Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Miscellaneous

Finally, some positives

Hello there internet people.

As covered in my last ramblings I was worried regarding an appointment. It was my teeth. I don’t really look after them, this has caused me no small amounts of shame and anxiety and is a source of tension in places. It’s one of my biggest things to do, that through fear and shame I have avoided. Yesterday I stopped avoiding it. There’s a good amount of work needs doing and I am not overly comfortable with that, but it is about time that I decided to deal with these things. To most this will be a minor achievement, but this is something to me, it’s the idea that my comfort and denial is not greater than my belief in myself, nor my value.

So anyway, I decided to point out some positives.

I was out a couple of weeks ago to see Dave Gorman, a comedian who does sort of lectures with powerpoint slides and had a great time with a friend. He too struggles with mental health and it was a positive for both of us to be out and having a laugh. Did the same thing on Saturday just gone with another comedian called Justin Moorhouse who is to be honest more than a little similar in appearance to me. Had a lot of fun, got my ticket signed and a picture with the guy who was quieter than on stage, but just as lovely a person.

(I am the one in the blue tee-shirt)

I have several reasons to feel less than great today, the anxiety yesterday has landed in my stomach and a cold I was fighting off hasn’t given up yet, but then again, neither have I. I could be at home wallowing, but am working (well not right now obviously) and will see the day out, even am off to the pictures tonight to see the Joker with my dad. I am doing okay and I believe that things can turn around for me. Our fears can be faced, our mistakes can be confronted and our days can be happier.

I hope you are all doing okay.

Every single person looking at this has helped me along this journey and I am not done yet.

Ttfn internet people am off to see about a dog.

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Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Miscellaneous

The feeling of dread

I am scared.

I have an appointment this evening, something I have been putting off for so very long. I’m dreading it and dreading the outcome and all that. The fear mixed with the shame and wrapped up in my old friend anxiety. Needless to say, right now I feel sick.

Here’s the thing, I know that this is not only irrational, but very much of my own making. Everyone’s response is “there’s nothing to be worried about” and then doing it is “important”. I know both of things are true and I know that this is all irrational. Never changes how you feel does it? So tonight I go, am taking SuperSam with me, mostly because I will keep my shit together in front of him. I have tried to rationalise, improve my positive mental state over it and last week I even sought help from a hypnotherapist. Yes, we are at that point. But 10pm last night, it all hit me at once. I know that this is the start of me getting this under control, I know that. But right now I feel anxious and full of dread.

But fear tells you that you can’t, fear tells you that you are alone. Fear lies.

I have been helped in this as with all of my journey by my amazing wife, the MIGHTY Rosie. She is my biggest booster, my conscience when I need one and the swift kick up my arse when I need that too. Recently I have needed the kick a bit too much. I am trying, but that’s hard to see on the outside.

Part of the hypnotherapy session was to give me a tool to cope and to keep moving forward. Well I remembered a mantra that I read years earlier.

“I can.”

“I must.”

“I will.”

This idea is stronger than my fear, my shame and my avoidance. This idea is bolstered by the love of my family and the knowledge that the better version of me that I want to be is a person who will do the things that scare him. So I will. I will show my son that fear can be conquered, because if I can show him, I will be able to see it myself.

We are stronger than we think we are, all of us.

That includes me.

That includes you too.

I will be posting something more positive tomorrow as well as context for this stream incoherent ramblings.

 

Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Miscellaneous, The MIGHTY Rosie

Taking Care of Yourself

Hello again internet people

Back in May, I slipped back into the horror that was/is my depression. I handled it better this time, eschewing the medical side and going straight to talking therapy and the odd day off here and there. Now, on the understanding that I may need back up in a “not ruling out legal action against my workplace” way, I decided to get in touch with my local surgery and get what had happened on record. What I didn’t take into account was that this was a new doctors and the first time I visited any doctor since I hit my 40’s. Out came the need for blood tests and my blood pressure was taken. It was high.

Well no shit, I went in there about my depression and anxiety, which had been exacerbated by stress, it would be more medically worrying if I didn’t have high blood pressure. My new doctor, doing her due diligence referred me to a cardio clinic to get a 24 hours blood pressure monitor. So after a stressful trip to a different surgery and a couple of terrible days in work, my blood pressure averaged at higher than it should have been. So, after another visit to the doctor, aided by the MIGHTY Rosie now I am on blood pressure meds. I have a complicated relationship with doctors, they have helped and not helped in equal measure and I am not used to going for blood tests, or even an ECG, both things I had to do last week. So apart from high blood pressure, I have high cholesterol as well (doubtless due to a decade or two of neglect) and this whole things has made me really anxious. But here’s the thing, I needed to do this, I needed to take these steps and look after myself a little bit better, value myself just a little more and make this the start of me taking better care of myself.

Eating better is one step, then dropping my caffeine intake and a few other things like that, more cardio in my exercising and above all, less stress.  I think that will be the hardest thing, it’s been pointed out that I am a stress-head and negative in my thinking even on my better days, which have not been the last two weeks. Above all I want to give my thanks to the MIGHTY Rosie, without whom, I would not have got through this last couple of weeks as well, she remains the brightest star in my sky, so I always know how to find home.

It’s been a reminder that your mental and physical health are connected and both need to tended to, this I suppose is my statement that I am going to do that and that starts with my walking away from my desk and going to see my dog.

 

Ttfn internet people.

Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Miscellaneous

Anxious over Anxiety

I am in work.

That’s a big thing to say right now. Last week I couldn’t do it. I had to take a few days off and work on the house, because I couldn’t bear going into the office and dealing with the staff, the clients and the ever expanding workload. I did stuff around the house, started therapy again, went to the gym, even spent time with my now retired dad. There was even a weekend away (more on that story later) but as ever, the weekend fades into the week and I couldn’t avoid it anymore. So I went in, my stomach and my mind punishing for that.

After three hours in, I learned something. I was okay. I wasn’t happy, but I am a lot better than I was 11 days ago, when I was last in. I have been busy, I have spoken with my line manager and I am getting on with things.

Am I better? No

Is stuff still there tormenting me? Yes

Am I going to wallow? NO

I have options if work becomes to much again, but one thing I have learned is that most of what is going on is fear. Fear is robbing me of my time, fear is robbing me of my confidence and fear is pulling me away from the people and things that I love. But I will not give in to fear. I am in work, but I am okay. I will go home and will hopefully be okay. My demons are still there, but I know I can face them.

This is not the story of my defeat.

This is the story of my triumph.

 

Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Musing on a Miserable Monday

Relapse

It’s been a long time since I have been here, but here I am again.

After a couple of months of teetering, I collapsed under the weight of all the shit in my head. My stress, my anxiety, a touch of middle-age crisis and all together with our old friend thanatophobia. I am having obsessive thoughts, dwelling in fear and self pity again and I feel broken again.

I don’t mind admitting to you internet people, this is my own particular hell. But there is hope. I have been in touch with a therapist recommended by my old therapist Paula (a wonderful woman, but am not going to Warrington to see her, so someone more local was needed) I have started eating healthier again (16lbs so far) and am doing everything I can to beat these demons that infest my mind.

It’s not going to be easy, it’s not going to quick, but I have beaten this before and will do it again, or at least do a more thorough job of it. As always I am supported by the MIGHTY Rosie and with her on my side, I feel I can do anything.

If you are going through a hard time yourself, I feel for you, but there is a place beyond this and with communication, help and the right mindset, these demons can be battled.

There is a place beyond this, every positive choice I make, is one step towards it.

That above phrase is stuck on my wall at work, I need it there.

There’ll be more to be said, but that’s not for today, today is about admitting that I am in a crisis and I need help. Sometimes we all do.

Take care of yourselves internet people, take care of each other too.

 

Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Miscellaneous

Blue Monday

Well internet people, Blue Monday again and the most ‘depressing’ day of the year is off to a cracking start.

After feeling pleased at the fact that our dog hadn’t broken another set of headphones, it turned out she actually had, since now they no longer charge. I’m going back to buying the cheap £4 off the internet, since buying nicer ones is a false economy, for reasons I am unable to do that just now, this is not an insurmountable obstacle to life, it’s still a frustrating start to a Monday. Rushing into work, I’ve been half productive and half not and the temptation to give in to the miserable weather, no money, stress at work and a less than relaxing weekend and feel down on this ‘bluest’ of Mondays.

But I am not going to. Is it miserable weather? Yes, but this is England, when isn’t it? Is the extra week before being paid make it feel like a longer month? Yes, but that’s hardly reason to panic. Is work stressful? Yes, but not as bad as December. Was it a less than relaxing weekend? Yes, but I spent it with my loved ones and there were moments of happy there. Playing Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 with the MIGHTY Rosie, Super Sam wanted to watch the 1980 camp classic Flash Gordon yesterday morning (Which we did) and some times of all of us listening to music and being happy together.

So am not going to wallow, am going to go on my lunch, go home and when I come back to the office, will attack the day and get some stuff done. This is Blue Monday, but blue is the colour of my true love’s eyes, the skies over Crete and Salou and the waters in the best places to swim.  Blue holds no fear for me, I will be alright and you know what internet person reading this? So will you. If this is a Blue Monday for you, realise that it’s upwards from here. It will get better, it will be brighter and it’s only Monday once a week. After that, it’s closer to the weekend.

This was not a great start to the week, but it didn’t have to be, all you need is one positive about the day and you’ll have that at least.

TTFN Internet people, I’ve got a day to get back on  track.

 

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

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 attic 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.