I forgot to post this yesterday so one day late. This year's theme was freedom.
When you're sat there in silence,
In a room full of noise,
And the darkness inside you,
Won't create just destroys.
You cling to your friendships,
Hoping that they will last,
And cope with your funny ways,
Till that silence has passed.
My minds like a library,
One that's been left in a mess,
I'm re-establishing some order,
To get back to my best.
Please reassure my insecurities,
Hold my hand tight when I'm sad,
Forgive all those down times,
I too wish to be glad.
And believe I'll recapture,
That lost person inside,
He's not gone forever,
Just found a dark place to hide.
I feel rubbish today. I forgot to take my tablets on Saturday so it may be because of that, but I'm not sure it is.
My brain feels like it is all jumbled up, I'm finding it hard to focus on any one thing and have that general jittery feeling that creeps up in times of stress.
I have a busy week (or busier than normal because it's always busy) and I think I am worried about letting people down. That's a potential situation, not a current one, but it feels real.
Tomorrow I have a training exercise. I've missed most of the others because I'm always in other meetings so I'm stressing that I'm going to make a prat of myself and not know what I am supposed to do. Maybe that is the point of training but it still makes me really uncomfortable.
On Thursday I'm presenting at a conference. Presenting is ok although I'll probably speak too quickly, but the uncertainty of the questions and once again fear of making a prat of myself is worrying.
So, how do I stop (the fear) of letting people down. I don't know, I just don't know.......
I started reading a new book yesterday, "Feel the fear and do it anyway". It was 99p in a charity shop so well worth a punt.
I've only read the first couple of chapters and it seems good, 15m copies have been sold so there must be something in it.
It starts of talking about our trust in ourselves meaning we don't think we are very resilient so fear lots of situations because of how we perceive we will cope.
It then goes on to mention how being brought up risk averse can affect you in later life. And that you can be conditioned to think a certain way.
I think I am conditioned to think a certain way and I'm wondering if I'm conditioning my own kids to do the same.
I was quite young (primary school upper juniors I think) when I got my first key to my parents house. We only lived a few doors from the primary school and I probably used to come home alone back then. Outrageous I know. Fortunately the Wet Bandits were in New York.
Anyway, every single day I left the house I was asked 'have you got your key'. It's become a bit of a joke in later life. I wonder what my parents expected to happen if I did forget it (which I never did but check my pockets with an almost OCD like quality even now). I probably would have just walked to one of my two best mates houses that were 30 and 40m away. Or gone to Auntie Doreen across the road (not a real Auntie but everyone seemed to be an Auntie back then). So everything would have been fine, but I guess I got programmed to think it might not be by the constant reminders.
Later once I'd reached pub age I often used to watch casualty with my mum before wandering up the pub. Almost every episode of casualty back then seemed to feature a young bloke walking to the pub and getting caught up in some sort of industrial explosion/ helicopter crash or other unlikely event. Anyway, I was always told to be careful on my way out. And I always checked the sky for the distinctive sound of failing rotor blades.
Trips on holiday were similarly risk averse and I'm sure are where I developed my rule to never drive past a motorway services without stopping for a wee.
I obviously don't want anything to happen to my kids but I also don't want them to inherit my anxiety. So I'm going to try and be a bit more relaxed around them and with them.
We can be programmed to be risk averse, but we can also be re-programmed. Does your software need an update?
Take Care (and for goodness sake be careful out there)
This afternoon I start my talking therapy group. It's focussed on improving mood. I am both looking forward to it and terrified by it in equal measure.
I think there will be twelve of us. A bit like a jury but I'm hoping no one is going to be doing any judging. I don't need anyone else judging me, I'm good enough at that myself thanks very much.
Someone told me not to worry about it. But we know that sort of advice doesn't really work and can actually make things worse.
For me the course is going to be a challenge. A challenge to not just portray the external image of calm but make sure I expose and talk about the washing machine churning that's happening on the inside.
I expect the other 11 people are all going to look pretty normal too. None of them will be obviously stressed, or anxious or clearly have low mood or low self-esteem but we will all have our challenges, some more obvious than others. But no one will probably look ill, but we all are ill. Some will want to share. Some won't. But we will all learn something about ourselves and each other. So I'm going to contribute but I'm also going to listen. To try hard and get the most out of this opportunity to change and feel better. Because I need to. And I'm grateful for the chance.
I'm intrigued to see how many men will be there and I hope there's a few and we can continue to create a society where it's easier for men to open up.
Last Sunday was World Suicide Prevention Day and the statistics (sorry this is from 2016) show men aren't talking enough.
The first step to getting help, whatever your particular challenge is, is to talk.
So whatever you're struggling with please find someone to talk to, they can be a professional or just a friend.
And if one of your friends looks like they're struggling, offer them your ear, ask them if they're ok and really listen to the answer, give them 5 minutes of your time. You can be the difference.
If you're not sure how to do that have a look here for some great practical advice www.mind.org.uk/information-support/helping-someone-else/
Just listening can be the difference.
Just a quick one this prompted by watching BBC Breakfast this morning and their article about Blue Space and the benefits for Mental Health see twitter.com/BBCBreakfast/status/904955201345519616
Basically the sea, or rivers or lakes (and probably countryside or other open spaces) can be good for your mental health. I don't think this is a surprising revelation, but it's a really useful reminder of the benefits of a change of scenery can bring.
Now I work for an organisation that has a lot to do with the sea, rivers, lakes and the countryside. But I've reached a stage in my career where I usually only see them on a computer screen, or read about them in reports, and that doesn't really seem to do much for my mental health.
So as part of my pledge to improve my wellbeing, I'm going to see if I can go out with an operational team and see some water, where I can actually be near it, and not view it through a screen. But it'll be educational too and ensure I'm building on my knowledge to better understand the environment we're working with, the challenges it brings, the possible solutions but also to appreciate the beauty of it and get a bit of a boost from being outside.
Do you have any opportunities to get some blue or green space?
Back to the doctors again for me later this week, I've seen an improvement I think, just a general 10% feeling of betterness across the board. I can tell that the pills are doing something because I have started being hilariously funny again at work, something which my colleagues might not agree I am but when I'm down I don't even try to be, I just retreat internally.
I'm not suggesting that I can even see the peaks yet, but the river of treacle isn't feeling so hard to swim through at the moment so that must be progress.
I suppose in that way the pills are a bit like a life jacket or floatation device, but they're definitely not armbands ok....
I have been feeling a few times like the armbands, I mean lifejacket, feel like they are deflating and I'm sinking a bit. Friday last week was like that, and I felt majorly anxious and struggling to see many positives.
In good news I've been progressing getting some help from a group called Talking Space. I've answered a load of questions with a nice lady over the phone, she's told me my scores (Anxiety - severe, Mood - moderate to severe) and I'm now being considered / assessed further to see if I can get on a course to learn some CBT techniques to help. I hope I do, it sounds good and everyone I have spoken to about practicing CBT has said it's great.
I know that anxiety is hard for other people to understand. This video is ace at explaining it if you've never experienced it.
I would watch it again but I need to check my phone a few more times now, which I wrote about here if you missed it wysethoughts.weebly.com/home/walls
Mr Paul Wyse