Categories
Life

Thick End of the Wedge

My Destiny 2 Guardian Looking out at the Traveller coming apart.

A random title to a post, but to clarify, my life and the way my life is going, I feel like I am being beaten over the head by the very thick end of a very big wedge. I can’t seem to dodge the large things dropping on my head, even the really big meteor sized things. Basically, I am in round number 11, and my legs are gone and the champ is slugging away trying to finish me off.

I am just out of a pretty heavy depressive episode that lasted a month. This episode was the worst one I have had in over three years and it, quite frankly, almost finished me. Apologies for the frankness, but I have been dilly-dallying with the need to write this post to get it out of my head and the flowery prose ain’t doing it. I have to face this head-on and get it down on the screen. Just write until it’s done and then make it look pretty after the fact.

Things are going on in my life that I can’t write about at the moment out of respect for other parties, respect that is not alway proffered in the other direction. When the time is right, I’ll write more. If you happen to know what I am referring too with this, I ask that you respect my wishes and not bring it up in the comments of this post or on social media. When the time is right, I will address the situation.

During the interview for my job, I used the phrase that I never burned the candle at both ends, I took a flame thrower to the candle. This was about my previous life when I worked in Theatre. I quite literally burned my soul apart working in the theatre in the way I did for over ten years. I feel like I put in a lifetimes worth of work in ten short years and I came out very much the worse for it. At the time it was fun, I didn’t remember the times when I was so tired and hung-over that I could hardly stand up; I didn’t remember the times when I chose the Theatre over all else.

Looking back now over those days, I probably wouldn’t change what I did, I would, however, change how I did it. As it stands 20 years after I last worked in a theatre, I still don’t have any qualifications that could get me a decent job. I got the first job I applied for after my major breakdown. I was lucky, my job required me to have on the job training from before day one. I feel I have grown into my job, and that the way I deal with the day to day is much improved than it was 2 years ago. I am not fully qualified yet, and probably never will be, but each day is a learning process, and I revel in this.

However, the nature of the job requires me to be very flexible and be almost on call 24/7. This isn’t exactly in the job description, but when your job deals with vulnerable people, then you can’t let the house you work in be in a staff deficit. So you can imagine that my need to take his month-long break added to my stress.

**Tigger Warning**

*
*
*
*
*

The final thing that really made my decision to take the time off came one Wednesday night when things got so far on top of me that it was a toss-up between walking out of the place I work at and wait for the next lorry to pass on the main road or just go and start walking and not stop. It scared me enough to stay up for the rest of the night and challenge my brain to unlimited rounds of mental boxing to see who would stay alive through the night. I managed to stay alive and not under a Lorry. I went home and made that all-important first phone call to the GP. I got an appointment for the same day (a bloody miracle with my surgery).

I took my Mum to the appointment and got a sick note for two weeks with the offer of more if I wasn’t back to my jovial self.

Off I went to try and rebuild myself, it was a task, in my mind, that equalled rebuilding the Titanic with Mecano tools. Everything I had put in place over the past two years to keep this from happening since I started work, for some reason, hadn’t worked this time and I had crumbled.

I retreated to my corner in the Dining Room at home where my computer and Xbox lives, and I tried to block out the world with everything and anything that I thought would work. In the end, I started setting myself goals in a video game to complete the game and see what happened at the end.

Each day I took at least one more step towards the end game, somedays I managed two. I played this game relentlessly. From the time I got up to the time I went to bed, Destiny consumed my mind. I focused on completing the game and any side quests that popped up along the way.

After three weeks and 2 days, I finally finished the main game. It was at an end. Those 23 days had been laser-focused on getting that game finished. While my mind was still very fragile, I knew I was so much stronger at the end than when I began. Three Weeks and Three days I evaluated where my head was at. I came to a realisation that I should start the process of going back to work. I rang work that day and told them I was ready to come back… after a few hoops were jumped through I came back.

Here I sit in the middle of week three being back at work, and my mind seems to be getting better all the time, but other things are getting in the way of 100% Game completion.

Categories
Life

That’s Just Mental

You know that something is wrong, deep down, you admit to yourself that that swirling gnawing feeling that alternates between the pit of your gut and the raging torrent in your head; something ain’t right McGee. You can fob family and friends off only so often with excuses like “I’m just having a day… nothing to worry about” after all “your day” has lasted a week so far and it’s just getting darker and longer. You can try and fob off your friends that you missed the gathering of the year because you had to finish a project by a deadline and it’s dropped on you at the last minute. The fact that the deadline you have to meet is trying to make it through one more night without those thoughts acted on that could put you in the Emergency Room or worse.

When you finally realise that all of the excuses in the world aren’t going to get you out of a jamb this time. You have to ultimately choose where to try and start the most laborious mission of your life so far, a mission that is, quite possibly, going to last for the rest of your life. It’s those happy thoughts that make you want to get to a real crossroad and rather than heading left or right, reverse a mile or so and run as fast as you can towards the huge brick wall facing the junction and not bother with the brakes.

But.

I want to offer you a sliver of hope.

Just a chink of light in that permanent black sky you see about now.

I want to tell you. It WILL get better, and that chink in the clouds will get bigger and bigger with each bold step forward you take, the next step may not be ahead, but you will have learnt something to be used towards the next successful step you take. Open your eyes just a little to the possibility that while your head and heart are currently as dense as lead, someone or something is coming soon to help you with your full burden. You won’t see it coming, and

it is going to be tough at times to understand that it is getting better every day.

Now, by this point, you are sick of all the clichés and self-help book crap.

To be frank so am I and I am writing it down. What I would like to say to you that every word that you have just read has been uttered at least ten times each from some well-wishers and morale booster that accompanied me along my journey to being where I am at right now. It is frustrating as hell to call for help and be told to take a walk or take a hot bath. If relieving depression or any mental health problem would be solved by taking a walk or a bath then the world would be full of Unicorns crapping Rainbows all over the shop.

I have friends who prescribe to the strict love school of Mental Health management; you know the type: PULL YOUR SOCKS UP, JUST GET ON WITH IT, BUCK UP YOUR IDEAS, MAN.

All helpful when all you really feel like saying and doing is pulling their socks up over their head and buck up the idea that they thought you could get over by just getting on with harming yourself (and them) with the nearest heavy implement.

What I do want to let you know is that I personally know from my own life, that most of that cliched mambo jumbo will help in one way or another. It is going to sound so patronising when you are in the deepest depths of blackness, and people really do (on the whole) feel that their words are offered in support and kindness. You want answers and a solution to your problem when you are crying out for help, but unfortunately, there really is no safe quick fix for fighting with a 200lb black dog sitting on your shoulder, you have to tickle that dog until it falls asleep again and you

can move forward into the sun light.

What I am suggesting is that in your daily life make up a “memory bank account” of all of the advice you are given or have worked out for yourself, tips and tricks that help you through each dark day. You can do this by making a mood diary or just make a mood board to put up around the house somewhere. Don’t rely on knowing what you should do from memory, because in the throws of a low mood or crisis you won’t remember diddlers about what works to make you feel better.

Make up a daily action plan for things that you should do (within reason) during your bad times. It can be something as simple as 4 or 5 things that you could do to help make your day better. Maybe it’s something as trivial as washing your hair, reading a chapter or two of a book, going to visit a friend for a cup of tea and a chat. It can also be something more complex, like planning a project that will take more time than any ordinary task.

The one thing and one rule that I will always suggest is that there should be absolutely no pressure to do anything unless you feel that you can mentally and physically do it safely. There is not point in forcing yourself to go out into town whilst you are in the throws of an anxiety attack just because you told yourself first thing in the morning that that is what you HAD to achieve today. Your body and emotions can change in the blink of an eye. If you need to break a meeting or miss out on an appointment, that too is OK. If it is all too much, take a step back in your safe space and get yourself feeling well again. Find that person to talk too. Reach out wherever you feel you will get the best support, family, friends Facebook or Twitter. They are all valid places that have helped me in the past and if your support networks are a little more diverse that they norm, that’s good if it works for you.

Everything considered, the one takeaway I would suggest that you take from this overlong post, is that do what is right for you and worry about the rest of the world when you feel up to tackling that. You will make choices that are not in your best interest when you are in an altered mind set through Anxiety or Depression or whatever crappy thing you are dealing with at the time.

Love you first then love the world when you can.