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

 

Advertisements

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

sdrawkcaB gnioG

My recovery has gone backwards over the last 10 days or so to the point where I could actually spot all the warning signs and have moved quickly to work towards stopping the slide.

Friday I went back to the Dr and spoke to my new GP for the first time. I didn’t want to give her too much information as she is new to me and doesn’t know my background – losing Dr Dhanji is a huge blow for me because he could tell within seconds how I was actually doing before I even told him.

I had been two weeks medication free and thought I was doing well, I WAS doing well if I am honest, BUT I could see little things happening again that were giving me reason to be concerned that the spiral was starting again.

It started with an innocent question from someone “how are you REALLY doing?” and 10 minutes later I was still opening up to her, someone who doesn’t really know me outside of her professional capacity yet I opened up the dam and couldn’t plug it. She asked if I was okay because suddenly I was shaking and emotional, almost like a panic attack…

Mentally I had been feeling much better and improved, but emotionally everything that has gone on over the past 3 months have taken a toll on me and obviously in hindsight coming off the meds was not the best idea at this time – please no told you so’s!

Losing Mrs Moose has been like a death to me, trying to accept her decision and move on, let her go, has sent me back into a state of grieving that I did not fully prepare myself for. Let alone not seeing Elizabeth everyday, when I do see her it breaks my heart because I have to let her go again. We play a game where I light a candle for her and she has to blow it out and make a wish, every time she does this her wish is the same “I wish mummy would talk to daddy and come home!” – hearing that coming out of her mouth hurts plan and simple!

I’m losing friends at the moment as well, some because I have pushed them away, others because they have backed away and it all adds up to more rejection, which then feds the self esteem demon that plagued me for years.

My sleeping is causing a problem as insomnia has returned which in turn means I am sleeping during the day again – something that I worked bloody hard to eradicate as I know this was an issue for Sheryl in the past.

IBS has also returned which shows that i am stressed, I had managed to control this for a month or so and could actually go out in the mornings without fear of accidents – that is not the case anymore.

So welcome back sleep issues, IBS, stress and anxiety…. bad enough I have had to cancel my gym membership as money is so tight again, so add hermit back to the list……

BUT SOME GOOD NEWS….

I caught it all happening BEFORE it escalated and prevention is much easier than the cure. The fact that I have asked to, and been put back on anti-depressants does not make me a failure. It means I was aware of my symptoms to the point that I could ask for help before I ended up back in the clutches of depression and can start again with my recovery.

As I have said before, asking for help shows strength not weakness and at the moment I am happy to admit I need more help than I thought, and now I have it!

The thing with recovery is that you need to be able to go at a reasonable pace and unfortunately for me I went straight into the fast lane before I was fully ready.

I need to make changes, want to make changes but I need to make sure that I can walk properly before sprinting off into the distance and that is a lesson I have learned the hard way…

So back to the start of my recovery with more experience and a better idea of what to expect. The important thing is to be proud that I spotted the signs before they got too bad.

 

Moose meets Celebrities and Talks Medication

Yesterday I attended the Sapphire Stigma Summit where he was pleased to be able to listen to talks about stigma, discrimination and other aspects of mental health.

Along the speakers were Frank Bruno and Clarke Carlisle. I have a lot of time for Clarke as he is a professional footballer but is also speaking out about depression in football, something that people have little sympathy for due to the wages that the players earn and how out of touch with the real world some of them appear to be. Of course depression couldn’t care less about your colour, gender, income and any other aspects of your lifestyle but I do often see a lack of sympathy for the rich and famous because of their money, that they are somehow immune to mental health illnesses.

I introduced myself to both gentlemen and as Clarke is someone I have tweeted occasionally I was gobsmacked that he knew who the depressedmoose was let alone that he actually reads my blog (I told you I was famoose didn’t I!)

"know what I mean..Garry"

“know what I mean..Garry”

clarke

During my little chat with Clarke Carlisle I told him that I was preparing to come off my medication and he was concerned about the timing, as I know a few people are as well so please let me explain the reasoning behind my decision so you don’t have to worry.

The fact is I no longer feel depressed! I wake up each morning at 7 looking forward to the day and what it may bring, knowing that I will be heading out to the gym or even just going out for a walk because I want to get out and about. I am no longer the hermit I had become always wanting to be close to home and my bed!

I have started doing things again that I hadn’t done in years – I want to go out socialising and meeting new people, reconnecting with friends again and even searching for work again!

I have NEVER felt this strong mentally despite the emotional upheaval of the past month or so and I know that I will never allow myself to fall into the clutches of the black dog again. In fact the last time it came near me I growled back and it soon went running.

I have been to hell and back the last 3 years especially and have survived through all the dark times and emerged a better person on the other side, fitter and stronger both physically and mentally and the time is right now for me to continue this journey medication free safe in the knowledge that things will never be that bad again.

Stubbornness can be a nightmare at times but not when it comes to me and my mental health! I survived 4 years of depression without meds before finally seeking help and can do so again believe me.

My days are now spent proactively and productively not wallowing waiting for sleep to take over me again. I have settled down into a good sleeping routine so no longer am I too tired to fight off the thoughts and fears that depression can bring. I have more energy and motivation these days in small part due to my wonderful kids especially Brandon. our relationship has been amazing again through all thats been going on and they need the strong Garry to remain to show them that no matter how hard life can be you never give up fighting.

I am all too aware of the battle ahead and that there may be times when I feel depressed again in the future, it is like giving up drinking sometimes you can fall of the wagon, but with this new attitude towards life and strength there is nothing I can’t face head on now and defeat.

What I have been going through recently is a mixture of different emotions and feelings that are natural to my current situation and not depressive reactions like feelings of failure and suicide and when I do get a bad spell these last hours rather than days! I just simply dust myself off and start again.

So please don’t worry about the moose instead worry about the rest of the world as I make up for lost time and attack the future all guns blazing!