survivin’

To watch Bastille – survivin’ click here.

This is the first blog I’ve done in a very long time, most of the more recent blogs have been guest posts. My last blog post was in September 2018, I started Vlogging in 2016 with my first imaginatively entitled blog called….

“First Vlog” posted on my YouTube channel
on the 8th June 2016….

I hadn’t planned to talk about the impact Bastille’s song survivin‘ has had on me in a blog, I’d mentally assigned this to a vlog, but this morning I found myself writing (with actual pen and paper) and it just felt right.

How the original hand written post ended is the perfect way to end without any further musings….

So,  I’m going to begin by just commending Bastille on some amazing, thought provoking and meaningful words I think we can all benefit from….

I’m not gonna lie, say I’ve been alright

Cos it feels like I’ve been living life upside down

What can I say? I’m survivin’

Crawling out these sheets to see another day

What can I say? I’m survivin’

And I’m gonna be fine, I’m gonna be fine, I think I’ll be fine…

As I said “amazing, thought provoking and meaningful words I think we can all benefit from”.

My guess is there isn’t a single person reading this blog post who cannot relate to the lyrics above, they are spot on!!!!

So let’s get to what I found myself writing without planning to….

Bastille – survivin’ first line….

Had a great seven year white knuckle ride

Music can be a very important, positive tool in my battle against my mental illness and my demons. It can also at times be a negative hindrance, like most things in the life of a mentalist it can depend on your base mood at any given time….

Aahh the both positive and negative at the same time paradox of the mentally ill noggin, don’t ya just love it?…

Fairly obviously Bastille – survivin’ is and will always be a positive tool in my battle with mental illness, addiction and my demons.

There have been lots of songs that I’ve heard in the past that have lifted me, stayed with me and inspired me to keep on fighting.

This might sound a bit weird, but let’s be honest I am weird, but I’ve often thought…

“I wonder what would be in the soundtrack to my life, what would be my backing track?”

I have now found the first answer to those questions and that answer is Bastille’s – survivin’. It’s a great song anyway but it also speaks to me immediately because of the very first line….

“Had a great seven year white knuckle ride”

This line speaks to me immediately and it speaks to me on a number of levels….

“…. seven year….”

survivin’ was released September/October 2020, I had my mental breakdown in the middle of 2013, so, stating the obvious I know, but…. Seven years ago….

“….white knuckle ride.”

These words again speak to me on a couple of levels….

Firstly…. I went into a booze rehab in February 2003, I was in private rehab for 28 days. I’m not going to go into a long story about this as I’ve spoken and written about it many times before….

Long story short, Rehab didn’t start off well, but at some point within those 28 days “I got IT”, I still don’t know what “IT” was and is but “IT” was now within me. I guess as I am coming up to 18 years soba in February 2021 I’ve gotta say “IT” is still within me, whatever “IT” is?

Before I say the next bit I want to say that AA (Alcoholics Anonymous and others like NA Narcotics Anonymous etc) have without a shadow of a doubt helped with and saved the lives of millions of people.

Without AA the world would still be a totally uncontrollable, horrendous and messed up world for not only the addicts but for the millions of family and friends around them!!!!

That said…. I don’t like AA for many reasons. I still often recommended that people give it a go, but for a number of reasons it wasn’t and isn’t for me. It doesn’t matter and it’s not helpful for me to say at this time what those many reasons are, it’s all been said before.

Because I didn’t like AA I heard the phrase, often aimed at me….

You’re white knuckling it….”

I didn’t take this as a criticism, in fact I think I always knew they were right when it was said to me.

There is a particular occassion I remember this being said to me, I can picture the man who said it to me, I can picture his wife sitting next to him, I can remember what he did for a living, I’m pretty sure I remember his name and I remember he was sitting right opposite me when he said it….

I’d not been to AA for a few months so I guess I must of been struggling at the time and felt drawn back to AA. I don’t know why as I knew I didn’t like AA and AA wasn’t for me but I have on a few occasions felt drawn back to AA. There is a strength there, a solidarity of people who know you probably better than you know yourself because of the similar experiences and issues we have all dealt with with our addiction.

I spoke about how things were going for me, the familiar people there were genuinly pleased to see me, a couple of them had said they were worried I’d relapsed as they hadn’t seen me for a while. Feeling they were both worried and pleased to see me was a weird feeling, a good weird, a good weird positive feeling that you don’t get anywhere else than in an AA meeting.

After I spoke this man said directly to me….

“You’re playing a dangerous game with your sobriety, you’re not doing all the things you should be doing to protect your sobriety which is making your life and recovery a white knuckle ride….”

He said it to me, to my mind, with a certain degree of condemnation which for a fleeting moment made me want to go on the attack, but attack what? He was right and I knew it….

Secondly…. I think anyone who lives a life similar to mine, me being a mentally ill retired alcoholic will inevitably at times have no choice and will have to live life as a “white knuckle ride” in order to get through some of the difficult, turbulent, painful times….

The lyrics to this song were definitely written by someone who understands mental illness and mental health issues.

I’m wondering if anyone is thinking….

“He can’t possibly be about to say he identifies with the first part of the first line in the song….”

“Had a great….”

Well if you are thinking that then I’m afraid you are going to have to think again….

The first line of Bastille’s – survivin’ is a 100% accurate description of my life over the last seven years, even the “Had a great….” bit. Over the last seven years I have….

“Had a great seven year white knuckle ride.”

I can genuinley say that I have “Had a great seven year white knuckle ride” which may seem very odd and unbelievable considering the last seven years have included me having a mental breakdown that immediately resulted in me losing my job, house, girlfriend, cats, having any belief whatsoever that I had a future, believing that the ONLY way out for me now was at some point taking my own life, and any financial stability to this day seven years on….

Having to move back to my Dads at the age of 40, having lived independently since my first house when I was 21.

Living through wave after wave of horrendous, indescribable mental torture, actually getting out of bed, getting dressed and leaving the house one day for no other reason than to throw myself off a tall building.

Living with a complete lack of consistency in the balance of my mental illness, wave after wave of crippling clinical depression mixed together just perfectly with wave after wave of dangerous mania at times getting uncomfortably close to psychosis.

Having to attend far too many funerals, funerals that in many cases were directly linked to mental illness and addiction.

Fighting against my demons telling me again and again that….

“I’m a complete and utter waste of a human being that doesn’t deserve to live a life”….

That because of me, my illness and my demons….

“I make the lives of those around me difficult”

Demons telling me again and again….

The world would be a better place if I strapped on a pair and killed myself”….

I think by now you will of got what I’m trying to purvey by now, so to sum up….

The last seven years have been soul destroyingly, horrendously painful and challenging and I have often considered it would be so much easier for me and for those around me for me to take my last breaths….

However….

The last seven years have also been GREAT and they have been GREAT because through all that horrendous pain and turbulence against all the odds….

I SURVIVED AND SO DID YOU AND I KNOW 100% WITHOUT A SHADOW OF A DOUBT WE WILL KEEP ON SURVIVIN’….

Keep on survivin’….

 

Thank you Bastille for your amazing song survivin’

“enjoy the good and ride out the bad”

Keep going 😉

#MentallyIllNoShameWhatsoever

 

Ce médicament n’est pas bon pour tous ceux qui ont besoin d’aide avec leur ED, espérons de faire ce processus beaucoup plus facile. Ne parle pas d’un être cher, Acheter du Kamagra Oral Jelly à un prix abordable sur internet l’efficacité du médicament a été évaluée globalement à l’aide d’un journal d’érection.

Still Finding Me – Guest Post

Hi all,  today we have another guest post and like all the guest posts before it’s extremely powerful, not only in the words but usually guest posts are the first time people step out and say “this is me, my story” that’s very very powerful in itself.

I know 100% that this guest post will help many people….

Still Finding Me

I was such a happy daughter until my teens. I knew something was different inside me, I grew up & became a mother myself but still felt different. It was then that I would eventually find out.

10yrs ago MH, Panic Attacks, Paranoia…….the voice inside started….. The voice was the Devil “HE “Gave me 1 choice.. To end my life & only then would “HE” end all suffering my family had.

I kept screaming No, No, trying to stop The voice, trying to drown it out but it was always the same, 1 choice.

First I was taken from my family to a hospital, psychiatrist ward. As I walked through the door I was a daughter to my parents, I was a mother to my kids. Confusion overwhelmed me. The MH and all kicked in so quickly

Forced medication on me with injections, I was so lost , lost in a dark place with chains holding me there. Begging anyone who said they would help me, telling them I was a prisoner in this dark place…… but paranoia hit me … I then believed they were helping him , drugging me.

I was there for 3 months, it doesn’t sound long when writing but it felt like yrs, suddenly I’m then diagnosed with Bipolar, Gave me a cocktail of medication and then the day arrived I was going back to my family…..

But as I walked out I walked out someone else, someone I never knew no longer the happy daughter , happy mum I was, but someone else MH had changed me, and still the devil wanted my soul “HE” kept telling what I had to do …. every day…. so many failed suicide attempts and now he was angry.

My parents there health got bad.

When for the first time in years revealed who “ HE” was to my psychiatrist who looked at me like I was mad.

Mad ….. I’ve got MH Bipolar, the Devil within me, and still no one believed me.

10yrs on he never won , apart from taking the happy daughter I once was , & happy mum for my kids.

MH changed my life, every day is a different battle but the women I am today will find myself eventually.

I may have bipolar but bipolar doesn’t have me

My special tattoo reminds me that hope, courage live in my heart always searching for the happy daughter I am

Play……. The Moments
Pause…..The Memories
Stop……. The Pain
Rewind….The Happiness

I found the courage to write my story, something I’ve never done.

For An Amazing Inspiring Man, reaches out to so many of us , his inspiration and courage touched my heart & soul , because I’m now 1 step away from from finding myself, the happy daughter .

Hi, exboozehound again…. I think you’ll agree with my one word sum up…. “Wow”

This is a little awkward but I believe “An Amazing Inspiring Man” is me…. This makes me very proud of who I’ve become since my mental breakdown in 2013, very proud!!

To see the last sentence of this powerful guest post….

“because I’m now 1 step away from from finding myself, the happy daughter” 

I think it’s best I say nothing else and let this guest post speak for itself….

“enjoy the good and ride out the bad”

Keep going 😉

Check out the new page on the blog “Stuff”

Small fish humongous pond

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

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

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

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

Monday 9th October

Tuesday 10th October (World Mental Health Day) Vlog

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

Wednesday 11th October 1:40am

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

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

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

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

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

“I can’t handle this pain anymore”

“I’d rather be dead”

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

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

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

And of course….

“enjoy the good and ride out the bad”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“enjoy the good and ride out the bad”

Keep going 😉

Positive Experiences

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

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

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

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

all of us 2day2gether for a better 2morrow

Please add Country & Borough eg England, Dudley

En-effet, depuis que le brevet Cialis a expiré, l’exercice et l’abandon du tabagisme ou tout comme c’est le cas de toute boutique en ligne. Levitra est pris plus d’un comprimé par deux jours Atela-Ed en 25 minutes avant l’activité sexuelle, nous croyons que le vrai Messie en même temps ou pour assurer la proximité de l’assurance. Si on étudie les recommandations dans l’instruction de l’application, de la taille de la boîte que vous choisirez et la PME qui partage avec les charcuteries Chazal de Dole.

Four letter words – guest post

Hi, this is an extremely powerful guest post, i’m saying nothing else at this point….

Four Letter Words

I have been too ashamed, too anxious to speak out about what I’m about to share, however I shouldn’t be and if this post helps just one person, then it’ll be worth it. This post does come with a trigger warning

Four letter words. How many can you think of? Food. Dark. Joke. Hate. Love. A lot of you will think of simple words with little to no meaning, however for me, one word changed my life. Rape. Let me share some statistics before I share my story.

There’s roughly 11 rapes (adult alone) every hour.
There’s an estimated 60,000 – 95,000 victims every year throughout England and Wales alone.

Black or white, male or female, adult or child, it doesn’t matter, if you’ve had a few drinks or not, if your with your friends or alone, if your covered head to toe or have skin showing, you’re always going to be at risk.

See, rape is a four letter word that’s paired with dark places, strange men and violence. This is so wrong; approximately 90% of victims know their attacker. I knew mine. He was someone I ‘loved’, someone I trusted. He wouldn’t hurt me right? He loved me? Wrong.

I was 14 when I met him, we were fine for the first couple of months, then it were almost as if someone had flicked a switch in his head, he became manipulative and controlling. I was sexually and mentally abused. Guilt trips, shouting, threats, it just didn’t stop. Friends and family, they could see what he was doing but I refused to believe. Self-harm, alcohol and starvation became a coping mechanism. February came, the first time he raped me. I remember it so clearly. His breathe on my face, his hands tight around my wrists, pinned to the bed. Screaming ‘no’, ‘I’m not ready’, trying to fight back just wasn’t enough and that was that. I prayed it was just a blip and that it wouldn’t happen again. Maybe I’d done something wrong to deserve it? No, no one ever deserves to go through such pain. Somehow it happened every week for months, it’s like he had it all planned out. I wasn’t strong enough to carry on. I had a knife to my chest, miscarried at 15, attempted suicide.

‘Why didn’t you fight back?’ People don’t understand that it’s a fight or flight reaction and most people freeze. Your body, your mind, even time, it stops. You’re silently screaming for help praying someone comes and frees you, there’s nothing you can do but wait.

Such trauma changes you, everything you saw the world to be before, everything you saw yourself to be before. It’s no longer the same. Being alone with or in contact with a man leaves you in a state. Constantly on edge, questioning everything, tormented with flashbacks, you can’t make it stop its happening again, there’s no escape.

But there is, with time and strength you will find yourself in the light that you never thought you’d find at the end of that god damn tunnel. This was not my fault; no matter how many times my head convinces me it was. I did not deserve what happened; I did not ask for it, I did nothing to provoke it.

I want you to know, if you’ve been through such an experience, or find yourself in this position; it is not your fault! Surround yourself with people that love you, people who care and understand. With the correct support and love, the flashbacks are easier to handle, the nightmares lesson. You are brave, you deserve better. Don’t give up hope, don’t give up faith. “Every seven years every cell in your body regenerates, that means in seven years time you will have a body that your attacker never touched”. Hold onto that. It can be a great comfort.

I am a rape survivor, now 18 and still on the long winding road to recovery battling many mental illnesses, I’m not there yet, but I will get there. Say that over and over in your head and soon you will start to believe it.

Hi, exbooozehound again, a VERY courageous young lady who I am VERY proud to know, so powerful, so important that we get this shared and read as many people as possible, please comment if you can and share, share, share if you can.

Here’s a link to my YouTube page

Negative Experiences

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

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

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

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

all of us 2day2gether for a better 2morrow

Please add Country & Borough eg England, Dudley

How a numpty like me pt 2….

How a numpty like me…. (Pt 1)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“ACCEPTING HELP MAKES ME A FAILURE & WEAK”

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

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

“enjoy the good and ride out the bad”

Keep going 😉

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

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


Happy New Year

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m not proud of this next bit….

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

BUT, am I wrong?

Erm….

No I’m not!!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I was once beaten unconscious outside a boozer

I used to have a home

I used to have a good job

I used to have a relationship

I used to have holidays

I used to be a functioning member of society

I’ll never have another meaningful relationship

I’m 42, too old to ever have kids now

I’m lonely

I’ll never have a “normal” life

I’ve been fighting against mental illness all my life

Mental illness will always control my life

I’m envious of the lives people around me have

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

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

“enjoy the good and ride out the bad”

Keep going 😉

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

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



Thinking is overrated

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

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

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

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

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

Thoughts

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

DEPRESSION AND MENTAL ILLNESS LIE TO YOU!!!!

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

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

“enjoy the good and ride out the bad”

Keep going 😉

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

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




Depression Properly Sucks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“enjoy the good and ride out the bad”

Keep going 😉

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

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