Launch- mental health inspiration

Launch- mental health inspiration

The other day I sat and watched Apollo 13 with my daughter, a film I have seen countless times, but for her the first. She asked me not long ago about role models, and I told her I chose those people who faced adversity with strength and resolve. I spoke to her about the Apollo 13 mission and how even under extreme conditions people can still ‘hold it together’, granted they were highly trained and skilled people.

Showing her the film though was more to show her how it was not just the astronauts, but all of the support staff on earth who came together to solve the problem. Hundreds of people all working together towards a common goal. I told her after, these are the people I would class as role models. People who studied hard, became passionate about their work, and most of all worked as a team.

To me, you can keep your celebrities and sports stars, they, with a few exceptions are just distractions from the millions of ordinary people who work hard for the betterment of others. I wish I was one of those people, I will be one day. I often ask myself, am I better off being average at a lot of things, or concentrate on excelling at one? In the case of the NASA scientists, engineers etc, they excel at their chosen field. I admire them for that, I can’t help but admire all people who manage to build and stick to one thing.

I sadly never know when I wake each day, who I will be, never mind what. I have constant doubt and hesitation, when you have a long history of poor decision making, making any decision becomes a dilemma. A struggle I know that faces many people of all ages. Maybe it is because there is so much in the world today, certainly more freedom to choose which career path you wish to follow.

I will be 44 on Sunday, I have mental health problems, I have lost what little threads of direction in my life. I do have my degree which I hope will channel me, I should be a certified hypnotherapist, but I just didn’t do the paperwork, why?? Not only did I spend a lot of money on the course, which I did do all the practical training, but I enjoyed it. I like to think I was even good at it, but like a lot of things, I never finished it.

I am a history of faded dreams, I close my eye and imagine those rockets launching into space, and I think to myself, “If we can put a man in space, surely you can do the housework”.

Peace and love

David

This blog post is inspired by The Daily Post, daily prompts

Finally someone listened

Finally someone listened

Today I had my three monthly review with my consultant psychiatrist, it was the first time I had seen this one, in fact I always seem to have a different one. This Doctor however took the time to review my notes, which were a mess according to him. My medication also baffled him, but when I explained that some was to control the epilepsy others my mental health he kind of got his head around it. Most importantly though he asked the magic question:

“Have you had a diagnosis?”

I explained, yet again, my history, symptoms and feelings, but no, I have no formal diagnosis. He seemed somewhat shocked that after over two years I was still undiagnosed. I told him that I had my own feeling, that I was either bipolar or borderline personality. Finally someone in the medical profession agreed that, in his words “it fits, and there is a lot of overlap between the two (he drew two overlapping circles and shaded the overlap), you may well be here” pointing the shaded area.

For those that follow my blog, you will know that I do not hold ‘labels’ in high regard, however, as a diagnosis of a condition they provide the first and best comfort,

I AM NOT MAKING ALL THIS UP

It may sound stupid to you but I sit here and I feel like a great weight has been lifted off my shoulders, even though I know that aside from seeing my psychiatrist, there is no chance of therapy. It is a good job that I am training to be a therapist, although it is much easier to help others than it is ones self. I can now concentrate on building a care plan for myself, using the reference material to help keep me on track. This is where the DSM5 and/or ICD10 are useful.

I have often written, learn to help yourself first, then you can help others. So I shall start, here, now, I am still not a ‘label’ or a statistic. I mentioned in a previous post about using my birthday as the start of a 365 day plan. A plan is forming in my head, as the A Team would say “I love it when a plan comes together”.

For now, peace and love to you all,

David

The trouble with alcohol and mental health

The trouble with alcohol and mental health

I finished off my last blog post quite abruptly as I went out and had a few pints. The whole post was looking at how easy it is for me to get distracted, alcohol seems to be one of the most devastating distractions. I have in the past drank to excess, a whole period of my 20’s is lost in the mist of poor decision making and covering my health problems with a veneer of alcoholic, and to be honest narcotic remedies.

I live in quite an isolated area, even though I live close to family, the epicentre of life revolves around the local golf club. I am even a member, though I seem to spend a lot more time there drinking than playing golf. This hurts me, if I am to be honest. I am so scared of drinking that I often avoid the place purely for that fact. This is a difficult post to write, mainly because it is forcing me to face how I deal with alcohol, and more so, why I drink.

When I drink I am intoxicated by the second pint, by intoxicated I mean that I feel the effects of drinking. Pint three is the tipping point (not the pint), once pint three has gone the thirst is upon me and I want more. To drag myself away at this point is very hard, I want more. Around 5 or 6 I am drunk, slurring, stumbling and the likes. The inhibitions are gone and I am free to talk and joke and basically not give a fcuk. Obviously some might say, well thats not exactly a lot to drink, which is true. However I do take a lot of powerful medication and I am not one for eating regular meals.

I try to follow a strict medication routine, my meds enable me to wobble the narrow line of being a competent person. They have been honed over time to keep me balanced, but when I drink not only does it feed of the medication. I also stop taking it once I have had a drink because I’m worried about the effects. I struggle the next day because of feeling the effects of the day before, and so my meds routine goes out of balance and so do I.

I know within myself that I should not drink, at all. Just say no, as the saying goes. I also know that I should eat healthy, and regularly. Knowing these things though, does not necessarily mean that it is easy to do. I do not wish to label myself as an alcoholic, at the risk of offending those that face a bigger problem with alcohol in their lives. I do however feel like one. Sitting here, using hindsight as my evidence, I honestly feel that alcohol needs to be cut from my life. No just taking it in moderation, having just a couple, it needs to be a complete stop.

If ever anyone needed to know the power of writing just for the sake of writing here it is.

Thank you all and may you know peace,

David

A normal day for some

A normal day for some

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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

 

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.