Choices

Hi all, Hope you are well! 

It been a hard few weeks since my last post when I shared with you that my marriage/relationship had ended after 10 years. There have been some dark days there have been some good days but now sitting writing this I know what has been done and what is to come is for the greater good for both parties. 

I have been surrounded by the bestest of friends and some amazing people and it is really lovely just how many people have got your back. I have a great counsellor and we have been working on some of the stuff I am finding difficult. In one of our conversations I shared how I feeling about suicide. Some of you who have read my previous posts know I have had a chequered history with mental health. I won’t go into the full details of the conversation as somethings are always private. However she discussed with me that everyday I choose not to end my life and to keep on living and that is a very positive thing. It struck a chord in me and has been very empowering. 

So everyday I choose not to end my life, some of you may think that is nothing but it seriously is, everyday I decide that I do have something to live for, something that gets me out of bed, in the shower and off out into the world. There’s me saying wow with my heading spinning thinking about how positive I suddenly feel. The power of choice is not just limited to that. 

Everyday I choose not to wallow in self pity and fretting about the end of my relationship, I choose to to live the best life I can with new adventures, friends, fun and laughter. It’s is so empowering to think that you have this level of influence over your own life but of course you do. You can choose to do anything you put your mind to, a dream, a task, to change how you feel about something. Some days it’s gonna be hard, some days it takes every bit of energy I have to keep going but other days it is easy. Some days I may fail but I choose not to dwell on that and to keep pushing on regardless and just take it as a lesson learned. 

I have stated on new adventures and made some new friends, the future is what I make of it and I have that choice. Time to take control of things and make the most of whatever time I have and have a blast. Don’t under estimate the power of the choices you make 

Si

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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!

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?

 

 

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