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Thoughts from a Small Island

Random words from my mind

In Sickness and In Health

*Soppy Blog Alert*

16 yrs ago (yesterday) my wife and I got married. I won’t go in to the detail of the day itself but it was a day full of love, laughter and alcohol (quite a bit of it too). There are moments we still laugh about now and things that pop up in our memory where we have a little smile to ourselves as it reminds us of such a great point in our lives.

Now, I suspect most people are aware of the ‘vows’ people commit to when they marry. Some may say they’re a bit old-fashioned in this day and age but I like to think they are still relevant. For better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and health, ’til death do us part. It’s fair to say that we’ve had our fair share of better and worse moments over the years we have been together but they are all experiences on our journey through life. Some have taught us a lesson, others have given us wonderful memories to treasure for ever. We are also no richer than we were but that is just in monetary terms. But, if you were to measure richness in terms of love then we are richer than we ever dreamed we could be. We have a beautiful daughter, a great network of friends and work colleagues and a roof over our head. We are also soon to be starting a new chapter of our lives in our very own house as soon as the contracts are exchanged. We have holidays when we can and make the most of what we have. Yes, we would like more (wouldn’t everyone?) but what we do have we have worked hard for and I think we appreciate it more. It is also helping to bring our daughter up in a way that she appreciates the little things and she seems to be turning into a caring, conscientious young lady (with a touch of my sense of humour which is a pretty good trait to have).

However, when we look at the ‘In Sickness and in Health’ vow that’s a whole different ball game. My wife has her own share of health issues and it would be wrong of me to expose them on here but suffice to say that they are a part of her and I wouldn’t have her any other way. My health issues have been numerous over the years we have been together and have ranged from me being diagnosed with IBS to finding out I have mild hearing loss and having to wear hearing aids. Each of these have been fairly ‘easy’ for me to accept and get along with and make reasonable adjustments to my life to cope with them. The biggest test of the ‘sickness / health’ vow though has been this last year. It has also been the hardest challenge to my health for me to try to accept as just being part of who I am. Never in my wildest imagination (and it is a pretty wild imagination at times) did I think my wife would see me terrified to leave the house, shaking uncontrollably and scratching deep marks in to my arms through blind panic. Being a ‘typical’ man I expected I had to be the strong male figure of the family and look after everyone but this came at the expense of my own health. I never expected my wife to be handling phone calls to the mental health crisis team on my behalf because I thought they didn’t want to talk to me and I would be better off not being here. I didn’t expect to have to see her face full of worry when I told her about the darkest part of my mind and what it had been telling me to think or do. Nor did I expect her to have to be the one to coax me gently into leaving the house when I have been on the verge of a panic attack.

Fast forward 6 months from me being at my lowest point waiting for my world to collapse and I can say I am getting to be in a better place again. I think in a funny way it  has brought us closer together as we now have a much deeper understanding of each others needs. We know when to leave the other alone and we know when the other just needs a big warm hug and a cup of tea (tea makes everything better in our house). I know that if it hadn’t been for my wife being there to support me then my illness could have taken a completely different turn and this could have been a very different blog.

To celebrate our anniversary we did what any self-respecting, loving couple would do. Our daughter is away with her grandparents and her cousin until Sunday so we took the chance to do what ‘normal’ couples do all the time (I imagine).

That’s right we went out for a meal and a night out. But not just any night out. This was the height of romance. It started at the KFC drive-thru and then sitting in the car park eating our ‘dinner’. Then it was off to the cinema to watch ‘Dunkirk’. I’m not really into reviewing things but suffice to say the film was incredibly powerful and well worth a look if you haven’t seen it yet.

Which just goes to prove that money isn’t everything (although it does help pay for romantic nights out like this) and we will remember that night out for years to come.

That just leaves the ‘death do us part’ bit. We have been married for 16 years so far which leaves us a hell of a lot of years together still to make more memories and plan many more romantic nights out.

Who knows, we might even upgrade to a Wetherspoons meal and drink deal for our anniversary next time………………………..

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You….Got Into Harvard Law?

What….like it’s hard?

If there’s one thing I have learnt from watching Legally Blonde it’s that it is actually honest in places. Not always factually correct but still good quality film entertainment.

There I said it. I’ve watched Legally Blonde. And Legally Blonde 2, Crossroads, Muriel’s Wedding (I love that film) and many more ‘chick flicks’. By choice and not by force I hasten to add and I have actually been pleasantly surprised by them too.

As we start a new month and head nearer to the end of another year I decided to make more of an effort with my general health. For the last 2 and a bit years I have been going out running 3 evenings a week. This has been, on the whole, enjoyable and I have a regular route I take around town at a comfortable distance of just under 4 miles. If I feel like it, I can increase the distance and if I’m having a bit of a bad time I can reduce the route and go home early. It’s a relatively cheap hobby (can it be called a hobby?) once you’ve got over the shock of the initial outlay for a decent pair of trainers and it’s a hobby where you don’t have to behave a certain way. I can go out with a neon top, plain shorts and a funky pair of socks and no-one bats an eyelid. Well, they probably think I’m a bit of a nutter (and they’d be right to a point) but when I go out for a run I don’t care.

I don’t care what I wear. Sometimes the more garish the better.

I don’t care how fast or how slow I go (although getting personal best is pretty exciting).

I don’t care that my face looks like a beetroot or that my hair is stuck to my face.

What I do care about is that for about an hour when I am out I have no responsibilities. The only thing I have to think about is what road I’m going to go along next. All of my worries for that day fade away. My heart is racing and my breathing is quite laboured but in a good way.

For a little while I have gotten a bit lazy and made pathetic excuses why I shouldn’t go out. It’s been too hot or too rainy. I’ve been too tired after work. The Tesco shopping is being delivered (yes I have used that one). Well, tonight I went out for a proper run for the first time in a couple of weeks and although it wasn’t my fastest time ever it felt good to be out on the streets again (not in that way though).

Which brings me back to Legally Blonde and the honesty of Elle Woods. In the courtroom scene at the end she utters the immortal words “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.”

While I have no intention of shooting anyone the general point I’m trying to get across is that exercise makes me feel good. I feel knackered but at the same time I feel really proud of myself and genuinely happy.

I’ve even grown a beard and I might look a little bit like Forrest Gump at the mid-point of his run across America.

Except I use oil on my beard and it looks a lot tidier than his does but that’s a story for another day……………………………..or maybe it isn’t

 

Makka Pakka, Akka Wakka, Mikka Makka Moo!

Some of you may have noticed that I have been absent this last week or so from here, others may not. Nothing bad has happened but I have actually managed to go away on holiday.

No big deal I hear you say.

Well, after my final shift last Saturday I went in to a bit of a spin. I had Sunday to get my head around the fact that we were going to be on a ferry at 7.45 in the morning on Monday and I still had to pack. I went upstairs and looked at my wardrobe and began to contemplate what I should take. I should add at this point that we were going camping in Cornwall so the probability of changeable weather is quite high. Anyway, I lifted a handful of t-shirts, shorts, jeans and a few shirts out and bundled them in our holdall. Underwear was then added and a hoodie for the evenings. My wife was a little more exact with what she chose (always more practical at packing than me) and we had the bag all packed and ready.

Next step was to go in the loft (or attic depending on what side of the world you’re on) and get down all the essential kit. There was the tent, sleeping bags, airbeds, cooker, electric cable and, of course, the most important piece of equipment, the kettle.

This was all going too well. Something has to go wrong surely? It can’t be this easy to go away can it?

Well, so far it seemed it could be this easy.

On Sunday evening we loaded the car with everything except our wash bags and pillows (we’re not savages, we did allow ourselves some comfort) and set work on putting the odd bits of kit on the roof rack. And that’s when it began. I started to worry about whether the bungee straps would hold everything in place. What if they loosen and come off down the road? What if the equipment falls off? What if we cause an accident? I couldn’t stop thinking the worst so I went back inside for a bit to answer of these questions rationally in my head. Once I’d satisfied myself (and my wife had convinced me it would be fine) we finished strapping everything down and went to bed happy that it was all done.

We got up Monday morning with no dramas, got on the ferry and started the long drive down to the wonderful west Country. I was still nervous about the roof rack but I kept my thoughts to myself and checked it every time we stopped to satisfy my head it was still safe. All that actually moved was the tarpaulin cover and I was able to put this down to the wind catching the front and lifting it free of the bungee cords. This was easily fixed by wrapping the sheet under one of the cords at the corner. Job done. One happy camper.

On arrival at the site we found our pitch had been taken by someone else (cue rapid breathing and nervous fidgeting) but we were given another pitch of a similar size and you can imagine my delight when it was reckoned to be the best on the site. The views outside our tent was stunning and our eyes were led along the rugged Cornish coast so their mistake worked out pretty well in the end.

2017-07-24 17.22.41

I won’t bore you all with the full details of the holiday but suffice to say I felt the most relaxed I have in a very long time. I had no TV and minimal internet access but I did have access to stunning beaches, precious time with my family and plenty of times where I could just be on my own and not have to worry about anything. We met up with family and friends while we were down there and all went out for a meal one evening where we could have one big catch up and chat about things as if we had never been away.

Of course there was a higher drink and rubbish food intake than we would normally have but this consisted of pasties, cider and proper ice cream topped with flakes and clotted cream. However, I’m pretty sure this could be classed as some of my five-a-day. Cider = Apples (1 portion). Pasties = Onion, turnip and potato (2 portions). Ice cream = Blackcurrant, Apple (1 portion). Plus I’m pretty sure chocolate comes from beans so that’s another portion right?

One thing I did find while we were away was that I was willing to push my boundaries a little and I even took a selfie on top of a cliff edge overlooking Kynance Cove to prove to myself in the future that I could do it. 2017-07-27 16.01.30

I also discovered that stacking stones on top of each other on the beach is incredibly therapeutic. Finding the perfect balance of each stone when they are all different shapes and sizes is like trying to find a place in my head for each of my worries. Each one requires skill to place it in the right place before I can deal with it and place the next one on top of it and begin the process of turning and twisting it to stabilise the whole stack. My wife affectionately nicknames me Makka Pakka after the character in the children’s programme ‘In the Night Garden’ who has a passion for collecting stones. I don’t collect them but I do think that for something so solid and awkward they can be incredibly beautiful.

A bit like me really. Well, the solid and awkward part at least………………..

Rules Are Made To Be Broken

Just like they said in the film “The first rule of anxiety club is don’t talk about anxiety club.”

Well, it wasn’t exactly like that. I don’t remember seeing Brad Pitt with a fidget spinner in his hands but you get the general idea of where I’m going with this blog today.

If I were to follow the ‘…don’t talk about…’ way of thinking my life would be very different. I genuinely believe that if I hadn’t talked to my wife, my doctor or some of my work colleagues I may well have ended up in the long-term care of my local NHS.

One of the big things that I made a conscious decision to do at the height of my struggles was tell people about my illness. Whether that is through my blog, my Facebook page or just anyone who asks. I have had customers at my workplace tell me that they haven’t seen me for some time and I have been honest with them in what I have been through. Sometimes I have left bits of the details out (not everyone needs to know why I have scars on my arm) depending on how they react to my initial statement of having anxiety and depression. Other times I have been open to the point of almost over-sharing. It is this fine line that I have struggled with some days but I know in my head that it’s good to talk (a bit like when Bob Hoskins did those BT adverts in the 90’s) and it all depends on whether people listen to me properly or not. When my wife or daughter ask me how I’m feeling, I tell them. There’s no point in me now hiding my feelings as they will both see right through my act and tell me. For me, honesty really is the best policy.

Obviously though this is not a ‘one size fits all’ kind of illness and there are many different ways for us to talk or get a message out there. If I don’t feel like talking I write my thoughts down in a notebook. Nobody else has access to this notebook but I know in my head that I have done something with the thoughts and I don’t need to do anything with it again. To some of you this might sound a bit counter-productive in the fact that I’m not physically telling anyone what I’m feeling but, to me, I am telling somebody. It’s just that the ‘person’ is a piece of paper. Other times I go to the ‘cafe’ once a month and we can all sit and talk about our month since we last met up without fear of judgment.

I am going on holiday this week and will be meeting up with good friends so there is a distinct possibility that my anxiety will rear it’s fairly ugly head again. There will be social gatherings, different places to eat and drink and new places to discover. However this is going to be a week where I spend the days relaxing in some of the most beautiful scenery in Britain and the evenings drinking some of the best ales in the country too. I am off to the land of the pasty, Poldark and the county where the cream tea is done properly with the jam first then the cream on top. Yes that’s right……Cornwall. I shall be relaxing with books to read and minimal access to social media. The campsite we are staying at has wi-fi at a cost so (in my eyes at least) that is fantastic because as a Scotsman I don’t like spending money if I don’t have to. This will make for a very quiet week for me (or as quiet as it can be with an 11yr old) and a suitably relaxed time away from the small island.

Anyway, getting back to the main thread of today’s blog. What I’m probably trying to say in my usual disjointed way is that rules are really there to guide us. Some of them need to be followed to keep us safe, others can be bent a little to help us along our way.

So maybe the first rule of anxiety club should be that we actually DO talk about anxiety club?

I know I intend to keep doing that…………….

The End of an Era

Today marks the end of my daughter’s time at primary school. It is also one of the proudest moments in my life.

I woke up this morning with a feeling in my stomach that something was going to happen. I had no idea if I felt good or bad but it was an uneasy feeling. I could barely eat anything. My breathing felt shallow and I was anxious but in a good way (if that makes sense?).

My wife and I had been made aware that our daughter may be receiving an award from her school at the leavers service in the local church but we were previously unable to go. However, since being told by a friend (not the school I hasten to add) that it may have been something pretty special we pulled out the stops to go. My wife sent texts to  her boss last night and a friend of mine offered to cover me for 2 hours in the morning to enable me to watch.

And we weren’t disappointed. There was a beautiful service, full of singing and complimentary words about all of the children in the school. Certificates were handed out and smiles were beaming. Then the time came when the last awards had been given out. This was an award that is given out to students who set an example in their everyday commitment to school, friendships and learning. Inked20245949_10155084099878369_3433699663216483573_n_LI

Reading these words written about our daughter brings me to tears as it shows me that we have done something amazing between us. There were also comments from other parents who told us that their children (in younger years at the school) look up to her and were genuinely upset that she is moving to high school. Some of their children were crying and begging her not to go. To know the impact that my 11yr old cheeky little monkey has on other people is a feeling of both pride and love.

Throughout my life I have been nervous of new people, scared to make friendships in case they go sour and I’m left all alone so I have created a little bubble around myself to stop myself getting hurt. It is this bubble which has protected me through 4 primary schools, high school, college and higher education. However it has left me with a lasting distrust of making new friends which I am trying to overcome gradually. My anxiety has actually opened more doors than I thought it would and it has let me make new friendships which I hope will continue to flourish. Whether it’s been through the amazing Anxiety Cafe I go to once a month or just by talking to people more I am gradually adding some confidence back in to my broken shell and with time I will repair the cracks in it.

My daughter on the other hand is the complete opposite of me. Life is never dull with her around, even when she’s in a ‘Tracy Beaker’ style strop and won’t listen to a word we say to her. She is full of life and always sees the good in people. She is confident in herself and her abilities and has a wonderful support network of friends around her which, even though she is going to a different high school than some, will be around for a very long time. She takes on challenges with a smile (and a bit of pre-teenage attitude) and encourages others to do the same. On the days that I feel low and close to giving up she is there with a warm hug and a soothing voice that says “It’s o.k. daddy, I’m here”. She has seen me at my worst. Scratched arms from clawing at my skin, red eyes from sobbing uncontrollably and shaking from sheer terror and all she does is hug me.

No judgement. No questions. Just love.

We could learn a lot from her

I’ll Just Buy One More

This is not my usual type of post but it is something I wish to share with you all.

One thing I have found myself doing a lot more of lately is looking at art on Instagram. I find this much healthier than Facebook and less likely to make me anxious or angry at the amount of needless, mindless things that get posted on there. Social media has its uses in my life but it doesn’t rule it anymore. I don’t check my phone before I go to bed and I don’t look at it the second I wake up. I have no idea when I last posted an actual status on there (other than what my wife tags me in) and the only things I have consciously posted on Facebook have been pictures of my doodles or colouring in that I’ve done as the 2 accounts are linked. I find that art has a way of distracting me when I’m feeling low and anxious as it takes my mind away to a calmer environment, lets my imagination relax a little and take in the detail of the drawings in view.

From an early age I’ve always had an interest in things which may be a bit surreal and this has continued with me into my adult years. I have a bit of a wild imagination and as you can guess this often affects my state of mind. My sense of humour is strange too and (worryingly) this seems to have transferred to my daughter as she has a habit of laughing at inappropriate things at completely the wrong moment. It often brings me to a point where I don’t know whether I should tell her off or be proud of her for being her own person.

I discovered a form of art known as Pop Surrealist but known by some people as being named ‘Low Brow’ which is surreal, almost child like at times but also incredibly detailed. The characters are quite whimsical with big doe eyes but beautifully drawn and painted. One of the leading lights in this field (in my humble opinion) is an artist by the name of Mark Ryden and if the chance arose to ever own a piece of his I would sell my family to do it (not really but you get the idea).

Anyway, my own personal favourite artist in this style of artwork is a lovely woman by the name of Camilla D’errico. She is a fabulous artist and I have the intention of building up quite a large collection of her works. So far I have a limited edition print called ‘The Frog Princess’ which was a run of only 25 prints. As of today I am also now the proud owner of ‘Princess Tickle trunk’. This print is an artist proof and one of only 7 copies in the world. As we near a completion of our house purchase (see previous posts) I have an idea of the garage being turned in to my own personal art gallery / man cave / hideaway from the real world *delete as appropriate*. My wife wants to use the spare bedroom as a craft room so, in my head, I see this as a fair compromise. Anyway, who actually uses a garage for putting their car in anymore?

The only thing holding me back at the moment is money (or lack of it) but I see that as just a blip and something I can work on. I can always sell some of the other pictures I have accumulated over the years in the pursuit of buying just one more print.

Anyways, enough of my art lesson……………………

If you want to check out any of the artists works I have included a few links to their Instagram pages so you can see for yourselves what I’m wittering on about

https://www.instagram.com/markryden/
https://www.instagram.com/mabgraves/
https://www.instagram.com/camilladerrico/
https://www.instagram.com/martinharrisart/
https://www.instagram.com/tascott/

*featured image taken from http://camilladerrico.com/art/oil-paintings/

Seconds Away….Round 3

Ding…..ding….. (that was supposed to be the sound of the bell ringing the start of the round)

As I enter another week I have a bit of an up and down day today. This is kind of the staple for my life at the moment but at least I’m consistent.

The day started with an unnerving sense of impending doom and the onset of a panic attack. A few encouraging words from my wife and some hand holding helped me to realise I needed to breathe and it soon began to ease off. I have no idea what started it other than the fact we are off on holiday to the western end of the big island next week and I am already panicking about getting on the ferry. We are off to Cornwall for the week to visit my mother-in-law (she is NOT the reason for a panic attack though) and meet up with good friends while we are there. The intention is to meet up with people in the evening and then we are free to do what we wish during the day but I have a sneaky suspicion this will all fall by the wayside when we get there. Normally we stay at my mother-in-law’s house but we have decided this year to go camping instead. We are a family of campers and always enjoy the feeling of getting bitten by midges (gnats if you’re not Scottish like me) and eating processed foods but mostly we enjoy the almost solitary nature of it. We have picked a campsite near Cadgwith on the Lizard peninsula with stunning views across the coast. We have a rough idea of places we want to visit while we are there but mostly we intend to just take it as it comes and see where we end up. I can already feel myself relaxing but I just first have to get there. I have been on the ferry many times before and I know it’ll be alright when I get on it but it’s always that feeling of being closed in and stuck between people that makes me feel on edge. Then it’s the feeling of everyone getting off at once and thinking I’ll get lost in the crowd but once we’re on the road again it’s all right in my world.

Then the day got better as I received a phone call to say our mortgage off has finally been agreed and our solicitor is now in charge of our house purchase going through. I’m sure there will be times to come where I want to pull out of the process but for now it’s making me feel like I’m a proper grown up with grown up responsibilities.

As the day progressed it got steadily better. Another trip to my counselling (round 3…..see what I did there?) and a good day at work meant it was all going so well.

I finished work at 6pm and headed off then to the monthly catch up of the amazing Anxiety Cafe (see my earlier blogs for details of this) where I had a good catch up with some wonderful friends that I have begun to make through the group. We were discussing ways of how we (that’s people with anxiety e.g. me) help ourselves when we feel anxious and were sharing ideas. It was mentioned by the lovely lady who helps runs it that a few of us write blogs and it was then that I got requests for my page. Feeling a little bit uncomfortable I gave my details out for people to check out my blog (you could argue I was shamelessly plugging it) and then it was suggested I have my own Facebook page for my blog. Cue nervous laughter and a “Yeah I’ll think about it” kind of response. I have been told my writing style is friendly and open with a hint of sarcasm (a bit like me really) but if it helps someone else come to terms with their issues then it can only be a good thing.

Well, I’m home and I’ve thought about it and guess what? I am going to do it. Not right this moment but it is on the cards for the very near future. Another thing for me to overcome but considering what I’ve done so far I reckon I can do this one and make a pretty good go of it.

Then at the end of the day came the down. It’s not a massive thing but to me it was big enough. I recently purchased a picture by an artist I follow on Instagram and was looking forward to getting it. Well, it hasn’t arrived as such but I did get a lovely little card from the Post Office telling me that before I can have it I need to pay £23 in customs and handling charges. Add that to the cost of the picture (plus shipping fees) and it soon becomes an expensive print.

But it’s going to be worth it when it’s framed and on the wall of our new (grown up) house.

Until the next time…………………

Am I the Only One?

Today has been one of those days where little things seem to have annoyed me.

It started this morning when I went to do some laundry and found an empty bottle of conditioner on top of the machine. If it’s empty then throw it in the recycling box. I can’t be the only one who thinks that can I? I found the new bottle, got the machine on and sat down for a cup of tea. Only to find the kettle was empty and the water filter hadn’t been filled up either. This meant I had to wait for the water to go through the filter as well as then having to wait for the kettle to boil. Granted it doesn’t take that long but it’s the principle of it.

Kettle boiled and tea made I sat down to start a new doodle. Doodling is something I have started as a way of distracting myself at times of anxiety and I am quite enjoying seeing what designs I can come up with lately. The designs I have come up with appear to be almost psychedelic and almost like an optical illusion but they have been described by friends as mesmerizing to look at. Whilst I am proud of them, I do find though that I am having to try to come up with ever more intricate designs to satisfy people’s expectations. This is a little annoying for me in that I have tried (since my breakdown) to focus more on doing things for myself and not to do things just to please others. There are areas I feel like I have succeeded in doing this but there are times when I struggle still. I feel that I need to be more assertive but when you’ve been hiding behind a shell for most of your life to avoid confrontation and keep the peace it becomes quite difficult to say no (even if it’s just in your head you’re saying it). Anyways, while doing this latest design my pen decided it was going to run out. Cue another round of annoyance. I had another session of counselling to go to and I began to wind myself up by thinking that I wouldn’t have time to buy a new pen. I know what you’re thinking but when I’m in the middle of a picture, all I want to do is finish it without a fuss and start another and this was holding me back.

Finally I went to my counselling and although it went really well this week I was annoyed throughout it. Sat to my left, just in my line of vision, I could see one of the participants on their mobile phone for most of the session. Now, not only would I consider this to be extremely rude but it was also distracting (and not for a good reason). I kept quiet and listened intently to the next session which has given me another tool for my ‘mental health toolkit’.

On the way home I quickly dived in to WHSmith (other stationery shops are available) and found a new red pen so I could finish my doodle when I got back indoors.

So………..at the end of the day I had bought a pen, finished a doodle and been annoyed at least 4 times. However I managed to breathe, relax and concentrate on myself through it all. Am I the only one that had a day like this?

Maybe it’s time to go back to the drawing board (see what I did there?) and put myself first again more.

Until next time……………………

Time to Start Therapy?

For a long time when I was younger Therapy? was the name of one of my favourite bands in the world. They were (and still are) a punky, rocky band with amazing songs that became anthems sung by many a teenager in their bedroom. I was one of those teenagers who sang along (rather badly if I may add) to their tapes. Yes, before the invention of CD’s there were cassettes. Before that there was vinyl and I am old enough to remember both. Anyway, my point is that I had no idea what therapy actually was outside of the music world. I knew it existed but thought (in my naivety) it was for seriously ill people as I’d only ever really seen / heard it in the movies.

Well it isn’t.

Today I started the first part of the next stage in my recovery. After my complete meltdown at the beginning of this year where I ended up being seen by the mental health team at the hospital I was referred for therapy to help me in 3 aspects of my illness. Anxiety, self-esteem and depression. The first of these that I am dealing with is the anxiety and it is a 6 week course. I had work in the morning and managed to arrange for me to leave for a couple of hours in the afternoon so that I could attend. I never made a big fuss of it to my family and work colleagues as I was conscious that if I did, I would end up talking myself out of going as it something completely out of my comfort zone.

I arrived at the building a little early and got buzzed in to the reception area. I signed in and then sat in the waiting area. Unsure what to expect I sat down, avoided eye contact with the other people in there and got my fidget spinner out of my pocket. Happily twiddling my fingers I calmed down and felt ready to join in. The group leader came in, showed us all through to the room where the session would take place and I picked a seat in the corner. There was a wonderful mix of ages and I’m pretty sure it reminded us all that we are never alone in this. We’re all in it together.

Obviously I am not going to go in to detail about what was said / talked about by anyone but suffice to say it was a positive experience for me. I came away from the session with a spring in my step and a renewed enthusiasm for getting better. I am still aware that it is only just the beginning of this journey but my eyes have been well and truly opened to therapy and what it can do. I have another 5 sessions of this particular group to attend and I know that by the end of it I won’t exactly be ‘cured’ but at least I’ll have a few more items in my ‘mental toolbox’ to enable me to deal with my anxiety better.

Oh well, I’d better go and do my homework for next week…………………..

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