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

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!

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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..

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..

 

 

500…

followed-blog-500-1x

 

500 followers of this blog is quite an achievement and I am extremely proud that so many of you want to read my moaning, depressing stories :D

I hope (okay I KNOW), that I have helped some people with my experiences and I am so grateful to all the new friends that have come into my life as a result of this blog. People from all over the world, even some in my home town of London have become firm friends and without this blog I would never have met them.

So thank you for putting up with me, supporting me and reading my story without judging me. There has only been one person who has “trolled” me in the whole period of this blog so I know I am fortunate to have so many good visitors to this site. Keep the comments coming I enjoy reading them, and wish I got more to be honest.

It is heartwarming to be at the end of such support and long may it continue. The more people (especially men) we can get talking about depression the less stigma we will face and we can continue to educate the ignorant…

Thank you!

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 47,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 17 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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…

 

 

Mission Accomplished

I did it, I made it though Christmas unscathed. Obviously as you are reading this so did you!

I took time away from blogging yet the creativity has been bubbling away like the good old days where I could write and not care about how people perceived me.

I have suffered from no ANT issues despite spending the majority of the Christmas period alone. I needed it to be honest with you. I wanted to prove to myself that I could survive on my own again and it was a test that I passed a hell of a lot easier than I originally anticipated.

Of course there were times when the going was tough and I needed someone here, but I kept myself busy and rode through it all with the help of some great people who give and take when it comes to our friendship.

The kids had a great time and have been spoiled rotten, however it has come to my attention that I am indeed a spoilt bastard so I was very disappointed in my lack of presents this year. I could go on about bulging sacks but thats enough of my lack of a sex life for one day…

I have quite a few plans for next year and despite some already going tits up it simply meant I could add more things to do rather than dwell on what might have been, I intend to fulfill as many things on this list as possible and add some more along the way as things develop for me.

I would like to say that I have developed a thicker skin over the past few weeks but on closer inspection it appears to be more turkey, stuffing and roast potatoes than anything else. On the plus side there is more of me to love…

Good times are just around the corner and I will make the effort to go and search harder for them rather than wait for them to find me.

I feel positive about the future and have finally released people, and demons, from the past..

You cant hurt me anymore, I just faced the toughest challenge and sailed through. Everything else from here on in will be a breeze

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.

 

Ending The Chapter…

This will be the last word on this subject until I have something to report in terms of an outcome. It has been  suggested that keeping something inside is preventing me from starting the new chapter in my life and I wholeheartedly agree.

There are things I have wanted to say but held back, things I needed to confess to help explain but more importantly I need to use my writing as a way of closing the chapter to enable me to find the strength to move on.

Let me make this clear before we begin, I love Sheryl still and would love to have her come back. This has to be something she wants though because I am done with fighting a battle that is not winnable currently.

However the five months since Sheryl left have been hell for me, as the time has gone by and I found myself getting better I made me want her here so that we could go out and enjoy each others company, have a drink and a laugh being Garry and Sheryl and not Mum and Dad. Then when the darkness came back it made me realise that I needed Sheryl to help me climb out of it.

There is difference between wanting and needing someone, and at my worse I NEEDED her to look after me, mother me in many ways. This is not good for a relationship but it was the illness not Garry. I have loved Sheryl since the first time I laid eyes on her, I knew she was the one for me. I wanted her, wanted to be with her and wanted to make her happy but the neediness depression cursed me with destroyed that.

I was guilty of treating her terribly, neglecting her needs and making her feel inadequate. I have to live with that fact. I could not provide for her emotionally, expecting to take not give. I spent too much time doing things on my own and not as a team, not involving her.

I was ill, although this may not be an excuse in some peoples eyes, believe me the depression has changed me in so many ways.

I stopped being the man she married.

I have held on to ALL the blame for it going wrong.

I completely understand why she left, although I do not know the reasons fully.

However

There are two sides to every story and it takes two to work on or break a marriage.

When you are rejected nightly for years and not allowed in the marital bed it will give any man self esteem issues, it ate away at me and is a big reason behind me being the way I am now, in terms of confidence.

When you are constantly checked up on, to see if you are doing things you shouldn’t be, it causes resentment.

When you have to question if you are loved, something is not right.

I can walk away knowing I tried, boy did I try, to reconcile. I never wanted to lose Sheryl but in her own words “don’t bother fighting – It’s over. This was said 3 days after she walked out.

Now as my friends will know, I do not believe you can stop loving someone overnight, sure you can fall in and out of love with someone – that is why it is important to keep working at relationships – but to suddenly feel nothing? sorry call me a fool but I don’t believe it. Be that as it may I have to accept it and can’t keep sitting around waiting for reality to catch up with her. I have to let it go for my sake.

The last time we were physically together was in August and she couldn’t say it was over to my face. The proof has to be in her actions as she wont look me in the eye and say words.

When I took my overdose I text her to tell her what I had done, no I dont know why but when you reach that point you do not think clearly, she did not once try to contact me to find out if I was out of hospital let alone still alive.

That is not the action of someone who loves you.

I have held myself back for too long now hoping for a miracle and now the time has come for me to stop kidding myself.

This is the end of that chapter we shall refer to as “The Breakup” let me now start working on the next phase because I have some plans and changes in mind that will, eventually, see me improved in many areas.