Saturday, February 27, 2016

All a bit of a muddle.

It is fair to say that normal service in my head is starting to resume now. Hopefully it is showing to some people at least, with less desperate attempts for attention, and slightly less weird and unpredictable behaviour. Obviously some of the above will remain to a degree, as it's who I am. But when depressed it's just all of that on steroids, with side effects.

Hopefully by now it is also showing in my writing style, as my head clears, the words begin to flow more freely. The one killer of course is moods. I can have a head full of things to write, but not be in the right frame of mind. At this moment in time they are flowing like the overflow of a dam. 

As I think back over the past couple of months, I question some of my actions and decisions. Knowing that some have been a little damaging to put it lightly. Others forming an unchangeable course of events to slip into motion. I won't claim it was all the depression, or blame it on other things, at the end of the day it was me. While I don't subscribe to "regret" as such, I can still manage to wish things had worked out differently at least.

Some of the things I have said and done made sense at the time, a few still do. But there is one particular thing I that I can't get my head around still, and it's quite a delicate one.

I blogged a while ago saying that I thought I was destined to be alone, and quite frankly was happy about that. In some way I stand by that statement. Being the only one, means the sole master of your destiny. Rather than blaming other peoples decisions, or feeling out of control, its ALL you. There is a sense of security to be found in there somewhere. Less emotional uncertainty, less vulnerability to influences and stresses of others and so on.

But there is another side, one which I am slowly starting to remember. Physical contact, and the feeling of being cared about. I am not going to lie, there are a number of reasons it is all a bit unfamiliar to me. Some know more about this than others, but either way, starting to miss that again after such a long time of it being switched off is really confusing. Again, as that has returned, some bad decisions have been made from the search for that too. Awkward! 
Simply seeing a romantic scene on TV is enough to make my heart soften, and a little part of me rumble into life like your tummy does when you are hungry. Same thing I guess, both are hungry for something.

While at times I can imagine being fine on my own, and not having to worry about feeling rejected or second best ever again, I can also remember so well how it feels just to snuggle up to watch TV, or just share a moment with someone you care about, and know they care about you too. It's not about getting down and dirty, or naked intimacy. The parts I miss most about a relationship are the simple things. Just a nice long hug, tight and warm is all it takes for me. Just thinking about it as I write this makes me feel warm and fuzzy recalling such things from my past, and yearn for the feeling once again in my life. Is a hug really too much to want?

Emotions are a funny old thing, and as my recovery continues, and I return to my normal deep thinking, soft hearted, emotionally vulnerable self, so much comes rushing back to me. I had forgotten what being emotionally excited meant for starters. I forgot how it feels to be helpless about something, but at the same time so happy about feeling that way. I forgot what unconditional feelings were like, and how it is OK to let yourself go at times, and just enjoy the moment.

I guess what I am saying really here is that not only am I recovering from a long bout of depression, but in the process I am reconfirming who I really am. Who I was all along. Starting to realise how much of my true self I have suppressed for so long now. I have struggled for a long time now to rediscover my true self. Many blog entries have covered the subject, Michael or Snazy , the reinvention of Michael Snasdell, and so on... They all tried to find a way to unlock myself again, stop being fake, stop wearing a mask, and live MY life as it should be. And now, I think I am getting there. 

So I take it all back, I don't want to be single if at all possible. I want someone in my life who I can me ME around, stupid, carefree, and childish. But at the same time I would love to be with someone who allows me in to their life. To care for them, and express myself the way I have always wanted to be able to. I'm an idiot at times, far from what you would call romantic, but not through lack of trying. But I just want to not have to be someone I'm not, ever again!

I know it's a big ask. I'm 43 now, a bit strange, far from good looking, and working hard on my health.But surely there is someone out there insane enough to take what they see, and give it a go? I'm not asking for a life of crazy lust, or a blank canvas, just someone who likes to explore the mind like I do, willing to slowly open up emotionally, like a flower, and just enjoy life on the same mental level as me.

That or switch the whole lot off again and just stick with being single! #AllOrNothing

So there you go, as I come round from what feels like a long mental coma, as awareness returns, and I start to realise I have a heart again, emotions take a hold, and I miss being held (I know, so masculine!) 
God help me when the next love scene comes on TV, I might just melt away from existence. 

Feel free to take the piss at any point. But writing from the heart is just what I do. 

PS, more cheerful and maybe even a little amusing blog to follow, promise!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Me and my writing

A long time ago when going through a tough break up with an amazing girl,  I borrowed a laptop from a friend,  retreated to another friends apartment in Puerto Banus,  Spain,  and opened my heart and mind to try and express and expel the emotions I was feeling straight from the heart. It started out being a plan to write a long letter,  but soon started forming structure,  and soon became the beginnings of a book,  which then continued to grow. In a week I had written a number of chapters.

At that time,  writing it all down then reading it back over helped me make sense of what had happened and more importantly, why.  When trying to think rationally,  emotions can cripple your ability to do so,  and because of this,  the writings would always become a point of reference for me in the future. I found so much of a release while writing, I soon started to do it more often and decided to be open with it too. After all when I first started the book and wrote the foreword,  it had this paragraph in it..

As my life has unfolded I have had many experiences that have impacted heavily on me, greatest of all the loss of contact with my daughter Sian Snasdell. However, something about today feels so totally devastating I feel I should try and explain it, and try to understand it for myself as well as help others who may one day feel it too.

The intention was to open my mind up,  make it public, and hope that one day I could offer my experiences and emotional roller-coaster as an aid to helping someone through a comparable situation.
As my blog has continued,  I have time and time again  been told how much a certain entry has helped someone through part of their life. Using a very raw style of writing,  saying it exactly as it is,  rather than trying to over complicate things with big words and complex explanations.

With the most recent entries returning to the matter of mental health specifically anxiety and depression,  it has once again struck a chord with people who have been there,  or are going through a tough time now. Trying to give help is far easier for me that accepting it. A complicated thought process,  combined with a bizarre open yet locked down mind,  willing to share certain aspects of my life,  but unable to access other parts which hold the keys to my deep seated issues. Only the right person can help me access those.

Realising I have something,  no matter how little and isolated,  to offer others,  spurs me on to keep writing and trying to help others,  while trying desperately to help myself too. So I have decided to try and get my mind back into the right place to complete my book, and maybe start another. I call it a book,  it would never go into print,  but I will as some point publish it online. The aim to finishing this one is to hopefully start another,  this time about my journey with mental health issues. And how I have coped, felt and acted over the years. It's impacts on my life, and how I manage to get by these days.

The original book I wrote was simply about how I cope with my feelings of love, lust,  and the passion that drove me to fight for the relationships I have been in. Highs and lows,  sacrifices and gains. Obviously after the last decade since I wrote any of it a lot has changed,  so there is a whole new section to be written about what was a very different relationship to the last one. And where I have been since then and will go next.

Anyone who has read it will tell you it is VERY open and revealing,  maybe too much so for some peoples comfort. Not pornographic but a little explicit in places and just very honest about how each emotion was triggered by the different experiences.
It has in fact caused "changes"  in three peoples relationships after reading it.  Or should I say,  given them the clarity to see where they were in their lives and decide if they wanted to carry on.

I enjoy writing when my head is clear enough to relax and dig deep. So it has obviously been quite tough recently,  but now as I am starting to see situations I have been through recently more clearly than for a while,  it feels natural and flowing to just type. I have to say I still miss my BlackBerry for doing things like this,  as I sit on a tube train to Heathrow now,  typing  away on my Nexus 6P's huge touchscreen,  I remember being able to sit looking  up,  writing long sentences by feel alone,  with confidence. But hey,  I just look engrossed in my mobile phone on the train,  so fit right in.

So my plan for my writing is to keep blogging,  get writing some draft chapters for the book,  and hopefully complete it in a few weeks or so.  The I can move onto the more serious task of my journey through depression. Not sure how it will go yet,  but I can only try right. If a chapter helps one person in 10 years time,  my job is done.  I know writing it and reading it back over will be payment enough for me.

I shall of course take influences from others,  and use conversations with those people as a base for some of the deeper examinations of situations. No names,  but will let people know where there influences were.
As was pointed out to me the other day too,  my tattoos also play a huge part in my depression,  most of them tell a story or mark a low point in my life. They are not to make me feel bad,  they are to celebrate the passing of someone I love,  or a moment in time I wish I could have held on to for much longer. So I'm sure there will be a huge,  boring for some,  section on that,  as I know others have done the same as me.

So that's that,  my train journey is coming to an end here, so this little writing  thing draws to a close.  But I will be sure to keep anyone who wants to know what is going on,  informed of the progress,  and who knows,  maybe sneak peeks of the current works and the new one.

Watch this space....

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Aaaah.... Now I get it!

It's amazing how at times you can struggle for hours, days or even months to try and explain something. Usually it is an action or something very complicated that needs to be put in just the right way to make clear exactly what your point or conclusion is. Other times is can be something so very simple. A few lines, just to drive home the desired message, and give, what seems trivial to others, some clarity.
Anyone who knows me knows just how complex my brain can be about the smallest of matters, and how sometimes I can dwell on something, fixate on it to a point of destruction of the said situation. Usually ending in more misery and confusion, for me at least.

It will also  am sure, not go unnoticed that I can also be a bit of a word smith at times, and find a way to convey a message or opinion in such a way that the whole world can understand (or so it feels at times). So imagine the quandary for me finding myself in a situation I understand, but can't express! It's painful.

There have always been two sides to my thought process, maybe more at times depending on the situation and reward offered by it. But let us concentrate on the two main sides. There is the side that sees things logically, for their true worth and intentions. Accepting things for what they are, like any other rational person. Then there is the self destructive side, the voice of doubt and negativity. Again, everyone has this side, but for most it is just the voice of reason, making us consider things for their worth before jumping in head first. A good thing for most, swaying us away from situations we would otherwise allow ourselves to do things, only to regret them later.

Sadly for me the negative side of my thought process is far too active, and manages to get involved in the simplest of situations and run amok through my mind, complicating things which are otherwise pretty simple and harmless. This happens all too frequently, and when it does, it leaves behind a path of destruction every time. Sometimes damaging important things. Then, rather than feeling regret and sorrow, it barrels on with no recourse, and justifies things in a way where I am meant to feel I am better off thanks to the stupid actions. The negative side will always see it as a win, while the downtrodden normal side can see the true magnitude of what has happened.

So, back to the point of this entry.
Recently the negative side of my mind has been hard at work, trying to push me back down the slope of depression. Taking things which have felt positive, and turning them against me. Each time managing to get me back down the slope, and back into isolation. Seemingly alone and isolated is somehow safer than being in the real world and exposed to the risk of hurt or harm.

Trying to convey that however has been really hard for me, especially in certain situations. But yesterday, during a tattoo sitting of all things,*POP* the negative bubble surrounding the matter burst, and my ability to express EXACTLY what I have been trying to for a long time came flooding back.
I have said since my CBT sessions started, I need counselling, not some sort of brain washing radicalisation to make me conform the to text book way of thinking and rationalisation. It seems I was right. I have had some of my greatest moments of clarity while being tattooed, maybe that is why I seem to have a growing number of pieces. Do I really seek the sensation of a tattoo in order to trigger my mind, a jump-start of sorts. I think in a way I do! Hardly an epiphany for me, I have considered this possibility a number of times over the years. Having had some tattoos done as almost a time out from real life.

To finally see a matter for exactly what it is. See how simple it really is, and not at all scary or complicated like negative mind wants you to believe. It is SO refreshing, empowering and exciting. Of course, sometimes the clarity comes too late, and while it makes perfect sense, re approaching  a situation in which the dust has now settled is somewhat counter-productive, and this is also quite frustrating, as you are left with something wonderful that you are unable to share. What should be a fix could actually turn it into a massive clusterfuck.

Either way, to finally walk clear of the fog on the path, and be able to see again is wonderful. An analogy I used to use when helping a friend through tough times. We all lose our way at times, and stumble from the path, sometimes the fog closes in and we cannot see our way. Instead of panicking and running scared, it is wiser to slow down, retrace our steps, and allow the fog to clear before carrying on any further. For me, the fog is well and truly clear, and I can see. Visibility is still low, I'm not sure where the road leads, but I know I will see whatever is coming before it happens now, and have no reason to fear the things my negative mind has led me to believe previously.

I can see the wonderful things people have done for me over the last few months, the wrong turns I have taken, and the speedbumps along the way which have upset the load a bit. Slowing the journey down now, I can overcome speedhumps with caution, and see where I am going, so hopefully no more wrong turns, well, not big ones anyway.

So this blog really is a thank you to Michelle more than anything. A friend (who charges me for her time and scars me for life lol) who has a wonderful way of seeing things, and an amazing ability to connect with me, in the way I usually connect with others, and dig deep enough to find the root to each of my problems. I am used to being the one who manages to dig around in peoples minds to help them see what is bothering them, and once I realised that, I found it rewarding to know I could help others. So I hope you too have found reward in what you do, knowingly or otherwise.

I know I have caused some upset along this journey, and won't say for one second that none of it was intentional, that would be a lie. But there are things that have happened which should not have, misunderstandings, and some huge moments where I have failed to consider the impact of my words or actions, which has led to awkward and sometimes painful situations, for which I am truly sorry.
While taking the time to realise I have to do what is right for me, and me only, which has only come recently. My conversations with close friends has made me realise lots of people need that level of control in their lives, and it is NOT selfish or ignorant, it is necessary and normal to protect what is precious to you, at any cost!

I also realise while I manage to pigeon hole people in my life, in an order of trust and importance, so do others. And just because they hold a prime pigeon hole in your life, you may not rank the same way in theirs. Not a bad thing, just a reality of life. Of course you can be upgraded and moved around as life goes on, but it is not for us to decide our place in other peoples lives.

Right, that's enough of that.

Thank you to the special people in my life, in the top row. I shall try to grow from this and respect whatever place you have for me in your life.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

You fuck up!

Continuing on my path of good highs and epic lows,  the cycle continues. I seem hell bent on making life miserable for myself in any way possible. Finally I have found something I am really good at..... Fucking up! "Never be like you"  by Flume is a really good soundtrack for my feelings right now.

If I could help myself even one tenth of the way I screw my life up,  I would be in a much better place.

My mind is spinning,  my thoughts are self destructive,  and my deep seated intentions seem to be to ensure I stay as fucked up and alone as possible.
Is it possible I am hoping to find happiness in the misery I create for myself? Or am I just out of control in my own tiny mind?

Running away from everything seems like the only way,  slamming doors shut,  closing  out uncertainty,  protecting myself from the unknown. The downside being shutting out people I want and need in my life,  and isolating myself from things that bring me joy.

Right now I know no other way,  and don't want anyone to prove me wrong,  or show me hope.

Fuck up!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

It's my birthday...

... and I really don't give a crap!
Feb 14th comes and goes every year,  same razzmatazz,  nothing changes except for the age I give when asked,  and my demographic in some cases. 43 this year,  and mentally I feel every year of it. Behaviour and physically of course are other matters entirely. I have ducked out of the whole of February for years now,  and as the years pass,  I have more and more reason to do so. This year especially. Of course it's that V day thing too,  and yeah,  I have no one,  sob bloody sob!

So this year I am going to do it differently... Oh tell a lie,  no I'm not. I'm going off the grid, out of London and spending some me time. Mainly driving,  probably mostly stuck in traffic, but it's a big middle finger up to the expectations of the date. I'm not sulking (much)  not boycotting (not totally),  just refusing to conform,  and being a lonely old bastard.  After all its what I do best.

Facebook is going off this evening,  and back on when I can be bothered,  phone going on silent,  I will be driving after all. Pretty sure it will be a shitty day,  and pretty boring too.  But it will be of my own making,  and I will have no one to blame but myself. As long as I end the day able to sleep and with a sense of satisfaction,  who cares. My gift to myself. What more could I want (or let's be honest,  expect either)

Thanks to those who have sent cards,  I promise I haven't thrown any straight in the bin this year.

As  a whole I am still pretty up and down with moods. Yesterday for example you would imagine after so many positives I would relax and sleep well ... Errm nope. Hopeless night of struggling to sleep, and waking all night long. Bad dreams,  as has been the norm for a few days now) and woke up feeling negative. Just goes to show,  my mind is a frickin mess.

Anyway,  just catching up,  sure only a few people will see this as I'm not posting a link anywhere,  just getting it all off my chest.

Bye for now.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Entering the Prudential RideLondon - Surrey 100

At the end of last year while trying to find an outlet for all my frustrations and energy, a good friend of mine Nikki decided she wanted to get a new bike for commuting to and from work, and to keep fit in general. Needless to say, in an act of kindness I was invited along to help her find the new bike. Once Nora was bought, the cogs started turning (pun intended) and my interest in riding sparked back into life. Having had a Specialized Hardrock Pro sitting around the house, which had hardly ever seen the light of day,was a good start.
The night Nora reached her new home the ball was already rolling, and off we went for our first ride. All  4 miles of it. I can honestly say at that point I wasn't so sure anymore. A couple of days later I took my bike down to the coast and rode a few more miles with another friend. This time, although exhausted and soaked, I was starting to remember why I loved riding before. As the days progressed I started to ride more, finding new places to go, while still avoiding the roads which I have hated for years.

A week into this new riding hobby of mine I went for another ride with Nikki, this time we clocked up a HUGE 7.7 miles, progress right! So much to my surprise, following our slight improvement on time and distance, two days later Nikki sends me a message, I won't beat around the bush, its below....


Yup, that's all it took!

To put it bluntly, after a paltry achievement of 7.7 miles, she had convinced me to enter a 100 mile, timed ride. With a time limit of 8.5 hours. So naturally, easily led as I am, I followed her lead and entered. That was Jan 7th. Today on Feb the 10th, I received this in the post.


After breathing a sigh of relief when I had read it was just a ballot, I knew there was only a chance of being selected. And then this! Confirmation I have been accepted to the challenge. HOLY SHIT !

I have to be a little bit cocky here and say that I have been working hard on my cycling, and my legs recently. Having taken up running, bought a treadmill, using my cross trainer for high resistance endurance training, which has helped my hill climbs (ok slopes to some, but inclines all the same!) On Monday after having been running for only 3 weeks, for the first time in absolute years, I completed my first 10km run. Yesterday I decided to push the boat out a bit, and with very little prep, no food planning and only half a bladder of recovery drink, I took on my longest ride to date. 40 miles around Richmond Park, complete with 1700ft of elevation. Not bad for a month or so in I have to say. So I am quietly confident that I have the 100 miles in me to finish this.

Next problem. Right now I use a pretty heavy mountain bike with semi slick tyres. As much as I love riding it, a 100 mile ride would be far nicer on a full road bike. Lycra and all, something I am growing every comfortable with, ooh err! So the search is on. An affordable but good road bike, set up for me, cleats and shoes, some sexy lycra to show off all my tattoos and disgust people, and start finding the right nutrition for me.

Thankfully its 24 weeks away yet, and the basic training plan is only 16 weeks, so I have 6-8 weeks to find the bike (and the money for it) before training starts. Of course the sooner I can get it, the sooner I can start suffering saddle pain, fall off numerous times due to forgetting I am clipped in, and all the other stuff that comes with it. I have to be honest though, I am secretly really excited to do my first lap of Richmond Park on the new bike, and seeing how it differs in time and effort to my MTB laps, which average about 32 mins at the moment. If I see a good improvement in those times early on, I will have more confidence for sure. 

I am contemplating riding for Breast Cancer Now as it is a cause close to my heart having lost family members to this disease. And of course to have the honour of wearing a bright pink jersey for the trip. This of course will entail raising money for them, which I have no problem with, but will not be plastering it all over the place, and am happy to make the donation myself rather than pressuring and pestering people. I have nothing against asking people to donate and sponsor, once of course.

So here goes, 24 weeks and counting to get prepared, get the gear and achieve what will be a massive new PB.

I don't at this point know anyone else who has been accepted on the ride, but am sure I will meet new faces along the way, especially if riding in a team. 

Get up and gone!

Where did it go? My motivation to get up early has disappeared. Even after an early night like last night,  bed by 9pm, slept til 6am. That is already a long sleep for me. But to then lay in bed til 8.30am is just ridiculous!

In my head I'm not avoiding getting up,  it's just that the bed is so warm and comfortable, at least that is what I am telling myself to justify staying in there so long. The reality is slightly more sinister than that.

For the past week now my mood has bounced violently from highs to lows, changing in a flash with no obvious reason. The side effects of that are that by 8pm nightly my mind is shutting down, creating a lethargic feeling and demanding I go to bed asap. Hence not making it past 9.30pm most nights.

The getting up later and later has been around for the past week too. Occasionally I can fight through it and get out and moving straight away, but less and less as time goes on. The reason? Well my simple explanation is avoidance. If I don't get up,  the day doesn't start. If the day doesn't start then I have no fear about what it might hold.  No need to encounter people ordeal with anything. So while I feel like I am happy and having a lazy lay-in,  I am in fact happy because I am preventing anything happening. Classic sign of depression,  and one I am not happy about having to fight.

Once I am up I generally have a good amount of energy,  and manage to stay active throughout the day,  weather determines what I can do each day. Today for example it's raining a bit,  but the only outdoor activities I have planned are my C25K session,  and hopefully being able to walk the dogs. The rest I have planned is all indoors.

I am seeing my GP tomorrow,  I am also having a meeting with my new manager at home,  and then have therapy later in the day. Still not sure about therapy,  I will see how I go at the doctors in the morning, and decide from there.

It is also my daughters 21st birthday today. No stress there at all eh.

I really hope I can find a way to break this cycle of excessive sleep and bed time, but in a positive and non self destructive way. Not that things have gotten a lot better recently,  but I really don't want to drop any lower. For the first time yesterday I contemplated calling the emergency number I have for the mental health department. I have considered it before but only as a flash thought,  but this time I was running through in my mind what I would say, and what I hoped to hear back.
Then I remembered how hopeless they have made me feel before, and my lack of faith and belief on their ability, so just went back to feeling empty and hopeless again. As well as alone.

My small victory for the morning was banging my head. Sounds a bit weird I know,  but there is a victory there, trust me.
On banging my head (accidentally) the immediate thought was to blame my whole life for it,  feel I deserve it, and just put it down to who I am. But I managed to switch that to reality. I don't do it every day,  accidents happen,  and it was just unfortunate. Silly as it sounds, that is HUGE. It is so easy to take the blame for everything, and spiral down and down from one simple thing like that. I win that round.

So as I sit on the sofa now,  relaxed having not been on social media,  no conversations going on,  TV off,  and breakfast in my belly.  I am formulating a plan for today, and also for tomorrow morning. All seems quiet and peaceful,  but the day hasn't truly started yet.  Once I get my running gear on and head to the park, then the fun starts.

Running and exercise plans for today are to not be self destructive. Not to run or train til I am in pain. Do my C25K session, then either a single mile lap to see if I can  beat my PB,  or if my legs are in the game (especially after yesterdays 40 mile bike ride) throw in a 5k to pass time and see what my pace is like. We shall see.

Right,  I'm off to avoid the day for a bit longer.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Breaking point!

Today, honestly, I really feel I have reached it for me. Surrounded by so much which I am only capable of interpreting negatively. Impossible to see the light for the darkness, and struggling to have one simple thought without making associations which just tear me to pieces.

I have just sat down and stopped for the first time today after getting up at about 6.30. And as my bum hit the seat, I felt the pressure bearing down on me once again. The instant my brain has nothing else to think about, BOOM, everything crashes down.

Unable to stop thinking about recent events, tearing away at the last shreds of strength and self esteem, I have nothing left. I want to fight, I want to stand tall but I can't, I just can't. Instead I am left with flight, and running scared, from not only everything and everyone around me, but trying to escape myself too.

I felt similar to this late last week, and went for a head clearing walk. I got about a mile from home and felt my pace increasing. I was physically actually trying to run away. If the dogs were not at home I would more than likely just have gone to the middle of nowhere, found somewhere to stay and hidden. As I walked further I wanted to cry, to let it all go, cleanse myself of all of this, and start over.

As the realisation hit that this was not possible, I became angry, frustrated. Why am I trapped here?

Eventually after talking to a friend I turned and headed for home, and was lucky enough to have his company for the evening, which helped settle things. This time I don't even want that. All I can think of in my mind is to go out with the bike, exhaust myself, feel some physical discomfort, actually be responsible for something I am feeling, then come home and hide til it is time to sleep, and forget this day, and those in the past and future exist.

I have said before how hopeless I feel at times. This is total and utter. I can't think of any positives right now.

Oh and just to make things a little bit worse, my daughter turns 21 tomorrow. The last landmark birthday, the last big celebration and stride into full adulthood.... And I missed them ALL !

I'm gone!

Monday, February 8, 2016

What's worth less than worthless?

Me apparently!.......................

Or at least that is how I feel right now.
Talking to a friend earlier today I was sure I was on top of things. I felt that as the afternoon turned into evening and night I would settle down. How wrong I was!

Coming from a massive high this morning, running my first 10km non stop outdoors, it was a hard high to beat. With the weather moving in fast this morning and afternoon, getting back out even just to walk the dogs was going to be a feat in itself. Needless to say it was late evening (now) before I could.

I guess it is only fair to say that I have kinda felt this drop coming for a couple of days now, with a series of events really giving my self esteem a proper battering. I won't go into detail as the intention of this entry is not to give anyone a hard time. Life has just gone on, but it is how my brain has interpreted certain aspects of the past days which has resulted in this low.

Walking a tightrope of emotions is a hard thing to do at the best of times, but in the social winds, there is always a gust waiting to take you off your feet, and throw you off balance. As it would seem has happened to me... AGAIN!

Trying to re-gain some self worth and dignity has been a hard slog recently, but I know it is what will eventually get me back on my feet. The running and cycling, as well as being a great distraction, has also given me some worth, and occasional senses of achievement. These go a long way to making me feel good about myself. Not to be mistaken for vanity of course. Those feel good photos shared to the world of social media as a bit of an ego boost, and very little more.

Realising people have been ashamed to be associated with you, hidden their connection with you, and pretended it's not like that is a real kick in the bollox, and can turn the road to recovery into a muddy trail which is impassable in a matter of minutes. Impossible to comprehend unless you are actually there, it is soul destroying and tears through your past like a tornado. What was ever real?

Breaking ties with a support network in the name of trying to go it alone is a strange and dangerous thing to do, but after an event like the one above, trust is really hard to give to anyone, and feeling secure only when isolated and hidden away comes naturally. Is it the wrong thing to do, probably yes.
So why do it? Because in isolation I am the only one who can affect my mood, my day and ultimately my recovery. Eliminating the possibility of misinterpretation leading to a mood swing which I then have someone to blame for. Reducing the chances of me ruining friendships which I value so much. Taking away the expectation on others to somehow magically make everything better, and then blaming them when it doesn't happen.

One thing which is becoming abundantly clear to me right now is that I am not right. After all this time trying to find a path through all this mental mayhem, so many false hopes have led not only to disappointment, but also to a more damaging depth of depression.

Right at this point I have to call this my absolute low of this bout of depression. And one which has really gotten the better of me. Getting out of this hole is going to be a battle for sure, but one I hope I can win.
Already I have realised that my self destructive behaviour, obsessive exercise when my body is saying no, has returned. After the run today, sensible me knows that I should rest and go easy on myself. So a 5 mile walk followed by walking the dogs for another 3.5 miles is probably not the best way of resting.
I already have plans for tomorrow to keep me busy and exhausted, but am sure if I am home early enough I will make an effort to do even more.

A couple of weeks ago I had grand designs for my up and coming 43rd birthday, having decided it was my first in over a decade as a single man, and convinced by others I should make a bit of an effort, my brain was ready to do just that. Hell, I was even making plans for Valentine's (which is also my birthday), but quite frankly, fuck it! I can do without over-thinking another thing, especially as pointless as those above, so the day will pass with no interest from me whatsoever, again!

I need to see my doctor again, to discuss what is next, how to get out of this spiral which is growing ever tighter and faster. The CBT approach is really not for me, and even with a firm understanding of how it is supposed to work, I can see no way it will make a dent in my emotions. With my past biting me in the arse firmly again, I fail to see how putting it behind me with no further consideration is even considered possible.

Something is wrong, seriously wrong, and there is a limit to how many distractions I can hope or expect friends to provide for me, to take my mind away from it all long enough to feel better in the medium term. Times with friends are amazing, and I am eternally grateful for those showing me compassion, and taking time out of their own lives to give me a much needed lift. But I need to be able to do this for myself at some point, and not feel anger or bad in any way towards my support network when I am low and there is nothing anyone can do for me at that given time.

I feel pathetic even writing that, needy and full of unfair expectation, and that just compounds the issues I am struggling with, and makes me feel even more worthless.

I foresee a tough and lonely road ahead of me, and one I am not keen to even take my first step on, but if I want to overcome this, and rise once again, I really need to.

I am the key to my recovery.

Since November it is fair to say I have had many moments and moods. Some which I would rather never experience again,  and others I wish I could hold onto and live over and over again.
From hope to utter hell,  my mind and the life around me have treated me to all kinds of delights and nightmares.
Finding what I think is stable ground,  only for it to all fall away from beneath me,  dropping me to the depth of depression I have never experienced before. Being forced to reach out in desperation to people to help me keep my head above water,  as recently as last week!
Each time I rise again from a drop in mood,  as I feel the strength building again to stand up against these  feelings and fight back,  my mind fools me,  pretending that something is the linchpin in the moment,  and that without it I will fall apart again.
The truth is,  the linchpin is in fact me. Of course I cease up at times,  and need friends to get me moving again.  But once I am able to,  I find myself standing strong and fighting hard to stay afloat for longer each time.
Leading myself into a false sense of hope based around something or someone I find and believe to be hugely beneficial to me and my recovery is in fact detrimental to my recovery. Almost like an addict fighting a habit of drugs and believing that alcohol is helping. It is an easy path to slip into.
One which makes me comfortable,  happy and distracts me from the things in life I am trying to avoid or be able to work with again. Instead there is an alternate reality which tempts me away from  the path of recovery,  and on to a path of temptation and fantasy.
Each time this happens,  the longer the self deceit lasts,  the further from the path I stray,  and the harder it becomes to get back on track.
Realising this is huge,  and a great help we of sound mind.  As is knowing the signs of a dip on mood,  or what your triggers for a mood swing are. However,  like over eating for example. Knowing it is bad for you is good,  knowing what you should be doing is good....  Actually sticking to it,  following what you know to be good for you is very hard at times. Especially when it's brain vs brain.
As the mind gets going,  the devil of depression on your shoulder is so good at convincing you that you should turn to an alternative,  believe in something false,  and throw yourself at it 100%. Sadly the other voice,  the one of reason and practicality is muted and has no say until it is all too late.
Opening your eyes,  waking from the fantasy which has fast become a nightmare,  the failure,  self loathing,  hatred and anger all comes rushing back. How stupid are you,  this is the 3rd time we have done this,  when will you learn,  why do you keep doing this to us. The voice of logic is once again present,  but instead of soothing and guiding you to recovery,  it bombards you with negativity. Trying to drum it into your thick head... STOP DOING THIS!
As many will tell you,  it's not the only voice to say things like this. People around you will do the same. Get over it,  just don't do it,  cheer up,  it will be ok. All words of amazing wisdom,  but which also display a complete lack of understanding. A friend recently very refreshingly said that he wouldn't offer any words of hope or wisdom as he knew they would not help.  And that is all others have to do. Nothing is better than  something daft,  believe me.
So with all this in mind, and my recent blog of Single Forever still being fresh. It seems solo is the way ahead in my life for a number of things and reasons. Not a bad or a sad thing. In fact being in control of my company is a good thing. Right now I have huge lows,  and an blessed with people I can turn to for either trivial distraction conversation,  or can just open up to.  Sounding things out to them has helped me see clearly at times,  and has led me to conclusions like this one. That recovery is my responsibility, and others around me have little impact on it.  So there is no point in trying to flog a dead horse.
I'm not closing down or shutting people out,  just taking the helm and steering this ship the way it needs to go. My posting on Facebook is generally pictures (inc Strava) or blog links like this one. And as a whole it is a happy way to be.  I try not to engage with people now,  have a lot of feeds turned off these days, and limited friends.
Yesterday I had a very clear realisation that the recovery here is not going to be quick or simple.  There are no shortcuts, no escape routes,  I just have to weather the storm,  and come out of it alone. My doctor warned me at the beginning of this episode that the second is usually worse and longer. Harder to treat, but a determined mind is able to rise up. Finally after 3 months of trying to prove her wrong, trying to fight the truth, I have accepted that I'm pretty much stuck for now.
I can write with ease when  my mind is clear. I can engage people in very small numbers (2 is a crowd!) I can have perfectly normal times during the day. Find pride and accomplishment in things I do, like running  and cycling for example. But I am also able to turn on myself in a flash,  tear down towers of achievement in seconds,  and turn into my own worst critic and enemy.  Worst part being,  it is all done with no explanation or warning. Hence my phrase "mood bombs"
My fight is to control these lows and moments of self loathing,  find peace in relaxation,  rather than  fearing silence. And to find some self respect which I can  hold on to on the journey back from the depths of depression.
I have seen lots of stories recently about men dealing with depression,  and how it is a hidden killer. Campaigns and appeals for men to rise up and seek the help they need. But at the same time I have also seen the help system from the inside, and still struggle to comprehend how the assessment process really works. Rejecting requests for counselling which I know works for me, and instead placing me on a group CBT course which I find detrimental to my state of mind.
I am seeing my other GP again thankfully,  another one who I trust and saw me through my last bout of depression years ago. It will be interesting to hear his take on the matter,  and see what he advises.
Thank you for reading this far.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Single forever.

Sad as it sounds,  but it f recent events have taught me anything,  it's that I am destined to be single. Now I know that sounds dramatic,  and maybe a little self pity in there too,  but it's not like that at all.

When I say destined,  I mean by my own hand,  and not that on others. The more I look at my life,  my needs,  and how I conduct myself,  the more I realise that the chances of finding someone compatible is very slim. Add to that my reluctance to go through the mill over and over til I find such a person,  and there you have it.  Destiny.

I have had my fair share of relationships,  long,  short,  simple and stupidly complex.  A couple of times I have come close to feeling like things were as good as they get,  but getting back up from an encounter so close gets harder and harder.

Over the past few months I have been to hell and back with complex feelings and thoughts.  Attempts at connecting with people, and the realisation that I'm just not very good at it.  Unfortunately failed connections lead to a huge amount of self loathing, not to mention confusion in my already fried brain.

It's impossible not to feel the cause of these failures,  or just poor attempts,  and adding them to the trail of destruction that I already leave in my wake,  and it all becomes a bit too much to deal with.

Friendship is where it's at.  The best times are had with people you trust to be within an inch of your soul. Tighter within the inner circle than some can imagine a friend can be. Trust give you unlimited belief in yourself and what you and others can do together,  and washes away any inhibitions you may hold.

Again,  recent months have taught me this,  and knowing I have a handful of people in my life willing to put up with me through my lows,  and let me in when they feel the same way. It shows me a bond exists which I never thought possible. One which has no price,  no end game.  Just loyalty and trust to the death.

Thank you to anyone who has opened themselves up to me during this time,  and sorry to anyone who I leave in my wake. Sorry for anything I may have done to you, and sorry you could not have the bond with me that others have sought and found.

Sometimes we need to take a step back from a situation we are in to truly appreciate it's value to us in life. Not always for the better though. Sometimes we are released from a situation we believed made us happy,  but in truth just held us frozen in time,  with no place to go,  and  no vision for a future. So here's to those who have set us free from such situations. Regardless of their intentions for this release,  from afar,  aside from the pain it causes us to be torn away,  it is relief,  and  a second chance at our own lives.

So,  going back to my point,  I would take friendship with wonderful people,  great times with great minds,  and the security of knowing we form a bond together which protects us throughout our lives. Than gambling it all on "the one" and distance my self from great people,  for the isolation of the company of one.

Does it make me sad? Of course it does. The embrace of another,  the warmth of a loving soul by your side is something amazing. Something I have longed for for many years now,  but failed to find. The warmth of another is by far the greatest thing I miss from a relationship.  Not the ego,  not the sex,  just the simplicity of the desire of another,  and feeling safe in the arms of someone who cares.

So there you have it. Months of depression,  soul searching and confused situations,  all wrapped up in one simple blog entry.

To friends,  and simplicity.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Empty and lonely.

Often I try and catch a screengrab of my life and current mood, so to speak. To try and accurately reflect what it REALLY is at that moment in time. Depression is vague and varied to say the least, and its effects can change hourly. So putting your finger on a particular moment in time, and expressing how you feel is sometimes nigh on impossible.

Today I find myself caught in a simple loop, empty and alone. I want to scream out HELP ME!! at the top of my voice, reach out and grab hold of someone to I guess give me the attention and conversation I am craving. If this was a Facebook status it would be something as simple as the famous "FML", in the hope that the right person will read it in the right way, and reach out with a hand to lift me a little.

Trying to stave off an injury, I am less active than I would be usually, not impossible to get out and about, but anything I do alone will be excessive and harm my running for Friday. That is a blow I can't afford right now. The achievements there are one of the things keeping my morals head above water.

Starting conversations in my head, but getting no reply makes me realise that the solitude I sometimes seek, is not all it is cracked up to be. And the choices I have made regarding who I surround myself with, and how many, might have been a slight miscalculation as to how much contact and attention I need, especially right now.

Feb has never been a kind month to me, and as the years have gone by, quite frankly, as much as I try and deflect the feeling it gives me, it sucks. Cue the additional cyclone of destruction entering my head right now.

Confusion about how I feel, what my mind is trying to tell me, or the direction it is trying to pull me in. Shut the world out, or open the blinds and let a few bright rays of light through to warm me from within. Stop fighting and just give in to my mind, or refuse to be dragged to the depths that are calling.

Even my therapy group, surrounded by supposedly like-minded people, and therapists who "care", gives me anxiety for 2 days leading up to sessions. I think it is fair to say its not working very well for me.
The support I have had from some friends has been enormous, and far better than what is being offered on the NHS with CBT. But there comes a point where you feel you have exhausted your friends, and gone on for long enough. The thought of asking for their help causes anxiety. Even then, finding the right one to open up to and get everything off your chest is nigh on impossible.

I guess what I am saying here is quite simple. I know I am surrounded by wonderful friends, and I am eternally grateful for what you have done for me over the past months and years. But right now I am slipping badly, and feel I am in trouble, and I don't know who to tell, or what to say. I need someone, I need something, I have no idea what. I am a helpless captive in my own mind, too scared to ask for help, too proud to reach out. And far too conscious to bother anyone with what might seem so trivial.

Looking at the screen as I type, I am not getting across half the things in my mind, but am starting to realise how hopeless I feel right this very second.

I know it has been a long time since I shared a blog like this, but I felt it was the right thing to do. The irony of the whole thing is, if someone offers help, I am likely to play it down and brush it aside. If you have never felt this way, let me explain quickly.
You know something is wrong, you know what you need to do, you know how to do it..... But putting something into action where you enable yourself to do what you need to to recover and bounce back...... Seems just impossible.


Thanks for reading, and as usual, there is no physical danger implied in this blog, so please don't worry.
Just very trapped.