How a numpty like me pt 2….

How a numpty like me…. (Pt 1)

How a numpty like me was sitting on the Houses of Parliament terrace talking about Mental Illness….

On Thursday Camilla and Wendy from The Hope Centre Halesowen and me took a journey down to London, we had been invited by James Morris MP. James is our local MP, he is also the Chairman of the All Party Parliament Group on Mental Health, this group is working to get parity of esteem for mental health. Over the last year or so I’ve been fortunate to meet a number of MP’s who are passionate about making a difference to how mental illness is approached and those of us with mental illness are treated. I’m not a stupid man (debatable….), I read people well and I can say with 100% confidence that the MP’s I have met and spoken to about mental health are dedicated to making a difference, saying this does not sit comfortably with me cus we all know we’re not supposed to trust MP’s. I’ve also been fortunate to meet other folk of the establishment in many varying roles who are also very dedicated to making a difference to how mental illness is approached and how those of us with mental illness are treated. So we’ve got MP’s and folk of the establishment on our side dedicated to making a difference but also more importantly there are a lot of us with mental health issues finding the strength to stand up and be counted. On the 29th January we held our second Peer Support Meeting, organised locally with the NHS, Mind & Rethink, this time we had more service users involved and as you can imagine quite a number of the service users were very anxious about attending a meeting in a strange place surrounded by strange people but during the discussions even those that had seemed the most anxious spoke up and got involved. This to me is just as if not more important than the work those in the establishment are doing, Peer Support is empowering people with mental illness to start to shape the services we need and this empowerment can build our strength to begin to actually live our lives rather than just surviving….

Ok, back to Thursday, Camilla, Wendy and I were met at about 13:00 outside Port Cullis House by Sam a member of James Morris’s team, having cleared security and got redressed being watched by 2 cops with big shooters we then met another member of James’s team, Gary, who started telling us the history of the place we were now standing in (unfortunately my memory for facts ain’t exactly my strongest point, so I forgot at least 90% instantly) at the time it was very interesting and also odd, odd just to be standing where we were. As we made our way to one of the most exclusive smoking areas in the country we met with the final member of Jame’s team, Giverney and Anna, Jame’s good lady wife. Entering the most exclusive smoking area in the country was initially a bit disappointing cus of the security it looked like a prison yard, but then I turned around and looked up we were standing at the foot of Big Ben…. It was no longer disappointing it was now surreal and although I’d only had a cigarette about 10 minutes before I had to light one up…. I also had to have my picture taken smoking a cigarette with Big Ben behind as I knew my Mom would be disgusted…. We drew the line at a photo with the cigarette as the idea of me getting my tattoos out for a pic under Big Ben seemed to be frowned upon????

We had a tour all around including sitting in the viewing galleries of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, I actually remember an interesting fact about the House of Lords, the Queen has a thrown in there, it’s very extravagant all in gold and in front of the thrown there is a golden bannister that the Queen is not allowed to go past as it would be seen as the Queen meddling in politics (possibly not the exact explanation Gary gave, but it’s close….). Whilst I’m imparting my vast historic knowledge about the House of Commons…. We were shown a church inside the building it was amazingly ornate and intricate or in my words “a bit over the top”. In the days of Oliver Cromwell he kept his horses in there cus he wasn’t a big fan of church and religion (again possibly not the exact historical facts, but close enough). Also down there was a cupboard were a member of the suffragettes hid on a night when they were doing a census pole, as a protest against the census many women made sure they were not at home that evening (again fairly sketchy historical facts but as it is well known men cannot multi task, I was walking, looking, listening and breathing, this for me is multitasking so to add taking in knowledge as well would of been a step too far….). If you want actual facts I’m sure there’s loads of books or give Google a go.

When we were in the viewing gallery of the House of Commons, James was in there doing a great job of being aware and awake. It was odd to see in real life cus we only really get to see PM questions on the news where everyone just seems to be there to score points and jeer, the debate that was going on was very different and ordered. When it was time we met James in the Central Lobby, which seemed very small in comparison to when you see people being interviewed there on the news. Warning hear comes another sketchy fact…. It is called the Central Lobby cus when the MP’s are making their way to the Commons members of the public can lobby their MP’s by basically just shouting at their MP.

I would imagine you are completed exhausted taking in all the historical facts by now so you’ll be glad to know my knowledge has now all been imparted….

Now to the reason for being at the House of Commons, on February the 4th is was “Time to Talk Day” an initiative set up by Time to Change, so that’s what we did, sat on the House of Commons Terrace with tea and cake both James and Sam reminded me of the first time I met them at a surgery held at the Hope Centre a good while ago. In theory for that day I wanted to prepare some stuff to talk about with James about my recent experience of the mental health system, it was not a glowing report!!!! In actual fact the only thing I prepared was an angry sentence “I’m going to make a difference and your either with me or against me” I also used this sentence in meetings with people from Dudley Council. I can honestly say James has been behind me all the way since that first meeting and I’ve known since then how dedicated he is to making a difference to the current mental health system which just isn’t fit for purpose and is letting many many people down, patients and employees, day after day (obviously those are my words not James’s). We spoke for about an hour about what James is doing and what I’ve been doing and we spoke about hopefully working closer together in the near future we obviously bring very different things to the table, he has the ear of people who can make the decisions and changes, I can bring experiences of individuals and various groups and initiatives I’ve got myself involved with. I’ve said for quite a while now I don’t see “exboozehound” as just me “exboozehound” is everyone who has read the blog, commented on the blog, spoke with me either openly or in private on social media, anyone who I’ve met at meetings and groups. There are so many people, NHS department, council departments and third party companies that are doing good things in the world of mental health but in order for all these things to work best somehow we have to bring them all together pulling in the same direction and not wasting time and effort duplicating work. At the moment if we had a bottomless pit of money to throw at the issues in the mental health structures failings it wouldn’t fix the problems, we are in a situation where there isn’t a bottomless pit and being in this situation makes it necessary for us all to work together in different more effective and efficient ways to make a difference to many problems that have been in the way for many years.

So, how did a numpty like me end up sitting on the Houses of Parliament terrace talking about Mental Illness? A good while ago I decided the experience I’d had with my mental illness journey was just not good enough, it took me about 25 years to get to the horrendous stage of having my mental breakdown, maybe if I’d approached my depression in a different way and was more open and honest and demanded more help from my GP I wouldn’t of had to go through a mental breakdown to get to where I am today. So I started to complain, officially, and mouth off and stand up and be counted with no shame of being mentally ill. I got myself involved with different groups and organisations, I found the strength to start a group for men and I now see individually a number of guys that have been referred to me by members of the NHS. I decided I was going to do what I could to help others with my experiences and in helping others I also help myself…. People have said to me I am brave and inspirational, I still find that hard to accept cus I honestly believe anyone could do everything I’ve done and hopefully some of you reading this now will get out there and do the same.

Sometimes getting involved with the things I do actually makes me un well and my demons tell me I’m wasting my time cus at the end of the day I’m still a waste of a human being, I’m a failure and I’m weak cus I also need support. In actual fact whilst watching the news last night there were a couple of pieces on suicide in young men. One of the pieces featured a couple I met a while back at Big Centre TV who’s son tragically took his own life after suffering in silence with depression they have set up a memorial fund for their son Cameron, in both of these news pieces the definition of a man was spoken about, strong, courageous, without weakness and the reason men don’t ask for help because it makes them weak…. Asking for help doesn’t make you weak, it shows your strength of character and the strength you have inside to fight against the demons, I know this to be true!!!!

However, watching and listening to the stories of the young guys taking their lives and how men should be strong I found myself writing a note to myself and it said….

“ACCEPTING HELP MAKES ME A FAILURE & WEAK”

I realised that because I had been worrying for weeks about my car and how much it will cost to get it through the MOT and the fact that financially I was going to have to accept help from my Mom & Dad, this was confirming what the demons had always told me, I’m a failure for so many reasons but the one they want to pick on at the moment is that I’m a confirmed failure cus I can’t support myself financially.

I’m gunna end there, something for you to ponder on, even though “exboozehound” is doing all these positive things, Jon is still a failure….

“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)


Happy New Year

My current mood is low and apprehensive…. Cheery start eh?

On the 29th December I started to write a post entitled “Chrimbo Limbo”, I’d heard these words whilst watching Coronation Street Liz McDonald said it to Amy. I was sitting watching Coronation Street “feeling sorry for myself and wallowing in self pity” and these 2 words had just summed up perfectly what I had been experiencing and was likely to experience until today 1st January 2016. Chrimbo Limbo had made me break my rule of always “being in the day” and in breaking this rule I’d allowed the noggin demons to become too powerful and get control. I wasn’t able to complete the post I had started writing cus the demons had control of me and if I’m honest they still do today, hence the first line of this post being “My current mood is low and apprehensive”.

Chrimbo Limbo appears to have turned my brain into mush and part of the reason for this is cus I’ve “felt sorry for myself and wallowed in self pity” I’ve been thinking far too much…. “Thunking really isn’t my bag” “Thunking is very overrated” here’s a couple of things that I’ve been worrying about….

exboozehound built some momentum in the last few months of 2015, momentum that I’m very proud of. Part of that momentum led me to put in my first bid for some funding for a new project. After my last meeting about this I’m pretty sure I would of got some investment, but I’ve allowed it to cause me too much pressure. I’ve already got 14 meetings including “exboozehounds group for men” on Thursdays booked in for January, to any “normals” out there 14 meetings in a month will seem like nothing but to my mind all these meetings are plans for the near future, stuff I HAVE to do, this I find hard cus it’s not living in the day and I can never be sure how my days and weeks are gunna pan out, if I have some low episodes these are 14 opportunities for me to let people down, I hate letting people down if a low episode causes me to let someone down there’s a chance that the low episode can get deeper and deeper…. I’ve decided during the Chrimbo limbo period that I’m not going to continue with my funding request at this point cus it’s not the right time and has the potential to cause me unnecessary stress, my demons tell me I’m doing this cus I’m pathetic, the demons are wrong I’m doing this to look after my health….

A number of the 14 meetings are to organise another Peer Support Meeting, the first one on the 27th November went so well those of us who organised it committed to ensuring the second meeting would happen in January to keep the momentum building. We have set the date for this meeting as the 29th January which gives us plenty of time to organise and promote. Here’s the ridiculous thing that is playing on my mind, the Peer Support meeting is scheduled for 11am to 3pm and I’m booked in for another 3 hours of tattoo from 5pm to 8pm, I’m worried that a day that long will take too much out of me and possibly cause a low episode. I loved how positive the meeting was on the 27th and was very proud of the part I played in it. I also love how my tattoo is coming along and oddly love being in the chair being tattooed. So these two things are both massively positive things for me, but because I’m “feeling sorry for myself and wallowing in self pity” these two positive things have allowed my demons to turn them to negatives…. Bloody ridiculous!!!!

So to sum up, some really positive things that can start 2016 off really positively and cus I’ve been “feeling sorry for myself and wallowing in self pity” I’ve allowed my demons to own and consume me, this is not the way I plan to continue!!!! But now I’ve got some hard work to do to get out of a low mood that fundamentally I’ve caused myself…. We have all done this before and we have all survived every time we’ve been there as I say a lot “there ain’t nothing we can’t handle…. Eventually!!!!” And of course “enjoy the good and ride out the bad”….

If you’ve been paying attention, and fair play to you if you have cus I’ve been rambling on a bit as usual you will of noticed I’ve tried to bring attention to the words “feeling sorry for myself and wallowing in self pity” by putting them in “…” There is a reason for this and the reason is I want to look at these words and attack them, this is what I was trying to do when I started the “Chrimbo limbo” post, I think it’s important to look at this in order to allow us to have any chance of moving forward, taking ownership of our illness and very importantly taking ownership of our own recovery!!!!

Yesterday I woke up late and then spent most of the day “feeling sorry for myself and wallowing in self pity” I didn’t leave the house….

Today I woke up late, was angry I woke up late and started to get myself ready for another day of “feeling sorry for myself and wallowing in self pity”…. Today is different to yesterday cus I’ve left the house and am currently sitting in Druckers in Halesowen writing this…. My day today is already much better than yesterday by simply leaving the house and an added bonus is I’ve just bumped into one of my mates wives had a little chat and a smile…. 🙂

So we know I’m guilty of “feeling sorry for myself and wallowing in self pity”. Depression is an illness, other forms of mental illness are illnesses (I guess the clues in the title….) although we all hate it when people say “pull yourself together” “man up” “it’s all in your head” I hate to admit it sometimes there is a place for these sort of phrases, perhaps not the ones above there a little harsh but something along the same lines, I hope that hasn’t angered people too much, I’m gunna try and explain why I’m saying such a stupid and seemingly uncaring words….

At about 11:30 Boxing Day morning, I was still in bed and feeling like I was gunna be there for a while, I got a call from my nephew who asked if I wanted to come down to have bubble and squeak with them. My initial thought was “no, I just want to stay in bed” but I ignored that cus that was the demons trying to keep me miserable, I went down to my Brothers and spent an hour or so with my brother and his family. I was greeted by Ted the dog, I went into the compulsory plum protection!! Being greeted by Ted makes me smile (unless I forget to protect the plums), the kids make me smile, being in that happy family environment makes me smile, so if I’d listened to the demons and stayed in bed chances are I’d of had another miserable day. Sometimes I don’t go places cus the demons tell me people don’t want me around, but if that was the case why would my nephew have phoned me? The answer to that by the way is he wouldn’t of called…. FACT!!!!

Another day in “Chrimbo limbo” it was planned to go out and have lunch somewhere with my Dad and Brothers family I’m gutted to say I didn’t go, I did have a headache when I woke up and unfortunately had really struggled to get to sleep the night before, but this isn’t anything new it’s part of the game we play. The added issue with this plan was I would be somewhere with no control over how long I would be there and that causes me anxiety and allows my demons to be more powerful and much more persuasive or in other words I begin to wallow in self pity and allow the demons to control me, this is not good!!!! Once we start to allow, YET AGAIN, the demons to win the battle we allow for the possibility that the demons will get stronger and we will begin to listen to all the lies they tell us and the longer we allow the demons to get stronger the bigger chance we allow ourselves to spiral out of control of the good place in our noggins. Once we’re out of the good place in our noggins we’ve then got another fight on our hands to get back to that more stable place, the longer we don’t fight the harder getting back to the more stable place will be. And on and on and on and on, for me this is one of the very many reasons we have to remember to stay in the day and only deal with what we HAVE to at any given point….

I’m hoping from the last paragraph you can see this is me admitting very openly that I am guilty of “feeling sorry for myself and wallowing in self pity” and just as a further admittance I am probably guilty of this far to often!!!!

I’m not proud of this next bit….

Many of you are guilty of “feeling sorry for yourself and wallowing in your own self pity”…. I agree, me saying that is completely and utterly out of order….

BUT, am I wrong?

Erm….

No I’m not!!!!

Have a quick think, even if I’ve offended you by saying the unsayable…. Am I wrong?

Ok, now you’re being completely honest with yourself, we have something to work with….

Now you’re being completely honest with yourself, you have a place to begin from, you have the foundations of your next battle….

Now you’re being completely honest with yourself, you have even more strength to win that next battle in a shorter time….

Now you’re being completely honest with yourself, you have the strong chance that you will have less battles to fight in….

I think it’s pretty clear I don’t think I’m wrong…. In many conversations I’ve had with many people stuff often comes up from years ago and it’s repeated many times, believe me I know it’s not easy to work these things out of your life partly because they’ve been in your life for so long and if your anything like me they’ve come in handy on many occasions to punish yourself with but its not healthy and you need to give yourself a break. If you can, put some effort into locking these things away or if not that it might be more productive to work these things through properly but if you ever want to move forward you have to do something!!!!

I’m not gunna break any confidences by telling you what people I speak to can’t let go of and in not letting go cause themselves unnecessary anxiety and stress. In a lot of these examples not letting go or fixating on certain issues not only stops us from progressing, they build a wall that we can never get over….

What I am gunna do is list my stuff, that echoes some of what people have said to me, I’ve worked hard to leave behind or still allow to cause me pain….

I’m a drain on society cus I’m on benefits

I was once beaten unconscious outside a boozer

I used to have a home

I used to have a good job

I used to have a relationship

I used to have holidays

I used to be a functioning member of society

I’ll never have another meaningful relationship

I’m 42, too old to ever have kids now

I’m lonely

I’ll never have a “normal” life

I’ve been fighting against mental illness all my life

Mental illness will always control my life

I’m envious of the lives people around me have

This list could go on forever, but what would be the point of going on and on and on? There are probably many things I could of done differently in my life prior to having the mental breakdown in 2013 but whatever they are I didn’t do them and I can’t change that now, all I can do is accept where I am today, accept that my mental illness is what it is, simply an illness and make the most of it. Spending all this time “feeling sorry for myself and wallowing in self pity” is not going to help me take ownership of my illness and more importantly take ownership of my recovery, recovery doesn’t mean one day I’ll be fixed, it’s all about working hard to move forward to a point where I can manage my mental illness better.

Of course I know a lot of what I’ve said about “feeling sorry for myself and wallowing in self pity” is far to simple…. Bad or low episodes are real and sometimes there literally isn’t a single thing you can do to get out of them, sometimes we just have to rest and mindfully work on trying to move forward, but I for one am determined to be mindful of spotting the difference and doing what I can to get to a better place as quickly as I can…. How about you?

“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)



Continual Acceptance

I was gunna title this post “The Cruelty Of Mental Illness” but that seemed a little “let’s have a wallow in self pity” and that isn’t the place that I am or should be in at the moment. I should actually be doing a positive post about an award and recognition I received last week, I should be talking about some amazing new contacts of influential people I made at the “Dudley Volunteer Awards 2015” and the possibility of meetings I’ve got coming up and the potential that could come from those people and meetings, but after the high of the awards last Thursday I’ve gone for another little nose dive into depression. I was gunna talk about the cruelty of mental illness but I’d rather talk about the inconsistency and nonsensical reactions we can have to things. For me the meds we take are to keep us on a level, which is both a good and bad thing. It’s bad cus you often here people talk about themselves being zombiefied, unable to feel emotions. It’s a good thing cus the problem with being able to feel emotions you feel the highs and quite often after the high you feel worse because when coming down from that high you go back to that level that’s best to be on and the higher you go the bigger the drop back to the level which although it happens quite often it always seems to catch you by surprise.

The reason I changed the title and hopefully the message of the post is I want to be positive or perhaps more truthfully I want to be realistic….

I believe in order to move forward from whatever form of mental health issue you are dealing with there first of all has to be an acceptance of the issue, whatever that issue is and if you fully understand it or not. My guess is the majority of us don’t now and maybe never will fully understand our issues, we have spent many years getting to this point of our lives and to unpick the issues of life to a point where we know exactly why we are the way we are is very unlikely, so at some point we have to accept we are never going to be able to answer all the questions we pose to ourselves, we have to accept there probably isn’t one reason or indeed any actual answers to the many questions we ask ourselves or are asked in our recovery process by the experts who are trying to fix us. I’ve had conversations with people who believe they have recovered from there mental health issue, I would never question them specifically about it cus it’s there recovery, it’s there life and if they believe that then it’s absolutely fantastic news for them. Unfortunately I don’t believe I will ever be cured of my mental health issues, I believe I will always have a level of instability, I don’t see this as a negative way of thinking about it, I see it as a realistic thought pattern for the way my world is now and has been for many years. I know over the many years I have struggled with depression and then clinical depression and mental illness following my mental breakdown (or major episode) in 2013 has left me with an instability that will always be there in one form or another in my life, what I have to do is change my many incorrect learned reactions to different situations and events that will face me in the future. Having said that if I ever believe I am cured I will shout it from the rooftops….

It’s not enough to accept once you have a mental illness, the initial acceptance is a very important one but we have to continually accept each and every episode. We have to accept the highs, we have to accept the lows, we have to accept the intrusive thoughts, we have to accept the bonkers thoughts, we have to accept the paranoid thoughts, we have to accept the lack of emotion, we have to accept the abundance of incorrect and mis interpreted emotions, we have to accept the lack of energy, we have to accept the agitation, we have to accept each and every unexplainable mood change that comes our way.

Accepting all these things is not giving in, it’s not being negative, it is about being realistic. An awful lot of what goes on in our minds and in our lives make us uncomfortable and uneasy but in order to move forward from these issues we must accept them in order to find a way through and past them.

I say all the time I have no problem in accepting I have a mental illness or have mental health issues but I don’t think I actually have fully accepted. Part of me is still the man who believes men should be strong and be able to cope with everything life throws at us, I think this is hard wired into us. I believe this is why there’s an awful lot in the media about why men find mental illness harder to cope with, why men find it harder to ask for and accept help and why the figures for suicide in men is so high, we believe admitting we need help is admitting we are weak. We are not weak, accepting we have issues, accepting we need help, accepting we must ask for help, accepting that help shows we are strong and believe me when I tell you you will need that strength to keep fighting towards your recovery, you will need that strength to continually accept, sometimes on a daily basis that you have to find the strength to realise you will be able to cope with everything life and life with mental illness throws at you, maybe not immediately but if you keep accepting and keep approaching things from every conceivable direction eventually you will cope with it all.

“There ain’t nothing we can’t cope with…. Eventually!!!!”

(Please understand me going on about it being harder for men is by no means me saying its easy for women, anyone battling mental health issues is not having an easy time)

“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)




Momentum

I’ve just checked the date of when I published the “About Me” page on my blog, unfortunately cus I have the memory capacity of a daft gold fish I’ve already forgotten the exact date but I do remember it was October 2013 and this is what I wrote: –

ABOUT ME
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.

Very simple and simply honest, if you’ve read any of my other stuff you will of spotted contradictions, but I have always stayed honest and my writing style can never be classed as professional, although over the months and years I have cut down quite a lot on the swearing. (maybe)

I spoke very briefley to a guy on Twitter the other day and asked him if he’d read my blog and he replied “Yes mate your blogs make me feel part of something,” To get that as a reply shows me that starting the blog was the right thing to do, simply put that’s exactly what it’s about, being part of something. Depression and mental illness make you feel very alone but with social media we are NEVER alone. I speak with people on Twitter that keep there identities anonymous, that’s not my way, that was a decision I took way back when I started the blog. To begin with I was just Jon aka exboozehound, then by mistake I put my surname in a post and thought I shouldn’t of done that and then I thought “aaaahhhh bollox, who cares” so just to show I have absolute no shame, Hi I’m Jon Mansell, I’m a mentalist and a retired alcoholic….

I distinctly remember thinking about starting the blog whilst I was mowing my Dad’s lawn, unfortunately around that time I was a little bit on the manic side and what started as a simple blog spiraled completely out of control and went a long long way into ridiculous delusional thinking…. Not quite “I’m gunna rule the world, ha ha ha ha ha ha” but trust me it wasn’t far off. To be honest mania and delusional thinking can sometiimes be a fun place to be but my mental health worker spotted my mania and delusion was getting a bit dangerous and slightly reduced my meds which brought me back down to earth a bit…. 🙁

Anyway, I think it’s fair to say the blog has come along way since October 2014.

I think it’s also fair to say quite a number of you will be thinking “blah, blah, blag, get to the f’in point!!!!”

So, the title of this post “Momentum” this is me trying to be a little bit clever so it’s bound to go wrong…..

But, I’m always willing to make a tool of myself, it’s one of my few talents….

Momentum

“exboozehound” isn’t just me, it’s all about you lot, those that have offered me support and those that have asked for my support, those of you that have shared, liked or commented on a post on Face Book or Favorited, Re-tweeted or commented on Twitter.

Having got an email a few months ago from a guy called Tom Bowen from Big Centre TV via Chris Barron at Health Watch Dudley, Tom came over to see me and interviewed me about the blog and the one or two issues I’ve had in my life.

Tom Bowens Interview for the news on YouTube

Then a couple of weeks ago I got another call from Tom who told me he was doing a documentary series called “Dee Asks” with Dee Kelly (offa Benefits Street and Celebrity Big Brother, etc). We met at The Hope Centre in Halesowen and spent a couple of hours together. I had to admit to her I’d never really watched Benefits Street or Celebrity Big brother cus programmes like that just make me angry…. I think that was a good thing cus I had no pre-perceived perceptions about her…. She was a total legend, genuinely interested in talking to me about depression, Mental Illness and Alcoholism, Dee is doing different documentaries on various subjects and on Friday she gave us a little introduction to what she is doing speaking with Bob Hall.

Snippet of Bob and Dee introducing me. (The recording is a bit rough cus I video’d it on my phone off my iPad just to get my little clip)

And then on Saturday I got a text of Dee’s manager asking me if I would be up for going into the studio in Walsall to be interviewed by Monica Price for Cuppa TV. This hasn’t aired yet but you can be sure that as soon as I can I will be posting links everywhere….

Ok, so we are still talking about momentum, momentum is building more and more people are becoming aware of “exboozehound” and actually want to talk to me.

On Thursday this week I will be going to a meeting held by Dudley Borough Clinical Commissioning Group Public Health Forum Meeting…. The last one I went to I started a discussion/argument with the GP giving the opening slide show and I can guarantee I wont be sitting quietly at this one just nodding my head.

Today I have spoken with a Dudley & Walsall Mental Health Trust Manager who wanted to confirm I was to be attending a meeting on Friday entitled “Working Together For Recovery Group” and again I can absolutely guarantee I won’t be sitting their nodding my head….

I have done some work with Health Watch Dudley, Dudley Making it Real Campaign, and was partly involved is setting up The Peoples Network which started with about 10 of us and the last time I actually got to a meeting there was more than 50 people there.

I have interested contacts withing the Dudley and Walsall Borough Council, I have been to various meetings with a company called Governance International and I’ve had a number of meetings and conversations with James Morris our local Conservative MP who is the Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Mental Health who are working for mental health to be given the same level of priority as physical health.

So, although my Noggin Demons continue to tell me I’m a failure at life and a waste of a human being things ain’t going too badly and I have to work at keeping the Momentum moving forward and take all the opportunities I can to get out there and show that a drain on the benefits system like me is actually determined to make a difference for me and others whether they are in this country or all over the world….

Oh and I’ve also been nominated to be recognised at the 2015 Dudley Volunteer Awards, because 2 months ago a started “exboozehound’s Group For Men” which happens once a week on Thursday at 13:00 at The Hope Centre Halesowen.

I’m now sitting here thinking “can I actually publish this, I’m coming across as a right Tosser banging on about all that’s happening” but I have to publish it because it’s not just about me, it’s about all those people that send me kind words about me and what I am trying to do…. This morning the first thing I read was a DM on Face Book that said “Hey, I hope you are well. Just wanted to say how inspiring you are!!! Always a calming influence and always make sense”. I am very fortunate to of received a good number of messages using the word inspiring or inspirational and a lot of the time I laugh it off and then get told off for not taking a compliment. Reluctantly I have started to take those words for what they are, they still sit uncomfortably but if people actually take time out of their day to say stuff like that I should accept them and ensure they continue to inspire me to carry on….

So, lets look at another kind of momentum….

Momentum

This is about the momentum we need to look for to keep the momentum of our recovery moving forward, sometimes it’s very difficult, sometimes it’s almost impossible. Today I have sat here and wrote all that stuff above, proud that I started the blog to help me and others and it seems along the way I have helped others through tough times.

You may think that Jon is currently doing really well and today and yesterday I am. However on Friday I was low and sat in the lounge thinking “I can’t win this war against my demons, eventually they will destroy me completely, every time I think I’ve turned a corner another wave of misery and pain comes along to fuck me up”. Sunday I was only out of bed for 3 hours, thoughts like that and not being able to get out of bed is no way to live a life it’s just an existence….

With thoughts like that I have to keep going back to “enjoy the good and ride out the bad” every time I get low I have to remember I have bounced back before and I will bounce back again. You have to remember that every episode of misery you have you will bounce back eventually and in keeping on bouncing back you are keeping the momentum of your recovery going forward. You may of had a bad day today, but that doesn’t mean tomorrow will be a bad day as well, and if it is another bad day it’s just another 24 hours you have to get through to see if the day after that gets a bit better and if it does get a bit better, enjoy it, you never know the next day might find you feeling a bit better also. If you’re having a shite day just work your way through it however you can and if all you can do is lie in bed, or mope about feeling sorry for yourself, or spend the day bursting into tears then so be it….

Rightly or wrongly I am of the opinion my Noggin Demons will never give up trying to destroy me, basically I’m a long term mentalist, I was born a mentalist and I will die a mentalist but with a bit of luck and a lot of hard work I may be a happy/relaxed mentalist who knows I have a purpose in life and hopefully I will have many things to be proud of and you guys will hopefully be the same.

Keep working hard on keeping the momentum of your recovery moving forward and when the backwards steps come along, cus lets face it they more than likely will, remember your demons didn’t completely destroy you last time and they wont do it this time, yes they are clever little evil fuckers, but you will always be that little bit stronger and you will learn ways to play there game and beat them at it….

Right, I think I’ve finished…. I/we have to work together to keep the momentum of exboozehound moving forward and I/we have to work tirelessly to keep the momentum of our recovery moving forward.

Whatever the little demon fuckers throw at you, you’ve beaten them before and you will continue to beat them every time they have a go….

 

There ain’t nothing you can’t handle…. EVENTUALLY!!!!

 

“enjoy the good and ride out the bad”

Read my motto again and again and again until it grabs you by the bits and you fully understand it and what it means to YOU!!!

Keep going 😉

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

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




Thinking is overrated

I’m always trying to think of new ways to help people understand Mental Illness a little bit better, since I started this blog it was my intention to be as open and honest as possible even if those words made me seem bonkers. From the feedback and messages I have received since the blog started I am proud to believe I have helped people understand more, both “Mentalists” and “Normals” when the words I use match with the words they use and the thoughts they have. Also through the men’s group I run at The Hope Centre Halesowen and people I have helped in the street struggling with mental illness or drunk and vulnerable I know me being completely willing to start a conversation with “Hi, I’m Jon, I’m mentally ill and an alcoholic (retired)”  helps to ease people, I have no shame whatsoever in the illnesses I have and have to deal with and I really couldn’t care less about the stigma associated with being mentally ill…. It is what it is…. I’m mentally ill and if you have a problem with that, that’s your problem….

A couple of weeks ago I came to a realisation, whilst I sit on any given day dissatisfied, upset, tortured by my belief that I have always failed at life and the fact that I don’t work, I don’t have my own place, I drive a crappy old car, I’m not married, I have no kids, I have no money, I have no prospects, all these things confirm I have always and will probably always fail at life. The things I list that confirm I’m a failure at life are all things associated with “Normal” life and lets be honest I ain’t “Normal” and what is “Normal” anyway? When I did work, when I had my own place, when I had a long term girlfriend, when I had a decent car, when I earnt decent money, when I got promotions, when I earnt huge amounts of commission for sales, when I was seen as a very good people person, when I was an account manager growing most of my accounts, when I had all of the things that in “Normal” life tell you you have a level of success, it was never and would of never been good enough for me, I would always be able to find negatives in anything I was doing even if people were patting me on the back and saying how happy they were with what I was doing, I still had no real feeling of success.

The realistaion was basically no matter what I had done or what I will do in trying to succeed at life it was never gunna be good enough for me and the reason it was never gunna be good enough for me was because I am mentally ill…. I still have no actual diagnosis on what my mental issues are, a number of things have been mentioned, Clinical Depression, Bipolar, Borderline Personality Disorder but whatever box I ever get put in it makes no real difference. The fact is I currently take 450mgs of meds on a daily basis and I am also prescribed Diazepam to take the edge off when my badly wired noggin gets a bit out of hand it’s fair to say I am mentally ill and at times unstable.

So why is this post entitled “Thinking is overrated”? My theory is the difference between “Mentalists” and “Normals” are not that big, its just a level of degree and how we react to those small differences. I have a lifetime of reacting to things in a certain way that haven’t been helpful to my progression, these learnt behaviors and reactions have got me to this place in my life, my task now is to keep trying to relearn natural reactions to certain circumstances that life throws at me. But that is very difficult to keep consistent when there are so many uncontrollable and incorrect thoughts going on in my head, my demons are dancing, kicking and laughing at me to keep me fucked up. I believe everyday we have to fight these demons is a very long and tiring day that also effects my ability to sleep at night and awake at an acceptable time of day and then fill my day with constructive, positive things when all I can find in my mind are negative, destructive thoughts and feelings.

So, whether you’re a “Mentalist” or a “Normal” have a read through some of the many thoughts that uncontrollably run through my noggin at any one time. If you also think like this please believe me you are not alone, I have spoken with many people that think this way and if you also think like this please believe me there will be days that you can enjoy, if you keep fighting you will start believing you can cope with anything life throws at you, probably not all the time but you must concentrate on trying to bank the positives how ever small they seem.

Thoughts

Thinking is overrated, if it is uncontrollable and my guess is if you have mental issues at times your thinking will be uncontrollable, we are very very good at thinking negative thoughts, it’s what comes naturally to us. People tell us to think positively, but sometimes that just is not possible, if you can’t think positively make sure you remember that….

DEPRESSION AND MENTAL ILLNESS LIE TO YOU!!!!

Worrying about the past and worrying about the future is pointless you need all your strength to deal with today. My better days and weeks are all around just thinking about Now, Today!!!!

You will all of had people saying to you “One day at a time” or “One step at a time” although I know these can be very annoying at times I think it is the very first step to having a struggle free day. Sometimes you may have to go an hour at a time, just concentrate on 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)




Depression Properly Sucks

Depression properly sucks…. Talk about stating the obvious!!!! What never ceases to amaze me is how I always seem to forget just how horrendous it can be and how difficult it is to bounce back properly. Depression sucks away your ability to enjoy anything of life, I’m sitting here watching the tennis finding myself jealous of all the smiling people fecking enjoying their lives. Watching people on Henman Hill jumping up and down waving there arms about with proper joy with huge real smiles on their faces…. Living their lives with joy and happiness.

Depression is sucking up all my energy at the moment and occupying my whole mind, I can’t get to sleep at night and then I can’t get out of bed in the morning, when I do get up I feel so very low and some days I just can’t be bothered to fight it. On Friday I received a letter from the DWP telling me they owed me a half decent chunk of cash which will enable me to clear a bit of my debt, if depression wasn’t controlling me at the moment I would of been jumping for joy as my benefits have been underpaid for over a year and now I can get my finances a little bit more in control. After reading this letter instead of jumping for joy I found myself sitting on the top step of the stairs crying. Then for a while I paced backwards and forwards asking myself if I was gunna be able to get anything from the nice sunny day outside.

People will keep telling you to keep taking little steps or concentrate on the positives or one day at a time and all of these things, although they can be a little bit annoying and soul destroying, are very true. So I decided to take some little steps, find some positives and do something about taking one day at a time. I had myself a shower and went out into the sun for a walk down into town, the only actual reason I needed to go down there was I needed some deodorant. So I purchased my deodorant and then went to the local Wetherspoons for a soft drink out the back sitting in the sun. I can usually guarantee there will be someone in there I know. So I had my soft drink and was sitting in the sun having a chat with someone, but I couldn’t settle my mind and left after one drink, there were other people in there that I just nodded to but couldn’t find the effort to have a chat with them. I walked back home feeling a bit more positive basically just cus I’d made a bit of a effort.

I know this post is very very dull, but it’s just real depression can lead to a very dull existence, and unfortunately the word “existence” is a poignant one cus at times it is an existence rather than a life.

I felt more positive on Friday evening but Saturday was a total disaster, on the phone with my Mom in tears and speaking with my Dad in tears, not even having the confidence to go down stairs and see my Brother. All I could do is go back to bed cus I didn’t have the strength to compete with the demons and the pain.

So far today has just been about trying to focus on the tennis, but in all honesty I’m almost looking through the TV, writing this I’m thinking I’m just wasting time cus there’s nothing helpful or uplifting for anyone. It’s dull, it’s depressing, it’s life.

However, I’ve been in much worse places than this before and I came back from those places, so I know I will break this cycle sooner or later, hopefully sooner….

“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)




Short Post

I really should be pouring out nothing but positive stuff….

I was interviewed recently about the blog by a TV news show….
youtube news

Last week I ran the first “exboozehound group for men” (3 people turned up)….

A couple of weeks ago I went to a meeting with the Lotto people and we spoke about looking at funding and charity status for exboozehound….

At the lotto meeting I introduced myself as exboozehound and the response I got was “oh your exboozehound I’ve heard a lot about you”….

At the end of another meeting a lady came up to me and said “I just had to say I love the way you introduced yourself to the room” this lady said to me at another meeting that she had put a comment on Face Book about meeting me….

All of the above appears to be saying “ooh look at me aren’t I awesome….”

I have to be proud of some of the things I have done with exboozehound, I just wish I could keep the momentum moving forward at all times, but that’s just not the nature of the beast….

I’ve spent most of the last three days in bed cus I just couldn’t be arsed with life, I finally got up this morning about 11:30 and all I’ve done is sit and watch TV. I had to pop up the shop, which I found very difficult and kept my sunglasses on at all times cus I didn’t want anyone to be able to look into my eyes.

Last week I started trying to write a post about self isolation and loneliness but my concentration failed me. On Friday I went out and met up with some mates for the first time for a while, it was really good to see them and great to be out but I only lasted an hour or so cus I was feeling a bit manic and anxious. So at the start of the week I’m trying to moan about being lonely, but then when I’m out with mates I want to be back on my own.

The madness of being mad never ceases to blow my mind….

Yes this is a very short post, but I think it sums up quite a lot….

Mental Illness makes no sense whatsoever…. It’s just fucking mental!!!!

Keep going ?

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

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

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Just what are those “little steps”?

“Just take little steps”

I’m pretty sure that anyone who’s ever stepped into the world of a mentalist will of heard those words and indeed been annoyed by those words as well.

WTF are little steps??

Well, I’ve been thinking about this today….

Without wishing to become the most whingy whiny person that ever existed I’m gunna mention, again, that this year hasn’t gone well so far, I’ve been in quite a long term low episode and I just don’t seem to be able to get myself out of it. Every time I think “ooh I feel a bit more “normal” today” along comes another wave of miserable’ness and we start all over again.

Even though the “just take little steps” sentence has annoyed me as much as its annoyed you in the past it can be a bloody good starting point. I can pretty much handle anything mental illness throws at me these days cus I know no matter how long it takes I will come out the other side hopefully sooner rather than later. Even though the daily battle seems so fecking pointless at times I know deep down the fecking demons ain’t never gunna beat me completely….

So, these “little steps” we have to take, what are they?

ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING YOU CAN FEEL POSITIVE ABOUT….

Here’s my little steps for today: –

I got out of bed this morning…. I did, I got out of bed at 11:59, this will seem a bit insignificant, but recently I’ve been unable to wake up and get up before the afternoon, yesterday I didn’t wake up until 14:30 and the night before I was in bed and asleep before 21:00. It may seem insignificant but for me today it’s a little step.

I left the house today…. Again this will seem insignificant, but before today (Tuesday) I hadn’t left the house since Friday. I didn’t go far, I’d planned to go for a bit of a drive but I just ended up down the local town centre. I parked up and found it difficult to get out of the car, I got out of the car and instantly wanted to get straight back in. I then simply walked around the outside of town, got back into the car and drove home again.

I’ve ate lunch and tea…. Again pretty insignificant, but sometimes I just can’t be arsed to eat, too much hassle.

I agree, on paper these three “little steps” are pretty insignificant, but I can see the positives. I started writing this post about 15:00 this afternoon and I’ve had to keep coming back to it cus I just can’t concentrate. Hopefully the post above comes across as completely positive even though I’m struggling right now, my noggin is buzzing, I can’t relax, I can’t think straight, all in all I feel pretty shite. The next couple of hours will probably be me fighting the urge to go and hide in bed, cus I’m fairly sure if I go to bed I won’t sleep and that will just wind me up all over again.

The fact that I can hold onto those “little steps” as positives is positive in itself, in a world of nothing but negatives at times any small any tiny seemingly insignificant positive has the chance of sparking more positives and more daily wins.

Keep your eye out for your own “little steps” (warning this is about to get proper cheesy)

image

Keep going 😉

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

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




The Continuing Madness

I haven’t wrote anything for the blog for a while, I’ve tried lots of times but just can’t seem to get the usual shite flowing…. So far this year has been shite, I’ve been pretty low, very tired and struggling on a daily basis. Fortunately I see my mental health worker on a regular basis and she keeps me plodding along reminding me how far I’ve come forward from the real dark days.

At the end of last year I was getting involved in loads of things, this year everything I’ve tried to get involved with has made me feel un well and f’ing useless, I’ve spent a lot of time hiding away and feeling sorry for myself. I don’t know why this year has started so badly and I try not to worry about why. Talking with my mental health worker we have come to some possible conclusions and basically they are just things that would probably get a “normal” a bit down but as I’m not a “normal” they have lead me finding life difficult. This week I’ve gone a little dolallytap, I hit a real low which lead to an awful lot of pacing backwards and forwards, rocking like a nutter and oddly sitting on the floor at the end of my bed with a dressing gown over my head (NUTTER!) which then lead to me lying on my bedroom floor in a ball…. I’m sure you will agree this is not the behaviour of a “normal” and is indeed the behaviour of a raving fucking loony!!!!

I’m a little bit more relaxed today but I’m still doing a lot of pacing, I’m afraid to leave the house, I can’t talk without stuttering, I don’t seem to have control of my mind, body and soul, I feel like I could sleep for a week and I’m already struggling to concentrate on this post.

While I was sitting on the floor with a dressing gown over my head I was crying uncontrollably, one of the main things that was going through my mind was that I’m never going to be able to cope with real life again. Fortunately the day all this happened I was due to see my mental health worker and I told her this along with things like “I can’t take this struggle anymore” “I want to be able to enjoy life” “it’s too hard” “I’m 41 and I’ve got nothing”…. All these things were said whilst crying that much that she had to fetch me tissues…. I’m not ashamed of crying (well maybe a little bit) I’m not ashamed of all the BOLLOX that was poring out of me, I am pissed off with myself that I’m feeling so sorry for myself and I’m very pissed off that I just don’t seem to be able to cope with real life. But, if I could just pull myself together I would of done that years ago, no one would choose to live like this cus at times its fucking horrendous and it is easy to understand why people with mental health problems take there own lives…. But I will not ever take mine cus I will never let my bastard demons win and neither should you.

I think I’ve been as low as I’m ever going to go and I came back from it, if I ever do go any lower I will always know I can come back from it, coming back from it will always be hard, it will always be painful and may take a few months but it will always be worth the effort. The next time I feel good I’m gunna make sure I cherish it and make the most of it, I will never again get complacent about things going strangely well and I will ensure that I believe in my motto 100%: –

image

I’m currently very angry about life and my mental illness so I think it is time to bring back something I wrote a long time back:-

image

The harder life gets the better the feeling of achievement for beating the demons will be…. Hopefully!!!!

Not a very good post I know, just honest about the pain….

Keep going 😉

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

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




Back to little steps….

He we go again…. I’ve been struggling again recently with the noggin demons, anyone who knows me will know this already cus I’ve been isolating myself more and more. Problem is with isolating yourself more and more is that when it comes to unisolating (another made up word) again the simplest things become very difficult. For whatever reason, or many different reasons I find myself losing the battle against my demons, bloody strong, sneaky bastards at times ain’t they!!!! They’ve got a good strong hold and are giving me a proper kicking, I keep trying to go back to the little steps, one day at a time, etc but the Neanderthal in me still sees that as pathetic, in fact the Neanderthal in me could only use words like pathetic to describe me at the moment, but the more socially acceptable version of me knows words like this are unfair and completely untrue…. Although that doesn’t stop me believing them at the moment.

So today I’ve gone back to small steps, which is a world apart from how I tackled it all on Monday. Monday I spent the whole day in bed, which is basically just hiding, I woke up very slowly in the morning, which is something I’ve been struggling with for a few weeks now finding that energy to get out of bed, eventually I got up and immediately felt an overwhelming pressure on me that made me panic about what the day would bring…. I bottled it and went back to bed and hid away. I didn’t sleep all the way through like I did a couple of weeks ago I just lay there twitching oddly at times and beating myself up in my demon full noggin. There really was nothing I could do to find that energy to get out of bed, saying that may seem a bit pathetic but whilst you are in that world it is very very real. Tuesday I woke up about 11:30 and got out of bed about 12:30, I was still wallowing and was very close to just wanting to go back to bed until I got a text from a mate who said he was on his way round, every part of me wanted to tell him not to come round but I guess I knew I needed some sort of distraction to break this behaviour pattern. Wednesday (today) started with an appointment with my mental health worker, the appointment was a 9:30 (which sadly in itself is a bit of a challenge at the moment), we sat and talked for an hour and I left feeling more positive.

Michelle (my MH worker) helps me remember how far I’ve come from quite a serious breakdown (for the want of more medical words), she reminds me that I’m diagnosed with clinical depression and she also reminded me that I haven’t just concentrated on my own recovery having started this blog and got myself involved with various groups and organisations. At the moment I’ve had to pull away a bit from some of the things I’d committed to purely to allow me to look after myself and ensure I don’t end up down the bottom of the totally dolallytap cul-de-sac.

Even though I am struggling with things and the demons are currently very strong and if I’m honest beating me at the moment “totally dolallytap cul-de-sac” is not a destination on my planned route of recovery. No matter how bonkers, frustrated, desperate, confused, upset, emotional, mad I feel I still know I will come out of this and will hopefully come out of it stronger cus each time I blip I also learn. I’m not sure what I have learnt this time, I’m not sure I could ever pinpoint the things I learn from the blips but even if it is just that the demons can win at times but can’t beat me for any significant periods of time and indeed the demons will never ever beat me completely, that’ll do for me….

At the moment I can only really see the negatives of life, but I know there are many positives kicking around as well and I know sooner or later I will see more of the positives than the negatives….

Again, this is not a “woe is me”, “please feel sorry for me”, it’s meant to be positive. Monday I spent all day in bed hiding and Wednesday I’ve done a number of very small things that with a bit of luck I will build on tomorrow, but let’s not worry about tomorrow yet, today is still here.

“Every journey begins with a single step”

“enjoy the good and ride out the bad”Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

Keep going 😉

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

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

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