Category Archives: Booze

Small fish humongous pond

Today is/was the 15th October 2017, last night I went to the Midlands Business & Community Awards….

(as a bonus I was able to wear my thin suit, I’ve been trying to aim for 10000 steps a day and I’m pretty sure because of this extra walking I was able to turn my nose up at my fat suit. I’ve walked down to Halesowen and so far have achieved 5610 steps…. 10000 target I’m coming for you today!!!!)

….anyway back to where we started. The Midlands Business & Community Awards, I was there supporting an amazing lady, Roz Lewis, along with other amazing people she runs an organisation called New Path Of Life (@NPOL2017) she didn’t win the award but even being nominated makes her a winner.  In 2016 I got a runners up award at the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioners Outstanding Citizens Awards, the winner of the Outstanding Citizen award was a 94 year old lady who was still going out on daily litter picks, cleans dirty street signs, removes graffiti, fund raises different charities and builds bridges within the community…. I know, WOW!!!! So I was extremely proud to be a runner up in the presence of her and all the other amazing people at the awards. I don’t know if this means anything or not but Roz is most definitely a winner in my mind, I’ve been doing some work with NPOL and she is amazing, what she and her all volunteer staff deal with on a daily basis is extremely inspiring, after my little break (which I’m now calling “Operation don’t go completely doolallytapp again”) I will definitely be doing more work with Roz and NPOL.

Whilst I was achieving my 5610 steps (so far) my noggin was flipping from positive to negative almost as frequently as I was checking my phone for the step total so far (possibly a bit obsessed….), this week started badly, so badly I took the decision that I’ve gotta take a step back from ‘exboozehound’ for a short while, explained in a couple Face Book posts and some YouTube Vlogs, below….

Monday 9th October

Tuesday 10th October (World Mental Health Day) Vlog

Tuesday 10th October (World Mental Health Day) Vlog on behalf of West Midlands Combined authority Mental Health Commission

Wednesday 11th October 1:40am

Wednesday 11th October Vlog “Time for a break “I’ll be back” “

Going through my noggin as I was walking was just how insignificant what I’ve done is in comparison to some of the people at last nights awards (wait don’t get angry read the rest of the sentence), I’m a seriously small fish in a humongous pond (we’re almost at the more positive bit, hold on) but you know what that seriously small fish has reached across some very humongous ponds and that seriously small fish is extremely proud of that. This seriously small fish has reached people in countries all over the world including America, Australia, Canada, Mexico any many more, in contrast to me saying what I do is insignificant I know I’ve helped people change their lives for the better and I also know I have saved lives. (Whether the demons are winning or losing they can’t take that away from me). Back in October 2013 I decided to start this blog, I decided to stand up and be counted, I forced people to listen to me, I decided I wanted to make a difference. Often I receive messages with words like ‘brave’ ‘courageous’ ‘inspirational’ and other amazing words that I never thought would be used to describe me, especially as I’ve spent most of my life hating who I am….

I don’t hate who I am these days, in truth there are times I quite like who I am, not just to do with the ‘exboozehound’ stuff but life in general, yes the demons work very hard to keep me hating myself and sometimes they get their way but I always bounce back. The demons are clever and devious often working on my life long belief that I’ll never achieve anything in life, yes I know I’ve said earlier I’m extremely proud of what I’ve achieved but here’s the thing cus I have this illness, anything I ever achieve will never be good enough for me and my demons. The decision to take a step back for a short while is quite possibly born on this belief that whatever I achieve it will never be good enough for me and the demons, added to that is my belief that I’m always gunna fail at real life, everyday stuff discombobulates me. I need to try and explain that a bit deeper….

(Reading what I go onto write below doesn’t explain at all any deeper why real life discombobulates me, nowts changed about my writing style eh Bell?, I’ll come back to it at some point. Or though thinking outside the box the fact that I went on to write the words below and not a deeper explanation of why real life discombobulates me is perhaps and deeper explanation in itself….?)

A lot of my strength and ability to keep going comes from forcing myself to stay in the day, which I believe is absolutely crucial to make progress in your recovery, if you had a crap day yesterday it doesn’t mean today has to be bad and if you’re having a crap day today it doesn’t mean tomorrow has to be crap as well. Sometimes staying in the day isn’t enough to deal with what’s going on with your mental health, sometimes it’s about staying in the moment and if that moment is a good one remember why that moment is good and remember you can have good moments, once you recognise…. (or accepted, huge words accepted/acceptance!!!!) ….you can have good moments these moments can begin to increase to good hours, good days, good weeks (I know good weeks sounds like utter bullshit, I’m even thinking bullshit as I type weeks….) . If that moment you’re in is a bad moment remember it will pass, remember what you’ve done to make these bad moments pass before, also remember that what you’ve done before to make bad moments pass may not always work so you will have to develop new (hate this phrase) ‘coping mechanisms’. If that bad moment builds to a bad hours, bad days, bad weeks remember everything you’re going through, whatever pain, this has all happened before and every time eventually you’ve got through it, yes it might of been extremely painful but you’ve got through it one way or another and you’ll get through it again. When bad times hang around for more than a couple of days some words I hear extremely often and think and say myself….

“I can’t handle this pain anymore”

“I’d rather be dead”

“what’s the point of fighting if eventually I end up back in this pain”

To be entirely honest I simply don’t have the answer to those words/questions and I doubt anyone has, and we would react differently to different words depending on what mood or place we were in our mental health, I can’t answer them for myself, what I can say is….

Bullshit
Bollox
Strap on a pair
Fuck the demons
“There ain’t nothing you can’t handle…. Eventually!!!!”

And of course….

“enjoy the good and ride out the bad”

And other things I definitely shouldn’t say, eg….

“Stop being such a fucking pussy” I actually said this to a guy last week, he called me the next day to say it was exactly what he needed to hear.

I am fairly sure you won’t find my approach as described above in any mental health training manuals!!!!

So to recap, went to an awards evening (in thin suit, woohoo), proud to be a runner up in 2016 to a 94 year old hero, 5610 steps (now 5744 as I’ve moved venues), hated me, no longer hate me, staying in the day, hour or moment and reacting to either good or bad, demons are fuckers, insignificant seriously small fish in humongous pond, proud seriously small fish in humongous pond with achievements to be very proud of, bit of unnecessary swearing (sorry), that’ll do for a recap.

Why did I want to write this post and why am I gunna publish it straight away and edit it later cus if I think about it too much I’ll talk myself out of publishing it?

I’m unable to sustain (is that the right word?) all the one to one stuff, group stuff (I do have people I can refer you to as part of www.2day2gether.co.uk, in fact I introduced 2 people to each other last night) committee stuff etc etc so I need a bit of time to reorganise my mind, commitments etc and make sure I take things in the right direction before I destroy myself and everything I’ve built over the last 4 years.

Mental Illness and addiction have taken away everything good and positive in my life, Mental Illness and addiction has also given me back most of the good and positive in my life, Mental Illness and addiction will not take anything good or positive in my life again!!!!

I want to leave my mark on this world and I want that mark to be a positive one, I want to leave a legacy (I know that’s not the right word and it’s a bit dramatic!!!!) so whilst I’m taking a bit of a step back I’ve started writing bits n pieces on a daily basis to monitor my state of wellbeing as part of this daily writing it’s my goal to write “A to Z handbook on surviving Mental Illness and Addiction” as I see it, I’m 100% sure some of what I will say/write people will disagree with, I’m also 100% sure if I do create this “A to Z” if I ever read it back I will disagree with me as well. I am also going to be thinking how to reach the friends and family of those with mental health and addiction issues, having met many carers over the last 4 years I know there is a huge gap in support for this, I’ve had conversations with friends and family many times before and I’m quite often surprised how little they understand about the nonsensical illnesses such as mental illness and addiction their loved ones are going through and putting them through, I’m also often surprised how quickly I can help them understand better and how beneficial this can be. I’m gunna be going through all the people in what I call my “VIP list” network and contacting them about how I want to move forward and ask if their on board, going right back to my first meeting with James Morris MP I tried to prepare notes prior to the meeting, in the end I only came up with one sentence “you’re either with me or against me and you don’t want to be against me….” Yes quite confrontational but James took it in the right way, I need to go back to more of the old confrontational exboozehound. I also want to look into if it’s possible to put some training together for what one guy called “the exboozehound method” in order to do this I’m gunna have to think about what my approach is built on other than simply honesty and lived experience. And finally for now I’m gunna be looking into starting a “private therapy” setup, where I will offer one to one therapy, family therapy etc this setup will be charged at an hourly rate, I know I don’t have the qualifications but I do have years of actual lived experience and I know I can offer something different to the “professionals” and when I say different I actually mean “better”. I have to look into this as an option to subsidise the other work I’ve done and will do moving forward.

So far my stepping back is looking like a lot of work, lol

As I said before “I want to leave my mark on this world, I want to leave a legacy” there’s a lot of conflict in my noggin when I say stuff like this, the conflict is between what the demons say to me and what people like you have said to me about how I’ve helped you and your loved ones.

Thank you for hanging on in there and getting to the end of this post, thank you again if you’ve clicked the links to the Vlogs and watched them , thank you for all your support over the last 4 years, without you guys I probably wouldn’t be here to write this post and plan a positive future.

I am exboozehound, that will never change but everyone of you that’s sent me a message, read my blogs, watched my Vlogs, purchased my book, responded to something on social media, everyone of you are part of what exboozehound has done and will continue to do, thank you xx

“enjoy the good and ride out the bad”

Keep going 😉

Negative Experiences

Hi, thank you for taking the time to watch the vlog “Them and us doesn’t work” and for taking the time to let me know your negative experiences.

I have built quite a network of people who can actually make changes and decisions and YOUR experiences will make a difference!!!!

Hit the “leave a comment” link (under the page title) You can post anonymously, your email address WILL NOT be shared, you will be asked to solve a little sum to prove you’re not a robot and I will have to accept the post before it’s shared on here.

“Them and us doesn’t work” and will NEVER work!!!!

all of us 2day2gether for a better 2morrow

Please add Country & Borough eg England, Dudley

Positive Experiences

  1. Hi, thank you for taking the time to watch the vlog “Them and us doesn’t work” and for taking the time to let me know your positive experiences.

I have built quite a network of people who can actually make changes and decisions and YOUR experiences will make a difference!!!!

Hit the “Leave a comment” link (under the page title) You can post anonymously, your email address WILL NOT be shared, you will be asked to solve a little sum to prove you’re not a robot and I will have to accept the post before it’s shared on here.

“Them and us doesn’t work” and will NEVER work!!!!

all of us 2day2gether for a better 2morrow

Please add Country & Borough eg England, Dudley

Peer Support Meeting

Hiya, on Friday I went to the meeting (poster below. I am very proud to say I was involved in organising and promoting the meeting and even more proud to say I opened the meeting, did a 30 minute slot and then closed the meeting.

 

image

When we were putting this meeting together our aim was to get as many “service users” there as possible, we weren’t sure how many would find the strength to attend but we were very happy with the turnout, in total about 70 people came along and approximately 30 of those were service users and even more brilliantly a good number of the service users got involved both vocally and engaged with the scoping exercise where we asked 7 questions: –

Scoping Exercise Questions
Each question to be written on flip chart displayed around the room
1. Can you describe what peer support means to you?
2. What would you like to know about peer support?
3. Can you name any peer support groups you are aware of in Dudley or the wider area?
4. What are your concerns/ worries regarding peer support?
5. What would encourage you to get involved in peer support?
6. What would you like to happen following the event today?
7. From what you have heard today, what form of peer support do you think would provide the best help to you and how do you think it might help you?

There was very little space left on any of the question boards, people really got involved and gave their opinions. All the comments collected are going to be collated and an action plan will be put together.

I opened the meeting with the following: –

ABOUT ME

Published 24th October 2013

Hi, my name is Jon I am “exboozehound” you can probably work out I have had one or two issues with booze over the years. Fortunately my last drink was on the 17th February 2003, the day before I started a 4 week stay at the Woodbourne Priory Hospital.

I have suffered with depression since my teens, I am now 40 and unfortunately Clinical Depression has got the better of me and is currently winning the war.

So, to sum up I am a 40 year old Mentally Ill Alcoholic who is winning against booze but losing against depression.

I have started this blog to share my experiences, good and bad. I am going to be completely honest and I guarantee I will contradict myself from time to time.

I have had a horrendous time over the last few months and if this blog can help even just one person in a very small way it will be worth it.

Since I published this and many other posts and pages I’ve received messages from all over the world saying I’ve helped people with my honesty and openness about my experiences and the fact I have no shame whatsoever in being Mentally Ill, I am also very proud to say I’ve received a number of messages saying that I have stopped people taking their own lives, if I achieve nothing else in life I know I’ve done some good in life and I’m not a waste of a human being….(as the demons like to tell me)

You know now I’m a “service user” just like some of you guys. I don’t even want to imagine where I would be right now after my mental breakdown in June 2013 if I hadn’t been inspired and chose to fight back and never stop fighting, possibly in a loony bin or more than likely dead (not a nice thing to say but I strongly believe it’s important to talk about suicide & suicidal thoughts openly)

Last week the news was advising the NHS is £1.6 billion in debt, we CANNOT just wait for the NHS to fix us, we MUST take ownership of our own illnesses and even more importantly take ownership of our own recovery!!! We can do this in-part by embracing Peer Support

Of course the cynical side of me and possibly some of you think “of course the NHS wants to promote Peer Support because they are getting it for free using volunteers” BUT, the fact is Peer Support works.

Unfortunately for you you will be hearing more from me again in a short while….

Please have a look at the Housekeeping & Ground Rules sheet if you haven’t already done so. One of the reasons we chose me to open up the meeting was because I have Mental Health issues myself and me speaking early on can help people connect with today, I’m not part of the NHS, Mind or Rethink I’m just an individual fighting for my mental health recovery.

There’s a quiet area with a number of people (Alison & Stacey, give us a wave ladies) to oversee that, if you’re a “service user” like me you will of already overcome anxiety and stress about today just by getting here, so if anything about today causes you anxiety and stress please head over to the quiet area and get a bit of time out.

Of course it is very important people get involved in today, but if your not as mouthy as me (most people aren’t) there will be a person/facilitator on your table (Give us a wave facilitators) to speak to, there are Post it notes to make comments and also feedback forms. Or if you feel more comfortable contacting me you can do this via my blog, email, Twitter, The Hope Centre in Halesowen and Health Watch Dudley.

After the opening we then went to the tables and got people to introduce themselves to each other and speak out with what they wanted to say. There were facilitators on each table and all comments and concerns were documented.

It then came to me again to talk about my experience of the local Mental Health Trust and I decided to go with the following post from right back in November 2013: –

YOU NEED THERAPY THE QUEUE IS 2 MONTHS

I’m not sure this is a good idea but then I have a life degree in doing the wrong thing!

Firstly let me stress that all the people within the NHS system that I have spoken to or seen face to face are amazing, the NHS Mental Health system doesn’t just let us (the ill) down it lets their staff down also.

Of course there is more to this story prior to August but I think that is a good place to start.

In August I was in a meeting with a counselor and she took a phone call it was my GP advising he thought I should be referred to a psychiatrist, she agreed and I was referred. I received my first letter from the “Early Access Service” dated 23rd August advising I would be seeing a Doctor on the 29th October. I then received another letter dated 4th September advising my appointment had been brought forward to the 27th September to see a different Doctor, I thought great they must of realised a 2 month wait was ridiculous. Then I received another letter dated 18th September advising my appointment had changed again to the 1st October, I thought oh well it’s still better than the original date so ok. What I didn’t notice until just before the 1st October the letter no longer advised I was seeing a Doctor I was now seeing a Mental Health Clinician.

At the end of the 2 hour assessment the Mental Health Clinician advised he would refer me to see a psychiatrist a medic and some therapy possibly CBT this decision is exactly what my counselor and GP had decided in August! I have no issue with the guy who was now making this decision he was like all the other people I have met in the system very professional and very caring. I will add at this point that the first counselor I saw back in June was also a Mental Health Clinician so it had taken 4 or 5 months to come to a conclusion we all knew back in June.

The day after my appointment on the 1st October I saw my counselor she advised the point of the referral was to see a psychiatrist and a medic she seemed very surprised I had been seen by a mental health clinician. Diplomatically she said It may of been they were trying to get through the back log they had so rather than me seeing a psychiatrist and medic I saw a mental health clinician in the meantime. My belief was this was just a case of being taken off one list and put on to another.

My counselor advised she would contact the hospital and see what was going on. She contacted me the next day and advised I would be receiving a letter saying I was to see a psychiatrist in November and I would also be hearing from elsewhere about therapy, possibly CBT. I was now on my way to being in Secondary care rather than Primary care. Having not received a letter on the 15th October I sent a text to my counselor (who I was no longer seeing because I had now been passed onto secondary care. There appears to be a No Mans Land between primary and secondary care which isn’t helpful) she called me back later that day to advise my appointment would be the 27th November and a letter was sitting on someones desk, they hadn’t had chance to post it out but it would be sent today. My counselor was brilliant, like everyone else I have met and spoken to.

Also on the 15th October I went back to see my GP, he extended my doctors note for another month and increased my medication from 100 to 150mg’s, he spoke about doing this a couple of weeks before, but didn’t want to do it then as I was soon to see the psychiatrist at the end of September and they would make a judgement on my medication at that point (lol).

Just as an aside because my GP had increased the dosage I had to spend another £7.85 for the extra 50mg, having spent £7.85 at the weekend for the 100mg. £15.70 is not a huge amount of money but it equates to 4.3% on that months SSP income of £364.00.

During my appointment with my GP on the 15th October I told him that on Sunday the 13th October I have made the decision to kill myself, I had been having a lie down because the buzzing in my head was driving me mad. I got out of bed and got dressed to go out and throw myself off a car park. This is not a nice subject but it is a fact I have suicidal thoughts all the time but they are just thoughts, this time it was different I had specifically gone out to get it done, but first I had to go and say goodbye to my cats. Spending a little time with the cats calmed me down. I know suicide is not the answer “it is a permanent solution to a temporary problem” and I am pretty sure I wouldn’t actually be able to do it but at that point when I left to see the cats it was a horrible scary real plan.

On the 18th October I received a phone call from a local mental health centre, they had received a fax from my GP advising he was concerned about me, again good people within the system doing good things, we spoke for about 40 minutes and during this time I was given a “crisis” number to call. The only time I had used a “crisis” number before unfortunately I called it during the day and it only operates after 5pm so my mistake. I was given another number to call so called it but I couldn’t speak to anyone there because I wasn’t known to them, they gave me another number, I called this number to be entirely honest I cant remember what happened with this number but it was either voice mail, engaged or unanswered, not very helpful!! But this time I had been given a number to call at any time by a very helpful very caring person so I felt good about this number.

On the 25th October I was in a state, feeling really unwell and desperate so I called the number I had been given. I got an automated message advising “the mailbox is full and you cannot leave a message” I don’t think there is a person out there that will think this is acceptable?

On the 21st October I had made a complaint to the Early Access Service Team, in fairness to them they initially responded very promptly, I was advised that someone would call me to discuss the situation. I declined this call and pointed out I wasn’t well enough to receive a call and felt that they knew this and that’s why they wanted to call me because they would be able to walk all over me (probably unfair to think this but that is what my thoughts were at the time). They responded by advising they understood and would write to me. I received their letter on the 11th November, the letter was dated 24th October and the envelope (which I have kept) is date marked 8th November, it would appear it took 2 weeks to post the letter to me!! There is another little story here that I will skip for now, I have written another complaint email and have been advised it is being processed as a “formal complaint”.

Unfortunately this “formal complaint” doesn’t end there, sorry!!

On the 28th October I received a letter from Therapeutic Recovery Services advising me to call them to arrange an assessment for possible further interventions. I called the number on the letter on Tuesday the 29th October, you can only call them Tuesday to Thursday between 8:30am and 12 noon and the letter advises to speak to a specific person. The phone was answered and I asked for the specific person and was advised “I don’t think “name” works here with us”. I couldn’t handle that, a well person would of been able to challenge that response by explaining the letter they had in their hand but at that point I couldn’t. I tried the number another seven times over the next 2 days and it was always engaged. I had now missed that weeks window to call.

On the 5th November I called the number again and asked for the specific person the answer I got was “”name” doesn’t work here”. This time I had more about me, anger, and explained the letter I had. I was advised the specific person worked elsewhere and was given the correct phone number. So I called the new number I now had, there are details in this phone call that for now I don’t want to include, but the basic details being the letter had been sent out by someone else on the wrong letter heading with the wrong number on. Yes, a very basic mistake that anyone could make but on top of everything else not very helpful and indeed a hindrance to my mental health. The outcome of this phone call was I now had an appointment for an assessment on the 11th November. The person I did speak with, eventually, was fantastic very helpful and I received the letter the next day.

11th November I went to my assessment, the lady I saw was brilliant. These people are very good at what they do she managed to get me to talk about things I hadn’t talked about before and realise things I hadn’t thought of before and this is within an hours assessment. Another fantastic professional within a pathetic, not fit for purpose system. We discussed various therapy options and at the end of the assessment she advised she would write to me and recommend I had a certain type of therapy which I was happy about. I then asked “what is the waiting list time” and was told it would probably start in January……. hence the title of this post “You need therapy the queue is 2 months”.

I have complained again, I don’t like complaining and it probably sounds pathetic but it is very difficult to write complaints and make phone calls when not well. i started this post at about 10:30 this morning and it is now 15:36. I don’t want to jump any queues, in fact my Dad has offered to pay for a private psychiatrist appointment, but I believe I have to see this through. This may be me being delusional but I want to do all I can to ensure other people receive better treatment in the future.

The government want people off benefits and in work, I have a job but I am signed off and my SSP runs out at the end of this year at which point I will have to claim for ESA. I don’t want to be on benefits but another one of the governments “systems” is ensuring I will be on benefits for a while.

Thank you for sticking with this post, i’m sorry it goes on and on but I will end it with a simple question…….

Is the above acceptable?

Keep smiling :)

I followed this up with: –

What I wrote in November 2013 and have just read to you is not exactly a positive endorsement of the NHS. I’m sure many of you have similar stories (I’m currently in an 18 week waiting lists for psychology, which has so far taken 22 weeks…. I have an assessment next week and have already been advised in the letter offering me the assessment,  “there will be a wait of a few months before this will begin”….

I hear stories like this and worse all the time, in fact on Wednesday this week I had a message from someone who is concerned about a friend who is very depressed and suffering big panic attacks and her counselling doesn’t start until February.

So I’m standing here in front of a fair number of people from Dudley & Walsall Mental Health Trust, people from the council and a number of Third Sector groups and I’m being very negative.

The reason for this is to introduce what I and a lot of people believe is one of THE ways forward and that’s PEER SUPPORT, we MUST have peer support setup from start to finish as soon as someone’s GP says I’m referring you to a counsellor, if the wait is a matter of weeks or months Peer support is very important and it must be made available to everyone.

Peer support can be a group of people meeting, it can be one on one meetings, it can be social media, it can be available and should be available in as many formats as possible. We don’t all fit into a perfect box, we are all individuals and all our needs are individual and the professionals should NEVER forget that and we have to make sure they NEVER do.

I run a group called “exboozehounds group for men” down at the Hope Centre in Halesowen, it bothers me a bit that it’s a group solely for men, but for some it has to be this way to allow the guys and me to be completely open and honest…. Who knows moving forward I could setup a group for all if there is a call for it and I’d be happy to do that….

As I said when I first spoke “ I don’t even want to imagine where I would be right now after my mental breakdown in June 2013 if I hadn’t been inspired and chose to fight back and never stop fighting, possibly in a loony bin or more than likely dead (not a nice thing to say but still very important to talk about openly)” They say the hardest thing is to ask for help…. well “they” whoever they are are very wrong…. The hardest thing is to ask for help and receive nothing or be told you will get some help but it won’t be for at least 2 months.

At the very first meeting putting today together there were 2 “service users”, me and one other. This brave guy spoke up and said he was getting no help whatsoever, he was neither in primary or secondary care and he felt completely and utterly lost…. sitting on his right was someone from Primary Care and on his left was someone from Secondary care and both these people said they would look at his file…. Since then I have spoken with this guy and he has visited my group, because he was strong and brave and spoke out in that meeting he is back in the system and being offered therapy and support. For me there is no bigger endorsement for peer support than that….

I’m gunna end with my current mantra.

We have to own our illness and more importantly we have to own our recovery, we can’t sit back and wait for the NHS to fix us we have to fight back for ourselves and find the help we need and the help we need NOW…. not in 6 weeks or 3 months…. NOW. Believe me I know how hard this is, the effort it takes for me sometimes to attend meetings and speak out actually makes me un well, but also sitting at home and festering makes me un well as well…. personally I would rather be un well because I’ve tried to do something positive for myself or someone else.

This is where my motto comes in a motto  I am very proud to say there are people all over the world that have told me they use my motto on a regular basis….

“enjoy the good and ride out the bad”

We KNOW bad times will come, that’s part of the game we play with our demons but we also know that every time we have played that game we have won. We know we have won because we are here and when those demons try to destroy us again and again in the future we will win again and again and again….

For me Peer support is all about “us” and “them” working together, owning our recovery and helping us realise we are not alone….

Fortunately my 30 minute slot seemed to go down pretty well, no-one fell asleep or started throwing things at me anyway….

As well as then going through the scoping exercise with the 7 questions above we were very fortunate to have a lady called Amanda from Wolverhampton Voluntary Sector Council who gave an overview of the Mental Health Self-Support Groups they have in place and have been working with for 20 years. I think it is safe to say people in the room were very impressed with the dedication and the results achieved in Wolverhampton. I’ve spoken with Amanda since and today when I spoke with someone from secondary care at Dudley & Walsall Mental Health Trust I stated the obvious that we should ensure we continue to speak with Wolverhampton VSC and learn from them.

We then had an overview of what the people in the room had said in answer to the 7 questions and any other comments there was some amazing stuff, people really got involved. After another period of discussions the question was put to the room “can we have a show of hands of those here who want to be involved in these Peer Support meetings moving forward?” The response was amazing, over 3/4’s of the room put there hands up, bloody amazing!!!! it then came back to me to close the meeting, I’d forgotten I was supposed to be doing this and fortunately for everyone in the room I hadn’t prepared anything, or perhaps unfortunately as I do have a tendency to go on a bit…. I closed the meeting with a massive amount of positivity, to have seen how involved everyone had got and how many people wanted to continue the journey was truly satisfying and amazingly positive for the near and distant future of Mental Health well being in Dudley & Walsall.

During the breaks I was introduced to some really brave people who had gone through a lot of anxiety and stress to get to the meeting a number of them will be hopefully coming to “exboozehounds group for men” at The Hope Centre. I have phoned someone since Friday who was at the meeting but left early due to anxiety, I also spoke with someone who’s husband is pretty much housebound due to depression and anxiety and I’ve said I will go and see him at home. These are two more examples of Peer Support, Peer Support can be one to one, face to face, on the phone, social media, groups of people together, there really is no limit to what Peer Support can do and can be.

To bring all this back to reality, although I am very proud to have been involved in this meeting as much as I have it has had an adverse effect on my health (not after sympathy!!). Over the weekend I have done an awful lot of sleeping, although I was very happy to be able to go to the cinema with my brother and nephew on Saturday, I really enjoyed that but as soon as I got home I had an overwhelming feeling of depression (again not after sympathy!!) just being honest and realistic. For me a lot about being in control of our mental health issues is keeping on a level, this in part is done with medication, every time there is a high point in my life it is followed by what feels like a very low point, when in fact it is just the process of coming back to earth, back to reality, back to the level we get used to. Just like in a “Normals” life there are ups and downs we need to recognise this and develop more and more coping mechanisms to deal with the perceived down before it gets out of control.

Thank you for making it to the end of this post, I hope you found it interesting and inspiring….

Mantra time again….

“We have to own our illness and more importantly we have to own our recovery, we can’t sit back and wait for the NHS to fix us we have to fight back for ourselves and find the help we need and the help we need NOW…. not in 6 weeks or 3 months…. NOW.”

“enjoy the good and ride out the bad”

Keep going 😉

Jon aka exboozehound
@exboozehound
www.exboozehound.co.uk

Oh and don’t forget my Thingymajig (memoir/book)




Look at me

It’s been said to me before that I only created exboozehound for attention, wrong!!!! but I can understand why people thought that. I was constantly putting stuff on Face Book and Twitter on the subject of my suffering, which could quite easily seem a bit “woe is me”. I openly admit to using Face Book and Twitter as therapy and I’m definitely guilty of wanting people’s support by way of comments to help me feel better about me. Someone said to me a couple of weeks ago that they found it odd that I still keep reposting stuff about mental illness and depression now I’m a lot better and on the right track, my response to that hopefully confirms to people that I didn’t create exboozehound for attention and although this will come across a little “ooohhhh look at me I’m awesome” exboozehound was created because I wanted to make a difference. I continue to repost stuff about mental illness and depression when they make sense and strike a chord with me, because if they strike a chord with me then chances are they will strike a chord with others who are suffering.

Oof!! that does come across very “ooohhhh look at me….” but to be honest I really don’t care, people who actually know me will know it’s not about me, it’s about trying to make a difference, how ever small. There is still far too much shame and stigma around mental illness, there is still far too many people suffering in silence unable to ask for help and take it from me if you don’t ask for help eventually your noggin will explode and once that explosion has happened it’s a fucking long way back!!!!

The exboozehound blog was started just over a year ago, (my About Me page was published on the 24th October) whilst in a desperately depressed state considering suicide on a daily basis I found a memoir written by an Australian called Daniel Baker and whilst reading it I started to notice a lot of the things he had written, thought and experienced were very similar to my thoughts and experiences, it made me feel I wasn’t actually “mad” (debatable, lol) or completely on my own, I was just un well…. Reading that memoir really helped reignite my fight, the fight against mental illness completely and utterly destroying me. It then came to me that if a complete strangers words could do so much good for me that maybe my words could do the same for others. Very quickly after starting the blog I started to receive comments about how my words helped make sense of the madness in people’s noggins and how I used words to describe my pain that their loved ones had used. For me the beauty of this is that the more we talk and the more honest we are the more people will realise they are not alone, they are not weird and if there is something telling you “there’s something not quite right about me” you could very well be right but whatever it is that’s not quite right there will be people out there who can help and probably just as important it’s nothing to be ashamed of if you might be a bit different and not “normal”….

What’s “normal” anyway?

Who wants to be “normal”? Not me!!!!

Someone once said to me you seem “normal”…. I’ve never been so insulted in my life!!!!

We are all individual, life would be very dull if we were all the same and if our individualities are good, bad or ugly it doesn’t matter our individualities are what makes us who we are. It’s frowned upon to say “my mental illness is me”, but I don’t see why, for that to be a negative statement we have to believe that EVERYTHING about our mental illness ways is negative and it just isn’t!!!! There’s a lot of positive traits that mental illness has a hand in, my mental illness and probably alcoholism made me a good sales man because I was able to use my unbelievably strong manipulation skills to make sales happen, these same skills were very useful for my last job role as an account manager. Mental Illness made me think differently and do things differently and when you are different you stand out for good reasons as well as bad reasons. I used to joke a lot about being “anal” about details and things being right, for me that’s a bit of OCD that makes me strive for perfection (positive and dangerous). My mental illness fuelled noggin spent years and years telling me I was a useless waste of space so I had to try harder and harder not to believe that and achieve something to prove it wasn’t right and after all that exhausting effort unfortunately I never actually achieved anything….

When I say I’ve never achieved anything people tend to remind me that being a retired alcoholic is an achievement, not to drink the glorious liquid that I love so much, the liquid that made me feel amazing, that basically made me feel like a person and drowned out the shite going on in my mind, booze to me was everything, NOTHING else really mattered, if I wasn’t drinking it I was thinking about drinking it and getting to that place of complete euphoria and peace also well known as being completely and utterly shit faced!!!! Mmmmmmmmmmm, Doh!! I no longer have that option, booze can no longer be my saviour, booze can no longer be my place of freedom and hasn’t been for over 11 years, I still miss it but I know I cannot control booze it controls me. So is giving up the booze a real achievement, I guess now it is, it has some meaning because being a soba alcoholic is another huge part of what I am…. So in conclusion I am basically made up of 2 horrible, horrendous, appalling illnesses that can and do kill on a regular basis, being alive and being me (whoever that is) is an achievement in itself…. More often than not things in my life a pretty good, I don’t have an awful lot of stress as I have pretty much no responsibilities these days, I’m on a good track, I’m on a level and I’m fairly stable….

Mind you to achieve that good track, levelness and stability I have to take 300mgs of medication a day…. Who gives a fuck, I’d stand in a bucket of custard, naked and painted pink if it kept me away from the place I was a year ago…. (Obvs I would only do this in the summer when it’s a bit warmer….)

No matter how horrendous life gets it can and WILL get better if you are honest with yourself and those around you, ask for help, demand help, be patient cus help doesn’t tend to come very quickly, keep using that help, and keep being honest and open about the you that is you and not the you you think you should be. We are all individuals and being that individual honestly is very very important cus if you keep wasting energy covering up and hiding what is making you individual you will never make any progress in life and not just conventional life but deep down real life….

So, back to the title “Look at me”….

Attention seeking for me is definitely not what exboozehound is about, getting attention for the subjects of mental illness and alcoholism is what it’s about, both of these illnesses cause an horrendous amount of pain to many many more people than we would ever believe. They are illnesses just like any physical illness some people have them and some people don’t.

It’s starting to feel like exboozehound is starting to achieving something, ONE person can make a difference. But even though exboozehound was started and created by just one person exboozehound isn’t just one person, exboozehound is you and anyone else that has ever read any of the nonsense I write, exboozehound is anyone who’s had the courage to leave a comment on my blog, exboozehound is anyone who has favourited, retweeted or replied to anything I’ve ever tweeted on Twitter, exboozehound is anyone who has liked, shared or commented on anything I’ve ever posted on Face Book, exboozehound is anyone who has purchased and read my book erm memoir erm Thingymajig on Amazon (still available at a relatively reasonable price, and has a couple of five star reviews….)

I’m proud of what exboozehound is starting to achieve, I am proud of what ALL of you have done to help that progress and this week that progress includes….

Monday – met with someone with things that are troubling in their life and shared my experiences, beliefs and theories on how to deal with there troubles.

Wednesday – attended a meeting run by Dudley Council to discuss Adult Social Care and agreed to join a “people’s network” to put my money where my mouth is and invest time in building that network to benefit all that need help for whatever reason.watch full movie Aardvark onlinefilm Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 2002 trailer

Thursday – met with Governance International, discussed and agreed for me to get involved in their work bringing people together to work towards improving mental health care. I came away with a remit of organising a co-production meeting hosted in Dudley, to invite various people and organisations I have had contact with during my recovery.

And throughout the week I have had various messages telling me that what exboozehound does has a positive effect on their lives…. Wow!!!!

Yes this IS all a bit “look at me” but it’s also “look at you” cus exboozehound wouldn’t be doing what it was without your support and input….

YOU’RE ALL FUCKING AMAZING AND I HOPE YOU ARE AS PROUD AS I AM!!!!

Watch this space, exboozehound is going places, jump on board now while there’s still room….

“enjoy the good and ride out the bad”

Keep going 😉

Jon aka exboozehound
@exboozehound
www.exboozehound.co.uk

Oh and don’t forget my Thingymajig (memoir/book)

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How a Numpty like me….

G’day all, I hope you are well? And if not well I hope you KNOW things can always get better and will!!!!

Recently I’ve been really struggling to write posts for the blog, not sure why, there’s probably loads of reasons but if you know me you will know by now I try not to do “why?” cus it’s a waste of energy….

I’m thinking I may just start updating the Random Thoughts page on a regular basis with things from conversations that happen organically….

As an example of this I was speaking with a friend on Twitter yesterday and when I asked how she was these days she replied….Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

“Hmmm… If I’m honest, I’m not sure how I am. Not as good as I should be I guess….”

Now, as I’ve said before I’m no expert and there is nothing special about me so you shouldn’t take what I say as advice it’s just the honest opinions of a mouthy Nutjob, but I am gunna say what I said to her….

“That’s an interesting comment…. We feel what we feel, we have to learn to take it at face value and accept, it is what it is…. This is yet another time I can use my quote “enjoy the good and ride out the bad”. We are not in a race with other people and how they feel and react to life, we are individual and will most likely never make sense”

Yes I’m aware that my drivel isn’t Dali Lama’esque but if you can be arsed please have a little think about that and see if you can work out what I’m trying to say….

Annyywhooooo….

As I said at the beginning of this post I’m struggling to write stuff at the moment so ive dug out something I wrote back in July, I was asked to write something by an individual at a company called Governance International. They replied to me and said they liked what I had written but unfortunately they still haven’t published it, so I decided to publish it myself….

I hope you find it interesting?

How a numpty like me came to be at the 12th West Midlands Network Co-Production Meeting (9/7/2014)

To begin with I’m Mentally Ill, I don’t just have Mental Health, I have Mental Ill Health and have had for many years, although prior to 2013 my mental illness was simply called depression. Since the age of about 18 I have been on various anti-depressants and up until 2003 my other medication was copious amounts of alcohol.

In 2003 I spent 28 days at the Woodbourne Priory to get me off the booze. (Paid for by Bupa as the NHS were no help at all).

In 2013 I had a mental breakdown, not that the GP’s and Noggin Docs (aka book monkeys) seem to use that phrase anymore, I think they call it an episode. Mind you I’m pretty sure they don’t describe it the way I like to:-
In 2013 I finally went dolallytap and my noggin went pop…..

In October 2013 I started my blog, www.exboozehound.co.uk, and started using my twitter account, @exboozehound, to tweet and blog about mental illness and alcoholism. I used to have a little pop up box to warn people visiting the blog for the first time I wasn’t exactly PC and I have a tendency to use quite a few swears…..

In January I had 49 followers on twitter, I now have 730+ followers all over the world. My blog also gets hits all over the world, although fortunately I’m not quite as stupid as I look and I take the hit statistics with a pinch of salt as I also get spammed an awful lot.

Anyway that’s a small introduction to me….

I attended the 12th West Midlands Network Co-Production meeting on the 9th July 2014 having been invited by Justin Haywood (Dudley MBC). I’met Justin and a couple of his colleagues a few months before at a meeting held at Halesowen Cricket Club on the subject of budget cuts in Adult Community Care Services. Unfortunately there weren’t very many people there and even more unfortunately for Justin and his colleagues the lack of attendees allowed me to use my no holds barred, opinionated, angry at establishment, huge gob quite a lot!! I was and still am angry at establishment because if my recovery from my episode had been down to the NHS and there pathetic not fit for purpose system I would be dead.

During various meetings with NHS staff a number of them asked me to complain, which I wanted to do, and my Mom had already started doing, but until I knew even the people who had to work in the system thought the system was broken and not fit for purpose as well I just couldn’t muster the strength, but now my strength and determination was building. Also speaking with friends in a Rethink Support Group made me even more determined to do something, because most of them also wanted to complain, if not all of them, but they were too frightened to do so and even tried to warn me off from making my complaint because if you make waves they will take away your support and they won’t help you…. Although I said my strength was building the complaint process made me very ill at times, but I was at the stage that I really didn’t care about my pain I just wanted to help others avoid the excruciating level of mental pain I had been through. One of the most painful parts of the process was receiving a letter from Gary Graham and realising he knows absolutely nothing about Mental Illness!!!!!!!

During the first meeting I attended with Justin I was shocked and appalled at the budget figures and how much of the current budget was to be cut. As I had just been very nearly destroyed by the current system at the current funding levels knowing that a huge amount of that budget was to be lost was frightening…. How many more people were going to get as desperate as I had been? How many more people will actually go through with taking their own lives because the desperation is so horrendous? How many more stories will be on the news about people being hurt and killed by mentally ill people who had been let down by the system? And so so many more questions!!!!

Currently I have the ear of my local MP, James Morris, he has told me he is going to speak directly to Norman Lamb about me and my blog and use some of my experiences of the NHS to show just how poor it actually is at ground level.
Anyway, the various important people at the Co-Production meeting on the 9th July are definitely aware of me now…. Partly because I attended the meeting in shorts and a BA Baracus t-shirt saying Crazy Fool but hopefully mainly because I made sure I used my gob….. A LOT!

In the room there were a lot of obviously very intelligent influential people talking very sensibly about what should be done…. But for me the problem is that’s pretty much all they are doing about it, with a few exceptions…. I can say this with a certain amount of confidence as someone much more intelligent and important than me said during the meeting that they were talking about the same things 5 years ago…. Also someone said to me quietly “I agree with everything you say but I can’t say it as I will lose my job….” I KNOW NOTHING significant has really changed in the last 11 years as I talk to a wonderful lady who’s son took his own life the same year, almost the same month that I got soba. The pathetic not fit for purpose system let him and his whole family down 11 years (and more) ago and the system is still letting people down again and again every single day!!!!

I applaud what the people in the meeting are trying to do, I applaud what James Morris MP is trying to do but as I said in the first meeting when I met Justin and I have said to James….

The system is broken and is unfixable. Until the politicians Strap on a Pair and finally tell the truth about the fact they know they can’t fix the NHS people will keep on being let down, people will keep on taking their own lives to end their pain and we will keep hearing stories on the news of appalling things mentally ill people are doing to other people because the system let them down, again and again and again….

It is definitely time to talk to lessen the stigma attached to mental illness, it is definitely time for more people like me to talk openly and honestly about mental illness and how it destroys lives and ends futures. BUT you people in well paid high profile jobs at the top of your game, it’s time for you to actually earn those salaries and actually do something rather than just talking about it!!!!

At one point during the meeting on the 9th July I asked the whole room if ANYONE actually had ANY experience of mental illness. I got just one response, and that was “We all have Mental Health….” Apart from being a very insulting and patronising sentence it tells a very strong story….

That story is either no one in that room had mental illness experience firsthand or they were too ashamed to tell a room full of their peers they are mentally ill themselves….

Keep going 😉

Jon aka exboozehound
@exboozehound
www.exboozehound.co.uk

Oh and don’t forget my Thingymajig (memoir/book)

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The Unseen, Unheard Deadly Illness

Hi, I’m very proud to be able to publish this new Guest Post, it’s written by an American young lady called Anya. Anya wrote this essay for an English assignment at school, she is 16 and I know by the time you have finished reading what she has written you will agree with me that she is amazing!!!!

The Unseen, Unheard Deadly Illness

Throughout my life mental illness has played a very large role. I believe that depression runs in my genes, and it will always be a part of my life. Certain situations have provoked my depression and brought it to the surface. Elementary school was the first time I truly felt depressed. Feeling depressed was a unique and unwanted feeling that I knew was unnatural. All of the kids were able to converse and they were happy, while I stood there not knowing what to do. I speak of this not to get pity or sympathy but to demonstrate how mental illnesses can change lives at any age and to anyone. As I grew up, I discovered that I wasn’t the same as other kids. It took longer for me to understand ideas, and learn the material that was taught in school. My mother brought to my attention that my birth mother was an alcoholic and I have alcoholism in my genes. The alcoholism created a small but noticeable learning disability. She told me I need to be careful with alcohol and other substances because of my addictive personality. This shaped how I viewed the world and myself. Throughout high school my depression became more of an issue, I told my friends but they were also struggling so no one voiced the need for intervention. Mental illnesses are much more common than we all would like to think. While continuing to struggle with depression, I went to a concert that helped me reach out for help. Demi Lovato talked about her own struggles and how important it is to reach out for help when dealing with mental illnesses. It doesn’t make you weak, but strong to be able to say “I need help”. Just by giving a three minute speech she changed my life. The next couple of months were very scary. Luckily, I reached out for help and I am currently getting the help I need. Sadly, this is something that so many people are afraid to speak out about. I didn’t say anything for about 4-5 years because of the fear of judgement from my friends and family. I didn’t want to be looked at as attention seeking or weak. I still am quiet about this because I feel that there are good things in life and those are the things that should be talked about, not the depressing things. I know that I want to change lives and although hard to understand, I have a purpose and I can make a positive impact on this world. Mental illnesses effect so many, and we can all play a role to change the destiny of how this illness will effect so many. Watch Consumed (2015) Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

My story is one of millions from people who have struggled with a mental illness. Mental illness is defined as a medical condition that disrupts a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Serious mental illnesses include major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and borderline personality disorder (NAMI). Mental illnesses do not discriminate; they can effect someone of any race, gender, and age. Sharing the important message like Demi shares at her concerts is important to demonstrate to others that mental illnesses are illnesses and the effect they can have on a daily basis. Some of our nations greatest leaders, inventors, and doers are struggling with mental illnesses. One of the nations greatest leaders, Abraham Lincoln struggled with depression. He successfully put an end to slavery but he was still a slave to his own thoughts of suicide. With the sudden passing of Robin Williams, it shows how such a successful, highly productive man can be struggling so much. Others such as Beethoven, Isaac Newton, J.K. Rowling, Health Ledger and Kurt Cobain also struggled with various mental illnesses. With so many struggling, where is the public interest on this issue? Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, and the second leading cause of death for young people, between the ages of 15-24 (NAMI). Enough people have died to demonstrate that this is a deadly issue.

Mental illnesses have a tremendous impact on our society and our economy but very little is being done to stop this issue. With suicide killing roughly 40,000 people a year, the money raised for suicide awareness averages around $3.2 million. (CDC). Compared to Breast cancer, which kills roughly 41,000 people where as they raise about $257.85 million. We need to increase our investment in mental health significantly and we need to do it now. In 6 years depression will be the leading debilitating disease for women and children. Raising awareness about mental illnesses through education advocacy can set back this growing concern. Research shows the cost for mental illness prevention is greatly less than the cost of mental health treatment. Mental illnesses have cost the US economy roughly $148 Billion for all mental disorders (15). We have the ability to stop this issue by speaking up and talking about it, so let’s talk.

All mental illnesses, even the most severe cases, can be effectively treated. The earlier the treatment begins, the more effective it is. Most people diagnosed will experience relief after getting help. Folks with a mental illness report that a combination of treatments, services, and supports works best to support their recovery (NAMI.com). Treatments for medical illnesses
include medications, support groups, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and meeting with mental health professionals on a weekly/monthly basis. Medication is not an exact science, it can take weeks or even months to find the right medication/medications. Mental illnesses effect everyone differently therefore the approach for treatment can be different. Without treatment the consequences of mental illnesses are staggering. Unnecessary disability, unemployment, substance abuse, homelessness, and suicide can occur without proper help. Mood disorders, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, and personality disorders are known to overlap with drug or alcohol addiction (dualdiagnosis.org). Stopping the issue before it gets to that point is essential to reduce the risk of further issues.

Having a support group can help with the success of the mentally ill’s recovery. Some feel as though they cannot help their family member or friend who is struggling with a mental illness but that is inaccurate. Family and friends can be important influences to help someone, with both the treatment and services they need. Family and friends can be the ones to reach out and know that they are not alone. Family and friends can help them access mental health services and treatment. Family and friends can help learn and share the facts about mental health. Family and friends can most importantly refuse to define them by their diagnosis, or using the terms such as “crazy”. Friends and family play a very important role in the whole recovery process.

Depression is not selfish, anxiety is not rude, schizophrenia is not wrong. Mental illness isn’t self centered any more than a broken leg or the flu is self centered. Mental illness is a problem and its time to open our eyes and make a change. Prevention for mental illness cost us much less than treatment for mental illness. We need to speak up against the norm of this issue.
Our children’s health is in our hands, and we need to stop this. The care and treatment for mental illnesses is evolving to help meet the needs of the mentally ill. Doctors, social workers, and therapists are learning more of how to lead their clients to a successful recovery. Now it’s our time to play our role and advocate for the millions that are struggling on a daily basis.

In conclusion, mental illnesses are on the rise, but there are affirmative actions we can take to slow this problem down. It is a difficult and frightening topic to discuss but 100% necessary. Research shows that there is an extremely high success rate in recovery once you reach out for help. We must all open our eyes to the ones around us and lend a helping hand. The mentally ill are not crazy, insane, or hopeless. I have experienced mental illness first hand, and I can personally tell you they change your life. There are many good positive life lessons I have learned from struggling with depression. Some which are simple and easy to understand such as “ it is what it is”, I was born this way and I deal with the hand I’ve got. Others which are more complicated to understand which is “why me?”, but in the end it all evens out. There is good in the bad and bad in the good, thats how life works.

Sources

National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health. (n.d.). Statistics: Any Disorder Among Adults. From http://www.nimh.nih.gov/statistics/1ANYDIS_ADULT.shtml

National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health. (n.d.) The Numbers Count: Mental Disorders in America. From http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/the-numbers-count-mental-disorders-in-america/index.shtml

Prevalence numbers were calculated using NIMH percentages (cited) and 2010 Census data. Census data is available at: United States Census Bureau. (revised 2011). “USA [State & County QuickFacts].” From http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.html

Stuart H (June 2003). “Violence and mental illness: an overview”. World Psychiatry

http://www.dualdiagnosis.org/mental-health-and-addiction/

http://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/adolescent-health-topics/mental-health/states/oh.html#.VCq85r4-A6U

WHO-CHOICE (2003). (Page 15) Cost-effectiveness of interventions for reducing the burden of mental disorders: A global analysis (WHO-CHOICE). GPE Discussion Paper (prepared by Chisholm D), Geneva, World Health Organization

NAMI http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=By_Illness

NAMI- http://www.nami.org/factsheets/mentalillness_factsheet.pdf

I don’t want to follow that with any of my own nonsense, all I want to say is….

Anya, you are amazing, you say I have helped you a lot, but you need to know you have helped me a massive amount with your kind comments, you have confirmed to me that there is a point to me and exboozehound. You will go on to help others, and this essay is just the start for you xx

Keep going 😉

Jon aka exboozehound
@exboozehound
www.exboozehound.co.uk

Oh and don’t forget my Thingymajig (memoir/book)

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Someone said to me….

Sometimes our eyes see things that aren’t real, we make judgements based on a quick glance, those judgements can be spot on but they can also be way off. Life isn’t an exact science and really we shouldn’t make judgements about people if we don’t know the full story, but do we ever know the full story even of those people we are really close to? I think the answer to that is NO, we are all here to get on with our lives and make the most of it but most of us, I think, do and say things to fit in with what’s expected of us in “normal” life….

I have a feeling this post ain’t gunna make any sense…. Hey Ho, it is what it is, life doesn’t make any sense…. When I asked a couple of people to read my book (lol), memoir (cringe), Thingymajig (that’s better) they said it was very hard to read at times and seemed to jump back and forth, I took this as a compliment cus that’s the way my noggin works, it’s probably the way your noggin works as well wether you are a “normal” or a “mentalist” the only difference being us mentalists seem to pay more attention to the perceived weirdness going on in our noggins and you normals just seem to take in your stride and accept things…. Hold up, I have a feeling I’ve just made a judgement based on no evidence at all….

Why did I start this post?

Someone said to me the other day “you have a relaxing life just wondering about in the sun”, now this is just a comment, it probably isn’t a judgement it’s just words, we laughed about it and I replied “it’s one of the benefits of being a documented mentalist….”. You see I haven’t been at work, since June 2013 and over the last few months we’ve had fairly good weather, so I do “wonder about in the sun” I’m sure it looks very relaxing, I’ve got a decent sun tan (although it’s fading now 🙁 ) and 99% of the time I’m wearing shorts, tshirt and sunglasses (I’ve got sensitive eyes…) and it is fairly relaxing…. However it’s not all that it seems, cus a lot of the time I’m wondering about in the sun as a sort of coping mechanism. Being out of work I’m broke, the benefits I receive amount to next to nothing, as soon as I get them they are spent, gobbled up by my overdraft so I haven’t got spare cash to go off and do exciting things, I haven’t got the cash to put diesel in my knackered old Y reg Astra, don’t get me wrong I’m not saying this to get sympathy, I don’t need anyone’s sympathy I’m just telling you the facts. I spend a considerable amount of time wondering about a bit and drinking tea in a boozer. Wondering about a bit stops me festering at home (which ain’t my own home) and drinking tea in a boozer gives me people to talk to. A lot of these people I’ve only just got to know, most of them know I’m a mentalist alcoholic (retired) and a couple of them call me “Earl Grey” cus I drink it, not cus I’m posh, I ay posh!!!!

Are you bored of this post, I’m getting that way….

I’ve gone on a bit with some background stuff, there is something I really wanted to say with this post but I’m just not sure how to say it, so I think I’ll just waffle on for a bit and see if you can work it out….

Here’s a small list of things people have said to me lately….Watch All Girls Weekend (2016) Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

“you have a relaxing life just wondering about in the sun”
on the surface this is very true, but I’ve spent over 20 years fighting against mental illness and alcoholism trying to hide it and get on with “normal life” which lead to me having a mental breakdown in June 2013. In June 2013 I was very unrelaxed, sitting on my bed rocking backwards and forward, shaking, sweating, believing my life was over and the best thing I could do now is strap on a pair and end my life….

“I like Jon he’s really calm”
all of the above again…. I am calm most of the time, but if I’m not calm I’m shut away at home (not my own home) struggling to control the thoughts in my head and sometimes my physical reactions. I’m calm these days cus I’ve got to know me and I’m 100% honest with myself and those around me. Part of my calmness is down to what I have learnt from people via this blog and speaking with people about how they cope or how they don’t cope and if I’m honest, which is am, Mindfulness has helped a lot. I’m fine as long as I put effort into staying in the day, and thinking as little as possible….

“You’re a good listener as well”
Although I do tend to talk a lot, I do spend an awful amount of time listening. The lady that said this to me (via Twitter) is a lady called Julie Christie (@juliechristie1) I was fortunate enough to meet Julie at a meeting a few months ago at Aston University, she spoke about her work with dementia and if I had to describe her with one word it would be “inspiring”…. During this meeting I did my usual thing of being very vocal and I was very pleased to see that by the time I got home Julie was following me on Twitter, I’m hoping to catch up with her later in the year and learn from her approach. For me being a good listener is important, we may not agree with everything others say but we can learn from them and get a better understanding of how things work….

“We have 2 ears and one mouth which is a good ratio we should stick to”

“There’s something about you that draws people to you”
I think that’s purely my honesty and openness, I see my mental breakdown last year as a positive thing, it forced me to have a long hard look at myself to try to understand why I am where I am. I think one of the things I have been doing since June 2013 is “finding myself” poncy words, yes, but I don’t have a choice cus I’ve spent so long lying to everyone around me and lying to myself that I don’t really know who I am. I’ve spent so long suppressing feelings that I don’t really understand feelings. I’ve spent so long hating who I am not actually knowing who I am and why I hate me. I’ve spent so long living with Jon and “Jon” I’m a little fucked up. I used to get confused by the fact that people seemed to like me, I still am, were people really liking the “front” I created to enable me to get on with life and be bloody good at my job? Everyone at some point has to put a front on to get through certain days and situations, not swearing like a trooper in front of your Nan is basically putting a front on, I still have to front things out, everybody does, but I’m starting to think the “Front” I put on is the real me, or it is, does it matter, am I over thinking again???? I hope there is something about me that draws people to me that would be awesome 🙂

“You are meant to do something good with exboozehound”
This was amazing to hear, cus I’ve thought this for a while but my noggin demon always tells me I’m being delusional and nothing good will ever come from anything I do, but if I sit back and have a little think about it, good things are starting to happen. I get messages from all over the world about how my blog helps people, I’ve had a number of guest bloggers and there are more to come, I’m getting involved with Health Watch Dudley, I’m speaking with Dudley CVS about setting up a community interest company called Zorbsagogo (it’s on Face Book), I’m talking with a local company about selling some of my photographs in the name of exboozehound to donate money to charity, I’ve wrote for a couple of websites (www.mensdepression.org and www.anxietyunited.co.uk ), I’ve wrote something that hasn’t been published yet for www.govint.org , I’m speaking with a company about setting up my own support group and counselling sessions (no I haven’t got qualifications and certificates but I’ve got quite a lot of experience!!!). So, even though my noggin demon tells me I’ll never amount to anything I know it’s wrong cus I already am amounting to something and even without the things listed above I’m having a go, I’m keeping going, I’m getting my daily wins :).

“You’ll end up on the Wright Stuff you will”
I know this was a flippant comment, but it came from me telling someone about the various things listed above, all I can say is if this comes true I would be chuffed to bits because right from the start of this blog one of the things I wanted to do was make a difference…. Show people there is nothing to be ashamed of in having a mental illness. I want to find a way of describing just how terribly desperate I was in June 2013, how I KNEW my life was over and the only answer was suicide and how I KNOW now how very wrong I was…. VERY VERY WRONG!!!! I met someone last week that works in care and they said some words that I have heard quite a few times before and from my experience I know to be true….

“the mental health side of the NHS is at crisis point, the way people are left to suffer is an absolute disgrace….”

I’ve said it many times before and I have to say it again because I am thankful to the many many amazing people who work in the mental health side of the NHS, they are truly amazing, caring, very talented people. But I will state again that the time it took to get me into the “system” very nearly killed me through absolute desperation….

“One thing you are definitely not is a loser….”
I posted this on Face Book the other day and got the above message for a friend who I’ve been speaking with about various issues through this blog….

image

I am a loser in conventional terms, no job, no house, no kids, no money, on benefits etc…. But I really don’t give a shit about conventional terms, my mental breakdown ensured I probably won’t ever live a conventional life again. I receive a lot of messages behind the scenes on how my blog, my words and the words of my guest bloggers help people with mental illness and addiction issues understand they are never alone and never will be. I’ve also received messages from people without mental illness and addiction issues saying it’s helped them understand a loved one better…. These messages help me believe I’m not a loser and keep me going on, so thank you XX.

Right I’m almost at 2000 words and I’m fairly sure I haven’t made a point in this post…. If you’ve made it this far and not fallen asleep or got extremely bored, if you can find a point to this post I’d love to know what it is so drop me a comment….

Keep going 😉

Jon aka exboozehound
@exboozehound
www.exboozehound.co.uk

Oh and don’t forget my Thingymajig (memoir/book)

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Promises we can’t make

A couple of days ago I was asked a question by DM on Facebook and received a phone call from someone who lives quite a distance away…. The question was

“Ladies name”, she asked me when she can stop worrying about drinking. I couldnt answer, thought you might have an answer?

My answer was….

Bloody good question!!!! Unfortunately I don’t think there is an answer to that question. How long you not had a drink for?

It doesn’t really matter what his answer was to that but it was a good few weeks.

He then gave me a call from the other side of the world, we spoke for about 10 minutes. During those 10 minutes I was still unable to answer the question. 🙁

Maybe if I was A LOT more intelligent I would be able to answer this question, but intelligence really isn’t my strong point, so I will answer the question in my usual style…. Yup by talking quite an amount of bollocks 😉

These days I seem to be a liked person, oddly when I’m speaking with people from a good while back I’ve always been a liked person, odd really when I have pretty much always hated me. I like me these days, but in my drinking days I was an arsehole for many many reasons!!!! Being an alcoholic was actually very good training for my time spent in sales cus it taught me how to lie and manipulate pretty much any situation. I still have a natural manipulation streak in me but I believe most of my manipulation these days is fairly positive. Positive for both the manipulator (me 🙂 ) and the manipulated (possibly you, soz).

So, when can a loved one stop worrying about you drinking? For me that doesn’t depend on the drinker, it depends on the person with the drinker, it also depends on trust and being realistic, sorry but it does. In my view there is always a possibility that a drinker will drink again, when I used to go to AA there were people that had been soba for 20+ years and for one reason or another would start drinking again. If I did drink again my reason would be very simple “booze is glorious” it made me feel amazing, I loved it!!!! I still miss it!!!! From time to time I think about buying some of the liquid of gloriousness and having a sneaky one, who’d know?…  Fucking everyone would know, cus I’m 99% sure oblivion would be the next stop on this journey. Although I really don’t like AA and it’s cultish, brainwashing, simply swapping addiction ways there is actually quite a bit of useful stuff to be gained from AA and one of those things for me is a saying….

“I have another drink in me but I don’t have another recovery in me”

Another one of those things is step one….

“We admitted we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable.”

These 2 sentences are probably about 80% of all I need to keep me soba the other 20% is mainly the fact that I’m a stubborn c**t and I know out of the 5 or 6 people in my group in the Woodbourne Priory I was the one that people “knew” wouldn’t be able to do it, so part of me keeps doing it to prove them wrong and perhaps to prove there is no “one” solution to getting soba it’s as individual as the drinking ways you are trying to get away from.

There will always be reasons why I could drink again, and if there isn’t a reason I’ll just bloody make one up…. Simply and purely cus I am an alcoholic that loves booze and the feeling of oblivion….

If you have a loved one who is trying to remove there addiction from there life, please don’t ask them to promise anything, cus let’s face it most of us addicts are or have been lying, cheating, manipulative horrible scum bags at periods of our lives and we are all capable of doing it again. Is any of what I am saying fact? Nope, it’s just my honest opinion. I haven’t read any big books (partly cus as I said before intelligence really isn’t my thang) I haven’t got any certificates, I haven’t got any letters after my name, I don’t earn a huge salary for doing very little, I’m not a self important stuck up arsehole that hasn’t actually got any real life experience of addiction and how it feels….

I’m just a mouthy numpty who has 16 years of drinking experience and 11 years of sobriety and these are just my thoughts based on my horrendous and wonderful experience of the glorious devils liquid that is booze….

Unfortunately I’m gunna have to end with another one of those goods things from AA….

“How long you have been soba isn’t important, all you can do is take one day at a time” (summit like that anyway)

If you are trying to remove your addiction from your life, be realistic take it one day at a time and if you have a blip that’s all it is a blip. Perhaps a couple of hours, maybe just a couple of drinks if you’re lucky, you can’t beat yourself up about your blip cus it will give you an excuse to spiral out of control and keep drinking cus “you can’t live without booze in your life” and “it’s the only way you can cope with life” Bollocks if I can do it anyone one can do it….

“There ain’t nothing you can’t do…. Eventually!!!!”

Keep going 😉

Jon aka exboozehound
@exboozehound
www.exboozehound.co.uk

Oh and don’t forget my Thingymajig (memoir/book)




Feeling Odd

I’m finding it incredibly hard to write stuff at the moment, I’m not sure why?

I’m finding it very difficult to pick my camera up at the moment, I’m not sure why?

I’m finding it almost impossible to work out why I am struggling with a few things and I’ve worked out what to do about it….

Nothing!!!! Well not quite nothing….

I wrote a piece for Governance International the other day and emailed it off fully expecting them to email back saying it was utter bollox, but they emailed back to say various things including:-

I’m absolutely delighted, this is great!….
This gives us a good reason to get back to the network with your blog in August….
Many thanks again for your great contributions, really appreciate your good thoughts and work!….

I’ve dropped someone a message today to say I need to check out the venue for their wedding party so I can get an idea of the lights and camera setting options for the night, to make sure I do the job right…. and I will, I always do…. That may sound a little big headed, but the fact is I’m a good photographer, I’m able to see what makes a good photograph and what doesn’t, I’m talented enough to rely on my own style and individual way I shoot….

Confused????

Me as well!!!!

I think what I’m trying to say is, Yes I currently have a downer on myself and I am doubting myself a lot but that’s just the little demon in the back of my noggin that still tells me I’m a waste of a human being, tells me I could drink again and be fine, tells me I’m wasting mine and everyone else’s time with exboozehound and complaining to and about the NHS, tells me I’ll never be truly happy, etc etc, basically that little bastard of a demon is still there telling me I’m as useful as a chocolate tea pot…. The difference these days is I know that demon is wrong and I know it ain’t as powerful and stubborn as me….

So, as I move forward EVERYTHING I set my mind to I WILL make it work, yes I’ll doubt myself along the way but I know those doubts are bullshite…. Anyone who can battle against booze for 11+ years and depression/Mental Illness for 20+ years and keep on going can do anything they want to with the right dedication, hard work and perhaps a sprinkling of luck….

So watch this space….

Jon aka exboozehound is going places, get on board now while there’s still room 🙂 😉

It took me a while to work out what the title of this post was gunna be cus, as usual, I didn’t really know what I was gunna write, I’ve had so many things “Buzzing” through my noggin today, some of them good, some of them bad, some of them out of order and some of them down right horrendous…. I spent a bit of time trying to work out why today and the last couple of days have been so changeable and then I thought about something I’ve said on here before and I’ve said to quite a number of people in private. THE QUESTION WHY?, IS A POINTLESS AND PRETTY MUCH UNANSWERABLE QUESTION, SO DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME TRYING TO ANSWER THAT QUESTION….

I have a couple of things that I think may of put me in a changeable place but I will never know if it is to do with those various things and constantly thinking and rethinking about shite ain’t gunna change a thing, all it will do is drive me/you bonkers and tire me/you out and we need our energy for more important things.

The other thing we need to consider as a reason for being in a changeable place at the moment is simply cus I’m human and I guess all humans whether they are “odds” or “evens” have up n down / changeable times but as an “odd” we can very easily spiral into utter madness if we don’t catch ourselves early enough. So simply we have to look for those “triggers” (always hated this word, but now FINALLY I understand it) and react to them with tried and tested coping mechanisms or if those tried and tested ways don’t work, come up with some new ones. For whatever reason today I felt angry and aggressive, I felt strange mental but physical pain, I felt shots of non existent physically painful thoughts, I felt I wanted to get some glorious booze down my neck, I felt shy, I felt outgoing, I felt “odd”, I felt “even”…. think you might have the point now, so I walked down to the squash court and had 40 minutes on the court taking my anger and frustration out on the ball. At the end of it I thought to myself “That aint made a difference I’m still hacked off, etc, but there was a difference and that difference was simply I got off my backside and did something about it, yes probably simply a distraction technique but I didn’t fester and feel sorry for myself which I am very very capable of doing.

Is there a point to this post????

Yes, but I’m not fully sure what it is….

Someone said to me at the weekend you don’t look ill, you seem a nice bloke…. Fact is I am a nice bloke and I am ill but the 2 things don’t have to be separate. (I’m not proud of this next bit!!!!). I’ve said this before but people expect people with a Mental Illness, whatever that Mental Illness might be, to look bonkers and and down trodden. For me this is because mentally ill are usually portrayed as the “Victims of Life” those weirdo’s that were picked on at school, those weirdo’s that talk to themselves as they walk along or sit in a boozer, perhaps they rock backwards and forward a bit and of course they will have absolutely no dress sense (mind you I have none of that!!!), all these things are an absolute load of bollox!!!! It’s the same as peoples perceptions of “the alcoholic” that’s the unwashed, homeless, filthy, smelly person that kips in the park…. again absolute load of bollox. Yes I’ve exaggerated the stereo types for effect but believe me some of the conversations I have are not very far away from this at all!!!! Sad but true!!!!

There are loads of people out there struggling everyday with Mental Illness and Substance misuse, but like I did they hide the extent of it for far too long to avoid the shame of being a failure at life or life as we are taught to understand. They hide it to avoid the Stigma that goes with Mental Illness, you might think the stigma doesn’t exist anymore but it does, yes people talk about it more now but the negative stigma is still VERY VERY strong whether it be direct or indirect stigma. I know there are people hiding it out there because I have quite a few people that tell me they are hiding. They feel if they come out of the “Odd” closet they will lose there Job, home, car etc and unfortunately they probably will…. eventually. Unless they get it early enough coming out as “odd” will destroy your life, well the life we are all taught we MUST have. Do yourself or a loved on a favour….

Get help now!!!!

Be honest with yourself now!!!!

Don’t wait to get to the stage when your Noggin goes Pop, like I did, cus once you get to that stage and then have to wait months and months for the NHS to offer you any help you will lose everything. I am a failure at the life that we are taught we must aspire to. I’m 41, I have no house, no job and my car cost £250, I have no Wife, Girlfriend, Children and this is not likely to change anytime soon. I haven’t said this for your sympathy cus I am trying very hard to put a number of things together to give me a successful “alternative” life, it’s bloody hard work when your noggin cant be arsed to keep up with your passion and heart but I KNOW I’m going to make everything I’m trying to do work, guaranteed, one way or another!!!!

Mental Illness and Addiction are nothing to be ashamed of, they are simply illnesses that some of us have, more of us than you would believe, if you have issues you are hiding, stop hiding them before they destroy or kill you, get help now and I mean now. You will probably have to fight for that help and the process of any help you get will be bloody hard work but it will be worth it. Nothing will fix you over night and I can tell you now I’m not fixed, I still have a long way to go but I dont think about the journey ahead I don’t think about the journey I’ve travelled so far all that much either. I just concentrate on the now and even though the recent now is up n down, changeable, and painful at times most of the time now is good. It will be for you as well if you put the effort in and fight back!!!! 🙂

Keep going 😉

Jon aka exboozehound
@exboozehound
www.exboozehound.co.uk

Oh and don’t forget my Thingymajig (memoir/book)