Guest Post – Mark

I have followed Mark for a long time on twitter and he is someone I have great respect for! I was delighted when he agreed to write a post for my blog and I hope you enjoy this as much as I have.

Music is helping Mark in is recovery and you will be pleased to know I have added his songs to the blog below.

This post may be triggering for some as it talks about suicide so please be careful if this subject may be too much for you… now over to Mark

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My story starts on Oct 17th 2001. The day my life changed forever.  I was working as a musician and working for a production company. I also ran 4 performing art schools for children. That day was a normal working day for me another gig another show. During that day we were on the road driving towards the venue when I was involved in a severe road traffic accident. I was a passenger and we were hit by a drunk driver coming round the corner at high-speed. That’s the moment the lights went out and one life ended and another life began. People were killed but I ended up in hospital seriously injured.  So began a long dark journey. I suffered broken bones and a brain injury. After months of recovery it became very apparent that I was not the same anymore. Headway got involved and so began the long slow process of starting life again and trying to recover only now it was different.  I suffered a frontal lobe brain injury. My emotions and everything about my personality had changed. I also found I couldn’t do what I used to do so on that day I had my life stolen from me. Another way of putting it is I was raped of my life. Months went into years and years. I was diagnosed with clinical depression PTSD and borderline personality disorder.

During the following years I attempted to take my own life on several occasions.  From taking overdoses to standing on a train track waiting for a train to come. The train didnt come. Once I was allowed to drive again I also drove to the lake district and took another overdose but some how I was found by the police and was rushed to hospital. We lost our house our cars are savings and most of what we owned .During this time I spent a lot of time inside an acute psychiatric hospital on a secure ward . I did not want to live any more because my life had ended as I saw it , I couldn’t earn the money I was earning and I couldn’t look after my family. My family went through hell my wife wanted to leave me and my children needed counselling. Such was the damage on our lives. During this time I was given a CPN called Kelly Perkins . She turned out to be an angel a saviour . I now owe my life to her. Along with many talking therapies  CBT and others. She along with Lyn Atkins another angel from headway kept us together as a family. Without their help we would not be together today.
Another problem I encountered was the lack of understanding from some family members. Often stigma is very close to home and  on one occasion drove me to another suicide attempt.

In 2010 we decided that the best thing we could do was to move to try and start again as everything around us reminded us of our old life. We moved from Bedfordshire to Dorset.  We settled into a quiet life by the sea. This was the first time I was trying to live a new life with some hope. Sadly during the spring of 2013 I suffered a relapse and ended back inside an acute ward. I was again suffering extreme anxiety depression and suicide thoughts again.
During my stay I found an old guitar and for some reason I started to play a bit again. This resulted in my wife bringing in my guitar.  I now found I had words and songs pouring out of me so I started to write and write.

During this time I had also started to become aware of Dorset Mental Health Forum. Somehow through my recovery this time I found a new purpose and that was that I had a passion for mental health issues and all the songs I was writing was about my lived experience , I had found a new voice and so I started to talk more openly about it. I was on a new meds regime and these were starting to work. I then found myself having meetings with Dorset Mental Health Forum. This led to me getting involved with something called Tea and Talking in conjunction with Time To Change leading to becoming a peer specialist for the forum now I had found a new purpose in life and that was to spread the message of recovery and to tackle stigma. I have been recording all the new material which is now nearly finished and will be available soon. Recently I was inspired to write a song for the Time to Talk campaign which I have done. I have also been asked to write a song for Blue Apple Hero’s about PTSD .
My passion and focus is now on raising awareness and sending out a message through music and speaking that recovery is possible even from the darkest place. I will live with what I have for the rest of my life but thanks to some great people and of course my wife who has suffered greatly  and family I move on to a new life, one that is wanting to see and help others who suffer . That’s my lived experience and I share it in the hope that it brings you hope.

Mark Storey

Mark can be found on twitter here

If you would like to submit a post for this blog please get in touch with me via twitter/facebook or email using the contact page

Antidepressant Withdrawal

I knew it was coming, that it wouldn’t be plain sailing. Despite people thinking, and treating me like I am an idiot I went into cold turkey with my eyes wide open expecting the worse but hoping that it wouldn’t be that bad.

And in all honesty it has gone a lot better than I expected…but the last few days have given me a big reminder that the battle is a long way from over.

As everyone knows – because I have had so much expert opinion sent my way… it is not advisable to just give up antidepressants and I am not advocating it for anyone, but it was something that I needed to do and in the main I am feeling a lot better mentally as a result.

There are some symptoms of Antidepressant Withdrawal that I am dealing with, so thought it would be a good chance to share with you how things are.

The following comes from webmd.com the full article can be found here

Symptoms of Antidepressant Withdrawal

Symptoms of antidepressant withdrawal depend on the specific medication you have been taking. Studies have not revealed factors that predict the chances of developing antidepressant discontinuation symptoms – including how long someone has been taking an antidepressant – although some research has found that discontinuation symptoms may be more likely in people who have had a more complete initial response to their antidepressant.

Symptoms most often occur within three days of stopping the antidepressant. They are usually mild and go away within about two weeks. Symptoms can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Depression and mood swings
  • Light-headedness
  • Dizziness and balance problems
  • Electric shock sensations
  • Fatigue
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Headache
  • Loss of coordination
  • Muscle spasms
  • Nausea
  • Nightmares
  • Tremors
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Vomiting

Currently the biggest issue for me is the Electric shock sensations which is irritating to say the least, as someone who has had a fucked up sleep pattern for years the trouble sleeping is a pain in the arse but one that I am used to but 2 out of 16 symptoms is pretty good and I will take it!

According to the article these should last for a few weeks from stopping the medication so as we approach week 2 of “cold moose” I am hoping they will soon disappear.

I have not had a single “dark” thought since coming off the medication..

The mood swings are not an issue, but what I am finding is that I am getting pretty frustrated with people lately, the cause for this seems to be that my bullshit detector has returned! I am thinking so much more clearly in regards to the attitude of people towards me and this is leading me to frustration. A crossroad if you will between giving people the benefit of the doubt or simply walking away from them, however I have spent the past few years accepting shit because I felt that was what I was entitled to…

Wouldn’t it be lovely if people were honest all the time instead of this game playing, bullshitting, say what I think you want to hear, selfish, need you when it suits me, talk to you when it suits me attitude so many people seem to be afflicted with…and breath

I can tell I am on the right track when people get offended, rightly or wrongly, by what I say and I couldn’t care less. I am actually sick of apologising all the time just for a quiet life. Do I ever get an apology when they are in the wrong? Of course not..

I want to surround myself with more positive people, people who want to bring the best out of me again. I would rather have 2 friends who pick up the phone, or knock on my door than have 100s of people who are passengers on the moose train. I have been very lucky this year to have already seen around 20 people in real life, not just connecting via social media.

Sadly some of them have moved on without me and as much as I miss a certain person I will not be reaching out to them, dropping me was their choice and I respect them for that, even though I don’t agree and if you are reading this (and 100% they know who they are) I hope you are well.

So with that in over…. I do have some good news

Operation Fat Bastard is a go..

I have rejoined the gym and cannot wait to get my winter coat off! Getting out the flat and back into the swing of the treadmill and yoga was one of the things I wanted to achieve for 2014 – so that’s one tick on the “to do” list

All in all I can’t complain too much, I am ready for the fight and feel like coming of the meds has thus far been a success. I am not naive enough to think the storm has passed and the black clouds will not try returning but I am confident that the future is looking positive because I am back in control.

Like it or not the Garry that I used to be is becoming more and more vocal and breaking though the barriers that depression had put in front of him…

 

 

A Friends Role is..

How do you define a friend? what role should a friend play in helping you with a mental health illness?

Are you like me and have high expectations of people because you act in a certain way and believe that you should be treated the way you treat others?

I ask because I am starting to wonder what exactly some of my “friends” bring to the table these days.

I like to think I am supportive, and can be called upon to pick up the pieces for a friend in need.

I seem to have lots of toxic friendships, people who seem to think letting me down is okay but worse of all is the people who seem to be able to dish out verbal lashings in the name of “caring”

Sorry but I call bullshit on this! and I am fucking sick and tired of being called stupid, among other things, because I want to try something else to get better.

Firstly if you did care like you proclaim you would already know I have self esteem issues and really do not take kindly to being called names

Secondly telling me I cant do something is akin to waving a red flag at a bull

and more importantly

if you are a friend you would fucking support me not wait for the time to say “I told you so”

I seem to have too many friends who only need me when it suits them but now I am thinking and seeing a lot more clearly and toxicity has no place in my life at the moment.

So put simply, the days of me chasing after friends and being the only person who actually makes any effort to communicate are in the past.

If you think something I am doing is stupid support me anyway because I can guarantee you that there are stupid things you have done during our friendship that I have been there and picked you up afterwards!

The sad things about this rant is that it is not aimed at a single person but quite a few

So my message is as follows

Support me or fuck off!

and now i wait for the people who assume this is aimed at them to go on the defensive… funny how guilt makes people react isn’t it……

Quick Update

I am still here, still struggling to write and still dealing with more shit than I can currently handle – as always most of it self inflicted but moose is still fighting and just about clinging on.

Things have been improving in terms of how I am viewing myself, I am starting to get my confidence back again, helped by actually having a sex life again! yep moose has found his game again and rutting season is in full flow…

Hard enough (pun intended) to believe that one person finds me attractive but even better is when its a few people

BUT even better than having a few admirers is when they actually come over and visit! So besides being worn out by “moose meating” (I LOVE this phrase, thanks Mary for coining it) and an attack of the deadly man flu I do feel fairly positive again.

So much so that I am actually driving myself mad by a lack of activity! I have no plans currently, all the things I wanted to do have had to be held back until September/October time in terms of courses. Financially I am fucked and cant afford to implement any of my other goals until I get rid of this huge debt I am paying off – for someone who has such bad credit how the hell these companies keep giving me loans I do not know! but 3 out of 5 are paid off and slowly but surely I am getting the others down… I would say I am currently on the bread line but I cant afford bread… Money and Moose is not a good mix at the moment but I am proud that I have managed to clear nearly £800 of debt since the turn of the year although the struggle feels never ending!

I have had some amazing moments of clarity the last few days and can start to see a bright future, once I get this fucking debt cleared! I am very grateful to a few people who I wont name who have kindly donated via this blog to help me out – you have no idea how much this has meant to me. The friendships I have made since I started writing have been wonderful and I am honoured to have you in my life as friends and “mooseketeers”

My down moments are actually horrendous at present BUT with each one comes a new strength and peace of mind as I can process all the issues that are holding me back. Stepping back and being able to look at things as an outsider is a real positive and one that came from this blog.

At some stage who knows I may even take the advice I hand out to people and use it for myself! but I am taking Janes advice and working on a list of things I want to do and although I am two months behind schedule this year I am already doing things this year that I havent done for a long long time.

I want to get more involved with charities this year and get myself back out there again, these four walls in my home are starting to depress the hell out of me, once this poxy weather improves I intend to make the most of the sunshine again. I have places I want to visit, friends far away that I want to annoy in person and dare I say it…find a new Miss Moose.

Today is the first day in a long time that I have felt able to actually sit here and write a post,  this is a good sign because I have missed blogging! It has helped me so much, made me grow as a person and I want thedepressedmoose to be more famoose than ever! I am starting to realise that the only person who is hurt by my hiding away is me!

The penny is dropping again that I DO have a lot to offer and now I want to strike while the iron is hot.

It also helped seeing my face on Mind’s facebook page! who doesnt love a bit of fame now and again!

Moose in his first modelling shot for Mind!

Moose in his first modelling shot for Mind!

 

what has also been fun is people actually interacting with me via my facebook page! I need to pay more attention to it and get people talking- after all its how I have turned many of you from readers to friends! drop by the page, like it and say hi! find it here

so much for a quick update! but was good to feel the writing bug come back again!

so tell me, how are you REALLY doing?

Operation Get My Arse In Gear Is All Systems Go

Despite the year starting as the last one finished I have now started the process of getting my shit together again and trying to move forwards, making up for lost time spent under a black cloud the past few weeks.

Today I went back to the Dr and finally told them how things REALLY are and what a struggle it has been, and still is to an extent. The great thing about doing this blog is that I can go back over the posts and spot the signs of when things are heading downhill so I am fully aware when the cycle changes from average to shit again. Okay maybe sometimes they are good too…

This week has been really positive in terms of shaping the future, short term at least because that is what needs concentrating on.

It is amazing how much the mood can turn when someone goes out of their way for you, my confidence has gone through the roof since miss cougar stayed. It was lovely to realise that I AM attractive and do have something to offer and that feeling of the shackles being snapped off in terms of the past few months was as much as a relief as knowing I do not have blue balls anymore…..

I have wallowed in low self esteem for too long, but in many ways I tend to force myself to rock bottom from time to time and I can be my own worst enemy when it comes to my depression. If I ever get of the fucking waiting list for therapy I will make sure this is explored further.

Speaking of therapy, surely almost 2 years of waiting is long enough? In that time I have had 2 “initial assessments” but the wait goes on.. something that I mentioned to my GP today.

I have a few ambitions for this year, money allowing and want to visit some places in the UK at some point. Once I get these poxy loans paid off I intend to start booking train tickets. I especially want to visit Newcastle as I have a HUGE thing for the geordie accent so would be in heaven up there. Bournemouth, Ireland and Liverpool (Irish and scouse accents are 2 and 3 on my list!) are also must see places this year for me. So any readers with a spare room and a love for jack daniels and cleaning up moose sick please get in touch!

As far as the loans go it is amazing how people with such bad credit get accepted in the first place but I have managed to clear 2 so far with 2 to go, I am touched at the people who sent me donations via this blog which were used to clear some of the payments off.  I am working my butt off to clear the others asap. Another example of being my own worst enemy. I am pleased that there is only one arsehole who tries to put me down via this blog, Asylum Heaven kindly fuck off with the comments they are trashed before approval anyway. Most people are not judgmental and understand  the issues I have are linked to my cycles of depression but for those who want to try and make me feel worse with your comments..I wouldnt waste your time because your comments wont be approved so you are wasting your time.

Things are improving day by day, I am in contact with more people and have had a few visitors to Moose Mansion already this year with a big one next weekend when a great friend from Ireland is coming to stay! It is important to have something to look forward to and I know she cannot wait to spend time with me :D

Being famoose does have it perks! I will be strolling into Macdonalds with her using the old “dont you know who I am?” line to get a free bigmac or 2, failing that I will be walking out with more straws than I will ever need, who doesn’t love a freebie!

While I remember I have a facebook page that you should like if you are on there – for no other reason than I am a numbers whore click here to find it and share with the world! I am also still looking for guest posts for this blog, on any subject about depression, how you deal with it, if you look after someone with depression, how you cope with a partner etc etc

I love being able to give people a voice and cannot recommend enough trying to write to release some shit from your chest, it has worked wonders for me time and time again so dont be shy get in touch and send me your words of magic!

As we leave January behind and enter February remember that the year has still only just begun, things can get better if we give ourselves a little time and not expect overnight change – hard as that can be at time.

Here is hoping that I can create plenty of memories this year to share with you, even involving some of you as well – what would be better than a mooseketeers get together in London at some point!  Imagine that we can all wear something moose related and take the big smoke by storm!

And if miss cougar is reading this….maybe you can work some magic on the antlers this weekend!

flaccid-moose

 

Moose Attacked By Cougar

Breaking news!!

Last night saw a lone moose attacked by a cougar in a shocking turn of events,

Trying as hard as he could to defend himself (yeah right!) and fight the cougar off (pppfffttt!) he eventually gave in to nature and was eaten alive – which he thoroughly enjoyed..

So nice to feel attractive and wanted again, even better to go to sleep with someone wrapped around you and wake up the next morning still with them.

Even better knowing moose meat can be put back on the menu for the ladies out there, and nice that the strings that were holding me back were cut to shreds at long last..

 

 

Internal Fighting, What Will Win?

It is kind of like the battle between good and the dark side, being pulled one side one day and to the other side the next!

It is draining me emotionally and mentally to the point where if I could switch off I would happily just walk away and not look back.

Heart vs head

Is there anything harder to try to separate? even more so when your mental health suffers as a result.

Where either consequence results in suffering.

It has been 7 months since Sheryl left and I still miss her terribly, the past few weeks has been hell because I have been dreaming about her almost nightly, same message albeit different scenarios. Bare in mind that over the last few years it is rare that I remember my dreams, yet each morning I wake up feeling like the dreams were real. This makes me feel disappointed, which sets me off on a down spiral again.

Then of course is the feeling that I should just forget about the whole fucking thing and move on with life, which is a lot easier said than done. Part of me feels the time is right to wash my hands of the whole sorry situation now, obviously as she wont talk to me, let alone see me it is what she wants me to do…. so why cant I?

There is something that still holds me back from making that last step but what is it?

Stubbornness? Love? Fear of what’s next?

Have not got a clue to be honest, dont know what to do next

What I do know is that the sooner this infighting stops the sooner I can concentrate on actually getting my life in some sort of order because right now this is taking up all my time, effort and energy just staying above water…

That being said, if all else fails….. some of you lovely readers must have a few single friends to send my way :D

 

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…

My Return…

You may have noticed a huge lack of blogging from me these last few months, even hiding this blog from you for a while.

That is because I have been busy doing a huge amount of thinking about what 2014 holds for me both personally and blogging wise. The last 18 months of this blog has been a huge part in my recovery but what I started to notice was that people were coming to me more and more for help with issues, then once I had offered an ear/advice etc I would not hear from them again and it was starting to drain me mentally and emotionally, so I took some time out.

Now I am ready to return to doing something that I enjoy albeit with a slight twist..

I want to step back slightly from the whole depressed moose thing, although keeping the moose alive and well in the process. Moose is a nickname I have had for over 5 years so it’s a part of me that I enjoy but I want to show there is more to me than depression.

I want you to see more of Garry and the person I used to be, the fun loving guy who enjoys a good drink, some karaoke and the company of people.

some call it bad singing - I call it entertaining.

some call it bad singing – I call it entertaining.

I have made some resolutions since the turn of the year and have stuck to them, all about increasing my positive thinking and focusing on the things I do have, the people in my life and not looking at who is not around anymore, who has let me down etc and thus far it is really working!

I feel positive and excited about what this year may bring and have plenty of plans to put into action. To the point that if plan A, B or C do not come through I have X,Y and Z to move forward with.

So while the domain name stays the same I hope that as well as posts on depression there will be a lot more to interest you, more humour, more positive posts and more experiences to be shared with you all.

Garry is all about the here and now and not dwelling on the past and it is really working well for me…

 

 

Seeing Through People

I lie a lot to people these days,

Its a big decision to make,

But to tell someone the honest truth about how you feel,

Is often more than they can take.

 

They might ask how you are,

but are they asking because they care?

Or a sense of obligation?

do they really want you to share?

 

I grit my teeth and show the world a smile,

To mask the real pain inside,

“I’m doing great”, “I am fine”

in fact I’m looking for somewhere to hide.

 

Yet survival comes naturally to me,

I CAN do this on my own,

So when you read about how down I am,

you can fuck off instead of moan.

 

I do not need people around me,

who simply drain my energy.

I’m moving forwards at my own pace,

In my own style unique to me.

 

I’ll take the risks that I see fit,

and watch the cards as they fall,

right or wrong this is what I want,

No challenge too big or too small.

 

I will find my way with friends by my side,

not stabbing me in the back,

Leaving behind the users, abusers,

and those who give me flack.

 

I am no longer here to help just you,

and neglecting the most important thing.

This is my life, my journey, My adventure

and I’m excited to see what the future may bring.

 

I have a few friends who see right through,

the lies that I occasionally spit out,

These are the ones I can turn to,

when there are times of doubt.

 

And for the others be aware,

that you’re being left in the past,

No more will I allow the hurt and pain you cause,

to stop this train from going fast.