The beginning of the end.

So it's been a while since I blogged and I feel that a lot has happened and I have had some set backs but also made some progress, well enough to warrant me rambling on again.

So a few weeks ago it was mine and the ex's 40th Birthday celebration. It was a joint do as we are both 40 within a week of each other. As we had split up I decided not to go especially as the ex was taking his new fella. Some of you are probably thinking that's a bit insensitive, some of you are probably thinking the party should have been cancelled and if he still wanted a party he should have made alternate arrangements. The ex thinks practically and not emotionally so didn't see the emotional attachment to that day and evening for me. The feeling was I was lifted out of the evening and my replacement was parachuted in.

To be fair I knew this was gonna happen and maybe I should have been insistent that the night be cancelled. I'll take my part in that.

That day I was at work in the morning and had planned to go to the cinema and have some food in the evening with a friend. Sadly that friend cancelled without really telling me seeing her do something else with someone else on Facebook and it pretty much threw me into an angry state of being. It had been pretty much brewing for a few days and this was just the beginning of the spiral and into anger and maybe not expressing as best as I could but my god it had to come out of me, there was no way I was going to internalise it.

So via a text message conversation about which cinema I was going to so the ex and the replacement didn't go to the same one. I told him my plans had been cancelled and long story short he said I could join them for the evening if I wanted to and should come along. I MEAN WHAT THE FUCK!!!!

That really tipped my over the edge, thankfully Mama Africa came the rescue and took me out for a walk to clear my head and calm me down. So my plan was then to just go home, take a Valium and go to sleep but during the walk from the train station I descended to the darkest of places.

Thinking or rather knowing I had been replaced and forgotten about and let down and hurt by a friend, I knew that I was in a destructive place. I got home and got my pills. I had 122 antidepressants left from my last breakdown and I had always kept them.

I knew I didn't want to do it but I was terrified, more than I had ever been and I text the one person I knew that would get me out of the this, Sar, the problem was she was out at the birthday party. I didn't want to burden Mama Africa further she had been so good already and didn't know what to do. Sar got me through the last one and talked me down, I just wants thinking.

I didn't call I just text and between her and another friend Kat who just happened to text me they got me down. At the time I didn't know that Sar had showed another friend at the party the messages and the ex had found out as the two friends had had a row. I assumed Sar had kept everything to herself maybe that was naive of me considering there was drink flowing.

I came round and all was….I want say OK….but that isn't true I wasn't. Mama Africa came round again on Sunday and she took my pills and flushed them. I sent apology emails to the 2 people at the party and while Sar got back to me and has been fine with me since. One hasn't not and I got a message telling me that my actions were vile and he needed a break from it all. (I have been accused on numerous occasions of bring them into them situation but factually I haven't, I leave that one at the ex's door).

Vile….that word stuck in my mind for days and caused a further crisis enough to make me go to doctor and ask about be sectioned but the doctor was horrendous and I wish I hadn't gone at all. My counsellor was good but still I was stuck on 'vile'. You know if I had really wanted to ruin that night I could have just turned up and had a slanging match with the ex.

Also would you really send that message to someone who had been in crisis the day before, I can understand the anger I really can, considering the person in question has also had similar crisis' I would have expected some thing less damaging. I regret my actions and the distress I caused and look forward to talking it through one day with him.

I'm not writing this to assign blame to anyone but having said that there was blame enough being sent my way for the and I quote 'ruining the whole evening'. I'll take the blame of questionable judgement in texting Sar and causing concern but when in crisis you don't exactly think straight. I'll take on the fact that I need to make amends for my actions. I may have lost a good friend through it which I will have to live with and the repercussions of my actions that night for a long time to come.

Me and the ex had a chat about it and made our peace and I said that he had no idea how much anger there is inside to get out. He was away and said we should talk when he got back.

This is the moment it all started to change. We had the conversation and I said everything that I wanted to say, knowing it would hurt and cause upset but I needed to see that, not in some vengeance thing but to see if I meant anything to him at all as I was replaced so quickly and with ease. What was said will always remain between us but I saw tears and I saw pain. I needed that.

It's time to move on.

That was a couple of weeks ago now, my 40th birthday passed by quietly and maybe I wasn't happy with it so I have resolved to have a big party next year to do it justice. I had a great day out with Mama Africa, Mad Kat and Twinny and I think I spent the whole day laughing which is just what I needed.

I've even had a night out with friends, that may not seem very much or big but, dear readers, it fucking well is for me with social anxiety. Lol. In fact the night lasted till 5am and was a giggle, even saw someone who hates me very much that I had been dreading. There was no ex safety blanket so I thought 'Fuck it, I've got as much right to be here and if you want to waste your night glaring at me then go right ahead'. May not seem much but a confidence boost for me.

So an eventful few weeks, there are some things I deeply regret and will have to live with the consequences but there were some mini mountains climbed.

I sit here on a train writing this blog and there is a genuine feeling of happiness and excitement for the future. Still some big hurdles to come and still some anxiety over some lost friendships. However I know I will be alright and I have a life to live which is gonna be full of fun and laughs. One thing I take from the last few months is just how wonderful my friends have been. Some truly lovely things have been said about me and why people like to be around me. I am very humbled and very honoured.

I am also meeting a man for a coffee on Tuesday. Eek! Too soon, is it? What's the time frame? Surely if it feels right?

First and foremost, climbing Snowdon tomorrow with Twinny.

Si

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

 

Are you OK?

Hi all,

Kind of said before that I wasn’t going to write a blog about mental health or rather my mental health issues. I am not sure I am the right person to do this although I do have my insights. I think there are people out there more able to put things across better than I can. That said I am going to say something because of what has been in the news this week in the UK.

So this week it has been discovered that our NHS (National Health Service) is not doing mental health care very well. Yes, tell me something I don’t know. I mean I have always been able to see a doctor and get the medication but that is the easy bit and my cases have always, in the big scheme of things, been easily treatable. However start talking about the talking therapies and doctors tend to clam up, no budget or long waiting lists being the usual excuses. I am very lucky that my employer will provide and has in the past counselling. I am lucky to have the support I have.

What I want to say in this blog is that we as a people, as society, can’t keep dumping things at the governments door, yes they are there to protect us and keep us well but there are so many pressures on the public purse, lets not get in tothe debate on wasteful government spending, we will be here all day. The point is still valid, we can’t just raise this with government and expect them to do all the work. We as a society have to play our part in mental health.

Let me put it a different way, if we saw someone in the street with a zimmer frame, a person in a wheelchair or someone with a white stick or guide dog, one would hope that humaity in us would spark up and compel us to help or at least see that they are OK as we pass by. We hear all the time about looking after our elderly neighbours during the cold months of the year, making sure they are OK and perhaps even getting shopping for them. I have been warmed to always see people help others out with people in wheelchairs, giving up seats for the elderly and helping blind people around. Even when seing someone is distress in the street offering them a tissue and asking, ‘Are you OK?’. In fact, those words are usually what go before people start helping, they say something similar, ‘Are you OK there?’, ‘Do you need some help?’ and so on.

Why is mental health any different? Before you all give me your answers let me say a few things. I know mental illness’s can be dam hard to spot and someone people may get defensive and maybe get annoyed that you asked this. I probably would have but I think if it came from a genuine place of concern and not of judgement than maybe people would open up and talk. I know this is not always easy but if we all, as a society, work together to make all the environments we work and exist in comfortable for people with mental illness then it can only be a good thing.

Are you OK?….The power of these three words or similar words can’t be underestimated. I will share this with you, many years ago, when I had my first breakdown I had return to work and wasn’t really listening to those around me and taking doctors advice. I went back to work too quickly and one day I was just not coping again, I was slipping or rather had slipped again. I was standing on the concourse at the station that I worked at and a manager I had worked with for a while came up to me and just asked, “Are you OK?”. I thought about it for a few seconds I could have just said no, I could have said I’m just tired. However in that moment I realised that she had seen something in me that I couldn’t see, I said ‘No’ and that was that, we talked I was sent home and I took more time off and truly got myself fixed. That simple question had saved me from a worse dip as my head was firmly in the sand.

I hope by now you have seen that I am no expert when it comes to mental health I have only got my own experiences to draw upon and I can only share those experiences. Maybe if you feel that you could ask this question and listen to what they may say then just consider the following.

Do it the right way,

  • Privately so they don’t feel pressured by crowds.
  • Do it for the right reason, make sure it is because you care about this person and you don’t just want a bit of gossip, if someone opens up to you and you don’t care and you go gossiping trust me you are doing more damage than you will ever know.
  • If you are not someone they will open up to or feel you are not the right person, tell someone you think they will trust, a friend of a friend or a sympathetic line manager.

Be brave, ask the question, you could be saving someones life.

Si

Recovery continues….

Hello,

How are you all doing my friends!

I am doing very well thank you very much for asking. In fact I am so much better I am hoping to go back to work for some normality and some routine. Of course I am sure I will regret doing this as soon as I spend more than a week in the place that I affectionally call the Hellmouth!

In all seriousness though I am doing very well. I have managed to get myself of the diazepam and my sleeping is a lot better and I have been through 3 weeks now without getting anxious about anything, so either the medication is working well or am have actually managed to calm myself down, I think it is the former. Only one thing on the horizon that is really bugging me and that is a meeting on Friday with the peeps from work to organise my return and to which job I am coming back to.

I am not sure if I mentioned in my last blog but I have been suffering from severe anxiety and depression and while I suppose a lot of people would have written in depth blogs about this subject I don’t really want to. I am not an expert on the subject I am just someone that suffers from it and is in recovery from it. I would rather just blog about the crap that I encounter everyday. so as a recap or if I haven’t actually said anything before I am off work and have been for 3 months, on anti-depressants and recently of the diazepam. So I need to go back to work and this is the crux of the matter do I go back to the job I was seconded to which I found a little stressful and I think ultimately caused the breakdown or go back to my original job that is not all that challenging but is stable and surround by supportive and nice people. I know what you are all saying, it’s a no brainer and maybe you are right. In fact it is the decision that I have come to myself, I just need to inform those people/managers who it is going to affect.

How lucky am I though, I get to choose between 2 jobs (my counsellors way of looking at it) how many people are that lucky and she is right, dam right. What is happening now of course is that all the other thoughts keep popping into my head, ‘What if you OK now and can handle the stress?’ and ‘You’ll be bored in weeks back in your old job’ followed by people asking me to go to the stressful job because they need me to do it as no one else can! Why do I feel to the need to justify my decision to people? I don’t for fuck sake! I am winding myself up again now, aarrrrgghhh! Yes, I miss being a trainer and being surrounded by the other guys however they are no longer there and it is a very different team. I also know who it will work as I have seen it before, yes they will let you ease back into it but before you know it they’ll be shite flying from all angles to land on my desk to eat with. Can I do the job? Yes, if they do it they way they did it but they are doing something new which we all know will not work. Maybe I should wait it out and see how the it all comes to pass.

Maybe its time to spread my wings and try something new? Thats leads on to the ‘Fear’, I have a stable well paid job but I am not happy….

One thing I have learnt from counselling and taking a time out from life is that I have stopped doing all the things I love doing, in fact I have stopped doing them for so longer know what they are. I know that sounds stupid but I just don’t know what I enjoy doing anymore. So we have worked together and I have soul searched (hate that expression but it fits) and I have realised that work became my life and it was everything. That had to stop but its been tough to stop something that has taken over my life for so long.

It occurred to me that I work a 35 hour week, so a 7 hours a day 5 days a week job and if you break that down it add up to roughly 1 1/2 days a week I am actually at work, add the other half a day for travelling and 2 days a week for sleeping. That leaves me roughly 3 days a week to do the things I enjoy. Wow, this was a revelation to me!

What have I come up with I hear you ask? Well, one thing is writing, I used to like keeping a journal although I hated reading them back as I’m such a twat anyway. I have been on and off doing this blog so I am going to make more time for  me to do so. I have ideas in my head for books and short stories but I don’t feel I have the necessary skills to be able to it justice so….I have also been doing some short online course in  nutrition and creative writing which I am enjoying.

I am still working on finding other things that I enjoy doing so expect to her more from me on this subject as well as other things, I can quite an opinionated knob when I want to me so expect to hear some ranting. Maybe I will cover anxiety and depression in greater detail if you want to hear about it let me know!

Right I am off to eat a rather huge amount of lemon cheesecake that has been waiting for me while I write this. Have a great day peeps!

Si

 

 

 

Day 1…..again!

Hi all,

It has been a while since I last jotted anything down to you all, apologies! I am currently in one of may favourite places at the moment to bring the old mac book and write and chill. In The Village Cafe in Codsall, where I hear you ask. Well, it’s not actually all that far from where I live but just far enough away to be almost in the country. Also it is where my counsellor lives, I discovered this cafe as the trains get here early and I have nearly an hour to wait. I have been trying to get back into writing and journalling and blogging so it seems to match up well. I like the environment and I can people watch and they make really nice breakfast rolls.

IMG_2275

So, some of you may have picked up on the fact that I am in Codsall to see a counsellor, why does Si need to see I hear you all ask. A well adjusted, conscientious thing like him will be all fine in the head case department? How far that is from the truth, no seriously and to save a very long story I had a break down at work that was bought on by my job and severe anxiety issues. I have had anxiety for a long time and it hasn’t gotten any better and neither have I at dealing with it to be honest, head in the sand sadly.

So after so rather scary events, walking around Wolves town centre not quite sure of why, where I was or what I was doing and had to be found by my husband and then after 3 days of not sleeping trying to get out the front door in my jim-jams at 3am in the morning and not haven’t the faintest idea of why I was doing ti or where I was going. To be honest it scared me a little. So after multiple trips to the doctor and some counselling sessions I am on the mend finally. I have been on a myriad of drugs, the ones that make you a zombie, the ones that make you feel drunk the whole time, the ones that are supposed to make you sleep and keep you awake all night. Then finally the good ones, the ones that level you out so life is manageable and the ones that sedate you so you can sleep at night!

So I am in a position now after the christmas madness that I can sit and take stock of where I am and where I am going next. I feel a lot more stable and level now and able to get out and about in the world and not feel scared of everything. There is still plenty I fear, more on that in another blog. I also am aware of what I need to do to make changes to my life, to make it more enjoyable, it currently isn’t in some aspects, to make my life more distracting, an essential for those with anxiety. I hope to be blogging about those in future blogs as I make a real effort to do more of the things that I enjoy and try to inject more fun and happiness in my life, writing is a big one, I love writing and I love my mac book so that seems to go together quite well.

So why the title, Day 1….again? Well some of it comes from the fact that this was my third break down and it feels like day 1 all over again of the mountain still to climb to get over it, I feel that base camp has been made and that the support structure is there but the climb is all on me.

It also pertains to giving up sugar….again. I gave up sugar last year in March I think and by September I had lost 1 and 3/4 stones and was mere pounds from my ideal, dream weight. Apart from the first few weeks of realising how much sugar is in the foods that I eat, a lot, and getting past the cravings for it nearly 24/7, after all sugar is more addictive that cocaine! Yes! So this time around it should be remarkably easy to be after all I know now what I didn’t now then, I know I can do it and I can do it well. All I need is will power and after I shovelled the last of the christmas chocolate down my throat I feel so sick of it so I am hoping that will help, it actual fact I am in this cafe that doubles as a high end bakery looking at delicious cakes and feel nauseous, a good sign!

I suppose that’s a little round up of where I am now, fucked in the head but getting better, had nearly 2 months of work and getting bored and starting to believe in the mantra, healthy body (no sugar/processed foods) healthy mind, goodbye anxiety/depression.

More soon!