New Beginnings

Ive removed all posts from the last few months. All traces of anything negative are gone for good. Its time for new beginnings, fresh perspective and changes.

I have no more to say on whats happened its been put in the history books and will not be mentioned here or in the real world again.

I’m looking forwards and starting from tomorrow I am going to attempt to finally give up smoking after over 20 years. I hate the smell, the taste and the cost of the nasty habit and I hate sounding wheezy all the time.

If anyone sees me with a cigarette slap it out my hands quick you have my permission.

Once I have got that under control I want to start getting into shape and lose weight. I need to get my physical health back as a priority because Im turning 40 this year and would like to be at least 3 stone lighter by the time my birthday comes around in November.

Changes for the better are coming and its down to me now to implement them.

Advertisements

Remembering Who I Was

Making this blog active again and reopening my facebook page has been a real eye opener for me. For the first time in a very long time I actually feel like I belong somewhere again. I feel a great deal of pride in what this blog accomplished many years ago and as a stat whore my numbers astonish me that a humble little blog could have such a big number of views, visits and followers considering the subject matter. Writing about mental health has been a challenge at times when I could barely function yet its been a life saver and changer for me at times. Check out the photo below this little site is nearing ninety three thousand views!! 93,000 imagine that!

Having this site available to the world again gives an insight into my journey from depression heartbreak suicide attempts and recovery and back into heartbreak again. The majority of the posts here where written when I was suffering from depression and then once I felt that life had finally brought happiness again I walked away from a world where I was well known, respected and someone who was available for others at their lowest points. In 2013 I was on the end of the phone to 7 people as they were at the point of ending things and I talked them around – more than anything this is something Im extremely proud of. I made a difference to people.

I’ve spoken about mental health from my experiences and many other personal aspects of my life and the feeling of goodwill I have received has really boosted my self esteem in the last few days. I forgot I was good at writing, I forgot I could be interesting to other people.

I need to look after my own health both physical and mental. As far as depression goes right now I would be honest enough to admit I’m struggling. I’ve been a lot worse and I have no real fears mentally.

I feel happier than I have in a while. I’m busy reconnecting with old friends healing wounds building bridges and finally remembering that in actual fact I’m not that bad. I’m flawed in many ways but I’m a good person if allowed to be me. maybe that was part of the problem, I was too busy being stifled to be the man who helped countless others..

so today I can go to sleep feeling proud of myself once more and feeling like I have finally found my place again

 

Feeling Alive

Waking up each day with a smile on my face

reaching for the phone, eyes still barely open to send a quick “good morning” message

laughing at some of the absurd things said the night before

butterflies when a message comes through

hours spent each day talking, laughing and making future plans

that feeling of excitement as it nears the day we see each other again

the anticipation of more quality time knowing it gets better every time we see each other

living my life again, making memories

this is how I envisaged things being one day… feels like that day has finally returned

I am happy and I am blessed to feel this way again

it has made all the struggling, fighting and tears worth while to feel like this

I love feeling alive…

It’s My Birthday… Two Today!

Today marks the 2nd anniversary of this blog. The Depressed Moose is 2 years old… I am almost in big boy pants and can officially stop shitting myself in nappies and use the toilet….doesn’t mean I am going to quite yet..baby steps and all that 😀

As with any 2-year-old I am like a sponge absorbing lots of information and being excited at every new thing I learn and discover, and still grinning like a baby with trapped wind most of the time too. It is exactly how I fell these days though even if it makes no sense at first with the baby analogies.

My mental health has never been better than this moment in time, even during my rocky moments I feel more like I am going through the “normal” range of human emotions than depression taking hold of me again and this is a great weight of my shoulders. I can laugh, cry, sulk (and apparently I do a really good sulking pout!> in the normal way without worry about mania, depression or anything else being a cause.

Unless this heat continues because it is a sure-fire way to bring back my depression if I am not careful. My flat is like a greenhouse at the moment which makes it hard for me to sleep at night, and lack of sleep equals grumpy, moody hide from the world Garry so I am working hard on trying to combat this – prevention is always better than cure after all.

New beginnings always help and I am lucky that things have progressed with the wonderful lady in my life to the point where we are now starting a relationship and moving forwards together. Katie AKA Miss Donut has been a breath of fresh air in my life since we met. It can be hard work at times, I am not renowned for my patience which doesn’t help, but hard work brings the best rewards and she is great company, great fun and a brilliant new addition to my life. It is nice feeling butterflies and acting like a love-sick teenager again and being able to fight for someone you want in your life is a sure sign that I am recovering nicely from depression, as it having someone fight to be with you as well. In the past I would have walked away from anything that was not easy…..not this time, we are overcoming hurdles together and both happy with how things are going. I have not been this happy for as long as I can remember and I aim to ensure it stays this way. She makes me very happy and I am lucky to have her!

Planning for the future is not something I have done for years, but I am now and trying to create lots of new memories with the wonderful Katie, having stored plenty already since our first conversation. It would also be nice if I could remember to engage the brain and the mouth before I spoke but that has been an issue for 35 years, luckily I am cute with it, even if I do say so myself.

So raise a glass to cupid, to new love, to new beginnings, to friends who I would never have met without this little blog and to the next year(and hopefully more writing!)

 

 

 

Return of The Jack, Garry’s Back!

Apologies for the lack of visibility on the blog since my last post, rest assured you have missed nothing! I have not even felt able to write anything coherent enough to consider publishing – believe it or not I do have some standards when it comes to hitting the publish button…..

Another month has been and gone and we are now into June. What a month May was for me though, in simple terms the best month I have had for at least the last 10 years perhaps even longer.

One of my targets/goals for 2014 was to create new memories, to make the most of life again and to cherish those friends and family around me that support me so much when times are difficult.

For those wondering who Jack is – he is an old friend of mine who I am happily on better terms with these days. Good Ol’ Jack Daniels…. drinking with great company to enjoy not drinking to forget as I have done in the past.

I am very lucky to have met someone who I spent a big chunk of the past few weeks with, a wonderful, beautiful lady who has put a smile on my face and we have had a great time laughing and sitting up till the early hours just talking nonsense but enjoying each others company and I couldn’t be happier! Lots of drink, lots of smiles, lots of talking and best of all…. no moose to be seen! Its all about Garry which I love! When someone makes so much effort to be around you, then you know you have found someone special.

I feel a sense of responsibility when it comes to anything moose related. It’s nice to be thought highly about because of the real me not the moose.

So to Miss Donut… thank you for being around and here’s to a lot more great times!

That’s not to say I don’t have down days still, or feelings of insecurity but I can count them on one hand over the last few months! I am so much more in control of my depression these days I feel like a kid again. It feels like I have just started to remember Garry properly and I love how it feels.

Days out, nights out, lazy days in pjs till mid afternoon and more memories created in May than in the last few years combined! This is what life is about and I am determined to ensure it carries on this way, regardless of what happens along the way.

Now as June arrives I have to deal with some personal shit from the last year that can finally be consigned to the history books as I move on with my life, I have injections and mri scans to look forward to and then hopefully I can hit the gym again on a regular basis and shed the “winter coat”  that is weighing me down.

It’s not fat honestly its just an extra layer of awesomeness…

fluffy

 

and if all else fails….stick me in front of an ice cream van and I’m a happy chappy..

Thanks to Gary Dart for the flattering image...

Thanks to Gary Dart for the flattering image…

Medication, Pain and Drama

Been a long time since I have even attempted to write something, so much is going on in my little world that my head is all over the place lately. This blog used to be a place of solace for me, somewhere I could let things out and try to work through all the issues one by one. I miss being able to write…

So where am I currently..

I am still medication free, but unsure how much longer that will last if truth be told. Fighting is getting harder when outside influences keep getting in the way. One source has intimated to me that I like drama in my life, that I thrive on it because it gives me a chance to help other people and not have to deal with my own stuff. It is possible there is some truth in this, I do like helping other people but not at the detriment of my own mental health, the less drama around me the better at the moment – unless it happens to be drama that I particularly want to get involved in, that is my choice though and I will choose the battles I want to get into myself…

I feel toothless at the moment, in terms of how I am dealing with issues. All bark no bite. By nature I am fiery, short fused and act now question later but I just seem to let the blows rain down on me from all sides. It’s not even a case of rolling with punches and throwing out a few counter shots now and again. Am I actively encouraging this because its what I feel I deserve?

Is it more a case of allowing it all to bubble under the surface until one day it all comes out like an eruption from a volcano? I hope not because frustration is difficult to deal with and the end result will not be pretty if I continue to stem the tide, eventually the dam is going to crack and I worry about the fall out.

As for the pain issue.. as my long time readers will know I was once a footballer, playing football 7 days a week as a kid has resulted in me having knackered knees – two operations on my left knee is a factor behind my weight issues as I find it hard to exercise. Despite this last year I was going to the gym daily in preparation for the runs I did for charity but at the moment its impossible.

I have pain in both legs, all the muscles and joints and what appears to be shin splints in both legs. There are days when I am almost in tears with each step I take. It’s new to me and I am concerned about what the cause could be because I am desperate for an outlet again, I need to get out the flat but even walking to the shops leaves me in agony let alone trying to get on the treadmill again… this is not helping but I am seeing my GP tomorrow and hopefully she will be able to find a reason for this because it is currently ruining my life….

It has not been this bad for a long long time, but there is a glimmer of hope and someone who makes me smile. That is nothing short of eventful though and not sure if anything is going to come out of it, I hope so – its nice to feel that butterfly sensation when your phone goes and its a message from someone…. and good things worth having are worth the effort and drama, be nice if it was easy but when do I ever do thing easily..remember I attract drama

waitingI need to distract myself by writing again, any ideas you have please send my way because the gym is a no go zone until the pain in my legs goes…

and to think I always assumed I was a pain in the arse

ESA, WRAG And The DWP’s Cunning Plans

Most of the search terms that bring people to this blog are based on Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) and people wondering what to expect once they are given the benefit (ESA) and sent to the work program.

As I am unable to write about me at the moment I thought it would be a good opportunity to enlighten people to the idea behind this program and the genius that is Iain Duncan Smith’s plans for the long term unemployed, especially those of us on sickness benefits.

It is really quite simplistic and can best be explained in the following 7 words

IF THEY CAN FUCK YOU, THEY WILL

Sadly that is the stark reality, if by some miracle you make it through the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) and are placed into the work program you will made to feel like such scum that eventually you will do something that results in the DWP/ Job Centre sanctioning you and losing your benefits.

The providers of the work program take nothing into account when it comes to your mental health, your needs and requirements. When I attended Seetec I offered them advise on how to help people with anxiety, they were having group meetings with 20+ people and one lady there had a panic attack. I spoke to the manager of the centre and suggested to them that they have one of the empty rooms in the building available as a place for people to go if things were getting too much for them. I may as well have asked them to wipe my arse with bread and make a sandwich out of it based on the reaction, and subsequent lack of anything being done.

What they will do is make you attend workshops whereby the best option they can suggest is to become self employed, nearly every session I attended they tried to force me onto this workshop. I sat in on one to listen to the wonderful success stories they could provide us with, the tales of how many people they have got back into employment….. forgive me while I go and repair my sarcasm detector which just exploded…

The biggest success story that they could tell us about was a couple they got off of benefits who now did Car Boot Sales for a living… oh yes that weekend tradition of selling off crap for pittance.. which of course can only be done during the summer months assuming that it has not been pissing down with rain the night before…..

If you are given any appointments to attend work program providers, do not expect any help if you are unable to make it. They will simply mark you down as not attending and will inform the job centre where you will most likely be sanctioned, and not even notified about the sanction until after your money has been stopped.

Attend everything they ask, grin and bare it because the big plan of the DWP and IDS is to make you come off benefits by hook or by crook. If you simple say “fuck it” and give up the benefits all that matters to them is that in the media they can proudly state that x amount of people are not claiming benefits anymore.

We are not people with feelings, illnesses, ailments we are simply scroungers to be put through as many hoops as possible, and sadly too many of us cannot cope with this treatment and lives are lost – which again results in propaganda statements about people coming off benefits.

The media are hardly going to say “55000 people are no longer claiming benefits, because they have taken their lives due to the DWP/IDS killing machine”

The worse thing about all of this is that it will only get worse, zero hour contracts will become the norm and the MP’s will continue to get pay rises…. and a change of government will make little difference. The next stage is that we are expected to spend 37.5 hours a week looking for jobs, if we cant get a decent paying full time job they will expect us to take multiple part time jobs to make up the difference, and we will be forced to sign up to a website that is full of fake jobs and scams….

Naturally as we are British and have a stiff upper lip we will continue to hold our ankles and take it…

 

#mentalhealthselfie

Proof that I do smile now and again! seeing as there is a big no make up selfie campaign doing the rounds on twitter and facebook to raise awareness of cancer here is my own version for mental health

mentalhealthselfie

ignore the chins – operation fat bastard is underway although the score so far is treadmill 1 – moose 0

and no make up in sight…..

Guest Post – Mark

I have followed Mark for a long time on twitter and he is someone I have great respect for! I was delighted when he agreed to write a post for my blog and I hope you enjoy this as much as I have.

Music is helping Mark in is recovery and you will be pleased to know I have added his songs to the blog below.

This post may be triggering for some as it talks about suicide so please be careful if this subject may be too much for you… now over to Mark

===============================================================================

My story starts on Oct 17th 2001. The day my life changed forever.  I was working as a musician and working for a production company. I also ran 4 performing art schools for children. That day was a normal working day for me another gig another show. During that day we were on the road driving towards the venue when I was involved in a severe road traffic accident. I was a passenger and we were hit by a drunk driver coming round the corner at high-speed. That’s the moment the lights went out and one life ended and another life began. People were killed but I ended up in hospital seriously injured.  So began a long dark journey. I suffered broken bones and a brain injury. After months of recovery it became very apparent that I was not the same anymore. Headway got involved and so began the long slow process of starting life again and trying to recover only now it was different.  I suffered a frontal lobe brain injury. My emotions and everything about my personality had changed. I also found I couldn’t do what I used to do so on that day I had my life stolen from me. Another way of putting it is I was raped of my life. Months went into years and years. I was diagnosed with clinical depression PTSD and borderline personality disorder.

During the following years I attempted to take my own life on several occasions.  From taking overdoses to standing on a train track waiting for a train to come. The train didnt come. Once I was allowed to drive again I also drove to the lake district and took another overdose but some how I was found by the police and was rushed to hospital. We lost our house our cars are savings and most of what we owned .During this time I spent a lot of time inside an acute psychiatric hospital on a secure ward . I did not want to live any more because my life had ended as I saw it , I couldn’t earn the money I was earning and I couldn’t look after my family. My family went through hell my wife wanted to leave me and my children needed counselling. Such was the damage on our lives. During this time I was given a CPN called Kelly Perkins . She turned out to be an angel a saviour . I now owe my life to her. Along with many talking therapies  CBT and others. She along with Lyn Atkins another angel from headway kept us together as a family. Without their help we would not be together today.
Another problem I encountered was the lack of understanding from some family members. Often stigma is very close to home and  on one occasion drove me to another suicide attempt.

In 2010 we decided that the best thing we could do was to move to try and start again as everything around us reminded us of our old life. We moved from Bedfordshire to Dorset.  We settled into a quiet life by the sea. This was the first time I was trying to live a new life with some hope. Sadly during the spring of 2013 I suffered a relapse and ended back inside an acute ward. I was again suffering extreme anxiety depression and suicide thoughts again.
During my stay I found an old guitar and for some reason I started to play a bit again. This resulted in my wife bringing in my guitar.  I now found I had words and songs pouring out of me so I started to write and write.

During this time I had also started to become aware of Dorset Mental Health Forum. Somehow through my recovery this time I found a new purpose and that was that I had a passion for mental health issues and all the songs I was writing was about my lived experience , I had found a new voice and so I started to talk more openly about it. I was on a new meds regime and these were starting to work. I then found myself having meetings with Dorset Mental Health Forum. This led to me getting involved with something called Tea and Talking in conjunction with Time To Change leading to becoming a peer specialist for the forum now I had found a new purpose in life and that was to spread the message of recovery and to tackle stigma. I have been recording all the new material which is now nearly finished and will be available soon. Recently I was inspired to write a song for the Time to Talk campaign which I have done. I have also been asked to write a song for Blue Apple Hero’s about PTSD .
My passion and focus is now on raising awareness and sending out a message through music and speaking that recovery is possible even from the darkest place. I will live with what I have for the rest of my life but thanks to some great people and of course my wife who has suffered greatly  and family I move on to a new life, one that is wanting to see and help others who suffer . That’s my lived experience and I share it in the hope that it brings you hope.

Mark Storey

Mark can be found on twitter here

If you would like to submit a post for this blog please get in touch with me via twitter/facebook or email using the contact page