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

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

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

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

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

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

Our sponsorship page can be found here

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

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

Right Said Moose

Today I sent a tweet to the lead singer of Right Said Fred, Richard Fairbrass, directing him to the post where I changed his song “I’m too sexy” into “I’m Too Depressed”

Click here for a reminder of my genius on that particular post

Anyways I was both surprised and delighted to receive a reply from him!

my twitter conversation with Richard Fairbrass

my twitter conversation with Richard Fairbrass

 

He also retweeted my blog to his followers as part of my competition to win a signed copy of my book so the delightful Life-on-the-edge has won the copy of the book

Meanwhile I am heading to the barbers to get my right said fred haircut then waiting for Mr Fairbrass to agree to being a backing singer for the new single :D

 

The Case For Social Media

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

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

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

Bullshit!

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

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

The following is taken from that article

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I agree with his sentiments especially the last paragraph

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

The Amazing Support of Strangers

It is a strange thing to accept when complete strangers offer you so much love, support and understanding than what you get from family and friends.

Twitter and WordPress are becoming so much more than just a place to be heard for me lately and I find so much support from people that at times it takes my breath away.

Is it a simple case of being surrounded by people with the same issues as me so they are more supportive because they understand more? They have been through the difficulties I experience and are more willing to share ideas or kind words to help?

It is so nice to see someone tweet about how bad things are and watch when people rush to respond in a positive light, it is like being part of a true community. You can write anything without the fear of judgement from friends safe in the knowledge that others will offer you words of encouragement because they know exactly how you feel. On Facebook I get little response if I write about how bad I am doing but this is not the case on twitter or WordPress. Although I have more “friends” on twitter and wordpress, my facebook account has around 180 friends but only 5 or 6 people who talk to me on a regular basis, and that is fine with me.

Twitter has been so much fun over the weekend, making new friends with people who follow me because of this blog. Do a search on twitter for #famoose and you can see a game a few of us played changing films titles, song titles and tv shows to include the word moose. I really had not laughed so hard for such a long time it was one of the best hours of my life for the longest time!

I hope I continue getting to know people on twitter better because some of these people really make me laugh, special mentions to the following who are top top people!

@bearhelp

@debbyfdenny

@stuckinscared

@lifeontheedge2

@st_jimmy_77 – inventor of #famoose

@minitashy

but there are many others who are always in my list as people who retweet links or are the first to reply to any tweet I send.

I thought I was doing something wrong on twitter but suddenly it is becoming a lot more fun for me than Facebook

It appears that people with mental health illnesses really do look out for one another and I for one love it!

Twitter Tips needed

I am not convinced I am using twitter to maximize the possible exposure to this blog so would like some tips from other folks please.

I see some people spend all day tweeting all their followers with links asking for retweets is that the way to do it? or is it better to just tweet once and hope people pick up on it?

Reason I ask is that I get annoyed when people tweet me their link when they have never even had a conversation with me and I would feel like a hypocrite if I started doing the same thing. Even though I do that to “celebrities” for a possible retweet but hey thats what they are on twitter for right?

And don’t even get me started on people who send me a DM with their blog links as soon as I follow them. Again am I missing a trick here and should start doing the same thing?

How do you use twitter to your advantage? I would love to know because I am very bored and need to do something today :D

The Kindness of Others

I have to admit every so often I am amazed at the level of support I receive as a result of writing my blog.

The amount of kindness shown to me today regarding the review, which ruined my day, has blown me away.

There is nothing so sweet as receiving messages of support and thanks from strangers and it makes me so proud that someone has taken the time to do something like that to show me support.

I have spent my day stalking celebrities on twitter to drum up some publicity for my books and blog but alas they are not helping me out, anyone would think they get lots of requests like this :0)

Patch has gone to a new home tonight, I feel bad for having to let him go but my health has to come first and now the dog has gone my cat has reappeared from her hiding place and is all over me. This is much more like it as I have always been a fan of pus... cats (sorry could not resist- giggles)

And at 9.30pm my phone rang and it was Dr Dhanji on the phone thanking me for all the kind comments I have said about him, he deserves the praise he is a top man but for him to take the time to phone me speaks volumes for him as a person!

To everyone who has commented, rated the review as unhelpful and offered me support it really means a lot to me and has helped me immensely.

I will keep up my good work if you keep up yours!

Social Media and Me – Virtual Friends or no Friends

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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