I have heard from a couple of people recently who have said that their mental health has been getting worse during this lockdown period.
I wanted to direct you to this page which has a version of the PHQ 9 test for you to use.
Remember its OK to not be OK and if you find you’re answers to the test are high please speak to someone, your doctor is a great starting point but obviously in these strange times that may not be easily done,a loved one or if you need a chat find me via my Facebook page and drop me a line.
Two weeks ago I found saw an ad on Facebook for a free level 2 distance learning course, I’ve never really been a great learner, I have no self discipline when it comes to things like this. Too easily distracted by that singing chocolate bar trying to get my attention, or the dancing bag of crisps calling me….but I took the plunge and signed up for a course on counselling skills, as its something I could actually see myself doing as a career.
Today I have actually started the course! For the first time since 1995 I am studying and to say I’m nervous and apprehensive is an understatement. My first assignment is due in 10 days! Doesnt leave me much time to get to grips with a new subject and after 3 hours of reading through parts of the workbook my brain is ready to explode with the information overload.
What tips would you give?
Should I set aside x amount of hours to the course each day?
Is it an idea to make notes as I’m reading, the book is only available online so I dont have a physical copy I can take and read without taking my laptop with me around the house.
The walls are closing in, days morphing into each other and its becoming increasingly frustrating living in lockdown. Especially when I constantly see people ignoring the rules but obviously they wont catch anything or pass it on to others…
The thing is, its perfectly ok to do absolutely nothing if that’s what you need to do to get through the day. Is there an expectation that you put on yourself to be super productive with this extra time on your hands?
I’ll be honest most days I dont even bother getting dressed, as the neighbours who are forever seeing me in the front garden having a cigarette in my superman dressing gown with tell you ( I told you I was a catch). I haven’t been out for a walk in 5 days as I’m having a fibromyalgia flare up of pain so intense that it’s like being stabbed with 1000 knives each time I move.
If you start beating yourself up for not being productive it can be the start of a slippery slope. Yes there are things that could be done but if you feel that the right thing to do that day is nothing, then do nothing.
At least that’s what I am telling myself having slept the weekend away….
I secretly hoped this would happen without me having to ask, you see Karl has graced us with in his own words “a rambling incoherent blog post” and knowing him as well as I do…that’s exactly what he has written.
Dont forget if you want to contribute please do get in touch. I’m hoping that there will be more of these guest blogs coming soon!!
Over to you Karl….Quarantine day 2056..So how are you coping in this coronavirus ‘lockdown’?… i have officially watched everything on Netflix, Amazon Prime and Pornhub… tomorrow there will be huge decisions to be made about whether i start my own religion or not!
Its not unusual to be faced with a mild case of insanity in these modern times, we already live in a world where a 72 year old toddler is the most powerful man in the world, and social media has all our anxiety turned up to 11.. but in this lockdown things you and I took for granted are taken away from us, all be it temporarily, and the little things you didn’t even think about are suddenly glaringly missing from our lives. I miss McNuggets!
Though when it does come down to sanity it is often best to try and keep it in check. I have noticed that the more time people are spending at home the more they are slipping into their own personal conspiracy theory led alternate universe where mobile phone signals are spreading virus’.. they are not!
Do not chug the disinfectant! It will kill you!
There is no reason to believe that everyone (government or otherwise) is lying to you.. that’s just social media hyperbole. #chill
Even thought this lockdown is testing the very outer limits of being a couch potato, you have to understand that all the measures and restrictions that are put in place are for the greater good (the greater goooood). Stay At Home, Save the NHS, Save Lives.
And I have kids and parents that need protecting so here I am, doing my bit.. sitting in a box awaiting this to blow over!
I must confess though I myself have dabbled with a weird mental state since lockdown. My sleep patterns have all but flipped to the point I am more of a nocturnal beast now, there is something quite cathartic about taking your exercise in the dead of night with nobody about but it has made keeping track of the days slightly more problematic…i was sitting awaiting a Music Mix that always appears online at 9am on a Friday, getting increasingly annoyed that this little slice of entertainment hasn’t come to light up my life and.. everything is ruined I might as well blow myself up and never see anyone or do anything again and….. Oh its Thursday!!! never mind….
The other day I seemed to have minor breakdown… I find it is causing me to swear at inanimate objects! I referred to the toaster as cting fking pr*ck! I feel ashamed about the way I treated the toaster.. I shall have to find ways to make it up to it! I might buy some nicer bread this week, maybe Hovis extra thick!
Almost 6 weeks into this lockdown and I admit, even though I am a massive fan of my own company, I am also annoying the bee’geezus out of myself! I keep putting things down and forgetting where I left them and then I have this full on internal argument (that strangely sounds a lot like my former marriage) to the point that I sit down in a huff with myself and I wont talk to myself for 3 hours!
And as it goes I do sometimes feel the need to have a little bit of human interaction.. this is where I have all of sudden made the bold claim that biscuits are in fact ‘essentials’ I have often referred to a nice packet of mcvities shortcakes as antidepressants, for some reason they lift my spirits! But I digress, but in going on the quest for crumbly sugary greatness I get to go to Tesco and see people, adhering to social distancing at all times.. if anyone gets too close I just scream like a banshee.. but its good to see people doing something a little bit normal. . And the brief conversations with the checkout girl sort me out for a couple of days..
Due to personal circumstance I find myself on my own a lot, over the last decade and a half I was often quite isolated, this was down to an abusive relationship that essentially cut ties with all my friends except the die hard few, and the fact that even after the relationship was over there was fallout.. so in the last few years I made an effort to get out there, I found my place in society and a spot at the bar in the local pub and made good friends and greater friends rekindled the friendship with the Moose, and things have been dire but manageable with the people around me.. And that is one of the startling realisations I have had since lockdown.. even though I hate people, I am a people person!! work that one out Sigmund Freud?!
Anyways… I don’t know what your plans are for the rest of the week are but the community of small rodents i have been cultivating as a replacement dominant species to the human race (just in case this coronavirus thing went apocalyptic) have rebelled on me and renounced me being their God.. i am a benevolent God and i could have smite them swiftly… but using a small pipe and a bit of compressed air i have launched them into Mrs Hughes, at No 57, back garden.. They chose this fate and now it’s up to them to survive her herd of 25 cats.
Almost 8 years ago I was on a different journey, a dark slippery slope of depression that eventually cost me a marriage and almost my life. The Depressed Moose was born out of necessity and a deep desire to help other people, men in particular, to open up about mental health and for about 2 years it was a success. I was known on twitter, in the mental health community as someone who would speak out about the subject without worrying about the taboo nature at the time. It was not so widely spoken about back then, nowadays it’s a normal healthy subject in many ways due to it being more publicized. One of my proudest moments was when a premier league footballer recognised me from my blog at a mental health event.
I wrote books, worked alongside Mind to create the online support group elefriends and was a “go to” person for a lot of people. Many of those strangers are friends to this day, some sadly no longer with us but this blog helped save my life at a time when I was barely hanging on.
When I took a break from blogging I was in a new relationship and whilst that ultimately didnt work out it was the right decision for me at that time. New beginnings, new opportunities and a new exciting chapter in my life. Regardless of what happened it was a period of my life that gave me many lessons and challenges that the old me would’ve buckled under the emotional turmoil, I came out the other side stronger. The dark days of depression crippling me were a thing of the past…
I’ve written sporadically since those days, its been almost 3 years and in that time I’ve worked almost non stop. Considering my mental health made me unemployed for 7 years this has been a huge positive to come out of a negative situation. The downside to this is that it means I have less time to dedicate to writing and at times my passion was extinguished. Long gone are the majority of bloggers I read, times change, people change and it becomes harder to maintain, connect and market a blog.
The black dog still visits from time to time but thanks, in part, to the writing from the bad years I can look back, see the triggers and signs and stop them before it escalates too much. The dog barks from outside the garden rather than next to me.
So where does that leave this blog? Truth be told is that right now I’m not entirely sure. I will always be a mental health advocate and supporter of those wanting help, advice and a friendly ear. As this blog evolves again it may well be a mix and match place but mental health, and depression in particular will always have a place here.
For now it’s great to be sharing my life with my followers ( is it wrong to call you fans? Fuels the ego somewhat) so subject matter from my holidays away, my general adventures with Karl (consider the 2 of us as a fatter, older, more bitter and less successful Ant and Dec)
As one of my best friends said “please keep writing and I promise to keep on reading”
Thank you all of you who comment, like and interact with this page. It’s great to see some old faces and meet new people.
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….
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…
For the first time I can remember I have switched off, I’m completely relaxed and having the perfect holiday.
I love Cala Millor, I came last year and found the place to be mesmeric, wonderful views, weather and a great group of ex pats making you feel welcome.
The plan was to write, I’m full of creative ideas for a book I want to do but in all honesty I’ve just lived in each moment and taken in the scenery and savoured every second.
Going away on your own is liberating, I sleep, eat, drink, walk and do whatever I want, when I want at my own leisure. If you get the chance but feel worried about being on your own snatch the opportunity up and take the plunge. Cala millor will welcome you and once you have been here you will come back again and again.
Tomorrow is the end of my holiday. It’s gone very quickly but I have achieved everything I wanted to out here. I’ve never felt so chilled out and at peace with myself.
I’ve met some wonderful people and reconnected with some from last year and truth by told I could see myself moving out here quite easily.
If I had the funds I’d set up my own little bar out here!
“Moose’s bar a place with great moosic and somewhere to amoose yourself” (I ain’t even sorry for these puns)
There is actually a market space for a bar that plays modern music and gives away free antler hats…. sounds like a winner to me, the merchandising opportunities are endless…
Back to reality Tuesday night, back to work Thursday. I’m recharged, reinvigorated and ready to reinvent myself once more…
Today marks the 7th anniversary of this blog. Seven years of The Depressed Moose and the trials and tribulations faced in that time shared with you, the faithful reader.
Hopefully in those 7 years people have been inspired, encouraged, helped and entertained in equal measure. It’s certainly been an interesting ride personally and I’m very thankful for the journey this blog has been on.
On this day 7 years ago I sat in St Mary’s church in south woodford at breaking point. I’m not a religious person by any means and can vividly remember sitting in the “quiet” room in church and asking for direction and help. As I left I had the idea to write and share my battle. Divine intervention? Coincidence? Who knows but regardless of the reason it’s been a life saver for me.
7 years ago in total despair, and yet I’m writing this sitting on the Gatwick Express heading to the airport to return to Cala Millor in Mallorca for 10 days of reflection, relaxing and recharging.
Talk about full circle, from the extreme of rock bottom to heading away for a holiday on my own…..
Thanks to my loyal readers, the friends I have met through this blog and to every single one of you who read, share, comment and encourage.
Expect plenty of posts over the next 10 days especially over on the facebook page…
Having posted for 4 consecutive days for the first time in 5 years you might think I would be running out of things to be thankful for, that the positive thinking well would be running dry by now but if truth be told it has reminded me of the fact that I have actually got a talent when it comes to writing.
When I started writing this back in 2012 I never envisioned the impact it would have on people, let alone dragging me through extreme dark days yet 7 years later I’m still writing and people are still reading.
I’m very proud of what this little blog has achieved in terms of helping people talk about depression especially men, and I feel very humble at the number of messages I’ve received over the years from strangers, many now friends, reaching out to me for help.
My books have sold approximately 1000 copies across paperback and kindle formats. Let’s just take a second and reflect on that!!
Me? 1000 copies sold? Beggars belief
It’s no 50 shades lol and I’m not at the retirement and living of the royalties stage but it’s certainly something I’m very very proud of, there are even signed copies of my books out there lol selling on Ebay for a few pence no doubt
Whilst the blogging about mental health bubble seems to have burst somewhat it’s still good to see others still writing, sharing experiences and encouraging people to talk, when I started there were very few men writing about depression and in my own head I see myself as a trailblazer (no matter how depressed I am the ability to blow my own trumpet never wavers)
700 followers is huge in my eyes so a massive thank you to everyone who reads, shares, comments and encourages me.
Theres more to come be it good,bad,happy or sad…stay tuned, keep reading and know how thankful I am to you all