Singers Sing, Dancers Dance

And writers write!

This was originally posted on another site of mine. Updated and improved now.

I’m a writer and I love feeling creative and believe I have a talent for writing. I get a buzz from sharing my writing and being confident enough in my ability to write and make it interesting and engaging for you the reader.

Having taken time out for a few weeks and dealing with other shit in my life I can feel my creative juices flowing again and feel ready to start blogging again.

I wont talk about the past 10 months its a period of time that I have processed and consigned to the history books. I’ve accepted my faults and my failings, my share of the blame and now its gone. No more feelings no more anger no more pain no emotion at all about whats happened. I’m gonna have bad days naturally but its more important how I deal with them than reflecting on “what ifs”

Right now I’m in a good place and feel happy. Im not gonna stop doing what I enjoy and I’m going to unshackle myself from negativity and focus on myself only.

I am lucky enough to have some very good friends who haven’t turned their backs on me but encourage, listen and advise in equal measure and i know they will be happy to see me writing again.

Today im free, happy and positive and I intend to stay that way. Im changing my habitual negativity and reinforcing all the good in my life.

Lets see what the dating world has to offer. Lets see how I do with reconnecting with lost friends and more importantly lets see how this new mindset changes my life for the better.

I want to be known as someone who openly talks about depression again. Not as a victim but as a survivor, someone people look up to and who people can turn to.

I stood up in a room full of strangers and spoke about my admiration and respect for anyone who has been like me, suicidal and rock bottom yet says “fuck you” every morning and gets on with it no matter what. Do you know what happened? Spontaneous applause.

5 or 6 years ago there were a lot more blogs about depression, now there seems to be very few, especially from men. The more awareness about mental health generated over that period has been great yet still there is stigma and misunderstanding about it. I talk to people about depression and they seem surprised how bad I was years ago. That’s the beauty of being able to laugh, joke and smile on the outside when inside you’re screaming for release.

Keep going keep trying and the bad day last 24 hours only. I cant predict what’s around the corner, change of career, more books, acting? Who knows and right now my focus is on day by day.

But I can promise you all this. If you need someone to talk to, someone to just listen or offer advice then you simply find me on facebook or Twitter and my inbox is always open. No matter whats going on in my life I always make sure im available for others. Pay it forward! People are there for me when I need them and the offer is reciprocated.

I hope to write more often again, not just about my feelings etc but to inspire people. I spent 5 years unable to work because of mental health and now I’m working full time. I hope to share some tips that help me. It doesnt mean to say what works for me will work for others but as i say to people “own your illness, dont let it define you and take control” and thats half the battle.

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Happy Moose Happy Garry

Recovery from a break up is hard going and emotionally draining. It requires a painful mixture of self reflection, acceptance, acknowledgement and letting go of love and dreams. There is no time line when it comes to healing and certainly no handbook on dealing with the issues and potential baggage that can follow you around afterwards.

If you have a scab and keep picking at it the wound remains open and takes longer to heal each time. I guess I’ve been a scab picker for months almost letting it heal then reopening the wound. Its almost sado masochistic in the sense that I was encouraging myself to feel pain.

Eventually I found myself enjoying the pain less and less finding the whole scab picking tedious and detrimental to my life and as im a cold hearted bastard I knew I’d reach a point of shutting down and switching off my feelings.

Im often told im a negative person “glass half empty” kind of person and by nature have a miserable looking face, I dispute that last one to be honest its not a miserable face its the weight of my chins pulling my smile down into a frown….but thats a different story

I made a conscious effort to be positive and happy. To stop putting myself in a position of vulnerability and hurt and take back whats mine. My self respect, my dignity and my life.

I feel like a new me, a happier me again. Like the Garry of old before I was worn down and stopped looking after myself.

I am a good person, I have a great sense of humour a warm personality and many other good qualities. Sure I fuck up at all times but show me a human who doesn’t get it wrong and I’ll show you a liar.

I’m ready to start living in the now and not the past, make plans with friends meet someone new eventually and never look back again. No baggage, no hang ups and no letting my limitations and expectations being dropped.

Im happy again and no matter what gets thrown my way I’m gonna keep smiling.

I want to live again and try new things. Its 20 years this year since I went abroad for a holiday! Now is a good opportunity as its also my 40th birthday this year. Could i really just book myself a trip somewhere and spend my 40th on my own in a foreign place? Or who knows by then (November 29th get the date in your diary for cards and presents) I could have met someone and be starting my 40s with someone special. You just dont know whats around the corner do you but I’m ready to experience a happier life again.

My Facebook page, which can be found here¬†is becoming more popular and I’m enjoying the contributions from people and reacquainting myself with some old friends.

I’m also attending an acting class on Fridays now as a new outlet which so far is great, despite working too much lately there are lots of potentially new exciting opportunities on the horizon. Working on a new book, possibly writing plays, even acting who knows. I’m meeting new people, spending time with friends and generally being me again. If I can make you laugh when you’re at my counter at work, or in my company then I’m happy.

After all I’m a funny guy! Gratuitous Goodfellas scene opportunity! contains strong language but a classic…

Outlet, Outlet, Outlet. Cannot emphasis enough how important is it to have one. Obviously what works for me might not be what works for you but unless you try something different you just do not know what will be your thing. Trial and error is key. Getting something wrong is not failing, its trying to improve yourself and that’s never a bad thing.

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Lessons from the past

I am glad I never deleted this site and the near 500 posts on it. It has given me the chance to relive events from the past with a completely new perspective almost like it wasn’t me struggling with depression, suicidal, suffering and barely functioning. I have been able to look back at posts written in my darkest days and feel proud of myself for making myself write and share my battles with the world.

I dont see that person in me anymore. Thats not to say he isnt lurking underneath the surface or that I’m fully free from the black clouds that depression can bring. Its just that these days I am more aware of how much of a difference me controlling it can make as opposed to it controlling me.

The greatest gift I gave myself through blogging was the ability to re-read my posts. When I write its not prepared, edited or planned, an urge takes over me and I just go with it. The emotion, the rawness, the thoughts were all how I was feeling at that precise moment and that made me educated when it comes to recognising triggers and red flags.

I have been antidepressant free for the best part of 4 years, in fact in that time I have only taken them for a month as a precautionary measure when I caught myself sinking fast. After all prevention is better than cure as the saying goes.

I have triggers and symptoms that do rear their ugly heads but because of a greater knowledge and understanding I can usually get on top of them well before they can start a spiral.

I have spoken in the past about being a pessimistic/negative person by nature, thats a symptom of one too many kicks when I am down throughout life, but these days I am working a lot harder on optimistic believes and a more positive, happier approach to life.

You see things happen for a reason dont they? People come and go from your life for a reason and you have no control as to who stays or goes, destiny deals with when things happen and all you can do is follow your path and take the rough with the smooth.

Lessons can be hard, painful and destructive but I honestly believe that we can grow from them if we give ourselves time to heal properly.

I have been through hell the past 6 months but I made it through, the person I was 5 years ago wouldnt have been strong enough. Did it hurt me? Yes very much but ironically the person who hurt me pulled me out of depression in the first place. She helped me, made me stronger mentally and because of her I can work full time again. Sad because its over? Yeah I WAS, thankful it happened? Absolutely.

And life moves on, people move on and the next chapter starts.

I have bad moments, like everyone else but because I have been down that slope Im very well equipped to stop it happening again.

And the lesson I hope to teach you from this? Find an outlet, do what you love, explore your hidden talents because you just never know when they could be a game changer in your life!

Reflecting, Recovery and Reasons to be positive

I haven’t written for weeks now. Not for any particular reason, I have been busy working six days a week but my time away from blogging hasn’t been wasted. I have had a clear head for a long time and it has given me time to reflect on lots of things and work on a few issues that needed attention.

I guess by nature i am not a glass half full person. My glass is more of the smashed into a million pieces than half empty kind and I have been working very hard on focusing on the many things in my life I am thankful for. Trying to be positive when nothing positive happens can be hard yet there are so many positives I was just looking in the wrong places.

I have some wonderful friends who are always there for me if I reach out to them. Some reach out to me if im quiet for a bit just to make sure im alright and I appreciate the effort so much.

I can be guilty of neglecting my friends needs and im working on reconnecting with people and rebuilding relationships with those I feel I have let down over a period of time.

I am trying to be more aware of my faults and feel like I have made massive strides forward in how I view and treat myself in the past few weeks. The smile on my face these days is real though I have come through the worst part of my life and can really see that the corner has been turned.

People will like me and people will hate me and whatever they decide its not going to impact on me anymore. I am a good person and I would be a liar if I said I dont fuck up at times. I am impulsive and have a nasty vicious tongue and instead of taking a deep breath im a 2 minute volcano – this is the area Im working on the most.

I’m in a good place and my recovery has moved on a lot once I cleared my head of negativity. I can live in the past and be unhappy or I can live my life today and see where it takes me. The options are that simple and Im choosing to live it now.

I have seen the confidence returning, the smile natural not forced and I genuinely feel like I am on the verge of something big happening.

Learning to appreciate the great things in your life is a great tool because it shows you’re focusing on the right things.

I am enjoying having people encourage me to write because they enjoy reading my work. I am happy when I feel like I make a difference, and my mood has been very different in the past month.

Garry or moose its great being me again and looking forward to each day. Im tired working so much but Im trying different ways to channel my energy and release negativity and so far its working. I cannot stress enough the importance of an outlet when it comes to good mental health and whilst I may not yet be where I want, I am closer than I was yesterday.

And as for one person in particular…Im ready to take that glint in the eyes and smile on your face when you see me and roll with it.

The Depressed Moose and My Return

Updated 22nd April.

There was a time when my old persona saved my life, and that of others too. Writing about my battle with depression, sharing it with so many people and ultimately becoming a mental health campaigner and someone who was “known” in that social media world – or #famoose if you would prefer is still something that fills me with an enormous sense of pride and happiness. It was a time in my life where I made a difference to others, inspired others, helped others and achieved things that were beyond my expectations all despite being depressed.

My blog was successful in terms of numbers, I was asked multiple times to write pieces for the press and even had my face on material for Mind. It is a period of my life that I am incredibly proud of. I turned readers of my blog into amazing friends who are still with me to this day.

I walked away from that world, gave up writing completely and moved on with my life depression free and happy again. I met and fell in love with an amazing woman and the future looked bright.

Life doesn’t always work the way we plan and dream about and after 3 and a half years the amazing woman has become a stranger. The relationship broke down my heart broke and my world was turned upside down. The reasons behind it no longer matter she has her truth, I have my truth and life goes on.

I rebuilt from a failed marriage, a suicide attempt and years of depression, I will rebuild again and emerge stronger, happier and a better person once more. I fought to save a relationship that ultimately was doomed. Fought against the advice of friends and family because I refused to listen and see what was really happening.

Eventually we reach a point where we have had enough and realise our own value and worth. My limits were breached time and time again because I was beginning to believe I deserved it. Regardless of this and who is to blame I am at that stage whereby I’ve got over it. I deserve faithfulness, respect and honesty and wont accept less.

So where does this leave me? For starters I’m a worker moose now! For 5 years I was unable to work but I have been in the same job now for 18 months. Despite the negatives of the way it ended the relationship did help me in many ways, my depression has been gone for years and Im able to work daily without sickness leave or mental health worries and those positives are the ones I will take away from it.

I was unable to be “moose” but now I can return to my online persona as well as maintaining Garry and my mental health is always under control.

From the confines of the spare room at my mums at the age of 39 I will rebuild and find love, happiness and be someone who helps, inspires and makes a difference once again.

Remembering Who I Was

Making this blog active again and reopening my facebook page has been a real eye opener for me. For the first time in a very long time I actually feel like I belong somewhere again. I feel a great deal of pride in what this blog accomplished many years ago and as a stat whore my numbers astonish me that a humble little blog could have such a big number of views, visits and followers considering the subject matter. Writing about mental health has been a challenge at times when I could barely function yet its been a life saver and changer for me at times. Check out the photo below this little site is nearing ninety three thousand views!! 93,000 imagine that!

Having this site available to the world again gives an insight into my journey from depression heartbreak suicide attempts and recovery and back into heartbreak again. The majority of the posts here where written when I was suffering from depression and then once I felt that life had finally brought happiness again I walked away from a world where I was well known, respected and someone who was available for others at their lowest points. In 2013 I was on the end of the phone to 7 people as they were at the point of ending things and I talked them around – more than anything this is something Im extremely proud of. I made a difference to people.

I’ve spoken about mental health from my experiences and many other personal aspects of my life and the feeling of goodwill I have received has really boosted my self esteem in the last few days. I forgot I was good at writing, I forgot I could be interesting to other people.

I need to look after my own health both physical and mental. As far as depression goes right now I would be honest enough to admit I’m struggling. I’ve been a lot worse and I have no real fears mentally.

I feel happier than I have in a while. I’m busy reconnecting with old friends healing wounds building bridges and finally remembering that in actual fact I’m not that bad. I’m flawed in many ways but I’m a good person if allowed to be me. maybe that was part of the problem, I was too busy being stifled to be the man who helped countless others..

so today I can go to sleep feeling proud of myself once more and feeling like I have finally found my place again

 

It’s My Birthday… Two Today!

Today marks the 2nd anniversary of this blog. The Depressed Moose is 2 years old… I am almost in big boy pants and can officially stop shitting myself in nappies and use the toilet….doesn’t mean I am going to quite yet..baby steps and all that ūüėÄ

As with any 2-year-old I am like a sponge absorbing lots of information and being excited at every new thing I learn and discover, and still grinning like a baby with trapped wind most of the time too. It is exactly how I fell these days though even if it makes no sense at first with the baby analogies.

My mental health has never been better than this moment in time, even during my rocky moments I feel more like I am going through the “normal” range of human emotions than depression taking hold of me again and this is a great weight of my shoulders. I can laugh, cry, sulk (and apparently I do a really good sulking pout!> in the normal way without worry about mania, depression or anything else being a cause.

Unless this heat continues because it is a sure-fire way to bring back my depression if I am not careful. My flat is like a greenhouse at the moment which makes it hard for me to sleep at night, and lack of sleep equals grumpy, moody hide from the world Garry so I am working hard on trying to combat this – prevention is always better than cure after all.

New beginnings always help and I am lucky that things have progressed with the wonderful lady in my life to the point where we are now starting a relationship and moving forwards together. Katie AKA Miss Donut has been a breath of fresh air in my life since we met. It can be hard work at times, I am not renowned for my patience which doesn’t help,¬†but hard work brings the best rewards and she is great company, great fun and a brilliant new addition to my life. It is nice feeling butterflies and acting like a love-sick teenager again and being able to fight for someone you want in your life is a sure sign that I am recovering nicely from depression, as it having someone fight to be with you as well. In the past I would have walked away from anything that was not easy…..not this time, we are overcoming hurdles together and both happy with how things are going. I have not been this happy for as long as I can remember and I aim to ensure it stays this way. She makes me very happy and I am lucky to have her!

Planning for the future is not something I have done for years, but I am now and trying to create lots of new memories with the wonderful Katie, having stored plenty already since our first conversation. It would also be nice if I could remember to engage the brain and the mouth before I spoke but that has been an issue for 35 years, luckily I am cute with it, even if I do say so myself.

So raise a glass to cupid, to new love, to new beginnings, to friends who I would never have met without this little blog and to the next year(and hopefully more writing!)

 

 

 

Medication, Pain and Drama

Been a long time since I have even attempted to write something, so much is going on in my little world that my head is all over the place lately. This blog used to be a place of solace for me, somewhere I could let things out and try to work through all the issues one by one. I miss being able to write…

So where am I currently..

I am still medication free, but unsure how much longer that will last if truth be told. Fighting is getting harder when outside influences keep getting in the way. One source has intimated to me that I like drama in my life, that I thrive on it because it gives me a chance to help other people and not have to deal with my own stuff. It is possible there is some truth in this, I do like helping other people but not at the detriment of my own mental health, the less drama around me the better at the moment – unless it happens to be drama that I particularly want to get involved in, that is my choice though and I will choose the battles I want to get into myself…

I feel toothless at the moment, in terms of how I am dealing with issues. All bark no bite. By nature I am fiery, short fused and act now question later but I just seem to let the blows rain down on me from all sides. It’s not even a case of rolling with punches and throwing out a few counter shots now and again. Am I actively encouraging this because its what I feel I deserve?

Is it more a case of allowing it all to bubble under the surface until one day it all comes out like an eruption from a volcano? I hope not because frustration is difficult to deal with and the end result will not be pretty if I continue to stem the tide, eventually the dam is going to crack and I worry about the fall out.

As for the pain issue.. as my long time readers will know I was once a footballer, playing football 7 days a week as a kid has resulted in me having knackered knees – two operations on my left knee is a factor behind my weight issues as I find it hard to exercise. Despite this last year I was going to the gym daily in preparation for the runs I did for charity but at the moment its impossible.

I have pain in both legs, all the muscles and joints and what appears to be shin splints in both legs. There are days when I am almost in tears with each step I take. It’s new to me and I am concerned about what the cause could be because I am desperate for an outlet again, I need to get out the flat but even walking to the shops leaves me in agony let alone trying to get on the treadmill again… this is not helping but I am seeing my GP tomorrow and hopefully she will be able to find a reason for this because it is currently ruining my life….

It has not been this bad for a long long time, but there is a glimmer of hope and someone who makes me smile. That is nothing short of eventful though and not sure if anything is going to come out of it, I hope so – its nice to feel that butterfly sensation when your phone goes and its a message from someone…. and good things worth having are worth the effort and drama, be nice if it was easy but when do I ever do thing easily..remember I attract drama

waitingI need to distract myself by writing again, any ideas you have please send my way because the gym is a no go zone until the pain in my legs goes…

and to think I always assumed I was a pain in the arse

#mentalhealthselfie

Proof that I do smile now and again! seeing as there is a big no make up selfie campaign doing the rounds on twitter and facebook to raise awareness of cancer here is my own version for mental health

mentalhealthselfie

ignore the chins – operation fat bastard is underway although the score so far is treadmill 1 – moose 0

and no make up in sight…..

Guest Post – Mark

I have followed Mark for a long time on twitter and he is someone I have great respect for! I was delighted when he agreed to write a post for my blog and I hope you enjoy this as much as I have.

Music is helping Mark in is recovery and you will be pleased to know I have added his songs to the blog below.

This post may be triggering for some as it talks about suicide so please be careful if this subject may be too much for you… now over to Mark

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My story starts on Oct 17th 2001. The day my life changed forever.¬† I was working as a musician and working for a production company. I also ran 4 performing art schools for children. That day was a normal working day for me another gig another show. During that day we were on the road driving towards the venue when I was involved in a severe road traffic accident. I was a passenger and we were hit by a drunk driver coming round the corner at high-speed. That’s the moment the lights went out and one life ended and another life began. People were killed but I ended up in hospital seriously injured.¬† So began a long dark journey. I suffered broken bones and a brain injury. After months of recovery it became very apparent that I was not the same anymore. Headway got involved and so began the long slow process of starting life again and trying to recover only now it was different.¬† I suffered a frontal lobe brain injury. My emotions and everything about my personality had changed. I also found I couldn’t do what I used to do so on that day I had my life stolen from me. Another way of putting it is I was raped of my life. Months went into years and years. I was diagnosed with clinical depression PTSD and borderline personality disorder.

During the following years I attempted to take my own life on several occasions.¬† From taking overdoses to standing on a train track waiting for a train to come. The train didnt come. Once I was allowed to drive again I also drove to the lake district and took another overdose but some how I was found by the police and was rushed to hospital. We lost our house our cars are savings and most of what we owned .During this time I spent a lot of time inside an acute psychiatric hospital on a secure ward . I did not want to live any more because my life had ended as I saw it , I couldn’t earn the money I was earning and I couldn’t look after my family. My family went through hell my wife wanted to leave me and my children needed counselling. Such was the damage on our lives. During this time I was given a CPN called Kelly Perkins . She turned out to be an angel a saviour . I now owe my life to her. Along with many talking therapies¬† CBT and others. She along with Lyn Atkins another angel from headway kept us together as a family. Without their help we would not be together today.
Another problem I encountered was the lack of understanding from some family members. Often stigma is very close to home and  on one occasion drove me to another suicide attempt.

In 2010 we decided that the best thing we could do was to move to try and start again as everything around us reminded us of our old life. We moved from Bedfordshire to Dorset.  We settled into a quiet life by the sea. This was the first time I was trying to live a new life with some hope. Sadly during the spring of 2013 I suffered a relapse and ended back inside an acute ward. I was again suffering extreme anxiety depression and suicide thoughts again.
During my stay I found an old guitar and for some reason I started to play a bit again. This resulted in my wife bringing in my guitar.  I now found I had words and songs pouring out of me so I started to write and write.

During this time I had also started to become aware of Dorset Mental Health Forum. Somehow through my recovery this time I found a new purpose and that was that I had a passion for mental health issues and all the songs I was writing was about my lived experience , I had found a new voice and so I started to talk more openly about it. I was on a new meds regime and these were starting to work. I then found myself having meetings with Dorset Mental Health Forum. This led to me getting involved with something called Tea and Talking in conjunction with Time To Change leading to becoming a peer specialist for the forum now I had found a new purpose in life and that was to spread the message of recovery and to tackle stigma. I have been recording all the new material which is now nearly finished and will be available soon. Recently I was inspired to write a song for the Time to Talk campaign which I have done. I have also been asked to write a song for Blue Apple Hero’s about PTSD .
My passion and focus is now on raising awareness and sending out a message through music and speaking that recovery is possible even from the darkest place. I will live with what I have for the rest of my life but thanks to some great people and of course my wife who has suffered greatly¬† and family I move on to a new life, one that is wanting to see and help others who suffer . That’s my lived experience and I share it in the hope that it brings you hope.

Mark Storey

Mark can be found on twitter here

If you would like to submit a post for this blog please get in touch with me via twitter/facebook or email using the contact page