Posted in Mental Health Struggles

I am literally smaller

This last year, have had to do some work on me. Over the last few years I have sort of lost myself. When my breakdown happened nearly ten years ago now, I lost myself all at once and had to work very hard to get back. It took medication, therapy, support and time to do that and get myself back to a similar place than I had been before. But the thing is, that wasn’t entirely the goal. In truth, I never got back to where I was, I had aged, changed and taken on new responsibilities and outlooks and looking back, it feels like I got to some place after a lot of work, but then needed to do some more work to get to a better place and kind of didn’t, I just carried on.

This has cost me, but that’s neither here, nor there. The point is, I am not where I want to be and this has left me very unhappy. So one of the things I have neglected is my health. So I had replaced my glasses (after a dog-related mishap) and am now wearing old man glasses (varifocals) and as per this post I have found a new physical activity to keep me active and able to set and achieve goals. The one thing I have yet to work on is food. I am overweight and one of the things I have learned about myself is that I have unhealthy habits and issues in regard to food. I know, a shock. Who would have thought a middle-aged man with self esteem issues and a sedimentary lifestyle would also have weight issues, I mean I was surprised. I am both a stress/comfort eater and also have portion control issues. So a lot of times I struggle with diets, I even tried slimming world a couple of times. Whilst I had a great rep at slimming world, with it’s focus of balance and not on portion, I was able to eat more even when doing well and so when I fell out of good habits (and we always do) I was used to eating more and as a result, I gained more weight than I had lost.

So nothing was working, not that I was trying all that much. As always when a good idea is needed, the MIGHTY Rosie stepped in and suggested a thing she was doing. It was one of those meal replacement things. Now we’ve all seen the adverts for slimf@$t and all that, but this isn’t quite the same and it did offer a solution to my biggest problems, snacking and portion control. With only a smoothie for breakfast and lunch, it was only tea that offered an issue and I could plan one healthy meal a day. But there’s also a mid-morning and a mid-afternoon snack which are very calorie controlled and mostly down to a list of prefered options. There is also a person to talk to and a group that you meet with, but it’s very drop in and out, stay for 5 minutes or half and hour, it’s up to you. With their support/products and as always the support of the MIGHTY Rosie I have been on this program for a bit over 3 weeks, dropping in every 2/3 days to be weighed and pick stuff up. Yes, it’s a bit of a racket in that you only get the products from your supplier and yes it isn’t cheap, but based on my existing costs per day in food, it actually ends up saving a little bit of money.

But here’s the thing, it works.

The structure of it helps with my obsessive side, I am either eating or drinking every few hours and I am enjoying food in a manner I have not in years. It’s not comfort, it’s food. But numbers are proof and in that, I have lost in overall size 21cm (or 8 1/4 inches in old money) and 9cm of that off my belly. I am also 9kg (19.84lb in old money) lighter as of this morning. I have a more positive outlook and am feeling good. I recognise it’s a small thing, but this feels like a small thing that has made a positive impact on my life and we could all do with a bit of that.

Ttfn Internet People, will have something to actually say soon

Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Miscellaneous

Trickier coming down

Though I don’t talk about it as much here, my battle with depression and anxiety is still ongoing. That’s a post for another day.

There are several methods of battling/managing these things. Talking helps, diet is a factor, support from those around you. But one that I have neglected is exercise.

I know, shocking that a geeky, overweight middle-aged man with high blood pressure isn’t getting enough exercise. Whilst you are reeling from that particular bombshell. I can tell you that it has started to change.

Through my sister-in-law, my son was introduced to indoor climbing. What I saw in the next 2 weeks was nothing short of remarkable. He grew in confidence and set and met challenges each time. After his 2nd week, I decided I would give this a try myself. And so I did.

Climbing Hangar is a company that has warehouses converted with climbing walls that a colour coded for levels of difficulty. Struggling to climb one wall, then try again and again. Once you crack that wall, you feel 2 feet taller. I learned two things the first week. One is that climbing up is quite a bit easier then getting back down.  The other is that I have missed that sense of accomplishment. I enjoyed the rush of almost falling and the next day sweet pain of overdoing it.

I quickly became a member and go regularly once a weekend, whilst my son goes twice. It’s been a boon to my mental health as well as my physical and every time I go, I improve. Last week, I tried a level 3 course and nailed it, today I did one that I have been aiming for all summer. Now I need a new target and I will have one by Saturday.  I would recommend it as an exercise and activity.  There is a huge cross-section of ages and fitness levels and a great sense of mutual good feel, everyone is rooting for everyone else. The only person you compete with is yourself.

With so much negativity around and in an increasingly uncertain world, its nice to find something that is only positive. Everyone should try this. Because it is a nice reminder of a truth we all need to remember. Whenever you fall, you get back up.

Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Miscellaneous

Finding the Positives in 2021 part 5 of 5 (Mini-Denouement)

It’s hard to know what to say about 2021, in some ways it was worse than 2020 and there’s that feeling of it isn’t over yet.

There’s been family drama, tension regarding work and more than a few problems and upsets.

But honestly, I can say one thing about 2021, I got through it.

Problems are not solved, issues are not behind me and there are still stormy horizons, but honestly I am very much in the feeling that things are going to be okay.

Maybe not politically, certainly not regarding the current (and still unfolding) covid pandemic, but honestly I am doing all that I can to be positive in the face of all that.

It’s difficult, some days are really hard and work wise this is one of the worst Januarys I can think of. But in work, I am part of a team of 5, who work with one another and the previous dept manager has gone to another job closer to home (if you are reading this Gisele <not her real name> then I wish you well) and the team of me, lil Gem and Disney Princess working under Posh Spice and Donna has continued to go from strength to strength. 

As for me, I am excercising more each morning, drinking more fruit juice than I was and cutting down on the shit I have been eating and drinking and soon I will be heading back to the gym. I am reading more and enjoying it and I feel the writing bug coming back. I will be more present here and for anyone who has looked at this blog, or liked anything I’ve written. Thank you, you’ve been a big help to me.

I am hitting the ground running and will do what I can to make 2022 a good year.

Best wishes to you all.


Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Miscellaneous

Right, where are we?

It’s been a while internet people and there’s been a lot going on, so lets have a quick status update.

Work: The end of furlough has made my job better in some ways, but there’s so many things that have made my job more difficult which were kept at bay during furlough, so this month has not been as easy as it could have been.

Home: There’s been some complications around the house that has caused no end of worry and upset. It’s been the worst that this situation has been and it’s brought about a tremendous amount of anxiety with no end in sight. In the interest of viewing the brighter side of life, it has gave us the kick up the arse needed to get the house more in order and get into the decorating side of things. As of yesterday, over half of the living room walls have been stripped. The job continues.

Health & Wellbeing: I have signed up to the local gym and am planning a 2/3 day per week and had my induction last week during some well earned not in work time. On the whole it seems like when I relapsed into depression a couple of years ago, I didn’t come all the way back like I thought and this has created problems in several areas in my life and it’s kind of like I didn’t notice. That was the terrifying bit I think. Drifting so far from yourself that by the time you notice, you don’t even know where you are anymore. So the best thing to do is to rebuild. Hence my going back to the gym. Also my decision to return to Slimming World. That wasn’t something I planned, but it is something I should do, because the last time I was happy, was when I was lighter. If I combine increased exercise and weight loss, I should feel better about things.

Other stuff: I had a birthday recently, hit 45 and I would love to say that I took stock of my life and stuff, but I decided to leave my life-stock alone and just live for a bit. I ate with my family, watched Dune in the cinema and generally enjoyed my day and have been doing my best to stay positive about a lot of things.

I didn’t really have anything to say, but wanted to get something down.

This is not the story of my defeat, but I need to put a lot of work in, before its a better story.

Love to you all internet people.

Posted in Mental Health Struggles

And it is done…. Thank F*&@ for that

Over 18 months ago, the ‘government’ placed the country on lockdown, telling us all to stay indoors to stay safe. Now I am not going to comment on how they handled this, whether it was handled badly, incredibly badly or an unmitigated disaster. That’s not what this is about.

When everyone was told to stay home, the ‘government’ set up the job replacement scheme and placed as many employees as they could on furlough. You would stay home, your employer would pay you 80% of your wages and then the HM Revenue and Customs would pay them back. This scheme referred to as furlough then became part of my job and the bane of it.

As a person who works in finance, essential for services like care homes and the like, I still had to work. So my job only got worse. We lost staff as a couple of people left and got new staff and through it all, was furlough.

So many companies needed it, so many got it and there was a lot of back and forth and everything needed to be claimed via the HMRC’s online services which are…… not great. So as a result, my hatred for my job has increased dramatically.

But as of 30 September, the scheme has come to an end and as of 14 October 2021, the last claims have been made. It is a massive, a gargantuan weight lifted off of me and the team I am a part of, tonight I will be drinking, but today, we are eating pizza for lunch.

We got through it, much to everyone’s surprise and we are still going strong.

My greatest thanks to the Disney Princess, Big G, Superstar, Donna and new girl Little G for getting through all this.

Now on to the next crisis.

Posted in Feelings on a Friday, Mental Health Struggles

Feelings on a Friday 39 – Am on the positivity train, well am hanging on to the caboose

2020 was a year that wreaked havoc on the world at large. No one can deny that. No one was spared from being affected by the dumpster fire that year became very quickly. I do have to admit though, personally 2021 seems to be carrying that theme forward.

Just in the last couple of months, there have been two things on the in-law side that have been upsetting for all involved and that is all I can and will say about that. There have been house issues at my parents place, which are mostly resolved. There’s been upheaval in work (which I mentioned here in Stuff in my head – Or goodbye chief ) and I have been ill more than usual for this time of year. Without CoVid, that would be enough. But the Corona virus hasn’t left us yet. 

On the positive side, I have had both vaccination jabs, for those of you who are anti-vaxxers I respect that you have concerns over vaccines, but I made the right choice in that regard. It’s all done now. But there have been three CoVid scares at my work. One or two at the MIGHTY Rosie’s work and one at the extended family. Which is why I can be writing this post at 10:20am. SuperSam has to self-isolate and that means no work for me. I should be happy about this, three day weekend and all that. But it’s one more thing that CoVid has taken aware from this family. The weather in July so far has been spotty, but when it’s nice, it’’s very nice and we’re stuck in. I know that’s a little first world problems and all, but it’s what’s in my head today. 

It’s an ongoing feeling that this year hasn’t stopped. 2020 was the year of WTF? 2021 seems to the year of Dammit, now what? I feel, not broken exactly, but beaten down and the hits keep on coming.

So what can I do? Well I am doing it, am getting it out of my head and onto the printed page and that helps. I am going to spend the day with my boy and that also helps and whilst I don’t like letting work down, I am not in work today, so that is a hat trick of positive steps to make this day my own.

As a further attempt to get onto the positivity train (trademark MrsFilthy my ex-work wife) I am going to find my 5. 5 Positives to keep all the negatives away.

So here goes

1: Not in work, which means a sleep in and comfier shoes.

2: The sun is shining and we have a back yard.

3: There is food and drink in the house and there’s plenty to do.

4: The weekend has started early.

5: I heard this week that comic marts will be coming back to Liverpool in August. One of the first things that CoVid took is coming back.

I didn’t really have any thing to say here, but to be honest, I just need to get back into the habit of writing stuff here. I need this, more than I realised I need this.

Thank you for being here internet people. Look after yourselves and each other.

Its all going to be alright, but we need to be reason that it will.

Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Miscellaneous

Stuff in my head – Or goodbye chief

The only constant in the universe is change.

When I started this blog, nearly seven years ago now, I worked as part of a two man team with my manager who I have always referred to here as Gisele. The workload was hard and the deadline pressures constant and we lobbied for help as often as we would be listened to.

Now I am aware that I have not always been kind to Gisele when I have mentioned her on here, some of it is fair, but I can’t say all of it is.  But that’s not the point.

Things changed, we got a new person to work alongside me, lets call him Mr Coffee for the ridiculous amounts of caffeine that man took in. I won’t air out someone’s personal issues in public, but in three weeks, he put in 4 days work and I was glad it was only 4. He left shortly afterwards and the new partner’s sister was looking to get out of her industry and was given a week’s trial. I think it was more seeing if the job was right for her and not her right for the job, nepotism eh? Enter Disney Princess.

In Disney Princess’ defence she is a hard worker and whilst she took a while to teach, she got it and is a great member of the team to this day. Still workload increased, client base increased and the pressure started getting to us all. It was near this time when I had my relapse and had to take some time off. After raising the needs of the department again we lobbied for another member of staff and in came Mrs Filthy. A parent like myself and someone who shared both a history of mental health problems and a wholly inappropriate sense of humour we got on like a house on fire. It’s been rare that I can get along with someone at work so quickly. (I am somewhat of an acquired taste) So we had a four man team and I had someone I could have a laugh with at work. The problem  was that Mrs Filthy and Gisele didn’t gel in the same manner. Gisele’s often curt manner causing a lot of friction and in less than 5 months Mrs Filthy left to go manage an optician’s. I wish her well and we keep in touch, mostly through dirty jokes and inappropriate memes and she is happier.

She was succeeded by Big G. He came in to replace Mrs Filthy, but asked for more money so a more supervisory position was created to help Gisele’s part of the job and we were back to a four man group. Then after the bank holiday at the end of May, Gisele gave in her resignation. I was stunned, I had worked with that woman for years and years, ups and downs, arguments and tension and finally over the last few years we were getting along and working as a team, even sharing some confidences and having long conversations. I wasn’t shocked that she wanted to go, far from it, she’d been unhappy for many years there and she wanted out, but it seemed so sudden. Still work needed doing and we got on with it. Thing is as she was training Big G in all of the things that she hadn’t got to yet and with a deadline looming, me and Disney Princess were left with the bulk of the job, which while no one’s fault, was very hard and has left the last couple of weeks being the worst in recent memory.

After a brief and awkward hug on Friday 2nd Gisele left for the last time and I am emotional about the whole thing. Whilst we have been each other’s worst enemies for much of our time together, I grew to understand her and as she saw me suffer, she became more understanding. Now at the time when we are closer to being work friends than manager and subordinate, she has left.

I am a northern englishman over 40, so as you can imagine I don’t handle change very well and the loss of this constant is a massive shake up in my life. But that’s not what I want to be thinking about here. Not how it effects me, I am sure that there’ll be more on that story later. The part of this story is, she has made a decision to make herself happy. She’s going to do a different job at the business her husband’s family own and run. She genuinely feels that it’s the best move to make and is sad to go, rather than anxious to start a new job. I am happy for her, sad for me, but mostly happy for her.

On 1st July, we left work at the same time and she told me that I should be writing again, that she enjoyed what I wrote. I then had to wonder, what I had said about her on here. I still haven’t dared to look. But she is right, I should be doing this. I should be sharing what’s in my head. So Chief, thank you. I am sorry to see you go, but you know what, I’m glad that you are going to go somewhere better for you. Take care of yourself.

 As for me, with a new person to work alongside Big G, I am expected another rough few weeks, but I jump off that bridge when I get to it. I just wanted all this out of my head to I could enjoy my weekend.

Take care of yourselves internet people, thank you for sticking with my rambling and I will see you soon.

Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Miscellaneous, Thinking Thoughts on a Thursday

2020 – What the hell was that?

As a self-imposed tradition, I have at the end of each year done a series of posts called For the Geek in me 20XX was awesome. This was further split into three sub-catergories of Movies, Comics and TV, my holy trinity of pop-culture interests. I had planned to do the same this year, but then I realised something, I have been the cinema once this year and have bought precisely one newly produced comic this year. So I wanted to do something a little different and just look at the year in general, rather than look at it solely through a pop culture lense. Kind of hard to do when the world is looking more and more dystopian as things go along.

January was as always a cold and long month, with being paid before X-Mas the paycheque has to go a little further than normal an it can be a tight period, so you tend to go out and to do less. The news was about the horrific wildfires in Australia and over in the states there was impeachment proceedings for Trump and our PM fresh from a snap election victory moved towards Brexit with enthusiasm which didn’t match his capability. February came and went with it’s usual mix of cold and miserable and when March began all the shit hit the fan.

The Corona virus first seen in the Wuhan area of China started spreading overseas at a drastic rate and One by one, many countries in Europe started to go into an enforced lockdown and in late March, so did England. Schools closed, non-essential shops, restaurants, hair and beauty places, venues and airports all closed down immediately. Food shops and financial services remained open, which meant that while the MIGHTY Rosie and SuperSam stayed at home, I went into work as usual.

Work became more difficult than ever before with financial assistance being a really bit thing and this affected my job on a huge scale. It hasn’t really let up since and it is now 9 months later, but I digress. So many people were trapped at home, online sales of food went up since no one dared go outside, we had online pub quizzes, lots of facetime/zoom meetings and we all went out and clapped for the NHS once a week as they manned the front lines as the number of Corona virus (or Covid) sky rocketed. Thousands infected and hundreds dying as NHS workers were compelled to put anyone over a particular age as DNR (do not resucitate) meaning so many more died. People worked from home and we all sort of just watched the news waiting for something positive to start happening.

I don’t know if the Black Lives Matter movement was that, but it certainly saw the majority of the western world acknowledge the disparity in the way people of colour were treated by police compared to white people and it was upsetting viewing as the need for change was highlighted, as was the violence that stemmed from clashes between police and protesters. It was a moment in history and they never seem to be pleasant things at the time.

In the summer, the rise in cases seemed to slow down and restrictions lifted somewhat, some restaurants opened, some non-essential shops did and there was talk about schools opening, giving hw hard this lockdown had been on SuperSam and the MIGHTY Rosie, this was reason to feel optimistic. But that optimism wouldn’t really last.

In September the team added a new member (joining me, Giselle and Disney Princes) is CheekyMrsJ who has the filthiest sense of humour of any woman I know with the clear exception of the MIGHTY Rosie. She has also suffered with her mental health and more than that isn’t mine to tell. Between her humour and history we had enough common ground to get on and have become good work-friends in the last three months. There has been also inter-departmental strife over the recent furlough and job retention scheme shenannigans and more than a couple of times were there have been tellings off, including complaints to the directors regarding management. But in that there were victories. After years of animosity, myself and Gisele have got to a good place and we made the complaint together. In the end little came of it, but we stood up for ourselves and one another and I see that as a victory.

Also in September, SuperSam went back to school and got new teachers, new restrictions, but seemed to be having a better time and that lasted a few weeks, but with a greater sense of isolation and a little bit of bullying, we have had to deal with some old problems, but there were staff at school that helped and he ended the term in a much better place.

After a couple of weekends away fell to Covid, we planned to take advantage of the lessening of restrictions to book a week away at Christmas to a cottage in the west-f***ing-nowhere section of Wales, with a long year already we felt we needed a win for the end of the year and could relax and enjoy from a distance the theatrical fiasco that was the 2020 US election. It did not disappoint. There was a high voter turn out, despite covid having killed over 250,000 americans, there was a lot of mail-in voting and so many accusations of fraud and bad-faith actions on both sides. Ultimately the incumbent was defeated and after 4 long years, Donald Trump was beaten, not that he accepted or conceded this fact. There was lawsuits, unsubstantiated accusations and twitter tantrums and some of this is still going on. But the outcome is clear the 70+ old man with a questionable record with women that wasn’t Trump won. I mean congratulations to Joe Biden and his running mate/former rival Kamala Harris and it’s great to see the end of Trump’s reign, but things over there are going to get worse before they get better and I don’t think better will be much better, but I will be glad to see him leave the White House or be dragged out.

Work got harder, the rules kept changing and Christmas seemed both so far away and also appearing out of nowhere, we were going away, then we weren’t and then came a second lockdown and when it ended there was mass-testing and even a period when SuperSam’s school finished for a fortnight over a couple of cases in his school year. It was okay though, because no matter what we had a couple of weeks off together. Then on Thursday 17 December we learned that we were on, a  week in the countryside, no neighbours and no work related stress. We started panic-packing and getting things ready to spend Christmas away from home and then 2 days later it was completely cancelled. So with few gifts for one another (the holiday was the main present) and no great amout of food in the house we were faced with a lacklustre Christmas period.

But we didn’t get that, we had time with each other, time with my parents, time with her sister and her kids and lots of time together and ultimately it was one of our better X-Mas periods and now as I write this, we are near the end of 2020.

The reason I wanted to write something was that I was looking at my FaceBook feed and it shows you the stuff you wrote in previous years and most of mine for today pointed out how I was looking forward to a better year and it seems that this better year never actually happened. Maybe it’s time to look back at the positives of the year rather than the crapfest that 2020 so with that it’s time to find your 5.

1: I finally sorted my teeth out, at least getting the bad ones removed, a task I have procrastinated for a decade.

2: After several visits we were able to sort LoopyLottie’s tail and our dog is happier for it, no longer being in pain with it has made walking her easier and her training is going better?

3: Work has been better, not easier, but having another person there has made a difference and the whole vibe of the office is better than it ever was and when I had management problems I was able to deal with it in a better manner than I have before.

4: This  has been a bit of a crucible year, burning off all the unnecessary bits and forging tighter bonds inside our family. I feel closer to the MIGHTY Rosie than I have in a while and that’s helped deal with many of the challenges that we have faced this year.

5: I made it, after my relapse last May I have had many concerns that my depression and anxiety would flare up and cause many problems as mental health problems have been exacerbated by the lockdown and the endless Doomscrolling. But it hasn’t. Have I struggled? Yes, buy hasn’t everyone? Haven’t you internet people? But we got here. Not all of us and not easily, but we did. I still have all of the things I need, I have my family and my job, meaning a roof over my head. I have had 4 or so covid tests as part of the city’s mass-testing and all clear each time. This could have gone so differently,  but I got where I wanted to get to, safe at home with those who love me and whom I love.


In closing dear people, this rant/ramble was a way of saying that it’s going to be alright. Vaccines have been developed (maybe a good thing, maybe not) and I genuinely believe we will get through this. I do, because as bad as 2020 was, it could have been worse and there were some shining moments, I have seen smiles, laughter rainbows and the simple joy of a 10 year old at Christmas. It’s been a rough year, but after having a few of them already, I thing I am going to get through this one too. The important thing to remember is although we are socially distant from one another, we are not alone. We have overcome miraculous odds just to get this far and we are not giving up yet.

I think the reason we do the new year/new me thing is that this time of year gives us a chance to start again, to write a new tale in the new year. Maybe our resolutions and goals pan out, maybe they don’t but let us try.

The words I have ingrained into my boy about adversity are two fold. One is that you always get back up. The other is The only time you ever fail is when you give up, everything else is a set-back.

This is going to be a HAPPY new year and if it isn’t, I’m going to make it one.

Who’s with me?

Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Miscellaneous

Random Stuff, banging around in my head

I have been having nightmares.

Work stress has got to the point that my subconscious is affected. Nightmares affect sleep, bad sleep drains you, which makes you more susceptible to unhelpful thoughts and low moods, which affect your subconscious, which can lead to nightmares and so on.

There’s a lot to be stressed about, a lot to be afraid of, from the ongoing co-vid19 crisis which seems to be unending to the events across the pond as yet another racist crime committed by law enforcement has caused protests and riots. We are watching a 1st world nation of great prominence and arguably one of the most important nations in the last century devolve right before our eyes. My heart goes out to people of colour over there and their allies and loved ones and hope change comes from this, because it really needs to, we shouldn’t still be here. The people there deserve better.

But last night I got a training session with my personal trainer Ali. We used equipment in his backyard and kept full social distance between us, but I got to use weights, TRXs and also did lunges and today I am SORE!!!!!

There’s so much to be worried about, so much to fear. But we don’t have to consider that the default. I am enjoying the sweet pain today, pain I earned, pain I appreciate. This lockdown has taken so much from me. It’s taken the freedom to move around, my walk to work/school with my son. It’s taken time with my parents, shopping being a casual activity and not some kind of psuedo-military operation and the ability to hug my parents. It’s cost me a couple of weeks away and so on.

I’m not seeing this as any kind of oppression or anything and don’t want my convenience at the expense of someone’s life or anything like that. But it’s a fact that this current situation has taken stuff off me. Last night, having a training session, it felt like I got something back. I’m paying for it today like, but it’s a price worth paying.

Little is better, work is as hellish as it has been with clients and their employees being as dickish as ever, but I got something back last night. Maybe as lockdown restrictions are lowered, we can get more stuff back.

We will be alright.

We are never as alone as we think we are.

Take care of one another and stay safe.


Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Miscellaneous

Stuff in my head today

It’s been a while internet people. I haven’t had the time, nor really the inclination to write anything for a while, even my regular projects have fallen a bit by the wayside.

Since I last posted, we are still in lockdown, here in Blighty the government has decided to change their official policy from one of clear advice and instruction to vague handwavy suggestions. So instead of stay at home unless you are in a key or essential job, we have go into work if you can’t work at home, but don’t use public transportation. You can go to the park, but you still can’t go and see friends and loved ones at home, you can see a friend in public, but not be close to them. You can go and exercise as much as you want, but there’s no gyms. It has been somewhat confusing. We are getting daily briefings, but less and less actual information is getting across. So lockdown continues, death-tolls rise and we somehow know even less than we did in the past.

It’s been a scary and also somehow boring time and this has created unique mental health stresses in unexpected places. I am still in work, my work is not healthcare essential, but I am a key worker in that I am in financial services and people still want paying in this situation. With my wife (the MIGHTY Rosie) working from home, it wouldn’t be practical for both of us to do so, so I go to work every day as usual. The unusual is the workload, the constant interruptions and the no knowing when things would get back to normal. Giselle the dept manager was off last week, I can understand that, I genuinely can, but it dropped me and the Disney Princess into a huge vat of the brown stuff. It got so bad that she had a bit of what she called a breakdown on Friday. It was difficult to see that, partially because I know how that feels and no one wants to do that in front of people at work. The other reason is that I couldn’t just go over and hug her. She’s not a hugger really and with people I am not close to neither am I, but I would have anyway except for social distancing. The company’s director (also her brother) came in and offered to do all kinds to help, yet when I spend 2 years complaining about how we are understaffed and over worked, nowt. Still it looks like we are getting help and that sounds like a good thing. But whilst most people are working from home or not working, I am working twice as hard as ever and feeling the strain. I get up, go to work, go home for lunch, go back to work, go home. Every day of the week and I have been feeling the strain.

When the announcement came that schools would re-open early June, my primary though was “that’s nice, but my son won’t be going in.” We’ve something like the highest infection rates in Europe and we need to be sending children into places were social distancing won’t be viable. Have you tried keeping 4 year olds away from one another? Try it, it’s like herding cats. Even if children aren’t catching it as much, they’ll still carry it from their homes to one another and this looks likely to increase the rate of infection. Science may not back me up, but it still seems too soon to be doing this and it be safe. It turns out that our city Mayer agrees and Liverpool (along with Hartlepool) have chosen to defy this June return date. Our city has decided not to reopen schools on the basis of public safety. I am in the position of being proud of a political body in this country. That is a bizarre feeling I must admit. The safety and well being of my son has been my focus in this era, getting him to focus on reading and learning while he is off, making sure he keeps social distance from everyone, even his devoted grandparents and trying to manage his hayfever in an increasing warm climate is the thing that I am focused on, so I don’t see him going back to school straight away, even if other kids do. It does make me look like a bit of an anti-vaxxer, but I get the feeling that this is an unprecedented enough situation to get me the benefit of the doubt, I want his life to get back to normal as soon as possible, but never at the expense of his well being and safety.

So these are the things that are going through my head right now, well at least some of them and I felt the need to get these things out there. But here’s the thing, it’s not all doom and gloom and I feel like I need to get some positives out there.

1: My love of comics has made a resurgence, despite all of the local comic shops being closed and the distribution being stopped, I have been re-reading lots of comics as well as using the sales at Comixology to enjoy new things. DC comics have started doing digital first comics, 17-22 page one and done comics that aren’t so continuity heavy and aimed at younger and laspsed readers. They have been really entertaining and at 80p per issue, really well priced. Superman, Batman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman and the Flash all have one and I have been really enjoying them. I think there is a Swamp Thing and a DC Girls one too, but I haven’t been reading those.

2: Local shops have become a staple of my shopping in a way that they haven’t  been for years. There’s a bakers that sells the cream soda that you used to get from the lemonade van that used to visit the streets where I lived during my childhood and that’s been a lovely slice of my childhood brought back. I have also spent money at a butchers and a fruit and veg shop nearby as well as several corner shops and newsagents, rather than visit Asda or Tesco and deal with queues and shortages. Asda and companies like that will be fine, so these smaller outfits need our support and our £s.

3: Delivery businesses. There are local firms that deliver fruit & veg and others that do cakes and treats and as a result I have had some lovely cupcakes recently. I know I should be eating better right now, but damn that’s been some tasty stress eating.

4: Whilst I have not been able to binge watch TV, I have been able to enjoy what has been available and will be posting about that soon enough, but I have been able to enjoy a re-watch of How I Met Your Mother with SuperSam and the MIGHTY Rosie, a Power Rangers re-watch with Super-Sam and Grey’s Anatomy with the MIGHTY Rosie. I also watched the ‘documentary’ Chris Claremont’s X-Men, which I found interesting.

5: I have started exercising in the morning, some pull ups, push ups and stuff and now have a fitness tracker on my wrist (wow that’s a high pulse rate) and it’s kept my physical well being close to the front of my mind, which it should have been anyway and that early exercise has helped start my days off well.

6: My people. From the extended family I can only contact via social media, to my family (the aforementioned MIGHTY Rosie and SuperSam together with Lottie the Loopydog) my people have been the best thing about all this. SuperSam is reading stuff that I have given to him and we are walking the dog together and enjoying one another’s company. The MIGHTY Rosie and I are talking more and whilst we are both suffering in our mental health, we are talking about it more and being more of a team than we have in years, a year ago things were falling apart, but now even with the world ending outside our door we are good with and for one another.

7: It’s going to be okay.

I am not by nature an optimist, I suffer from anxiety and depression and as a result the negative is never too far away, but I honestly believe it’s going to all work out. The pandemic has exposed the ‘leaders’ in this world as being as uncaring as we feared, that the system is rigged against us and that all we are in reality all just in it together. But we are all in this together. Strangers say hello from 6 feet away, “Stay safe” has become the new “see you later.” We finally recognise our healthcare workers as the super heroes that they are and we are using social media to care for one another in a way we haven’t been for a long time. These are scary times, people are dying, but this shall pass and one day this will be alright and we will be able to walk in the sun again. We will be okay and if you are reading this, I hope that includes you. Well this random bit of verbal incontinence is done, take care of yourselves.