Do you know what I hate most about my mental health? It’s not that it leaves me in a state of intellectual catalepsy or that it darkens even the brightest of days. It’s not that it is unpredictable as west coast weather or as deleterious as vindaloo. I struggle every day with it, (although most days I can cover it well), and even that – it’s temerity and gregariousness – isn’t it’s worst aspect.

It’s that I can’t talk about it.

Let me explain that a little. Because, yes, I do say I have it, and my friends understand. I don’t think everyone does; I think there’s still a hideous stigma about it, and there are still too many people out there that equate mental issues with “being at it”. I try to see their point of view – I mean, if you don’t suffer you don’t see – but it boils back to how I’m feeling, and I get caught up on how other people view me – and guilt, self-deprecation and paranoia sink their claws in.

I even spotted a section on the Bungie website (creators of my new obsession Destiny 2 on the PS5) about mental health and that’s great. We need to get it out in the open. We need to talk about it, both sufferers and lucky alike.

But my point : I CANT explain it to someone. I can’t tell them where it hurts or what’s making it hurt. It’s all, literally, in my mind.

The catalyst can be anything. Today it’s the Armageddon strain taking hold for the third time (covid btw). Most of the time it’s an aside made at work about how things are shit. Yes they are, but I’m trying to survive and I don’t need people reminding me there are better things out there when they won’t pursue them themselves. One person in particular, who doesnt thankfully read this. Yes- that person. Everyday chips more of my soul away. I’ve been on the edge for far too long. I don’t know what it’s like to be at peace.

Every waking moment I’m thinking about the other side. How people are happy, have wonderful partners, and to an extent are content – I’m envious. Not jealous; I love my friends too much I’m never jealous. But I’m definitely envious. Oh yes, I’m sure nothing is perfect with them either, I’d never assume such things because I’m very aware of everyone’s right to individuality and uniqueness. We’ve all got problems.

But how do I explain my issues to the people i love the most? I can’t. There are no words. Quagmire. Maelstrom. Kaleidoscope. Cerebromania. Miasma Infinitum.

All I ask of any of you…if you’re like me, stay positive. Fight it, do not go quietly into the night. If you’re fortunate, then stay supportive and keep your own mind open. Be patient. I need you to be tolerative when I’m trapped in my quagmire. You can’t help me out, but you can stop me from sinking.

The Shattered Conscience

Time to come clean. I feel as if i need to write this down. Maybe in some small way i will feel better as a result. The last week has been very trying. I was pushed to the very brink of my personal sanity. And, remarkably, this isn’t to do with work.

Quite simply, i was dealt with a horrible set of cards. At the time, upon the slap of the first card on the table, i broke. My sanity shattered like ice, my mental framework reduced to zero. Maybe even negative numbers.

I don’t want to go into the gory details. A good man once said, “one should never dwell on his troubles, lest they consume him’. Well i am trying to take the advice of this stellar man to my heart.

The end of my tale is sad one. I am not writing this from a balcony in Fuengirola, overlooking the mediterranean and spotting weird south spanish birds. I am instead drowning my sorrows in multiple litres of Diet Coke and watching my comfort TV shows. (i’ve finished Doc Martin and Ghosts, so i’m now binging Star Trek: Prodigy. You see, i heard that a certain person and actress dear to my yound adulthood has more of a presence than a cartoon hologram….Kate Mulgrew, i have been waiting for your return since the end of the 90s).

You see, i developed severe pain in my right foot. Which meant i couldn’t walk, Which means a trip to the airport and beyond was out of the question. Truth be told, i was worried. It could get worse. And i didn’t want to be in a strange place. I wanted the comfort of my own home, exiled by personal calamity or not. To rest, get my mind back on track.

Which is where you join me now.

I think i’m over the worst of it.

However, good news abounds, which has helped me greatly to cope with the damage. My younger bro went to a film festival down south and the feedback he recieved for his film “Stag’s Head” was apparently very positive. My blood-addled visage was used as the thumbnail – although i’m not making it about me.

If you haven’t seen it yet, see below. And if you enjoy it, make a comment. You can all help me feel better.

Oh…and i made up that quote. Yes, i’m following the advice of my practical side.

Change, My Dear. Not a moment too soon.

This entry has been a long time coming. I’ve been brewing it like an animal-themed ale, perfecting my idiosyncrasies so that i’m channeling my own eccentricity into the narrative… you see, 2022 has been a milestone in my life. An event unforeseen in my future – i could never have been able to predict this.

The only background relevant is my declining health. Ever since somewhere in the 2010s my body malfunctioned. By some bizzare mutation of anatomy my thyroid gland started to get lazy. It produces the hormone thyroxin, which in turn is required to run a huge set of operations in the body.

So over the course of several years i became hugely overweight, constantly fatigued, weak and massively depressed. And i couldn’t fix it; try as i might, walking after work, swimming, any form of exercise – i just didn’t have the energy to do it. Even at work – a fairly energetic affair, i was unable to perform some of the basic tasks. I was a walking time-bomb, tripping, falling, unable to lift things…my mental health was spiralling.

I’ve spoken before of my mental illness and i’m a big advocate of sharing and talking about it; its possible to fight it. You’ll never truly best it, but it can be rendered tolerable.

I applied for a small job on Scotlands east coast, but was advised against the transfer due to my lack of stability and general overweightness. As a result, my occupational health nurse expressed concerns over my general neural health and i was referred to a glasgow-based brain woman.

It was a non-event. Nurses didn’t confer and there was no appointment. So it was rescheduled. And then THAT appointment was cancelled as the Doc had COVID. Then the NEXT appointment was cancelled because the doctors assistant had COVID. So the next idea was to get me an appointment with my local GP. Why this couldn’t have been an option all those months ago i don’t know.

So this is six months after the initial concern, by the way.

The Doc was very amiable, and asked about family history, current job and exercise, mental health and the such. But she right away said she had a theory, and wanted to do blood tests. So i did.

I then went to Harrogate to visit two of my bestest friends for a board game and booze weekend. On the way back, trapped in gridlock in the Lake District, i receive a phonecall. I have hypothyroidism.

Two days later i’m on thyroxin capsules, two a day for the time being.

Three months later i’m 18kg lighter, brimming with confidence and able to speak without slurring like i’ve had a stroke. I am, as mentioned now by just about everyone, a completely different person. A better person. The actual me.

So with all my heart my thanks do to the manager at Kinnaird and my wonderful doctor. Things have changed, and the future is brighter than ever.

There. The first and likely only time i’ll be in a good mood whilst blogging. SAVOUR IT.

Strip the Willpower

This title goes hand in bloodied hand with the phrase “where theres a will theres a way”, which is a nice proverb that basically means, “if you try hard enough you’ll succeed.” However, if the drive to keep trying (your willpower) is taken from you, (stripped), then there is no will to find your way.

The process of strippage could be a chronic one; the gradual loss of energy, the continual build up of negativity and low productivity. Consistent and repetitive lack of success or even recognition. Or, equally but probably more dramatic, an acute and sudden event that instantly tears down any walls, rips to shreds any weak links and results in the iconic “i quit!” scenario. See also, “I give up.”

This usually accompanies the tossing of ones tools into the sea, or swearing in the face of an authority figure and telling said figure to go ‘f**k themselves*.

For the purposes of this blog i am in the process of having my willpower stripped. So i am at some end of a spectrum, far closer to ‘giving up’ than i am ‘confident and continuously trying again’. Despite Yoda’s mantra there is only so much i can do.

The act of strippage is being performed by operations not one hundred per cent identifiable.

Every day is a struggle. Not a physical one, by any means – a mental one. Theres a running joke between myself and my work bestie that we text each other a single acronym: CBA. (or, extreme circumstances, CBF). It stands for Can’t Be Arsed. I’ll let you and your imagination concoct what the F might stand for in the alternative.

To prove my very point; i started writing this post alongside my diary entry of the same title on the 2nd September. Its now the 15th. That’s how much my enthusiasm is vacuumed out of existence by daily exhaustion and work-related depression. The kind of depression that resembles quicksand; it just grabs you, sucks you into a dark place and leaves you there, bereft of life.

Its so unfair because when there is a will, my way is clear. I’ll write something brief during a break in the chaos and think, damn in those moments i felt excellent. But then like hammer unto anvil i am thrust back to reality and into the spiralling, torturous nightmare that is.

Time i think, to start to compose the book “Pink Shampoo,” and i think Strip the Willpower is a good chapter title. To accompany ‘The Glorious Fall’ and “Rock Bum Barrel” – but only i will know what those titles actually refer to. My prerogative as writer.

Branches, twigs and nuts

My somatic health this morning has given lead to a little bed-bound uncomfiness, but i have risen from such a trapping just enough to get some work done and feel a little productive. And how else to feel productive than to rant a little about my current state of mind. This is never a good sign.

Ach i’m okay. Every now and then i like to consider an interesting, pleasurable sounding phrase or sentence, with lots of erratic clicks and crashing of letters or, indeed, the melodious flow of syllable or allitrative literacy… and use it to describe my headspace.

Today that sentence was a cascade of twigs, which then led me to expand it to include branchs and nuts. So “Branches, twigs and nuts” is me, right now. Why? Can i explain it? Um. I shouldn’t need to, i can write what i want. But if i had to, really have to, then… well, i guess i feel like the look of an erratic pile of broken branches is how i feel on a constant, day to day basis. Patternless, formless, aimless, messy, damaged, cracked, or, indeed my favourite, fractured. And the size of the things in my head are reflected as serious – branches, solid trunks of wood (like financials, car price, weight, mother, loneliness, esteem and ego inferiority, misery, lack of motivation, inability to cope with social scenarios, terrified of going to work, my mountainous paranoia, all that sort of thing), mixed with twigs – the trivialities (like current TV episodes i want to watch, friends’ stag dos, get togethers and weddings that i need to attend, writing deadlines i want to meet but don’t have the enthusiasm for, that sort of thing), and then the nuts, which are the productive bits. The ‘pros’ in amongst the haystack of ‘cons’. Having a kick ass movie in production that i’m involved with (see chaosbox.uk), enjoying watching the above TV, all that. Little things that i need to make bigger in order to get through the day without crying.

Last night is a prime example of the unpredictability of the branches and twigs, and the kerplunk-nature of complete rearrangement without warning. Watching Star Trek: Picard and then moments after suddenly wanting all the lights off and just to sit in the dark silence for an hour or two. I didn’t think about anything, except my own crushing paranoia. The usual nonsence; people think i’m at it, people think i’m a fraud, whats the point in anymore, will there be an end to all this? Unnatural, impractical idiotic thoughts.

This morning i woke up dreamless, to be thinking i have an amazing set of friends i will be spending time with over the course of the next two months. Plus i might be moving. (thats a secret, shhhh). Oh and i read an article (or rather, my Alexa read me an article) about the Ark of the Crayfish.

Okay, boyo. Be productive today. Go earn £25 eating food and write some more. Then maybe make a bash at your X-files book “Ruins” (Kevin J Anderson). And later, maybe you’ll get to review Assassins Creed: Odyssey. It deserves it.

Go away.