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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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.

New Beginnings

Ive removed all posts from the last few months. All traces of anything negative are gone for good. Its time for new beginnings, fresh perspective and changes.

I have no more to say on whats happened its been put in the history books and will not be mentioned here or in the real world again.

I’m looking forwards and starting from tomorrow I am going to attempt to finally give up smoking after over 20 years. I hate the smell, the taste and the cost of the nasty habit and I hate sounding wheezy all the time.

If anyone sees me with a cigarette slap it out my hands quick you have my permission.

Once I have got that under control I want to start getting into shape and lose weight. I need to get my physical health back as a priority because Im turning 40 this year and would like to be at least 3 stone lighter by the time my birthday comes around in November.

Changes for the better are coming and its down to me now to implement them.

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

 

Feeling Alive

Waking up each day with a smile on my face

reaching for the phone, eyes still barely open to send a quick “good morning” message

laughing at some of the absurd things said the night before

butterflies when a message comes through

hours spent each day talking, laughing and making future plans

that feeling of excitement as it nears the day we see each other again

the anticipation of more quality time knowing it gets better every time we see each other

living my life again, making memories

this is how I envisaged things being one day… feels like that day has finally returned

I am happy and I am blessed to feel this way again

it has made all the struggling, fighting and tears worth while to feel like this

I love feeling alive…

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 😀

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!)

 

 

 

Return of The Jack, Garry’s Back!

Apologies for the lack of visibility on the blog since my last post, rest assured you have missed nothing! I have not even felt able to write anything coherent enough to consider publishing – believe it or not I do have some standards when it comes to hitting the publish button…..

Another month has been and gone and we are now into June. What a month May was for me though, in simple terms the best month I have had for at least the last 10 years perhaps even longer.

One of my targets/goals for 2014 was to create new memories, to make the most of life again and to cherish those friends and family around me that support me so much when times are difficult.

For those wondering who Jack is – he is an old friend of mine who I am happily on better terms with these days. Good Ol’ Jack Daniels…. drinking with great company to enjoy not drinking to forget as I have done in the past.

I am very lucky to have met someone who I spent a big chunk of the past few weeks with, a wonderful, beautiful lady who has put a smile on my face and we have had a great time laughing and sitting up till the early hours just talking nonsense but enjoying each others company and I couldn’t be happier! Lots of drink, lots of smiles, lots of talking and best of all…. no moose to be seen! Its all about Garry which I love! When someone makes so much effort to be around you, then you know you have found someone special.

I feel a sense of responsibility when it comes to anything moose related. It’s nice to be thought highly about because of the real me not the moose.

So to Miss Donut… thank you for being around and here’s to a lot more great times!

That’s not to say I don’t have down days still, or feelings of insecurity but I can count them on one hand over the last few months! I am so much more in control of my depression these days I feel like a kid again. It feels like I have just started to remember Garry properly and I love how it feels.

Days out, nights out, lazy days in pjs till mid afternoon and more memories created in May than in the last few years combined! This is what life is about and I am determined to ensure it carries on this way, regardless of what happens along the way.

Now as June arrives I have to deal with some personal shit from the last year that can finally be consigned to the history books as I move on with my life, I have injections and mri scans to look forward to and then hopefully I can hit the gym again on a regular basis and shed the “winter coat”  that is weighing me down.

It’s not fat honestly its just an extra layer of awesomeness…

fluffy

 

and if all else fails….stick me in front of an ice cream van and I’m a happy chappy..

Thanks to Gary Dart for the flattering image...

Thanks to Gary Dart for the flattering image…

ESA, WRAG And The DWP’s Cunning Plans

Most of the search terms that bring people to this blog are based on Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) and people wondering what to expect once they are given the benefit (ESA) and sent to the work program.

As I am unable to write about me at the moment I thought it would be a good opportunity to enlighten people to the idea behind this program and the genius that is Iain Duncan Smith’s plans for the long term unemployed, especially those of us on sickness benefits.

It is really quite simplistic and can best be explained in the following 7 words

IF THEY CAN FUCK YOU, THEY WILL

Sadly that is the stark reality, if by some miracle you make it through the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) and are placed into the work program you will made to feel like such scum that eventually you will do something that results in the DWP/ Job Centre sanctioning you and losing your benefits.

The providers of the work program take nothing into account when it comes to your mental health, your needs and requirements. When I attended Seetec I offered them advise on how to help people with anxiety, they were having group meetings with 20+ people and one lady there had a panic attack. I spoke to the manager of the centre and suggested to them that they have one of the empty rooms in the building available as a place for people to go if things were getting too much for them. I may as well have asked them to wipe my arse with bread and make a sandwich out of it based on the reaction, and subsequent lack of anything being done.

What they will do is make you attend workshops whereby the best option they can suggest is to become self employed, nearly every session I attended they tried to force me onto this workshop. I sat in on one to listen to the wonderful success stories they could provide us with, the tales of how many people they have got back into employment….. forgive me while I go and repair my sarcasm detector which just exploded…

The biggest success story that they could tell us about was a couple they got off of benefits who now did Car Boot Sales for a living… oh yes that weekend tradition of selling off crap for pittance.. which of course can only be done during the summer months assuming that it has not been pissing down with rain the night before…..

If you are given any appointments to attend work program providers, do not expect any help if you are unable to make it. They will simply mark you down as not attending and will inform the job centre where you will most likely be sanctioned, and not even notified about the sanction until after your money has been stopped.

Attend everything they ask, grin and bare it because the big plan of the DWP and IDS is to make you come off benefits by hook or by crook. If you simple say “fuck it” and give up the benefits all that matters to them is that in the media they can proudly state that x amount of people are not claiming benefits anymore.

We are not people with feelings, illnesses, ailments we are simply scroungers to be put through as many hoops as possible, and sadly too many of us cannot cope with this treatment and lives are lost – which again results in propaganda statements about people coming off benefits.

The media are hardly going to say “55000 people are no longer claiming benefits, because they have taken their lives due to the DWP/IDS killing machine”

The worse thing about all of this is that it will only get worse, zero hour contracts will become the norm and the MP’s will continue to get pay rises…. and a change of government will make little difference. The next stage is that we are expected to spend 37.5 hours a week looking for jobs, if we cant get a decent paying full time job they will expect us to take multiple part time jobs to make up the difference, and we will be forced to sign up to a website that is full of fake jobs and scams….

Naturally as we are British and have a stiff upper lip we will continue to hold our ankles and take it…

 

#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…..