7 days

Before you start singing Craig David or Sting songs – depending on your age I thought now would be a good time to update you on the Cold Moose Experiment.

A week medication free for the first time in almost 2 years, yes it was risky to do this and while I am aware that it is still early days I can truly say that I have not felt so strong mentally in at least 5 years!

The best thing personally is that I have spent some awesome time with Brandon. He has been away at his mums due to being ill but when we have been around each other we have laughed so much – it has been great.

I have laughed and smiled so much lately – forget that strange looking yellow thing in the sky everyone is asking about, the new phenomenon is the lesser known smiling moose currently doing the rounds of Woodford/East London.

I have been out and about the past few days, visiting relatives even going to the cinema. My stomach woes are currently gone! I feel like a normal person in terms of the IBS issues. The early morning spells of being locked in the bathroom being scared to leave the flat again appear to have disappeared. Now its worth mentioning that the IBS issues were a problem BEFORE the medication entered my life, but I am convinced the stress was as a result of the meds, the anxiety and panic attacks were as a result.

There has been a few problems since I stopped taking the meds – it is not all plain sailing

I have been having dizziness problems, especially when I am out walking. Not enough to make me lose my balance or worry – but every now and again I have to stop in my tracks for a few seconds. Hopefully this will ease as my body readjusts to “normality” in terms of a lack of chemicals.

Secondly is the return of the sex drive! this is not good when you have tennis elbow :D

On the plus side I may have to seriously consider moving to Canada – click here to find out why!

_73510716_moosesexbuttons

Anyone else out there willing to support moose sex? if so please wear one of these badges so I can identify you!

Any Canadian readers please find me one these badges! I must have one!!!!

I feel alive, I want to get out again – hit the gym again and keep this fighting spirit going.

It may have cost me some friendships but I feel like this has been the right decision – so far.

Long may it last…. if not then please let the sex drive stay! priorities are in the right order..

Hanging On…Barely

Well the black dog has returned bringing an army with it this time, black clouds, thunder, lightning and darkness not seen for a long long time.

The pretending and putting on a brave face only works for so long before the eventual breaking down comes and the longer the game of pretense the harder the fall.

So here is where I am at currently..

Stuck in the payday loan nightmare where I had to borrow to survive post xmas and now have to attempt to repay the monies borrowed – of all the shit that has come with depression the fact that I am so bad with money is the biggest and most demoralising issues for me. For the next month I will be surviving on pretty much fresh air and handouts..

The other main issue is the fact that I am so  eager desperate to reach out to someone and remind them how I feel in the hope that the feelings are going to be reciprocated, even though I am 100% sure they are not… thankfully each time the long email/essay has been written I have yet to send it (thank fuck!)

Hiding away from the outside world because I just can’t face going out again – even though I am in need of a full-blown alcohol induced night out! but I have no one to go out with let alone money to spend on it.

My IBS is playing havoc with me again, I had a great friend come visit me yesterday and sadly for him he got an insight into how bad my stomach can be on days like this – a sure sign that I am highly stressed out/ anxious

I feel like I have to just get on with pretending to be alright because people expect me to be by now!

On top of this I received a letter from Atos with the dreaded medical form enclosed so lets look back at how things have gone since my last medical.

In Sep 2012 I had a lovely woman from Atos who did my medical (and yes she has probably been fired), who gave me 18 months to get my shit together, which I was doing up until the last six months…

I have lost my closest ever friend to cancer, my marriage broke up and I still don’t know the ins and outs which causes more issues, I attempted an OD, I am STILL waiting for therapy despite being on the waiting list for nearly 2 years and the GP I had so much faith and confidence in left leaving me with two new doctors to start building a relationship with. I am yet to feel like I can fully confide in both the new GPs so when I do see them its all about smiling and pretending to be fan-fucking-tastic..

Honestly I feel more like breaking down than carrying on at the moment and the more I try to fight this shit the harder it appears to be getting.

Thank God for Maria who comes round and gives me a hug from time to time because virtual hugs do not just cut it despite the well-meaning intentions…

It has been a long time since I gave in and let the tears out but at the moment I just can’t seem able to, why I do not know but maybe I am slightly worried that once they start they wont stop. If someone would only offer me a shoulder and an ear..

I am getting to the stage where I am well and truly sick of having to type about things via social media when I would rather talk about things..

So if you ask me how I am and I say OK, don’t be upset that you know I am not being honest, just know that I need more than the virtual right now…

sdrawkcaB gnioG

My recovery has gone backwards over the last 10 days or so to the point where I could actually spot all the warning signs and have moved quickly to work towards stopping the slide.

Friday I went back to the Dr and spoke to my new GP for the first time. I didn’t want to give her too much information as she is new to me and doesn’t know my background – losing Dr Dhanji is a huge blow for me because he could tell within seconds how I was actually doing before I even told him.

I had been two weeks medication free and thought I was doing well, I WAS doing well if I am honest, BUT I could see little things happening again that were giving me reason to be concerned that the spiral was starting again.

It started with an innocent question from someone “how are you REALLY doing?” and 10 minutes later I was still opening up to her, someone who doesn’t really know me outside of her professional capacity yet I opened up the dam and couldn’t plug it. She asked if I was okay because suddenly I was shaking and emotional, almost like a panic attack…

Mentally I had been feeling much better and improved, but emotionally everything that has gone on over the past 3 months have taken a toll on me and obviously in hindsight coming off the meds was not the best idea at this time – please no told you so’s!

Losing Mrs Moose has been like a death to me, trying to accept her decision and move on, let her go, has sent me back into a state of grieving that I did not fully prepare myself for. Let alone not seeing Elizabeth everyday, when I do see her it breaks my heart because I have to let her go again. We play a game where I light a candle for her and she has to blow it out and make a wish, every time she does this her wish is the same “I wish mummy would talk to daddy and come home!” – hearing that coming out of her mouth hurts plan and simple!

I’m losing friends at the moment as well, some because I have pushed them away, others because they have backed away and it all adds up to more rejection, which then feds the self esteem demon that plagued me for years.

My sleeping is causing a problem as insomnia has returned which in turn means I am sleeping during the day again – something that I worked bloody hard to eradicate as I know this was an issue for Sheryl in the past.

IBS has also returned which shows that i am stressed, I had managed to control this for a month or so and could actually go out in the mornings without fear of accidents – that is not the case anymore.

So welcome back sleep issues, IBS, stress and anxiety…. bad enough I have had to cancel my gym membership as money is so tight again, so add hermit back to the list……

BUT SOME GOOD NEWS….

I caught it all happening BEFORE it escalated and prevention is much easier than the cure. The fact that I have asked to, and been put back on anti-depressants does not make me a failure. It means I was aware of my symptoms to the point that I could ask for help before I ended up back in the clutches of depression and can start again with my recovery.

As I have said before, asking for help shows strength not weakness and at the moment I am happy to admit I need more help than I thought, and now I have it!

The thing with recovery is that you need to be able to go at a reasonable pace and unfortunately for me I went straight into the fast lane before I was fully ready.

I need to make changes, want to make changes but I need to make sure that I can walk properly before sprinting off into the distance and that is a lesson I have learned the hard way…

So back to the start of my recovery with more experience and a better idea of what to expect. The important thing is to be proud that I spotted the signs before they got too bad.

 

especially for any runners behind me in the races

Why Do You Share EVERYTHING?

A question I was asked earlier today based upon a tweet I sent.

IBStweet

 

As I walking home from the shop earlier today I was lucky enough to shit myself!

So why tweet about it? share it on facebook? and blog about it? after all it really is a bit of a shitty subject isn’t it!

Who really wants to hear about someone who’s life is ruined by not being able to control his bowels?

But what if there is just one person out there who has the same condition and can’t talk about it with anyone?

what if they see what I have written and it makes them seek help?

This is why I hold nothing back on my blog. I want to be able to help someone.

Embarrassment does not keep me awake at night, my issues are all brought about by my own criticisms of myself.  What people think about me is not a factor in my mental health because I can guarantee that I think less of me than anyone out there.

Regular, and older, readers of this blog know I talk about issues that a lot of men dare speak about. From erection problems to bowel issues if I suffer with it I will share it because all it takes it just one person to get the ball rolling and suddenly it is not so taboo.

I would like to think I have earned respect from people as a result of my openness , in almost a year of blogging I have never received a negative message from anyone about the subject matters I write about.

What is embarrassing to others is, unfortunately, everyday live for me. Depression and the stigma attached to it is nothing compared to the suffering of IBS. All the blood tests and other tests have shown that I am not intolerant of foods and that it’s all stress/anxiety related, yet I carry on regardless because I inspire to help other people. Where I let myself down is post accident where I let my confidence suffer and get drawn back down.

My concern comes from the runs (yes in more ways than one am I concerned by runs!) I have to do this month. Not content with the Bupa 10k run on 27th I have also signed up for The Superhero Run a week earlier. What if I have an accident on the way round the course?

Well thank God for my sense of humour!

I may just order this t-shirt from vistaprint to cover that eventuality (I designed it earlier!)

especially for any runners behind me in the races

especially for any runners behind me in the races

So if you find a post on here that you find embarrassing, remember that it is something I have to deal with. If I have to suffer than other people are suffering as well.

This Moose is an all guns blazing kinda mammal and deep down I suspect you would not want me any other way!

pizap.com10.89937271876260641367249715750

Losing Weight and Feeling Great

Okay I admit it I was wrong about this whole exercise thing!

I am starting to notice the rewards for my effort in the gym and I’m enjoying my time there. I am getting known by the staff there and starting to interact with more people.

My IBS had been playing up last week so much so that I only went on Monday so when I walked through the doors again yesterday it was nice to be asked by the staff where I had been and how was my training going.

I pushed really hard during my workout yesterday and it was a nice feeling to have the sweat pouring off me knowing I was working the hardest I could physically without causing any damage! I am painfully aware of my limitations but have felt the need to up my game slightly so that I can get maximum reward for effort and I have felt the difference in my mental health as a result of exercising regularly.

It’s more about the fact that I am out of the flat more often than any endorphin’s released through exercise. The level of support I receive from people online also contributes massively to my mental health as it is great to know people are willing you to succeed.

I finally managed to wake up early enough to attend a yoga class at gym today.

Early enough, in fact, to spend 30 minutes on the treadmill BEFORE the class!

I am hoping having a good ole stretch of muscles will ease the pain in my knees and am proud to report that I did not fart and did not follow through despite being in some father “interesting” positions.

The downwards facing dog has been rechristened “the dead moose” but I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the class and will be attending on a regular basis all being well! I am so proud of myself for trying something like this which is completely out of my comfort zone – but one complaint I have is about the amount of mirrors! I look like a beached whale, so much so in the suggestions box I posted the following

“can we get the mirrors from the funfair that change your body shape!”

not sure its gonna happen LOL but one can try.

I am also pleased to report that I was actually told today “your losing weight!”

The fact is I have now lost 1 stone (14 lbs) but to have someone else acknowledge it felt great! It certainly inspires me and gives me added encouragement to know that people are noticing the changes in my body.

 

Besides this I am feeling confident enough to pose for some photos and we all know I love a semi naked moose photo or 4!

pizap.com10.85590695962309841367249486574 pizap.com10.89891882520169021367249364035 pizap.com10.89937271876260641367249715750pizap.com10.484507626853883271367249584744

I get bored easily and that is never good when there is a camera around :D

IBS and Me

Thankfully I can find the funny side in my situation and it certainly helps get me through the bad times.

With that in mind here are some pictures which best describe the past few days in my world.

cheeseontoast

it all started with a craving

cheesevolcano

and then the inevitable happened

bigroll

not sure this will be enough

record

gotta be worth a shot hasnt it?

ringoffire (2)

no words needed!

of course IBS is no laughing matter. It is ruining my life!

It’s Bloody Shitty if you ask me! (see what I did there? genius I tells ya!)

Not much brings you down more than spending most of the day rushing to the toilet! Thank God I didn’t have to go anywhere that day of it could have got very messy.

Now I just need to find the number of someone at Andrex to see if they want to sponsor this blog!

I can see it now…

who needs a cute puppy when you can have me!

who needs a cute puppy when you can have me!

17th April 2013 017

Nature, Science, Music, Friends and a Happy Moose

Yesterday I went for another meet up in London with some friends. Facebook friends for years but we had never met in person and I was delighted when Nicholaus sent me a message telling me he would be coming to London and would I like to meet up with him. As a couple of other friends worked in the area I messaged them and we arranged for them to join us as well.

I left home 3 hours before our planned meeting time and headed to South Kensington tube station excitedly as I had a brainwave to visit the Natural History Museum beforehand. I still have fond memories of a visit there when I was 10 or 11 but hadn’t been again so I was looking forward to roaming the walls of the building again.

Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum

 

The building itself is stunningly beautiful never mind the exhibits just the amazon architecture blows me away.

As you walk into the building your greeted by a dinosaur

The diet had worked a bit too well!

The diet had worked a bit too well!

There was also an exhibit of some massive antlers! imagine the size of the beast who wore these things..

Too big even for my massive head!

Too big even for my massive head!

I really was in my element wandering around, ipod on, lost in the wonders of the museum.

Taking photos of the building as much as the exhibits, especially as the lighting in the place is not great for photos but I did at least try! David Bailey I am not!

17th April 2013 018

The ceiling of the museum

17th April 2013 019 17th April 2013 017

Having spent a good hour and half around the museum it was time to meet Nicholaus. By this point I was buzzing, the museum really helped relax me and when Nicholaus arrived, after getting the hour later train then having a power cut at Victoria underground station LOL we headed to the Science museum.

I am more interested in natural history than science if truth be told so much preferred the Natural History Museum but must admit to being devastated at the price of a decent moose hat in the shop! But £12 for a novelty hat is well outside my budget! heck that would have cut into my Big Mac fund :D

Next we headed to the Royal Albert Hall

Moose at the Royal Albert Hall

where we were joined by the others

Moosetagnon and the 3 Mooseketeers

Moosetagnon and the 3 Mooseketeers

 

The beer was great and the conversation even better – easily the best day of the year for me! I had an absolute blast meeting with these friends for the first time. I really do best in social situations like this! despite my miserable bastard persona at time I love being around people and this was such a wonderful day!

A day of culture for the moose – who’d a thunk it!

And as the day was so good I rewarded myself on the way home

17th April 2013 100 17th April 2013 101

However someone forgot to take his IBS tablets for the day and the day was almost ruined whilst trying to find 30p to use the toilet at Victoria Station! THIRTY PENCE! honestly what a joke to have to pay to use the toilets, but thankfully I made it JUST in time.

Luckily for you guys I decided against photographing the aftermath but if I had taken a picture it would have looked something like this…

why I MUST take my IBS tablets

why I MUST take my IBS tablets

 

I really cannot recommend enough making plans with friends and getting out and about! It always makes me feel on top of the world to be around people who WANT my company and want to be with me. Living on the border of East London means it is only 25 minutes to the West End for me and I really enjoy heading to London  for the day to socialise!

The rewards of the struggle to get out are so worth the trouble – if you get the chance to make some plans do so! make some if you have not already I will happily meet people at any station in London for a day out! This is the 4th time this year I have managed to meet people! Im bloody proud of myself for this and already making plans for the next meeting.

London is waiting for you and the Moose will be your guide if you need it. I am fairly cheap, normally a beer and a MacDonald’s will keep me happy and I guarantee it will be worth your while!

You will even get a depressedmoose.com business card for your troubles and they are priceless, and by that I mean I did not pay for them :D

yogamoose

Reflecting on yesterday

Not just yesterday as in Monday but all my yesterdays, when times were happier and simple.

But lets start with the big news from yesterday

I know what your thinking, Margaret Thatcher died, but that’s not the news I was referring too. The big news was that the moose went streamlined and removed lots of hair!

Haircut – check

Shave – check

Chest – check

Back – check

here is the proof

new streamlined moose

new streamlined moose

now if this does not make me run faster then I am afraid nothing will! It’s nice to finally be out of my winter coat!

After 4 bad days I actually made it out the house for longer than the 10 minute walk for cigarettes and headed over to the gym for an hour.

As expected once the black clouds had reappeared I found it difficult to leave the house and go training. despite the proximity of the gym. Although in my defence the more depressed I feel the worse my IBS is and I couldn’t risk any accidents on the treadmill. I spent most of these days laying down in bed feeling sorry for myself, it really is one of the things I hate most about having depression! The constant need for attention from people and the self loathing I suffer as a result of not getting any. It is never a case of people being busy in my eyes it’s always about people rejecting me and I struggle to cope with this ridiculous way of thinking because I know that’s not the case.

Recently I have been having the same dream, and it is rare that I even remember dreams let alone the same one each night.

In my dream I am 19 years old, it’s a Saturday and I am sitting in the dressing room of my football team enjoying the usual pre-match banter before getting changed and heading out onto the pitch and playing the game I love, pain free, injury free and carefree. My brother David playing alongside me, which usually meant me and him shouting at each other but don’t anyone dare try and foul him because I’d be there like a rocket! After the match we have a drink in the bar before heading home to get ready for a night on the Jack Daniels and coke. As I leave the house to go out bang I wake up!

every night for the past 5 days! even in my dreams I don’t get to go out anymore!

I guess it is a case of me wishing I could go back to the last part of my life when I was 100% happy with every aspect of things. I have mentioned before that having to give up football in my early 20′s has probably played a part in my depression because for the last 10 years I have had no real outlet to take my frustration away.

At this moment in time I cannot think of one thing that seems to be going right for me!

I am trying to push through the pain at the gym but there is a fine line between bravery and stupidity, bravery is signing up for a 10k run – stupidity is ignoring doctors advise and going through with it! but then I have not always been one to listen to advise!

I am conscious of the dangers I am posing to myself by pushing through the pain but feel like if I don’t at least push myself then there is no point in being there in the first place! However I do step off the treadmill when the pain changes from an ache to an “oh fuck my leg is gonna fall off” kinda pain.

In terms of my mental health benefiting from the exercise then to a point it is helping IF I can get over the feelings of anger/frustration that my body is letting me down! It would also be better for me if people were a bit more friendly within the gym environment. In the 10 days since I have been going I am yet to have someone say hello to me!

I am going to a yoga class this morning to see if that can help with the knee injury which my doctor believes is muscle related rather than the joint. This should be interesting as I have very little flexibility and am more likely to shit myself than get in any funky positions! Here’s hoping the IBS medication has kicked in before the class starts or it is going to be messy in more ways than one!

yogamoose

 

and on top of all the things going wrong for me lately tomorrow I have to attend the funeral of my great aunt who died last week!

And if I can make it through this rough patch I can make it through many more!

Gym Meet The Moose, Moose Meet Exercise

Having signed up for the gym on Monday I have completed 4 sessions this week so far. I woke up early again this morning and was in the gym by 9.10!

That’s almost 3 hours earlier than I would normally wake up so progress is being made! In fact most of this week I have been waking up early and actually doing something positive with my days.

Although £30 a month membership is quite a big chunk of my benefits (especially once the new changes come into effect) I am pretty sure the positives of being active, socialising and actually leaving home with outweigh the downside of more financial struggle. I will probably make the money back by not eating so much shit as I try to get myself back into shape!

Funny how people are so obsessed with having a six pack when I should be shouting about my 26 pack I currently have! surely seeing as 26 is much higher mine is more impressive?

The photo below shows just how far I have to go in order to get to the gym so I would appreciate a round of applause for making the effort just to get there! Bare in mind I am usually knackered by the time I get there :-)

Follow Black Line for walk to Gym

Follow Black Line for walk to Gym

Okay so maybe I can’t use the excuse that it is too far to go! But the plan is to take Lilybet to nursery and then hit the gym on the way home for an hour or more (knees permitting!)

They say exercise is good for depression but from my point of view it doesn’t help YET!

Allow me to explain

My knees are fucked! so far 7 minutes is the amount of time it takes before the pain gets really bad on the treadmill but I soldier on…

7 FUCKING MINUTES!! im only 34 for the love of God! I should be able to not suffer pain after 7 minutes WALKING on a treadmill! – This makes me depressed

I cannot do the things that I used to find easy! – This makes me depressed

I’m the fat guy at the Gym – This makes me really depressed

I am terribly conscious of the state of my body even worse because of the fact that I was a footballer once upon a time! now I look like a football. Seeing the posers strutting through the gym does my head in! “Hey look at me” walking around and not on any machines just strutting lol

And yet I am going to enjoy this little experiment of going to the gym and trying to get healthy! The great bonus is that I can count how many calories I have lost and reward myself with a Big Mac!

Moose getting ready to hit the treadmill!

Moose getting ready to hit the treadmill!

 

I spend too much time worrying about the here and now and not the bigger picture. Obviously deep down I know that I cannot walk straight back into a gym after 8 years and do the things I used to be able to! But that is not how my brain and depression work.

“You can’t do it you’re a failure!”

“Give up the pain is too much”

and many other phrases my mind uses to try and get me back home and under the duvet!

Trying to work through it all brings its own rewards though and the knowledge that for the past 3 days I have been on the treadmill for an hour at a time makes the pain worthwhile!

Just over 5k in an hour! a good start for a fat moose

Just over 5k in an hour! a good start for a fat moose

 

so although at the moment exercise is not great for my depression the future looks promising once I give myself time to see the results of the work I put in. Then I can deal with my body issues and feel pride in the effort I am making.

This is assuming I can stick to this once the bad cycles makes its inevitable appearance! Things are much easier to do when your feeling up.

That two minute walk from home to the gym could be the best little walk I have made in years!

And as always, if I can do this then so can YOU! meet me at the treadmill! I’m the guy with St John’s Ambulance men on standby.

The other good thing about the location of my gym is that we are in The Only Way Is Essex (TOWIE) land so if I am wearing shorts and the IBS kicks in and I have an accident I can simply say that my fake tan has smeared down my legs :D

 

Nothing

Zero, zilch.

This currently best describes the following

  • energy
  • enthusiasm
  • motivation
  • creativity
  • willingness to do anything besides crawl back into bed!

I feel empty, useless and worthless all rolled into one bundle of miserable bastard.

AND I HATE IT

Thankfully the need to spend hours on the toilet has subsided for now so I no longer have to fight with my onesie to get it off before my EAS kicks in. EAS is my own diagnoses for IBS – it stands for Exploding Ass Syndrome! Thankfully I do not have any images to share with you!

I woke up today at around 2.45pm and could quite easily stayed in bed all day were it not for people unknown kicking the bed waking me up, and even after around 10 hours sleep I still feel exhausted and drained!

I guess its the usual case of the down cycle coming after the excitement of doing things last week and now I have nothing to look forward to again.

I try reaching out to people but I am the first to admit that I wait for people to message me rather than me message them, I guess it comes from not having the patience to wait for a reply LOL but then there are people who I reach out to who simply ignore me and that makes things worse. So if I haven’t messaged you don’t take it personally it’s just that I don’t think people want to hear about my depressing life!

Fingers crossed things start looking up soon before I start spending all day in bed!