And it will be ok eventually

It’s ok and perfectly understandable to be struggling right now. Lockdown is a new experience for everyone. To be going through a whole range of emotions, thoughts and feelings each and every day is to be expected but you know that it will be ok eventually. This is not forever but a “new normal” to coin an often used phrase.

I miss my friends, my kids, the structure and routine of working. That chance meeting with someone that could be the start of a new friendship or relationship.

Working in a pub means I get to socialise and have interaction with so many people and is a massive part of the job that I love, yet it may still be a long time before I find myself behind the bar again. The restrictions will be on going even once we are finally allowed to reopen.

I thrive of the interaction with people in the pub, people who have become friends who tolerate the bad jokes, potty mouth and occasional (in reality more often than not) inappropriate behaviour that makes me tick.

However, I’ve got a lot of time on my hands which means no excuses when it comes to reconnecting with people. I’ve messaged more friends recently than I have in a long time and rebuilt bridges that had been burned long ago.

Take the time to send a message, pick up the phone and connect with your friends. Reply to messages, nothing worse than reaching out to someone and being ignored. If I message you, I’m taking the time and making the effort to show you that I consider you a part of my life. If you choose to not reply that silence tells me everything and will mean that I wont do it again..

I’ve lost too many people to death over the past few years and some I wished I had messaged sooner, more often. Life is short, cruel and without friends and loved ones we have nothing. This new normal could be a chance to reignite friendships, an opportunity for hatchets to be buried and for a bright new future with new experiences.

Its one of the positives I’m taking from this lockdown and keeping the belief that it will all be ok eventually….

Reasons to be cheerful. Cala Millor

In 2018 I was finally dealing with the fallout and damage from my past relationship and needed to get away from reality for my own sake. I hadnt been overseas since 1998 so was pretty unsure about going away, especially as it was going to be as a solo traveller. Those that know me in real life will know that once I get an idea in my head it’s pretty hard to change my mind. A holiday abroad was what I wanted and that was what I was going to have. The question was where, I’d already booked the dates off work as annual leave so the only thing left to do was pick a destination and fight my anxiety about doing something different.

I set my heart on Majorca, I’d been to Magaluf on my last holiday when I was young enough to still throw some shapes and not pull muscles and put out my back.. so that rules out the busy nightlife part of the island. So with a limited budget I went for an all inclusive deal in Cala Millor, what followed was a life changing experience.

I’d never been away on my own, it was a huge deal being stuck with myself for a week but it taught me that I could be on my own and deal with negative thoughts, demons and self loathing and come through a better, happier person.

I went back last year for 10 days and overcame targets I’d set myself from the year before. Thankfully finances this year didnt allow me to book for summer 2020 as fate would have it, it was never gonna happen anyway but the plan is to go back next summer and sit, chill and enjoy my little piece of paradise.

Here are my favourite photos from Cala Millor for you to enjoy…

Coronavirus thoughts and guest posts #2

The second contribution to my request for guest blogs during this pandemic comes from an unexpected source. I reached out to her personally and asked her to write as I know she is still working incredibly hard as a carer/support worker. One of the wonderful people we clap for on a Thursday night.

Debbie has been a great friend for the last 7 or 8 years and is a huge supporter of this blog so it’s an honour for me that she gave up some of her precious time to write for me and you.

A gentle reminder if you would like to write anything about how this lockdown period is affecting you please contact me via facebook, twitter, Instagram or email direct at thedepressedmoose@hotmail.com.

Over to you Debbie, and thank you once again…..

Lockdown for a Support Worker

Day #7264869, or whatever time, day, month or year it ACTUALLY is!!

I am a Support Worker, supporting adults with learning disabilities and autism, so I still have to go to work, just the same as I did before the lockdown.
I work in a community that has supported living houses and flats, and I work in a house where there are 8 vulnerable adults living there, all with different needs and personal challenges, all cooped up under one roof. As you can imagine, it can be a bit chaotic on a “normal” day, when people have the routine of workshops, day centres, 1-1 times out shopping, etc, never mind in lockdown, when this routine has abruptly stopped!!!

For a lot of the people we support, they lack the full capacity to understand WHY this has happened. As support workers, it is our job to go to work and try to keep them focussed and positive and occupied, in a time when we don’t have the answers to the questions that they keep asking…

”When can I go and see my family?”,

“When can I go and do my own shopping?”,

“Why can’t I go for a drive out to the seaside/cinema/pub?”

It can be very difficult, and when you are on long shifts, sleepovers or night shifts, and you get these questions SEVERAL times each shift, by each person we support, it can be very emotionally draining, but, we keep our “professional” heads on and try to explain it for the hundredth time, in a way that will pacify each person. (For a short time, anyway).

BUT….When we go home, how do WE cope with the sudden change in everyday life? How do WE keep positive and focussed, when all around us is uncertainty? I live alone, with only my dog as company, as my kids have flown the nest and have built lives of their own, for which I am immensely proud. After all, that’s a Mother’s job, isn’t it? To teach her fledglings to fend for themselves? Job Done!!!!!!

When the lockdown was first introduced, I was like, “Well it’s not going to make a difference to my routine. All I do anyway, is go to work, come home, walk the dog and do my shopping, and I will just be doing exactly the same!”. And I am really comfortable in my own company, so it won’t affect me……

Here we are, over a month later, and YES, my routine is still the same; YES, I am still comfortable in my own company; BUT….I am not allowed to pop and see the kids, nor are they allowed to pop and see me. 😦 I still, very briefly, and from a distance, see my eldest daughter and her husband, as they take care of my dog when I am on long shifts, so we do a “poochy handover”, but, it’s not the same.

I NEED to hug my kids, feel them close, kiss them, spend time with them for a catch up, and it is THAT which I am really struggling with!! Some days, I sit, and my mind goes into overdrive, as I am sure it does with a lot of people, and I end up with a train of thought that takes me through dark tunnels…

What if the lockdown continues for a LONG time?

What if I take ill at home, on my own, unable to raise the alarm?

What if something happens to one of my kids, and I can’t be there?

This is what scares me, raises my anxieties. My kids are my life, without them, I have no purpose. I need them. I think, in all honesty, these thoughts and feelings have always been there since my final fledgling flew the nest, but I could go and see them when I wanted to, and this was my safety net. That safety net has been taken away, and I now realise that going to work, keeping that routine, has become my new safety net.

When I go to work, I don’t have time to overthink, I am too busy. When I go to work, I get the social interaction with others. When I go to work, I have some ‘normality’. I am VERY lucky to still be able to go to work. I am VERY lucky that it only takes me 15 minutes to walk to work. I am VERY lucky to work in such a beautiful community, in such beautiful surroundings, and to be able to go for long walks with the people we support, whilst remaining inside that community.

This is what keeps ME focussed. This is what keeps ME positive. This is what helps ME to do my job properly, knowing that the people we support are safe, happy and busy. I know not everyone is in such a privileged position, and I have realised that, if I couldn’t go to work, MY mental health would deteriorate rapidly!! So I am so very thankful to be a Support Worker…..

Reasons to be cheerful. The kiddies..

Rather than focus on the darkness I thought now would be a good time to look at things that make me happy, make me smile and are a wonderful addition to my life.

Ladies and gentlemen I give you..

Brandon and Elizabeth A.k.a Lilybet

Two wonderful children who are blindly loyal to Daddy even when he is a bit shit and not as good as he should be.


And my favourite ones when the 3 of us are together. The photos below are 2 years apart
I cannot wait to get out of lockdown and see baby moose and little moose for a carvery. Love you both.

The trouble with me

Being stuck indoors gives me plenty of time to lose myself in my thoughts, as someone with low self esteem that’s not always a good thing. Its all to easy to be unkind to yourself and find fault in every aspect of your appearance and characteristics. This isnt some sort of pity party whereby I expect lots of compliments to be thrown back at me, but more of a brutally honest self analysis and reflection of how, right or wrong, I view myself because how we see ourselves isnt how others do…

Firstly I need to accept that I’m no longer the man I was, by this I mean that despite wishing I was a young attractive man in my 20s I have to accept the reality of being in my early 40s, heavier than I’d like to be and far less of a catch than I’d like to admit. I have a huge issue with my weight but not enough love doe myself, let alone discipline to do anything about it. That’s before factoring the issues with my knees, the recent fibromyalgia diagnosis has helped to a degree with this as it’s not just “in my head”

The fact is I would love to be more active, i was a footballer in my younger days yet haven’t kicked a ball in a decade. I try exercising but it comes at a cost. The tough mudder, the 10k runs etc were huge achievements for me but they were followed by weeks of intense sleep depriving pain. I work in a pub full time 5 days a week of 8 hours being on my feet cripple me beyond words at times but I do it because I have to have that routine and structure in my world. My colleagues and the majority of customers keep me going and I’m grateful that I work with some great people.

But still the person I see in the mirror daily is not the person I think I am. I dont recognise him. I’d love to look at myself and not be disgusted by the chins, the grey hair…the old man looking back at me. If you asked me the one thing I like about me it’s my green eyes..even they are tired, drained and dont bloody work properly. Dont even get me started on wearing glasses, never liked them and never will. Yet I struggle with wearing contacts as my eyes dry out quickly, I am noticeably more confident wearing contacts.

When it comes to my weight its been a struggle for the past 10 years or so, linked to the real start of pain that made me have to give up playing football on a Saturday, if you play on Saturday and cant walk till Wednesday then what is the point? and that’s where I found myself.

Mix that in with being a comfort eater and it equals a bit of a mess to say the least. When it comes to food I have very limited likes, oh to be precise im a fussy bastard. I’ve never even had a curry in my life! Throw me some crisps and chocolate and you have a friend for life, try throwing me something green and healthy and ill possibly throw it straight back.

I made the mistake of weighing myself today, the scales are liars dirty liars!

Since lockdown I have gained 7 lbs and as of today I weigh 17 and 1/2 stone 245lbs! thats not quite the biggest I’ve been but in those days I was heavily depressed and barely left the bed let alone worked full time like I do now. Does it make me want to eat less? in theory yes but then the chocolate and crisps started calling me again..

So as you as can tell physically I have one or two issues with myself. Despite that I still live in hope of meeting someone who makes effort with me and will help me becomes a better person. Encouragement is key, effort is key and just a bit more patience is required because fundamentally, beneath the flaws I am fucking awesome. I just need to see it again

But therein lies the trouble with me, if you are what you eat…. I’m a bar of dairy milk and a packet of walkers crisps

Mentally a lot of the demons have long since gone, baggage carried eventually becomes a part of you no matter how hard you try, especially when you have been through traumatic experiences. I have no issues with my personality traits, others might have but that’s a whole different blog post in itself. I’m crude, I’m offensive and very near the line at times but that’s part of the package that is the moose, or Garry if you prefer (I answer to both)

A friend recently told me to not give up on finding someone, it’s been nearly 6 years since my last date. I may not tick a lot of boxes these days but I’m worth a risk. At the very least a bit of effort…

And maybe just maybe the effort from others will make the difference and allow me to finally accept that if someone can make the time to take a chance on a fat grey haired cynical old moose then he really isnt all that bad after all

Coronavirus thoughts and guest posts #1

On my facebook page I extended an invitation to my followers to write about how this strange period of time and the impact it has, and is having.

This works two fold from my point of view. Hopefully it will increase exposure to my blog and get me inspired again, and secondly it could help other people get their thoughts and feelings out there to share with others.

It could also be a great way to connect with new people.. so if you would like to contribute contact me and I happily post on here

So this morning I was delighted to receive an email from someone known only as “The Anonymous Fox”. I have no idea who this person is, where they are from but how lovely it is to be able to share this with you.

Another day, another thought – and those might not worth a penny. Forgive me for I am just babbling from my nearly-asleep state of mind. In every situation there is a part of good and a part of bad, even now.I am an optimistic, I am a smile, I am a laugh, I am the will to always keep going on. I am the shoulder and I am the strong one. And yet, I am not unbreakable.A very wise wizard once said that happiness can always be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.I did find myself in dark times. Once, twice, many times. I was in one of these before the world starts shutting down and, in a weird way, it might have helped me.Quarantine is hard, no one likes the cold feeling of loneliness. It might be hard to NOT be alone in lockdown, stuck with an annoying flatmate or worse. It might be hard to keep your mind away from the thoughts you fight when you cannot work anymore. On the model of Rapunzel in her tower, you read, you paint, you write, you dance. I do. I finish a book and I cry, good tears, tears for the story, not my own tears. I enjoy the sun, burning my skin, and it reminds me good memories. I paint, so I can share, I can create, I can tell my mother that I am doing something of my time. I listen to sad songs, I cry over the map of life not being as clear and precise as I want it to be. But then I listen to happy song, songs that make me feel a sunshine in my heart. I drink coffee and wine and eat chocolate, because I do exercise now and it make me feel less guilty. I play with the cat, scratch her furry belly and feel the love in her eyes. She doesn’t understand why I am at home so much, but she seems to like it. I feel important in someone’s life.Sure, I am bored. Sure, I want to smother the dragon I have in place of a flatmate. Sure, I am worried about my future. Sure, I miss my family.But I weirdly feel more alive since my life as I knew it stopped.I am not familiar with depression. I cannot speak a universal truth. I don’t have any magic. But I know for sure that taking a step back, using this lockdown and social distancing, might be a good time to focus on yourself and which simples moments make you whole.Pavares said “you do not remember days, you remember moments”Turn on the light and try on anything. You might be missing on something stupid but that will yet make your heart smile for once.Turn this situation around and make it your own mind vacation     –  A. F. “

Isolation and Mental Health

My last post on here was written in July whilst sitting on a balcony in Majorca, amazing how much has changed since those days isn’t it. I’ve tried writing so many times to update my situation and thoughts, feelings and all other inane stuff that has become my life these days but the block has been strong so here I go…free writing, trying not to over think it and letting the words do the work.  

This lockdown is brutal. The first week was a novelty thing of having time off work, being lazy and staying indoors but a month later and the walls are closing in. I miss the social interaction that I thrive on. I need people in my life and feed off the laughter, eye rolling and, often, shock that comes from conversation with my friends, colleagues, customers or just random people when I’m out on the tiles..

Sitting around in my room is not great for a people person. So you would think it would be the perfect opportunity to take this time for writing and distraction and maybe I’ve put to much pressure on myself to do just that.

Exercising daily is tough on my knees. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia recently which was a relief because the problems with my body failing me has been a massive issue over the past few years. I try walking but one hours walking equates to two days of pain… some days are better than others. I manage to hold down a full time job despite the pain but not having the structure of working means most days I’m just stuck at home. I go to work because it keeps me going,  I was out of work for 7 years due to depression and I need to be out there working for my own sanity. I love my job, my colleagues are great to work alongside and as much as I may get pissed off with some aspects of bar work it’s a great line of work for a sociable person like me.

The struggle is real people, not just for me but for millions around the world and we are a long way from returning to “normal” so how are some of you coping with isolation? I’m keen to know what tips you can share with others. Are you learning more about yourself?

From that perspective I’ve grown massively over the last 3 years in terms of how I see myself and the qualities that I have. Low self esteem is, and probably always will be an issue for me. It’s part of why I dont write as much, feeling like people are not interested in what I have to say because I look at the numbers of views, compared to say 7 years ago and it’s gone from hundreds a day to a few a month.  Obviously it’s because the output isnt there, if there is nothing to read people cant view it… try telling my brain that.

So hopefully this can be the start of using a talent that I’ve ignored for too long.

Remembering how many lives I’ve touched and could reach again could be just the kick up the arse I need and I need to thank Antonella and James for the kind words in this regard.

I’ve got time on my hands, maybe I can use it for writing instead of stuffing my face but that’s another story…

Let’s get the moose #famoose again…

See you in the comments