Six Months is a Long Time

This weekend marks 6 months since I hit rock bottom see here for details of how low. Whilst I do not want to keep bringing up what is now known as “the window incident” I can look back with an overwhelming sense of pride and achievement at how far I have come in that time.

It got to the point where my life could have ended but with the help of good friends, spirits looking over me and a new relationship with Jesus I have been on a steady incline since that day, despite the highs and lows of the past 6 months I have never again been as bad as I was before.

So lets look back at how far I have come because it is important with an illness like depression to celebrate the steps made in recovery.

  1. Started this blog in June – yep still only a newbie in the blogging world it feels like a lot longer but I’m still learning bits and pieces and (hopefully) improving as a writer!
  2. Published 2 books on mental health illnesses – now I am not sure if I have mentioned my books before but what the hell it’s a bloody good achievement despite my doom and gloom over the sales, The fact is (including around 35 free copies) I have sold 90 books! holy crap 90 books! Thats in paperback and ebook formats
  3. ok this has to be said again 90 books!
  4. I am helping people – I have received numerous messages from people who have read my blog telling me how they have been either inspired or helped by what they have read! Complete strangers have reached out to me! The sense of pride I feel when people contact me is unbelievable.
  5. I am raising money for charity with the poetry book. If I raise only £10 then it is still an achievement.
  6. I am making new friends on wordpress, twitter and facebook and becoming “known” for my blog.
  7. I am raising awareness about depression and getting people educated in the process.
  8. 90 books! seriously that’s blown me away 10 away from 3 figures I am gonna have to find a way to celebrate, maybe a signed copy or two as a competition LOL
  9. My marriage has never been better since I sought help about my depression. I see couples breaking up over mental health illnesses and a reluctance to talk about it. I am hoping to break down some barriers about the importance for men in particular to seek help and open up.
  10. I feel like my kids, and step sons are proud of me for having published books. More importantly I am proud of myself for being brave enough to post everything without being anonymous and holding nothing back. It gives people a face to the illness and makes them realise they are not alone.

 

as lists go this is not bad for 6 months work is it? considering if I did a list for the previous 10 years it would not be more than 1/4 long.

Heck I even managed to quit mafia wars!

So my message to you all is list your achievements, stand back and look at them and get that sense of pride you deserve for all the work you put into recovery. It’s not about how many is on the list it is all about the fact that there is something there for you to be proud off!

 

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Comes Before a Fall?

As the saying goes “pride comes before a fall” well today I respectfully disagree.

For me, my fall was a long time ago and while I may still be heading towards the ground, I can sit back today with a sense of pride at my achievements over the past five months.

This is a big deal for me because one of my biggest issues with depression is the feeling of being a failure, self loathing is one of my specialties so please allow me this luxury because it’s a massive step for me.

Five months ago I was at rock bottom and ready to throw my life away.

Since then I have done the following:

  • Admitted I needed help and got it
  • Started writing this blog.
  • Continued with the blog, this will post #111
  • Given up Mafia Wars! (I never thought that day would come)
  • Wrote and published a book
  • Sold 20 copies of book!
  • Had an idea for a book of poetry and actually following it through
  • Started writing another book
  • Found God
  • Made lots of new friends, people like Weegee and Bourbon especially from WordPress
  • Attended a training day for peer support, being in a room with complete strangers!

Read that list and weep depression!

That is not bad going in 5 months is it?

The point is that it is OK for you to look bad with a sense of pride, if only you allow yourself to see how much you have achieved.

Why not do what I have done and make a list to see what you have managed in the past year, it may surprise you and when you feel low you can look back it and remember how far you have come!

 

 

It’s Raining Awards…And I’m Loving it

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

You all know by now how much getting these awards means to me. Coming from your peers makes them the more special because it shows your on the right track, that your writing is getting across in the way you hoped it would when you started. Now after only one month of blogging I have been kindly given my 3rd award.

I have been nominated by Justathought who has a blog that is well worth a view!

Again the process involves revealing 7 facts about myself and as we know I like to make them a little bit more interesting than you would expect.

Here we go again

  1. I once bought the record Stutter Rap for my twin brother who has a bad stutter
  2. When I was 10/11 I had a car washing “business” with regular customers on a Sunday
  3. I like to have a “messy” corner in the flat. This has turned into 4 messy corners LOL
  4. I once had a road rage incident on my way to work which involved me chasing after a car who cut me up, calling the driver every name under the sun. Imagine my shock when the car turned into my works car park and it was the MD!
  5. I once won a competition in the Daily Mirror. The prize was a football. When it arrived it was punctured! I have never bought the paper since!
  6. I was on live radio once (Kiss 100 FM) and was cycling at the same time. I proceeded to pretend to the presenters that I had just been knocked off my bike by a car and ended the call in dramatic fashion. They then called me back panicking before I told them I was joking and they were crying with laughter over it and sent me a CD as a result.
  7. I once wrote to Jim’ll Fix It asking to dance with the band Five Star – he did not reply!

So there you have it another 7 facts about me I hope your learning more about me!

I would like to nominate CrazyIntheCoconut for this award even though it’s already showing on her page. Just looking at her image on the blog makes me laugh and her writing is very good and I learn a lot from her posts.

And for those still wondering who the hell five star are

Garry

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My first award

Another Award

The Moose Seal Of Approval

Another Award! (Happy Dance!)

2012 Inspiration Award

I am honored and humbled again to have been given this award by a fellow blogger! This one was given to me by the wonderful nothinginmynoggin who has a very good blog of her own about her struggles with mental health illnesses and it really is a candid and inspirational read.

She also called me “awesome” which always gets brownie points!

See her original post here

One thing I love about these awards is the questions that follow after as they are, for me at least, a great way of finding out interesting snippets of information that would not be found out in normal circumstances.

So here are the questions asked and my responses to them (I have missed out a question from the original post as it is about immigration in the US)

1. If you were a Disney character, who would you be?

I would say Woody from Toy Story as I am a leader of others, with a strong sense of loyalty to my friends. Like Woody I also have my insecurities about being replaced and forgotten.

Woody

From an entirely visual perspective I can’t help but notice the likeness between the real me and Milo Thatch from Atlantis have a look and see if you agree, It makes me laugh at least!

Milo Thatch picture taken from disneyexperience.com

2. What was your 1st job?

My first paid job was working for waitrose supermarket in one of their stores. I was 15 doing my GCSE’s between shifts and it was one of the best jobs I have had. It was basically a social club with so many students working there.

3. If you had to live in a so called “3rd world country,” which would it be?

I currently live in a “3rd World Country” The way the UK is falling apart we will soon be described as one!

To be honest I couldn’t see myself living in a 3rd world country but I would like to visit the places in Africa where events like Comic Relief have worked to see how it has benefited from aid given by so many people or whether it has gone to waste.

4. Coen or Farrelly Brothers?

Farrelly Brothers every time! Well apart from Miller’s crossing which I love but for me slap stick, gross, close to bone humour is the best kind! I could watch “silly” films by the Farrelly’s all day long! There’s Something about Mary and Dumb and Dumber in particular!

It’s exactly my humour although I rein it in when the need suits of course 🙂

5. Favorite baby/child’s book?

As a kid I was not much of a reader I was always outside playing football from dawn till dusk but I loved any books by Roald Dahl the escapism of them all taking you away into another world so different from you own. Getting lost in the books I can say now that my love of books in adulthood stems from reading his books although my reading material of choice is a million miles away! The Twits was one of my all time favourites as I could imaging my own parents pulling the same tricks on each other LOL

6. Favorite non-existent punishment (well, non-existent in “1st world countries”) for monsters who harm the defenseless?

This will not sit well with others I’m sure but here is what I would do if I could

I would put these monsters in a sound proof room with the relatives of their victims for 1 hour and lock the door.

It would certainly save a lot of tax payers money keeping these “people” in prison.

7. What’s your favorite thing to do that is not strictly legal?

Hmmmm this is kinda tricky in it definitions because the way I dance should be illegal but I enjoy it anyway! Especially when no one is around to see me “move like Jagger!”

8. What’s an image that depicts how you feel right now?

Photo taken from uncommonhelp.me

This fits in nicely I think, questions about how I feel, where I am going, where I want to be with just a hint of a ray of sunshine on the horizon offering some hope.

9. What’s your favorite ridiculous video?

I don’t have a favourite ridiculous video it is not something I spend time searching the internet for. Here is a video I do like though it’s a music video taken from “Music and Lyrics” and it just makes me laugh out loud when I see it. Hugh Grant is brilliant in this video

Hope you enjoyed this! What question or questions would you ask me to find out something unusual? you can comment and ask me or use the Contact page and contact me via Facebook or email.

My First Award as a Blogger!

A proud moment for me that I had to share with you all because without your support there would be no blog!

I was nominated by weegee who has been with me since day 2 of my blogging career somehow she found me and has helped me so much! Her blog is wonderful and I highly recommend it!

Here it is my first award

One of the rules of receiving awards is you must answer the questions asked about you from the person who nominated you.

In this instance I must tell you 7 unusual facts about me!

This will be hard as I am trying to come up with the most “out-there” ones I can think of!

  • I can fit 28 Malteasers in my mouth at one time – I know this because Sheryl was stuffing them in until I nearly choked on them!
  • During our “courting”  days Sheryl wrote her initials on my buttocks with Hair removal cream. Unfortunately for me her initials at the time were S.S so when I bent over it looked like SOS!
  • I was once on Blue Peter  – I had bunked off school and went to London Zoo for the day, the same day that Blue Peter were filming and I was spotted by a teacher who saw me in the background making an ass of myself for the camera! Yes I got detention for that LOL
  • I once threw a professional footballer out of a sports shop I worked in because he would not stop playing with the footballs on display
  • I performed on stage at a fundraising event for my football team doing impressions of Jim Bowen, Frank Spencer and Prince Charles! I was about 9 it was the 80’s and I still cringe today when I think of it
  • I am 2 minutes younger than my twin brother
  • When I was in Magaluf for a “lads holiday” I put a condom on my head for a laugh and left it on so long I had a big red circle on my head that took hours to fade and spent the night answering questions about it!

wow that was tougher than I expected it to be! It is hard to write something that is interesting and different. What facts would you come up with? I will be interested to read some!

Garry

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A Weegee Award Ceremony

Who Am I? or Who I am!

The question of all questions.

The question that keeps me awake most of all.

The question without a real definitive answer

Can you really answer this question?

Here is what I know… I am a (in no particular order)

  • Father & Step Father
  • Son
  • Brother
  • Grandson
  • Nephew
  • Husband
  • The Moose (to my Facebook friends at least LOL)

But even this isn’t really helpful. I am a son yes but neither parents talk to me, I’m a brother but my siblings only talk to me if I initiate contact,

I am a hunky,spunky,funky,chunky monkey!

I am a complex series of contradictions that much I do know as this list shows

  1. I’m happy but I’m sad
  2. I’m up but I’m down
  3. I’m pessimistic but I’m an optimist
  4. I’m sociable but I’m reclusive
  5. I’m likable but I’m loathed
  6. I’m friendly but I’m alone
  7. I’m confident but I’m insecure
  8. I’m smiling but I’m crying
  9. I like my own space but I don’t like being alone
  10. I’m strong but I’m weak

we will stick with 10 for now but there are more and I know people will have their opinions of these especially those who know the REAL me (it’s a small number in comparison to those who know me)

This doesn’t make me any different from any other person on the planet. Except when you are battling depression it manifests itself into bigger problems. The feelings of worthlessness is hard to shake “I am a failure” is easier to say than “I achieved something”

If I look back on my life though could I really list things that I have achieved that have made me proud? Thinking hard and honestly I can’t think of anything from the top of my head. As a kid I played football for Arsenal, West Bromwich Albion and Norwich junior teams but so did hundreds of others. It didn’t take me anywhere, I am not a professional footballer which was the only dream I had as a kid. Does this make me a failure? Or do I celebrate the fact I played for these teams in the first place?

And there it is the only real thing I can call an achievement and it’s not a lot for 33 years lived is it?

But what is an achievement? defined here

a·chieve·ment

n.
1. The act of accomplishing or finishing.
2. Something accomplished successfully, especially by means of exertion, skill, practice, or perseverance.
So am I missing accomplishments as well as achievements?
Being depressed means there are things that I should be adding to my list but don’t think are worthy? Should writing this blog be added as an accomplishment?
The hardest thing about trying to define who I am is my career. As you know I am currently off work sick but have been out of work now for 2 years! Since leaving school in 1995 I have had lots of jobs from retail, selling pc’s and laptops, being an at home loan provider and collector to working in a school as a Learning Support Assistant. I have coached kids football teams for 5 years in my free time as a labour of love is it an achievement to be a qualified football coach even though it’s a course that you really cannot fail unless your incredibly stupid! (an example of this was the man who turned up for the course drunk!)
I have no idea what I want to do work wise! I am 33 and do not have a clue! My favourite job was working in the school I loved seeing how much difference I made to the kids there but I am not qualified to do the job anymore. Government cut backs meant lots of people in these jobs were laid off so schools can be more selective in who they hire and they want people with the qualifications!  Of course I could do the course to get the qualification BUT you need to work in a school to be assessed as part of the course! Catch 22 or what!
Yet the prospect of going back to school then college terrifies me! I am a clever person but I am not academic as one teacher wrote in my school report “Garry is more street wise than academic” which is true to an extent. Take maths for example I am great at arithmetic but failed because I couldn’t get my head around the formulas required to measure a circle!
Just the thought of going back to work causes me to become anxious again – The Dr said I have “High Intensity Depression” and stress and anxiety are big factors in this! I kind of envy you who are at work with depression but I don’t think I could cope with it at the moment… Does this make me a failure?
I guess I can call my marriage an achievement! People thought we wasn’t going to last one person even said it was a “sham marriage” next month we celebrate 7 years together and 4 years married and I have to say since I got diagnosed with depression and started communicating with Sheryl our marriage is stronger than ever! I am lucky to have her!
So thinking positive we found something I can be proud of lol
Now back to question of Who I am…..
I am lonely above everything else, despite my wife’s efforts. She is busy with the kids and can do without me acting like one too but I admit it I’m needy! I need reassurances, attention, affection not just from her but everyone. I like to be in people’s thoughts in a positive way and it seems like since I left my Facebook family I have got worse! I am trying to escape the moose persona I have had for the best part of 4 years and trying to find myself again.
Blogging is changing me for the better it has only been 3 weeks but its made me so proud of myself. Yet my needy side is screaming out for more viewers, more likes, more followers.
A moment of clarity has arrived and I can conclude the following….
I AM AN ATTENTION SEEKER!!
That was like an eureka moment HA HA!
What I want to be able to say when people ask me WHO I AM is
I AM GARRY!!!!!