Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Bungee for Ben

As you may know dear reader, I lost my beloved only son Ben in June 2012 as a result of his mental ill-health. 
With regard to my Ben’s illness - I don’t feel it is something I can speak about with any knowledge - I understood so little of what he suffered. I only know his doctors thought he suffered from a form of psychotic schizophrenia - to him a terrifying mental illness that made him very, very afraid. Ben was in the Mental Health Unit at the local hospital when we lost him. We took him there as we felt he needed better help than we could give him - sadly for us - it didn't help.

Both sufferers and their loved ones can feel helpless in the grip of this terrible illness - and it is a KILLER. It killed my son as surely as any physical illness claims its victims. I can only speak of the treatment offered my son - and maybe there is a lot more support for sufferers than I am aware of - but it seems to me treatment for the whole range of this terrible illness does not necessarily help its sufferers - being "doped up" on medication so you don't feel much, is at best a half life - and so we need research into better and more effective treatments, more and improved support and for sufferers and their loved ones - and we really, really need to remove the stigma attached to all forms of mental health issues. 

With this in mind my son's friends and his sister are doing their small part to try to both raise awareness and raise some money for charities which are trying to do the same, by doing a Bungee jump for Ben. My son would have been the first to sign up to do this for others. The money these amazing young people raise with their bungee jump is all going to charities which are fighting hard to get better treatment for sufferers and fund research into its causes.  They are doing their best to raise awareness It isn't a charity which attracts a lot of funds - there are no cute pictures of sweet, large eyed puppys on their posters, or pictures of brave and handsome lifeboat men to attract support - but it is a charity which really needs funding - because this illness has the potential to affect anyone - regardless of age or gender or home circumstances - - -

Rhiannon is fundraising for Rethink Mental Illness and Praxis Care - a local charity which works with young men suffering like my Ben.

Charities chosen were to reflect our loss and also a hope that maybe some of the funding will help someone else - and prevent another family suffering a similar loss and daily pain you have to learn to live with. Our National Health Service is stretched to the limits - Mental Health probably comes quite away down on a list of priorities - and as it is not really a “visible” illness - therefore possibly a hidden epidemic?? We "Human Beans”  are not very good at dealing with what we don't understand. Perhaps the young people doing this will generate a bit of discussion about this dreadful illness - and help to remove some of the stigma attached to it.

    Mental health is - in my opinion essential, to our wellbeing - we cannot function when our heads are “messed up” in any way, small or large. This is a terrible illness - it can and does affect ALL ages in many ways we don’t realise - it is still hidden away because of the stigma still attached - our lack of understanding makes us afraid, embarrassed or uncomfortable with sufferers of this illness - yet nevertheless - its a killer - and is totally destructive - to its victims and their families. And it is really , really hard to help someone who doesn’t appear to be helping themselves!! (and I would put money on EVERYONE knowing someone whose life has been affected by it  - be that a family member, a work colleague, a friend, a schoolmate - - - -)

Every penny will help - if you feel you could support them you can make a donation at Just Giving, there is a link under Ben's photo below, and on the sidebar. And if you do -  THANK YOU - from the bottom of my heart.

Rhiannon is fundraising for Rethink Mental Illness and Praxis Care - a local charity which works with young men suffering like my Ben.

I am sorry - I seem to have got onto my "hobby horse" over this, but as you might imagine - I do feel very strongly about it.

If you have got this far - thank you very, very much for reading - normal service resumes next post!
'til later
Bannaghtyn J x

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Simply a Moment - - - -

Wednesday  20th March 2013 - - 9.57am

I look round the cottage - checking off in my head that all is as it needs to be - cutters and scoreboard on the side table, Cuttlebug & dies on the chest, the dining table "set" with "messy mats" in all 3 places (large plastic carrier bags cut in half make excellent "messy mats"!!!), glues in the centre along with Distress inks and my Inkylicious Blending brushes - yes everything ready.
I move to the sink and fill the kettle before returning to the table to remove our project from its protective bubble wrap bag  - - -  as I hold the album in my hands its satisfying weight gives me a small frisson of pleasure - now it is filling with photos it is beginning to feel like a REAL potential heirloom and I find myself wondering which page my friends will want to do do today. I place it in the centre of the table alongside the inks and brushes.
The kettle is reaching the boil so I quickly reach cups and coffee out of the cupboard so brewing up will be easy for us. A brief glance at the clock tells me they will soon be here so I pick up my own "in progress album" from my craft bag, the one I am making alongside them ; not only because they are slightly less experienced crafters than I , but so I have 2 albums almost alike - one for each of my daughters.
 - - - movement at the window catches my eye and means L------ and R---- have arrived - - - the cottage is suddenly filled with warm greetings, the bustle of unpacking craft bags and cheerful voices as we settle down for a morning's crafting together - - - -
I'm linking up with Alexa at Trimming the Sails  who runs this meme each month - if you pop over to visit her here- you will find lots more "moments". Go on - you know you want to - and maybe you have a moment of your own to share too?

Thanks for stopping by

 'til later,  Bannaghtyn J xx

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Storytelling Sunday - Treasured tools

 "Mummy, is that a dress for my dolly?" I asked. She smiled at me, "yes" she replied "let me get my thimble to finish it off." "Why do you want your thimble mummy?" I said - puzzled, "Because I can't sew without my thimble," she answered.
" I can't sew without my thimble," - - - that baffled me - I just didn't understand what she could possibly mean? One uses a needle and thread - and pushes it through the fabric? How silly to say she can't sew without her thimble - - -

Do you sew? I don't very much anymore - but there was a time when I did - a lot - not only with my sewing machine but also by hand. Mum wasn't the only one to make clothes for my dolls - I made clothes for my dolls too as a child, I made and dressed dolls as an adult, I made quilts, I embroidered, I did cross stitch, I made clothes for myself and my eldest daughter - so yes - you could say I sewed, but mum's words "I can't sew without my thimble" still baffled me well into adulthood!
However, only a few years later - ( I was making a lot of quilts, and suffering from rather sore fingers and getting exasperated with twisting thread I think) mum gave me one of her thimbles and a small piece of beeswax. The thimble was a little too small for her at that time and she just said "Try it" and "pull your needle and thread through the wax, it will stop it knotting up" . I wasn't sure to be honest - - the thimble felt clumsy on my finger and I was quite convinced I wouldn't be able to sew with it. Ever!!! ( Daughters often think they know best!!)
I still have that thimble - over thirty years later, and I always have beeswax in my sewing box  - she is right about the wax too! A funny little object - and a little boring perhaps to seem precious - but it is an essential - and as Mum gave me that thimble, it is doubly precious - whenever I look back down memory lane and think of mum  - she was wearing a thimble - I think she might have worn it ALL the time! this is it.

These are tools I can't manage without. My treasured tailors' thimble, as my mum was a tailoress and a piece of beeswax. I have only ever seen the thimbles with a closed tops on them to buy and I don't like them as I have discovered I can't manage with them  - - I really hope I never lose my thimble - I wouldn't know where to go to replace it, and I would have to - because this little piece of Sheffield steel is very, very precious now  - - you see, I can't stitch without it ! These days I understand my mum when she said "I can't sew without my thimble" - - - I can't either !!!

This story is brought to you courtesy of Sian from High in the Sky - who hosts Storytelling Sunday on the first Sunday of the month. There a lots more stories around - you can find them all here.

Thanks for dropping in.
'til later

Bannaghtyn,  J xx


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