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Are bikers crazy?

So, you take a tank of highly flammable liquid, put it above a red hot engine and then put the whole lot between your legs. So are we crazy? I’d say yes.

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Memories

All we really are is a collection of memories. Some good, some bad. We collect them from the moment we are born, they shape our lives. Every thing you see, say and do is stored somewhere deep inside your brain. Two people can be at the same event, the same place, but have completely different memories.

My earliest memory is from when I was on holiday at Hopton. The wheel fell off of my pushchair. I remember watching it go rolling past. I have many fond memories from holidays there (we went several years running). I also have some bad memories that were unlocked during my hypnosis therapy.

The last holiday I went on with my parents was to Newquay in Cornwall. We stayed in a flat next to a group of lads on a stag do. They knew how to party!!

I have happy memories of going to air shows with my dad, grandad and brother. I hated the journeys there though because I was usually travel sick.

My teenage years were spent on skateboards and then motorbikes. I think I am possibly the only person to fall backwards into a ditch when on a motorbike. Myself and a couple of friends used to ride out to Wattisham air base to watch the planes take off and land. We had a spot that we used frequently. On night there wasn’t much flying so we decided to leave. I was sitting on my bike and started to move backwards to turn around. The next thing I knew, I’m 6 foot down in a ditch with my headlight facing the sky. None of us knew there was a ditch there. I was laughing so much I couldn’t get the bike out.

One of my favourite places in this country to visit is London. I went 3 times last year. I rode down on my motorbike just a couple of weeks after passing my test. It was great to ride all around the city although I did end up with a fine for apparently using a bus lane. On another visit I went on the London Eye. This was a massive achievement for me because I’m scared of heights.

You make memories every day of your life. I will share some more another time once I have spoken to my lawyer.

Stay safe

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What’s your biggest fear?

Mine is dying alone, and it looks like I will. I don’t mean to be all down on such a beautiful day but, its just how I feel.

I’ve been married, divorced and engaged. I’ve overdosed 3 times. The chances of me finding someone that can deal with all of that are pretty slim.

Is there really someone out there for everyone?

I hope so………

I’m not one for materialistic things, I live a simple life. I have so much love to give.

I’ve always looked to someone else to make me happy without being truly happy myself. It was never going to work. Im 100% concentrating on myself right now.

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Getting closer

Its a beautiful day today. Sunny, warm and just a slight breeze. There is alot of traffic on the road outside. I can hear my neighbours talking and see them sitting outside enjoying the sun.

Looking on social media lots of people are out and about. Is life slowly returning to normal? Is it to soon? I personally think it is far to soon, but that’s just my opinion. I will actually miss some parts of life in lockdown when it is lifted.

Every week I have been taking part in an online quiz with my friends, I doubt that will continue when we can go out again.

I just hope everyone stays as friendly and polite as they are now. We have been lucky with the weather, I should imagine this would be horrible during the winter.

I have been in contact with old school and college friends. We plan to meet up when we can. I’m not sure if this would have happened under normal circumstances. I’m grateful it has.

One thing is for sure, no one will forget the spring and summer of 2020. I see it as having brought family’s and friends closer together. Its made me realise what is truly important to me.

I hope you are all keeping safe and well. Thank you all for following.

Martin

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When love breaks down

This is basically the onset of depression. When you stop loving yourself and putting yourself first. You have to learn to love yourself or you can never love anyone else. You have to realise that you are enough. People will come in and out of your life, the only person that is guaranteed to be with you until the end is you.

So how do you love yourself? That is the million dollar question. You need to take care of yourself, make the effort to look after your body with diet and exercise. Easy for me to say after eating a sausage roll, Belgium bun and a ginger bun for my breakfast (thank you Lynn).  Seriously though, its easy to go for the comfort food when you are feeling low, it makes you feel good for a short while, but long term you need balance.

Look after you skin, stay hydrated. Get outside if the weather is good. Make sure you get enough sleep. Dress smartly (not that I do this time of year).

The single most important thing is how you talk to yourself, don’t beat yourself up. Start telling yourself that you are good enough, you are loved. This takes a while to get used to if you have spent years of putting yourself down. I have always thought of myself as annoying, irritating and not part of anything. Im slowly starting to change how I see myself now though.

When you start to truly love yourself others will love you too.

Stay strong

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Mental health is real

It affects 1 in 4 people every year. Depression isn’t just feeling sad, you can’t just snap out if it and get on with life. Anxiety isn’t just feeling a little nervous, it’s overpowering, crippling.

The problem is, it can’t been seen. For example, if you break your leg people will be able to see it. You will be in a plaster cast for weeks. People will write messages wishing you a speedy recovery on the cast. Once the cast is removed you will probably need physio. The leg may never be the same again. People can see this and sympathise with you, see you are struggling.

You’ve either suffered with mental health problems and understand how it feels, or you have never had them and will never understand what it does to a person.

The more I blog the more messages I am receiving from people saying that they are struggling. This was the whole reason for starting this site. It’s very sad to know so many people are in a bad place, but at the same time it’s nice to know its not just me/you.

Getting help for mental health is not easy. Yes, there are alot of people out there that can help, but the waiting times are horrendous. Can you imagine having to wait a few weeks before getting treatment for a broken leg? The other problem is of course the cost. Most therapies starting cost is around £45 per hour. There are some free ones, but the waiting time is usually longer.

People with any mental health problems aren’t different or wierd. Please try to understand what they are going through (me included). If you really don’t understand, then at least try to be kind. Just a simple smile can go a long way.

It may feel like it, but you are not alone.

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A brief moment of clarity

I woke up at 6am, I didn’t sleep well at all last night. As I layed in bed I noticed something that hadn’t happened to me in weeks…..no burning sensation in my head, no anxiety. It felt so strange just to feel “normal”. I was so happy. I started to think of all the things I could do today, I was excited.

I got up, trained for a short while, showered and got dressed. I was just about to start reading one of my many unread books, and then I began to notice. Slowly, there it was again rearing its ugly head once more. The burning feeling was back, the anxiety was back. Why? What had happened? I hadn’t even left my flat. What have I got to be anxious about?

So many question that I don’t have answers for right now.

I am expcting a call from my hypnotherapist at 11am. I will explain it all to him and hopefully we can work through it all together.

A few weeks ago I would have focused on the fact that the anxiety came back so quickly with no apparent reason, now however I’m focusing on the fact that I had a small amount of time without it. To me that is a massive step in the right direction.

Obviously whatever I am doing is starting to make a difference to me. I’m not giving up, this will not beat me, this isn’t me, its not who I am.

Whatever you find works for you, stick with it, keep going. I was hoping for overnight results and changes, it doesn’t work like that.

I’ve got this. You’ve got this

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Friendliness goes a long way

So at the start of the summer last year I decided to finally take my motorbike test. I had ridden various motorbikes in my youth, but I never got around to passing my test. I searched online for a local training course and discovered Stowmarket motorcycle academy. They were based about a mile from where I live. They are located within my local motorcycle dealers, Mototechniks.

The academy staff were fantastic and got me through my test first time. However it’s. Mototechniks that I want to talk about.

When I first walked into the showroom I was a little nervous. I wanted to buy a 125cc bike and the necessary clothing, but it has been years since I had last ridden a bike so I was completely out of touch with what was available. As soon as I stepped I side I was greeted with a friendly hello. I was able to walk around the showroom freely without being hassled. After a couple of minutes I was offered a coffee.

I was completely at ease and soon started chatting with Neil the salesman. He gave me good advice and sorted out a fantastic deal on a brand new Yamaha MT125. He also helped me choose the gloves, jacket and trousers etc that I would need.

I had to wait about a month before I could pick up my bike because at that point I hadn’t passed my CBT (compulsory basic training). I did however go back to the shop a few times to buy some more things in preparation. Every time I was greeted with a friendly welcome and the offer of a coffee.

As mentioned in a previous blog, I bought my first (proper) bike from these guys the day I passed my test. This time it was Simon that sorted everything out. He couldn’t have been more helpful. Martin in the workshop even fitted an aftermarket exhaust system while I waited.

Over the last few months I have built up a friendship with everyone that works there. Simon and Luke are extremely knowledgeable and are always happy to help with any concerns I have with my bike or its maintenance.

Nick and Dean in the parts department are always on hand to source any parts or accessories.

If you need anything motorbike related, I cannot recommend these guys highly enough. Thank you all.

https://www.mototechniks.com/

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What I have missed

When I was ill in 2018, I moved in with my brother and sister in law who live just outside of Stowmarket. A good friend of mine (Sarah) suggested meeting up in a local tea room just down the road from where I was staying. Little did I know that for the next few months I would virtually live there!!

I met Sarah there and I liked the place so much I went back on my own the next day. I took a book I was reading, and a note pad with me. I would sit for hours reading my book and writing notes. The book was ” The chimp paradox”. Its an amazing book. I discovered it through another friend (Mason) who was telling me about Guy Martin saying he had a “Chimp” living in his head. After a little research I found out what he was referring to and my sister in law bought me the book (thanks Ruth).

I slowly got to know the owners (Gill and Ian). They are both lovely people. It got to the satge that when I went in they naturally brought me over a black coffee without having to ask. It was the same with all of the people that work there.

It became my safe haven my place of peace and reflection.

Once I moved into my own flat, I didn’t go so often. However I have taken several of my good friends there and had some very happy memories.

When this lockdown is over it will be the very first place I want to go. I have missed everyone that works there and I will never forget how much the place helped me to relax and clear my head. Only this time I won’t take any book or notepad, but take everything in so I can blog about it.

If you’d like to go yourself you can easily find them on the Internet. Oh, and the food is delicious!!

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Quickie…..

Not like that, get out of the gutter.

Just a quick blog to say a massive thank you for following (if you haven’t already please do so), and thank you for all of the messages of support. It’s really nice to know the posts are helping so many people already. Don’t be ashamed of mental health. Once again, thank you all, and remember…….you’ve got this!!

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A day in my life

I woke up around 4am. Still not sleeping properly, but slowly getting better. I did my self hypnosis and fell back to sleep. I got up properly around 8am. I made some breakfast and threw half of it in the bin. I did plan to train and do some yoga, however my motivation stayed in bed.

Im starting to have more good days than bad, but today isn’t one of them. Constant overthinking and a burning feeling in my head. To describe it like weather it would be “foggy”.

I slept on the sofa for a couple of hours. I have zero energy today. I did go shopping just to get something for my tea, but I’m not really hungry right now.

Its a beautiful day, sunny and warm. I should go out for a walk, but deep down I know I won’t leave my flat again today. There is always tomorrow I guess.

I have old moto gp races on my television, but I’m not really watching it. I can’t focus on anything. I just want to sleep and wake up anxiety free.

When I was in hospital recently, I made a promise to myself. I promised I was going to make myself bulletproof physically and mentally. I still stand by this and realise this is just one bad day in my life.

Although I’m not hungry today, I am starting to getting my appetite back. I need to, I had lost a stone.

I see this stage of my life as a brief moment. I didn’t realise how low i had actually let myself get. I will learn from this and never let it happen again. I will come back from this. It won’t beat me. Nothing will.

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Following on..

……from yesterday’s blog about animals, I have come up with what I think (no evidence whatsoever), is possibly the most depressed and anxious animal on the planet. A fish, any fish will do.

Now I have come to this conclusion purely by comparing a fish to a human. I am talking about fish that live in the rivers and sea that surround the United Kingdom. So not the lucky ones that are on holiday right now in tropical waters.

To start with, fish are constantly wet, imagine how horrible that must be. They can’t hold a towel to dry themselves off. The only time you are dry and warm is when you are served with chips. If they managed to get hold of a hairdryer (not that they have hair), it probably wouldn’t end to well. Sunbathing on the beach probably isn’t a good idea. Imagine swimming around all the time in the dark cold polluted water. Very depressing. Where do they go for there holiday?

Imagine now being a fresh water fish, let’s say a carp. Happily swimming around in a pond, people coming to feed you bread. All very civilised. Until, you make the fatal mistake of going to have your lip pierced and ending up in a fisherman’s net. Probably not to bad the first time, but everyday during the fishing season must be monotonous. No matter what mood you are in you get dragged out of the water, held for a photo, weighed, put in a net and finally released for it to happen all over again. Anxiety and depression must be through the roof (not that they live in houses).

Finally there are the fish that are kept in tanks indoors. What a life. Imagine swimming around in circles all day. Having people point and stare at you. Watching the family you live with dissappear off on holiday without even asking if you want to go. And then worst of all, if you look up you see your poor mate floating on the surface ……dead. Depressing

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Do animals suffer?

I was sitting outside earlier watching some birds flying around and it started me thinking. Do other animals suffer from depression and anxiety?

The birds always seem so happy, singing and flying around without a care in the world. Most fly somewhere hot for the winter and I’m not sure they have been affected by the whole lockdown situation. They still appear to be gathering socially in large groups. They don’t Have the stress of working, shopping, worrying about keeping up with the latest fashion . Food is free and they don’t need cars to travel in.

Cats. Now I have seen some fairly pissed off looking cats in my time, especially Persian cats. However I don’t think they would suffer like humans do. They are normally well looked after, pampered even. A normal day for a cat would be, wake up and be fed breakfast, have a sleep, go for a run around, have a sleep, have a fuss made of them, have a sleep…… Not really a lifestyle the would induce depression or anxiety.

Dogs. Now I guess in the past couple of months dogs could be depressed. Not having the same amount of walks or the frequent visitors to make a fuss of them. They are however constantly told they are a good/girl and they normally have a pretty good lifestyle and are well looked after. They only have to look at you and you will normally share what you are eating.

Hamsters. Now I know most pet hamsters live in relatively small cages and are denied freedom, but the ones I’ve seen all look happy to me. All they need is somewhere to sleep, food and a wheel to run around in.

Pigs. Now i know very little about pigs, however I’m sure you’ve all heard the phrase “as happy as a pig in shit”, it must be based on something surely?

Obviously all of the above is lighthearted, but it would be nice to know if it is just humans that get depressed and have anxiety.

Stay strong, you’ve got this.

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If there is light at the end of the tunnel, can someone put the bulb back in please

I didn’t want to write this. Not that I didn’t want to blog, just I was hoping for better content.

I was hoping yesterday was a blip, a pause in my recovery. However I woke up this morning feeling the same if not slightly worse. The overwhelming fear of something terrible is going to happen is horrible. Again there is no reason that I can see for me to feel this way.

Like I said in my earlier blogs I want to help people. Its no good me just writing about the good days. I’m hoping people can relate to what I am going through.

So, I woke up around 4am, i didn’t want to get up so I played some games on my ipad. I went back to sleep and got up around 8am. Like yesterday I had no enthusiasm and no energy. Constant over thinking and a very foggy mind. I’ve been on sertraline for a month now, hopefully the combination of the meds and the hypnotherapy will start to make me feel better soon.

One small thing that helped to clear my head for a short while was going shopping for a friend. I got in the car and turned my music up loud. Todays choice was Eric Clapton, you can’t beat Laya.

I’m now back home and all I want to do is sleep. However if I sleep now, i won’t sleep as well tonight. I don’t feel alive right now, just existing. I know I will get through this. Hopefully my next blog will be brighter.

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Victim

The song below is written by avenged sevenfold. It deals with the death of their drummer Jimmy Sullivan. It is reported that he died from and overdose of prescription drugs and alcohol. I’m sharing it purely because it’s a very emotional song that touches my heart.

House full of roses
A letter on the stairs
A tape full of messages
For anyone who cares
Collage of broken words
and stories full of tears
Remembering your life
‘Cause we wish that you were hereNothing is harder
Than to wake up all alone
Realize it’s not okay
It’s the end of all you know
Time keeps passing by
But it seems I’m frozen still
Scars are left behind
But some too deep to feelAnd some say this can’t be real
And I’ve lost my power to feel tonight
We’re all just victims of a crime
When all’s gone and can’t be regained
We can’t seem to shelter the pain inside
We’re all just victims of a crimeSome days you’ll find me
In a place I like to go
Ask questions to myself
‘Bout the things I’ll never know
What’s left to find
‘Cause I need a little more
I need a little time
Can we even up the score?And some say this can’t be real
And I’ve lost my power to feel tonight
We’re all just victims of a crime
When all’s gone and can’t be regained
We can’t seem to shelter the pain inside
We’re all just victims of a crimeAnd nothing lasts forever
For all good days it’s true
I’d rather tred it all
For somehow saving you
It must have been the season
That’ve threw us out of line
Once I stood so tall
Now I’m searching for a signSo don’t need your salvation
With promises and kind
And all those speculations
Save it for another time
‘Cause we all need a reason
A reason just to stay
Some just can’t be bothered
To stick around another dayAnd some say this can’t be real
And I’ve lost my power to feel tonight
We’ve all been victims of a crime
When all is gone and can’t be regained
We can’t seem to shelter the pain inside (oh)
We’ve all been victims of a crime
Victims of a crime
Living with this crimeI’m missing you
I’m missing you
I’m missing you
I’m missing you

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The many faces of depression

So what does depression look like? The simple answer is, it doesn’t look like anything. In my experience some of the most outwardly happy people are the most depressed. You know, the ones that are always smiling and joking, making everyone else laugh. If you ask a depressed person if they are okay, they will always answer very quickly, yes, but if you ask them if they are really okay you may get a different answer altogether. 1 in 4 adults in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.

Take a look at some of the famous people that have committed suicide over the years. Actually do a Google search. I was shocked at the number. Famous actors and actresses. Musicians and film stars. Athletes and politicians. The list is shockingly long.

If you look at the picture attached to the blog, you will notice everyone is smiling. Obviously a picture is only a brief snapshot of a person’s life, but on the outside most everything you could dream of. There is a video online of Chester Bennington (Linkin Park frontman). It was taken just 36 hours before he killed himself. In the video he appears happy playing with his children, trying to guess jelly bean flavours. You can never tell what is going on inside a person’s head. You will only be should what people want you to see.

The sad truth is it doesn’t matter if you are a multi millionaire living a lavish lifestyle in a mansion or penniless and living on the streets, you can suffer from depression. Having fortunate and fame makes no difference.

Depression needn’t be caused by a massive traumatic event, it can be the build up of several smaller life events over the cause of several years. Sometimes there maybe no obvious cause at all.

The single thing that has helped me the most over the years is talking about my depression to trusted friends and professionals. Holding emotions inside eats away at you, it can be a downward spiral that is hard to break free from.

If you don’t feel comfortable speaking to people face to face, talk on the phone. If you want to speak to someone for free who won’t judge you or put a time limit on your call, I strongly recommend calling the samaritans. I always assumed they were there to talk you down from a bridge or a times of real crisis, this is not the case. They are there for any problem or to talk about anything that is worrying you or bringing you down.

Don’t suffer in silence. Don’t suffer alone. Don’t leave it to late.

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why?

I have a tattoo on my right calf. It is a picture of a brain with the word why? underneath it. I had it done years ago when I questioned myself as to why I had such bad anxiety and depression. Well, today I am asking my self why again. Not why I have the anxiety and depression in general, but why I have it right now. I have been doing so well, but from yesterday lunchtime I have struggled, badly. I just cannot understand why. Nothing has changed, no bad news, no big event.

I woke up several times during the night in a state of overwhelming dread and fear. I cannot explain why. I am alone in my flat and in no apparent danger. My mind is like a washing machine on a spin cycle, my thoughts are out of my control. I need to get a grip of myself. Its easy to put into practice and control my mind with all of the things I have learned when I’m feeling less anxious, but right now nothing is working. I could understand it if I was out of my comfort zone, but right now I’m just laying on my bed writing this.

As I have said in a previous blog, I am normally very tidy and cannot stand mess at all. Today my flat can stay exactly as it is. I have zero energy and even less motivation. I tried to read one of my many books, after reading the same paragraph over and over, I gave up. Not even music is doing it today. This is horrible.

It’s not yet 11am, but already I feel the whole day is going to be wasted. In an ideal word I would be able to fall back to sleep and wake up feeling better. In the real world it doesn’t work like that.

So why? today why? I really have no idea at all. I am almost forcing myself to write this. I haven’t blogged when feeling like this before. I’m hoping some one will be able to relate to what I am saying.

I will put all of my extremely sapped energy into overcoming this day. It will not beat me.

Its very overcast today, and not just the weather (Thanks Margie)

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Music

I love music, I always have. I could live without television quite happily, but not without music. As a child I always used to love it when my mum and dad had their music on, it was like a treat. Over the years I have managed to see some amazing bands play live. Although of course my anxiety hasn’t always made it the pleasurable experience that I was hoping for. Probably the most anxious I have ever been at a concert was when I went to see the red hot chilli peppers at the o2 arena in London. I was anxious just being in the crowd ( a full betablocker and polo job) and when I got to my seat it became far worse. We were sitting near the back high up among the gods ( I’m not good with heights). If you have been to the o2 you will know what I mean. The floor is very steep high up. I spent most of the time holding onto my seat for dear life I thought I was going to pass out and fall over. My girlfriend at the time was up dancing having the time of her life. It wasn’t always that bad though.

The thing I love most about music is the feeling of escape and freedom it gives me. It can stir up a lot of different emotions. We all have the one song that we hate and cant stand to listen to, and that one song that we can’t get enough of.

Music is a very important part of my recovery. I have have found that if I listen to the songs that I listened to as a teenager, it takes me back there. It takes me back to a time when I was happier, free. If I put on appetite for destruction by guns n roses, I am a 14 year old boy with not a care in the world. It helps me to forget the present.

I have always dreamed of being a lead guitarist in a rock band touring the world. The only slight problem is, I have no musical talent what so ever. At primary school I was allowed to hold the triangle, sometimes I was allowed to hit it.

My taste in music has changed over the years. As a teenager and for a large part of my life I have been a metal head. Now I can listen to and enjoy just about anything. I’m currently addicted to the album “nightmare” by avenged sevenfold . A band I have seen 3 times so far.

It dosen’t matter what taste you have in music, listening to your favourite songs can have a massive positive impact on your mood. Unlike watching a film or reading a book, you can almost instantly decide if you like a song or not. And of course in the day of digital downloads you can hear a song on the radio and have the album on your phone in seconds.

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Love yourself

It doesn’t matter how much good you do in your life time. You can be the most caring loving selfless person on the planet. You can literally give all your time and attention to others forsaking yourself and your own needs. The simple truth is, you won’t be remembered for any of that. Oh no, you will only be remembered for the wrong you did, no matter what. This is only natural and not a problem in itself if you are in a good place mentally, you can brush it off and move on.

When you get spoken to in a negative way, it deflates you and can leave you feeling worthless. Having mental health problems and low self esteem makes every negative comment and remark ten times worse. It’s the only part of the day you remember. It eats you away. It knocks your confidence.

You can go to work and work your arse off all day long, but get pulled up for the one thing that you didn’t do. You can spend your day tiding the house but be criticised for the one thing that you forgot to do.You can be out driving somewhere that you have never been before and get your passengers there safely, but be remembered for the one wrong turn you took.

It’s a bit like watching the news. You never hear of any good going on in the world, only the bad stuff.

So how to change that and stop negativity from causing anxiety and self doubt ? Well, it takes some time to do. You have to adjust your ways of thinking. If someone is putting you down it’s because a part of them is insecure (unless you’ve really fucked up of course). Start by talking kindly to yourself and slowly you will learn to let go of the criticism. Relax. Remind yourself that you are good enough. Learn to love yourself .

Learning to love yourself is the single most important thing you can do in life. You are the only person always guaranteed to be in your life forever.

You’ve got this. Stay strong!!

.

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This too shall pass

One important thing to remember is nothing lasts forever, absolutely nothing. You can be having the worst day of your life, it may not feel like it right now, but it will pass. In the words of Winston Churchill “ if you’re going through hell, keep going”

At the other end of the spectrum you maybe having the best day of your life, this also won’t last for ever.

Make the most of every single moment of your life, you will never live it again. Learn from your mistakes, move on, grow. Expand your mind, don’t settle for adequate, reach far higher. If you’re not happy in a relationship, leave. If you’re stuck in a dead end job with no chance of personal development, find a new job. Don’t like your house, move. Anything is possible once you open your eyes.

Surround yourself with positive people. Talk to yourself like you would your best friend. Learn to love yourself and people will love you too. Take up a new hobby, get outside, exercise.

I now know exactly what I want for the rest of my life. It will take me a while to get there, but nothing or no one is going to stop me. I can see light at the end of the tunnel.

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The many faces of depression and anxiety

So over the years my mental health has reared its ugly head in many different ways. Each time I had it under control it would reappear in a different form. Its haunting.

My first panic attack was in 1996. I worked for a leisure company installing equipment in pubs and clubs all around East anglia. On this particular day I was asked not to go out, but to stay at the depot. I had no idea why at this point. As soon as the words left my bosses my I felt an over whelming fear. My heart was racing and my chest was tight. My breathing was laboured and I felt like I was going to pass out. Although I knew the people around me were talking, I couldn’t hear a word they were saying. It took me about half an hour to recover. It left me exhausted. Within the hour I was driving home. I had been made redundant.

Next came a relationship breakdown and the onset of depression. I was put on Prozac and basically told to get on with it. Over the years I have been on every anti depressant available and like a lot of people as soon as they start to work I stopped taking them…….and then go back to the doctors to try something different. I now realise that I will probably be on medication for the rest of my life.

The next big panic attack I can remember was at a football match. Ipswich vs Norwich (I’m a big Ipswich fan). This is always the biggest game of the season and it was a sell out, so there where over 25,000 people there. I felt fine before the kick off, having a beer and chatting with my friend. We walked into the entrance of the stadium and started to walk up the stairs. Then, all of a sudden, I froze. I couldn’t go up or down the stairs. I had all of the symptoms as with the last attack. I had to sit down with someone from the St John’s ambulance until it had passed. Eventually I managed to go in. Again I was exhausted.

It was starting to effect my daily life, in fact is was taking over my life. Every time I went out anywhere I would have at the very least mild symptoms of anxiety. One thing I did find that seemed to help was to have some mints to suck, they helped to calm me down. Even to this day I usually have some polos with me if I go somewhere out of my comfort zone.

Anxiety distorts your thinking pattern and clouds you mind, making it hard to concentrate and focus on anything. Probably the biggest example I can think of where this has happed to me is when I went to sell my house. I filled out all of the paper work with a local estate agent ( I was very anxious at the time). It wasn’t until a few days later that I had any concerns. My mum called to say the estate agent had called and they would like to go to her house to take some pictures “her house”. I later realised that when I had filled out the paper work I had put the contact address in the box where I should have put my address. Thanks anxiety!!

Social anxiety came next. The thought of going out in the evening would bring on symptoms of physical illness in the morning or even the night before. I would think of every excuse under the sun not to go out. The stupid thing is, if I did manage to go out, I would be fine after the initial panic.

It was years before I tried a talking therapy. It was in Ipswich with mind. It helped to talk things over, but I never really got to the root cause. Around the same time, the doctors put me on betablockers. I would take one before going out and they would help to calm me down.

One of the biggest problems I have had over the years, is queueing up for anything. I would quite happily go into a shop and fill up a trolley, but if there was any sort of queue, I would leave the trolley and go. Its the same in queueing anywhere.

I am very fortunate that my friends are very understanding. However this can also be a curse, I would rely on the to support me instead of sorting out the actual problem……me.

The last big panic attack I had was in Leeds last year. I was at an awards ceremony with work. I knew I would be anxious, so I took a packet of betablockers with me ( or so I thought). turns out I had taken an empty packet with me!! I got myself into a right old state. luckily for me the friends I was with knew what was happening and helped to calm me down and get me through. I told you I have the best friends in the world.

This is just some of the ways that my mental health has affected me over the years. No two people are the same and it could be completely different for you. Please don’t rely on medication. there are so many different therapies out there now. Find one that works for you, get to the heart of the problem and sort it out properly. Don’t just mask it.

I really am making progress myself now. Every day I see a little clearer and the fog in my mind clears a little. Its a long journey, but I have started. This will not beat me. I am in charge!!

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Washing up

When I started out my journey to recovery I was expecting massive changes instantly. The information sheet that came with my medication said they would start to take affect in 4 to 6 weeks. I expected to wake up after the fourth week and be cured.

Once I started to meditate, I expected to feel instant calm and clarity. I ignored the fact that meditation can take years to master. I literally opened my eyes and expected to feel better.

It was the same with my hypnotherapy. And also when I changed to rapid transformational therapy. I will speak more about this in a couple of weeks.

Reading was the next thing. I would buy or download a book. One that has amazing reviews and claims of instant change. I would read it and feel no difference.

The problem is I was relying on fixing the “chemical imbalance” with the medication, and external sources to fix my internal feelings.

When I was doing my listening exercise, I would only notice the times when my mind took over, not the times of silence.

I was blind to what was actually happening to me. I was so focused on feeling instantly better and beating myself up when the massive change didn’t happen. It was making me feel worse and that was all I could focus on.

I’m always in a rush to do anything. I can’t queue up or wait for anything, it is a big cause of my anxiety.

I became aware that this is the area that I most needed to change. I can’t carry on beating myself up. That doesn’t help me at. Half of my problem is, I never feel good enough, I lack confidence.

So why have I called this blog washing up? Well, it when I was washing up that I first noticed a change. I am a very tidy person, but it became a big chore to do my washing up. I would leave it for a couple of days (disgusting I know). I have no idea why I just couldn’t do it as I was going along like I always have. Like all the therapys etc that I have tried, i didn’t notice what I was achieving, I only noticed what I wasn’t.

Everyday I would get up, make my bed, tidy my flat and hoover etc. I didn’t notice how much I was doing, just what I wasn’t………the washing up.

So to change this I am looking at all the things I am improving. I’m talking to myself kindly, reassuring myself that I am good enough. I’m putting myself first. I’m taking a step back and actually noticing the small changes.

I now notice that I am so much calmer. My mind is clearing for longer periods each day. I am able to concentrate on things I am doing rather than have my mind wander off.

It’s a bit like a jigsaw, the pieces slowly fitting where they should and the overall picture becoming clearer. .

So far away

So here we are nearly 2 months into lockdown. It’s nothing like I thought it would be. The world is changing, people are changing. Hopefully forever.

Food shopping is now quite civilised. In my experience, after the initial madness of bulk buying, people are becoming friendlier and more understanding towards each other. People don’t need to take their whole family into a supermarket, one person is enough. Queuing outside and following a route around the shop is far more relaxing and stress free. Waiting to be assigned a checkout stops people from barging in. Shopping for family and friends that cannot go out is rewarding.

Apart from spending a small fortune on my therapy, I’m saving money by not going out for dinner, or socialising. I thought I would miss going out for a coffee, going for a meal or going to the cinema. I thought I would miss walking around shops, I don’t at all. I have leaned to be happy by myself spending time reading and expanding my mind. I’ve never truly loved myself or thought I was enough, I’m learning how to now.

Im absolutely useless with computers, it’s just not my thing. When I decided to start blogging I didn’t have a clue how to set up my site at all. My best friend Beck’s mum (Lynn, also a very good friend) designed the site logo for me (thanks again Lynn). I got in contact with an old school friend (David) a man I haven’t seen in probably 25 years. If I had another lifetime I still wouldn’t understand how this man can do what he does with computers. When he heard I was struggling (with life and setting up my page), he offered to help straight away. We caught up on zoom and have arranged to meet up in person when we are allowed to. He probably live to regret his offer with all of my constant emails and questions. I cannot thank you enough. My eldest daughter is also a whizz with computers is always on the other end of the phone too.

So what am I missing during all of this? Well that’s the easiest question to answer and the hardest part to deal with. I’m missing physically seeing people. I miss my children. When I next get to hug them, I probably won’t let go. I miss being able to visit my mum in the care home she lives in. I miss seeing my friends and spending time with them. It has made me realise what is truly important and that is love. I will come out of this a much better person. Now I’m learning to love myself, I will be able to love other people and be loved by them. I’m understanding that I am just as important as everyone else one the planet. I also now know that I am no better or worse than anyone else.

We are very lucky to be living in an age of such amazing technology. It’s great having mobile phones so we can speak to each other wherever we are. It’s great being able to video call, play quizzes and games online with family and friends. Not being able to physically see people is actually bringing me closer to many.

Technology is amazing, it brings us so much closer to people but, leaves us so far away………

When the lockdown is over and “normal” life can resume, let’s all remember what mattered to us the most. Not the shops, bars, cinema but the people. Although life is the longest thing we ever do, we are only here for a short time. Remove negativity, live freely, be happy and grateful for everything that you have.

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Two steps forward……

……..one step back, is still one step forward.

I have made progress, real good progress. Going back to work was tough for me, but I did it anyway. Then, yesterday I called my boss to see if I could have a weeks annual leave with immediate effect. After a long chat, I admitted that I was struggling and she told me to go off sick again. I am very lucky and truly thankful to work for such understanding and caring people.

In truth, I’ve not been sleeping or eating properly. Although I’ve stopped losing now, I have lost a stone in weight. Work isn’t the problem, I’m just not physically or mentally fit enough yet. In the past I would have seen the need to have more time off as a failure, a step back (which it is) however, now I see it as me listening to my body and mind and giving myself the time I really need. I need to be able to look after myself before I can look after anyone else.

I need to make sure in this time off I sort my diet out and get my sleep back into some sort of routine. I’m going to practice the art of meditation and continue to use my self hypnosis audio. The audio is making a massive difference ready, it just takes time for new neuro pathways to be formed (about 21 days). I get need to gain more mental clarity, to clear the fog from inside my head. I’m going to read more and expand my thinking.

Another area I need to improve on massively is my physical health. Healthy body healthy mind and all that. A couple of years ago, I was training in the gym five days each week. I gained loads of muscle mass and improved my cardiovascular fitness. Because of the lockdown and not being able to go to the gym, its not quite as easy to find the motivation to train alone at home. Some very good friends of mine bought me some resistance bands. I can use these and maybe also start to run. I’m very lucky where I live. Being on the outskirts of town, I can run and hardly see any one (social distancing).

I’m loving how I am starting to view things differently. I will be this and be back stronger than ever!!

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Living in the moment

Something I have always been guilty of is not living right here in the moment. My mind is constantly linking everything to my past experiences or trying to imagine my future. My head had a constant fog inside.I have an inbuilt crystal ball in my mind and I know exactly what is going to happen (of course I really have no idea). I could live through anything I want in my mind, the next day, the next week, even the next year, and it generates immense feelings, usually of fear and dread. I literally did it all the time.

I can’t explain how truly horrible the constant fear is, always expecting the worst, never being good enough.

I changed my therapist to a rapid transformational therapist. This is an intensive form of hypnosis carried out in a 3 hour session. After the session I was given a personalised audio track to listen to twice a day for 21 days. I’ve Learnt to self hypnotise (it’s not as hard as it sounds), and I listen to the audio in an hypnotic state. I will speak more about the therapy in the coming weeks.

I didn’t feel the hypnotherapist I was seeing was actually doing much to help me. The only real thing of use was a listening exercise. It works by learning to turn off the voice that constantly talks inside your head. When I first tried, I could only manage a few seconds, but slowly I built this up to a few minutes. It’s not easy, your mind wants to wander off somewhere, because that is what it has done all of your life. You can do it with your eyes open or closed. Just relax, any thoughts that come into your mind (and there will be some), just let them go. If it doesn’t work to start with, try later, don’t beat yourself up.

I became fantastic at masking my fear through joking about everything and trying to make people laugh. The truth is the more I did that, the less I was myself and the more I was falling apart

I will probably be on medication for the rest of my life, which does help, but doesn’t solve the underlying problem. Hence the hypnotherapy. It’s a bit like waking up every day with a headache. You can take paracetamol and the headache will go. However if you don’t find the route cause of the headache it will just come back the next day.

Im learning to just take each day as it comes, praising myself for things that help and not beating myself up for the things that didn’t. I look outside of myself and remember that I am okay, the battle is in my head. I will win the battle and you can too.

There is no instant cure for any mental health problems. How nice would it be if there was?

Try to relax, find something that calms your mind.

You’ve got this!!

My headspace

So last year I decided to do what I should have done when I was 17. Take my motorbike test. It was a process that took nearly 4 months. I booked my compulsory basic training (CBT). This is an day long course that teaches the basics of riding a motorcycle firstly off road in a specially set up training area and the on the road. I’d ridden motorbikes when I was 16/17, so the course wasn’t that difficult, but I did learn alot.

The minute I had my CBT certificate in my hand, I bought a brand new yamaha MT125. I also bought all the safety clothing and helmet. Unlike driving which i see as a means of getting from a to b, riding a motorcycle gave me a real sense of freedom. The feeling of the bike underneath me, the smells, the motion of leaning into corners and of course the speed. The 125 would quite happily do 70mph.

I next completed my theory and hazard perception tests. Although I was nervous before taking them, my years of driving a car helped massively. Thankfully, I passed them first time.

I then booked an intensive training course which included both parts of the motorcycle test (module1 and module 2). The course lasted 3 days. There were two of us on the course and the instructor. We had a one way intercom so we could follow instructions and directions from the instructor. The first day was spent riding 700cc motorbikes at the same off road site as the CBT. I had to practice slow speed manoeuvres and bike control. The manoeuvres I learned where exactly the same as the ones i would be doing in my test. The following two days where spent riding on the road.

Now I know to experienced riders a 700cc motorcycle is relatively small,but the power and acceleration was all new to me. Both scarey and exciting.

We did a combination of riding. Dual carriage way, rural and urban. We rode around some of the different routes that would be used in the actual test.

At the end of the third day it was time to take the off road module 1 part of the test. That took place at the dvla training centre in Ipswich.

The other man on the course (Brian) took his test first, he passed. No pressure on me then!! I was very nervous. I took a betablocker and I had polo’s in my mouth (mints help to calm me down).

The examiner was very patient and explained everything he wanted me to do very clearly. I first had to complete and eyesight test by reading a number plate. Then we went in to the off road testing site itself. As soon as I was inside, I had to follow all the rules of the road. Every time I moved off, I had to do an over shoulder life saver check. The first maneuver was to park my bike in a parking space, get off and move it into another one to show i had control of the bike. Then followed maneuvers that included riding in-between cones, completing a figure of 8 and doing an emergency stop. Some how I managed to get a little lost when doing the figure of 8!! As I left the testing area, I feared the worst…..however I passed!!

When I met up with my instructor (who watched the whole thing), he asked if I wanted a sat nav because he saw my botched figure of 8 !!

I then had to wait a week before being able to take module two. On the morning of the test it was pouring with rain, I could hardly see where I was going. Although I had very expensive wet weather gear on, I was soaked by the time I got to the test centre. I was first up to take the test. Again I had taken a betablocker and had a mouth full of polo’s. I was cold, wet and nervous. There rain however played to my advantage. There where so many cars on the road, I spent more time than usual stuck in traffic.

The examiner followed behind giving me instructions through the intercom. It was going okay until he asked me to pull over in a safe place. We were stationery for a minute or so and the he said to pull out when safe to do so. As I looked over my should, a car flashed and I pulled out. As I looked in my mirror I realised he wasn’t flashing me, but letting a car out of a side road. I though, that’s it I’ve failed. Because of this I relaxed and rode in my own style rather than trying to over think what I had been taught.

When we got back to the test centre, I was expecting the worst. I was ready for the embarrassment of facing my instructor and Brian.

I looked at the examiner and he said ” I’m pleased to tell you, you have passed. Well done” I nearly passed out. He said he read the car flashing the same as I did. The gods where with me that day!!

The same day as passing my test, I traded I my 125 for a yamaha MT07. I had an akrapovic race exhaust fitted to it ( it sounds lovely, and yes it is legal officer).

Now whenever I’m having a bad day, I go for a nice long ride. It clears my head and gives me freedom.

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mental health

Lockdown has changed my life forever…..

……and probably yours too. I knew my mental health was deteriorating at the end of last year. I lost my focus and drive. I was struggling to fall asleep at night and tired all day long. Constantly overthinking, my head was like a washing machine. In late March I self referred for some talking therapy and in early April I discussed and changed my medication. It was all to late to stop me from trying to numb the pain. I was worried and stressed about a number of different things and the announcement of the lockdown was the final straw. The thought of not being able to see anyone socially scared the hell out of me. I had nearly a month off of work.

Although I have lived on my own for over a year I’ve always relied on socially distracting myself and I was hardly ever on my own. I was scared, in fact I was terrified. Alone with just my thoughts………my idea of hell.

However, it turned out to be the best thing that has ever happened to me. I had to rely purely on myself for the first time in my life. It was time to make some life changing decisions, and this time I have to get it right.

I called the samaritans to talk things through, they were fantastic.

I have had various talking therapies in the past, they helped to massively change my outlook on life, but didn’t address the underlying problem. I was still constantly overthinking, anxious, scared and as far as I could see, for no reason at all. I needed to do something that I had never done before, something that would change me for the rest of my life.

I spent my time off researching different therapies and approaches.

It was a daily struggle just to get out of bed. I needed to push myself just to function. Slowly I got myself into a daily routine. I would walk everyday, call my daughters, my son and call my friends. Within a week, I was able to actually go shopping for myself.

I started to meditate and learned to silence my over active mind for brief moments of time , so I could live in the moment. It was hard, very hard. I pushed myself further than I ever have before.

Slowly, being on my own became easier. Although constantly anxious, I learned to talk to myself differently. Instead of always beating myself up, I would talk kindly. Praising myself for how far I had come. It really helped.

I’m still finding it hard to sleep properly and I’m tired all day long lacking focus. But, the part I feared the most, being on my one is now my safe haven. I watch lots of meditation/ hypnotherapy videos on YouTube, they help massively. I bought an amazing book called “I am enough” by Marisa Peer. It comes with a free hypnosis download which i listen to evey night in bed. It was through her web site https://marisapeer.com/ that I discovered rapid transformational therapy.

I have my first session of rapid transformational therapy later this morning. It with a man based locally that was trained by Marisa herself. I’m by nervous and excited at the same time.

So, if it wasn’t for the lockdown, I would never have had the time alone to research different approaches or push myself. I would have done what I have always done. Relied on other people to ease my pain and help me forget. I have a long way to go, but I am proud of how far I have come.

In every negative there is a positive if you look hard enough.

Some days you own the world, others it owns you.

Woke up tired, not a good start to the day. Head feels foggy and unable to think straight or concentrate. Full of fear and dread. I had one mission today, go food shopping to buy a chicken for lunch at work. I drove to Asda, but the queue was far too long due to social distancing, so I drove to Tesco instead.

I patiently zig zagged around the shop Following the one way system keeping two meters away from everyone else. I finally got near to the front of the queue for the checkout and then I realised I hadn’t got the bloody chicken!

It didn’t get much better once I was outside. I got back to my car and the battery was dead!

Going for a power nap.

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My first blog

Hi. My name is Martin aka (catmann) due to me having nine lives. I am a 47 year old man. This blog is about my life with and over coming mental health. I’ve suffered with mental health Problems for most my of my adult life (and probably childhood). Over the years it has cost me relationships, jobs and nearly my life. In this blog, I am going to tell you about my past life, my current life and my future. Hopefully you can learn something from my mistakes. I will tell you what I have tried to do to beat this, and what I am currently doing. If I can help just one person, then I will be very happy. I want it to be okay for men and women of all ages to speak freely about mental health and get help.

I’m new to blogging so please bear with me as I start out.

About me. I’m a father to 3 amazing children (well young adults). I live alone. I work full time in healthcare. I own a car and a motorcycle. I have a fantastic family and friends.

I have just returned to work after a month off. I became overwhelmed with my life and took an overdose (not for the first time). I didn’t want to die (although I have wanted to in the past), I just wanted to numb the pain. This can never happen again. It was selfish and stupid. However at the time I wasn’t thinking about anyone, in fact I wasn’t thinking about anything. It was like I wasn’t even there myself.

Over the years I have probably tried every medication and magic pill that there is here in the U.K. Although they help, alone they are not enough. I have had talking therapy, CBT, stress management and I am currently having hypnotherapy. I have a zoom call later this morning from a rapid transformation therapist. I will let you know the outcome. I will beat this illness.

The sad thing about treating and over coming mental health is the cost. All physical injuries and conditions are treatable on the (amazing NHS) for free. Mental health treatment is expensive.