Bipolar – A Day in the Life of Just Listening to You

Bipolar – A Day in the Life of Just Listening to You

This is an ordinary day for the support group Just Listening to You, a #mental health support group.

The Westcliff grapevine worked, and on Saturday I receive a phone call about a #JLTY Friend; he was in hospital after what was described as a ‘funny turn’; he has bipolar a #mental health disease.

Apparently our #JLTY Friend was found flat out on the London Road, an errand he was running, a short walk to his local shop.

A young man stopped to help, he picked the #JLTY Friend up and called 999, requesting support.

There are not many people that actually stop and help these days. I guess I can understand that. A big thank you to the man who did!

Experience has demonstrated that people have been attacked in their effort to help. Unfortunately when unwell, one could become disorientated and confused, leaving them scared, which could lead to violence. Also, how do you know whether the individual isn’t ‘out of it’ on drugs and alcohol? Another risk here.

Just a first-aid mention: if someone falls or you find someone on the floor, do not pick them up, do not assist them getting up.

Ask them to remain where they are and keep them warm, perhaps you’ve got a jacket or sweater, or perhaps you’re near a shop that can assist. This is to slow down shock. After a fall, our bodies are fraught with shock, our body will lose its heat very quickly, leading to further complications.

Don’t give the individual any medication, food or drinks, the paramedics will assess the situation and guide accordingly when they arrive. It’s a great relief when you see them, it’s someone’s life we are caring for.

There is another reason not to move the patient. Small damage occurrence when they fall could be exacerbated through picking them up.

If the person sits on their own, ask them to sit against a wall, bus stop etc; and bring their knees up to their chest in a hugging position.

They will be able to steady themselves, and hopefully stop further falls occurring. Remain calm and positive; and reassure them that help is on its way.

Anyway to pick up where we left off.. #JLTY Friend.

I spent the evening liaising with a very lovely Ward Sister at Southend Hospital. She was so helpful and keen to understand the role of Just Listening to You.

It was important to inform the Ward Sister of the #JLTY Friends diagnosis – bipolar and medication required, they may need to see the Psychiatric Nurse from the #Mental Health Department, #bipolar is a very serious illness.

I duly called the Sister at 10 PM as requested for an update, thankfully I hear that JLTY Friend was resting and stable, had eaten a meal and drank tea.

Sister invited me to the ward from 7 AM on Sunday! I confess I had no intention of rising that early, I have a very special bond with my bed!

I bought a cuppa, the lady in Costas was lovely, she deserves a special mention, so caring and dedicated and I thought if I had a business, I would offer her a job straight away.

Up to the ward with cuppas in my hand, which was drunk eagerly and a box of sweets for the nurses.

So I also pop to the shop for a newspaper for £1.40 just shows you how long it has been for me to buy newspaper I got 20p out, the young lady laughed. I’m showing me age and I’m only 51!

Back to #JLTY Friend – we are awaiting for an Occupational Therapist assessment, I am told, if not today, discharged and a home assessment will be made.

I’m unhappy with this and politely challenge, “surely if you let #JLTY Friend home in their current state, they will fall yet again. Then we have the paramedics out again, the ambulance crew, a visit to A&E, and then back onto to ward. It reminds me of Snakes & Ladders, when you inevitably land on the snake, you start again at the bottom. This situation simply doesn’t make sense!

A day in the life of JLTY
A day in the life of JLTY

“He can’t cope” I say.

“He takes…” I list off medication and impress upon them his #mental health condition, #bipolar, “he is so confused, he will get his medication wrong. He has told me he decreased a drug significantly to help him feel better, this may be a reason for the violent shaking “

My colleague, a trusted professional, said The NHS want the hospital beds back, apparently when a patient is in the ward, despite having very little treatment, it costs the hospital thousands of pounds. In these times of austerity, the emptier the ward is of patients, the less money they spend.

The nurse promises me again that she would call Social Services, believe it or not this individual does not have a social worker, he should have!

This is something that my colleague and I will remedy.

I’m fairly satisfied that I leave him comfortable in the knowledge that Just Listening to You is very much on side and arranged at least two more visits today. A trustee and partner, and also our Family Support Worker and partner will visit him and get all the formalities in place.

As a Family Support Worker my colleague is strong willed, determined and knowledgeable about an individual’s rights etc. Hopefully he won’t get a battle with the various agencies, but should he be invited to one… well let’s just say he is always prepared, like a Knight in Shining Armour.

So, Sunday afternoon and the story goes on… My colleague has the task of finding a #JLTY Friends flat, unfamiliar with the geography, it took him quite some time. I admire him greatly, he persevered and eventually came upon the residence.

It was obvious to him that our friend was not coping with life, his flat showed signs of disorganised behaviour. This is indicative of bipolar, our friend clearly needs our help and support from us and the #mental health services.

It doesn’t mean that we get stuck in, that we clean the flat, that we organise the chaos. What it means is delegating to the relevant agencies, initiating contact with a Social Worker and Family Mosaic for starters.

I understand the Social Worker has already been in contact, however, my colleague needs to be there at the same time, as our friend has difficulty processing the information he is given and that which he provides.

So it’s early days, our #JLTY Friend is still in hospital safe in the care of the lovely staff, and he will not be discharged until we are convinced that a home care package has been put in place.

So this is what Just Listening to You is all about; we support, we delegate, we liaise, and we do the very best for our #JLTY Friends. We are not here to rescue, we are not here to fix, we are here to support and assist the various agencies in providing their appropriate service for our friends to find a better quality of life.

For more information about #bipolar, check out

So, if you know someone that needs some help, someone that has mental health difficulties, perhaps they have #bipolar and you would like to know more, get in touch with me and we will endeavour to help.

Love Me X

Just Listening to You is a voluntary Community group; here to listen and support anyone who has mental health difficulties by providing self-help based on personal experience. The group is about inclusivity, being non-judgmental, safety, confidentiality, honesty and fun.Founder, Bernie Bentley, has run the Just Listening to You group for a little over three years, and she now runs weekly sessions, in Westcliff -on -Sea, where like-minded people help each other overcome hurdles and manage mental well-being. The Group organise many local events to raise funds, combat stigma and create awareness of mental ill health.Bernie BentleyAt the age of 39, Bernie experienced a stroke and a mental health breakdown and had to engage the current NHS model, which is in place to support anyone with mental health difficulties. After discussions with her Psychiatrist, Doctor and Support Worker and finally getting to grips about just how bad treatment can get; Bernie decided to launch her FB Page and her group for anyone who needed her assistance. She took the opportunity to study and become a counsellor; this has certainly made a difference to JLTY Friends when running the group. It enables Bernie to not simply listen, but to hear what is unsaid.Membership has rapidly increased, which is indicative of the shortage of services on offer to individuals with mental health needs; this is why Bernie believes that such a group is made available to everyone that needs it.To find out more, and to talk to Bernie, please find contact details below:

07968 037507Just listening to you logo

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