Connect with us

Health & Wellbeing

‘I’m not ok and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that’ says Crawley Councillor as he opens up about mental health

As part of Mental Health day a Crawley councillor has opened up about his own mental health issues to show local people that it is ok to open up and talk about the issue.

Published

on

Liam Ascough is a councillor for Gossops Green in Crawley

Gossops Green Councillor Liam Ascough has written an open letter to his colleagues at the council to raise awareness of mental health issues.

Addressing directly the Council Leader and the Chief Executive, Liam writes:

“Dear Peter and Natalie,

After watching the ‘Every mind Matters’ TV advert, supported by the Duke and Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex, I felt that I had write this open letter of apology but also to help continue the conversation on mental health issues. 

I want to apologise to the both of you, members of staff, fellow members of the council but most importantly to the residents of Gossops Green and North East Broadfield because it’s ok not to be ok and I should have said something a long time ago. 

I have suffered bouts of depression since 2015 but I put that all on hold when my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in October 2017. This happened in the same week I was unceremoniously let go as a Conservative Parliamentary candidate, finished with the partner I thought I’d married and buried a great friend of mine who had died of cancer. October 2017 wasn’t my best month!! 

When I stood as a Parliamentary candidate in 2015, I was on top of the world. I was doing what I’d wanted to do since I was 14 (yes I know, I’m a geek). It was such a full on campaign and I felt I was at the centre of it. After that though, it felt like I’d been dropped like a hot potato. Like I’d been on X Factor one minute and then you were nobody. The Party wasn’t interested in you anymore and suddenly you go from being a somebody to be a nobody again. 

I carried on as if nothing was wrong, although inside I felt deeply depressed and used. Then October 2017 happened and it all got a lot worse. 

Sadly I lost my best friend in my mother on January 4th this year after a monumental battle with cancer. She put up such a great fight but not a day will go by that I don’t miss my mother. Watching her in so much pain, was beyond heartbreaking. 

I put a brave face on, as I always do and tried to get on with things. Sometimes not so well though, as I remember a very kind family in Gossops Green took me into their house whilst canvassing, after I started to cry. I should have known at that point that I wasn’t really coping. 

It wasn’t until my birthday in July that it finally all hit me. Again, I tried to put a brave face on and project the image that everything was ok. The thing is, I’M NOT OK!

There is absolutely nothing wrong with that either. I should have said it a long time ago! 

I am sorry for the meetings that I’ve missed and the emails that I haven’t replied to!! I should have said something before. I just couldn’t admit it to myself let alone anyone else! 

The thing is, now that I’ve admitted that I’m not ok, I can finally start to get help and to get back on track.

That’s why I wanted to write this open letter. To say sorry for letting people down. To explain what’s been going on and to be honest about it. Probably most importantly, to let others know that’s it’s ok, to not be ok. I needed to be honest with myself.

The help I received from St Catherine’s Hospice has been invaluable! I am also incredibly blessed to have an amazing network or friends who are my family. 

I am getting through this and I will recover.

Some will think I’m just feeling sorry for myself and that I should ‘man up’. To be fair that’s something I would have said before. Regardless I still think it is ok to say that I’m not ok. I encourage anyone who isn’t feeling ok, to talk about it.

You are not alone and don’t have to ‘man up’ so to speak.”

If you would like more information and help on any issues to do with mental health you can find out more at:

https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/

Health & Wellbeing

Inspiring Crawley man crushed under dumper truck and left paraplegic fundraising for pioneering rehabilitation

Published

on

Twenty years ago Steve Collins had a horrific accident when he was crushed after a dumper truck tipped over on him.

Following initial rehabilitation, his condition, was described as incurable.

“There was nothing more the NHS could do for me,” says Steve.

“Since leaving hospital I have always managed to live independently in my own bungalow using my resourcefulness and ingenuity to live a full and active life, but my goal has always been to heal my body.”

For the last fifteen years Steve has been involved in pioneering work in the field of Advanced Bio-Mechanical Rehabilitation. Known as ABR Therapy, this is the brain child of a Russian man called Leonid Blyum.

“I have been working under his guidance and we are proving that spinal injury is a treatable condition.” Steve Explains.

But there are no miracle cures and it is a long slow process and in all this time Leonid Blyum has been evolving and refining the techniques as the therapy has developed.

So far Steve has made enormous improvements and is now well on his way to walking again, but there is still a long way to go.

“In order to overcome a spinal injury, it is necessary to rebuild the catastrophic collapse of the primary core structure of the body. Unfortunately the medical establishment focuses solely on nerve damage and fails to see the vitally important bio-mechanical aspects. When we address the bio-mechanics and rebuild the structure we find that the nerve pathways re-establish of their own accord, despite the terrible damage I did to my spine.”

“Before this therapy my body was terribly depleted and everything was a struggle, including sitting. I could sit on the bus, but had to hold on for dear life. Now I can sit comfortably with my hands in my lap as the bus lurches round the corners. In the past when I went to sleep I woke up in exactly the same position, full of aches and pains. Now I have the strength in my body to toss and turn in my sleep like anyone else. I used to be paralysed from the waist down, now I have strength in my pelvis and control of my legs at the hips and knees. I live comfortably and move around with ease, can crawl on all fours and weight bear through my legs with a good hand hold.”

“I have every intention of walking again and need another five years to finish rebuilding my body. It is important that I continue this work, not only for my own future, but for the future of all who follow in my footsteps. I make it my mission to show what is possible.

Now Steve is fundraising to continue the vital work in Advanced Bio-Mechanical Rehabilitation and to also help him walk again.

You can support Steve and his campaign by going to his GoFundMe page here.

For more information you can also see Steve’s website here www.spinalroots.net

Continue Reading

Trending