The end of something big and that start of something new. 

So I am going to come right out with it but I am not going to dwell on the in and outs of what has happened. It’s personal and something between the 2 people involved. So my 10 year relationship, 8 year marriage ended a few weeks back. No scandals or anything, no hate, just 2 people who have gone in different directions in life.  

That doesn’t make it any easier to deal with and cope with but it is what it is. To be honest I have been pretty devastated by it all. 

So the reason I chose to write about this today, after a few weeks of understandable depression and questioning everything about myself and the ‘What could I have done differently?’ and the ‘Am I such a fuck up that he doesn’t love me anymore?’ I need to start focusing on the future. It scares the fuck out of me to be honest, starting again at the age of 40 and the whole will I be loved again? Am I worthy of love? Can I make anything work properly? How do you live alone after 10 years being with someone else?

That’s the point I am at now, after 10 years of being a joint being, 2 people living one life, how do you separate yourself off, deal with the loss and find yourself. I know that’s a cliche but it is true, you do lose yourself. In 10 years you change naturally as a person, so when that other person who has changed along side you is no longer there how do you know who you have become. Time to find out. 

 I looked around the internet and came across a post on a website that I loved as soon as I read it, it is a challenge to me and a challenge I want and need to succeed in. I hope I am allowed to share the post on there as I think it is great, if not and I am breaking any rules please let me know and I will remove the link.

 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lamisha-serfwalls/7-tips-to-find-yourself-when-youre-feeling-lost_b_7514516.html
So I have set myself the challenge of writing and expanding on the 7 tips in my personal journal, I will share and general view with you when I have finished the 7 days. In the meantime, if you have any tips,  tricks and advice then please let me know. 

I am not the most spiritual of people but I know myself and can connect to myself, after 3 breakdowns and various anxiety issues I am good at knowing what it going on with me mentally and psychologically. I wanted to make this experience as positive as it can be and I want the finding myself to be an adventure, no expectations and no rules. I know that there are many more bad days to come, the first such as birthdays and anniversaries, which are all coming in one month in July. My friends and my self preservation will hopefully get me through it but I’m gonna let myself cry if I need to. 

Take care all of you! 

Open minds

Hi all,

It has been a while since my last post but I’m not going to apologise as it my prerogative!

I have been trying to get back to a healthy state of body, mind and soul recently. Primary aim is to be a little more healthy in body and hopefully mind and soul will follow, after all you are only as good as the fuel you put in and if I am totally honest a little (lot) of weight loss would be good as well!

So anyway i’m reading this book on quiting sugar, I have done this before with great success but am struggling now hence the book to try and help. It’s a good book to be fair and I know enough about psychology to know that I am being conditioned slightly as I read it but it has 10 rules to follow whilst trying to give up the evil nasty sugar. One of them is to have an open mind, this got me thinking about having an open mind and how easy or hard the actually is and if it is easy why don’t we have an open mind about pretty much everything.

So I can have an open mind about eating what is right and what is eat and not and to open my mind to the fact that sugar really is killing me despite all the evidence provided by the food industry and scientists but what about there things? Why are people closed minded? Is it to protect themselves from what they don’t understand, more than likely but isn’t it better all round if we open out minds all of the time to everything.

We could mention race, gender, sexual orientation, science, industry and well basically the universe. We limit ourselves when to close our minds to what is around us and what is possible by the people around us. For years and years women were thought of as emotional creatures who wouldn’t be able to coped with the world created by men, couldn’t be trusted to vote and yet after fight and struggle women can and do do all the jobs that men do and have all the equal rights that men do, well at least in my country. Then take race, people who were different from ourselves were also thought of as lesser people and so were not given the same right and privileges that are available to them today again in my country yet sadly not the world over. How stupid is this because of a biological difference we think people are lesser than others.

It can be hard to open our minds I suppose and let new and different facts in our minds, it must have been very hard to accept the world was not flat or that it wasn’t the centre of the universe when for years, at the time, we were told by those in positions of responsibility that we were the centre of the universe and any other thought was blasphemy or heresy which also brings religion into the fray. All of the wars in this world and its history because of differing views and interpretations on religions and God.

Imagine a world if we had had an open mind and accepted if not embraced other views, theories and interpretations of the above subject and many more. We don’t have adopt these beliefs  and theories ourselves if we feel that strongly but we don’t have to go around and destroy reputations, discredit others views and by far the worst, kill other for THEIR beliefs.

Imagine if I was alive in a society where I could’t accepted, take a few hundred years ago or maybe not even that far or maybe even a country that is in the here and now. A gay man, married to a gay man and an atheist and of course with, at times severe mental health issues. I suppose now I write it and think of it it would all have been put down to the mental health issue and I would have end up in the insane asylum and left to rot.

I can’t change the world and but I can change mine. Imagine how great our future would be if we all and I do mean all of us stopped and allowed that small clink of little into our minds. The light that could change how we see the world, accept the world and live within the world in peace and understanding. We don’t have to agree with everything that our neighbours do and believe but we can accept that they do and believe these things.

Of course as a responsible world we should help, support and stop wrong doing and assist those in trouble, this is in itself a whole other issue I won’t get into right now.

It can be a hard and scary place, the world, with lots of deferring views but how amazing is it that these views are here, challenging us and making us better societies and communities. Change is never easy on a small or big scale but what have we got to lose, we can still fall back to our original belief structure but for anyone who has had their minds blown (I think we all have in one way or another), what a great feeling it is to suddenly see more than you thought possible, that anything is possible and the universe is full of endless wonder and excitement.

Have a great day all!

Missing blog aka Holding on to Sanity!

I can now share the missing blog, for me this is a big deal but for others some it might not be anything big. As usual the Hubster was amazing and supportive and well just wonderful. Anyway blog as below….

Holding on to Sanity!

It occurred to me during a bad few days a few weeks ago that our or more specifically, my grip on Sanity is at times, is not the strongest. I’ll put it in some context.

One minute I am ok, get up to go to work and by the time I have got there I have sunk into a terrible mood. Not just a bad mood but I have dropped into very dark place, you will know what I am talking about if you have ever had a break down. In this place anything is possible, that expression might bring images of limitless possibilities and happiness to your imagination as per the conditioning of the media and society but I want you to think of the complete opposite.

It is not a good place, it is a place of darkness, the darkest darkness where there is no light, a place of despair and loss, loneliness and fear, it has no path and no clear means of escape. Dark, hurtful things lurk here in deepest corner of our minds a place where the most drastic courses of action grow from a small seed of despair and feed on the darkness leading to any number of possibilities. I know that sounds bleak and I’m am very sorry if it upsets anyone to think about it but it is a place of pure despair and panic. Now I was in that place and surrounded by work colleagues and having to carry on and do my job. Luckily it was busy enough to distract me from where my mind found itself but I was still stuck searching for a way out in the minutes between customers when it would go dark, a tear ever constant in the corner of my eye threatening to betray my inner thoughts to all that would be looking.

My colleagues were of course concerned and trying to cheer me up but they couldn’t really help, no one could break down the wall I had put up to protect myself from falling, which clearly wasn’t working. If I had talked about how I was truly feeling I would burden and shock them. I thought they would see me differently and maybe even judge me, think differently about me and I couldn’t handle that. All I could think about was getting to the end of my shift and getting home, my safe place where it would be ok to let myself just fall and no one would be put out by me.

Over recent months during these, thankfully rare occurrences, my thoughts have come to very dark thoughts. They may not be dark for some but our experiences are all relative, for me it was very worrying. I feel numb to everything and my thoughts keep going towards self harming and hurting myself (my god that was tougher to type than I thought). I don’t want anyone to worry I don’t mean the more extreme end of the that scale. I think that I need to feel something, anything, to cause myself some pain is somehow to prove that I am still capable of feeling something, anything. Or is it a cry for help? I can’t even describe it here right now typing this but in those minutes and hours it’s all that comes to my  mind, ‘cut yourself and you feel something’. I never understood self harming until recently.

I always advocate talking to people but just to contradict myself, I know it can really be difficult to start a conversation when you think you will scare the crap out of people. In the process of wanting to get help you worry about burdening them or maybe the judgements or an over reaction. My colleagues were really nice and kind, they could see I was struggling. Considering what I just said, would it be fair to burden them? I ended up just asking them to leave me alone and thanked them for their concern and they respected that. I just know that at that time a tap may have been opened that couldn’t or would have been difficult to close, I may have said something that I could never take back and be forever jaded in their view.

Going up!

Here’s the positive bit, I talked, after few hours and it wasn’t concerning the dark place I was in. It started with a text to Hubby telling him how I was feeling (in a dark place, that I’m not a nice person) in a basic way leaving out the details. He was as always amazing and said he would be waiting at home for me. I started the upward climb, there was a chink of light I could see. I started talking to my colleagues just about work and the day and the climb got easier as I was more distracted. I should have done it sooner? Would that have been possible considering where I was?

The afternoon after work was spent talking with Hubby, getting out into the sunshine with the addition of coffee and cake. The only negative is that I couldn’t tell him what was really in my mind, well at least at the time, it has all been brought up as I edit this for posting.

Talking again saves the day, maybe it isn’t always easy, maybe you need to wait or maybe the people around need to persevere but with extreme caution but it proved to me that there were many around me concerned, ready and willing to help and talk, to offer that shoulder.

The dark place comes with me always and it frightens the crap out of me, it frightens me how my grip on my sanity it so strong one minute and collapsing around me the next. How quickly you can descend into the chaos and despair but on the flip side how quickly with the right timing and people you can pull yourself out.

I don’t say this for sympathy but to educate and show that this is around you everyday. I am extremely lucky have such a strong support network and work place. Others may not, all I ask is that you keep an eye out for your colleagues, friend and family. If you don’t feel confident in approaching someone maybe talk to someone who is close to that person and say something to them, they  ay not have noticed what you have.

Talk, please talk! It does get better and there is help out there so please, talk!

Its been a year?!?

I knew it was coming, I had checked my diary and I wanted to mark the day, some might say that is a bit bonkers, why the hell would he want to mark the anniversary of that? Well, you might be right, you probably are given the stigma that’s attached but I am selfish so I am going to mark it.

It has been a year since I had my third breakdown. Some of you are probably asking yourself the question that I am always asking myself, ‘What am I not learning here?’, still it happened and I am still here to talking about it. By marking this day I don’t want it to be a moratorium of negativity but a celebration of success and passing on a few things that have helped me and maybe something to watch out for. I am not telling you this for sympathy or congratulations but to raise awareness of something that should no longer hide in the shadows and should be dealt with head on without stigma or shame.

After all depression and anxiety are biological chemical imbalances in the brain, just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it is not there, just because it’s not wrapped up in a plaster caste as you would a broken bone doesn’t mean the person isn’t suffering.

As I mentioned this was my third breakdown or as some call it a break through and it was by far the most traumatising in some ways. There were days where I remembered the tips and tricks to help get me through it and deal with each day as it came but then there were days when I couldn’t even think straight and there are hours missing from my memory still. There were many challenges, getting to see a GP as I free falling into the depths of something I could no longer get myself out of but with an angry husband shouting causing a nuisance I got an emergency appointment at my GP. I was put on various drugs to get me to sleep which had become a major issue, drugs that made me dizzy and feel nauseous all the time. There was one instance where I literally couldn’t walk and had to get my hubby to come and rescue me as I had gone out to get some fresh air (going out everyday was one of my things that I did everyday).

Then came the disastrous early work medical, it’s a long story but it set me back weeks. Sleep was still a huge issues and we hadn’t really found drugs that were really helping me with sleep. I had a habit of wandering off and one day after some crossed words with Hubby I went for a walk but of course my mind poisoned my thoughts and I don’t remember much, I thought I was just wandering around for a bit thinking about what do to now but I had been missing a few hours and a search party had started, they found me, it’s a good job as I can remember I had decided to go away for a bit and I was heading for the train station (I had no change of clothes just a train pass and a few bags of shopping)

Sleeping pills did nothing and so I was left to it and one night after not sleeping for 3 days, it was about 3am and I was watching nonsense on the TV trying to sleep that I decided I was going outside to sit in the cold for a bit but Hubby had double bolted the door and he managed to grab before I got it unlocked where I had another breakdown and I can honestly sit here and say that I was losing my mind. I was taken to the doctors by Hubby and I know a conversation about me being a danger to myself was taking place and  sectioning mentioned. In all fairness my Hubby had been amazing but never forget the stresses that are put on your loved ones in these times of crisis. The doctor agreed to give me some Diazepam aka Valium and I slept for the next few nights and I can’t tell you how much it helped.

The recovery was straight forward after all this, we found the right drugs, work organised counselling and I was assigned an amazing counsellor who has helped me in so many ways. I have learned about myself, learned to value myself and learned to have fun again.

So I want to share so advice or tips with anyone reading or who may know someone who may need help.

First, talk, you need to talk and be honest, there will be people willing to listen, my counselling journey started on a free counselling service phone number the company provides us. There is always someone around who will listen, there are people out there that will surprise you, they may not know the answer but by just knowing that you are not alone can help.

Secondly, getting out of the house and sleeping. Get out of the house everyday even if it is just a walk around the park or high street, I went to the shops everyday or walked around the ring road, it stops you being a hermit. You don’t have to talk to anyone just get out. Sleep, I know this is easier said than done but practice the best sleep hygiene you can, getting out for a nice long walk helps make you physically tired.

Third, if you have had to take some time off, occupy that time, I did a few free online courses in creative writing (FutureLearn in the UK), it was also part of rediscovering the things I like doing and make me happy. It really worried me when my counsellor asked me, ‘What do you like doing for fun?’ and I couldn’t answer her. I would grab my laptop and go to a little cafe that did the best cakes in the Midlands and sit and write a blog or story. It has led me to studying psychology now.

These are just a few things that helped me but everyone is individual, some might work for you. You are not alone and never will be, called someone, anyone, they will help. The Samaritans in the UK is a great organisation and I know they can get you off the brink and start the journey to recover. There is no shame to mental health, go to your doctor and get the help you need.

Remember you are not alone and it DOES get better, I am living proof, with help I pulled myself back from the brink, I am stronger and happier and more at peace than I have ever been. You can do it to but it is so important to be honest with yourself.

I celebrate this last year, a year of struggle, tears and laughter, it had made me what I am. I know I keep saying it but it is true….

You are not alone, it DOES get better!

x

 

Gift yourself some time!

Hi all,

Hope you are all well.

Again it has been a while but I am been very busy hitting a self destruct button but that is another story, whilst trying to keep my finger off the button I have been looking after myself a little better and I don’t mean in the physical sense of mud baths and massages. I have been giving myself time.

Let me explain.

I have started reading self-help books on mental health and anxiety but as always with me I need to understand the science behind things before I can fully take it in. I went searching for an easy to understand entry level book and came across Ruby Wax and her books of her own story on mental health (Sane New World) and mindfulness (Mindfulness guide for the Frazzled) and how she needed to find out more about it and understand the ins and outs of her own mind to be able to better cope with her issues. I read the mindfulness book, of which I am a big fan, and I am only a few chapters into the other book and already I have been taking some of the things on board.

I’m not marketing for Mrs Wax not at all but I find some of the things she writes about are very similar and I can relate to them in some way. I wanted to share somethings I have learned so far and to issue you with a challenge of sorts. I had a brief conversation with a friend the other day about giving yourself time and it was nice to hear I am not the only one who struggles with inner peace and where to find the time. Some of you may well be calm and collected and at all times and able to cope with everything that life sends you but some, like me, whose life is like the duck on the pond. Effortlessly gliding around the pond, graceful and serene but below the surface legs and working ten to the dozen to keep going. This is me pretty much all the time, but not last week.

So what was different about last week I here you cry, well I gave myself time. Time is one of those things that we always say we never have and I do believe that at certain times of day we genuinely don’t but I challenge you to think right here and now do you have 10 minutes to can gift yourself?

Gift yourself, strange use of words, maybe but trust me on this. Modern society has us constantly on the go with one thing or another, the latest social media app, photographing every aspect of our lives and sharing it, watching the latest box set, buying the latest apps and taking part in latest craze. Then take into consideration the inner self, our minds and emotions. Think of the emotional range you have been through today so far, hopefully it has all been good but so far today I have had happiness, annoyance, anger, frustration, impatience and joy to name but a few, how many of these have you shared on social media or have felt you had to share with everyone? Then consider in relation to our emotions our relationships with those around us, work mates, family, friends and other loved ones. What feelings and pressures have to had from them today so far and what is yet to come.

Work in itself is a big one after all we spend nearly a 3rd of our adult lives at work where we all deal with more emotion and stress that draws on our time, for example, have to get that report in, someone has called in sick and we need to pick up the slack and new management and a dysfunctional work place. Is it any wonder we are frazzled, frustrated and exhausted at the end of the day/week. As I say some can cope with this fully and calmly and fantastic but some can’t and there is no shame in that at all. We are just wired differently.

So let me back track, I gave myself back some time and it has been a joy and made me look at things a little bit differently, I’m not talking about major cataclysmic changes but small changes that have made a difference to me. All I did was give myself some time and use it for me, purely selfishly and yes you are allowed to be selfish from time to time. I downloaded an app called Headspace and started their ‘Take 10’ program which comes free with the app and for 10 minutes every morning I would practices mindfulness. Some days were easy than others and not every day did I really feel I was getting anywhere but after a week I felt just that little bit more in contact with my inner self and learnt the very basic skills to calm my mind and order myself.

I wanted to push on and do more, I downloaded a guided meditation by Glenn Harold and listened to that a few times last week. To me this was about using the power of my own mind to heal myself and give affirmations that help me to calm and as I call it reset to baseline. This was more of a commitment as it was a whole 30 minutes, shock horror, 30 minutes a whole 30 minutes I hear you cry! I gifted myself that time and I have to say I was calm and relaxed all week and to be fair last week was, for me quite a stressful week.

The final thing I did was to stop. Just stop and see what is around me and ask myself if I am cool. This took no time as I used my train ride to work everyday. Normally I would listen to music and play games on my iPhone or I would read Facebook or the news anything to distract me on the 20 minute train ride and in that my mind would race around and the worries and stresses would come. However one morning I put my phone in my bag and took my headphones off and just looked out of the window, simple. I just sat and noticed the world as it went by but more than this it was about giving myself time to breathe and NOT think about everything else, just to notice the world around me and be at peace. Does that make sense? If it doesn’t the best way I can try and describe it was a bit of mindfulness out in the real world, noticing the things around me and not letting my mind full up with stuff, giving me a break without having to find the time to do it.

So that was 10 minutes a day, what’s that, a short conversation on the phone or not reading all of last night Facebook posts just incase you missed something or not reading the news. A couple of times a week I took 30 minutes, I’ll admit 30 minutes is more of a challenge but I promise it is worth it, challenge yourself.

That’s my challenge, for one week take 10 minutes daily and 30 minutes a couple of times a week to gift to yourself, try mindfulness or a guided meditation. If you commute, leave the phone in your bag or pocket and just notice the world as it goes by, give yourself a break. Some other things to try which I have also been trying, watch and TV programme all the way through and don’t pick up your phone to see if someone as left you a message or an update. Can you leave it 30 minutes of so and just enjoy the programme you are watching after all you must have put it on for a reason, you like the programme if not and you are just  killing time gift yourself those minutes and reset yourself to baseline and gain some inner peace.

Give it a try, what have you got to lose?

 

 

Drains

 

Hello!

I’m trying not to start this by saying it’s been a while but it has. Anyway it’s my blog and it’s my choice.

So, you are more than likely thinking is he going to tell us about his opinion on drains, well no i’m not. Well, not the physical take the smelly water and material away kind of drains but the people drains. I also don’t mean the type of people that drain society of resources be that food or money. What I want to talk to you about it emotional drains.

Have you ever been on a trains/bus/tram/car ride with a person, be it work colleague or other that does nothing but moan about everything? You, like I did the other day, bounce out of bed in a relativity good mood, maybe even at stupid o’clock in the morning, you shower and eat breakfast and look forward to the day ahead. Pick up your bag and slap on your headphones with some up beat tunes. Then it happens, either when you are on the way to work or when you arrive and you are just settling in and firing up the laptop or maybe even standing in the queue for the most important coffee of the day. You bump into the drainer.

You reluctantly take off your headphones or stop logging in or turn around in the queue knowing full well who the voice belongs to and what is coming but we all want to be polite don’t we. Should we? Do we have to be polite?

Let’s face it, what actually happens? They have a good old moan about something either affects them or you both, it could be anything from governments to work, relationships to holidays. There is always something we can have a good old moan about and we all like a good old moan, I think it is in our nature. However that person who had started moaning and complaining about whatever it is slowly draining your positive mood, you can even feel it happen but it is easier to let it happen and then slowly be drawn into it and start having a good old moan yourself. Then it becomes a pissing up the wall contest to see who’s life is worse, after all knowing that someone else is suffering and unhappy makes us feel better about ourselves but we still like to win.

I’m going to come across as hypocritical at some point I just know I am simply because you can’t help but love a good old bitch and moan session but that is in a way my point, if you are both up for a bitch and moan session then let it happen. Its good to get it out, its good for the soul. It can bring people together and strengthen bonds in work places and friendships if we are suffering communal issues that we could help each other out with.

I want to focus on those days when life is good, when you know that you are going to try and be positive to make a difference. As regular readers will know that I have had my fair share of mental issues and positivity is something that is important to me but it doesn’t come easy at all to me. The days when I wake up and go to work in a positive happy place are rare and I try my very best to look after them. However the other day, after a few minutes on the office I was listening to someone moan on about something and I felt the draining start. The smile started to slip, the bright sparkle in my eyes was dimmed and before you know it I had joined in and was having a moan about the same things as  my colleague.

What happened in the end? They went away feeling better as they had off loaded and I was left with their emotional detritus and mourning the loss of my good mood. Thanks! Now what happens to the detritus they have given me, I take it in, evolve it and then pass it on to the people I meet. It could be in one big blow out or in dire size morsels but it will come out sooner or later.

Well, not anymore, I have a plan going forward, a script that I have already practiced for when it happens again, as it will happen again. When the drainer swoops in to off load their negative mood I shall bring up my verbal shield and deflect. I will stand strong and I will say, ‘No! Not today will I listen to the negativity, you’re a top guy/gal but not today will I listen to your vile negativity and let it erode my A1 kick ass mood!’ Although that is what is in my head and let’s face it that is a fucked up place as it is. It might be something along the lines of , ‘Let’s not start the day with a moan, let’s have a good start to the day and it will be a good day’ what do you think? Well, the words aren’t that important really are they, as long as the sentiment is there. Maybe it doesn’t have to be so direct, maybe I just have to lead the conversation into positive territory.

If anyone I know is reading this, I mean no offence in my comments, and I am guilty of it  myself but maybe we maybe if we were all nice and positive that positivity would fester in us, just as negativity does, and we can flood our lives with more positivity and happiness!

Let’s give it a try, smile and have a laugh!