Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Thinking Thoughts on a Thursday

Thinking Thoughts on a Thursday 11: Raw

Hello internet people.

It’s been a rough couple of weeks and I have in no uncertain terms been struggling. Work was an unmitigated nightmare and I found it all very stressful. It has all felt so very overwhelming. I wasn’t coping and it was getting in the way of everything. I was feeling the weight of everything and wondering what had changed.

Worked it out, I was feeling the weight of it. About 6 weeks ago, I went to my doctor’s and informed him that I wanted to reduce my anti-depressants, with the overall goal of not actually taking them anymore. Since my breakdown I have been taking them daily and am getting the idea that they are no longer doing me any good and for me it’s a concrete sign that I am getting better. I hemmed and hawed about it. worrying that my negative and obsessive thoughts would make a fast return and I’d go back to the terrifying earliest days of my recovery. I’d wish that on no-one, not even me. So anyway, went back to the doctors and we agreed between us that I should go onto one every two days, rather than one a day. And apart from missing the odd one at the weekend, have been doing the one every other day since. So, when do I notice the difference I wonder?

Now, now is when I notice the difference. Anti-depressants, don’t as a rule fix depression, no single thing can do that. They don’t make you happy, nor stop you feeling sad, the idea is that they give you the head-space to deal with shit. But one of the ways they do that is by blunting the effects of the feelings. So they stop you feeling so sad, but essentially stopping you feeling that much of anything. So I went from repressing my feelings, to battling my feelings through to suppressing my feelings to finally now experiencing them. For the first time in a few years, I am feeling everything  that I am feeling. Or at least I am beginning to. I didn’t notice it at first because, it’s takes about 4 weeks for changes in medication to have any real effect. For the first time in a long time, am feeling what I am feeling more. This has been an uncomfortable fortnight as a result and am sure the road will get rockier, long before it will get smoother. But I feel, maybe that I am becoming more present. I miss my son (away for a couple of days with his grandparents) and I mean really missing him, but that’s a pain I am happy to feel, for it reminds me how much I love him. I love my wife the MIGHTY Rosie and being close to her is where I know what hope, love and home mean. I never really worked out how to do feelings, but I am right now in the best company to start learning.

I spent much of the last two weeks, thinking something was wrong, but really, my heart is beginning to wake up. I have a lot of learning to do still.

I am loved, it’s time to show that I love in return.

I fear, it’s time to face that fear.

I am not falling back, this is just a more difficult climb than I expected it to be. But I honestly think I am up to this challenge.

We are mightier than we believe, stronger than we know and more valued than we often feel.

Even me.

 

 

Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Thinking Thoughts on a Thursday

Thinking Things on a Thursday 9: Gratitude

Hello there internet people.

It’s been a weird few weeks, some shit has happened, some of which isn’t my tale to tell, so will keep it to myself, work has been stressful and it’s been a week or two that I’ve been happy to get through. I am now 4 weeks into my half dosage of anti-depressants, hoping to go to the doctor’s next week and cut down even further. I feel better based on that fact alone. But after therapy yesterday and a bit of relaxation, I came to a strange conclusion.

I’m grateful for the shit I have been through.

Let that sink in there. Do I enjoy what the last few years have done to me? No. Do I like what this has done to my loved ones? Of course not. But there is another way of looking at this. After many years of repression, unhelpful thinking and a lack of interest in my own welfare, I was always going to suffer this. This wasn’t an if, it was a when. I wasn’t broken, but certainly how I thought of myself and how I did certain things, were clearly detrimental. But if I really think about it, I am grateful for what this has done, there are several positives about the last 4 years that came to mind.

1: The MIGHTY Rosie: Most married men can hold the assumption, that they have a partner in life, someone who has always got their back and will go to bat for them every single time. I don’t hold that assumption. I KNOW I DO. My wife has been my friend, my lover, my back up, my counsellor, but conscience and when needed the kicker of my arse. I don’t know what I did to deserve someone who loves me this well, but whatever I did, I’d do it again. I wouldn’t be here without her and even without all that, she will always have my heart.

2: You learn who really cares: I have a support system, that I never would have conceived of 4 years ago, certain family members, a couple of people at work who ask how I am, actually wanting to know and an understanding office manager, my trainer Ali, who has become one of the best friends I have ever had (Now don’t get cocky there Tea-Bag) my sister in law and others, it’s also shown me who I can and who I can’t rely on.

3: I am the lightest I have been in 10 years: Needing to focus on my well-being has got me more into exercise and eating better. I have lost weight, gained strength and am better in that respect than I have been for many years. It’s a small thing, but has made a big difference. The number of people who comment on the weight I have lost is phenomenal.

4: My boy: Going through all this, had made me appreciate how much I have and one of the things I have is being a dad. There aren’t words for it. I will never be a good enough dad for him, so therefore I need to keep trying.

5: You: If you are reading this, it’s because I am writing, which I started as a way of getting thoughts out of my head, or just writing to distract me, but I have read so many things about people’s struggles, their stories, their fandoms, their relationships and it’s opened the world to me, in a way I never believed it could, all this from a woman from Talk Liverpool, who suggested writing as a therapeutic aid.

There are many other things I could list, but they are the ones I thought of today. I am not the person I once thought I was, but the person I am becoming, I think he’s alright. Maybe it’s going to be ok, or at least, brighter than the dark places my mind used to live.

I’ll be back internet people

Posted in Feelings on a Friday, Mental Health Struggles

Feelings on a Friday 36: Weary, but have the time for a quick post

It’s a long day.

How long a day? Well am struggling to maintain any kind of positivity. It’s the type of day that I consider getting to start my lunch before 1:45 a win.

Yup, that long a day. It’s the last day of the month, I can see the light at the end of it, but somehow the tunnel seems to be getting longer somehow. I feel weary. That’s the best way to describe it. Not depressed, but just bogged down a bit by it all.

So lets try to find my five positives, because it’s the sort of day that will make them a struggle to find, but when you need them the most.

1: It is Friday. The weekend is here, well almost. There’s relaxation coming.

2: My son is happy. He’s wearing his own clothes, since he donated a bottle of wine. (I know right? Piss up at the primary school tonight!)

3: The MIGHTY Rosie called me at lunch, ill timed perhaps, since I’ve been having a bad morning, but I know that someone whom I love, was thinking about me. That has a power to it.

4: Am halfway through the first month of reduced tablet use. No dramatic change to how I feel, meaning that I am on the right path. I feel positive about this decision.

5: Had two gym sessions this week. Feeling stronger for it and was able to walk from the gym to therapy, so that’s a good 40 mins more exercise than I was expecting to have on the same day.

It’s easier to list what’s going wrong, but it’s the stuff that’s going right that you can remember.

Focus on the positives and remember this, everything that has opposed you so far, has done so, but you are still here. Every single positive step forward is a victory, not against anything, but FOR YOU.

We are all stronger than we believe we are.

Posted in Feelings on a Friday, Mental Health Struggles

Feelings on a Friday 35: Positive Steps

Hello again internet people.

It’s been a while since I’ve written here. I’ve shared stuff, but not written anything from me for a while.

I’d be lying if I said things had gone great. There’s been tensions, work’s been a nightmare and it’s all felt like it’s getting too much. Have had issues with anxiety, been feeling very down and to be honest unmotivated to do a lot of different things and that’s caused other problems. But here’s the thing of it. When you feel down, it’s very easy to fall into old habits of thinking and go through an old ‘script’ in your mind. There’s a voice, it’s always been there, a voice that is quiet when things are good and clear as day when it’s not. The voice that says “You are not good enough and don’t deserve the good in your life and it will be taken away.” It was upsetting to realise that voice was still very much present, though I don’t have to listen to it now do I?

Things seem to be clearing now, my mind more my own and this week have made got some shit done.

1: Spoke to the doctors, asked for a referral over something and also informed him that of my intention to come off my meds.

2: Took the first step, am reducing them by half for one month.

3: Got a workout routine from my second gym, which while doable is punishing to say the least.

4: Shared that workout with my trainer, who like it and then made sure I suffered for having done it the day before with his own routine.

5: Am going back to slimming world, kinda fell off that recently and am noticing that I have noticed some old cravings returning.

6: Am going to go and clear the backyard out, have been talking about it for a while, but there’s always something else to do isn’t there?

7: Time to start learning to drive, it’s just time to do it, rather than talk about it.

Overall it’s been a rough few weeks for reasons and other reasons and to be honest, there’s that whole when things calm down/start looking better, make these changes. But here’s the thing, that time is never going to happen is it? It’s been hard just doing day to day stuff and I’ve been feeling the weight of it recently. But when that happens, you have to plant your feet and move that weight and get one with your day, I have come a long way, I have further to go, but I have already come so far.

I always tell my son, the only time you fail, is when you give up. Everything else is a set-back.

Be back later internet people.

 

 

Posted in Feelings on a Friday, Mental Health Struggles

Feelings on a Friday 34: More messed up, because I am less messed up

Hello there internet people.

I’m not doing so well today, I am in no way in crisis, nor should anyone be worried. This isn’t a cry for help or anything, but this has been something of a week and it’s worth noting that.

Here’s the kicker, I’m not able to go into detail about why I am upset, or it’s origin. It’s not really solely my tale to tell and some stuff is just a little too close to home to put here. Those who’ve commented and such has shown that you are compassionate and reasonable people, so I am sure that you can understand. It’s the emotional pain itself that has really become the focus.

I am not okay, but that in itself is okay. For a long time in my life, I put pain in a box and hid it away in order to function. I was often unhappy and at times angry, but the sheer weight of the pain was displaced and so it never really hit me as things should. I have spent the last several years trying to change that. To a significant extent I have done that, because I can’t put the pain away anymore. Shit bothers me like it never did before, I am made sad by things more easily and more sad as a result. The wall of dis-association that acted as my armour for many years is gone and that leaves me vulnerable. I don’t like feeling vulnerable.

But lets look at it another way, this is a positive step forward. A great unanswered question was answered and an elephant in the room exorcised. 6 Months ago this would have been a crisis, a risk of backsliding further into depression and being more withdrawn. But I am not, I feel this and I am glad I do. I’m not doing this alone, have a friend I can talk to from time to time, my trainer (the Fabulous Alistair) my wife (the MIGHTY Rosie) as well as a therapist who told me that I stay with her, when not in session and has offered a lot of encouragement in this more recent journey.

I am not okay, but that in itself is a sign of being more okay. What I feel right now will pass, regular life with appear more regular soon enough, but knowing that I am not alone and am stronger than I may have thought is comforting in a time when I need comforting.

That’s pretty much it, but I just want to add, to anyone who reads this, thank you. I mean that, knowing that my words have any kind of audience, even just one person, means something to me.

Also, the weekend I helped put up over 20 pictures in the hallway, all mementos from the last 10 years. It was a lovely reminder that there’s always been a lot more good than bad. Bad makes a splash, causes problems, but it’s the every day good that really matters, if you add up all the tiny positives in your day and look at the negatives, the positives will be more, but we often don’t see it. Sometimes it’s better than we think it is.

Bye for now internet people I’m going to try and get to 5pm and get my weekend on!

Posted in Feelings on a Friday, Mental Health Struggles

Feelings on a Friday 33: The illusion of a functioning person

Hi there internet people.

It’s been a couple of rough weeks, it’s been a fortnight of despondency, struggle and fatigue for a dozen reasons wrapped up in things going badly. But as I write this (mainly because I am actually writing this) I realise that this fortnight is over and things are looking better. They’re not better, but they look it.

Some stuff came up in therapy this week, it was brought up by the MIGHTY Rosie and was in my mind as I went to therapy and it was the main thing on my mind, so it became the main topic of conversation. There’s details in this, which I am at present not willing to discuss, but in the end it seems like I haven’t really been doing feelings very well.

It’s a weird thing to say. I understand happy, sad, angry (no fucking question there) frustration (the millstone around my neck in more than one way) and so on, but the question became, do I experience them fully? Do I use them correctly? Can I express them well enough to be understood? I used to believe the answer was yes to all three. But I now realise that’s not really the case.

That realisation is both wonderful and horrifying in equal measure. I don’t like the intimation that I can’t fully embrace the human experience in a way I always assumed that I could. But then again, have I not always felt slightly out of place? A misfit? The outsider? Doesn’t that make a lot of sense there?

This may sound sad, like a man realising he is broken. But it’s not. For years I was approximating the stuff I should be living and repressing the rest, but now I realise what I have been doing, it just becomes another thing to change. In the last few years, I have learned despair, misery, fear, but also confidence, empathy and pride. This isn’t the story of my failure, though I know that it’s being written like that. It’s the story of my realisation that I have more to learn, new battles to fight and a new goal to aim for. This is not the story of my failure, far from it.

There’s a quote attributed to Winston Churchill about the second world war that this brings to mind.

“This is not the end, not even the beginning of the end, but it is perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

Time to be a functioning person, rather than the illusion of one.

This is the story of my victory.

Posted in Feelings on a Friday, Mental Health Struggles

Feelings on a Friday 32: #&@?!!!!!

I would love to say it’s been a good week.

I would also love to be honest.

I can’t do both.

I’ve struggled this week internet people, after an amazing Saturday with the MIGHTY Rosie, it didn’t take long for disrupted sleep, family emergencies and the stress of work to turn my smile upside down back to a  frown. Have been low for most of this week and stuff has been getting to me.

But, and there is always a but. I am moving forward. After a day of holding my tongue at work, this morning I  had a conversation with ‘gisele’ in work and pointed out that a couple of times yesterday, I tried to talk to had my throat jumped down. I didn’t bicker, wasn’t hostile, but I clearly got my point across. Feel better for that and with a comprehensive list of what was outstanding and a more relaxed situation regarding deadlines, I have been hard at it today and am making progress.

Making progress, maybe I should wear that like a badge. Because I am trying, life isn’t much easier, but I am moving forward. To be honest, it feels like it’s not good enough, or more accurately, it feels like I should be further along. I can be a bit OCD (a bit, I am not minimising the effect that obssessive compulsive disorder can have on someone) and that comes with that child-like need to have every neat and tidy and have a clear point where you can say, I am sorted. But that’s very child-state mentality there isn’t it? We’re never done, we are always in a state of becoming. There isn’t a place that I will get to and say, I’m fixed, or I’m healthy. I don’t see that as realistic, but as I walk through this life on my journey, on a more positive path, I can say that even though it hasn’t felt like it this week, I am further along than I have been. We think of these journey as linear things in a straight line, but we’re organic and irrational beings, recovery, integration and positive changes aren’t going to progress mathematically are they? Sometimes we feel that we’re not making progress, that we are in some ways going backwards, but we are not. Whatever pain we are in, is part of that process and we need to move forward. As a reassuring thing, when someone is going through stuff, I often say it’s OK, as in it’s OK that you’re feeling like this sort of thing. I suppose because it’s an easy word to find, since it has little intrinsic meaning. It’s not OK, but it is temporary, like most pain.

I suppose what I am saying is that it’s not been a good week, but you know what? That doesn’t mean it’s not a good life. We are stronger than the pain we feel, than the obstacles within our own minds and stronger than the things that oppose us. If you are struggling, remember this, the word is struggling. We are still becoming, we are not broken. We have never been broken, because broken people aren’t still fighting. If you are battling your demons, then that is what you are doing. Boxers in the ring, we may not take the title, but we won’t go down till the bell rings in the last round.

We are not broken.

We are survivors.

We are more than the evils that beset us, we can and we will stand.

 

Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Slimming World Saturday

Slimming World Saturday 15: Phoenix Rising

After the disappointment of last week, me and the MIGHTY Rosie got back on track and ate better and this week it paid off. The 2.5lbs I put on has gone and took another 2 with it. Yup, that’s right 4.5 off in a week.

Am I pleased? Damn right I am, but now is the time to keep this going, one gain was enough, only success will do.

The MIGHTY Rosie also lost 4.5, so wear both doing well.