Goodbye 30s…thanks for nothing

Tonight is my last night in my 30s and I can’t wait to see the back of what can only be described as a cluster fuck of a decade.

It started so well, newly married, baby on the way but has ended up a fucking disaster…

My 30s have consisted of…

  • Failed marriage and divorce
  • Depression
  • A suicide attempt
  • An abusive relationship
  • Losing too many friends/family
  • Losing myself

However lets turn some of it around. Despite all the bad stuff I’ve survived, at one point it was touch and go. I nearly didn’t see 35 let alone 40.

At the moment I’m going through an awful period mentally. The black dog is barking and biting hard and its been a real struggle. A combination of still having a chest infection for months, over working and being haunted by memories have dragged me down to a low dark place.

I remember things too well, something innocuous can send me spirraling backwards or into a tailspin that can take weeks to recover from.

When one of your best friends uses the phrase “doing a Garry” and follows it up with “When things are going well and looking up you suddenly feel the need to self destruct” you start to question things.

Is that what I do?

I mean all I really want is to find that special someone, live a drama free life and be happy and loved but am I so damaged that I’m subconsciously self destructing as a coping mechanism? A way of preventing opportunities arising to protect myself from anymore hurt and pain?

It’s not just the theory of one but of a couple of people, people that know me the best.

I’m lucky to have friends like these who see through the front, the bravado, the cockiness etc and tell me what I don’t want to hear but NEED to hear.

I need to find a way out of this slump. I want to get my arse back to the training again, I’ve made one session this month for various reasons.

If I could choose a gift for my birthday it would be the gift of self discipline, I need to reach down deep yet again and find a way to channel things into a positive solution. I’ve slipped backed into old dangerous habits and I know only one person can pull me out of it.

Yet behind the flirtatious, cheeky, did he really just say that persona is a man who just wants to find his passion for life again.

At 40 I should know what i want but still have no fucking idea, career wise, life wise. At which point does it become too late? I don’t want to lose my faith in the happy ever after BUT… It’s ebbing away slowly.

So as I start my 40s I want them to be spectacular, eventful, happy, joyous and life changing. No more hurting, self destructing, letting memories haunt me.

They say life begins at 40…. I truly fucking hope so because I can’t take another decade like the last one.

Saying goodbye to the people I’ve loved over the years and closing the chapter on everything thats hurt me since I hit 30, especially the last 6 years is the start.

Here I come into my naughty forties…..tomorrow morning Im going to wake up, smile, be thankful and spend the precious few days I have off work getting my groove back.

Moosey turning 40

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The Changing Moose

Seems my new look, as it were, has had quite the impact. I’ve had lots of people notice the difference and more compliments in past few days than in the past few years!.

It’s been very good for the ego let me tell you! Sure im still a fat bastard but nowhere near as bad as I thought. And im certainly feeling a lot better in myself being told how much younger i look without the facial hair and stuff.

I have heard the following quote many times and always kind of dismissed it as rubbish but its very true.

I am so damn hard on myself that I forget the good things about me. Too busy listening to the opinion of others who dont know the real me and more worried about their feelings than recognising the fact that actually im fucking awesome. Judge me on how i am with you and how i treat you not anything else. I’m loyal great fun to be around and ultimately having me in your life as a friend means you’re bloody lucky…. did I mention im humble and modest too?

I’m listening to music a lot lately and one favourite song keeps coming into my head from nowhere…

I do need you now, I do think about you a lot and have great memories of you. So im going back, knowing the risks and the potential consequences. So I’m restarting a relationship again with my eyes wide open and im looking forward to it…..

I’ve missed you Jack. Cheers!!! Down the pub I go.

And as for attracting what I am…

I want greatness I want love and so help me God I will get it.

As the song goes…
It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life
For me
And I’m feeling good
I’m feeling good

Back to the Drs

6 years later and here I sit in the waiting room at the Drs ready to ask for some help again. This time I have not met this particular GP so have no bond or relationship with him or her.

It’s all getting too much, the insomnia, the self doubt, the feelings of hurting, emotions getting best of me. So here I go again albeit in a much better position than all those years again. The last 12 months really have taken their toll on my mental health and maybe I’m guilty of trying too hard, too long and bottling up my feelings about what I’ve been through.

I have my holiday next week to look forward to, so this visit to Drs and probably prescription of antidepressants will come in the nick of time. I need to get away from reality for a bit and thats why I’m jumping on a plane and (hopefully) leaving all this shit behind me.

I’m sick of feeling unloveable, second best and unwanted. I am worthy of more and I am determined that this will be a temporary solution just to allow me to get my head in a better place.

I can’t and won’t allow anyone to send me back to my darkest days but right now I’m just to exhausted to do it by myself.

As I have said countless times…. asking for help in a sign of strength not weakness.

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!

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.

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…

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

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…..