I’m Back…..Here’s Moosey!!!

I hope you have been reading and enjoying the guest posts that people have been brave enough to write and share with us all. I feel very proud of myself for giving people a place to share they experience of depression and other illnesses both from a sufferer and a therapists perspective and hope there will be more people coming forward with their posts.

Click here for a link to all the guest posts.

So what you been doing Moosey? I hear you all cry

The truth is, not a lot really. Apart from Monday when I met with Gary Dart, a Facebook buddy of mine for about 5 years! He also happens to be one of my best supporters of Facebook and is a proud owner of one of my books! (and that is a select club).

He was someone who was also deeply affected by the death of Teresa. In November last year I received a package with lots of gifts from various friends in America and there were 2 key rings sent by Teresa for me, as I knew how close he was with her I offered to send him one of the key rings and he decided we should make a day of it and trek round London.

It was also a great opportunity for me to gain a form of closure on my grief for Teresa as together we planned to light a candle in St Margaret’s Church, next door to Westminster Abbey, as it was  one of the list of places she wanted to see when she was planning to visit me.  I could feel her presence as we lit the candles and I said a little prayer and it really did help lift my spirits, I know she would appreciate the gesture.

She was also affectionately known as “Donut” so we each ate a donut in her honour!

donuts

Following on from Central London we were lucky enough to have been given a free tour of Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, which was awesome for me being a gooner!

After a long day of walking around London with Gary I headed back home absolutely shattered but spiritually uplifted having had a great day with a good friend. I have said it before and I will say it until I am blue in the face – nothing beats making plans with friends and getting yourself out of the home for a day! If you haven’t done it for a while please make some plans and go visit some sights, have a cuppa or do anything that breaks up the normal routine! Hell I will even meet you in London, if you are lucky to have a copy of my book like Gary was I will even sign it for you :D

We even found a wonderfully named pub. Now I have my dreams of being famoose and I have been called a prick on plenty of occasions so the photo below is perfect!

The Famoose Cock!!

The Famoose Cock!!

Gary I salute you Sir for spending the day with me, despite my moaning about my knees LOL

Speaking of moaning – I had to spend 30 pence to use the toilet! 30p!! Talk about taking the piss :D

People with a history of IBS related accidents do not have time to find the change machine and put coins into a turnstile but thankfully there was no messy ending!

Get making plans folks I promise you a day out will make a big difference for you!

 

Revelations, Insights and a Good Telling Off

I finally got to see my Dr having not seen him in an official capacity since October. Three months is  a long time in my world and a lot has changed in terms of my depression since then as well. When you walk into his office and he says “whats happened, you don’t look your usual self?!” then you know its been too long since you saw him.

We talked about my weight issues, knee issues and depression issues and it was great to unload it all. I am lucky to have a good GP. I have spoke before about how helpful he is, there is a new system in place for appointments at the surgery that means you have to phone at 8 am to try and get seen. When I explained to the receptionist that the only time I see 8 am is if I have not slept and that it would make it impossible for to get an appointment she emailed the Dr and asked him to call me. As is always the case when your expecting a call you end up not answering the phone in time but Dr Dhanji then called me again 20 minutes later to make sure he could speak to me and arrange an appointment. This is how good the man is!

Anyways lets get back on track..

On 18th December I picked up my monthly prescription of antidepressants, 28 tablets. It is now 1st February and I still have 5 tablets left that should have been finished on 15th January. This goes a long way to explaining my current mood as obviously I am not ready to come off the tablets yet. It has not been an intentional thing not taking the pills it has just happened, cue a nice telling off from the Dr and one ashamed looking moose!

Lesson #1 from me to you: Don’t stop taking your tablets unless the Dr tells you – forgetting is not an option!

I spoke about my current grief issues with the Dr, and with a friend on Facebook last night when it suddenly hit me why I am having a hard time over the passing of Teresa. When my uncle died I had expected it based on what had happened to him in hospital so I could prepare myself for his death, and although I did not handle it particularly well I did at least expect it to happen. With Teresa it happened within 2 weeks of being diagnoses and was so fast it came as a bolt out of the blue and this is why is has knocked me for six.

Lesson #2: for God’s sake talk about things!!

In terms of my dealings with therapy for my depression etc here is the current situation..

As we know I couldn’t attend my last appointment with the mental health team due to an IBS related accident on the way. I called them and left a message on the answer phone informing them I couldn’t attend so you would think they would reschedule an appointment for me, did they bollocks! Instead they have written to my Dr informing them that I DECLINED 2 appointments and that they do not think I am suitable for them. Meanwhile the counselling service I was referred to in July have told the Dr that I need to be seen by the Mental Health team and not them so I’m left in between the 2 with no one looking out for me!

Lesson #3: Don’t shit yourself on the way to the mental health team and expect sympathy!

I am now back to monthly appointments with the Dr to make sure I am taking my tablets properly rather than him giving me 3 months worth of prescriptions which is probably best for now, assuming I can get an appointment in a months time!

The Dr is also going to refer me to some sort of weight loss/ exercise program to try and work on my knee issues and is not impressed that I am planning to do the 10k run in May. “No you are not” was his response LOL but we shall see, people have sponsored me already and I feel obliged to do it :-(

New month, forget crappy January lets see what February will bring! fingers crossed that it brings a change of luck!

Struggling..

The past few days I am finding myself struggling again.

I know things are bad when all I want to do is sleep again which is where I am at at the moment. It is not sleeping at night though, I am sleeping most of the day which means I am awake until 4-5 am.

Besides 3 visits to the vets this week I have done nothing all week!

Didn’t even make the training day for the time to change event next weekend which was held Thursday.

I am thoroughly bored of everything in my life, sick of playing the same damn Xbox game, as I only have one.

Sick of always being tired.

Sick of having no motivation

Sick of being in pain 24/7

I need to start my training for the 10k run in 4 months but I can’t run without agonising pain in my fucked knee.

The best way to describe how my knee feels is like it is hanging by a thread. Imagine an elastic band that has been pulled and is slowly tearing, that is how my knee feels just walking let alone the additional strain of attempting to run!

It seems the more I try to do to improve my health, the worse I make things!

And worse of all is that I cannot turn to Teresa for her words of comfort, support and wisdom and it is really hurting me.

Even posting new photos of Lilybet on Facebook gets me down because I keep expecting her to comment, or I am waiting for a message to come through from her. Endlessly refreshing my messages especially around midnight my time as thats when we would speak most of the time.

I know its only been a couple of weeks since she passed but it has hit me hardest the past week. I feel guilty for feeling so much grief because I feel selfish that is has affected me so much when I was only a friend online as opposed to her family who are suffering much more real pain. But I cant help it it has torn me up inside.

I guess I just became too dependent on her and now I feel like I have no one to turn to, especially in terms of sharing my innermost thoughts.

So tried exercise, doesn’t work

Tried writing, cant write anything!

Tried helping others, I am probably not much help at the moment.

Tried taking my mind off things by promoting books, my freebie day did at least ensure 75 copies were “sold” so hopefully it may increase sales of other books but I doubt it.

SO what else is there to do?

Seems like wallowing is the answer but I sure as hell hope it doesn’t last long as I can’t afford to wallow in self pity as I will end up in a terrible state – just when I thought I was on the mend!

The thing with depression is it allows you to think you’re doing great then it comes back and kicks your backside all over the place!

Death and Depression

Dealing with depression is hard enough with the ups and downs that come with it but nothing can cause a slump quite like the death of someone close to you.

The hardest part of coping with the loss of a loved one is the range of emotions that death brings. Anger, sadness, frustration and the constant questioning of whether you could have done more whilst that person was alive are all doubled when depression kicks in, especially if you was already on a downward curve.

That is how depression works though, it waits till your most vulnerable and strikes. Where you think you are strong it pinpoints the exact place where it can hurt you the most and the trick is to try and fight back, or at the very least hold on to something that can stop you being swept away by the tide.

Easier said than done though isn’t it…

When someone dies it is so easy to find yourself sinking. Mourning the loss of someone takes your attention away from your own issues and while the distraction can be welcome at times, it can also cause you to miss warning signs that are usually right in front of you, signs that would let you know that the bad days are returning.

The following information comes from Bereavement Advice Centre and can be found here

 

The effect of grief

 

At times you may feel overwhelmed by the emotions you experience and some of them such as anger can take you by surprise. Grief is the normal response to the loss of someone we love and many people experience numbness, periods of intense weeping and sighing, anger, anxiety and apathy. Some people may find they have difficulty sleeping or lose their appetite.

Everyone’s reaction to grief is unique, and different people in a family may experience different emotions, even when they are mourning the loss of the same person.

Some people find trying to keep to some kind of daily routine helpful but this can be very hard when there is no longer someone there to make an effort for. If your life partner or a parent or child has died, every time you have to do something for the first time without them is very difficult.

This emotional pain is normal and is not a sign of mental illness although sometimes people who are grieving do also become depressed. If you have experienced mental illness in the past do not hesitate to seek help from your GP if you feel you need it.

Often many of us are able to put on a brave face to people around us except those we are very close to (especially if we have to return to work), but it helps if there are some people we can be totally honest with. This is when organisations set up by people who have been bereaved themselves or by people who have training to help them understand the experience of grief can be very helpful.

Over time the less bad days do begin to outnumber the really bad days although this may feel impossible to imagine at the beginning. Many people find inner strength that enables them to come through this experience still very much missing the person who has gone but able to remember them and enjoy life again.

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Here is a little Moose tip for dealing with the loss of someone..*

Celebrate the life they had, the impact it had on you. Spend less time on feeling sadness of their loss and more on being grateful that they were in your life in the first place.

It is okay to mourn, to feel sadness but they would not want you to slip back down to rock bottom.

Remember the times you laughed together, the special moments you had between the two of you.

Regain your strength and use their memory to inspire you to recovery.

* Just because I have given that tip it doesn’t necessarily mean I am following my own advice!

Above all else though the best thing you can do is TALK about that person, share your memories with others who are grieving. Holding everything inside is a one way ticket to an explosion of emotions that will overwhelm you and that can be harder to cope with than any feelings of grief.

A person may have moved on to another place but their spirit can be kept alive by you! By talking about that person you are more likely to share happy memories which will make you smile.

Now if only I could follow this myself…..

 

 

 

Only Words

and yet I cannot seem to get any out. Struggling to write anything worthy.

I have a trash bin full of attempted posts and nothing published for a few days because it doesn’t meet my standards (yes I do have standards for my blog before you ask!)

I could do without being at square 1 again after what had been such a good period but alas life likes to throw curve  balls from time to time.

I thought now might be a good as time as any to make an appointment with my GP so walked to the surgery to book one.

It appears now you can’t pre book appointments!

You now have to ring at 8am to try and get seen that day which is perfect for someone like me who normally only sees 8am if I have stayed awake all night!

So I explained this to the receptionist who took my details and said he would pass them to the Dr but that was around 3pm yesterday and so far I have not been contacted yet.

I am trying to speak to him about physical ailments not just the emotional issues I need to speak about so hopefully I will hear tomorrow because I could do with getting my health sorted out sooner rather than later!

This year I had good intentions but the recent developments have set me back a long way. I am taking time to grieve for Teresa but I can’t keep sliding back downhill she would not be happy if that happened. I have been touched by the support of people on twitter and facebook it has meant a lot to me and it has been amazing to read through all the comments left for Teresa on Facebook. She touched a lot of peoples lives in a lot of countries around the world.

You can judge people by the depth of feelings they create in others, I wonder how I will be remembered when it’s my time to go…

By the way as an example of how hard writing is at the moment I started writing this 8 hours ago!

A post is better than hiding away isn’t it regardless of the quality surely it a start at getting back on the horse?

RIP Teresa

Teresa my friend from Texas sadly passed away last night.

Without her love, support and friendship over the past 3 years I would not have survived.

She helped me deal with the loss of my uncle and it was her who encouraged me to start this blog, write poems and publish books.

Teresa inspired me.

Teresa guided me.

Teresa always listened, never judged, never preached. Somehow she always had the answers but never gave them directly to me, she would just show me a path and wait for me to find the answers myself.

Teresa was like a mentor and a mother.

Teresa was the nicest person I have ever “met” in my life.

Sometimes people come into your life for a reason and I firmly believe (and Teresa told me numerous times) that she was in my life to send me onto the path of writing.

I will miss her terribly, the tears have flowed this morning.

We spoke almost daily for 3 years, spent new years eve talking together in 2011 and 2012. She knew me inside out, she was my rock. She gave me the strength to fight depression instead of being smothered by it. I knew if I had anything on my mind she would listen and advice.

I feel numb, I have lost my support.

And yet I know she will visit me in spirit, continue to guide me along with my uncles.

She did not suffer she was not in pain and she will be overjoyed to be with Jesus now, her faith was astounding and she helped me reconnect with God.

A new angel arrived at Heavens Gates last night, our loss is Heavens gain.

A remarkable woman who blessed me with her friendship I will never forget you Kitty.

One day we will finally meet!

Everything I have achieved with this blog is down to Teresa, she encouraged me (sometimes demanded) to write

Sweet dreams Teresa you were loved by many, especially me!.

I will continue my work helping others in your memory!

Garry Meets the Mental Health Team

Today was my first appointment with the mental health team at Goodmayes Hospital where I had an initial screening appointment with a Community Psychiatric Nurse (CPN) following on from a referral by my GP.

Initially they discharged me without talking to me because my PHQ9 score had gone down from over a period of 6 weeks, despite it having increased since then so as you can imagine I am not fully confident using this route to begin with.

Apparently they even referred me to a local counselling service but 2 months later and they haven’t been in touch either so as far as I am concerned it is not a great start.

I arrived 25 minutes early and had to sit in the waiting room with the sun beating through the windows making me sweat even more than I do on an average day but thankfully they called me at bang on the appointment time where I met the CPN who invited me into a cold unwelcoming room. Not even a desk was there just four chairs, 2 on each side of the room.

For the next hour and a half I sat there and told everything about my feelings and past history while he took notes, and more notes and then some more notes.

It was nice to be able to unload some stuff BUT I am not convinced he was the right person to be telling it too. He seemed to be more focused on the death of my uncle than any other aspect of my depression. I told him that it was one of the main triggers that gave me suicidal thoughts but if I am honest I got the impression he just seemed convinced I was grieving rather than anything else, despite me telling him that the feelings have been around for years.

He also suggested that he doesn’t think I am bipolar but as he is not a psychiatrist he couldn’t make that diagnosis (why bleeding say it then?!!)

Anyway end result is that he has referred me to see a psychiatrist and suggested that I attend counselling to try and rid me of “low self esteem and low confidence issues”

And so the wait to unravel the mystery of the depressed moose continues for while yet…

And in all honesty I left wondering why the hell I bothered!

How Do You Say Sorry When It’s Too Late

18.30 30th June 2011

The phone rang and I knew who it was and what the call was about before even answering. I was shaking with fear, unable to speak properly as I pressed the answer button on the phone.

“He….ll….o” was how I managed to answer sounding like a man who had not only swallowed glass but was having it slowly pulled back out from his mouth piece by piece.

“Mr Williams?, This is Dr X from ICU at Whipps Cross Hospital your uncle does not have long left you need to come down now if you want to say goodbye!”

Over a year later and I can still remember that phone call vividly, reaching for a cigarette I thanked the Dr for the call and tried desperately to light the cigarette and stop the tears that were waiting to explode out of my eyes. I couldn’t cry I did not want the kids to see me in that state and so eventually I managed to find the strength to get dressed and head into my new found hell on earth.

I stumbled down the stairs alone with my thoughts and the tears flowing rapidly, racing to the hospital which although only 5 minutes drive away seemed to take forever to reach, every traffic light was red, every car was slower than normal. Trying to compose myself I found a place to park, paid the meter and made my way into the hospital. Pressing the buzzer to gain entry into the intensive care unit took all the strength I had, the temptation was to not go inside but to run away and pretend this was not happening.

The voice on the intercom asked who I was and when I explained she let me in and asked me to go into the waiting room. Twenty minutes I was forced to sit there in silence before someone came to see me, 20 minutes spent reflecting on how things had come to end like this. Anger that I could not do more, or enough to stop this from happening, anger at being let down by the very place that was meant to save him, anger that the medical professionals who I had turned to over the past 2 years had done nothing except write another prescription, admit when the ambulance was called to his flat (on numerous occasions!) and discharge as quickly as possible without looking deeper into the problems.

Finally the nurse came to speak to me and informed me that I was too late, that my uncle had passed away. He was 76 years old, not really old in today’s terms is it? I did not get the chance to say goodbye to him, to thank him for everything he had done for me, to tell him how much he meant to me and to say sorry for not doing more.

His health had declined over a 3 year period due to Diverticulitis and depression, the latter being the biggest problem as he had been on medication for years and years! For the last years I was, for all intents and purposes, his carer and was there 5/6 days a week, especially towards the end where I had to do everything for him as he could not find the strength to do it.

During this time he was admitted to hospital on an almost monthly basis and each time we was told that there was nothing wrong with him, that he was not in constant pain and that it was probably more psychosomatic than real pain. Imagine how that must of made him feel.

He felt like he had been deserted, that no one wanted to help him and that he was being passed from pillar to post because nobody believed his pain was real. He did have a lovely, understand specialist for his Diverticulitis who he was comfortable around and could talk to without feeling like he was mad but this specialist died suddenly of cancer and my uncle was once again stranded between doctors and units not communicating with each other.

His GP was no help, despite being the “Mental Health Specialist” in the surgery. His idea of helping my uncle was to just write out a prescription and make him come back 2 weeks later. My Uncle couldn’t sleep but he wouldn’t give him sleeping tablets on a regular basis. He was weak, exhausted and losing weight yet no one tried to work out why he was any of these things! Looking back now it makes me so angry that I was not more forceful with his GP but I did not know any better.

Things started getting so bad that soon my uncle was losing his voice and could barely be heard when he spoke, again never investigated. I was getting phone calls at all hours from him desperate for me to come over and keep him company, he even threatened to take all his tablets if I did not go. I told his doctor about these threats and even told the staff at Accident and Emergency about my concerns with his mental state and what did they do? Send him home that’s what! Who was the next of kin they called to collect him? Me that’s who! It got to the point where I would not answer my phone or return their call until the following morning so I knew he would be looked after and I could at least get some sleep!

He was barely eating so I used to get him food from the supermarket and even bought a microwave to help him cook easier but unless I cooked the food for him he would not eat. He got so weak he could barely get out of bed so it was no surprise when I got a call from him saying the new tablets his GP gave him were making him light headed and dizzy.

Then one day he rang me to say he had fallen in the night and when I got to his flat he was laying in bed with a gashed head so I called an ambulance and he was taken to hospital once again. A cut head that needed stitches that was all he went in for….He never came home!

So here is where I get angry, confused and riddled with guilt. How can he go into hospital needing a head wound treated and not come out alive?

He picked up an infection in the ward he was placed in as I had requested a weekend stay for him as I was unable to be around for him and there was no one else to look after him. So that was not strictly true as I was around that weekend but at the end of my tether with the whole situation and was hoping for a mini break from the stress I was under. I guess I feel guilty that he caught that infection because I couldn’t handle the pressure of another weekend of dealing with him. I had my own demons to deal with and selfishly tried to deal with them leaving him alone in a hospital bed!

The infection caused him to have a heart attack and he was then placed into a coma as he kept trying to remove the tubes that were helping to keep him alive. He was placed into the intensive care unit and had to have a tracheostomy so was now unable to speak and was being kept alive by ventilators. I had to talk to the specialists about resuscitation and make the decision if it came down to it! The Doctor I spoke to was a gentleman though who put me at ease despite knowing the state of shock I was in and assured me a decision would be made based on “quality of life if revived”

I saw him on the Thursday before he died (29th) and sat with him for a couple of hours trying to tell him how worried people were, how much we missed him and how we needed him to be strong and start fighting back. When the time come to leave I said goodbye and that I would be back the next morning. I have gone over the look he gave me before in other posts but I knew then that he had given up and was using his eyes to say goodbye to me.  He was in hospital for around 2 weeks and I had visited him every day sometimes twice a day so he wouldn’t feel alone, even though he wouldn’t have known I was there for most of the times I hated the idea of him waking up and someone not being there for him.

That brings us back up to 30th June and the phone call.

The last words he spoke to me were “Come round please Garry, I had a fall in the night and need you”

The reality is that I had done everything that I knew what to do, I was not as well versed in depression as I am now and could not fight for better treatment as I did not know what was available for him. I did get him some help in the form of care workers who would go around to him in the morning and afternoon but he would refuse to let them in his flat.  “They are not helping me, they don’t care” was his argument heaping more pressure onto me. Now please don’t get me wrong I loved helping him and being there for him but some days I could not deal with my own battle, which was still invisible to the outside world, and his health problems.

Did I take on too much? In hindsight probably but he did not have anyone else so what could I do?  

Imagine then having to call people and inform them of his passing away. Ringing my Nan, his sister, to tell her that her youngest brother had died broke my heart in ways I could not even try to explain! I was numb I could not go home yet. I went back to his now empty flat and sat there for a few hours with a neighbour of his and tried to gather my thoughts. Just sitting there gave me a form of comfort in a strange way and did help me but I knew there were a lot of things to deal with now, arranging the funeral, clearing out his flat and dealing with his finances. That in itself is another story for another day maybe but not as hard as all of this!

I have never spoken about a lot of this to anyone and I suppose in a way I am still grieving but I feel more anger than anything else because now I know I could have done more.

That is why I wish I could say sorry!

I take some relief from knowing he is no longer suffering and in a better place but I can’t help but feel it could and should have been prevented.

As a tribute to him, and another uncle who died in 2000, I got a guardian angel tattoo on my forearm so I can feel like he is always besides me, looking out for me and trying to guide me on the right path, whatever that may be.

My tribute to my Uncle

 

And the moral to this tale of woe? Don’t ask me “what do you have to be depressed about?” unless your ready to know one of the reasons in all its glory.