I Forgot…Now I Remember

So in between the worst week in memory I suddenly was hit by a thunderbolt.

Oprah Winfrey was on the Jonathan Ross show last night here in the UK and said something that hit me right between the eyes.

She told about how she was sexually abused at 14 and ended up pregnant, she lost that baby and her father told her

“You have been given a second chance, DON’T WASTE IT”

She said it was there and then that she knew that she wanted to help others using her experience.

This was the reason that I started blogging, to help other people by sharing my daily battles.

It took a kind message from someone on Facebook (you can add me here to remind me that people DO care about what I have to say and that it DOES help others.

For those regular and long-term readers you may have noticed every now and again that I have a degree in wallowing and self loathing.  It stems from years of rejection by various people and sometimes the walls we have had built for 20+ years need to be pulled down and rebuilt. Rebuilt with better materials, modernised to allow people in…

The problem I have is that I take every little rejection personal. Someone who I thought was a good friend has just dropped me like a stone which hit me hard, where I go wrong is that I forget that it is the other party that has issues and not me (all the time!)

I like to go that extra mile for people and forget to look after myself properly, although being concerned for other people is a good thing in my eyes. I need to remember to be kinder to myself, and when people do send praise my way to accept it. Dismissing praise is a bad habit and one I need to work on – so keep the praise coming, all in the name of research of course.

The point though is that this blog has had nearly 80,00 views with an average of 100 views a day. This means people look up to me, sometimes this idea blows me away that I have so much interest in little old moosey. I do have a sense of purpose, I WANT to be viewed as someone who people can look at as an example of how depression can ruin your life but still somehow we survive, even if at times the dark can be overwhelming.

I focus on what I want not what I need. What I want is often not obtainable because it is out of my control, what I need is what I allow to come to me. The world has a way of bringing things/people into your life when you least expect it. I am now working on allowing nature to take its course, or God’s plan to show rather than forcing everything.

When people are struggling yet take the time out to message me with ideas, advice, the offer of an ear it shows that I do actually have more than I admit at times. While I expect too much from people I know that this is an unrealistic approach to life, there are lots of people who message me via social media to offer warmth, sincerity or a swift boot up the backside!

I focus on those who DON’T contact me….. from this moment on that will change.

If I am so forgettable to them then surely that means they are forgettable to me right?

I need to fill my days again, the worst thing that happened to me and my recovery was having to quit the gym because it helped me so much, enhanced confidence at the weight loss but more importantly I was leaving the flat and doing things everyday.

The question again today is WHEN will I get better and no longer WHY wont I get better.

And who would’ve thought that Oprah Winfrey would be my inspiration…

One final thing, I want to extend a huge thank you to the person who donated to me today via the paypal option on the home page. It humbled me that you would be so generous and means the world to me!

An Offer I Couldn’t Refuse..Help Me Raise Money for Bipolar UK

When a Sicilian makes a request you do not refuse, I have read enough books on my favourite subject to know this much, it is also harder to refuse when it’s the beautiful Antonella asking you, so here we go again.

The running shoes are being dusted off and the running tights being brought out of retirement for one last fundraising effort this year.

I have been asked bullied into doing the Do It For Charity Santa Run – details of the even can be found here

On the 8th December I will be dressing up as Father Christmoose and chasing after Miss Claus to raise some money for Bipolar Uk, a charity very close to Antonella. Despite no training since my last run I will be doing 5km and would be very grateful if anyone would be willing to dip into their pockets and sponsor the two of us.

And so Moose and Ant hope you can help us meet our fundraising target for a good cause. Please help spread the word, tweet the link, share the link on Facebook do anything to get people excited at the prospect of seeing me in a Santa outfit.

Our sponsorship page can be found here

The beautiful Antonella, now who wouldn't donate to charity to see her dressed as Santa!

The beautiful Antonella, now who wouldn’t donate to charity to see her dressed as Santa!

Thankful for…..Friends

I have some wonderful friends, most of them I did not know before I started this blog.

Before the blog became my focus I was part of a wonderful community built around Mafia Wars on Facebook and have stayed in contact with plenty of people from the group that I created. I consider some of these people family now, not just friends. Although some of us don’t stay in regular contact they are people I know are there for me when I need them, people like Gary, Cindy, Juliana and the never forgotten Teresa have played a big part in my life over the past few years.

As for the “newbies” Gail, Mary, Antonella, Liz and Maria in particular are people I know I can tell anything to, without them judging me and they know me better than anyone else, by me I mean the real Garry.

Gail AKA Weegee was the first person to like, comment and follow my blog and can see through me in an almost scary way. A real diamond in the rough who gives advice, telling offs and encouragement in times of need.

Antonella is one of the most amazing people I have ever met, she is warm, funny, caring and more than a little crazy. She is also very very attractive but alas allergic to moose meat – a great friend though, we have the same awesome personalities because we were both born on the 29th November.

Mary is like an older sister, quick to tell me off and point out the error of my ways but done with good intentions and done with care.

Liz was one of the first people I ever spoke to about depression when I came across the elephant in the room community and I have spent many hours in her wonderful company over the last 18 months. As crazy cat ladies go she is one of the best.

And there are friends that I have known all my life. Amy and Linda were a big part of my childhood, and happy times were spent around them when I was still waiting for my antlers to grow.

Paul and Karl are people I went to school with and hadn’t spoken to since 1995 but we have reconnected via Facebook in the last year and I am glad we have, both are great guys and I am pleased to call them friends.

Sarah is Brandon’s mum and a great friend, I can talk to her about anything and she will always offer advice and tell me what I did wrong :D

And this is just the tip of a big iceberg. I have a lot more friends than I realise. More than at any point of my adult life and although most of them are technically “online friends” that doesn’t mean that I value their friendship any less. Without the online friends my life would be a lonely place but they rally around me when I need a friendly ear or a kick up the arse!

now I am gonna go old old skool on you in tribute to my friends

 

 

Re-Educating Myself

I am starting from scratch again lately trying to remember what it is I can offer people and the world in general having gone through a stage where my confidence was shot to pieces by the actions of others.

It has been a hard journey!

Not only did I forget about my good attributes but I also forgot the steps I had taken previously in dealing with the black dog of depression, foregoing my recovery in the name of wallowing and self pity.

Self loathing, self hatred and general lacking self esteem are tools designed to keep you sinking further into the darkness but what makes it worse is when it is brought about by outside influences that really should be kept at a distance for the sake of your own sanity.

Talk to me, ignore me, pretend I don’t exist it no longer matters to me anymore. I have a fantastic support network who can now see through my acting but, more importantly, they allow me to come out of the malaise at my own leisure without adding pressure. There is nothing better than knowing that someone is content to sit and listen to you, allowing you to let it all out safe in the knowledge that they are not judging you and are genuinely caring about you.

Some people have had so much shit from me thrown at them and stuck to me like glue, whereas others have turned their backs on me, forgetting the good and using the bad as an excuse.

Fuck them is my attitude now, focusing on those who want to walk alongside me is the biggest change I have made recently as well as reaching out again to those people I know are having issues.

I am learning new techniques I use as coping and/or defence mechanisms which are not necessarily good things and need altering. It seems that when I am on the downward slide I tend to push myself further to reach bottom quicker, the sooner I hit bottom the quicker I can work back up again seems to the method to the madness but this means I tend to go from one extreme to the other often within a matter of hours.

Back to the drawing board there I think could be worthwhile BUT it does appear to work for me at the moment, although I would imagine it drives people mad, especially my Facebook friends with the changing mood status updates :D

For now I am seeing things very clearly, and remembering that Garry has lots of positive things, that far outweigh the negatives. I can offer lots to people if only I take that step back at times from the thoughts of being worthless and useless because it really is utter bullshit.

Self evaluation is a bitter task at times but one that really does need doing, it is vital to look at yourself and focus on what you bring to the table rather than allowing the depression to trick you into believing you are nothing but a drain on people and their lives.

What I am learning the most at the moment is that looking for answers is not the best option, I am now working on asking the right question instead of searching for answers that are not forthcoming.

It is not a case of “why?” or “how?” things have happened but more about “what can I do?”

I need to bring about changes myself rather than sitting back and waiting for it to happen naturally. By changing the questions I ask I can bring about a different direction and path for me to travel, be it alone or with someone to enjoy the roller coaster ride.

But more importantly I will be taking people with me who want to be there and that is the biggest realisation, that there are people who want to be there with me.

I’m happy now to wave goodbye to the people who no longer want me around, those who use me for their own gain when it suits them and generally every person who has let me down, because the confidence I have in myself as a person is returning. I don’t have to accept things as they are, I can do something about them and that is what I intend to do from this moment on.

People will always come and go, but the ones who stick around even after you push them away are to be treasure, others who give in and don’t want to be around you, for whatever reason, will only drain you and drag you down. Cut them out and move alone, surrounding yourself with friends is much better than surrounding yourself with people!

I am a good person, I have lots of qualities that are good but I am human and I do make mistakes from time to time, the thing with me is that I do not hide from my mistakes and try to rectify them, some people just want to focus on the errors and not the good things.

So if you feel upset by my mistakes but are not willing to accept an apology, or try to solve the problem keep walking away, don’t look back because all you will see is me heading into the distance and by then it is too late. I am no longer taking that backward glance or slowly walking in your direction.

I am confident enough in my own qualities that around the corner is someone who will appreciate me for me, and I have enough friends and support to not need people in my life who want to drag me down.

Cutting ties is not as hard for me as you may think…

The Case For Social Media

Social Media Depression – yep you read that right ever heard of it?

It is not something I made up honestly. Apparently it is now something that is being caused by spending too much time on sites like Facebook and Twitter and there are studies being done into it.

According to some of the sites I have seen we get depressed when our friends post “sunny status updates and photos of perfect children”

Bullshit!

What a lot of people do not understand is that social media is, for many people, the only form of contact we have with people because of our illnesses.

Here is one post about social media where it outlines what we should do to prevent us adding social media depression to our growing list of problems – what is social media depression

The following is taken from that article

Like most things in life, it’s a good idea to approach social media in moderation. The effects of obsessively checking social media accounts aren’t well studied, but research shows that the more time a person spends doing this, the more likely he will experience anxiety and emotional loneliness . So far, it’s believed that people’s addiction to social media sites is influenced by their personality traits — a fact suggesting that psychology may play a larger role than social media Web sites on their own.

To avoid what some refer to as social media depression, experts suggest resisting the urge to compare your life with those of other people in your social networks. Also, remember that online communication is very different from face-to-face interactions; online, body language and face-time can’t be used to prevent miscommunication. There’s nothing wrong with using social media to stay in touch, but consider talking over the phone or meeting in person if you’re not satisfied with your online relationships with others.

If social media is taking a toll on your mental health, don’t be afraid to talk to someone about it or contact a trained professional for advice.

All well and good but what if you cannot manage face-to-face interaction because you have problems leaving your home, what if there is no one in your life that you can have face-to-face interactions with?

From my point of view it is well documented by me that I have no friends in real life so am I supposed to just ignore social media and the opportunity to speak to people. What twitter and Facebook has done is introduce me to people I would never have met in the real world. I have friends from all over the world which means that anytime of day there is usually someone around for me to interact with.

I can’t rely on my family for any contact – by family I mean my parents and siblings, I speak to my nans and great aunt 2-3 times a week. I have not spoke to my father in 18 months and my mother a couple of times since May. My brothers and sister could not care less about me or my kids. So I HAVE to use social media to talk to people.

Not only is it a case of needing social media to have any contact with people it also helps me meet those with the same mental health illnesses as me which is vital because it is a great comfort to know your not alone in suffering.

Mark Brown, who writes for One in four a mental health magazine has written a great blog post about the virtues of social media which can be found here

I agree with his sentiments especially the last paragraph

If we want to stop the internet doom mongers judging us, we need to stand up and say: “Yes, I have a mental health difficulty.  Yes, I use social media.  And, you know what? It’s something that adds something great to my life not takes away from it.  And it’s not something that’s going to go away.” 

 

Sure I spend at least 12 hours a day on twitter and facebook but that time is spent learning more about depression from others point of view, socialising and helping others.

Would I be able to walk into a pub for example and announce “I have depression” and receive the same reception that I get from people on twitter. Of course that would not happen so before judging someone for the amount of time they spend using social media think about the reasons behind it.

For many people it is quite simply a lifeline and I know of people, myself included, who would not be here were it not for the kindness of stranger on these sites that send a positive message or words of advice or just a simple virtual hug.

So say it loud, say it proud I LOVE SOCIAL MEDIA and the friends I make on there keep me going through the bad days, unlike the real world people who wouldn’t know I was having bad times because they simply don’t care.

Social media depression? Don’t make me laugh! soon I suspect I will be suffering from depressed depression

Social media does not make me depressed it gives me a way of meeting new people from different walks of life and connect with fellow sufferers. Things like silly studies into mental health give me more cause for concern!

For those who don’t follow me on twitter find me here you can find me on Facebook here

 

 

Social Media and Me – Virtual Friends or no Friends

After a day of shameless self promotion yesterday, via twitter (@gjwilliams78 for those who wish to follow, see more shameless self promotion!) and facebook (http://www.facebook.com/garry.williams.94849)  I managed to reach 3 figures in terms of people who have viewed my posts.. Now I know 100 people doesn’t seem a lot in the grand scheme of things but to me it was a magnificent feeling knowing people took a few minutes of their lives to focus on me. Or of course the flip side of that made me wonder one thing, does the number of times I view my own blogs count because i sure must’ve refreshed a lot :-)

I was thinking about how big a part social media like facebook and twitter play in my depression. Do they help or hinder so I thought I’d share my experiences and together we can form a solution. Lets go back a bit into my past so we can see if maybe there is a reason I am so reliant on it.

As I mentioned before I was always a piss taker with a degree in sarcasm but I did always think at school that I was fairly popular, with a big group of friends. I used to go out 3-4 nights a week with my best friend Jack Daniels from Tennessee, sometimes his cousin Sambucca  would join us to really make the nights better. But alcohol issues aside having a child at 20 changed all day and slowly all my friends deserted me, or in a lot of cases I deserted them. I do not suffer fools gladly and tend to let someone disappoint me once before walking away from them, as my parents have found out but thats another story!

So one day about 4 years ago I got an invite from Amy to join Facebook so thought I would join and see what the fuss was about. I tried to reconnect with old school friends and found myself being ignored with friend requests – obviously I wasn’t as nice or popular as I thought. So I started playing this game called Mafia Wars and got hooked! Started playing everyday sending out 100s of friend requests to like minded fools who were as addicted as me to this game. I joined a family of people which meant I was making friends with something in common with me and started actually communicating with these people.

After a year in this particular group I decided to start my own family and become a Godfather! (to a mafia buff like myself this was great LOL). In September this family will be 3 years old and in this time I have become a virtual recluse rarely missing a single day on facebook to play mafia wars and interact with my new family which is 300 strong! Before the kettle goes on in the morning the PC is switched on to see what I may have missed overnight in my virtual world!

In “real” life I could honestly say I have 1 friend, besides my wife who is my best friend, on Facebook I am admired, respected and loved by people I will probably never ever met, barring that elusive lottery win when the party will be at my new mansion!. Who would’ve thought that my closed confident would be a grandmother from Texas who gives me motherly advice and a virtual clip around the ear when required! Someone I know if I need a talk, a moan even a vent I can message and expect her to be there for me when needed. Yet in real life I have no-one am I lonely in this aspect of life? Honestly yes I do feel alone at times I would give anything for a phone call one night saying “Garry want to go for a drink?”, aside from the fact I cannot afford a night out having the option would be great!

I am known as Paulie the Moose in mafia wars and spend my days alongside a mountain lion, chicks, dragons, dogs and a penguin who would have thought I would be so productive with my time! Does this make me childish that I enjoy this? Would my depression ease if I spent less time online? Or does this escape actually help? Most of my “friends” on facebook are on the other side of the pond and I find myself keeping their timezones just so i get their interactions.

I am still getting to grips with twitter despite being on there for 12 months. I mainly tweet about Arsenal but am beginning to change this. I have 250 followers but only about 4 people who have ever communicated with me. So what is twitter for? Is it a place where people seek validation based upon the number of followers they have? Is that what I am trying to do with twitter or even this blog?

Or am I simply using this as therapy? I would love to think someone has read my thoughts and recognised themselves in what I say and decide on getting help. Maybe thats my plan! To change the views of depression that its not a sign of weakness but something that a lot more people than we think suffer from. I was very pleasantly surprise by some comments and messages I received yesterday it made me feel good about myself that they could share things with me.

Another ramble over but I do have a question for you…

Why is it I told my wife about these blogs but have not let her read them?

Have a great day people! please feel free to share my posts with the world – ok I admit it I want validation too!
Garry