PHQ9 Depression Test

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.

Stay safe, look after your mental health!

Did I miss the announcement

Is lockdown over? Are we free again to go about as the glorious pre lockdown days? Guessing I missed that one on the news because its seems that since Bojo announced we were past the peak people have taken that to mean do whatever the fuck we want.

I’m seeing more and more people out, groups of people that I know are not from the same households walking along the street together, not even the 2 meters apart that is recommended.

I stood out in the front garden and had a smoke, in the 10 minutes I was outside I counted 58 people walking past. Ok I live opposite a park but that is more than normal. When i went to Tesco to get shopping the other day I sat in traffic!

What is going on with people? I get it, we are getting fed up with staying at home but there is a reason for this!

One thing that has been shown by people is how selfish they are. Its not about if you have this killer its about who could get it from you! Stay the fuck at home.

The opening of a fast food drive through is not an essential journey! Police are having to issue fines because people are driving for hours just to get a burger.

Seems common sense has gone in these selfish people. Yet these same people will happily clap for the NHS and key workers but are happily putting them in danger because they wont listen to the rules…..

But hey, long as you can walk down the road pissed/high with your mates it’s all worth it….

Rant over….and breathe…

Educating the moose

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.

Whatever gets you through the day

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….

Look what you may have missed

Well its fair to say the writers block has been lifted after 9 months! The longest writing streak since 2014 and its been great to see people reading my words again.

There has been 12 posts since 23rd April and I’ve noticed that most get read on the day but once new content arrives its quickly consigned to history. So with that in mind I thought I would put links to all the recent posts here.

There is a little bit of everything from poetry in my own unique awful style, to trying to be positive with reasons to be cheerful. I have even been lucky enough to have people take the time to write posts for me to share about how coronavirus is impacting them.

Below are the links for each new post. Check them out, pearls of wisdom in each one..well hopefully that is the case but if you dont read them you will never know….

Isolation and Mental Health

Coronavirus thoughts and guest posts #1

The trouble with me

Reasons to be cheerful. The kiddies..

Coronavirus thoughts and guest posts #2

Reasons to be cheerful. Cala Millor

And it will be ok eventually

In the beginning and what next for The Depressed Moose

Coronavirus and guest posts #3

Reasons to be cheerful Puerto De La cruz

Reasons to be cheerful. Loro Parque

Ode to Coronavirus

Ode to Coronavirus

Toilet paper, none in sight
How will I wipe my arse tonight?
Coronavirus on it’s way
I must have 40 rolls a day!

Supermarkets had no stock, of to Tesco’s the people flock,
Pasta, sanitizer, soap and bleach,
Just a few examples of products out of reach

A month before it was about be kind,
It seems those day were quickly left behind. Cant get to the shops?.well you’re out of luck, 
I got what more than I need so I dont give a fuck!

Watching Netflix was the in thing,
Joe exotic, tiger king, Carol “fucking” Baskin
And then the memes came out to play,
How we laughed at the 100s we saw each day

We clap for the heroes, and the ones in the lowest paid jobs,
Previously referred to as unskilled slobs,
While the rich folks cry about all their losses, being paid millions to be their own bosses

Another week passes in lockdown hell,
Yet people still try to sneak out,
The idea of course is to “stay the fuck home”,
Not spread more of this killer about

Let’s not forget all the thousands who died,
How many families have suffered and cried,
It’s not about you being healthy and fit,
It’s about the vulnerable you selfish tit!

It’s hard for us all so dont gripe and moan,
the year 2020 will forever be known,
As the year we were told
To stay the fuck home

And when it’s all over we can finally rejoice, we stayed in our homes and made the right choice.
So heres to the future, and meeting for a drink,
Sounds good to me…what do you think?

Reasons to be cheerful Puerto De La cruz

In all the time spent not blogging I completely forgot I never wrote about going on a second holiday last year. This time it was going to be a holiday with a twist as my best friend Karl came alone for the adventure. It was also booked to coincide with my birthday as I had always wanted to be away for it. What better than a bit of winter sun in November/December to celebrate getting even older..

So off to Tenerife we headed, Puerto De La Cruz to be precise. I didn’t fancy, the livelier Las Americas, I wanted somewhere chilled as a relaxing break from the stressed of life were just what we both needed.

Black sand on the beach was a bit of a culture shock, as was temperatures of 25c considering it was single digits back home but a great time was had with a great friend.

Here are some photos for you

Moose on tour, just off the plane and on Tenerife soil

View from the beach

Hotel room view at night

Overcast day but still a wonderful sight

#1 bar in Tenerife! Birthday night in here

banana trees

Moose just chilling and loving life! Love this photo

Coronavirus and guest posts #3

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.

BeSafe #BeNice #BeKind #DontBeADick

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….

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…..