A year gone by – My journey through depression

So here we are early February 2015 and it is a year since I was diagnosed with mild depression by my doctor. It has been to say the least a year full of many ups and downs and a year that for that reason I would be glad to forget that it ever happened. What I won’t forget though is the support I had from my family and various friends, both old and new. I will always be grateful for that support which has never wavered and the friends that have stayed around to support and pick me up with words of encouragement and of wisdom as well as a chuckle at my expense (I still blame that London wetherspoons).

Despite everything and although I am not completely there and sometimes fighting a hidden daily battle even now, I do feel that I am in a better position than I was this time last year. This time last year felt pretty bleak to be honest and I wasn’t ever sure I’d be getting to enjoy myself like I used to.

Being round the gang at the gaming table for one has been great, having a good bit of banter in amongst the gaming campaigns, has been brilliant and has certainly helped. The number of times we have laughed and laughed at the table due to some witty comment, double entendre or bit of innuendo.

I am also fortunate to live in a house with some great people and a great little westie. Taking Daisy out for walks when I feel upto it and I get the chance, is really good. It is something I enjoy and it is very true that pets and especially dogs can help you to feel better. Coming home whether from work or from just being out and having Daisy come to say hello is really good. She is very much full of energy although I do sometimes worry when I walk upstairs and she bounds up with me and rises on her back legs so close to the top of the stairs. Whenever I take her out for a long walk, I sometimes just let her lead as its always a good experience. Getting to play various new board games and board games based on computer games like civilization and Xcom has been good. Notably the friends of my house mates have also become friends to me as well, which also makes it good. Im very certain that there will be more fun games and entertaining evenings ahead.

Seeing old friends from previous gigs has been good as well as meeting those who only managing to chat online which happened in November and December.

One thing has surprised me with various friends both in person and online, I have had the support as usual from my good friends but also that of friends that I havent really spoke to much and who have been through their own journeys with mental health. You may remember the blog regarding my journey with depression. I received several messages saying how helpful it was to them in understanding what people close to them were going through. That was really all I wanted to do. There are many people throughout the country, too many in fact, that have or are suffering with various forms of mental health issues. Some people thought it was wrong to share something personal. Yes it was something personal and some people may not have agreed with it, but for me it was about not only helping myself but helping other people. As cliche as it may seem, if you help one person then that is one person that is no longer fighting a battle on their own, if someone was to read and realise through what they were reading, that they too were suffering then to know that they went and sought help is a good thing. It was reading a blog post of a good friend and someone who has had their own battle, that I realised that I was suffering.

There are of course those who I thought were friends but then opted to walk away, but that is their choice and whilst it is a shame, it is also a disappointment because you thought you knew those people well,

I wont name all the people that have helped me through this year, they know who they are and many will just say its what friends do, but it still does mean a lot to me and always will.

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Not going well

I thought this year was going to be fab, I mean it couldn’t get any worse than the last 15 months. It seems that life is attempting to conspire it would seem. I thought I was finally getting somewhere but apparently not.

Having taken two steps forward, it would seem Im taking four steps back. I’m finding myself putting on a front, showing myself to be happy and plodding through is difficult as it does mentally burn you out. No one wants to see a down looking person in the office and I would rather avoid having to explain things.

I don’t enjoy this feeling, I thought I had it under control. It would seem it doesn’t work like that.

I guess people will be thinking how come this as he seemed fine when I saw him. I guess it’s easier to wear a mask than to reveal the pain.

2014 – The longest year

As we approach towards the end of 2014, I can honestly say that it will be one that I wont be looking back with too much enthusiasm. From what started off in late last December and progressed all the way through, my battle with depression has been a long arduous one which has been dotted with many ups and downs. Whilst I have made many new friends, I have lost some for one reason or another, but also more importantly the support of long time friends whose friendship has never wavered during the year. Many friends who took time to message privately and offer great support. Friends I don’t often get to speak to much, being there with support.

Suffering with the Big Black Dog was not something I ever thought about. Even when I was feeling tired and lacking of energy, I just put it down to being busy and rushing around. It was only when I read a blog post from a good friend, that I realised that maybe it was more than just being tired from being busy and rushing around as he described a lot of things that I had been going through. I had lost interest in my blog and my story. I had lost interest in watching football. Then came the split which I think compounded things even more.

I felt alone and worthless. Getting up seemed like a chore. I pushed myself to go to work and didn’t anyone at all to start with. I felt ashamed to be honest, like no one would believe me. I wasnt attention seeking either. I’m never one for trying to attract attention at the best of times, let alone use mental health like that.

February came and I got the diagnosis from the doctor. I had hoped that it wouldn’t be depression, but instead just tiredness or something. It was and I wasnt getting away from it. I would often find myself thinking – but why?  I surely don’t have anything to be depressed about. It doesn’t work like that as many people who have been through it will tell you.

I got back with my ex in March. Having resolved issues with people interfering, we tried again. It seemed to be going ok. I also started opening up about my situation and I found that I was not alone. I had a lot of support from friends and family. I did go downhill a bit and saw my anti depressant increased. The relationship was short lived but after initial despondency, I picked up a little. Friends continued to be supportive and then out of nowhere I seemed to take a backwards step. Couldn’t quite grasp why, but it was difficult. I kept things to myself again and hoped that things would pick up. Then I was unwell with another medical issue which made things worse.

I had returned to my doctor and he opted to refer me. That happened and it was decided CBT would be the way forward. Anything to help would have been welcome and so it was just a matter of waiting. I received a phone call and a place was available for six sessions of lectures as it were covering different things.

Something that has also made a difference, is living in a house with great people and a fab little westie. I have the pleasure of being able to take her out for a walk. It is always fun and never the same walk as she likes to change direction.

I know look towards 2015 and all that it brings and I thank everyone who has been there in one way or another however big or small the contribution.

This is the last post before Christmas, but as I will return afterwards. Thank you for reading and thank you for the support.

A little goes a long way

Recently I had a blog that I had written regarding my depression along with my thoughts an observations regarding the mental health issues. Well the other day I was chatting to an old friend and the blog was brought up. She said that she has read it and it helped her to get an understanding of what was going through her partners mind.

What had initially started as something to help get my focus back and help others.had been read by various people, who had also been supportive. Some people had thought it was a bit personal to share on the Internet, but it wasn’t just about me it would be about various aspects and mindsets.

Anyway my old friend, who will remain anonymous out of respect, had said it helped her to understand. Whilst it would normally be something to celebrate, in this case it was not. Knowing someone else is suffering with depression or mental health issues, is never nice and never something you would wish upon someone. How I did feel though was a sense of positivity in that A few words and thoughts about my situation has enabled someone to be able to understand what their partner is going through.

If by helping one other person, that person can be there for their partner/family member and get a better understanding, then that is one person dealing with mental health, who has a greater ability to help someone else. It only takes one person to start a journey but many can finish it.

One obstacle kicked to touch

Having decided to close my blog looking at my journey with depression as well as looking at different aspects of depression, I thought I would share some more positive aspects of my journey. Saturday 8th November was the long awaited gig for the Steve Rothery Band album tour. It was something that I had bought tickets for ages ago and was something to target. The time following that was very topsy-turvy and there would be occasions when I really couldn’t face doing stuff. It was literally a roller coaster ride. Many ups and downs. Despite being something I was really looking forward to and likelihood of it being a once in a life time experience, two days before the gig, I was getting nervous and doubts in my mind. The thing is it wasnt me I would be letting down if I didn’t go. Friday evening and my frame of mind was clear, there was no doubts, I was excited I couldn’t wait. Not even the threat of rain was going to ruin my day.

I had never been to Bush Hall before and was not sure what to expect. I knew the gig was sold out but I was hoping it wouldn’t be packed to the rafters. Once we finally got in, even after the support act Ranestrane had been on and more people came in for the big one, there was still space to move. It was a fantastic evening, any doubts had gone, worries were no more. I was in the zone. It was made easier by seeing old friends, especially when they see you first. The amazing Ginger and her hubby Guy recognised me before I had a chance to say hi. Given that I hadn’t seen them since the Less is More tour in 2009 and what with Ginger’s personal situation, it was special that in all the people they had met, they still remembered me from a brief meet along with my great friend Annick.

Something else that I have noticed over the last few days is that it feels like a weight is off my shoulders. I have more energy, I feel tired, but the usual sleepy tired, not the heavy tired that would have affected me before.

Tomorrow I start my Cognitive Behavioural Therapy course. Six weekly sessions, that will show me how to deal with and manage things better. Things wont just change overnight and Im sure there will be rough patches, but I finally feel like progress is really happening and good things are heading my way. I must stress though I doubt that I would have made so much progress, if it wasn’t for the support and advice from various friends and family. If they read this then they know who they are. Knowing them and their kindness, they will say its nothing and that is what friends are for,

Good night