Archives For January 2013
When I wrote a children’s book entitled ‘Fourteen Daily Farts‘, I read that female writers do better than male writers in the children’s section – so Wendy O’Bregan was born.
We had been told that my family name had been Anglicised from the original Gaelic – although we had also been told by my Nan that we were French royalty too – and I wanted my psuedonym to be connect to me in some way. The first name of Wendy had come from my first initial and the book Peter Pan, and because she sounded like someone I would like to know.
On New Year’s Eve, I decided to start writing again but this time I would be writing about personal experiences and opinions. I was not embarrassed about the subjects I would choose, as many had been discussed openly on my personal Facebook account, but I was concerned that I would be pigeon-holed by the readers and labelled – either as something that I wasn’t or was!
I thought about all the possible labels that I could give myself – my sex, my race, my age, my sexuality, my mental health. All of them would carry some prejudice and only my previous religious status was vague and ambiguous enough – hence ‘A Lapsed Catholic‘ was conceived and Wendy O’Bregan would front it.
I have and always will write as myself rather than Wendy, and want to raise awareness about things that I’m passionate about, like the environment, mental health, equality, ethics, etc. However, I don’t want to be accused of being embarrassed about discussing who I am – especially when discussing mental health. I have been diagnosed with the mental illness bipolar disorder and have worked very hard to raise awareness for mental health. I am very proud of my achievements and I’m not embarrassed to talk about my mental illness.
Today, I have a blog published on Black Dog Tribe under the name Wendy. For those of you who are wondering who Wendy is then she is me – my name is Wayne Banks and generally I don’t like labels but understand that sometimes labels can help other people to empathise and feel that they are not alone.
Bipolar UK was the first organisation that I approached for help when I was first diagnosis with bipolar disorder NOS, and their help and support was invaluable. They provided free printed information, free telephone support, free user-lead support groups, and a very important forum space for people directly or indirectly affected with bipolar disorder. These services are now under threat.
In the current financial climate their income has dropped.
They’ve already had to make cuts to their essential services, but they refuse to become hostage to the recession and are fighting not to compromise any further.
In recent years Bipolar UK has invested a great deal of time and money into expanding our peer support, information and advice to meet demand. We are working as productively as we can, making each pound stretch as far as possible.
However a phone call from a distressed individual or family member takes time, resources and compassion to answer.
Telephone and email requests for information and support are currently rising by 35% per year and yet this is one of the services currently under threat.
This combination of lower income and unprecedented demand for their support is simply not sustainable. They are asking you to make a donation, however small, to help them through this ugly financial period and come out the other side as strong as before.
Help save their life-changing services – make a donation today
Donate by phone
Call us on 020 7931 6480
Donate by text
Text ‘BIPO33 £3’ to 70070 to give £3 today
(or change £3 to any amount you wish to donate)
I’ve made a small donation today and would ask you to do the same. Every pound truly makes a difference.
“If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make who would you call and what would you say?
And why are you waiting?”
I was surprised at the negative press and general online comments that Jodie Foster received after her ‘I’m single’ speech at the Golden Globe this week. Do people no longer have the right to privacy when discussing their sexuality? Is this especially true for celebrities?
This was a speech by a 50 year old women with a tonge-in-cheek reference to rumours surrounding her sexuality but more importantly it was about privacy. She referred to the children she has with her ex-partner Cydney Bernard and spoke with genuine love for her.
“… my heroic co-parent, my ex-partner in love…. – I am so proud of our modern family”
She also spoke about having come out to family and friends a thousand years ago and that she is a private – and boring – person.
She didn’t mention the words gay, lesbian, bisexual, or any other label that people may choose to place upon her, and she didn’t make a speech supporting the great work of the charity Stonewall. But neither did she speak about supporting the great work of the charities dedicated to mental health and dementia, which her mother suffers.
“Mom, I know you are inside those blue eyes somewhere”
What she did was to speak openly and honestly about parts of her private life to the world but mostly to direct all of the sentiment to the people she loves – and I found that inspirational.
So back to my question…. Does coming out need to be a fan fair?
I watch a video yesterday by a young teenage boy called Harry Hitchens, who appeared on The Young Apprentice, called ‘I’m Gay’. This was a coming out to the world video and was performed in a very positive and informative way, and I won’t take anything away from this brave young role model. Harry is trying to question public attitudes, and in his latest video questions assumptions about where people live. He also lost 108 Twitter followers as a result of coming out, so please add your support by following him on Twitter and sharing his video.
George Clooney is a vocal support of equality, yet has chosen to stay quiet about his sexuality, stating that he doesn’t give a shit if people think he is gay or straight, and I think that Jodie Foster was in some way saying the same thing. Yet I seem to be in a minority as this article in New Statesmen summarises.
My point is that sometimes changing attitudes doesn’t have to involve in your face actions, demands, and unwavered support for the cause, but can sometimes start with changing the attitudes of the people closest to you and then the rest of the world, one person at a time.
The first openly gay American politician Harvey Milk said….
“Every gay person must come out. As difficult as it is, you must tell your immediate family. You must tell your relatives. You must tell your friends if indeed they are your friends. You must tell the people you work with. You must tell the people in the stores you shop in. Once they realize that we are indeed their children, that we are indeed everywhere, every myth, every lie, every innuendo will be destroyed once and all. And once you do, you will feel so much better”
…. but he didn’t say how to do it.
“Others imply that they know what it is like to be depressed because they have gone through a divorce, lost a job, or broken up with someone. But these experiences carry with them feelings. Depression, instead, is flat, hollow, and unendurable. It is also tiresome. People cannot abide being around you when you are depressed. They might think that they ought to, and they might even try, but you know and they know that you are tedious beyond belief: you are irritable and paranoid and humorless and lifeless and critical and demanding and no reassurance is ever enough. You’re frightened, and you’re frightening, and you’re “not at all like yourself but will be soon,” but you know you won’t.”