“My Eyes Are Just A Little Sweaty Today”

Now then! It’s been a while since I last posted but today something happened today that I’d like to talk about.

For 2 days this week I’ve been on a Youth Mental Health First Aid course and today in a room full of (mostly) strangers I cried… and I felt like a right dick!

Yes, I’m very open about my mental health struggles but it niggled at me for the rest of the day and night.

We got onto the subject of suicide and what that person might be thinking at the time and it hit a little close to home. But apart from this course I also started a NCFE Level 2 counselling skills course at college and it made me question if I’m doing the right thing. Because I cried and blokes ain’t meant to cry, right? Wrong! Nowt wrong with a good sob, it can even make you feel better at times.

So this is just a quick post to say to everyone, but especially us blokes – it’s okay to cry. Talking about emotional subjects can be… emotional! But we’re not robots – we, yes us men, we have feelings and emotions and there’s certainly nothing wrong with showing them. I told a friend how I felt like a dick and she said I should feel brave that I could do that in a room full of strangers. So yeah, I’m a cryer – and a fucking beautiful one at that!

Take care, keep safe and if the time calls for it, listen to what your eyes are saying and have a cry. Nowt wrong with that at all.

Peace

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I don’t know! …or do I?

Now then! Let’s get straight into, aye! Today I ignored a call from my local crisis team, I know it’s naughty – they’ve helped me so much over the last year but I didn’t want to speak to anyone and be asked those questions! Because the answer is yes!

Yes, I’ve been having intrusive thoughts and yes I made a little plan!

I don’t know! I don’t know what to do anymore, I don’t even know why I’m writing this – to help I guess. But will it help?

Like I said – I don’t know.

I’m going on my walks, I’m practicing the selfcare, yoga, mindfulness, etc. but it always ends up the same. I’m divorced, away from the 2 things I want the most and hate, yes fucking hate the vicous circle my life has become.

Yes, I’ve been there before and come out and everything seems better and brighter… then, boom back again.

This one is a particularly bad one, no denying that, I generally like to look good (believe it or not!) – but my t-shirts are resembling Dave Listers. I keep a bit of a beard – now turning full blown hipster. I like to cook – but now eating a lot of beige, easy food. I wasn’t sleeping – I’m now sleeping for days. And for bathing and whatnot – don’t ask!

I’m sorry if this isn’t the most positive of posts but if we can take one thing from it – if someone close to you is acting differently and don’t seem themselves – ask them direct how they are, invited them out for lunch and have a chat.

I’m losing at the minute – that’s OK.

I needed to write this post so I could write the clichéd but true, you’re not alone, it’s okay not to be ok – to remind myself  that I’ve been there, I’ve come through it, it’s an illness.

Hope you’re well. If not not,that’s OK but tell somebody please. I have.

Take care

Peace and love

 

Everybody Hurts (so why does it feel like it’s only me)

Now then! As 90’s rock band Staind once sang ” It’s been a while” since I last posted, but I’m sat here at Harrison House after being asked to come in and speak to someone because my messages have been concerning people!

Are people’s concerns correct, should I be here speaking to someone? Too fucking right!

Over the past week or so I’d developed quite the bad habit of sitting on the edge of my bed and just sitting there being consumed by my thoughts, and yes those thoughts involved death.

Why?

Christmas! (Well, the Christmas period as a whole). November 1st and I’m already dreading the next month to the point of I wish I could just dissappear.

I’m so….. (at this point I got called through to go speak to somebody)….

……..

It’s 3 days later now and I’m getting back to finishing this post. Has my mood changed? No! I’ve taken the step of declaring how I felt on twitter, I’ve spoken to people, I’ve tried my usual selfcare, I’ve had my Moo (hate when people say “what about your daughter?”  Yeah, no shit! I don’t want to think like this, I don’t want to feel like this, so we start thinking there’s only one way not to.

Here’s something which us blokey blokes don’t like to say – I’m lonely. Very fucking lonely and this time of year is tough for lots of people as it’s pushed down our throats of all the joys and family times you can have.

A friend text me today asking if there’s anything she could do. My reply – Do you have a time machine?

If I could go back to the day before my split, I’d do it in a heartbeat. To have my family, my girls, my life back to how it was. Now I’m a 36-year-old, unemployed, single dad who lives with his parents… winner, winner, chicken dinner!

I normally try and finish a post off with a rallying call of we can beat this, we can recover, we are not our illness… but not today, I’ll leave you with this from Liam Neeson:

Everyone says love hurts, but that is not true. Loneliness hurts. Rejection hurts. Losing someone hurts. Envy hurts. Everyone gets these things confused with love but in reality, love is the only thing in the world that covers up all the pain and makes someone feel wonderful again. Love is the only thing in the world that does not hurt.

 

 

#WorldMentalHealthDay2017

Now then! As this year’s #WMHD17 is based around Mental Health in the workplace and I’ve recently lost/left/whatever my job of 12 years, I thought I’d write a little about it (and it’s been a rough month or so and it’s always good to get some things written down). 
Well, yeah…I’m unemployed! Just writing this is triggering me a little, so let’s get on with it! 
Yes, due to my Mental Health I’m no longer employed (I’ll try not to go to much into it all!), but believe me when I say it was because of my Mental Health.
To begin with I was signed off for six months, went back, had a blip (they happen), got signed off again but this time for a shorter time, but during this time my medication got changed (this happens too, gotta find something that works) and these new meds kicked my arse on the side effects front (lasted 2 weeks or so), to the point where it really did feel dangerous to be at work – I drive a forklift, use a table saw/pillar drill on a daily basis, they really did have no choice to send me home and wait for a return to work note from my doctors… long story short – letters went back and forth from doctors to employer’s. This takes a ridiculous amount of time, to the point that you start to wonder if they actually care you’ve got a mortgage, loans, credit cards, all the rest to pay. The side effects have worn off, I’ll come back to work… now, this afternoon if needs be! The time came when I got an email asking to come in for a ‘informal meeting’ – ooh wonder what this could be about?!

I’ve already mentioned that I’ve been there 12 years so I’m very friendly with everybody there, including the big boss man. Turn up, sat in his office had a little chit-chat, gave him my best “I’m feeling good, ready to get back to it and start getting back on with my life” spiel and what I got in return was one of, no, the most awkward silences while someone looks down and twiddles their fingers (and I’ve been in a lot of them!) I have ever witnessed. So I offered to leave – jump before I was pushed (if I can use that term!) and they jumped at the chance. Twelve years and gone, just like that and for what? For having depression, an illness. Where do I start with that? 

It’s just straight up wrong. End. 

But when one employee broke a leg one time and had appendicitis another, which involved prolonged periods off work. Nothing was said to them – funny that! 

We spend most of our time in a workplace (sucks don’t it?) so surely it should be one of the main places that Mental Health gets the awareness it deserves. Will I disclose my illness when applying for new jobs, even if that means they’ll find me not suitable for them? Yes, who’d want to work somewhere with an attitude like that. Not me. 

If an employee happens to be reading this please, if we could get Mental Health in the work place more readily available/talked about, you’ll understand what we mean when we ask for the dreaded…dun, dun, dun Mental Health Day! I jest but it’s no joke, some days are impossible, just like Ian (made up person/name of my next dog!) and his headaches they are impossible to work through and resting is the best way to treat it. 

It’s World Mental Health Day 2017 but it should always be World Mental Health Day. If you or you know someone suffering with their Mental Health please reach out to somebody (preferably a Dr) but anyone – friend, family member… work colleague! 

It really does get easy the more we talk about it. So let’s talk about in the work place. 
Matt 

Take The Time To Look Backwards

Now then! It’s been a while since I’ve posted but seen as today I’m attending Navigo Cares AGM and recently elected as one of there Community Representatives, thought I’d look back at what’s very nearly a year now since I left Harrison House.

During recovery we set a lot of goals for the future, never really looking back at what we’ve overcome (well I does anyways) looking back and thinking how I was and some seeing how I was – here’s a tough thing to do… self praise, urge! But I’m so fucking (sorry mum) proud!

I’m not gonna bore you with all the details over the year – It was a cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen…

No, like I said I won’t bore ya (well, try not to) but since leaving Harrison House (crisis accommodation) – moved in with my parents and I’m still there, thought it’d be 3 months max! (One of those stupid future goals!) That can be the thing with future goals too, if you don’t hit them it can have negative effects on your mental health.

Over the last year and a bit I’ve gone from wanting to be dead, trying to be dead, and on more than one occasion too! The trying has stopped but wanting comes and goes like a cunt! (Again, sorry mum but it is!)

I’ve hid away (at one point, think I didn’t really leave my room for a month, never mind the house) to standing in Grimsby Town Centre with Gary Pollard from the fantastic @MenTellHealth and the gazebo drumming up awareness for mens mental health and the Speak Easy I run on behalf of mentell at Riverhead Coffee, Grimsby (every first Thursday of the month).

It has been journey and I’ve definitely been “finding myself” so to speak, always been opened minded now I’m very open minded (trying not to say spiritual! Haha) but yes, I think the yoga/meditation/mindfulness has been not only fantastic for my mental health but the people I’ve met in the process too.

That’s another thing I’ve wrote previous posts about it – the peeps I’ve found through the twitter world have been a huge part of my recovery.

I’ve got so many things coming back to me thinking about where I’ve come from that I could go on for a long time on many different tangents so I’ll wrap this up.

Having said all that, unfortunately the best I can describe the last year and a bit and that is…hell. And that is why I’m at the Navigo Care AGM today and also why I wanted to become a Community Member (and more in the future). Like I said, I’ve been on a journey, I’ve found myself, I can’t and won’t sit by and let others feel how I felt, sitting in terrified silence because it’s taboo or frowned upon to feel like they do. It’s a fucking illness killing far to many people. It’s okay not to be okay. Lets make mental health a normal conversation/everyday question.

Take care all and thank you to everybody who has helped me over this time.

Peace and love

 

Recovery 

Now then ! Myself and the fantastic @roach_az chavezanxiety  joined up and shared each others approach to recovery. Recovery is possible, it may take time and there will be set backs, even I have to remind myself that from time to time (with lots of help). Hope you enjoy, I could definitely relate to this…

What do you do when you have a set back during recovery? Well I guess that depends on how much of a setback we are talking about. I recently had a rather large setback to my recovery. So much so that I was/am having a hard time moving forward. I almost feel like I am back at the beginning again. I cant think straight and I want to give up. I am so mad at myself that I can’t stand being near me.
So how do I move forward? The first thing is I have to do is forgive myself . Period. Myself or anyone else reading this will not be able to move forward unless they accept their own apology. You have to forgive yourself. This is hard for me to do because I am the master of self loathing. I blame myself for everything and have a hard time letting stuff go. This of course of very self destructive and is a reason I am in a depression right now. Well mostly its my anxiety and panic but the depression is like the whip cream and cherry on top of my mental health sundae.
People often try and put a time table on recovery. It doesn’t work like that. The best you can do is try and get a little better each day. Even if the improvement is small, take that victory and celebrate it. Also realize that someday you will go backwards. Think of it like cancer, if its in remission its still there and can come back at any time. This is the concept that people have the hardest time with. Mental health doesn’t care that you have a timetable set up and want to be healed by September. Understanding this was hard for me and my family struggles with it to this day. The people closest to me watch me struggle with my good days and my bad. I worry that one day they will have to find me because I have given up or grown tired of the struggle.
That also leads into my last topic for this article. Recovery doesn’t get rid of the dark thoughts. They are still there, the enemy at the gate knocking to get in. Recovery just teaches you how to deal with those thoughts. I have them everyday, its a dark part of me that no one really knows. No one wants to talk about it because its uncomfortable. Well its uncomfortable to me as well, its my life I’m thinking of ending!

#recovery 

Recovery3 weeks ago to the day as I write this, I tweeted something along the lines of – That’s Moo (daughter) back to her mum. Normally puts me in a downward spiral. Not this week. Bring it (#somethingorother)

That’s 3 weeks of feeling good/happy/positive. Yes, there has been the odd sleepless night or down day but nothing and I mean nothing to like how I have been in the past. And if I’m being honest and I am because that’s a part of recovery – it’s scary. I’ve spent more than enough time wishing to be ‘normal’ again and here I am at 3 weeks of happiness but in the back of my head…impending doom! But why? Why should I sit around with a umbrella waiting for it to rain!?

But here’s the catch to recovery – you know you can have good days and the fact you know the signs/signals/triggers doesn’t alter the fact that there’s a high chance you won’t feel like this for too long. This is where a big part of my recovery comes into action; my mind-set

This has been one of, if not the hardest part of my recovery. Changing a mind-set that had been moulded over 30 years then attacked for the last 2 years by depression. You make so many assumptions when you’re in the midst of depression; everything is negative. Its cliché but true that you don’t see a way out of this constant living hell that living with depression is; these feelings can last for days/weeks/months.

This is tough for me to write because it is new to me with this new mind-set of mine but again its part of recovery and recovery isn’t easy – self-praise!! Who likes bigging themselves up? Definitely not me, that’s for sure. But you’ve got to look back at the things you’ve overcome, when you thought ( cliché alert) There was no light at the end of tunnel and see where you’re at now; and feel proud. You’ve smashed it, you’ve come this far, now bring on the next obstacle. You’re stronger than you think you are.  

Now, getting to this point in my recovery has been a long hard road (clichés all over the shop!) and I’m under no illusions there’s further to go yet and it’s taken a lot of help and persistence from mental health professionals, family, friends, twitter friends!, myself (bigging myself up) and I best give a shout out to my new meds. Changed from Sertraline to Mirtazapine.

If you’re anything like me and on twitter, which itself has been a huge part of my recovery; being able to ‘meet’ so many amazing and inspiring people, you come across many other stories and hear people have fallen out of touch with friends due to this illness, which has made me thankful to have friends like mine because during your recovery it’s important to keep talking and I’ll always have an ear that’ll listen but as well as my old friends I’ve also made new friends, some cyber friends, some real life friends, both help my recovery. Big part of my recovery is mindfulness/meditation and yoga and a big part of the changing of my mind-set. I don’t want to sound like a warped cult member but I’m totally sold on this and think it should take some part of a school curriculum. I wish I didn’t start till 35.

I mention it takes hard work in recovery and I take a 45min – 1 hour walk everyday sometimes 2 if I feel I need it, I use that time to compose myself, take a bit of time to sort my thoughts out and plan my attack on whatever’s in front of me. Some people may be thinking – hard work!!? Going on a walk!! But a ‘normal person’ could not be arsed and not bother with a walk today and everything’s fine, if I miss a walk it can turn into “wish I wasn’t here”. The minds a wonderful thing! So I take my walks come rain, wind or shine.

So here I am feeling good for 3 weeks now, showering regularly, doing lots of cooking and baking (always a sign I’m feeling good), keeping on top of house work – if you can wake up to a tidy room/house it gives a boost for the day (well it does me), going on my walks, practising my mindfulness/meditation and yoga and pushing myself more and more. Currently running for a Community Representative position at my local health organisation, Navigo. They looked after me for a period last year and are still very supportive in my recovery so the least I can do is help others try to see (cliché alert) there is light at the end of the tunnel and for this position I had to do some public speaking and that is so far out of my comfort zone but I was so unhappy with my life I tried to take it and I definitely don’t want to think like that again so if doing things like this which ultimately make me feel better and give me a purpose it’s what I’m going to keep doing. This may well be easy for me to say at this point of recovery but there is help, there is a way out, good thoughts can overcome the negatives ones, it may take some time, keep fighting 🙏🏼

Take care, all the best 

Peace and love 

 

  

 

 

 

Self Love

Now then! A month or so ago I was tagged by Angela (@_unapologetica) for a Self Love post and in that month or so I’ve been up, down, left, right – basically all over the place but the last week or so I’ve settled and felt the best I have for a long time (shout out to my new meds). Not normally one to be involved in a tagged post but seen as it’s for Angela and she has been so supportive towards me and many others, it’s the least I can do….so here goes

1. What is the one thing getting you down at the moment?

Erm….. nothing at the moment I’d say. Next question!!

I may say nothing at the minute but it’s more like nothing I’m not handling. This weird feeling has been hovering over me for the last week or so – happiness! and its fucking fantastic, scary at times. Seemingly waiting for the impending doom but I’m getting on with getting on and all is good. Said goodbye to my Moo (daughter) yesterday as she goes back to her Mums and that would’ve normally sent me into a downward spiral. But like I say – I’m handling it

What is something that makes you happy?

Now I could cliche this up and say my Moo and leave it there. This is not to say she doesn’t make me happy. When I have my Moo, it’s the happiest parts of the week and I love her more than anything in the world – but shouldn’t that me the automatic case? (says the man who tried to kill himself and never see her again) I was very ill then.

I truly know I’m happy when I’m in the kitchen, music on and cooking up a storm – preferably with friends, wine and talking shit.

Name 3 guilty pleasures

  1. Watching any and all documentaries about different civilisations of the past be it Aztec, Incan, Egyptian, Romans, Viking, etc ( Vikings are my faves and maybe not a civilisation, but!). I’m fascinated by how they achieved what they achieved and all the Gods, beliefs and rituals and such
  2.  Archaeology – more of the same as above really but to be able to find things thousands of years old buried away and be able to bring it life and tell how these people lived. I hate the thought of all the tomb raiding that went on in Egypt, Mexico, Peru, all over the world. Oh, to be a early explorer too. Can you imagine leaving England and landing in these wonderful and mysterious lands around the world without any clue what could be there
  3. Rom – coms. Some favourites – 2 Weeks Notice, Pretty Woman, While You Were Sleeping, You’ve Got Mail and many more but going off the top of my head and in usual style when you have to think of something my mind goes blank

What one thing would you like to improve about yourself ?

I suppose the beauty of this question is that as a 36 year old, I’m pretty set with my physical appearance so I’d not change anything about that but definitely want to improve my self confidence around new people/strangers. I’m an awkward little so and so in new surroundings because I talk a lot of shit to my mates and I worry to new people I’ll come across a bit weird!

When was the last time you belly laughed?

Just the other night I was sat with a girl (eewww) a couple of bottles of wine and…..Naked Attraction. Now I’d normally avoid these kind of shows and generally T.V at all cost but she promised me i’d enjoy it and I did! And I’m not saying we sat there laughing at the peoples bodies it was more some of the characters on the show and the way the host joined in with the fun. Yeah, enjoyed it and had a right laugh

What is your biggest insecurity/fear?

I didn’t write these questions so is it insecurity or fear?! Biggest fear – deep open sea water! Who the fuck knows what’s down there !!! So much undiscovered things in the ocean. Nope, nope, nope….nope

Biggest insecurity? Not meeting/reaching expectations I guess. I’m 36 – am I living the life I thought i would be by this age? hell no. Story of my life really, I should have done better and people most probably thought I would have done better. I fucked up and I’m trying my best to rectify that

Name a song that always cheers you up

Biz Markie – Just A Friend

There’s no story really to why this song makes me happy but it goes on nearly every playlist I make and I sing it at the top of my voice and if I’m out on a walk i have to hold it in ! The video is amazing and the skit at the start of it is amazingly late 80’s/early 90’s Its got a piano, a nice little beat and I just love it. Always guarantees to bring a smile to face. Give it listen see if it can you too

Name 3 things you like about yourself 

  1. I like to think I’m a easily approachable kind of guy always got a shoulder or ear for anyone who needs one
  2. I’m fiercely loyal to my mates (caused many a problem with the ex) not in a I’m off out the piss way but I’m a great believer in not leaving friends behind when you get in a relationship – cmon you all know people like that!?  I will drop anything at a moments notice to be there for them if they need me. If you fuck with them, you fuck with me!
  3. My lightheartedness (again, says the guy who wanted to kill himself!) but i will try and cheer up anyone around me anyway I can (uncle nobhead)

What is a achievement that has made you proud of yourself this year ? 

This happened today. I’m running for a Community Representative role at Navigo, a local mental health care organization that I’ve had the misfortune but at the same time being fortunate to use their services its no exaggeration that they helped save my life. So I’ve decided to run for Community Representative because I want to help give back what they did for me and help others in my beloved Great Grimsby ( really is called that !) It goes to vote so today the campaign started and I had to stand up and say why people should vote for me. Now this is something so far out of my comfort zone but if I want to make a difference I’ve got to do things that might be difficult for me but impossible for others. So I stood up, took no notes with me and spoke from my heart. My legs were visibly shaking like mad but what I said seemed to go down well – so that is something I’m very proud of

Tell us your happiest memory

Ohhh me no likey this question ! My happiest memory is my wedding day! My marriage may of gone to shit not very long afterwards but that day and the days after are very fond memories. Anyone reading this planning a wedding, worry not it all goes well on the day, don’t waste needless time worrying about little things no guest will even notice. Enjoy the day and the high you feel for the days afterwards.  And that’s enough of that question, I’m off to listen to Biz Markie

 

Thanks for reading if you got this far and thanks ( I think) to @_unapologetica for the nomination. I’m not gonna tag anyone to do this as its not my style but I can highly recommend giving it a go , it was fun to do trying to write about yourself is hard but you might figure some things out. I did.

Take care, all the best

Peace and love

 

 

 

Practicing What I Preach

Now then! Let’s get to the point…. I had a shit night and it’s not because I spent yet another night on a mates sofa (it’s bloody comfy), I had a night of worry/self doubt/ whatever you want to call it.

Now, I know millions of people around the world have proper worries and problems – I won’t even get into the less fortunate who’s lives you can’t even to begin to imagine! But for me, my night wasn’t filled with – how am I gonna pay that bill, I wonder how (insert child’s name) is doing at school. I’d call them nice things to be laid awake worrying about. No, my night was full of contemplation of if being here is a good thing! Oh it was so much fun.

This hasn’t happened to me for 3 weeks or so now but it attacked with a vengeance last night.

Old Matt would now be locked in his room telling my rents I’m fine and just tired.

Now I’m practicing what I preach – out on a magical walk! (just having a little sit in a tranquil spot).

I know it sounds stupidly stupid but I can’t express (or explain) what it does; to me at least.

It gives you that lift/kick up the bum and time for a little think to make a action plan and attack it before it takes over.

I will not sit in bed all day watching It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia (I’ll watch a little, like). This is me telling people, yes I had a shit night, that’s ok. I’ve got my tools to fight it and walking, yes a simple walk is a fucking good one. I urge all people who worry about anything (not just death!) to do it. Make time for yourself even if it’s 5 mins to walk your worries out, even if it’s just round the block.

I had a shit night, it’s ok.

Get up, keep going and keep kicking arse.

Have a good day y’all

Peace and love

Well….

Now then. Its been a while since I last posted a blog and truth be told, it’s because I had a massive relapse!

My life has been just weeks of high-highs and ridiculously low-lows and its been fucking shit!

Why?

I was making progress at work. I was making progress in being able to talk to the ex, I was making progress in becoming a ‘proper’ dad to The Moo again. I met a girl (sssshh!). I went away with the rents and The Moo for a week and between all this I had a stay at Field View Crisis Accommodation and generally didn’t want to be here (life). I’ve said it before and i’ll say it again – The brain is a wonderful and complex thing!

So this post is for myself really to get it out there, to give myself a kick up the arse and get back on with trying to help others not to suffer in silence (like I have been).

The thing is, it’s hard, very fucking hard. I feel like a let down, a failure. I’m Matt – reached out, started writing a blog, started to accept the help, started to feel good – then boom “fuck this shit, whats the point?” – “I fucking hate my life, just be better if I wasn’t here”. Now these are bad things to say to yourself and of course it wouldn’t be better if I wasn’t here but its that wonderful brain tricking you again – throw in the bad boy which is Stigma, and the ‘bad’ thoughts consume you – I’ll say it again – it fucking sucks!

When I started this blog I placed 5 copies of Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig around Grimsby with the hope they fell onto the eyes of someone who needed help to realize they are not alone and help is out there. So last Saturday I did the same again and went to Riverhead Coffee (my fave coffee shop) and left one there.

I’m resetting/rebooting myself. I haven’t been looking after myself, which ultimately means I haven’t been helping others and that is what I want to do with my life now. Before writing this post, I applied to be Community Member Representative at Navigo Healthcare. It’s all good sharing my stuff to Twitter and Facebook but I can’t help but feel I’m preaching to the choir at times I want to be out there. I think I need to be out there helping others. It’s what gives me the most drive. So apologies for not looking after myself and not blogging but I’m trying my best to get back on track and start kicking arse again.

Get up, keep going and keep kicking arse

Take care, all the best and have a good day

Peace and love