Tag Archives: family

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 😉

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

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

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)



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)




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.

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)