrome etc has receive lots of press over the past year in respect of several high profile cases.

The government approved doctors to prescribe cannabinoid treatment for children hood epilepsy by autumn 2018. We are now approaching Easter 2019 and family’s are still at crisis point, battling through the stresses and strains of every day life, feeling helpless as the epilepsy medicationsWe don’t have any impact, and are at stages of desperation willing to do anything and everything to help and support there children.

Oh but wait clinican trials have to be put in place before prescriptions can be issued to confirm that:

The patient has tried all the available licensed epilepsy medicines for their specific type of epilepsy without any positive results.

Have tried the ketogenic diet and didn’t have much success with it.

Don’t qualify for epilepsy surgery.

before we can actually help our children this is absolutely shocking and ridiculous.

Cannabis products which are available in the UK and on the internet are not regulated medicines so their contents and dosage will not be consistent. It is essential that people must always speak with their specialist nurse and epilepsy consultant if they are considering any alternative treatments this is vital.

Conclusion:

Epilepsy syndromes including Lennox-Gastaut is difficult to treat and children with it generally have poor seizure control and outlook, despite treatment. Seizures are common, and most children have developmental delays caused by this condition.

This trial provides evidence that cannabidiol may help improve drop seizures. However, the question is whether this improvement is great enough to make it a regular and safe treatment. The trial was well researched and suggested that cannabinol is an effective treatment for children with difficult to control forms of epilepsy.

Seizure frequency effects have been taken into consideration but it’s possible this improvement wouldn’t make much difference to the child’s development as they grow into adulthood.

Let’s hope that positive results elsewhere leads to widespread usage.

Always keep positive, strong and keep smiling. You are never ever alone.

Steven Connelly

The Silent Killer

The increasing problem in Suicide particular in young men has made headlines and become a massive talking point once again following the death of 26 year old reality television star Mike Thalassitis after it was revealed had taken his own life and was discovered hanging in a park in central London.

It has emerged that the Love Island star is not the only Love Island celebrity that has passed away. Sophie Grandon aged 32 died of an alleged suicide attempt.

Across all the media mediums i have viewed regarding this subject matter one word keeps re appearing, Shame.

Men feel ashamed, embarrassed and weak of expressing there emotions, i am reassuring other men that there is no shame and shouldn’t be any stigma and ignorance in depression.

As a man who is recovering from mental health problems and I have struggled with extreme thoughts of sucide and attempts. I have had to face up to shame and discuss it in detail.  It has been painful and at time’s frightening process but one that has been key to my recovery as i had to open up to begin accessing the most important, effective and relative support services.

In my opinion as a society, we most definitely need to begin having discussions about shame, guilt, embarrassment, lack of awareness and understanding and the dark places that it can lead to when people’s feelings of shame get out of control.  When we look at the problem of male suicide and men’s mental health in general, we need to look at how our society sets up young men to experience potentially unmanageable levels of shame and we need to work together to build a society where this is no longer the case.

Shame can be about any number of things, often contradictory: thinking of suicide, being unable to stop thinking of suicide, not acting on suicidal thoughts, acting on suicidal thoughts, and so on.

Shame especially can follow a suicide attempt.

Causes of Shame

Just as suicidal thoughts can lead to shame, shame can lead to suicidal thoughts. It is a merciless cycle of pain: one begets the other.

“Thinking of suicide means I’m weak,” clients have told me.

“I’m a loser, a failure.”

“I should be able to cope.”

“I’m a bad person.”

Lost in all the self-condemnation is the understanding and acceptance of suicidal thoughts as a symptom. Suicidal thoughts can be a symptom of a mental illness such as depression or bipolar disorder. Or you may not have a mental illness. Suicidal thoughts also can serve instead as a symptom of extreme stress, overwhelming painful emotions, a sense of despair and hopelessness, or some other situation that the person experiences as unbearable.

Suicidal thoughts are not who you are. They do not define you. Instead, they happen to you. The same is true of conditions and situations that can lead to suicidality: depression, anxiety, trauma, schizophrenia, addiction, and other mental health issues. These conditions do not touch your truest, deepest self, what some may refer to as your soul or your essence.

Shame and Stigma

It’s hard to talk about shame about suicidality without also talking about stigma. Shame comes from inside the person. It is an emotion, an internal feeling of disgrace. Stigma, on the other hand, comes from outside the person. It is a mark of disgrace. Stigma comes from the messages that society sends out, messages that there is something fundamentally bad about people if they have certain conditions or qualities.

There is a tremendous amount of stigma toward people who think about, attempt or die by suicide. Many movies, press accounts, even random comments on the Internet portray suicidal individuals as cowardly, weak, selfish, defective – and so on. This harmful stigma ignores facts about biology, in particular neurobiology, illness, and the functioning of the brain.

Most importantly, stigma feeds into shame. Stigma reinforces for the suicidal person the idea that something is bad about him or her. And stigma causes many people not to seek help.  They simply are too embarrassed, too frightened, too ashamed.

What shall we do?

Rather than viewing suicidal thoughts as a character flaw, it is more helpful to look at their underlying meaning. What are your suicidal thoughts telling you that you need?

If you are thinking of dying, it could mean that you need to leave a toxic relationship, or quit a job, or learn new ways to cope, or do any number of things that might allow you to experience less pain without killing yourself. Your suicidal thoughts likewise could be a signal that you need a change in medication, or therapy, or more connection with others.

The shame itself is telling you something, too. It is telling you that you may have a wound, an injury deep inside of you that needs healing. You may even identify this wound as your self, you true self, not as a piece of your past.

Psychotherapy can help. So can other things. The practice of mindfulness meditation helps people to observe that their thoughts and feelings do not constitute their essence. Practicing compassion toward oneself can also help a person separate their selfhood from their problems or symptoms. Knowledge is power.

If you are currently experiencing periods of distress, it’s important to remember you are never ever alone and please use the following helplines for advice and information on sucide prevention.

Always remember you are not alone.

Samaritans

Tel: 116 123.

Samaritans is available round the clock, every single day of the year. They provide a safe place for anyone struggling to cope, whoever they are, however they feel, whatever life has done to them.

Breathing Space: 0800 83 85 87

Free to call

Breathing Space is free to phone from a landline and any mobile phone network.

The phone number won’t show up on any telephone bills.

Breathing Space opening hours

24 hours at weekends (6pm Friday – 6am Monday).

6pm to 2am on weekdays (Monday – Thursday).

Phone and speak to a Breathing Space advisor on 0800 83 85 87.

Papyrus

HOPELINEUK: 0800 068 4141

papyrus-uk.org 

Support for anyone under 35 experiencing thoughts of suicide, or anyone concerned that a young person may be experiencing thoughts of suicide.

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Students Against Depression

Suicide and self-harm

Surviving suicidal thoughts

Students Against Depression is a website offering advice, information, guidance and resources to those affected by low mood, depression and suicidal thinking. Alongside clinically-validated information and resources it presents the experiences, strategies and advice of students themselves – after all, who are better placed to speak to their peers about how depression can be overcome.

Call the National Male Survivor Helpline:

0808 800 5005

The National Male Helpline for males living in England and Wales

Opening hours:

Monday 9am – 5pm

Tuesday 8am – 8pm

Wednesday 9am – 5pm

Thursday 8am – 8pm

Friday 9am – 5pm

Saturday 10am – 2pm

 

Self Harm & Young People

Young Minds

Parent’s Helpline: 0808 802 5544

youngminds.org.uk

For young people

Self harm

National charity committed, dedicated and passionate on improving the mental health of all children and young people, their Parents Information Service provides information and advice for any adult with concerns about a child or young person..

LGBT Helpline Scotland

The helpline is open every Tuesday and Wednesday from 12:00-9:00pm. Please call 0300 123 2523.

Switchboard

Helpline: 0300 330 0630

switchboard.lgbt

Switchboard offers a support and referral service for lesbians, gay men, bisexual people and anyone who needs to consider issues around their sexuality. Call them if you want to talk about your feelings, are frightened, confused or isolated. Maybe you’re falling in or out of love, coming to terms with your sexuality, or have feelings for a classmate or workmate. They certainly won’t tell you what to do. They definitely won’t judge you. Every call you make to them is private and confidential. They are there for you.


The Terence Higgins Trust

Freephone: 0800 802 1221

Sexuality and gender

Coming out

Growing up and entering the world of sex and relationships can seem confusing and worrying at first. If you are not sure if you are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, you may find it helpful to talk to someone you trust about your feelings. THT is there to answer your questions and give you plenty of support.

Epilepsy Action Helpline:

If you would like to talk to someone regarding all things epilepsy, the organisation has trained facilitators who are there to help you.

They offer confidential and personal advice and you can tell them as much or as little as you feel. No question is a silly one.

Call 0808 800 50 50

  • Monday to Thursday 8.30am-8.00pm
  • Friday 8.30am-4.30pm
  • Saturday 10.00am-4.00pm

Steven Connelly

 

 

 

 

Men and Epilepsy

Living with epilepsy can unfortunately provoke numerous exceptional consequences for men. Our epilepsy specialists are qualified and experienced in providing positive support to men with many of these issues, including the following.

Puberty and Epilepsy

While puberty itself doesn’t cause epilepsy, some people begin experiencing seizures as teenagers. The reasons could be hormonal changes, increases in stress (which can trigger seizures), or because you have an age-specific form of epilepsy. However seizures could go away around the time of puberty.

Sexual Dysfunction and Epilepsy

Sexual dysfunction can occur in men with epilepsy. Commonly reported problems include a lack of sexual desire, erectile dysfunction, and problems with orgasm. Epilepsy itself and anti-seizure medications can affect a man’s sexual functioning. Certain medications have been more commonly linked to loss of sexual desire and erectile dysfunction.

Epilepsy and Fertility

There is some research to indicate that men who have epilepsy may be less fertile than men who don’t have the condition. The reasons may have to do with lowered testosterone levels or certain epilepsy medications. If you have concerns about sperm count and fertility, speak with your doctor, epilepsy specialist nurse or your consultant.

Epilepsy and Genetics

If you have epilepsy, you have a slightly increased risk of having a child with epilepsy. In men there is no data to suggest that taking medications affects the baby. Research is always taking place regarding this subject.

Steven Connelly