Friday, December 25, 2015

Even the best things don't work.

So I thought coming to Wales,  my place of sanctity,  my true love,  would really do me some good. Knowing how many happy memories I have here,  it was a sure thing that I would feel relief and some relaxation.

But no! Not the case. Arriving here was fine,  but no drive to go to my favourite places,  just headed for the cemetery to pay my respects and lay flowers.

Then off to see Chris and Dyfrig,  the friendly old couple who have given me so much comfort over the years. Plan just to drop a card in,  say hi,  and go. Obviously I had to exchange a few words,  but a minute in and I was shaking,  breathing hard and wanted out. Thankfully I had managed to say I wasn't staying by that time. Dyfrig saw I wasn't comfortable and helped me with my exit.

Wow that felt crappy,  but I promised to return as soon as my head is better.

Now that was a real anticlimax.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Mood bombs

It's amazing just how fast a mood can bomb when you are of fragile mind and easily influenced. From a dull but positive morning and afternoon,  to a relaxing evening,  all seemed on track for an OK day.

Hoping to end the day on a positive note,  I went to bed earlyish to avoid being over tired. However on my way to bed events started to unravel,  and by the time I made it to bed,  within 5 minutes the day was destined to end on a pretty shitty low.

Don't ask why,  thats just too complicated to explain right now,  and more to the point I don't get it myself. But either way it sucks right now.

Fingers crossed I wake tomorrow in a better mood. I have an increased dose of medication to look forward to tomorrow,  so that's a bonus eh.

Wish I could explain how it feels to have the bottom drop out of your mood in a flash. And once it's gone,  you are left struggling to climb back out of the hole you fall into. For anyone who does actually understand the feeling,  you have my sympathies.

Right,  I better lay back down and stare at the ceiling for a bit,  then be restless for another hour or so.

Night.

Another day, another blog.

After another rather stressy day yesterday I turned in early for the night. Not that I got to sleep straight away, and neither did I sleep very well. It would seem the initial improvement is now a thing of the past. Relaxing thoughts, and well rehearsed techniques to get to sleep no longer work, and the spiral of association has come back. Taking a simple innocent thought, within a minute it spirals into something I dread or a subject that winds me up. Change the thought, and the process starts again. Thinking of a video game for example, within three twists of association, can become a past memory of something I have done, which in turn makes me sad or anxious. It's incredible, as my concious mind could never make those twisted associations. It is almost like my brain WANTS me to think about these other things, and manages to contort the subject accordingly.

Right now though I have no rational way of addressing the matters, and no means of outlet to vent them to, so they will just have to wait for now.

Speaking of waiting, that is the theme of today, waiting for a contractor (who has now arrived), and waiting for a call from the GP. Thankfully, one thing I am not waiting for any longer is the report from my company doctor. After seeing him last week all seemed to go well, but you know how it is. Like job interviews, it went well but the letter isn't what you expected. However on this occasion I am happy to say that the report is favourable, and supportive, which is a great relief to me for sure. Painting a similar picture to that which my GP has already done, recommending the increase in medication as per the consultation, and outlining a realistic timescale for improvement and return to work.
Now I just need to speak to the GP when she calls, to discuss the report and see if she goes with the increase in meds dose.

Also having now received the next appointment with the therapy people from the NHS, I can now add that to her information, so she can make decisions accordingly. With the first face to face appointment with the therapy people not being til January, and only being an assessment once again, treatment itself is yet to get a confirmed start date. That obviously puts the brakes on things a little bit, but the company GP has allowed for this in his recommendations.

So there are lots of positives there for sure.
In other parts of life there is little improvement in my day to day goings on. Still borderline hurting myself to try and stay clear headed and sane, and of course to end the day exhausted enough to sleep. Which doesn't seem to be working very well anymore, but the getting out alone is helping keep my head clear.
Support from friends, and company being offered is a great relief, now all I need to do is make some of that actually happen.

On Xmas day I will be making my usual trip to Wales to have a clean up of the family grave, lay some flowers, and have some down time breathing fresh coastal air. Come rain or shine, I look forwards to returning to a place which holds only the most innocent of memories for me, and offers no complications, painful reminders, or associations for my mind to play with. Memories of youth are the clearest and purest I have. So I think it is that which keeps me going back again and again. As well of course as wishing to maintain the headstone, and pay my respects.
Fingers crossed I can have a wide awake day, and stay focused enough to do the round trip in the day. I am sure I can, but as ever it is a solo trip, so keeping my mind distracted might be a bit of a test for me.

So that is my download for the morning. Here's to a positive outcome to the call from the GP, and a chance to get outside and recharge my solar batteries in my head.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Time, it's a strange old thing.

Time, the ticking clock of life, never stopping til our final breath. Constant in rhythm, but not in its direction.
I have had a lot of time recently to look back at my life, and make comparisons of then and now on many fronts. The deeper I have dug, the more I have realised about myself, and if I am honest, the more I have grown confused about who I am now. The thought process isn't a controlled one, nor a voluntary one. More something that imposes itself upon me at the most inopportune moments possible. Like when trying to relax or get some sleep.

Anger. That is the first thing I realise that has changed about me. People use the term "he has mellowed with age", and while it seems a bit cheesy, I have to say it is the case with me. I can look back and remember times when anger got the better of me, for the right and wrong reasons. Kicking a moving car as it jumped a red light almost hitting my new born daughters buggy, then chasing the driver down, who turned out to be huge, but not backing down. Punching through a panel in a door after a very emotional conversation with my daughters mum, telling me I couldn't see my daughter. Which resulted in slicing through my hand, gushing with blood, and having to call my heavily pregnant sister at work to ask her to come and help stop the bleeding.
The last true episode of frustration and anger I recall is when I had my Golf, back in about 2006, getting frustrated with the rear wiper I was trying to fix, knocking a few tools out of the toolbox, and losing it, and emptying the contents out, causing my then girlfriend to get very upset.

There have been many examples before that, but time has indeed mellowed me, or something has. While I still shout abuse when frustrated, and occasionally get mad at others on the road, the bulk of the anger is all in the past. Or should I say, the bulk of all irrational behaviour is history.

Then there is sadness to the point of crying. One of the emotions I really wish I hadn't lost, but went a long long time ago. The pressure valve that is crying, is a helpful one in life. When it all gets too much, it's nice (from what I recall) to just let it all go, and feel a bit better without all that emotion clogging you up inside. My last recollection of crying was around 2002, and if I recall correctly Simon Watts was the poor sod who had to listen to me blubbering on the phone for ages. But remembering back to then, I actually can, I remember by the end of the conversation feeling relieved. If you compare the need to crying to the need to pee, once it starts relief begins, and by the end of it, all is much better. Strange comparison, forgive me.

There have been lots of times in the past 13 years where crying probably would have really helped me out, but alas it doesn't happen. I get choked up, I get teary eyed, but that's as far as it goes. The death of loved ones, sad news shared with others, hell even emotional endings to films. Nothing sets the tear ducts in full motion these days, and quite frankly it sucks. I know people say some people cry too much, and I'm sure it's a chore to cry at everything, but bottling it up for years and years... That really isn't nice. If I ever do cry again, I might actually need to be put on a drip to keep me hydrated.

Other needs and emotions seem to have changed too. Like I would kill for a no strings cuddle up on the sofa with a take away and a movie, over a crazy lust filled chase for gratuitous sex. (NO, I am not saying I don't like sex anymore lol). I guess as you experience things in life, you learn what matters and what doesn't. The past decade has taught me some very valuable lessons in that department, including what physical acts are important to me over others. I know this is all a bit strange to share, but it's never stopped me in the past, so why get shy now eh.
I read an article this morning actually saying that five good long hugs a day are good for you, and it stimulates certain centres in the brain. The article is here... http://time.com/4042834/neuroscience-happy-rituals/

The content I refer to here is this part.

So hug someone today. And do not accept little, quick hugs. No, no, no. Tell them your neuroscientist recommended long hugs.
Via The Upward Spiral:
A hug, especially a long one, releases a neurotransmitter and hormone oxytocin, which reduces the reactivity of the amygdala.
Research shows getting five hugs a day for four weeks increases happiness big time.

So any offers from any of my cute female friends to help me out with this one is appreciated. Til then, it's just me an my Primark pillow :'(
But seriously, of the few I have had over recent times, it is somewhat true. A hug can feel so warm and reassuring. Hence sofa snuffle over bedroom fumble.

Back when mum was about, I was living as the son role. Even though I was grown up, mentally I still just had fun and didn't care much for the consequences. In later years, looking after her, and having to take responsibility, and get a grip on actual adult living came as quite a shock. No more safety net, and worse still, I had lost my outlet of impartiality. Now and forever more when confiding information, or just blowing off steam, choosing the right person was imperative. Naturally I think at this point I stopped being totally open. And the bottling up of thoughts and emotions begun.
I know I am open on here, but trust me there are so many more things I would not dare share openly, or in fact with another person. Trust for me is hard to find.

And there we have the next thing that time has changed. Trust.
Once upon a time, although I would not open my heart to people, I trusted a few to carry some of my darker secrets. In recent years, there is no other way to say it than I have been betrayed. Hung out to dry and offered for sacrifice, in one case almost to the point of losing my job. Yet the same people who did these things happily speak to me when the mood suits as if there is nothing wrong. Even enquiring about personal matters, like I am going to share anything like that with the backstabbing arseholes. Not just the work issue, but other times when a closely guarded secret has suddenly been discussed with others, putting me in an awkward position.
I like to think I am a pretty open book, and a straight shooter. Want to know how I feel about something? Simple, ask me. You might not like what you hear if the question is about yourself, but I will do my best to convey my feelings on the matter.
So over the years I have learned not to trust people. Sadly that leaves a select few to be burdened with all my inner most thoughts. Sorry about that.

Time changes people, it's true. But more to the point our experiences in life, over time change us, and make us the people we are today. In my case I am not sure that is such a good thing. I would not go as far as to say I am broken, but I certainly feel like some experiences in life have had a negative impact on me.
After my daughter I lost interest in having any more kids, even if the relationship had presented the opportunity, I would shy away for sure. Having been through something so traumatic as to lose contact for so long, 17 years almost now, the thought of taking that chance again scared the shit out of me for years.
That's just one example of how my past has changed me. Before that happened I couldn't wait to be a dad. Sad really.

I will wrap up by saying how I realise how much recent times have again changed me, and when it comes to self confidence, approaching situations where rejection is possible, or just laying myself bare for judgement in any walk of life, I am weak!

Oh well. Time to rebuild I guess eh.

Monday, December 21, 2015

I don't get it!

How can I go from feeling so positive, to quite frankly, so shit in such a short space of time. I mean, I do get it, it's what the bastard brain is capable of doing, but even though I understand it, it is SO frustrating knowing you can't do a thing about it.

Today I woke feeling sore from lots of walking and activity over the past few weeks. As I have said before, walking and music are my two escapes from the feeling of total madness that I fall into if I don't keep my mind occupied with simple things. Planning to take it easier than recently, I first took a walk to the GP's to get myself a telephone consult with my doctor. Having spoken to the company doctor the other day, and taking his suggestions on board, I thought I would approach my doc with the recommendation of the increase in meds to get things stable. No point taking up a face to face, so a quick call should do the trick. That will be on Wednesday now.

After walking back home again, a few miles round trip in all, I took the dogs out. Now already walking more than I planned but my mind was starting to run away with me, so I did it to maintain control. Getting home I found I had a letter from the Psychological Therapy dept, with an appointment, for January. So in all so far it will have been 6-8 weeks to get to see someone to start the process. Or so you would think. But apparently the hour I spent on the phone a couple of weeks ago, answering questions, explaining myself, and doing the grading questionnaire wasn't enough. So my appointment in a couple of weeks time will in fact be.... An assessment... AGAIN ! So still no sign of actual help yet.

To say that makes me feel helpless is an understatement to say the least. I know the service is under a lot of pressure. But having approached my GP in early Nov, getting an appointment for January to assess me kinda sucks. Given that by assessment they acknowledge they are so far unaware of the extent of the situation.

With that slight hint of negativity I nose dived this afternoon, and by 1pm I was so tired I had to sleep. Brain just not wanting to keep thinking at the time, so back to bed I went. Waking a couple of hours later, feeling crap about myself, and in a worse state than when I went to bed in the first place. On waking my first thought was to go back to sleep. Since then I have tried to watch some TV, tried to do some bit around the house and failed on most counts. Resorting in the end to going for another walk, from which I have just returned. With a angry calf muscles, and very sore feet. I know I am not doing my body any favours doing this, but it's the lesser of two evils, so the body loses every time.

Speaking of the body, my latest thing is self loathing. Angry at myself for falling out of good shape, hating what I have become, and struggling with if I can even do anything about it. I have the equipment, I have the knowhow, but to actually get into the routine of it again seems impossible right now. I want to look good for me, I want to feel good about myself, and lets be honest, I want to be attractive to potential girlfriends. I would love to get into the best shape of my life next year. There is no real reason I can't, I just need the fire in my belly, and the encouragement of  some people around me to spur me on. But right now, all I can do is hate what I have become.

What I have become is over weight, under confident, unmotivated, and inward. Constantly questioning myself, looking back on past events in life, both recent and a long time ago, and wondering if I was a different person back then. Was that me, or is this really me? What changed, and what did I do over and over to get me into the place I am today. I don't think I am a bad person, but I know I have done some mean things over the years, not given people the attention or respect they deserved, and maybe that is coming back to bite me in the arse now? My retraction from interaction speaks volumes about how I feel about myself right now. Choosing only to communicate with a very limited group of people that I feel "safe" to speak with. No complications or awkwardness, no unexpected changes of subject. Just calm conversation.

And that's another thing. How two-faced do I feel at times. I can see someone I am comfortable around, and be happy, laugh and smile. Just opening up to them feels natural and good for me. With the chosen few I feel I am being the real me, the proper 100% actual me, the person I remember I am in times of clarity. Yet with others, and I apologise for this to you all, I am awkward, cold, and silent. Choosing not to even answer messages in case a question turns into a conversation. Avoiding silly things like a call to the Reebok engineer to get my cross trainer serviced, as I don't want to talk to strangers. Stupid as that sounds, I really can't bring myself to do that, or other calls right now. Unfortunate, as having a fully working cross trainer would be quite handy right now. Maybe I will try and call tomorrow ( like I have said for 2 weeks now).

I really didn't realise I was going to write so much right now. I know there is a lot in my head, that I have been unable to blog recently because of the lack of enthusiasm to sit at the desk and type, a lot of things building up and making matters worse for me. It is a really horrible feeling to know there are things I can do to make life easier, but not have the get up and go to do them. Almost trapped in my own head, by my malfunctioning brain. So much energy of varying sorts, all building up waiting to explode out of my mind.

With Xmas fast approaching, and the seasonal road trip to Wales, I am hoping I can get some fresh air, and relax my mind a little once the duties are taken care of. I feel bad though because in my head right now I don't want to see Chris and Dyfrig who I make a point of seeing every year. As much as I love our conversations, and how welcome I am made to feel, right now I can't bare the thought of sitting in the house and looking back over what has been quite a challenging year. I am sure I will do something to make amends for the lack of visit in person, but still feels wrong at the moment.

Right, I am going to leave it there as my concentration is waning a little and I may start to ramble more than I already am.

Just a quick thank you to those who continue to offer support and friendship, regardless of if I have accepted it or passed on it, I appreciate it all. My choices of who I am turning to right now in no way reflects how I feel about people in general, so please don't take what might appear as ignorance or shunning as a negative, it isn't something I feel I have control over right now.

On another note, and quite a macabre one, while I am struggling right now, and really fighting to stay active and in communication with the outside world, I can say thing with confidence, as I have said in person to a few people. I have no ill intent towards myself, no wish to no longer be around, or to harm myself. Strange as it sounds I know depression and anxiety affects people differently, and because of that it is a natural concern for some to have when they know a person they know is struggling a bit.
I promise that should that feeling ever change, phones would start ringing, doorbells would be rung, and I would reach out as soon as the first thought ever entered my mind.  So please don't worry about that, especially if I am not talking to you much right now.

OK, done, thanks and well done if you read this far.  Til next time.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Breaking point.

The past month or so I have found peace or at least relaxation in walking. Silly distances a day,  with and without the dogs.  Blisters,  sore feet,  back pain etc,  but it's all been worth it to silence my mind. Being exhausted at the end of the day is a good thing as I sleep better.

Unfortunately with my track record it was never going to last,  and now I find myself trying to find a new balance between resting and walking. The soreness has caught up with me,  and the mornings are now filled with dread at the thought of walking. Sadly that also means I am losing the enthusiasm to get up now.

After seeing the company doctor the other day and discussing medication doses,  it all seems to go hand in hand. The lack of interest in the mornings the dip in moods again,  and the struggle to keep walking.

Somehow I need to rearrange things so I can keep working on having a clearer mind with less anxiety,  and being able to exercise the dogs, and myself,  without resorting to self inflicted pain.

Should be fun,  new week,  new challenge. Lets see how that goes.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Thank God that's over with.

So since being off sock with anxiety and depression,  and realising it was becoming a long term thing,  I kinda knew I would end up seeing the company doctor at some point. I have had a good relationship with him over the years with tennis elbow,  gout,  depression etc,  so know he is a good man with no ill intent.

None the less,  the thought of being judged by another in this state, and having to dig deep to explain myself all over again is a rather overwhelming experience to say the least.

So today was the day,  and sitting in the waiting room alone was a huge stress. Thankfully the train journey to London Bridge was nice and quiet,  and with headphones in I was in my own little world. When the time came to be called in,  the ever softly spoken Dr Mason came out and called me in. Formalities over with,  the conversation started. I gave him all the supporting paperwork etc,  and  he listened carefully as I tried to explain myself.

After a quick chat I filled out another anxiety / depression questionnaire and he totted up the score. Discussion turned to my meds and dose,  he suggested speaking to the GP again and getting an increase as he feels what I am on is a bit of a "girls dose" he said with a smile on his face.

Next he asked about work, then moved on to how he wanted to progress with me. Suggesting he would like to speak to me again once I have had some counselling,  and see how I am with that and the increase in dose of Citalopram.

Finishing up he asked how I was feeling,  I expressed how anxious I have been about the appointment since getting the letter,  and how it had made me feel. He reassured me there was nothing bad going to happen,  and that he wished me a good recovery,  and looked forward to speaking to me again and hearing some improvement.

Leaving the building my heart was pounding like crazy,  and feeling the fresh air of freedom outside was a relief. So glad it's over with now. Really has had me on edge for a few days now.

So I shall make a new GP appointment once I receive his report as suggested by him,  and see if the dose needs to be increased and if we are making progress yet. And also of course point out to them how long I have to wait for counselling,  as it doesn't look  like I will be working until that is underway.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Up, down, up down, up, up, down!

The past few days have been strange for me, I know I say that a lot recently, but these have been noticeably stranger to previous.
Today for example, focusing on anything is an effort, tiredness is a big part of the day. Getting up this morning wasn't an easy decision, turning the alarm off that has worked for the past few days. The getting up of course could be due to a really horrible nights sleep last night, waking and having to get up and unwind a couple of times. The wind banging things about again put my mind into overdrive.

Postponing the dog walks for a couple of hours, as after 7am the school run and work commute is underway, and the pavements busy, no place for me right now with the dogs. So I went after 9. Slow relaxed pace for a short while, but as bad weather and drizzle moved in, and the dogs were walking too slowly for my liking, so I soon became short tempered and anxious.

Yesterday I went to see the doctor, which was something that had played on my mind a lot the day prior to the trip. Again trying to work out how to explain where my mind is right now, and what the outcome of the consult would be. Would I need more or different meds, more time off, a different approach. But all went well all things considered, she was again very helpful and understanding about all matters.

Sadly the same can't really be said at this stage about the Psychological Therapy people. After getting a text and a letter, both of which I replied to, I got another letter saying they couldn't contact me. I called them up, concerned and frustrated, only to find out they were responsible for a couple of calls from a private number, which had left no message. Not very helpful.

I finally got a call back and a telephone appointment / consultation at 2pm yesterday. Having been through the initial screening call before I knew what to expect, or thought I did.  All started normally, but after I started to open up a bit more, the guy started making weird associations of my issues, and suggesting causes and connections I just can't see. I know he is the pro, but I still have some wits about me, just about.

Towards the end of the call I was asked what I would like the therapy dept to do..... Well, I am not right, and have explained my problems. I would like you to take that all on board and decide professionally how best to approach the process of recovery from this. Being told you sound perfectly articulate, and seem to be communicating well with a stranger is all well and good, but compared to how I normally feel and think, something isn't right.
That's a bit like telling a sprinter they are running fine, because they can beat you in a race, when they are 2 seconds off their PB.

I was then told there are a number of options and therapies available, and that he wants some time to consider them, so will contact me tomorrow (today) or on Monday.

The funniest part was the closing lines. Being told the call will come in the next 1 to 4 days, and "not to worry" because the call will come at some point. So not to stress or get worked up or feel forgotten about, its ok.
Right I suffering from anxiety, I have explained my triggers for the past hour, and you finish by telling me in the vaguest way possible that you will "be in touch". Well that puts my mind at rest, I shall relax for the whole weekend with the vague reassurances of a complete stranger. Thanks!

Other than that, there have been highs and lows in the mix this week. Finally discharged from physio for my achillies, we both believe that I am on the right road to recovery, and now know now to manage the issue, which has made me feel better about all the walking I have been doing. Which in turn now has my feet sore as hell. But in a good way if there is such a thing.

I also found out I have broken 2 back teeth in one of the latest changes to my condition. Jaw clenching from anxiety. Which I believe is also the cause of my headaches too, clenched jaw, stiff neck muscles, and all knocks on from there.
The doc feels that me finding music and walking as good escapes from the feelings I have is a positive step, and has subsequently further signed me off for another period to allow me more time and space (opportunity) to administer self help without the reliance on more medication. The only down side to that is, on days like today I have no motivation or intention on going out much, so its going to be a touch one. Cue the cross trainer.

So that is me up to date really, other than to say I started a mood diary today. To note down how I slept, my AM and PM feelings , and general notes on the day. Like the blog, it is good to have something to refer back to to try and understand myself and thoughts a little better.

Thanks for reading, and as ever, thanks to the special few out there.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

You're meant to be helping!!

OK I love the NHS, and think that all areas I have encountered do a fantastic job, but there is a glitch.. And it is one that is reported about all the time, but I have always assumed was just bad press. Maybe I am just unlucky and they are usually great, I don't know. Time will tell I guess.

A few weeks ago my GP referred me for what is nicely named "Psychological Therapy". She filled out her referral, I filled out a questionnaire which included personal info and contact preferences, such as can a message be left.

A week or so later I got a text asking me to call and leave a message to confirm I wanted to go ahead with the service, I replied immediately. On Monday I got a letter asking me to contact them t confirm I wanted to go ahead, so I emailed straight back. Today I have received a letter saying they haven't been able to contact me, and if I don't within 10 days I will be referred back to my GP.

Over the past few days I have received a few calls from withheld or private numbers, no messages left. With the first being a cold call about upgrading my phone, I have ignored the rest. The last thing I need right now is cold calls etc. So it is possible that one or more of these calls has been from the PT department about the counselling. If that IS the case, why the hell don't they at least leave a message. I'm off work as my brain is melting, I can't be the only person that screens calls. Why ask if they can leave messages, if they won't bother anyway, then will just send you kick to the kerb letters.

When your brain is mush like mine at the moment, you really don't need this kind of stupidity.

Rant over!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

A little while later.

Well it's been a couple of weeks since starting meds for the depression and anxiety,  and some things have changed.
I would love to say they have changed for the better,  but that's not really the case.  I have gone from fretting too much at night and not being able to settle,  to feeling sleepy the second I stop being active,  and sleeping in later and later in the mornings.

Also in addition there is weird dreams and borderline paranoia after a bad dream. The other night I was almost too scared to go and get a glass of water after a bad dream,  and spent the next hour laying there translating every noise into something bad. Given there are 2 dogs in the hallway,  it's pretty safe,  but also lots of bumps and bangs.

Another new thing is feeling anxious in crowded spaces. Not big reactions but after the last train journey and staring at the floor,  today I found myself on a packed train on the way to Guy's Hospital,  and realised after a few stops that I was clenching my jaw pretty hard. As well as still not feeling comfortable looking at anyone.

Certain things feel a little more relaxed,  but I am still losing focus mid flow,  impossible to concentrate,  and avoid tasks that are not very straightforward. For example rearranging something. The first part is fine,  but knowing that other jobs will spring up from it,  and knowing I can't focus to get them done stresses me to the point of avoiding it all together.

In order to stay awake I am keeping myself moving still. Finding myself going on late evening walks to get some air,  clear my head and stop myself either over thinking or falling asleep. The second I'm active I'm wide awake,  be it cross trainer or outdoors,  as long as the brain disengages,  I'm awake. If I start thinking,  the eyes grow heavy, fast!

Right now I am once again working out how I am going to explain this to the doctor tomorrow when I see her (and the students) I can't say for sure the meds are working,  certainly hasn't had the same effect as last time,  that's for sure. Totally different. So maybe the issue is different,  the dose is too low,  or something has changed.  Time will tell I guess.

Still can't get my head around how I can be so comfortable one minute with certain company,  and then freeze up and freak out at even the thought of others.

I do know I want a good night's sleep soon,  and to wake fresh. I know I want to be able to get up and go as I have in the past,  and I want the fog to clear from inside my head too.

One last thing,  I have had the letter from the nicely named Psychological Therapy dept and have confirmed my wish to enter the program. Now I just want the first appointment to be soon so I can start to work my way through this,  without having to unload all my thoughts onto innocent victims like Nikki. Thanks for putting up with me the other day.
Fingers crossed the wait for the appointment won't be too long now.
Naturally my over thinking mind is worried they haven't got my confirmation,  so that's helping! HURRY!

Aaah well,  tomorrow is another day,  and I get to see the doc. Now let's see if I can get to sleep tonight without laying there trying to work out how to explain myself all night.

Thanks to those who continue to offer genuine support.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

The dogs

I am sure most people who know me are familiar with the gruesome twosome aka Tuvaaq and Aanaga. My two Alaskan Malamute's. Surrogate kids, furry company, or just a distraction from day to day life. They have served many roles over the years.


More recently, especially over the past couple of weeks, I have taken to having a little bit of quiet time with each of them. Sit on the floor, snuggle up with one of them, and make a bit of a fuss of them. Never when they are seeking attention, but more when I feel like giving some affection.
Both seem to have grown quite accustomed to this, and just enjoy the moment, staying relaxed rather than getting all excited as they did in years gone by. Probably one of the reasons I have not really made too much fuss of them before.

I realised that they are the continuity in my life, the one remaining constant that exists, and somehow makes everything seem OK, even when I am having a bad day. So it is nice to give them the fuss they deserve once in a while.
Before anyone gets carried away, calm cuddles and strokes, or curling up with the dog is my idea of fuss. Not toys, treats and excitement. Each to their own.

No idea why I am writing this, but think it is probably a combination of keeping my mind busy, and avoiding all the negativity. Trying to focus on some positives for once.

As a basic update on things at the moment. Still struggling to get my mind in gear. Over exerting myself ridiculously  at the moment in order to stay calm and alert. Today's distraction was two and a half hours walking through Richmond Park, for which my feet and legs have not yet forgiven me. Might do a piece on that tomorrow. But for now. Thanks to my dogs for keeping me at least this sane.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Struggling to stay awake.

One of the clear signs for me that my brain has had enough, is the lethargy. While the brain is active, all is well. I stay talkative, quite focused and alert. But as soon as there is nothing to distract me, I immediately become sleepy. I am guessing it is my brain wanting to switch off before it gets overloaded with thoughts and confusion. The situation is similar in the mornings too. Having become a creature of habit and getting up at 6 something every day for months now, suddenly I wake but in a very different state. Deep tiredness, wanting nothing more than to go back to sleep. On a couple of occasions now I have done just that and slept in til around 8am.

Losing focus is very much a big thing for me right now, just writing this is a bit of an effort, with my eyes and mind darting about all over the place, and having to make a conscious effort to stay on track. That said, I am only writing this paragraph as I have completely lost my track.

Today has been on of those days so far for me, and possibly one of the worst in this phase to date. Waking up just before 7am, and doing as I promised myself, getting up and out with the dogs ASAP to try and get back into the stride of things. All went well, good hour walk with the dogs, some fresh air and getting the heart pumping. Got home, fed them, sat down for breakfast, watched a program while I ate.... Then went back to bed. Unable to fight the feeling today, I just had to go with the flow. Yet here I am, after an hours nap, and still yawning like I haven't slept for days. Bags under my eyes, looking like crap, and feeling how I look.

The ever confusing yo-yo feelings of depression strike again. This time yesterday I was full of trepidation and anxiety about meeting a friend for dinner. Nervous about the trip over to West London, lots of people and possible interactions. The train journey over there was spent mainly staring into space when on trains, avoiding looking at people, focusing on the floor most of the time. And the transfers between trains where I had to walk, I mainly stayed close to the wall and walked along looking at it out of the corner of my eye. Sounds weird I know, but I was just along for the ride, my brain did as it pleased.

Turns out though that the evening itself, at two quite relaxed venues, was a good moment of clarity for me, and it felt good to clear my head for a bit, and stay distracted long enough to unwind for a while. A breath of fresh air for sure, and much needed. Proof to myself that I'm still in here somewhere. So thanks to Jason for taking the time out of his day to keep me company, and get my brain working right for a bit. Some interesting conversations for sure, and I even unloaded a few thoughts that I struggle with.

The rest of the time, when I am able to fight the tiredness, I feel like a bit of a zombie right now if I'm honest. As I said before, losing focus on thoughts is an issue. Trying to stay on topic can be a fight. Even watching programs I love can be a chore just trying to concentrate enough to make sense of things.

You know when someone says "clear your mind", something most of us find impossible at the best of times, to think absolutely nothing. But for me, I have moments where it is just that..NOTHING! Like I am rebooting, just staring, with nothing at all going on, until I catch myself, then it is a huge wave of thoughts crashing over me. Much like a real wave, once it passes all that remains is fragments of it. So when my thought wave hits, it is like being bombarded with a whole day of thoughts and emotions at once, and seconds later you are left with tiny pieces which together form nothing. Soaked through with pieces you cannot put together. This if course is followed by deep confusion for an undetermined period of time.

So with all that going on, I am hardly surprised that my brain just wants me to sleep. Lock me and itself away from generating any more thoughts to deal with. Problem there is, no matter how nice sleep is, I don't wake rested, I feel like junk for it, then beat myself up for having wasted time in the day. I have other things I need to get done, but can neither find the motivation nor the concentration to take on some tasks that would otherwise be deemed mundane. So there is a void in the day where there is almost nothing I can do with myself. Walking would be super cool, but I am trying to moderate that as its taking its toll on my feet and achillies, and of course there are a finite number of places I can walk to. Sure I can travel somewhere to walk, but that seems like a chore. Driving or getting public transport is an effort.  All that said, the outdoors is calling me, so I might venture out for a while.

Distraction is what I need right now. Non stressful, relaxing distraction. Conversation over coffee, entertainment to keep my mind occupied, so I shall seek to find myself some of that. But you know, just writing that has caused a wave of tiredness, almost like my brain trying to shy away from the idea. So who knows eh.

The plan for me right now, the hours and days ahead is to fight sleeping and inactivity, to focus on getting up at a reasonable time. Structure my day in a way I can stay busy somehow, without exhausting myself and causing more stress. Easier said than done. I am seeing the doctor again in a weeks time, so hopefully I will have levelled out a bit by then, or at least she will be able to make sense of things, and point me in the right direction.

As a footnote, I have to say that last night was one of the hardest battles I have had to get to sleep for a few days now. Just unable to relax my mind, being bombarded with thoughts with no relevance to the day just gone. Overloaded, and all just flashing through my mind, it was a very unwelcome feeling, and one I was hoping had passed for the time being. Guess it shows you never know what to expect when your mind is misbehaving.

Right, this has been enough of a challenge for my tiny mind just getting this far, and trying to make sure it makes sense, so will leave it there.

Thank you to anyone who has shown genuine concern, less so to those who just want to pry or make stupid comments, both sides have a huge impact on coming to terms with the situation.