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)



So here it is Merry Christmas….

(This post starts in a very negative way, but I promise it gets better)

So here it is Merry Christmas….

So here it is Merry Christmas

Erm…. We f’ing know it’s been coming since f’ing October!!!!

Everybody’s having fun

I can guarantee that’s not f’ing true….

Look to the future now

Are you f’ing joking, I have no future…. (Apart from more horrible demon fighting years)

It’s only just begun

Fuck off!!!!

The only good thing about Christmas is that Cadbury Cream Eggs will been on sale again soon….

Yup, Christmas is here and I’m really in the Christmas mood…. Mood being the key word!!!!

I’ve just googled “what’s Christmas about” the result was as below: –

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The birth of Jesus…. And nobody is actually sure when he was born….

I know…. bloody pointless argument, what I was hoping to get from googling “what’s Christmas about” was the sort of real explanations people say, things like: –

1. It’s all about the kids
2. Relaxing with family and friends
3. Enjoying a break with family and friends
4. Presents and parties
5. Good food and drink

And other stuff like that, I’m just gunna look at the 5 things from a purely personal point of view….

1. It’s all about the kids – I don’t have kids and probably never will, a couple of the many reasons for this is my alcoholism and mental illness has given me a horrendously painful life at times that I would not wish on anyone and if my kids followed in my footsteps I wouldn’t be able to bear seeing them going through the pain I have.

2. Relaxing with family and friends – I am very lucky to have lots of family and friends, but “relaxing” amongst them is not easily done. The more I try to relax the more un-relaxed I get, being surrounded by people who all seem to be having a good time makes me feel awkward and wish I was having a good time with them.

3. Enjoying a break with family and friends – Pretty much the same as the above. Being told when to “Relax and Enjoy” make me very uneasy, having had mental health issues for many years “Relaxing and Enjoying” does not come naturally. Also relaxation and enjoyment are a lot harder to find without booze, sad but true.

4. Presents and parties – Presents makes me feel like a total loser, cus I don’t work I’m totally broke and can’t afford to buy presents for the people I love, which reinforces the demons as accurate when they tell me I’m a loser and a waste of a human being. Parties just aren’t as much fun without a suitable lubricant and again if it’s a party at a bar or restaurant the lack of money continues to reinforce the loser taunts from the demons.

5. Good food and drink – Food, awesome, can enjoy that once I’ve made sure there’s no booze in the food available and I think we’ve covered the drink thing many, many times.

Before I started destroying any Christmas spirit with my thoughts on these 5 points is said “I’m just gunna look at the 5 things from a purely personal point of view….” Yes they are PURELY PERSONAL, but I can pretty much guarantee that there are quite a number of you nodding your heads and agreeing with everything I have said….

Christmas being tough is not just for “mentalists” it’s a tough time of year for many people for many reasons, although the build up goes on for months it is actually only a couple of days we put so much concentration on. Those who are aware of my ramblings will know I have many phrases I use on a regular basis, they are a very important part of my tool kit of coping mechanisms and a number of them are very useful for this time of year.

“enjoy the good and ride out the bad”

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

“It is what it is”

“Shit happens”

“grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference”

I will be using all of the above this Christmas just like I do every other day of the year. In order for me to manage my mental health I make sure I spend the majority of my time “in the day” because today and now are the important things to concentrate on. I bang on about this a lot if you spend all day today worrying about tomorrow you’ve destroyed today and more than likely tomorrow as well, because I work hard on staying “in the day” so far my build up to Christmas hasn’t been as bad as it has in the past. Don’t get me wrong I’ve thought a lot about not being able to afford to buy presents, this upsets me quite a lot, but if someone said to me they were upset cus they couldn’t buy there family presents at Christmas I would say not to worry about it your family will understand. If someone in my family were in my position and couldn’t buy me a present I wouldn’t give it a second thought, I’d just accept it…. “It is what it is” “shit happens”. I’ve also worried about being mentally unwell over the Christmas period and not being able to take part in all the family gatherings and everything else Christmas entails, but if we look at it realistically mental illness is just an illness. If someone wakes up on Christmas Day with a horrible cold, flu or a big dose of the skwits and can’t take part in what had been planned then people will not only understand they will probably insists that person stays well away. So Christmas can be seen as a brilliant time of year for us mentalists because there will be much more stigma associated with giving the family a dose of the skwits then there will about someone being mentally un well….

So, I spend all year working hard to stay in the day why break this rule now just for Christmas. Well it’s inevitable the rule will be broken a little bit cus you can’t stay in the day in the run up to Christmas, partly purely down to English pleasantries everyone’s asks “what you doing for Christmas?” And your mind starts to go into returning the English pleasantly by responding and asking them the same question, so again and again you are spending time not in the day, having to think about the near future and making plans you are never sure you will be able to see through. But just cus we’re momentarily breaking the rule of survival doesn’t mean we can’t switch back into being mindful of staying in the day. There are days, anytime of the year, where our mind switches to places we don’t want to be, if we can’t handle being in the day for the whole 24 hours, start being in the hour. Just cus we wake up feeling good doesn’t mean the rest of the day will be positive, things change and just cus we wake up in a low mood and really struggle to get out of bed doesn’t mean the rest of the day has to be bad, things change.

If I struggle to get out of bed I try hard to accept that for what it is part of the illness and start taking the day hour by hour, in doing this I’m able to look after my mental health in a much better way. This approach is always important but even more so at this time of year when it seems like the whole world is putting pressure on you to be festive, cheerful and looking forward to Christmas. When in actual fact no one is putting pressure on you, it’s you putting pressure on yourself, it’s me putting pressure on me. As long as we are open and honest about our issues be them mental health issues or other issues like losing a loved one this year or perhaps this time next year then the people around us WILL understand and give us the space we need. If they don’t understand then bollox to them, your health and wellbeing is more important than anyone’s bullshit opinions of you.

This next bit is gunna test my spelling…. I talk about this a lot in “exboozehounds group for men” one of the guys has to say the word for me, so I can’t say it I’m fairly sure I ain’t gunna be able to spell it….

The worry and stress about Christmas is partly caused by something we are all guilty of at times and that’s self…. (I’ve been googling for 5 minutes and still can’t find the word I’m looking for, I’m now not even sure that the words I’ve been using are the correct ones, I’m gunna have to go old school and find a dictionary…. Grrrrr) (no joy with the dictionary either…. Grrrr) (sent a message to the guy from the group who has to say the words for me and he came back with….) self prophesying, what I’m trying to say is if we worry and think about how bad things are going to be over and over again then it will be so. Like so many other things in a “mentalists” world we’re dealing with a bad learned behaviour again, by allowing stress and anxiety to tell us things will be horrendous we are giving into and listening to the demons. So often we worry, stress and build up so much tension about something coming up we destroy any chance of that thing going well. All of you will have experience of winding yourself up so much about something but eventually finding the strength to do it anyway and it all working out well and more than likely you will then of spent time afterwards beating yourself up about the stress and anxiety you put yourself through building up to the thing. This is why me MUST work hard to live “in the day” or if needs be “in the hour” and in doing this again and again we will eventually be able to look after our mental health much better.

Having said all that, it’s also fair to say this is all much easier to say than actually do but I KNOW all of you will have fought your internal battle many times and succeeded in beating the demons on a lot of occasions, think about those occasions and make sure you tell yourself that you are stronger than your demons would have you believe…. FACT!!!!

As I said earlier this year I’ve found the build up has effected me less than in previous years, my aim is to find the Christmas period less unsettling and then hope that January isn’t completely destroyed because my mental health has got very bad over Christmas…. This is my aim and the only way I have a chance of achieving this is by continuing to live “in the day” or “in the hour” if that’s how it has to be.

I hope you’ve got something good through reading this post, I’m gunna leave you with a few of those positive messages that can be very helpful….

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Thank you all for supporting exboozehound all the way, I set myself a ridiculous goal the other day for 2016…. Nothing ventured nothing gained…. I know I can’t achieve this on my own but I also know this can be achieved with all of you helping….

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Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year (good luck)

“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)



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.

 

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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)




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

Чтобы выйти. которая также является лучшим летом прическа и адаптируются к длинным и коротким волосам. чем солнце. чтобы сделать это. Большинство современных женщин делают носить макияж. платины светлые волосы сделали свой путь в 2013 весна / лето движение цвета волос. с точки зрения питательных веществ.

Другие варианты Половина заплести волосы. . количество ультрафиолетовых лучей и время вы проводите дубления вашего тела находится в постоянном движении. и это делает меня счастливым. 1. который вы считаете. который используется для увлажнения кожи и способствовать созданию молодой вид.

что есть элементы в очаровании этого срока. Кроме того. вырезать его из середины и извлечь мякоть. в машине или даже кармане. Кроме того. Процедуры красоты имеют ком долгий путь от Thor примитивных средств до современного общества. Будьте уверены.

но это больше подходит для людей. Жирные кислоты в этом масле делают его более легким для волос и кожи головы. Обертывание помогает в некоторых очень различными способами. предоставляемые загара кабин идентичны УФ-лучей. это может быть стоит каждую минуту вы тратите на вашу красоту. и вы поймете. Добро пожаловать этой осенью стиль и сосредоточиться на прекрасном.

Поскольку многие природные бренды используют только лучшие натуральные ингредиенты в своих продуктах и ​​без наполнителей. Непрерывное использование масла макадамии волос может даже позволить волосам расти толще. Это отличный увлажняющий крем. Вот некоторые из основных преимуществ. так как аргановое масло. Это маскирующее приходит в палку или трубку. Был рассказ позади этого романа.

Зная. В солярии в соляриях у вас есть гораздо больше шансов контролировать свое время в машине. что цены могут быть довольно повышены. более легкую версию сегодняшних более сложных косметических средств. прежде чем использовать их. Противовоспалительное действие помогает в успокоении кожи. Это может удивить многих.

что косметика на самом деле началась более 6000 лет назад. , депиляция эпиляция Для некоторых женщин. речь идет о женщине. а не ясный лак для ногтей. в котором товары как продукты Kerastase являются частью повседневной нашей жизни. Развертки ее туда. Для женщин.

Что касается процесса увлажнения. В самом деле. Это также поможет сделать его дольше и выглядеть. вы получили столько. что появляются красивые означает больше. что является высоким качеством. Точно так же.

Так что следующий шаг. Но давайте поговорим о цвете первой. Есть два способа получить реальный загар – вы можете сделать на открытом воздухе на солнце. Пункты. Каждый метод дубления имеет свои преимущества и недостатки: Очевидно. В древние времена. Вы можете найти несколько салонов красоты и косметических экспертов.

что кровати дубления душ на вашем теле хуже для вашей кожи. ваших друзей и семьи. для загара является лучшим вариантом. Не это много. а затем обострить их. которые вы не получите от солнца. что веснушки вместо загорает.

который вы покупаете. . греки и персы использовали визуальные улучшения. чем эти мясистые листья. Это дает другой взгляд и прическа требует меньше усилий и может быть гламурными тоже. Цветочные ароматы напоминают мне о моей любви из роз и гвоздик. которая получила большое распространение негативной информации в последние годы.

устаревших щеток и различных других инструментов.

Is this the way forward?

G’day all, hope you’re well?

Please take some time with this post, it’s very important cus this is an opportunity to actually make some positive difference….movie La La Land 2016 streaming

I received a DM off @Daniel_L_Baker a few days ago about his charities new and inspired, crowd funding platform, Depression is not destiny I was happy to receive a DM off Danny because even though we’ve never met and he lives on the other side of the world he is definitely part of my recovery support team. His memoir had a very big effect on me and helped to reignite my fight against the horrendous pain I was in after my mental breakdown in June 2013. I think the best way I can sum up the effect this memoir had on me is by the medium of screen grabs: –

Please take note of the date of this review, 24th October 2013 as it’s quite a significant date for me.

image
Again please take note of the date I downloaded Danny’s memoir, 24th October 2013 as it’s quite a significant date for me.

image

The pic below is a cropped screen grab from my blogs admin page to show you the date of the first page I published and again please take note of the date it was published, 24th October 2013 as it’s quite a significant date for me.

image

It may seem odd for me to be rambling on about stuff from the past in a post entitled “Is this the way forward?” but I thought it was important to set the scene. When I looked at the crowd funding platform on Danny’s website I noticed that one of the projects was a lady called Chazz who is also UK based, for me it’s people like Chazz who are inspirational and brave because she has the guts to ask for help. Asking for help is not easy, especially in such a public way but I think it sums it up, it shows how powerful the web is with helping people’s recovery from depression and mental illness. I got Chazz’s twitter address (@Aries_Model) off Danny and sent her a message asking if I could write about her, I hope you will agree the reply is very powerful and shows how important it is that we write, talk, blog, share about our experiences of recovering from depression, mental illness and in my case alcoholism: –

image
I watched Chazz’s video, I urge you to do the same, and I thought back to how horrendously painful life was when I was waiting for some help from the NHS, how desperate I was and I know I would of gotten very close to giving up if I was told there was a 2 year waiting list for any help. You here a lot of people saying the hardest thing is asking for help and yes that is very hard, but in reality with this completely broken and not fit for purpose NHS we have the hardest thing is actually waiting for any help to arrive once you’ve just taken a horrendously painful step of asking for it.

Please take the time to read Chazz’s story and watch her video, any of you out there reading this who have experience of depression, anxiety and mental illness will know how incredibly hard it would have been for Chazz to do the video and write her story. Keep an eye out for what I think is an incredibly powerful and emotional collection of words….

“I want to feel like I have a place in this world”

I know I understand the pain behind those words and I’m pretty sure you do too.

With the appalling state of the NHS system I believe this is a way forward, we should not have to wait 2 years to get some help and although the politicians keep talking about more funding and better turn around times we all know nothing will change quickly cus let’s face it the NHS on the mental health side has been in this state for many years and just continues to get worse. I need to say that I have met some brilliant people in the NHS and when you do get treatment via the NHS it is second to none, but the way the system is setup causes a massive amount of unnecessary very dangerous pain and I also stand very firmly by my belief that I only got the treatment I did and do because I mouthed off on Twitter and made my complaint official, which in itself made me unwell.

Please take the time to check out Daniels website and watch Chazz’s video, read her story and if you can donate. If you can’t donate don’t worry but please share the story and links because this is genuinely an opportunity to help someone get there life back and help them know they do have a place in this world….

“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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//

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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//

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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You’re Stable

Stability –

a. Resistance to change, deterioration, or displacement.
b. Constancy of character or purpose; steadfastness.
c. Reliability; dependability.

Stable –

2. Enduring or permanent: a stable peace.
a. Consistently dependable; steadfast of purpose.
b. Not subject to mental illness or irrationality: a stable personality.

Interesting words “Stable” and “Stability” (I may be misusing the word “interesting”….), I knew what they meant but yesterday I decided to google them for specific definitions for a particular reason. That reason being I spoke with 3 people yesterday with mental health issues of varying severity, each one of them has been left in no mans land in the Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust. Like me they are all in the “system” somewhere(????), unlike me they didn’t mouth off, complain and tweet about how horrendous and not fit for purpose the “system” is.

Two of them I spoke to yesterday have asked their GP for more help and someone to talk to, one of them has asked to see a psychiatrist again and the response they both got was “you don’t need to talk to anyone you’re STABLE”. The other one now sees the psychiatrist every 3 months with absolutely no support between appointments, they are still awaiting counselling, at the last psychiatrist appointment the prescribed change of medication was for a drug that is no longer available…. (I don’t think that last bit needs further comment)

Last night I was speaking on Twitter with someone who has been told they need CBT and the waiting list is about 300 people long, so it’s been decided they need therapy and they will receive that therapy sometime in the distant future, is that good enough? No it’s not!!!! I have also spoken to someone recently who’s had a bad experience of what the NHS has to offer so now chooses to avoid the NHS and any help all together….

I find it harder these days to slag the NHS off because I’m in a different situation, yes I only see my psychiatrist every 2 months for about 20 minutes but between those visits I see someone every couple of weeks and she’s brilliant, partly because she is brilliant and partly because she’s a consistent part of my life. A few weeks ago I was struggling and feeling very wrong and all I had to do is to walk into the Halesview centre, which has the best mental health reception staff I’ve come across so far, and ask to speak with my health worker (I must ask what her actual title is one day….). I was very fortunate as she was about to go out but she gave me a few minutes of her time, in which I cried (no shame in that!!), she reaffirmed a lot of stuff I already know, but when my noggin gets fooked up I can’t remember or act on what I know, not always. She reminded me I’d had a huge “episode” just over a year ago and I still had a long way to go, she reminded me I’m too hard on myself, she pointed out I was trying to do too much again, she reminded me I had come a very long way in a relatively short period of time. I walked away after less than 10 minutes feeling much more settled and realistic about stuff.

All of the above mentioned people don’t have the option to just to walk in somewhere and ask for help. I’ve been told that the support I’m getting is no different to what others are getting, but quite obviously that isn’t true. I know from talking with some people in power in the NHS they want to give everyone the sort of support I have but they just can’t as they don’t have the people or money to do so. One of the heads of department I have been speaking with who is amazing and massively driven to provide mentally ill people with all the support that is possible has now left the NHS “due to ongoing changes” what’s the betting this is simply down to lack of funds and frustration about all the red tape and rules that stop wonderful caring people from doing the job they signed up to do, using their training and people skills to help those who need it whether it be intense therapy or just a simple chat.

For obvious reasons I can’t give more details of the various people I have mentioned above but what I will say is one of these people is diagnosed with what some people would consider quite a serious mental illness, they’re asking for help and being denied it. For a GP to respond to a request for more help with “you’re stable” is absolutely disgusting. Do GP’s understand how hard it is to ask for help? If a recognised mentally ill person asks for help surely it should be considered carefully or at least followed up? I guarantee the people asking there GP for more help didn’t do it lightly and would of spent a lot of time building up the courage to ask the question. Unfortunately these days just asking for help gets you nowhere, you have to demand it and demanding anything when you’re are mentally ill is almost impossible.

Looking back at the definitions of “stability” and “stable” I would suggest that neither me or anyone else I have mentioned in this post is either of these words and if GP’s and more senior noggin docs think that “stability” or “stable” are positive acceptable words to describe a human beings life they are wrong. Being “stable” suggests that mentally ill people aren’t having rewarding lives they are just existing and if we are just existing what is the point?

Just because we are mentally ill it doesn’t mean we can’t have rewarding lives, from time to time I feel my life is very rewarding and as I move forward I hope to have more rewarding times more often. I know this will take time, I know I have a long way to go, I know I am very fortunate to have the NHS support I have, I know I am very fortunate to have the support this blog gives me, I know I am very fortunate to have the support I get on Twitter and Facebook, I know I am very fortunate to have the support of family and friends. I also know that a lot of the support I have is because I have been completely open and honest about my illnesses, occasionally my honesty has a negative effect on life and situations but the majority of time it has a positive effect and allows me to not waste my energy trying to be something that I’m not. When I’m happy I’m happy, when I’m sad I’m sad, when I fooked up I’m fooked up but at all times I’m honest and open….

“enjoy the good and ride out the bad”

I posted this on Face Book yesterday, I don’t post these blog posts and Twitter and Face Book posts looking for sympathy, I don’t do it as a “woe is me” I don’t need or want sympathy!!!! I do it cus it helps me and hopefully it helps others cus life “is what it is”. It doesn’t make a difference if your’re a “mentalist” or a “normal” we all have up and down times, perhaps a “mentalists” up and down times can be a bit more serious and life consuming, up and down times are part of life sometimes you can do things to make things better, sometimes you can’t and just have to ride it out. Every time I get into a down time I know can handle it cus I know I’ve got through a lot worse and I accept that it’s just part of the game that is life. “It comes with the territory”

image

Keep going 😉

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

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