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Category Archives: Depression

Reflections 2018 w07

Therapy, my very first Psychiatrist said, will be the thing that gets you better, the medication is only a bandaid, a short term help.

I did get some therapy after that, but only for my free gift of twitch and speech problem…erm…acceptance – once these were accepted I could no longer be treated by the physical health psychological team. However a recommendation for further treatment was sent to the mental health team at the time.

This was rejected due to my involvement in some group work, conflict of interest, and when finished I chased up the recommendation. This got an interview, and another rejection – due to oneself having many coping mechanisms, most of which were highlighted as negative in the group therapy, but in this setting they were seen as positive. The biggest coping mechanism that I have is avoidance, if it is unpleasant I somehow have worked out methods of avoidance for it, or for at least part of it/its stimulations.

Now here is where one has to state that I want to get better become a better person than before, major changes to how my mind works have altered ones perspective of oneself, and I wish not to ‘return’ to the person that ‘broke’. I do however wish to get rid of the dyslexic like aspect towards text (Dr quote “it will go away in time”) and the severe anxiety around people, outside, starting something new, life etc.

One has found a use for, most of, the illusions (Dr quote “it will go away in time”) through my art and writing, so one no longer finds them as disturbing. The twitching (Dr quote “it will go away in time”), that came from something but it’s hard to say what – actual Neurologists take on the twitching and the change in speech, is quite literally an anxiety/ stress indicator, the worse the anxiety/stress the worse the twitch.

If you see my right arm and hand do an invisible ranting hand puppet impression, I’m not having a good time – if I am stamping as well – stand clear of the exit.

My change in speech (Dr quote “it will go away in time”) was helped with speech therapy, who had a different view on whether it would change. Basically if it is anxiety caused, this is rare in adults over 40, common in children though, then receiving therapy to reduce/get rid of the anxiety, could, get rid of the stammer/stutter.

The magic pill it seems is therapy and hard work.

By now any free therapy was seen as a potential for healing, Anger Management (twice, with different companies), person centred therapy, this took me five weeks and a lot of psychological text books and notes for the next meeting to understand how it worked. With only three weeks to go I finally understood it was not an anger management therapy session as I was originally led to believe when one was referred. Which made me p’d off.

Each thought my diagnosis was incorrect and could not understand why therapy had been withheld.

A change of Psychiatric hospitals and another suggestion of therapy, another test and another rejection. Am I any better? NO!

Then comes the constant flow of trainee Psychologists/Psychiatrists – “you would benefit from therapy, I will suggest that that be looked into.” – NEXT – “you would benefit from therapy, I will suggest that that be looked into.” – NEXT…

There has been no problem describing drugs though. One hopes you never come across a doctor who gives you only pain killers for a broken leg, for years.

But one wishes to end with some good news…

In a roundabout way I have been referred to the original place that I received the original psychological help, this time however one is not going to just roll over and accept the diagnosis (of no diagnosis), it makes no sense to me either – but they have a drug for it.

I wanted to end with some good news.

But for some reason though I had a phone call from the G.P saying the Hospital referral has to be discussed with my G.P first??? And they are the ones that referred me to the Hospital department. WTF? It may take me a week just to get an appointment with the G.P. I’m already dragging a mountain and a black dog around – I don’t need this anchor of doubt over the therapy again!

Sod em…Some good news.

I saw the International Space Station pass overhead for the first time last week. And when I get the chance to see it with my son on one of his visits I will.


Reflections 2018 w06

The importance of a journal when your mind refuses to work.

One sits at the keyboard not being able to recall what it is that one has done over the week. Turn to my diary/journal, it was suggested that I keep one but never explained why, and it seems that there is a couple of days it has not been filled in. Honestly it is a habit that has yet to fully take hold, perhaps if an explanation as to why it is beneficial beyond appointment times (the diary aspect of it), I may be more enthusiastic about keeping it in order. Rarely is a theme for the week taken from the diary/journal, it is usually from my notebook that is always carried around with me, absolutely anything is written in that.

To me the notebook has an important role to play for me, it holds the spark of an idea for a painting, a poem, a story or even the reflection for the week, as well as appointments, if it is out when they are made. It is the physical manifestation of thought.

This week is however was a  blank on what to reflect upon and it was in desperation that the past weeks journal entries were looked upon for a glimmer of inspiration. I cannot recall for certain what has been done or where I have been this week. This is not uncommon in a depressive anxious brain, it’s so busy trying to out manoeuvre all the dangers it has invented, there is no processing power left for the non threats to be remembered. At the same time the brain does not like blanks and will fill it with vague memories of weeks gone past. Heck my brain even fills blank areas of places with shops/buildings from another area. It is really confusing on a day out shopping when it has done that.

In the end my blank memory has been matched by my blank journal entries, and in the blankness comes a reflection – keep the diary/journal in a place where I can see it.

Make it a routine to place it, along with the notebook, in one designated place.

I can see a sticky note being placed somewhere as a reminder when that place has been selected.

Reflections 2018 w05

Well another month has been and gone, not all the things I wanted to put into place have materialised and some were just late. Outside forces have played their role, and my unenthusiastic approach has been reflected by the weather conditions.

However one has managed to start on a website design, with Wix, for a friend from group, when it is completed a piece will be written on it as a kind of launch. It is a worthy cause I am glad I can help with it.

So January was not a complete bust, February it seems is wanting to start with the dentist as I sit here typing this with a quarter tooth missing. I so hope it has had a root filling in the past. There is a point of no return for teeth when the dental care has been lacking in years gone by, something I hope my son will not follow.

I finished the painting that was commissioned by the B-WELL group and when it is placed on the wall it will be placed on my website. Although I did not get paid for this commission, it is non the less my first commission, and it is my own design, heavily influenced by the Blobby Tree theoretics but far enough away from the actual picture that it has/will have its own identity, complete with my sense of humour. There may even be a cartoon on the trees growth and story of the little people and the well around it. I have seen the animated story in my head, it would not stop once it started.

The prize for the writing competition was a £10 voucher for The Works, the story will be published in Brighter Futures February newsletter along with the other entrant/winners story. Hopefully there will be enough feedback from the piece to get a more popular writing competition next time. my-first-writing-competition-entry

My goal of mapping the local parks/woods and blogging about each one did not start last month partially due to the weather and partially due to the struggle to get out doors. I know that even warmer weather will not change that struggle to get out of the doorway.

Thats the rundown for the last month.

Where has the time gone?

Why are the weeks flying by so fast?


Reflections…Week Fifty One

canstockphoto8630797This is the last blog of 2017, and for my part I have completed my goal of blogging on a weekly basis for the entirety of it. One has even surpassed what I thought was a challenge by doing multiple blogs in a week and in doing so surprised myself with the gusto one has approached it. But not so much with this one.

Yesterday I went sea fishing with my brother, it went less than planned. The tackle and bait shop we go to is no longer there, it is being replaced with flats, this caused a diversion to an alternative. Time seemed to be slipping away as the journey progressed, to the point that we changed destination for the fishing to suit the tide time.

This is a place I like going to and although the pier was in no fit state to be walked upon it somehow had sentimental value for which one cannot explain. However when we got there the pier was no longer in the sea, rather it was on the coast line piled up behind railings. After talking to a local fisherman we discovered it was pulled down for safety reasons about three weeks ago, thus making it a sombre visit, and at the moment un-fishable.  One hopes that the spider crabs that the locals catch won’t be negatively affected.

The weather was also making a turn for the worst, with an ice cold nip to the increasing wind. This was not the warm sunny day forecast.

We headed back the way we came. Checked out a new spot, ruled it out, went to an old spot that has been good for bass before ruled that out due to the exposure for the wind and decided to cross back over the peninsula to get some wind defence.

We looked and looked for a new spot and eventually ended up, at the place we originally went for bait, at Rhos-on-sea, sheltered from the wind. Halfway back home. Eight hours of driving to get an hour and a half away from home, you could tell my brother was not pleased.

Spot got to run on the beach for a bit, and we ate with a cuppa before even thinking about setting up, as high tide was another hour away, and by then we could not be bothered to be tide chased with our equipment. So we just waited.

This spot has been a poor show for fish before and we had almost given up on the location. It was chosen for the shelter above all else, just so we could fish.

It has been ages since last having a day out to try and catch dinner for the next day and as Spot and I played on the beach I asked the sea to be kind to my brother and let him catch some fish. It was less of a thing for me as being at the coast was allowing me to chill for just a little while, as the coast always does, and Spot loves the beach.

So as the tide came in we got ready, spot for a nice change, was able to stay in the car as it was parked right next to us, curled up in the footwell, where the heater had warmed her towel and the carpeting.

First cast had been in the water less than five minutes when my brothers rod stated to nod up and down violently, not one on the line, but two. Next cast he did was pulling a fish up within a minute, and the same again with the next.

As he took the fish down the steps to the water to release the fourth fish, they were undersize, I thanked the sea for visibly cheering him up. Then my rod started…

For the next Five and a half hours we had fish after fish, the best session ever, even beating some boat trips. True we returned over forty, but we came home with five whiting each, enough fish for a couple of meals.

My arms and shoulders at the end were aching, my nerves on fire and lacking strength to real in two small fish on the line that should have been done with ease. I had to stop with them as my arms went numb and the fireworks started in my legs. My brother called it time when he reeled in the next fish. We packed up and headed home, straight into the wind, and now heavy rain, we had earlier left behind. Somehow it had missed our little spot.

The concentration on the rod tip light now over, my body could release the headache for the trip home. Today I have been in pain and struggling to stay awake. I hate what is happening to my body right now and the way it seems to be punishing me for doing things I like to do. But it’s got another thing coming if it thinks it is going to make me stop. All the doctors want to do is increase what was my anxiety meds, as it is also a pain medication. It’s funny how I am going to be over the maximum dosage for the anxiety it’s not working for, because it is now for the pain. The pain it may very well be causing. And the medication I wanted to stop, because it’s not working.

The merry-go round of the doctors continues…

Oh, an update on my story that was entered into the Brighter Futures writing competition that was scheduled for America’s Thanksgiving day, that was then altered to the Christmas Party, that was then, I would say delayed again due to there still being only two entries, I would say delayed as the winner was not declared, Is a winner!

Not quite, so is the other one as well.

I wonder if my request to withdraw my story if it had been cancelled again, so it could be entered into another competition, had anything to do with the decision?

At least the disappointment of the whole affair is over now, and the story will be published in the next couple of days. I hope all who read it find some enjoyment in it.

If you don’t, tuff, I am still proud of my first writing competition entry.

The fireworks of the new year have been going off as this long winded entry has been written, so it is with love and peace that I sign off the Reflections of 2017.

Happy New Year!

Reflections…Week Forty Six

canstockphoto8630797This week has been a blur, a blur of waiting to be exact. The two things don’t go together in a normal sense, one being movement and one being the absence of it, but the mind likes to play these silly little games.

Routine is key to knowing what day of the week it is most of the time, spread throughout the week are group sessions, shopping runs, and if we, myself and Spot, can afford to go out, whether that just entails time to do the longer walks, physical problems make what used to be an hour and a half walk an afternoon now, or petrol money to get to a woodland area. And routine is what sets the pace, or the apparent pace, of time.

Rearrange one aspect of this schedule and the pace of the week can drastically be altered. And this week has been a doozy of rearrange and additions. The Thursday shop was on Tuesday, the Friday shopping place is was on Tuesday in addition to Friday. My uncle gets driven around to shopping and hospitals, usually Thursdays and at the end of the month, but had an extra appointment on Tuesday for his hearing aids as well as the end of the month one on Thursday. The Monday group was somewhere new, the Thursday daytime, prior going to my uncle, was shared between a cuppa with group friends at a church cafe, nipping round to another group to drop some things off and the American for the writing competition winner announcement. Well thats the blur covered

The waiting…Thats easy, as the Thursday shopping was on the Tuesday I didn’t require anything yet, so not in the mood for people, I waited in the car. At the hospital – both times – in the car, and the Friday shop – moneys a bit tight so I only got a couple of things and sat in the store waiting for my Mother and neighbour to do their shopping. To be honest I nearly went and sat in the car for the Friday shop, I have really been struggling to go out these past couple of weeks.

Today, Saturday, was different. Today I spent a day at the university open day throwing pots, something that has a major embarrassment memory from a school parents open day, way back then it was my first time I had been on a potters wheel and I may as well been trying to catch greased up eels coming from the centre. So today was to rid myself of that connection of embarrassment to the potters wheel. It was also a day to reconnect with distant souls, faces with whom paths have not crossed for a very long time. Also with it being an open day, our little group, and therefore myself on a potters wheel, was on display, again.

The groups run by Z are ace, there is an atmosphere of wonderment and humour, it matters not whether you are sitting on your own, spinning clay, or sitting in a group, sculpting clay, you are a part of it. Banter is varied to the clean and the shocking, well you have left me with no moral compass, Too shocking Too soon for the person the last line was for, welcome back.

Some could say I show off with the creative crafts, but I don’t do what I do to impress, not consciously anyway, but I do try to push my boundaries, in some cases I skip the basic stuff and go straight to the interesting. Today was just to play. I had no interest in bringing anything back home, everything was to be binned, emotion, shame, and whatever disaster was created.

I have, however, started a bit of — it’s not rivalry or oneupmanship, but it is – he’s done that I’m doing this kinda thing. I don’t think copper bowls will be satisfactory next metalworking class and the potters wheel is going to get a lot more advanced next clay workshop.

Did my creations end up in the bin? Only one out of the three, and the clay is reformed into a ball and used again, so not really binned as such. I have not taken any pictures yet as I am waiting until they have been fired, one has very delicate walls and my vase has a long thin neck but the clay didn’t feel right at the base of the neck once I stretched the clay upwards and has a high chance of it being an air bubble, thus blowing apart when fired. They are cockeyed but they did a great job of chasing away ghosts.

Oh I almost forgot, the writing competition winner announcement…

Is now going to take place at Christmas, I could have stayed at the cafe.

The reason — there were only two entries. The closing date was October 14th and they wait till the winner announcement day, and place, to let us know they new winner announcement time. But by telling me that there was only two entries they have tarnished the whole winning of it for me. Something that had a sense of achievement has now become a game of odds, good odds of winning. Creative skills have now been covered under a blanket of depression, to be dropped and forgotten about. I had been looking forward to being told I’d won, a rare self belief in what I had done, I don’t even know if I will bother turning up to the next winner announcement, the interest in it has gone.

Sometimes I feel the pinatas’ pain.

Go with the flow. Echo Update.

IMG_1618ECHO had its first group session at the new place of The American, more turned up than most of us expected, this was a welcome sight as many were wondering if now was the time to stop coming.

Thats not to say we have given up on ECHO, far from it, but the serenity that Brunswick House offered contrasts greatly to the atmosphere of The American, this does not help to ‘settle in’. I am lucky in this respect as I am familiar with the American, many are not, and the process of going somewhere new can be overwhelming, but I too was hesitant as to whether the group would work here.

Chaos was expected as no routines have been set up yet, and chaos was the format for the beginning.  This will improve as time goes by with more input from us to make it work.

Emotions were being suppressed by everyone to differing levels – anger, confusion, dejection where common but most present is probably uncertainty. We have had a letter explaining what has gone on with the funding cut and how we have been given this reprieve by Brighter Futures and the generosity of Swan Bank Methodist Church in order to keep the group going , though not the same, until the end of March.

It also tells us how they are pursuing different avenues toward funding but basically it is looking like ECHO requires a night in shining armour to save the day. Understandably this alters how one approaches the group as a whole – it now has a guillotine at the end of march.

The worksheets, have become more clinical, as I call them, or educational as another does. What we got used to was a more caring way of them being worded. For example:-

You have to take four tablets a day… A Clinical response would be something like…Take two twice a day on a full stomach. A caring approach would be more…Take two tablets at dinner time and two at tea. Both say the same thing but the styling is completely different and I believe the latter helps the info to be absorbed better.

We definitely need to get the CBT papers less clinical.

(Disclaimer).  Now the term CBT has never been used in conjunction with these sessions, but I have found no difference in these and the CBT courses I have been on and the key principles in which they both work are the same.

And in this line of thought I am sending an email to the B.F boss with an idea how we may get some written for us by a University student or two. I don’t think the person who runs the group will have enough time to do the re-writes, unless she takes them home, and none of us want her to become burnt out.

As for me, I have been keeping myself busy, avoiding dealing with it, I am currently looking a a dragons tail that needs scales painting. I know it is the wrong way to do it, especially now I have nearly read a book on mindfulness that was clear on what it means to be ‘present’, and locking myself away from the outside world only makes it worse, but the habit is a lifelong one.  I’m working on replacing it with a more healthy approach.

On the plus side however, I have discovered that writing these blogs has been part of my mindfulness journey, without me even knowing about it, and it is also one way of allowing myself to process the information of the current situation and the Poetry/Prose(new chapter) has been called a cathartic release; this stage has yet to happen, I doubt it will be pretty when it gets here.

On we plod…

Cut, Cut, Cut…Part Two #nsv #northstaffsvoice

Ok, you are in a charitable service that is having the funding stopped and you have issues with your Mental Health Service from the NHS. Who do you go to for help?
Luckily we have NSV(North Staffs Voice), Think PALS for mental health.

Well, we have till Christmas, this NON CLINICAL group have had their funding stopped.
Who do we have to help with unsatisfactory mental health then???

NSV are a separate charitable group from ECHO and Brighter Futures but you can see the connection I hope. If the support from these non clinical groups is ended the Support is going to be require at the budget cut hospitals, and if that is insufficient or has a problem with it, then there is nobody to help with the complaints if you stop funding the complaint enablers. Crafty really.

NSV covers all mental health services in North Staffordshire, a small team that goes a long way, and in my experience has had a profound effect to my CLINICAL treatment.

Sometimes in the mental health system a person can get stuck in a Drug Treatment program, that is to say the therapy treatments are not deemed an option.

What do I mean by that?
I have collected a lot of coping mechanisms to help me with daily life since my breakdown. This has resulted in therapy being denied due to me ‘coping’ in day to day life, to which I have ‘the medication to thank for that (according to one person),’ although the coping mechanisms themselves have been highlighted as strategies.
Positive strategies by the psych team but negative strategies (the same ones) by the couple of workshops delivered by the same service, so who is correct? Depends on who you talk to on the day.

To throw in the mix, the changes to my mood and the stability came at the time I was in the mental hospital for six weeks. Here I first developed some of the patterns I still use today.
When I left the hospital I did not return to the previous life I had before entering, everything changed. But it was the meds that got the credit.
My mood plateau’d and I kept questioning the effectiveness of the medication as my reactions are still to people, that has never changed, my coping strategy is to not mix with strangers without support or an exit plan being present, and avoiding crowds whenever possible, especially indoors.

Most of my strategies will not work in a work environment. So no, I don’t think the drugs work and I don’t think I am coping.

I was told right at the beginning, something like seven years ago, that the drugs are not the answer…therapy is the answer.
However I was left with…therapy is not the answer, just take the drugs.

I needed to be heard, without the fear of being sent back to the hospital, a real fear after being sectioned, or of being put on new meds/having the ones that you are on altered to compensate for your mood. NSV supplied that ear then became my voice. In 2014 it was a voice for over 1000 members.

If you or a loved one was ill you would want the best treatment available, and the correct treatment.
If the treatment had seemed to stall or be stuck in the same cycle that has offered no change in that persons mental state, and complaints have no effect because they are coming from the mental health patient, then yes an outside voice is helpful. If only to get a fresh look at the way treatment is received.

North Staffs Voice (formally North Staffs Users Group) is that voice for the service users. An intermediary service between service users and service providers.
Personally I think this service should be made available allover the country, just like PALS.

Mental Health problems can effect anyone at any time.
These are worth while charities that require your donations to carry on their support.

I hope that you will never need them nor anybody in your family.
However there is a 1 in 4 chance you will know somebody who will be affected and will.


To contact either charity follow these links

To donate to either of these charities please follow the links bellow.

Brighter Futures Donations



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