Coming out of the shadows again.

My last post here was a little bleak. Usually I try to maintain a healthy optimism about how I am because it helps me and if anyone does read these posts, well,  I don’t think people really want to read bleak do they?

Things got worse for me since then, that spiral went further and faster than it has for a long time. My commute to work each daywas an hour in tears, thoughts whispering about how easily I could permanently end all my troubles. I stopped staying over in hotels as my thoughts alone in a dark quiet hotel were overwhealming. At home I hid everything away and pretended I was fine – distracting myself with phone games and “stuff”, At work I found excuses to be away from my desk and hiding in toilets and in the stationary cupboard (no – you are right, I did just say that I was hiding in a stationary cupboard!!!) and sleep was replaced with more tears and unending oppressive silence. Bad. And the pressure from work was building horrendously as I was asked to take on projects from colleagues on holiday and colleagues who were ill.

I had time off work booked though so I thought – “I can make it – I can get through to my two weeks off and it will be ok” but you know, I really couldn’t carry on. I have in the past but as everything got darker I knew this was going to be different and so one morning I asked to see my manager privately.

I’ve never told them about my depression, I’ve got the “oh no, I’m fine!” act down to an art form. Somehow I managed to stay in control though and explain to my manager just how not fine I was. I told him everything; how I cried about coming to work, how I felt totally unable to deal with things, wasn’t sleeping and that I needed not to be there – to reset my head. Telling him felt like a massive weight lifting from my shoulders, and to his credit my manager really listened and took it all in. All my fears about admitting my “inadequacies” were unfounded and he agreed to everything I asked, offered me counselling and reassured me my fears of not being up to life were not shared by him or the company. I left wondering why on earth I hadn’t been able to have these conversations before, if I had maybe I wouldn’t have gotten to this place at all.

Or maybe I would – you can’t really tell with mental health can you? 

My work offered me counselling so I phoned the number they gave me. I spoke to a really lovely lady for over an hour and at the end of the conversation I had to be scored to see if I were eligible for one to one sessions. They told me that unfortunately my score was too low for them to see me – they actually suggested I phone back a week later (once I had gone on sick leave) to get rescored in case I felt less depressed and had a higher score – then they could see me! I thanked them, hung up and actually had my first genuine laugh in weeks – I was actually too depressed to be counselled! Go me!!!

Anyway the time off helped. My head was mashed, I was exhausted and I had lost track of who I was. But I still had my “proper” counselling worksheets so I re-examined them and started to restore my balance. Then during all this Chester Bennington killed himself last week.

Earlier this year I heard their song Heavy played for the first time and it took my breath away. It was a song that spoke to me and summed up what I was going through. The video that accompanied it could have been a recording of my life, I think I played it everyday since. Their albums have always given me solace, the anger and understanding of their lyrics reasonating on many different levels., but Heavy was my song, and then Chester took his own life and I felt the rug pulled out from under my feet again. I cried for Chester, for myself, for everyone who has had to suffer this kind of episode / way of life / disease / affliction. We shouldn’t have to feel this way, Chester shouldn’t have felt it necessary to take his life like my work colleague shouldn’t have had to either. Yet again I reaffirm that I won’t let this beat me but god it’s hard going sometimes.

And so to the optimistic end section! I’m grieving for Chester, I’m giving myself some time  and space and I am back at work. My workload is light and manageable and I am been given the necessary support to carry on. At home I’ve talked things through with my wife and as ever she is my saviour, my touchstone, my love and my hope. I’m still crying spontaneously at things I see and hear but vitally I have restored the balance in my head and I feel able to control myself and surroundings again. 

I wish I had talked to people at work sooner and explained how I felt before I got to the point I did, it has made everything better and I would urge anyone to speak up before it gets too bad to deal with. 

Coming out of the shadows again.


 I have nothing to say.

Literally nothing. I feel numb, separate, disjointed, out of phase, disconnected. And I know why, because that is the only way I can cope with the amount of things happening to me, my country and the world in general. 

I feel so much that in effect I can’t feel anything. I want to cry at the news but I mostly can’t, and I want to cry at the state of the world but I mostly can’t. I want to make a difference and change things – but I mostly can’t. The act of going to work and interacting with people makes me feel sick and want to run away and hide – so I switch down, turn up, tune in, tune out play video games and phone games and listen to the news and watch pop videos and smile and I smile and I smile and nothing is at all wrong but at the same time EVERYTHING IS WRONG and I know it is and I don’t want it to be but I can’t stop it like I can’t stop writing to add punctuation because this is what it’s like in my head there is no punctuation just stuff circling and circling and circling and there doesn’t seem to be anyway to stop it going around unless I escape from my own self and blot out the noise in my head with the noise of Destiny on the x box of Aurora on my MP3 player or linkin park on you tube or mending something or sleeping

I need to stop but I don’t know how but here goes the first step , a comma or two, and a full stop . Ok so it’s only punctuation on a blog post but at least it’s a start. I am starting to feel that I need external help to realign my thoughts but I can’t actually say those words at the moment.

Work colleagues: “Hay, is that project going ok? Do you need help?” Me: “oh no, it’s all under control thanks” (translation: “it really isn’t fine and I can’t cope with this – please, please realise this – is it not obvious?”).

Friends: “hi, how are you!” Me: “oh I’m fine thanks – how are you?” (Translation: “I’m the opposite of fine – can you not see this? I am on the edge of losing the plot in a very big way”)

Family: “How was your day?” Me: “yea, ok, how was yours?” (Translation: “I can’t do this anymore – I need the world to stop and I need reset my head because I just want to cry”)

I physically cannot say the whe words I need to aloud. I need help.  I need to talk to someone and rationalise the thoughts in my head. I can’t ask the question though. The words stick in my throat, my mouth goes dry. You see those three little words scare me because once I’ve said them aloud there is no retracting them and everything changes.

If you have read this far then I feel I should apologise for the self indulgence of everything I have written. I’m not proud of who I am and all of my inadequacyies, but I’ve always wanted these posts to be honest and this is the only place I can be honest


Musings with a “sound” mind….

It is actually quite bizarre to start to feel “normal” for a while. I’m not obsessing about anything in a negative way and I am not dragging myself down to bad places. It’s been a long time since I have thought about harming myself mentally or physically and the persistent voices in my head which refuse to go away and relentlessly harp on about how useless and pathetic I am have, well, gone away.

I feel almost lonely without them….

Almost. I know I have to make the most of this time as there will almost certainly be another trigger to set off another cycle of self loathing but for the moment I can just get on with being tired in a physical way, and try to make sense of how my brain operates. I can also look to understand more about how to get out of this cyclical pattern and find more peace for myself. I know where I need to go – I just don’t know how to get there. 

My main problem i think is the nature of my work. It’s a very stressful job and I know of many people who have snapped and left the industry or just snapped and stayed broken. My poor friend who took his own life for one. But like lots of people, this job is all I know and my best chance of earning a decent wage so I have little choice. It’s also not the jobs fault I have such a low opinion of myself and my capabilities: that’s down to the way I was brought up and the way my mind works. 

Some things are still a struggle and still freak me out: speaking on the telephone, walking past a Subway restaurant (really!!)  and ordering in Nando’s (eating in one is fine though…) among them, but these are fairly easy things to get round: I cannot begin to express how different this position is to how I was for much of last year and the year before though when I thought I was losing my battles and had few options left. At times I didn’t think I would still be here at all.

As I’ve said I have been here before,after my counselling finished in 2010 I felt like I had beaten my demons; when they did return it was devastating. so if and when they do come back I will be waiting and hopefully prepared for them to do their worst. 

That’s all I can do isn’t it?

Musings with a “sound” mind….

A fine line

So today I wake up in a hotel – I’ve stayed over for work reasons – and I realise it’s over six months since I last regularly posted anything on here. It got me to thinking why that was as I am confused as to whether I am feeling more in control than before when I was sharing a lot more about what was going on in my head.

Thinking about it I guess things have changed a lot and with that a sense that I have pulled through another really bad dark phase – and yes I am less frequently “out of control” which I suppose means I am more in control. That’s gotta be a good thing yes?

Well those dark moods still come back – a lot even in the start of January when I was crying everyday before leaving for work, unable to sleep at night. But this time I knew it was a dark phase – I understood it so to an extent I could dismiss it at the same time as I was absorbed by it. It’s been a case of “this is really shit – but I know how it goes and I know it will pass”.  

A very big part of this is the anormity of the amount of stuff going on around me: my work is particularly demanding at the moment, a result of covering someone’s maternity leave. This has made me incredibly vulnerable to the voices that say I can’t cope, that I am not good enough and will fail but at the same time I can see that those voices are wrong because I know from my own eyes and the comments of others that the truth is I am very effective in my new role. At the same time my politics, dormant for many years, have resurfaced and I feel angry about many things in this very devided country of the UK. Normally anger has a very bad impact on my problems because I can’t direct it anywhere, but when I can direct it towards a definite goal it appears it is a very positive force. Who knew?

So yes, I am aware I am walking a fine line between thriving and coping and descending into a very bad place (yet again) but I do seem to be winning at the moment 🙂

A fine line

Deceptive appearances…..

A colleague went to a course on timekeeping and prioritising. One of the tasks she was asked to do was think about a work mate who was never stressed and seemed to get on with things without fuss. She picked me.

She told me this when my masks were slipping and I was trying and failing to ask for help – it was meant in a positive way and I took it as such but it was like a literal slap in the face. To me my incompetence is obvious, my limitations massive and my skill minuscule – I work really hard not to fail because I know I will and I have to prevent that at all costs. Whole days at work are spent in fear my inadequacies will find me out and my colleagues will look at me and realise I am a fraud and a failure, that I don’t deserve the job I have and never did. That I am not the person they think I am.  I seek refuge in the cubicles of the toilets because I can let down my guard, panic, possibly have a little cry and then paste on my happy confident smile again. And nobody has noticed. Nobody has ever noticed what to me is indeed so obvious.

It takes me back to my dark days, 2010, where I was in a different job and so utterly desperate, utterly broken that I didn’t have the energy to talk unless spoken too: that if I was speaking and realised that more than one person was listening to me I would fall apart. At that time I was spending what seemed like hours in the toilets, totally punching walls a lot and totally paranoid about how everyone felt about me. I was actively looking for ways to harm myself and nobody noticed then either – Nobody noticed my breakdown!!

I think I missed my vocation in life: I should have been an actor obviously! The CBT I had in 2010 still works today: I can rationalise my self and others so much more now, and I have little mantras in my head like “if you respect a person and that person respects you, then surely you have to respect that persons opinion of you?” I like the circular logic and that works a lot in the environment I am in. People like my colleague genuinely think I am an ok guy, that I am doing a good job and in some ways better than them in their eyes. I don’t believe it but I do accept that they believe it – so i therefore do have to accept it myself at least on some level, even when I am trying really hard to persuade myself of my shortcomings.

And I wonder why I am always tired! Why my brain hurts all the time and why I dread getting out of bed and going to work? Or avoid social activities outside my immediate family? The truth also is that for all my positive thinking – I am struggling at work and in social situations, I feel overwhelmed by the people who surround me and I am physically and mentally exhausted but I just can’t seem to say the words “can I have a little help here please?”.People ask the question “you alright then?” – I say “yep I’m fine”: I’m not fine and in fact I am very far from fine but it’s what you say – and it’s what people want to hear and believe. One day maybe I will have the strength to admit my struggles outside of my family and these posts. I have tried so hard to write a social media “Confessional” – but I don’t have the guts to face the reactions of those around me, and what those reactions might do to me. So till then my smile will mostly stay on, toilets will always be my friends and I will keep on saying I’m fine…

Deceptive appearances…..

All my demons greeting me as a friend


I’ve not posted in a while, and looking back at my last few posts I don’t think “I” was here even when I did last write.

See I suffer from depression and anxiety, as anyone who has read anything I’ve put up here already will realise, and I have been in a fairly bad inwardly spiralling place for the last few months. Closed off to the world, in my own little box with a lock on the inside and trying terribly hard to remember how to get out again – it can get very dark in that box and it can be almost impossible to find the key and turn the lock.

I don’t really relate to my last couple of posts now, they were written by boxed me and it’s quite odd to read them now I am out into the light again. For me it’s like waking up from a bad black and white dream and seeing sunny warm green Spring like colours. I don’t feel like the world is askew anymore – I know where my strength is and how to use it – I can breath and I really don’t want to cry anymore.

So what woke me? If I knew I would tell you but I just feel different. And then as I started to feel better I listened to a new album.

The title of this post is the name of an album by a singer from Norway called Aurora. Music is very important to me, I can’t play or sing to save my life but my moods can shift very fundamentally if I hear the right or wrong song in the wrong or right circumstances.

This isn’t an advertisement for the album but when I came upon her by accident on You tube and bought the album it blew my mind away. This girl is 19 and she writes lyrics like “I fall asleep in my own tears, I cry for the the world, for everyone,And I build a boat to float in,I’m floating away,And I built a cage to hide in,I’m hiding, I’m trying to battle the night” – this is her song Warrior. It felt like she was writing about me. 

But that song isn’t a depressing whinge, it’s a clarion call to fight back and it’s given me the final kick I needed to come back to myself and carry on.

I hate the way the pattern of my behaviour and life in general is such a circular one of highs and lows, and I wish my high points could be higher but at least now I feel optimistic and outwood looking again

So now I just have to stay here  in myself – but I might just listen to this album a bit more to remind myself…

All my demons greeting me as a friend

Reflections in a Mirror

I caught my reflection in the bathroom mirror this morning and I realised that I didn’t recognise myself. 

I recognised the face, that hasn’t changed, but I realised I really don’t know who lives in it. I still have that hollowed out feeling, I still feel as though my world axis has shifted and now I just can’t seem to get a grip on my sense of self. 

I have filled my life to bursting with Things To Do – I work, I sleep, I drive, I listen to loud music, I play mobile phone games I watch tv, I write this blog, I sleep, I drive I play with my child, I eat, I work I play games, i do diy projects, I talk action plans and logistics with my wife, I work, I sleep,…….  I work….

I consume noise and experience and stimulation, anything to stop me thinking. And my pretences and acting to get me through my working day don’t help – the stress of appearing confident, in control and able to work at the level I do surrounded by lots of people I am uncomfortable with is relentless

But today in my bathroom it was quiet, I wasn’t working, or playing a game or playing with my child. It was just me and the mirror in a quiet house. 

And I don’t know who was looking back at me.

What do I want? What do I believe in? Where am I going and how do I get there? I just wanted to wake my child and wife, get in the car and just drive away from our lives. Don’t ask me where, just not here.

I get that feeling a lot recently. A sense of just wanting to be somewhere else with the people I love doing something very different to the life we live now. But it is only an unformed sense, not a rational plan – and you can’t live on unformed senses.

Somehow I need to work out who is in that mirror, I need to learn to live with them if not like them and I need to find some kind of stillness – a peace of mind  – to be whatever it is I am.

I’m just not sure how at the moment :-/

Reflections in a Mirror

15 days later

So that’s right because WordPress told me – Fifteen days since my last post. Is it just me? -I hate the term blog, “post” sounds so much better.

Anyway – 15 days.

I do this thing when everything piles on top of me and that is to distract the hell out of myself. The only time I allow myself to sit still and do nothing is when I am asleep – the only time I am asleep is when my body has had enough and decides to pass out in exhaustion (or instant death sleep as I call it – by this I mean I literally fall asleep in one position and waking up in the same one, sometimes with the tv still on, sometimes with my ear phones in, a lot of times my wife has literally found me asleep still holding open the book I was reading in the morning) it doesn’t exactly help either as I end up spending most of the time fatigued through lack of sleep, fatigued through pretending to be who I am and fatigued by the endless dialogue in my head as I fight of my anxieties.
My daughter reckons I should take antidepressants. I’ve been offered them in the past but I have always declined. I’m not being judgemental of other people who I am sure they help lots but I know I have an addictive personality: when I was young I tried most things and soon realised that if I didn’t ease up I was going to drink and smoke myself into oblivion, but then it was the love of a good woman that brought me to that conclusion. Taking pills would trigger my failure anxiety which is a pretty big one in my head – possibly the biggest.

This is a pretty interesting thing actually. My failure anxiety can dredge up so many small things to beat myself up on but you know what? I realised the other day I have actually succeeded in pretty much everything – I just can’t seem to focus on that though. Case in point – today I started a new project and last night I had the anxiety dreams, couldn’t sleep, felt sick etc, and yet today went like clockwork. I can actually stand on the project floor and see that people are smiling at me and pleased I am working with them, maybe even respect me (see can’t even say positives without a caveat) but I just can’t stay focused on it. It’s like trying to catch smoke or chase a rainbow, I can never acknowledge my self worth when there is a positive around although the reverses is true in spades when it comes to negatives.

That was why I chose CBT rather than anti-depressants. I’ve got to the point where I don’t have to analyse everything on paper so much anymore. Most of the time I can do it in my head (with the occasional out loud conversations to myself) and these posts help me do a lot of the analizating when I read them back…. When I am not tired….. :-/

My favourite distractions at the moment: a mobile phone game based on the Walking Dead, Nothing but Thieves album – on my mobile phone, Netflix which is um, on my mobile phone.

I hate it when I can’t find my mobile phone. I charge it incessantly – I literally have to have it on or near me to the irritation of my family.

15 days since my last post. I think the original intention of this was to carry on the thread of my last one but hey, I seem to have distracted the hell out of myself from doing so.

No change there then…..

15 days later

Hollowed out

Something inside me seems to be missing. Last weekend was very traumatic for my family and we spent a lot of time rallying around my 21 year old daughter who we thought had gone through something really bad.

Only then we discovered she had been lying, that her idea of truth is very different to ours and that she had been lying to us about a lot of things over the last 6 years, either blatantly or by default. She has confessed to not really being able to understand truth from fiction but has also decided to paint us as “bad parents” who don’t understand self harm, depression, gender confusion, and that we are homophobic, controlling and at the same uninterested in her. 

Homophobic – of course we are. That’s why she has a gay godfather and him included have 5 extremely close gay friends who visit most of the time – why we accepted her unconditionally when she said she thought she might be gay. Controlling – of course we are. That’s why we have supported her in everything she has asked to do and encouraged her to go on foreign school trips and let her bring all sorts of very odd people back to the house without comment. Uninterested – of course we are, I wrote about the supportive thing already.  

And me of all people, I really don’t understand being depressed, attempting / contemplating suicide / self harm or being confused about life and relationships (?!?!) – or my wife who has a history of bulimia.

As this all rolled out I rather lost the plot and shouted, said too much and probably made things worse, but I feel so helpless, that my little girl who I love so much is lost inside this body of someone who seems to collect neurosis like stamps and rewrite history as it suits her. I can’t bare to see her kill my funny, lovely, caring little girl and try to become someone she isn’t whilst all the time stacking up more and mores lies about everything and I mean everything. Our experiences and lives are meaningless to her, as are our opinions. She has also created a new identity for herself who is a boy and made enquiries about gender reassignment ( rejected by her doctor as they said she was not mentally stable enough). Meantime she refuses to find work and spends her hours locked in her bedroom or disappearing without explanation, expecting us to feed her, pay for her, take all the abuse she gives us, steals money from us and makes our lives hell.

Ever since Tuesday last week I have felt this enormous sense of emptiness, of being hollow, removed from my family and generally disjointed. My balance has been shifted and I don’t want to be here anymore, even though I don’t want to go anywhere. I feel helpless and useless and I generally don’t know what to do. I’ve been uncontrollably crying a lot too. Are my daughters’problems my fault? Has the exposure to my mental health problems caused hers? Or made them worse? I don’t need many reasons to kick myself in the teeth and my demons are literally running riot at the moment. Maybe she is right, maybe we are bad parents, I certainly feel so at the moment. 

Hollowed out