Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Miscellaneous

For me, 2019 was, well it’s been a year.

2018 has come and gone. The start of 2019 has been a mixed affair, but am trying to see it as a fresh start, because after this last year, I needed it to be.

In the world outside it was a tumultuous one, with another year of Trump and May dominating the news along with the ever escalating clusterfuck that is Brexit. So the backdrop of my 2018 was division, despair and distraction. Seemed almost fitting to be honest.

Last year I stopped my meds and ended my therapy, ending a chapter in my recovery from my breakdown. It’s now more of an issue of managing things, being able to be aware when things aren’t good and act, rather than wallowing. It’s been a year of being able to handle it when things are challenging. It’s also the year of having to handle things being challenging.

Work has proven as stressful as it ever was, only now I’m not medicated to hell and can actually experience the stress fully. It’s been too much for our small little department to cope with and we have lobbied to get another person on staff. This took 9 months and after three days, I was glad that they were off on the Thursday/Friday of their first week. The second week went almost as badly, the third was more manageable and by the following Monday, he had quit, claiming he couldn’t handle the job. That is the kind of crap my job brings me. Then there’s been all the run up to Christmas and the need to do a month’s work in a little over 2 weeks. But there’s hope, we have a new, new person who seems to be more capable and very pleasant to be around, 2018 might have been rough at work, but 2019 has started well enough to maintain that hope.

At home, things had started to look up with an increase in communication between me and the MIGHTY Rosie. Super Sam has had stuff at school to be dealt with, which we did as a team and he is as good as he ever is. The MIGHTY Rosie has had health issues to deal with as well as other struggles that are not mine to share, so I won’t do. Needless to say, there’s been stuff that’s been tough to get through.

So by the time we got to November, we’d been through a lot of stuff, but worse was to come.

2 Months ago, Wilma the WTF Dog was killed by a car.

That was hard to write to be honest, it’s why a look at 2018 has taken several weeks to write, since I knew I would have to say that. It was a car accident and over very quickly, but since all three of us saw it, it was still very traumatic and sudden. We kept our shit together for our son, who took it hard. I’m not going to say more than that, it’s not my tale to tell after all. But the loss was on a greater scale than I have ever experienced before. She was a member of our family, our little girl and her being gone tore a hole in our family. We miss her still and out of the corner of my eye is one of the best pictures we have of her. At least seeing her no longer hurts, I no longer flash to that moment constantly, though that took a long time to get there. Everyone has been great, especially those who also have dogs themselves. I was back in work the next day, one member of staff wondered how the hell I was even in work. All I got was a day off from answering calls, that’s it. To be honest it took the shine off Christmas a little and whilst I had fun, there was always a tinge of sadness that came with that. She never got another Christmas with us. We tried to get back to normal, but it’s only at that point we realised that we were a family who had a dog, there was no more normal without one.

Work became difficult as a month’s work was needed in less than three weeks and so much work had to be re-done and it was draining. Then we heard that we could get another puppy, a family had posted on a re-homing website that there was two young kids, one more on the way and no way to take care of a new puppy. No red-flags, so we got the money together after a long and intense conversation made the joint decision to rehome the dog with us.

Her name is Lottie and that is going to be another story.

2018 was a bit of an armpit of a year, but we survived, we thrived and we as a family are stronger than we have ever been before.

There’s more to tell, but to be honest, I just needed this stuff out there right now.

 

More soon internet people.

TTFN

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Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Miscellaneous

Conquering our fears and pain

My beloved pet Wilma was in a car accident 2 weeks ago and died. This has shattered our family. I had to write that down, because if you hide away from saying or doing something, it gains power over you. It’s my first loss/trauma since my recovery from my breakdown and it has been both hard and also a yardstick of how I am doing these days. SuperSam and the MIGHTY Rosie are grieving and that is as much as I would say, since theirs is not my story. As the shock passes, the pain subsides and only the sadness and loss remain, it becomes necessary to get on the with the business of living again. We’ve ate healthier, we’ve played games, we’ve laughed, we’ve remembered, we’ve cried and then laughed again.

I’m not going to say much more than that on this subject, needless to say, family and friends have been amazingly supporting and understanding. A particular shout out to my mum and dad, who when I and my family needed them, were there in a flash and that meant a lot more to me than I expected.

So this had derailed much of what I wanted to say and do this month, but what I have done is get back to an older goal.

I have started driving.

I got a provisional license at 17/18 as most people did, but it was one of those things that people wanted for me and I felt that I should do, but it was never really something I wanted to do. In my 20’s I was always walking distance from anywhere and struggled money-wise, so it wasn’t a priority then. It my early 30’s I was enjoying my life with the MIGHTY Rosie, so it became something I would get around to. Then my breakdown happened. I have talked about that at length before, but needless to say depression and anxiety don’t really do well behind the wheel. But it’s something I should do. For my boy, it’s additional stuff for me to show him that learning is good. For my wife, it should take pressure of her to be the wheels all of the time. In case of emergency, it’s a useful life skill to have and mostly for me, since it’s a goal I can achieve and something I have been so very anxious about for so very long. I had a lesson booked last week, but as you can imagine, circumstances aside, I’d not be in the best place to try it last week. So last night I did.

It was terrifying, confusing, very alien and yet also amazing. All at the same time. Many if not most of you can and do drive, so this is no revelation, but to me, this was something of profound moment. Clutches, gears and the myriad things to keep an eye on seem to be a weakness so far, but my steering was good and only stalled the once. At 42, sometimes I have this feeling of I should have already done this with a lot of stuff, like I wasted a lot of my life. But my life led me to the MIGHTY Rosie, to being the man I am today, the dad I am and whoever I will be from here on in, so it’s time to add to that man. Terrified as I was yesterday, I did it. Scared as I am for the next one, I’ll do that too. Then the next and the next.

I have been on a journey for a while, now I am on a new one and to be honest, I am quite excited about where this will take me.

This month knocked me down, it broke me. I have wept, I have been comforted and comforted others, but I will as I have before get back up.

I have mantras and aphorisms which I share with my son.

“When do we fail?” I ask

“When we give up?” he replies

“So if we don’t give up, we never fail.”

If we don’t give up, we never fail. No matter what we are up against as long as we keep going, we can conquer the things that beset us.

I will get back to more regular posts, but right now, I just needed to say what I just said.

Love to you all internet people.

The Munky will return.

 

Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Miscellaneous

Stuck in the attic

Hello again internet people. I have started this post (but won’t finish it) from my new desk in my new office, in the attack of our shopfront office. This job has been at times an exercise in what I can have taken from me. I had an office, then another, then told to share, than put in a room with 16 other people. I had two printers and bit by bit was down to sharing a printer with 15 other people, despite my output being higher, not lower. Wednesday, that printer stopped working. I also lost phones for the day and now my new desk is a foot shorter. But all in all, have gained more than I have lost.

That left me with oft used idea of stripping your life down to the basics. The idea of removing anything from your life that you don’t actually need. There’s a degree of simplicity to that, which does appeal. I have been thinking about it on and off for a while, again inspired by work’s decisions and I have come to a decision about that.

I don’t agree.

While pruning the unpleasant elements of your life is a good idea, there are many people who I wouldn’t miss it they stayed out of my orbit, but the idea of only having the essentials seems rather well restrictive. It also sounds like survival. I survived for 36 years, until that broke me, after a long fight and a longer journey back, I have started to do more than survive. I have started to live. I have the things in my life I need. I have a job, a roof over my head and a loving family. But I also have wants as well. I don’t need to have a weekend away every now and again, but I want them, I appreciate them. After a day or two without it, I don’t need any phone, but being able to talk to the MIGHTY Rosie at any time is still a great thing. So yes, be mindful of the things you need, but also be kind to yourself. But the book you want to read, wear the clothes you feel comfy in, or pretty in. Drink the nicer coffee, eat the tasty food, walk in the sunshine. Survival is essential, but living is the goal.

Want is okay, because unless you are hurting someone, even yourself, what is the harm?

Be good to yourself.

Live.

 

Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Miscellaneous, The MIGHTY Rosie

Holiday Hangover

I spent this weekend in the Lake District, myself, SuperSam, the MIGHTY Rosie and Wilma the WTF dog. I was relaxed, played games, saw ‘The Nature’ and read a ton of comics. It was exactly how I wanted to spend my birthday, with my favourite people, surrounded by beauty and far from the stresses of life.

And then you return. Some of the reasons why that was hard related to stories that are not mine, but needless to say, these last few days have been very trying. From my phone being unresponsive, despite the alarm ⏰going off every ten minutes. My fitbit went missing and my Tuesday started to off the rails long before 9. I got to work and my anxiety was high enough, but was cut off from the MIGHTY Rosie without my phone. I think I rely on that thing too much. I have had a rough one, preparing for our department to move to an office upstairs and it’s a bit of stress that I can do without. I have struggled with low moods, anxiety and more than a little exhaustion.

I have been here before, the edge of that darker place in your head, but I am not going to fall in. One Monday, I put my son’s bed together with the MIGHTY Rosie. I have booked a weekend away in February and have got myself a comfy chair for my new desk. It’s the little wins that get me through the day. On the good days they are the norm, on the less than good, they are the light at the end of the tunnel. I have needed that light this week and because of it, I know I will be okay.

It is going to be okay, I think I have started to really believe that.

Okay, this was rambling mess, something more fun tomorrow I think.

Posted in Feelings on a Friday, Mental Health Struggles

Feelings on a Friday 38: Weathering the continuing Storm

Hello there internet people.

Been a while since I wrote one of the posts, it was last year in fact. The year has been a long slog of increasingly frustrating circumstances, punctuated by lovely moments and reasons for hope. It has been one of the hardest years work-wise in a long time and I will be honest, it’s been rough.

Outside of work, there’s been medical worries across the family, our recent addition to the family unit (Wilma the WTF Dog) has had a rough go of it, to the extent that the vets know us by sight now. The vets however have been lovely, so there’s that. Our recent trials seem to be levelling off, only fueling the belief that more shit is coming down the pipeline. What next?!? Has been the family response to almost all news we have received. It’s been a rough year and we’re not done yet.

So why post now? What prompts this little bit of time-wastage? Well I’ll tell you. I’m still here. With trips to A&E for both boy and dog as well as the MIGHTY Rosie and a dozen other things besides, I have stayed upright. There is a version of me, from not too long ago that would have buckled under all this. There’s a me that would have retreated into myself, or reacted very differently. There is that version of me, but I am not that version. At least not anymore.

I have weathered much of the storm of this year and it has been and continues to be hard. I have had moments of worry and stress that have moved towards the anxiety and panic attacks of old, but I have done alright. My son was at A&E (SuperSam is fine, but not the best day I can remember) and I was able to cope. There was a crisis with the dog (again, long story short she is also okay) but I was not only able to cope, but be the calm voice that kept my boy from freaking out. Both times I had used the phrase “It’s not okay now, but it is going to be okay.” That’s a bit of a platitude and those that know me know where I get that habit. But it was truly what I believed and truly what ended up being factual.

It’s not okay right now, but it is going to be okay.

I think I just became and optimist. When did that happen?

Maybe it was at the point where I stopped trying to survive and tried to live. Surviving isn’t enough, you have to live and that it what I want. I want to think well of myself, live in a nice place, do nice things with my family and write for pleasure, not to clear the demons out of my head. I want these things for me, I want them for the people I love, hell I suppose I want them for everyone. So how do I get them? What steps to I need to take?

I don’t know all those steps, I suppose like most people, I make things up as I go along. Fortunately for me, the MIGHTY Rosie and I are King and Queen of plan B.

This year has been hard on multiple levels and the strife isn’t over yet, but I will not give up, nor will I lose hope.

It’s going to be okay. For many of us it isn’t, but it will be. It will be better than this, we might just have to fight tooth and nail to get there.

I have been fighting for 5 years and more and I am done yet.

Posted in Comics n Stuff, Mental Health Struggles, Miscellaneous

Finding My 5, when I need them the most

Feeling it at the moment internet people. It’s a busy time of year. I work in payroll (not the greatest job ever, but it has its moments) and like many jobs, it has a ‘time of year’. Y’know like Christmas for shops, February for florists and January for other accountants here and for me, it’s April and I’ll be honest, it’s been one of worst Aprils in years hence my shocking tardiness with Trivial Calender posts. I have been trying to work out why it’s been so bad. Is it the legislation changes? The workplace pension stuff that’s encroaching upon my job, or the fifty of so shitty clients I have recently inherited from a colleague? It could be any of those things as well as the one other thing that I knew. This is the first year I can actually feel it. I spent the first 35 years of my life repressing a lot of my feelings, leaving me unable to fully experience and express how I feel. Then came my breakdown, then I spent 4.5 years on medication that at best locked my worst feelings away, or at worst stopped me feeling anything. Over the last year I have started waking up more and on the positive side that’s happier times with SuperSam, Wilma the WFT dog and the MIGHTY Rosie, on the less positive side, well it was a rough April and it’s bleeding into May. Now as I am in May, I realise the main difference is not how I feel about work, it’s what I do afterward. I am more vocal about how I feel and more away that no matter how bad work is, it’s one part of my day and it’s a part that I can handle. I am OK, work not being good isn’t some great personal failing. I know this because it’s what I teach my son.

“When is the only time we fail?” I ask him.

“When we give up.” he answers, I have taught him never to give up and in return, that wonderful little boy is teaching me that. So yes, work is making me it’s bitch in the early rounds, but I am not out and will not give in, or give up.

Well, that got a little deep, didn’t it?

Soon fix that.

Since work has been less than stellar, the need to distract myself has been a bit greater, so have been reading and watching more stuff that has been good, so in the interest of being positive, am finding my 5

5 Things I have enjoyed in April.

Saga:


A mate of mine was laid up before Christmas with his leg and to keep him entertained, lent him a whole bunch of trades. A month or so ago, he gave them back and so I recently re-read the first 7 trades of Saga. Saga is the work of writer Brian K Vaughn and penciller Fiona Staples in an epic sci-fi tale about the life of a little girl, born in war to two parents, each from an opposing side in the conflict that seems to span known space. It is full of amazing characters, epic visuals, and twists, and turns, many hope that their beloved stories hit the screen, me I don’t know how they could get this right. Although I would love to see lying cat on TV or film.

Cougar Town:

I have started a new writing project. (More on that story later) It required me to watch an episode of this less regarded sitcom and once I watch that episode, me and the MIGHTY Rosie started watching it again have been enjoying it more than ever. I may write more about it, but like I said, more on that story later.

Jessica Jones Season 2:

Some Spoilers

After Daredevil hit Netflix for the first time, Marvel had an unexpected hit on their hands, well written, well acted and with a tone that differed so much from the Cinematic Universe as for both to completely ignore one another. Their second attempt was a more recent creation and a bit of a risk, but with an excellent cast and a solid story well told season 1 was a success. Once Defenders was done, the second wave started and with that came season 2 of Jessica Jones.

I will be honest with its themes of post-traumatic stress, unethical medicine, addiction and it’s uncompromising use of violence, it’s a hard sit. But over a couple of weekends, I watched the difficult second story and it worked really well. Rather than pad out Jessica story to fit the 13 episodes, it went into more detail with Jeri Hogarth’s medical issues, Malcolm’s search for belonging and Patsy Walker’s descent from likable supporting character to an almost completely unrecognisable person. The idea of the series seems to be a family is whatever you make it, wherever you find it, but not much can fuck you up like family. They were even able to pull off the returning villain Killgrave (David Tennant clearly having fun once again) and the flashback episode without cliche being poured all over it. The cast did really well and the story ends up with everyone’s life very different, but room to either flesh it all out for another series or call it a day without leaving too much undone, the best way to end it that I can think of.

Action Comics 1000:

Superman hits 4 figures, weird to think it, but there it is. Action Comics 1 was on the stands 80 years ago. That is mental when you think about it. The superhero has been with us 80 years. This overpriced comic (I’m sorry, it was overpriced, but I wasn’t going to miss it.) wasn’t part of some great story, or the start of a brand new era it was simply a love letter to the comic that started it all. We had stories from the current rebirth era, the crisis to crisis era, some Golden Age stuff, some Silver Age stuff and other bits and pieces besides and felt like a goodbye to the Superman we have at the moment, the ones he’s been before and a sneak preview of the new start being written by Brian Michael Bendis. I re-read it a couple of times and really did enjoy it. It made me want to give Bendis a try on this series, even though I have been burned before. But, not going to stop being an addict today am I?

Avengers: Infinity War

The 19th Marvel Movie in 10 years and the 18th that I watched in the cinema. With our boy at his grandmother’s the MIGHTY Rosie and I had a Sunday morning to ourselves and we decided to go to the pictures. I am not going to put any spoilers, but I can tell you one thing, it’s very good.

The entire main cast of the MCU is there with the exception of Ant-Man and Hawkeye and no one feels extraneous, everyone gets a little moment here, some get several. The performances are solid and Josh Brolin gives Thanos a degree of depth and pathos that really fleshed out the character and his motives make sense, he truly is the hero of this story from his point of view.

I could go on and on, but to be honest, I would like people to see it for themselves. It’s an old-school crossover event, a story told in several places that link up, heroes working together and the stakes as high as they can be. I watched a huge comics event on screen, on a couch, next to the love of my life, who enjoyed it too. Dreams can come true people, even the smaller ones.

 

The point of this post internet people (if there is one, to be honest, I just wanted to have something written down, I feel I haven’t written in too long) is that I am not having a great time of it in general, but that is in no way an excuse to wallow. Work is a pain in the arse, but there’s good stuff to watch and read and god people in my life to share this stuff with. Yesterday was horrible until 5, but ate tea with my family and ended up on the couch with the MIGHTY Rosie at the end of the day. Today can be as bad as it likes, if that’s how I end it.

I’ve been gone too long, but I am back.

Take care of yourselves internet people, then you can take care of eachother.

Posted in Mental Health Struggles, The MIGHTY Rosie

Anxiety

I’ve been anxious today.

Well that could be any day of the week really can’t it? I’ve taken it easy on the mental health stuff recently, focusing more on the calendar and other geeky stuff. Partly because it’s not something I want to constantly talk or think about, partly because it’s better to concentrate on more positive things isn’t it? But it’s not really something that has gone.

I will never say I am no longer depressed, I have good days and bad days and for the last 6 months, there’s more more of the good, so that’s a positive. But my anxiety is still very much there. I over think, worry about nearly everything and when I have nothing to be anxious about, I am convinced that I am missing something. How fucked up is that? My subconscious mind looks for things to be stressed about. I worry about getting older, about work, about the welfare of my loved ones and my relatives and all the while, my brain kicks me for being so anxious, as if it’s a personal failing or something. When work is busier than usual (with the financial year ending this week) it’s worse, so I am as  the say goes ‘feeling it’ at the moment.

Yeah, I know, heavier than usual right?

So how do you battle this fresh hell? Well first I have to remember that it’s not fresh. This is no different from any other time when anxiety grabs at me. I am no stranger to this shit. So whenever I have been this way before, I have got through it. Experience, mistakes and disaster are often the best teachers, so I can use techniques that have worked before to ground me, or refocus my thinking. Another way is expression, hence this post. Speaking to someone about being anxious and knowing other people suffer anxiety conditions is a great way to remember that what you’re feeling is not an uncommon experience. Another technique, which is how I got through March is the ‘brass ring’ approach. Find something to look forward to and put your focus there. I had a fantastic weekend away not too long ago. (I think I will post about that sometime soon) and having that at the end of the tunnel really helped when things weren’t so good. So maybe I should be planning the next thing to do.

But in all fairness, the best way to battle the multitude of demons has been Super Sam and the MIGHTY Rosie, whose introduction to my life remain the best things that have ever (or will ever) happen to me. Last night me and the MIGHTY Rosie were laughing our arses off at a TV show that she had never seen before (more on that story another time) and just prior to writing this, I was using a stress ball my son made out of beads that absorb water. Stress ball wasn’t his intended use for it I am sure, but his wonder and excitement persist in my memory whenever I hold it.

Whenever you feel low remember this, you have survived. Whatever has tried to break you, kill you or ruin you, it hasn’t. You are still here, mightier than whatever befalls you. I am going to keep going, because I have too much to do, too much to look forward to and too much to live for.

I feel better after writing that.

Posted in Mental Health Struggles

There’s a place beyond this…

I am not good at being a person. A life spent repressing, avoiding and  the like and I end up in my 40’s being a few life skills shy of an actual person. I have spent many years trying to work that out and the last one trying to own it and this year is where I start trying to fix that. One of the ways I have done that is by ending my therapy.

I know what you are thinking (and you’re probably right) that how was that a good idea? Here’s how.

Nearly 5 years ago I had a breakdown, I was diagnosed with depression and a general anxiety disorder. I spent a long time being misprescribed medicine and not really doing much to help myself (either through not knowing how, or not being able to in other ways) and about 2 years ago I met with the NHS’s mental health crisis team who put me on the road to getting the help I needed and not just the limited shit that they give you when you go though a GP. Seriously though, the state of mental health care in this country can shock you. I got on better tablets (which I have since come off) found a therapist whom I trusted and worked with me to put a lot of the shit that I carried with me to one side and then to leave behind. The truth is that I had been suffering depression for a lot longer than 5 years ago and my coping mechanisms were woefully inadequate for the task and so my breakdown was kind of inevitable. It has been a long and winding road, but with the help of the MIGHTY Rosie, my therapist Paula and several excellent members of NHS staff, I am in a place where I am moving forward in my life. I’ll get to that in a bit, but along the way, I have learned some shit that might come in handy if you are going through something, or wouldn’t mind learning the perspective of someone who has.

Depression is a liar.

It is a real thing, it has real and damaging effects and can follow you through your life. I still battle it myself and have low days, much like today, so I am in no way discounting how people feel while battling this illness and that is what it is. What I mean to say is, that depression tells us lies, in particular it tells 3 big lies.

Lie #1:

You are worthless. Your mind plays tricks on you and tells you that you are value-less are worthless or deserve the shitty hand that you’ve been dealt. I see it with people I know and see wonderful people feeling that are less than worthwhile. It hurts seeing that, because I know that I have felt that. The MIGHTY Rosie has little time for fools and wastes of space, but has stuck with me for 5 of the worst years of my life. So maybe I have more value that I give myself credit for. We’ll get back to the worst years of my life comment later. But often, that lie, that internal betrayal, makes you feel you are not worth helping, not worth saving and that is blatantly not true.

Lie#2: 

You are alone: This is one of the biggest lies and it is as always the hardest one to get past. Mental illnesses are by their nature internal and invisible things. No one can see how you feel, nor be aware how much help you may or may not need. You end up walking the battlefield with invisible scars and unidentified wounds and you feel like you are the only one. Again, not true. Millions of people face their demons like this, some face worse, but that’s a context thing. Your pain is just that, your’s and no one can tell you it isn’t. This is a singular battle, but no one we always face alone. It could be a friend who you can talk about nothing with, someone who has been in these bad places. There are professionals out there who specialise in this and there are friends and family. They don’t have to get it to help, they don’t have to be a veteran of that internal war to help you wage it. The hardest thing to do when you are in need is to ask for help, because that links to lie #1 as well. We feel alone and that we don’t deserve help. But we do need it and that asking for it, well that’s the first step along the path.

Lie#3:

You are always going to feel this way: This is the lie we think of the least, but at times feel the most. I heard it described recently as being underwater, the pressure pushing against you and weighing you down. Depression is initially like being in a steel drum and dropped in the sea. There is only darkness and you see no way out. But realising you are worth saving, that you are not alone, that makes a difference. For me now, it’s like being in a submarine. You are still underwater, you are still feeling that pressure, but now there’s a periscope, you can see the sky, see the lands in the distance and that horizon to move towards. Sometimes you need help to use that periscope, to look for that horizon, but that doesn’t stop the horizon being there and in the distance, you can surface and find that new place.

Beyond: 

It’s that new place that we are searching for. When I was at a low point, I was asked what being ‘well’ looked like. I couldn’t imagine that. I have many times stated the goal of a better version of me. I have no idea what that looks like either. But what do I know? That I have seen the lies that depression has told me as what they are lies. I have seen better and worse versions of myself and the impact the good and the bad have on those who love you. I am in NO WAY ‘well’ as I would have once understood it, but I am better than I was. Maybe that is the real goal, not some great far off El Dorado of mental well being, but an ever moving horizon of better mental health. So, using the periscope I have set off for that horizon, that far off land, fully aware that I may never get to the promised land, but I am forever heading towards that better place. The place beyond this.

Worst 5 Years:

Told you I’d get back to that comment. Life is not TV, it doesn’t come in series or arcs and things don’t tie up quite as neatly as that. The worst 5 years have also been some of my best as well, these things are not mutually exclusive. Yes, these were the years I suffered the worst my mind had to offer, but it was also the time were I fought harder against it all. Yes, this was the time that strained my family, but it is also the time that I learned who really cared and how much. I have seen my illusions shattered and my life re-examined, but I have watch my son grow and the MIGHTY Rosie battle her demons too. (Obviously that’s as specific as I’ll get there). This was the time, I lost my joy, buy found my love of the gym, a desire to lose weight and feel more positive. I lost my nostalgic view of myself and gained podcasts, through that I got into social media, then writing and then also here. To you all. To whomever reads this, you have been a part of this recovery. Your words, your likes, your views have given me a connection to the world that I didn’t have before, I write now, because it’s a part of the person I am and being more healthy, more active and more positive has made that a person that I like being. (Though I clearly still need a lot of work.) I have faced fears beyond what I thought I could and I am still doing that now (a future post perhaps?) and the best part of it all? We all can do that. We all have the capacity to fight these battles, to win against the forces that beset us. I am in a more positive place that I have been in a long time and I still have bad days, but they are just days. They are not us, what is us, is what we do about it.

So do I have a point here? We were all wondering, weren’t we? There are three lies at the start, so lets have 3 truths to balance that out.

1: You matter.

Your perspective, your pain, your life itself all has value, beyond that which you expect. Your story belongs here as  much as mine and anyone else’s and I suggest you share it.

 

2: You are not alone.

The Spartans of ancient Greece did a lot of things wrong, (seriously, not pleasant people when you look at them) but consider the phalanx, their basic battle strategy, which was that your shield isn’t there to protect all of you, you share that with the guy next to you, who shares half with the guy next to him. We don’t have to suffer this alone, we never did.

3: There is always a place beyond this..

You will fall, you will always fall and that is just the way life is. When you suffer, you feel fragile, like glass or porcelain, so any fall can break you. I have felt that way, for a long time. But what if you are not a porcelain doll, but a ball? You are going to fall, but you can also bounce. You can do whatever it takes to get past the place you are in. Those who care for you, will understand, those who don’t understand? They can take what the MIGHTY Rosie and I call the vegetarian option and F**k off! The only thing you can’t do, is give up.

When my little boy struggles, he often says he’s failed, I won’t stand for that, so I tell him “The ONLY time we fail is when we give up. Anything else is a setback.”

So don’t give up, you’re too important. There are 7.5 billion people on this planet. But only one YOU.

Keep going, who knows where you will be down the road?

 

Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Miscellaneous, The MIGHTY Rosie

For Me, 2017 was Actually Pretty Good

2017 Was not the smoothest of years. There’s been upset, sadness, more than a few tears and the odd unpleasant truth here and there. But I don’t want to say that 2017 was a bad year, it wasn’t, at least personally. There are many reasons why:-

Getting my shit together

When I started this year, I weighed 18.5 st (259lbs in old money), was on anti-depressants and was completely devoid of anything resembling motivation. Of those three statuses, none are currently true.

18.5 st

At the suggestion of the MIGHTY Rosie, I joined Slimming World and started going to group on a Saturday morning. (For much of the year I blogged this journey under the banner of Slimming World Saturday) some days I found soul crushingly boring, but more often than not, I found it inspirational and it helped changed the way I looked at food. I am not more than 3st lighter than that now and in this new year am once again committed to it.

Anti-Depressants

In early 2013 I suffered a depression related breakdown. It’s hard to write that down sometimes. The events that followed that day revealed that I had suffered depression much of my life and changed the way I looked at both my past and my present. I am not going to tell you that it’s been easy internet people, nor that I’ve dealt with it in the best way. Through the support of work, some friends and relatives and mostly the love and care of the Awesome Sammy and the MIGHTY Rosie, I have been on the road to better mental health. But I have needed help from others getting there too. One was a therapist and the other was the pharmacological arm of the NHS. From January 2016 I have been on Sertraline to treat my depression. Once I needed it, afterwards, it helped still, but somewhere along the way it stopped either being helpful, or being necessary and I was not really experiencing the full range of human experience and emotion, so after seeking medical advice on the safest way to do it (telling the Drs what I wanted, not asking them what to do) I reduced and them came off my tablets. Finally free of them, I realise that they were not really doing too much this last year and as of early October, I am medicine free. I am more engaged with the world, more emotional and I hope to think a better version of myself than I had been for the 3 previous years. I also decided to take a break from therapy for the Christmas period. Been not having sessions for 4 or 5 weeks now and to be honest, I don’t think I will be going back. Like the tablets, I needed it, then it helped me, but I don’t think over analysing my moods and my past is going to help me do the things I really want to do, I want to move forward, be a better me and that is not what I was getting from therapy towards the end.

A lack of Motivation

I am almost pathologically lazy. I am like a rug on valium. I have reasons, explanations, but not really excuses, so that I have had to change that. The tablets and the weight loss things are signs that I do possess a small amount of drive and my writing does hint at it too, I have posted daily since December 1st and with the exception Sunday, feel no reason to stop. So it exists within me to better my particular lot in life and so have started to do that. As part of my overall wellness kick of 2017 I followed my excellent trainer Ali to a new company https://instagram.com/absolutebodysolutions and enjoy weekly sessions to increase fitness, strength and reduce stress ( a better option than a tablet I think we can all agree) and they have started a sort of life coaching/planning company called ABS Life and it’s done what therapy hasn’t, it’s helped me with tools to be a person. I am planning for the future and am setting goals and challenges and things are looking brighter. I am still lazy, but I have motivation and for the first time in years am investing in what I want.

Adventures

It’s been a bit of year here at the munky house, log cabin days away, walks in the woods and more than a few zoo trips and we have got away here and there several times. It’s been quite a year. For years, I have avoided conventions and things like that, suffering anxiety kind of puts a dampener on that experience, but this year after mix up and stupid mistakes the Munky family went to For the Love of Sci-Fi in Manchester. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you can see some of the pictures of the Cosplayers who were amazing and so friendly to my 7 year old boy, including a scottish medieval Batman and the Dutch Daywalker (a Blade lookalike) as well as people from Dredd, Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica and I will be glad of all that.

But, it was badly organised, badly signposted and the reputed shitty behaviour of one William Shatner was very much confirmed when I posed for a picture I paid for. It would have been a complete waste except that we got a fantastic present for my mad sister in law and I met the Hoff. I posed for a pic with David Hasselhoff and the Knight Rider Trans-am and he was a delight, friendly and approachable and he even serenaded the MIGHTY Rosie. I couldn’t have asked for a nicer guy to have my photo taken with.

I want to do another convention, but I will be more selective, more organised and more prepared, but that’s another story.

Happiness

My goal when I started this year, in a broad term was a better version of me. I am closer to that than I once was and am moving forward every single day. So I will take much of this year as a success, a qualified success, but a success nonetheless. But happiness isn’t a goal, it may be a direction, but it’s also moments, moments like walking in the park on New Years Day, enjoying all of it and being sad not about going back to work, but not being with your loved ones for another day like this. Like making your wife laugh, for no other reason that she needs it and seeing her smile is one of life’s great joys. It’s singing along to Queen on a car ride, all three of us and enjoying each second, I had moments like that in 2017 and it’s made me greedy, I want more. And that’s what I’m going to do.

2017 is one, bring it on 2018, I will not back down.

That’s enough looking backwards, time to turn my view to the horizon and all the steps in front of me towards it.

 

 

 

Posted in Feelings on a Friday, Mental Health Struggles, The MIGHTY Rosie

Feelings on a Friday “37”: Oh Look, a Clerks reference.

Hello internet people, long time no see.

I want to tell you all how well things are going and I want to be honest, can’t do both. It’s been a bit of a ropey few weeks and the need or desire to write had been almost nonexistent.

I don’t know whether or not it’s because I didn’t having anything to say, or just got out of the habit of putting words down, but I stopped doing this. The truth is, I have struggled a bit the last few weeks. Concerns over the MIGHTY Rosie (which I am not going to mention, it not being my tale to tell) and other stuff and it has left me fraught. Added to that Christmas is coming and I have SOOO far from ready for it. Plus there is the thing with the Sci-Fi convention.

<Deep Breath> On the 2nd am off to For the Love of Sci-Fi, a fan convention in Manchester. I am going with my awesome boy and the MIGHTY Rosie on one day and the plan was for a mate of mine to go the second. So then he busted his ankle. He was on the mend and the plan was on track, then a week or so ago, told me that he wasn’t going to be mobile and wouldn’t be able to go for the second day and in my own imitable style made some decisions based on the last minute panic and ended up with a hotel room that cost far too much and a lack of any real organisation over the whole thing has left it a bit of a fiasco. This I’d why by the way the MIGHTY Rosie has done most of our trip planning in the past.

Had it downgraded from a fiasco until the question was asked, what about the dog? So let’s just say I have not been at my best recently. It’s all been sorted and we are about to go to the convention, but my confidence and self esteem have taken a bit of a kicking.

I ended up getting some advice from my personal hero, the aforementioned MIGHTY Rosie. 

No one said it would be easy

There is no written word to say that life in any way shape or form would be easy. No promise of fairness and no reason to expect a smooth ride. I found that both reassuring and motivating. I find it so difficult being just a person in the world, never got the knack of it. I am riddled with doubts and anxieties. But here’s the thing, it’s OK.

It’s going to be okay. The weekend is more of a debacle than fiasco and we are better at plan b than ever with plan a. It’s going to be an adventure and something I wouldn’t have done a year ago. Everyone is looking forward to it, the dog is being looked after and I genuinely think that weekend is going to be fun.
Expect more posts, pictures from the con and at least one embarrassing story. I have weathered many storms before this and Christmas is coming. People tend to just feel a touch happier this time of year and a bit of happy is always welcome.

I’ll be back internet people, because things are about to turn around for me, mostly because I intend to make that happen. 2017 may have been a tumultuous year, but it’s going to have a triumphant December!