What is “Real”

A real good friend of mine sent me an interesting message on Face Book the other day: –

“Blog subject suggestion. “Real”. You use the word quite often. I would be interested in your perspective LJEMFTF x keep em coming.”

My initial reaction in my head was “OOF!”

It turns out I don’t use the word “Real” that much, but it stood out for him and it makes a lot of sense….

He also commented:-

“I think if you are striving for “real life” its good to know what your expectations are.”

My initial reaction in my head was “OOF!” and reading these comments again “OOF!” is still my reaction, these are bloody good questions, NNOP is digging deep here….

So, I have an easy simple answer……

“I don’t know what “Real” is anymore”live streaming film Alibi.com 2017 online

A very simple answer but quite a painful one, and the more I think about what is real the more I realise I don’t know. I have spent so long hiding, faking, manipulating and ignoring my feelings I don’t know what is “Real”. What is real life? Well, I am 40, so by now real life should be good job, nice house, nice car, nights out with the misses, days out with the kids, I should have a bit of money in the bank…….. I ain’t doing that well then, I have failed miserably at that shit!!

I have a good job, I know I am a good Salesman and an awesome Account Manager but mental illness has put this on hold…….

I had a nice house, but we are trying to sell it, mental illness took this away from me……

I don’t own a car, I still drive a company car but eventually mental illness is going to take this away from me……

Ain’t got a misses, mental illness has taken quite a number of those away from me……

Ain’t got kids, mental illness has always told me I couldn’t have them, I would destroy them, it would be unfair…….

Money in the bank, nope……. F*ck me Jon you’re a F*cking loser……..

So all my expectations I have failed at, everything I and society tells me I should have by now I haven’t got, mental illness has either stopped me having them, is taking them away or has taken them away. My expectations confirm what I know, I am a loser, a waste of a human being, I have failed at everything and nothing is real anymore….

But hold up, what if all that shit isn’t what is real, what if there is something else that is real, what if real is what it is, real is where I am. Although I still go through hell everyday and I am shit scared of what the future is going to bring I still want to help people, I care about people, people have been contacting me on here and Twitter and Facebook that suggests people care about me, I am a good person, I am a strong person, yes I have done things that i’m still ashamed of back in the drinking days but those days are behind me now. I am ill, unfortunately that is what is “real” at the moment, all those “expectations” aren’t real most of its just stuff. I might get most of that stuff one day, but underneath it all I will of still been ill, maybe I will still be ill….who knows???

What is “Real”?, what is “Normal”?, why am I ill?, why do good people get hurt by others? and why do people seem to like me? Who knows, who gives a shit, why am I asking questions that don’t have an answer, why am I worrying about stuff I can’t change? as a great man once said:-

“Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum.”

There are some really good things in my life at the moment, things that keep me calm, things that make me want to get out there, what they are doesn’t matter, they are what they are, it is what it is. There are also some really horrendous thoughts and feelings that scare me and hurt me, that make me cry, that make me rock backward and forward like a nutter, that make me want to give up……but I can handle the shit stuff I have done it before and I will do it again, I will keep doing it, I will beat this, I will help others beat it, I will make kids laugh for being stupid, I will make people smile and perhaps I will find “Real” one day whatever the f*ck it is, perhaps “Real” doesn’t exist????

It is what it is….

what happens, happens….

Keep smiling 🙂

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the good the bad and the ugly

Again I am not sure where this post is going to go……

If you have read previous posts you will know there are two of me “Jon” and Jon, unfortunately yesterday I seemed to of met another nutter popped in to say hi…. I think this might get a bit confusing!! I like “Jon”, I hate Jon and this new dude is awesome and an arsehole at the same time and arsehole is a very mild word. Lets see if we can break this bollox down??Watch Brothers (2015) Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Downloadn??

I had a really good weekend, there were highs and lows but I enjoyed the highs and I was allowed and I allowed myself just to let the lows happen, may sound a bit odd but it was pretty glorious, sort of being me (whatever that is?). In the morning yesterday I went to a meeting called “Coffee and Cope”, I didn’t want to go but sometimes I think I have to do things I don’t want to do. It was a good meeting, so I thought, there were lots more people there than usual, and I felt the panic of more people so I guess I had to bring “Jon” out to play a little more to protect Jon. “Jon” was great he was articulate he was caring, he gave and he received, he got on his soap box a bit, but overall he was great. But also Jon was there as soon as the mouth stopped moving Jon felt exposed, jumpy and a bit rocky, I don’t know if the rocking was internal or external and I guess it doesn’t matter.

A couple of things in that meeting had negative triggers for me and I began to spiral out of control inside. This was different “Jon” and Jon have been separate before and they have battled before but this time they were both there at the same time (F this is difficult!!) and seemed to want to control and challenge each other????? “Jon” is natural at times and forced at other times, i’m not sure what he is now? I seem to be getting so much better and a little worse at the same time, strangely I think this is a good thing (tomorrow I might think it is a bad thing?) there are a couple of good things happening at the moment, i’m not going to go into that now because I don’t think I want to analyze them. I think I might be leveling out, becoming real, perhaps becoming one person?

Yesterday I also got a call from the NHS about my formal complaint to advise someone is investigating the information I have provided them and will probably be arranging for a face to face meeting next week, “Jon” can handle this with his eyes closed, Jon would want to close his eyes and sit in a corner, but maybe this new guy will handle it and possibly handle it honestly and openly, that makes me happy :). We spoke on the phone for about 15 minutes I was articulate and pathetic at the same time, the guy from the NHS seemed to be a nice guy, i’m guessing his remit is to make the complaint go away, that might be me being unfair, but it wont go away I am prepared to go through more pain to make my complaint have a point and a positive outcome.

There have been a lot of people involved in anything positive that has been happening recently, the only person that has made the negative things happen is me, I don’t know if that is “Jon”, Jon or this new dude, it doesn’t matter really there is no point in trying to answer a question that there is no answer to.

Now I am at the end of this post I think I would class it as a purely selfish post, I don’t think the title makes much sense, some of the stuff I have written is bonkers but I am leaving everything the way it is because this is what is going on in my noggin.

If anything above makes sense, if you got anything from it, if any of it made you angry or you think I am a nutter, if you think you can tell me please tell me your thoughts.

I am selfish, I am bonkers, I am caring, I am giving, I am unwell, I am so many things but I am guessing most people are exactly the same but they just deal with the differences in a better way and just get on with it. Maybe “It is what it is” and “what happens happens” are going to turn me into a “normal”???

Keep smiling 🙂

I had a good day yesterday

Here we go again, Me Me Me, I don’t actually know where this post is going to go but I had a good day yesterday and this morning i’m having a bit of a wobble. The point of me doing this blog was both selfish and hopefully giving, I want to help people and I want to help me, as I have said before something I read helped switch the fight back on in me and from messages I have received i know my blog has done the same for others, this is a joyous feeling, this is a “Gem” moment in an otherwise pretty bleak existence.

The messages I have received are basically saying that reading my words helps them understand themselves or other people a bit more. I often talk about “the buzzing in my head” I know this sounds bonkers and I would think I am going mad, but I now know someone else used to use these exact words and I have never met them, so it helps me and hopefully helps them. So I am going to ramble on a bit and hope people get something from my ramblings.

I had a good day yesterday, but today I am rocking backward and forward with my head in my hands because my head is “buzzing”, bonkers but you know what who cares, that’s just the way it is and rocking with my hands on my head helps me I don’t care what anyone else thinks. As I am writing this I am choking back the feeling that you get just before you cry, and i’m pretty sure I will cry at some point soon, but you know what who cares that’s just the way it is, crying is good it seems to release pressure so if it happens it happens. I have got the shakes and I feel jumpy, I have recently had to increase my meds from 150mg’s to 200mg’s and straight away I felt unwell after the first 200 was popped, is this feeling just in my mind, is it physical, who cares it is what it is and worrying about if it is because i’m bonkers or if it is actually happening wastes energy and it isn’t going to make any difference I will still feel unwell. I cant answer the question and I am pretty sure the experts wouldn’t be able to answer the question either and if they did I wouldn’t believe what they said anyway, so it is what it is, i’m just going to let it happen and letting it happen frees up the stress, sometimes…….

I have been DM’ing with someone on Twitter and they mentioned someone was preaching that anti depressants don’t work, the only way through it is exercise and good diet, Pah! I have read previously about a young bloke that swears he fixed his mental illness with exercise and nothing but exercise, brilliant if it has worked for him I am chuffed to bits for him. But if exercise and a good diet fixes all mental health issues, why are sportsmen like Jonathan Trott suffering, he is a professional sports man, he will probably exercise a lot more than most and I would imagine he is on a good diet to maintain his sporting career. I don’t believe there is one answer if there was everyone would be “fixed”. I went through a short phase of walking whenever I could and it did help, it was really freeing and relaxing, but very quickly I started to find it was having the opposite effect, it was making me feel lonely and out of touch with the world, I would start to panic that it would take me ages to get home when walking and what if I bump into someone I know?? I would love to eat a better diet but for one I am skint and cant really afford the good stuff, and if I could afford it, I cant be arsed to cook it. When you are numb, have no motivation, cant concentrate and cant see a point to life exercising and eating well is almost impossible, sometimes even having a shower is hard hard work. That will sound ridiculous but I promise you it is 100% true, you might as well be asking me to solve a Rubik cube!!!

Yup, just been crying and I cant bloody breathe now, what a pussy!!

I guess it’s inevitable at some point I would come back to the NHS discussion, I truly believe the treatment I have received is an absolute disgrace, the constant waiting is disgusting but through this blog, Twitter and Facebook I have learnt that the treatment I have received is actually very quick in comparison with others. People have to ask for help and it is very hard to ask for that help for someone like me asking for that help was basically admitting I was failing again like I had failed at everything else in life, I was admitting I have to give up, I have to let go, I can no longer control me and my thoughts. Me saying I don’t have control is not an easy thing!! So people go through horrendous times they find courage to ask for help and then they have to wait and wait, when we are waiting the only thing that is happening is we are getting deeper and deeper into the pit, we are getting further and further away from “real life”, we are becoming detached and we are getting confirmation that we are pointless, we are not worth worrying about, we are not part of proper society and in going through this you know that that journey to recovery is getting longer and harder by the day.

I had a good day yesterday, I am not in a good place at the moment, partly because I don’t believe I have the right to have a good day and like a lot of the mental health world it does not make sense to think like that, but those are my thoughts, aaaarrrrgggghhhh!

On the flip side “Jon” knows he is incredibly good looking, handsome and cute, he knows he was a bloody good sales man, he knows he was/is and awesome Account Manager, he knows there is a twinkle about him, he knows he has an awful lot to give.

Does that make any sense?…. Nope

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Does it do my head in?…. Yup

Will I beat this thing?…. Who knows!! but I do know I will do all I can to beat it!!!

I pretty much think about suicide everyday, sometimes just thoughts, sometimes real feelings but that is not the answer, that is giving up, that is failing, that is a proper confirmation that I am a loser and a waste of a Human Being and “Jon” knows that is not true!!!

I really don’t know if there is any point to this blog, but you know what it is what it is, who cares?? 🙂

Keep Smiling 🙂

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Psychiatrist appointment

So, initial Psychiatrist appointment is done and there is a “plan” in place. I don’t think I am ready to reveal all the details but basically increased meds, further referral and next appointment is at the end of January 2014.

The Psychiatrist was a really nice guy, a very clever guy I was with him for about 45 minutes and he already had me talking about stuff I haven’t spoken about for over 20 years, how do they do that?? Very often when I come away from meetings with the experts I feel I have let myself down because my “Jon” force field comes up and ensures I cant be completely honest and open. For so long now I have been “Jon” on a daily basis, smiling, joking, talking an awful lot of bollox, people seem to like “Jon” and Jon doesn’t understand this, they like “Jon” and would not want to know Jon. Confused, welcome to my world.

Anyway, my force field was up a little, always going to be on the first meeting I guess, but I am proud to say I cried. Of course I apologised for this but as the psychiatrist said “if you cant cry in front of your psychiatrist where can you cry”. He dug around a bit and pushed a few buttons, a couple of good buttons, he got me thinking in a different way about some of my thoughts, which was both painful and interesting. I came away feeling a bit more positive, I have finally started the process, I am finally on the books, in the system, I have somewhere to call or go when I am desperate and if I am desperate I can get an emergency appointment, this is progress. 🙂

However……..

My next appointment with the psychiatrist isn’t until the end of January, the other referral thing wont happen until the end of February or March and if you saw a previous post “You need therapy the queue is 2 months” I have quite a wait for other needed therapy. I know in the whole scheme of things these few months wait aren’t huge, after all I have been diagnosed depressed for over 20 years, but and this is a big BUT the thought of more daily pain, ups and downs, not working, not earning, not being able to do stuff because of “The Fear” (I stole that phrase of someone else, they use it in a different way but I think it is so descriptive I decided to pinch it (soz x)) those thoughts and many others scare the Sh*t out of me. Am I going to be able to cope, am I going to be able to keep fighting, is Christmas going to destroy me, will I eventually just shut down?

Last night I had a great laugh on Facebook and Twitter with some awesome people, I’ve had a bit of a joke this morning as well, I posted some of my pictures on FB and woke up this morning with 11 notifications liking and commenting on my photographs which fills me with absolute joy. Yesterday I was DM’ing on Twitter with someone who is going through a hard time but she deals with it and we both take time to support each other (we have never met but we are supporting each other, I hope she feels the same?), I’ve made contact with a great guy called Danny Baker from Australia, Billy Idol RT’d one of my tweets, I have had some fantastic messages on this blog, FB & Twitter, I’ve had a letter today from St James’s Palace and so on… all these things are brilliant and positive, but still inside I’m a loser, I am weak, I have wasted 40 years, I hate now and the future scares the sh*t out of me!!! I have been invited by a friend (a friend of friends a diamond geezer) to spend some time with him this weekend and take photos of a gig he is playing, but I just cant do it, I have had lots of other “come and visit me” messages but at the moment I just don’t have the strength to travel and cope for long periods of time. I will get there but it is so so hard I am struggling to think about leaving the house today, I will but I know it will be hard (pathetic!).

Without Facebook, Twitter, this Blog, awesome family and some awesome people I wouldn’t be here now, so even though I feel like I am rambling now, I think my point is:-

Talk, Post, Tweet and share your thoughts and feelings, help on the NHS will come, but it will be slow so you need support from elsewhere. Your friends might be shocked you are unwell, but they will be amazing. People you don’t even know will be amazing. Bollox to the #stigma thing if you are fighting a mental illness you are a STRONG person because you are still fighting.

Be careful though what you do share, I made a comment on a “celebrities” (unfortunately I cant use the proper C word!!) tweet and spent the next few hours fielding abuse from their followers, it was very unpleasant and a bit triggery. I backed down straight away because I didn’t have the strength to fight so many people. Sometimes you have to back down to look after yourself, sometimes it is ok to be negative, that’s how you feel and fighting it all the time is hard hard work.

*Importantly these are just my thoughts and opinions, sometimes they help me sometimes they hinder me and I don’t always agree with me and you don’t have to agree with me either they are just thoughts and opinions!!!!!

Keep smiling 🙂

Psychiatrist appointment is nearly here

On Wednesday 27th November I have an appointment to see a psychiatrist. I guess you might be thinking why would someone announce that, how embarrassing? I am not ashamed of this fact, if you are ill you see a GP, if you have broken your arm you go to the hospital, if you are clinically depressed you go to see a psychiatrist. To be honest I am not sure what a psychiatrist does, I thought they were the people you go to see to talk about all those things in the past that might of caused your mental illness. Someone said to me a couple of weeks ago that psychiatrists are more about the medication than talking, I don’t know I guess I will find out Wednesday.

The reason for this post is probably mainly selfish, when I write on here I seem to be able to see it through when I write notes on “how am I feeling today” I get frustrated and feel pathetic writing sh*t like that down, I know it makes no sense but my head doesn’t make a lot of sense at the moment.

I was referred to see a psychiatrist in August and my appointment is the 27th November, personally I think that is a disgusting amount of time to have to wait, if you have read my other posts you will know the story by now so i’m not going to bother with that now, what I do want to bother with is what that 4 month wait has done to me, told you…. selfish it’s always about me.

So basically I have been on a drug called Sertraline for a number of months having changed from Cirpralex, from what I can tell Sertraline is seen as a very good drug but with the limited knowledge of my GP (that’s not a dig at my GP apparently they only have access to certain drugs which is why I have to see a psychiatrist) and what I have read on the interweb it could well mean I have been on the wrong drug for a number of months, on the other hand it could be exactly the right drug but at the moment I don’t know. (has this made things worse, who knows?).

Currently I struggle to sleep, I struggle to leave the house, I struggle to eat and I struggle to not eat (?), I feel sick a lot, I feel weak, tired, erratic, emotional, numb, pointless, pathetic, lost, desperate, angry, irritable, scared and sometimes I feel suicidal. Last Friday I forced myself to go out, I went and walked around my local town centre while I was walking around I started to cry and had to hold back the tears (as usual I was wearing sunglasses to cover my “windows to the soul”) so no-one could see.

Thoughts running through my head at that time - I saw people smiling and laughing and I wanted to hurt them, part of me knew they weren’t laughing at me but what if they were? Maybe if I hurt them I could get arrested and maybe some immediate help, no that’s a stupid idea people will think you are a nutter. Just get home, but you’ve got to get some milk, I can’t face getting some milk, just get home. I got some milk because this is pathetic, I even made a joke to the girl on the till, then my sunglasses went back on, got to get home. Going into the car park I thought about going to the top and ending it, no that is not the answer if you do that all the pain of the last few months and all the strength you have used to keep going will of been a waste, all the support from family and friends (some friends I haven’t spoken to or seen in 25 years!!) will be wasted. But it will teach the NHS a lesson, FFS no it won’t you are a number an insignificant number it wont change anything, just get home, it’s not even my home, just get home. I got in the car and started driving back, someone pulled out on me, I thought about just driving into them, I followed them up the hill they were going about 20 miles per hour, just drive into them, they indicated to turn off, just drive into them, they were now out of my way. Driving up the road someone was pulling out of a side road, just drive into them, FFS JUST GET THE F OUT OF MY WAY!!!

I think we can all agree that above isn’t normal, don’t get me wrong I am not saying there a voices telling me to do this stuff, I am pretty sure its just my thoughts. I often wonder if other people have these thoughts, my conclusion is they probably do but they don’t take them seriously??

What the 4 month wait has done to me is turn me into a non-human, I am scared of the reality of life, I am scared that this is me now, I wont be able to go back to my job, I wont be able to go back to any job, I wont be able to enjoy anything in life it will always be about my mental illness from now on. Although on the outside I look ok and if I don’t manage to ignore you in the street I will smile and ask how you are, have a chat and a joke as soon as I walk away I will be in pain again. Waiting 4 months confirms my thoughts that i’m not important, confirms that I am a waste of life of time and of effort. I now beat myself up for giving in in June I should of just carried on fighting it day by day. I beat myself up that I carried on fighting day by day for too long and have wasted that life, lost girlfriends, houses and jobs.

There are lots of quotes out there about depression but one that really touches me at the moment is: –

“That’s the thing about depression: A human being can survive almost anything, as long as she sees the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it’s impossible to ever see the end.”

– Elizabeth Wurtzel

(I hope I haven’t broken any rules posting this?)

And just a final comment, I know I am beaten but I also know that I am strong enough to keep fighting back and when I do manage to beat it there will be no stopping me!!!

Keep smiling 🙂

What did you think about #bedlam

Wow! i’m not sure I should answer this question, i’m not sure I can answer this question and the reason i’m not sure is I don’t think I know how to answer this question properly??

#bedlam, for me personally, was brilliant, horrendous, interesting, wrong, eye opening, upsetting, scary, disappointing, thought provoking and many many more things!!!

I wasn’t going to watch it, I didn’t think I would cope with it but I got a message on Facebook from a friend to remind me it was on and that I could watch it on C4+1, so I did with a lot of trepidation!!!

I was really worried that the programme would upset me and it did, but perhaps in a good way? The first episode was called “Anxiety” and was mainly about Anxiety and OCD. I think most people have some anxiety and OCD in their lives but this was different level. Anxiety and OCD had basically put these brave peoples lives on hold. My memory isn’t very good at the moment but I think the main stories had fairly uplifting outcomes at the end. It was very interesting to see how such intense cases could be controlled (if that’s the right word?). One of my thoughts during and after the programme makes me feel ashamed but I have promised myself I would always be honest on here, I have spoken about it to a professional and they seemed to agree with me and someone I follow on Twitter tweeted something along the lines of “#bedlam has this helped to eradicate #stigma or made it worse”. So here it is, one of my thoughts was “why? when these programmes are made do they only show people who look a certain way” *. As I say I am ashamed of my thought but I think it is a legitimate thought. I have had people say to me “you don’t look ill” “you look calm and normal” “your just a bit low and need a holiday”. I have spent years covering up my “illness” it is a habit I can’t break and, for me, what this does is magnifies the stereotype that anyone with “Mental Illness” is “Mad”. Let me give you an example, yesterday I went to a meeting to learn about Type 1 Diabetes for my wonderful, ace, spirited, awesome nephew (he is so cool and so is his older brother, xx) during the meeting I was “Jon” (the witty, fun, amusing, intelligent and immensely handsome version), after the meeting I wanted to crawl into a hole, I tried to have a lie down because my head was “buzzing” so much but I couldn’t relax, I wondered back and forth in my bedroom and held my head, that’s not “normal” but no-one in the real world will see that side of me and I would guess this is the same for many many more people out there suffering with mental illness.

You don’t have to “look” ill to be ill, someone with a smile on their face may be in a very dark, frightening, unbearable and confusing place inside.

* If my thought upsets anyone I will take it down, it is not my intention to hurt anyone but if we are going to talk more about this surely we should be honest?

There were three other episodes and I watched them all with interest and got a lot of the same feelings…. good, bad and ugly, I may come back to those at some point but at the moment my head is “buzzing” and it feels like it is going to explode. A few months ago I was driving around the country meeting with clients, one day I gave a presentation to three important people from a big company which led to some extra business and a huge opportunity, it wasn’t my presentation but I gave it and if I do say so myself I did an awesome job. About an hour before I gave the presentation I nearly bottled it because I was getting so stressed and anxious about it, but an awesome lady I have massive respect for nudged me in the right direction and I did it. Those three guys would of had no idea how messed up I was inside and how much pain I was in…. so I repeat “You don’t have to “look” ill to be ill, someone with a smile on their face may be in a very dark, frightening, unbearable and confusing place inside”.

To the person who sent me this question, I am sorry I haven’t managed to speak about all the episodes. I hope I have answered your question in the right way and thank you so much for the question, perhaps let me know what you think about my answer and what your thoughts are about #bedlam.

I stress these are just my thoughts and feelings, they are not meant to hurt or anyone!

Keep smiling 🙂

“when you going to stop moaning and manup”

Great question “when you going to stop moaning and manup”, I was going to ignore this but today I am angry and fed up so lets answer it.

Firstly I agree with you whoever you are and I also think, sorry know, you are a moron. There will be a lot of contradictions in the following but in the confusion I hope there will be some understanding??

I, like you, do not give a sh*t about me, this will change and does change day to day. In fact if I had more guts I would not be here, but fortunately I have fight in me and more importantly compassion for others, fight and compassion are probably the two things I like about me. The question you put to me is a question I ask myself all the time, well very similar, the way I ask it is “why don’t you strap on a pair and get on with it you F pussy?”. The answer is I can’t, I want to but I just can’t and to my mind that is pathetic.

I agree with the “manup” (although I think it is actually Man Up (two words!!)) I should man up, I should stop crying at nothing, I should stop pretending not to see people because I can’t face them, I shouldn’t find popping to B&Q for a couple of little things to build something, I know will be crap, extremely tiring and about all I can cope with today, I should be back at work, I shouldn’t find it difficult to go back home to see my cats and then get upset because I am wonder if they think I have abandoned them and don’t love them anymore, I shouldn’t drive down a bypass or a motorway and think to myself if I put this in the barriers it will be all over, I shouldn’t be sh*t scared that Christmas is nearly here but those are the facts. They make no sense but they are real and I would put money on it that there are others out there that think exactly the same.

On the other hand I think I am actually a very strong man, a man who has been fighting against depression for over 20 years and up until fairly recently I won that battle most of the time. Part of me hates the fact that I have given in and let depression beat me, part of me thinks I am actually for the first time fighting the battle properly and concentrating solely on it to do something about it rather than plodding along like I have for the last 20 years. I lay in bed again last night telling myself I have wasted a life and at the age of 40 everything has been a complete waste of time. I put it to you that a man that thinks like that and can still get out of bed in the morning is a strong man.

I started this blog because I happened across a guy called Danny Baker from Australia and I read his memoir, it seemed to switch back on the fight in me and I wondered if I could switch the fight back on in others. I thought whats the worst that could happen, people could think I am a complete w**k*r but I think I am anyway so that cant hurt me. I have kept going with this blog because a number of people have asked me to and let me know that I have helped them, either for them or for someone they love. Finally maybe I have found a point to me, maybe I am here to go through pain so I can help others, maybe I am just delusional and more ill than I can accept.

The reason I am “moaning” is because one of the things that I find difficult is the “am I mad?” question, the thoughts that go through my head don’t make any sense they are not rational but when I started reading other peoples words on the internet I realised other people think in the same way and for some reason that gives me some relief and I hope that me writing the stuff I do can give others relief. Mental Illness is horrendous, the experts don’t seem to know how to fix it and to get to see the experts is a long frustrating battle that people do not need when they think they are worthless anyway. When someone says to you “you need therapy and we will see you in 2 months” it destroys something else in you. I am (today) at the stage that I feel I have been written off I feel that what the NHS are basically saying to me is “what we will do now is just maintain the nutter, he will be ok on benefits”. I might get the right treatment eventually but now I have to battle the fact that I was right I am a failure at life I am not worth helping.

There is a lot of stuff out there about being positive and driving forward with Mental Illness, taking it a day at a time, getting better slowly and I guess that is all great advice but things like Mental Illness and Alcoholism are not positive things there is a lot of negativity and we need to talk about that too.

There is a lot of stuff about stopping the #stigma about mental illness and the stigma should stop, but do I believe it will ever stop, I’m afraid my answer to that question on this day at this time is NO!!!

Anyway thank you for the question, I don’t know if you are a man or a woman but to tell me to “manup” and to fill in “Name” with AA and “Email” with AA@AA.com isn’t very manly I would say it is a bit cowardly, if not a little funny “AA” very clever :). I hope I have answered your question to your satisfactory and I hope not to here from you again!!

Keep Smiling 🙂

Answering a question

I asked on Facebook and Twitter if anyone had any questions because I had received a lot of amazing feedback and people contacting me away from the blog and here is the first questions I will answer.

Again I will stress these are my opinions, it is important to know there are properly trained people out there that would probably disagree with me.

“do you ever crave a beer and how did you stop?”

There is a very short answer to this question….. Yes and I don’t know…… but if you have been reading my blog you will know by now I never use 5 words if I can use a couple of hundred!!!

Yes I crave beer, wine, cider and most strongly for some reason Southern Comfort (with a little bit of ice, no mixers that is just madness!!!). I was in a pub yesterday ordering a “cup of tea” walking up to the bar I was looking at the good stuff but I know I can’t go there it would destroy me!! In AA there are phrases like “one day at a time” I think these are a few very important words with alcohol and indeed mental illness. I think other people set goals like I wont drink until the end of the week and then the end of next week and so on and if that works for them that’s great but for me it was one day at a time.

So in short I do crave alcohol, i’m not sure it is a physical crave more a mental crave I want the feeling of being relaxed and if i’m honest the feeling of being completely out of it. There is another saying I took from AA “I have another drink in me but I don’t have another recovery in me”. I could not go through getting off the booze again, it is not easy!!!

On the “how did you stop” part of the question there is a short answer to this as well “The Woodbourne Priory” I am ashamed to say I am not 100% sure of the guy’s name I would accredit most of the praise to, I think it was Chris. There is of course a whole big story prior to me going into the Priory but I will cut it short’ish. I tried Aquarius after it was suggested by a counselor I was seeing at the time (Shaun was the guy that got the ball rolling he is an amazing man who stopped pussyfooting around me and said “until we sort out your alcohol problem we will never sort out your depression”), unfortunately Aquarius didn’t work for me, I will stress however I know lots of people it did work for it is an amazing charity, the reason I think it didn’t work for me was I basically just lied through my alcoholic, selfish, incredibly manipulative teeth. I told them what I thought they wanted to know and then I stopped going, I didn’t want to stop drinking.

I never tried AA because that is for proper alcoholics, you know the guys on the bench begging for money…… What a tool I was to think like that but I am pretty sure I am not the only one thinking like that and if you are reading this with the same thoughts then you are wrong. I have mentioned AA a number of times now but unfortunately I do not got to AA anymore, I wish I did, I often think I may be in a better place if I had carried on with AA but I can’t change that now. I am a very stubborn person and unfortunately although I have taken things from AA I don’t always agree with the things said in AA. It is important at this point that I stress that AA has helped an awful lot of people and I have thought long and hard about saying “I don’t always agree…..” I do not want to say anything that could possibly harm anyone but that is my point when people think of alcoholics they think of AA and this is for a good reason they do an awful lot of good, BUT for me it wasn’t the answer and the reason I decided to say this is that if AA hasn’t or doesn’t work for you then I believe there are other options but you wont know if it is for you until you give it a try and I don’t mean just go once try it again and again and go when you don’t want to go it works for so many people.

I am going to contradict myself now as I said I would on the “About Me” page, I got a lot from AA. Part of the one month in the Priory was two AA meetings a week, there are some fantastic people in AA and being able to spend time with people who had been soba for 10, 20 years is inspirational and makes you realise it is possible. There are also people there that fall off the wagon and with their strength and the people around them they dust themselves off and get back on again, this is very hard to see but also inspirational there is no shame in relapsing you have been drinking for a long time there is no shock that you go back to it. I saw a guy who had been soba about 15 years start drinking again it was horrible to see but he stopped again. There were people that would relapse again and again but they kept going, there was one guy who shared that he thought he needed to relapse to make him understand he couldn’t control the drink. Everyone is different even though the stories they share mirror your life almost exactly they are different and need something different for them to get it.

Without a shadow of a doubt the Priory stopped me and probably saved my life, I was lucky I was in BUPA and got the treatment for an excess of about £250, in fact that was one of the reasons I did go into the clinic, I realised I was lucky and that not everyone had the opportunity to go to such a good clinic and if I didn’t go it would be like I was taking the piss out of those people (sorry I couldn’t think of better words to describe that).film Despicable Me 3

The clinic took me out of “real life” and allowed me to concentrate on the job in hand other people in there had visitors I decided I didn’t want visitors, there were 5 or 6 people in the group I was in we did a lot of group therapy (scary but so beneficial!!!) a lot of that group therapy was based around the 12 Steps. I struggled for a long time with these because I fixated on the word “God”, in the end I just ignored the God word and listened to the rest. The point at which I thought “I’ve got this” was we had to write our “life story” and read it to the group (yup scary!!). The others guys life stories were incredible and upsetting at the same time, it was then my turn so I read it out and got some great feedback “you are so brave” “you have been so honest” etc etc. Then it was Chris’s turn to give me feedback (Chris was the guy in charge who earlier in this post I said I would accredit him with most of the praise) I don’t remember his exact words but they were along the line of “you haven’t been brave, you haven’t been honest, you have let us in a little bit but you have given us what you think we wanted to here”. You may think “harsh” the other guys in the room thought that as well I could see it in their faces, but he was spot on. I had used my alcoholic manipulation skills and manipulated most of the room, fortunately apart from Chris. We had words about this but he was right and in challenging me he had made me see I wasn’t putting in the effort I should I was still lying to myself and everyone else. So rightly or wrongly I decided I would never be able to do everything they wanted from me so I had to find the tools I could use. I have heard it said “think of AA as a tool box and use the tools that are right for you” so my main tool is Step 1 – 1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.

Out of the 5 or 6 that were in my group I think I am the only one who never drank again, I could be wrong. I am pretty sure that the people in the group, the counselors and the people I met through AA thought I would not make it and lets be honest I still might not make it. People say “you are not an alcoholic anymore if you haven’t had a drink for over 10 years” I don’t agree with that I am still an alcoholic and will be until the day I die, I am just a soba alcoholic.

You can give up, even if you don’t want to. You may not want to but you know you have to, I still miss booze but I no longer have that option I look at it in this way “I abused alcohol so much I no longer have the right to enjoy it”. Again this might be right it might be wrong but it’s my sobriety and I don’t care if the experts agree with me or not. Reading through what I have just written I am thinking what a load of bollox so many contradictions but again I don’t care contradictions happen in life all the time especially in my mixed up brain, because I think one thing one day doesn’t mean I have to agree with that the next day. I disagree with myself all the time.

Keep smiling 🙂

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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 feel stupid tho :(“

Someone dropped me a message on Facebook the other day and we they spoke about the fact that they had been feeling really down and were going to see the doctor. I said they should be completely honest with their doctor about how they feel and don’t hold anything back, there response was: –

I feel stupid tho 🙁

I think this is an important point, depression / mental illness is stupid, it makes no sense to me. With a physical illness I guess you can feel the pain or see something wrong with mental illness, in theory, you cant. I say in theory because I think people with mental illness can sometimes see it in others. I was watching #bedlam last week and there was a guy on there who was being allowed to leave the triage unit to go home, I tweeted: –

I think you could see it in Dominic’s eyes he wasn’t right to be discharged #bedlam

He was back in very quickly and when later discharged again attempted suicide.

Anyway that’s not the point of this post, “I feel stupid tho :(” is. It is very difficult to explain what you feel and what you think when you are depressed, you hear yourself saying the words and think “what the hell am I on about??”.

Sometimes I agree with myself and sometimes I don’t, sometimes I think I am unwell other times I wonder am I just lazy and thick, sometimes I wish I was dead sometimes I think I have something to live for, sometimes I want to go out and do stuff but when I am out I feel everyone is looking at me thinking “look at that nutter”, sometimes I talk to random people in the street,  I did this today in a car park I was wearing sunglasses and sporting a ridiculous “chopper” style mustache, i’m pretty sure they thought I was a nutter!, sometimes I despair at people saying “snap out of it” sometimes I say this to myself along with “pull yourself together” but as hard as I try I can’t, sometimes I think I hear voices sometimes I know it’s just my thoughts, sometimes I think people hate me sometimes I think people love me, sometimes I can concentrate sometimes I can’t, sometimes I feel normal sometimes I don’t, sometimes I think lets kick off and get arrested fortunately I realise that isn’t a good idea!, sometimes I think i’m going to London to chain myself to Downing Street gates again fortunately I realise at this point I am a nutter, and so on……..

In October the New Scientist magazine had on it’s front page “The more we probe the brain, the less we understand it”, I read a book called “Depressive Illness The Curse of the Strong by Dr Tim Cantopher” he wrote something along the lines of “we don’t understand it anywhere as near as much as we should, in fact the more we learn the more we realise we don’t know”. I think these two separate sentences are very interesting, but then i’m mad so who cares what I think.

I understand why people with mental illness have been labelled mad, I don’t mind the word mad it is very descriptive, sometimes the only way I can describe what is going on in my head is “it feels like i’m going mad”. People who haven’t experienced depression don’t understand it they think it’s mad, made up, in our minds, they are not alone. I was diagnosed with depression over 20 years ago, I have experienced it and I still think it’s mad, I don’t understand it sometimes it makes me cry sometimes it makes me laugh sometimes I think i’m bonkers sometimes I think i’m chosen sometimes I think i’m ill and sometimes i just cant think at all.

I am talking about it all but still “I feel stupid tho :(“.

We have to do away with the #stigma about mental illness, chances are you will feel stupid talking about your feelings and whats going on in your head and body but you wont be alone, I talk about “the buzzing in my head” and the other day I got a message saying someone else has used this exact phrase. The more we talk the more we can fight together rather than suffering alone.

Keep Smiling 🙂