I was lucky enough today to catch the Moose hard at work on his blog, as you can see from the photo above. I had been invited to his “office” by his PA as he was willing to grant me an interview about his depression, the causes, the road to recovery and his hopes for the blog he is writing and what can be achieved as a result of it.
I was met at the station and surprised to be blindfolded and bundled into a waiting car all in the name of protecting his location so once I arrived I was delighted to meet such a charming, engaging “person” willing to expose himself (no not in that sense!) and give up his time in the interests of, in his own words, “helping to end the stigmas surround depression and other Mental Health Illnesses”.
After taking a few photographs, at his insistence – using his own camera no less!, we sat down for what started out as a little chat but soon turned into a wonderful insight into the man behind the moose!
Please sit back and enjoy the ride….
Garry: What made you realise you had depression?
Moose: I had known for some time that something was not right with me. I have had certain symptoms for a number of years without recognising what they amounted to and always managed to keep my head above water, somehow, without feeling the need to seek help from my Doctor.
These symptoms included, with a high combination of them at any one time
- Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. A bleak outlook—nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation.
- Loss of interest in daily activities. No interest in former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex. You’ve lost your ability to feel joy and pleasure.
- Appetite or weight changes. Significant weight loss or weight gain—a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month.
- Sleep changes. Either insomnia, especially waking in the early hours of the morning, or oversleeping (also known as hypersomnia).
- Anger or irritability. Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent. Your tolerance level is low, your temper short, and everything and everyone gets on your nerves.
- Loss of energy. Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained. Your whole body may feel heavy, and even small tasks are exhausting or take longer to complete.
- Self-loathing. Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. You harshly criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes.
- Reckless behavior. You engage in escapist behavior such as substance abuse, compulsive gambling, reckless driving, or dangerous sports.
- Concentration problems. Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.
- Unexplained aches and pains. An increase in physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles, and stomach pain.
When things started getting too much for after a trigger moment I knew I had to see someone and get help.
G: “Trigger moment”? what do you mean by that?
M: I guess the easiest way to explain that is by saying it was like my “Eureka!” moment when all the pieces fell into place and made me realise that I couldn’t go on the way I was living my life.
The build up to my “trigger moment” all started after the death of my Uncle who I had cared for almost full time for the last 12 months of his life. While I was caring for him I didn’t have the time to concentrate on my own issues as he needed me to be strong for him and by the same token I enjoyed the time we spent together albeit with the unhappy ending. I say unhappy loosely because I firmly believe he is in a better place now and no longer suffering from his ailments, one of which was depression!
After he passed away I soon fell into a deep depression while battling my feelings of grief, anger and frustration and felt like I had let him down by not doing more for him. (For the record if I knew then what I know now about what sort of treatment was available to him I would still be kicking his Doctors arse 14 months later!)
Fast forward 7 months from the death of my uncle and I was at my lowest ebb and ready for a long drop from my window to end it all! This for me was my “trigger moment”
G: So what happened next?
M: I made the important step of making an appointment to see my GP and ask him for help. I remember my first words to him like it was yesterday “I need your help, I can’t take it anymore and I’m desperate!” The words fell freely from my mouth and once the dam was breached I couldn’t stop talking (and crying!) about the years of pent-up depression and I left his office that day feeling like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders.
I was diagnosed as suffering from “high intensity depression” those words well a relief to me, it meant I could now start recovering!
G: So what changed after seeing your GP?
M: The biggest change for me was being able to communicate properly with someone about how I felt without worrying about being perceived as “weak” for having depression. Suddenly my wife could hear from me about my feelings, thoughts and worries and since then our marriage has gone from strength to strength.
There is a lot to be said for simply talking to someone about having depression or talking to someone who has depression! If more people spoke openly about this they would be amazed at how much it would help them. Since I no longer have to hide the fact I have depression I can focus on helping myself then , as I become stronger, helping others.
G: Is the blog part of the healing process?
M: Yes and no. The blog is like my diary where I can express myself freely and share my emotions and thoughts. It helps me to write these things down and look back over them when I am in a better frame of mind so I can learn more about myself and what causes my depression and what makes me feel better. I find it easier to write than I do to talk to others about my depression, apart from my wife of course!
G: What are you hoping to achieve from your blog?
M: Well the main objective of it is to make myself better! From there I am hoping to help other people, especially men, learn about depression, its symptoms and how it is ok to ask for help, that it is not a sign of weakness. I also hope that through reading my blog people can help their loved ones by learning more about how depression can affect people and what they could do to help them.
G: So what happens now?
M: There is no set plan, as long as people are reading my blog and feel inspired by my words and experiences I will continue to write it. I intend to gain lots more followers and readers in the hope that I can help even one person then I will feel like I have accomplished something. I intend to bore my friends on Facebook into submission so that my Facebook Page gets shared around in the hope that I get more likes and therefore more readers coming to my blog.
For the first time in years I feel inspired and the creative juices are flowing helping me to recover or at least understand more about the depression that I have and what causes me to have the ups and downs! I am making myself heard in a positive light and gained a new-found respect for myself in the process. It can also be said that people have a new-found respect for me too and see me in a different light than before.
G: How can I help?
M: Giving me this platform has helped, my readers will learn more about me and hopefully they can help spread the word of my blog. The more people who read it the better chance we have of showing depression in a positive way and in turn the more people we can get talking about mental health illnesses the easier it will be to end the stigma of it. People with depression come from all walks of life it doesn’t care what riches you have or what career you have.
At least one person in every six becomes depressed in the course of their lives, that shows how many people you know could have this illness yet would you know what to do or how to help if a friend came to you and wanted to talk? This is where, hopefully, my blog can help.
And just like that the moose was gone! Back to his keyboard and desk and I was on my way back home.
I would like to point out that the moose received no money for this exclusive interview but did accept Pringle’s, Pepsi max and big red chewing gum!
I hope you liked this interview!
or for a complete list of all my posts so far please see Moose Tracks