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…. πŸ™‚

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 πŸ˜‰

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

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



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