A normal day for some

A normal day for some

happy-wedneasday-2

Considering I was up until gone 2 this morning, I awoke bright and fresh ready to seize the day. Wonderful you may thing, good for you! All though is not as it seems, the black cloud is just there on the horizon, the mind full of the zapping negative thoughts. I am trying to push them back, I have my mental fly swatter at hand. In these times I try to keep busy, and when you live life in constant chaos there is plenty to do, normally just shuffling one lot of crap from one corner of the house to another.

Let us not dwell on the negative here, I have a plan to be both productive and calm. It involves a little app and a bit of hypnosis, that’s right I shall endeavour to turn myself into a chicken! No, seriously having studied hypnotherapy I see a very powerful tool, I have recorded a small ten minute relaxation and motivation script and will use the BeFocusedPro app (IOS). The app will give me 25 minute windows for being productive, interspersed with 10 minute breaks, (when I shall listen to my script). Lets see how it works, the time is now 11am and on a scale of 1-10 my motivation level is about 6.

12:03

Okay I have done two sessions of 25 minutes each, however I just sat down for the 10 minute break. Motivation level now about 3, just want to sit and have a nap. Even clock watching till meds time which is something I rarely do. Would help if dog wasn’t being a pain in the arse like he normally is when I ‘do housework’, I emphasis this because I have a nasty habit of letting things build up and then attack it with all the effort I can muster.

Having started several chores around the house (none of which completely finished), I need to go out and run some errands (I do like that term, much better than saying i’m going to the shop). Before I go I shall listen to my 10 minute relaxing motivation recording, lets see if I can motivate a bit.

14:10

Okay, I listened to my script (yes, I recorded it myself) and I did manage to relax (I was sat down), once it finished I went out and ran some errands, I came back and continued fighting with the housework. Motivation level right now is about 4-5, I don’t want to do any more but in my head my own words are pushing me on. Going to have another listen now ………

14:55

Well I managed another productive 25 minutes, though I will admit that I got slightly distracted towards the end, but when you move things and find something you have been looking for it does brighten your day. I must say that I am a bit of a hoarder, in the way that I loath throwing things away as they might come in useful. I have tubs of old cables and other assorted electronic items that ‘one day will be used’. I could write a whole blog post on clutter (makes a note) but suffice to say that it does make life difficult.

My motivation level now is pretty good, shall I say a 6 or maybe even a 7, I see the end in sight of sorting the living room. Just to clarify, I am doing a clean my mum would have been proud of, moving furniture and even using polish! (although I think she would despair at the time it has taken me). Anyway, the final push, I have no need for relaxation-motivation, I can do this…..

16:35

I did it, the living room now looks tidy enough, that should I ever have visitors I would be happy for them to actually enter the house. I shall not go into how the rest of the house looks but I am at least happy with my efforts. Did the 10 minute relaxation-motivation help, well, I think it did, however I recorded it and I believe in it so I would say that would I not? Truth be told, if I didn’t find any benefit from it I would not have bothered. To most people, this must be the most boring blog post ever, for that I apologise. For a few though, those who struggle with even simple tasks, maybe it will give them strength in the knowledge that they are not odd, not pathetic, not lazy. In fact it is hard to get across to some people just how difficult it can be to do simple things.

Comments and discussion welcome, providing it is positive and constructive.

Have a pleasant day

David

 

Isolation the curse of current humanity

Isolation the curse of current humanity

In my mind at the moment is the desire to say bollocks to all social media, and yet, hypocritically I am using social media to express my distaste. I am not saying social media is bad, this is a personal feeling and not one I intend to impose on others. At one time I was very active via social media promoting the injustice of the mental health problem faced not only in the UK but also across the world.

Did I give up? It is hard to say. Did I lose faith, what is faith? I think I just lost control, I became so self-absorbed in my own battle with mental illness that I lost touch with my focus on helping others. I am sure I have written before about how I desire to help others cope with the dark shadow that is mental illness. I am not doctor, I am just an ordinary man who has spent a lifetime destroying my life.

I am at that stage in my cycle where I need to be alone, and yet I can’t shake the feeling that what I am doing is wrong. These words I fire into the dark are futile I know. Who the hell would want to listen to advice from someone probably more fucked up than they are. I just wish I could find something to champion, some way of creating a unified group of people who would become the core of a progressive system to help others.

I find personal contact difficult, when ever I meet people, even those close to me, I feel like an outcast, yet social media gives me the opportunity to have a voice. Here you can spot my dilemma, I am lost in the social media world, maybe its my age. I therefore ask anyone who reads this to help me re-engage with the cyber community . I look for not only those who need help, but also those that have positive input.

If you do read this, I thank you, please share my ramblings in the hope that somewhere out there are like-minded individuals who desire to share their voice, their story, their ways of using social media in a productive manner… This whisper in the dark is, I hope the start of something greater.

The problem of direction

The problem of direction

Confusing Directional Signs

 

I find myself at that point where I desire to go back to work. It has been two years since my breakdown, two long years. I have learned a lot about myself in this time. Unfortunately I have learned that I am unable to trust my own judgement. At 44 years of age I am still undecided what it is that I wish to do with my life. I am scared after so many stupid decisions the trend will continue.

It is quite an existential problem working out your place in life, the more I think the more philosophical the answers become. When I first had my breakdown I threw myself into trying to support and help others, this proved to be just as damaging as the breakdown itself, though over a longer period. I surrounded myself with mental illness, I guess I lived it, not only through myself but through others. To know that you are not alone is helpful, however, in hindsight, I guess I should have been more selfish, more orientated to my own wellbeing.

I spent a large sum of money on a course to learn cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy, I believed in it, I still do, to a point. Like many things though I did not see it through. Self doubt crept in, maybe it was always there, maybe I was just setting myself up for another fall. Whatever the reason I still was left feeling a failure. Whilst I have achieved much in my life, I do not think I finished anything. So many open pathways left to become overgrown. Almost every day I have different ideas about what I should do, this causes a lot of confusion and despondency, then nothing gets done.

I try every day to do things, I even have an app on my phone with a list of things that need to be done, even down to brushing teeth and eating breakfast. Where I want organisation I find chaos, I find even keeping the house tidy almost impossible, there is only myself, a dog and a cat! I even have to have alarms set to remind me to take my medication, I guess I am painting a pretty feeble picture. When I look at this, my current lifestyle, I wonder, “can I work?”. I fear my reliability, some days are better than others, however I don’t think I have gone a week where I could say I was reliable.

I tried looking for work to do from home, seems there is not very much call for people who are good with spreadsheets, and data analysis is all I am really good at. If life was one big spreadsheet I would be sorted, I would no longer have any worries. Alas it is not to be, I shall have to find another direction, the problem is, which direction do I go?

Part one – loneliness

Part one – loneliness

I shall keep this brief as it is late, my mind is numb and yet continues to ponder, as it does. I have no defined diagnosis for my problems, the book of all knowledge however would put me nicely into the borderline personality disorder Pidgeon hole. I do not wish to dwell on diagnosis however, more one of the less discussed problems of living with mental illness.

Loneliness, the curse suffused by many, even those surrounded by others. Despite people close to me knowing that I am ill, they struggle to grasp the full extent of it. Even those who suffer from milder forms of illness, those who require help due to life circumstances, question why I am like I am.

Truth be told, even I question who I am, yet the one thing I know for sure is that, I will not get over my problems, I just learn to live with them. I look back at a life blighted by poor choices, relationships destroyed and career opportunities left to crumble to dust.

I live a lonely life, so very scared to let people in. Despite my desire to find acceptance, I always feel an outsider. Everything I do, I do so with the feeling that I do not belong, that I am different, that people view me as odd. I have developed a chameleon attitude, never me, just like an actor playing a part. I have spoken openly and honestly in the past, yet I lost my way. I believe in being open, however I respect those that remain silent.

I am alone in my mind, but I understand why. Whilst I will live a lonely life, I hope that others who feel the same can take some comfort in knowing they are not alone, the pain is shared. I never give up hope, and I believe that building a foundation of experience about living with mental illness is crucial in beating the loneliness, life is to short for suffering, maybe together we suffers can find a solution.

The trouble with to many Doctors

The trouble with to many Doctors

Today I finally made an appointment to go and see my GP. I received a letter a few weeks ago asking politely to make an appointment, I knew what it was about. I had failed to respond to a neurology appointment, with everything that has been going on family wise I just could not face it.

So today I finally went, I explained why I did not reply and the Doctor said he would write to them and get me back on the list. End of that story. The GP practice what I am with has seemed to have expanded recently, a lot of new Doctors and they rotate around the several surgeries. I am used to seeing the same person, a person who knows my history, who knows the reason for my medication.

The new Doctor I seen today was good, but he struggled to understand me when I explained why I was on certain medication, namely Pregabalin. In vain I tried to explain some of my past, how myself and my ‘regular’ GP had built a working medication plan. I felt that he was more interested in the addictions of the medication than the help it gave me. Most importantly he made me start to question my medication.

I have been and still am to some extent in a major depressive state with periods of mania. My medication is my baseline. My feelings and emotions above or below that baseline enable me to gauge my emotional state. From here I can apply the right coping mechanisms to retain some state of ‘normal’. Some of my medication I know I can increase and decrease depending on the severity of how I am feeling. I have spent a lot of time finding this balance, the last thing I need is doubt.

I guess I am not the only one to question their medication, I read it a lot on forums. People questioning if what they feel are side effects or symptoms. With long-term mental health problems it is a difficult thing to untangle. Most of my medication is addictive, so how do I know if problems I encounter are due to this? All my medications have side effects, how do I know if they are the problem? I guess, thus far I have relied on my continued understanding of myself. I have spent a lot of time learning, not just about mental health but also how to recognise changes within myself.

Today opened up a door of doubt in my mind, a door I will have to walk through and face. Maybe it will change my thinking, maybe it will cause a chain reaction of doubt that will spiral me downwards. Either way I must pay attention to this doubt. As I sit pondering what I am writing I feel that change is in the air. I need to think, find clarity, and listen to my inner self………..

Drawing strength from the past

Drawing strength from the past

 

I wrote the following blog post 12 months ago today, I am moved by what I wrote then and wish to add a little bit more……….

I find myself wondering if those that end up being committed to hospital because of their actions are actually in a better position that the rest of us? Imagine being able to turn yourself inside out and all the rage and frustration that we keep contained within was to just be allowed to be free. What it would be like to just sit in a corner and just stare for hours in silence, to scream at the top of your voice to vent. I wonder if on the inside they have calm because they can release?

We are expected to sit on a powder keg of emotion and yet present the world a normal exterior, to behave like drones. Right now I do not know what emotion is going with which problem I have, I have so many worries right now maybe they are all interrelated. All I know is that showing calm is now a separate entity to the one inside, I exist as two people and where one is cold and numb the other is crying softly in the corner of my mind. I am still very much broken and coming to realise that it is probably easier for me to crumble completely and rebuild than keep trying to patch myself up.

Am I a failure to want to press pause on life and step outside it for a while? So many people I know are battling their problems each and every day, what right do I have to cheat? Why should I just give up in the hope that by starting from scratch I can rebuild it right this time. It wouldn’t be the first time I have done so, build, destroy, rebuild, destroy, why will it be different this time? Maybe the fact that at least I have at last faced the fact that I am not well and rebuild with that in mind might help, maybe accepting that who I am is vastly different to who I was. Maybe I should sit at the table with my demons and have a meeting, see if we can come to some kind of arrangement that best suits us all.

I have moved in a direction to clear the way but I am sat surrounded by guilt and doubt wondering which way to proceed. I do not regret but I do suffer, I just know that the job is not finished yet and that I am not going to give up on life but I do need to clear away everything for a fresh start. I need to let the last bit of my old self crumble and restart. I long to find that moment of inner peace like that moment when meditating that for a second it all disappears and you are at one with yourself before you realise and smile but it goes because you have seen it. I want to be able to smile because I am smiling inside, be able to frown because I am frowning inside. I want to be able to know that what I feel is real and not the result of some other issue, to never have to lie and pretend I am someone else.

So where does it leave me? A coward for wanting to just let go and say to hell with it all and just rebuild. Or do I keep patching up each damaged bit as I put it right and hope that one fix does not create another problem? It seems such a soft option to just turn around and say look, I am not okay, I am damaged beyond what you could believe but then who would understand. Can I handle the looks of pity and being treated like a child? I can’t seem to find anymore words………………

It would be nice to sit here and continue this with many positive statements, to say that reading this has shown me how far I have come. The sad thing is that even after a year, reading this still brings a lot of pain. The most painful thing about reading this is that I seem to have lost the ability to express myself like I did back then. True, I have progressed, I have started my degree and other courses focusing on mental health. This knowledge has and continues to help me help myself. I understand myself better now, but I am still not far from the man who wrote the words above.

The scary part of learning about mental health and the ways in which it can be managed is that you have to reflect upon yourself. For several months now I have been to scared to blog, I feared that what I write would contain to much of my new insights, become a source of debate. I have learned so much about myself, so much so that I realise there is much I do not know. A year ago I was tormented by demons that I did not understand, I know now that the demons were me, and me alone.

I do, however, draw inspiration from what I wrote, the line¬†“I am damaged beyond what you could believe but then who would understand.” is especially¬†poignant. Through this very blog and Twitter I found a whole world of people who understood, people who even thanked me for writing what they themselves felt. The people close to me, my family and friends took time to understand, I have been moved on many occasions by the positive feedback that I have received. I still doubt myself, I worry too much that I will fail once again.

The time I feel has come though to stop hiding in the shadows. I once vowed that I would learn how to help myself and help others. That conviction stands! The road is still long and bumpy but I draw strength from the knowledge that once I had the power to share myself openly, to say the things I felt. I must find that power once more, this blog, my journal, my story.