Tagged: depression

Nov 28

The Hidden Depths Of Despair

Yesterday I read the news that Gary Speed had died, and it later transpired that he had taken his own life and been found hanging by his wife.

I felt numb, dumbstruck, shocked and confused – and I dont even know him. Of course I ‘know’ of him, growing up in a football obsessed home means I knew a lot of his career and the respect that people held for him – known to all as a true gentleman, humble, and strong, described by most who did know him as the ‘nicest man in football’

But what I found most shocking was that this apparantly, externally content, peaceful man, could be holding something in him so desperate that he couldnt carry it any longer and decided to do the ultimate act of self destruction

For him to leave his wife and 2 children, I cant imagine the pain he must have endured to consider leaving them behind, or the pain that he now leaves them with in dealing with his death.

Im puzzled why this has affected me so deeply, as I said I dont know him, but his situation, age 42, a few years off my husband’s age, married, with a family and outwardly seeming to be doing fine, just doesnt sit comfortably with me at all.

That someone can be in the utter pit of despair as I consider he must have been, yet had spent that day laughing, filming TV, making plans and chatting about his future.

What can have happened to push him past the brink in such a short space of time?

Maybe he struggled for a long time

Maybe he was just terribly good at hiding it

Maybe his friends and family knew his inner suffering

Maybe he was dealing with it in his own way

Maybe a switch flicked that night, and he just couldnt see any other way

But why is this so identifiable to me?

Is it that I fear we all have this capacity inside us to just flip?

Or am I considering his wife finding him like that one Sunday morning and imagining what a utterly horrendous thing that must have been for her

I don’t know why you did what you did but I hope you find peace now Gary, and I hope your wife and your children will know that you loved them but it was too painful for you to stay


Jul 19

The Eternal Quest for the Perfect Job – Part Two

As I described here – in part one – I was sailing along quite nicely, moving up through the employment food chain and spending it as fast as I was making it, infact this is one of the things that sickens me now about how we were living back then, I know it was the ‘boom’ years and most of us were like this but our frivolous nature with money doesnt sit well with me anymore – when I think of what we spent and on what and how little we have to show for it, compared to now, where we have so little but seem to make it go miles.. well enough said there I think

At work everything on the surface appeared to be fine – I was scrambling for the big sales award – which I won – in a Gala Black Tie Event I heard them call my name – I went up on stage and accepted my award as well as an all expenses £10k trip to NY with Tim – I was utterly shocked – thrilled – overwhelmed – all those words… when I got back to my room the overwhelming thought was not ‘Im so proud or excited’ it was ‘I dont deserve this, Im a fraud, Im a liar, Im not good enough’ it kept me awake, it was like a musical merry go round in my head, of course I was so excited to go but also wracked with negative thoughts about myself and how I might be ‘exposed’.

I couldnt rest for thoughts of how to keep up the charade, how I could maintain this level of achievement, instead of thinking how well I had done, it then became how on earth would I better it or achieve it again? if I didnt do it again next year they would think I was rubbish and it was a fluke or a mistake?

All sounds really irrational now doesnt it? I know… cue wheels falling off

I went to NY with Tim, was AMAZING trip, I could spend a whole post describing the stuff they set up for us to do, a true experience, but all the while I was looking around me thinking ‘I dont deserve to be here’

I got married in the December all the while thinking ‘I dont know why he wants to marry me… I dont deserve him’

We went back to New York in the February as a delayed Honeymoon, and thats when the problems really started to escalate I was up all night, no sleep, no relaxation, checking emails, taking work calls, snapping and mental domino’s a plenty

When we got home there was a single tiny incident, everything about my job was about me controlling everything, that was how I managed, I managed the arse out of everything, that way I limited anyone else getting involved and me being exposed (I know)… well anyway one day one of the admin team left me a voicemail about a customer ringing and saying something hadnt been done, and that was it.. the straw that broke the camels back…

In my poorly head this mean that she knew I was a fraud, she thought I was rubbish, she was going to complain about me, she would tell my boss, he would pull me in, expose more about me being rubbish, and ultimately I would be fired… that was the thought stream that flew round my head in less than 10 seconds and plonked me outside the job centre.

I immediately took up a attacking tactic – made an appointment to see my boss – try and minimise the damage – I went to see him, we sat in a room and I just started shaking uncontrollably, heart racing, tears bursting to come out, and all this bilge came spilling out of my mouth about how hard I was working and ‘she was bang out of order for saying Im not doing my job properly..’ etc etc.. my boss looked stunned, shocked and a bit scared.. turns out the admin hadnt actually said anything but he could recognise a donkey on the edge when he saw one

He told me I wasnt thinking rationally, told me to go and see the doctor and make an immediate appointment… I looked incredulously at him…’what? theres nothing wrong with me?’ he was insistant and I left the office without a clue of what was coming – completely oblivious to the shower of shit that was to follow

To be continued



Jun 26

My Cybermummy Weekend

I spent Saturday at Cybermummy11 in London, meeting and mixing and learning from some amazing speakers, it really was inspirational and Im SO glad I went. I even won a Happy Hopperz for a comedy suggestion made at the Hyundai Stand.

I’ve been having a few anxiety issues recently and I think it really helped to reinvigorate what I want to do and why, just what the doctor ordered. One of the highlights of the day for me were the blog readings at the end, BabyGenie struck a real chord with her poignant, honest tale of her battle with OCD, the line ‘thoughts are not facts’ resonating so strongly with me and hearing Nickie at Typecast was heart stoppingly, touching with her reading of her daughters battle with cancer.

I thought Sarah Brown was just fantastic, she hit just the right tone, and spoke with passion and empathy, displaying a ‘realness’ that was just lovely to see, and often absent from Key Note speakers. Her speech about being a mum, adopting Twitter, and utilising it for good was inspiring, compelling and interesting. Talking about keeping her family as normal as it could be in abnormal public circumstances was what any good mother would do, and absolutely not manipulating that for political advantage.

I was already a fan, more so now.

I spent a lot of the day chatting to people who I know online, but not in real life and it’s surreal to meet people and see if they are who you had mentally imagined they would be, hugs for complete real life strangers, as we ‘know’ them and intimate details of their lives from their blogs.

A couple of ladies commented on my weight loss yesterday, having seen it on my blog, and it’s amazing to see the incredulous looks of people who have never known me as anything other than I am today.

Without exception, everybody was EXACTLY who I imagined they would be, all different and unique, it really was a delight to put names to faces.

I’m not going to attempt to name the people who I managed to meet and chat too, I would be here all day, but every single one of them contributed to make the day so special.

I think my self imposed exile from ‘online’ is over, I’m not so sure about bringing Facebook back into my life yet, its so all encompassing, but I’m happy to re embrace my old friend blogging and start all over again.

So thanks Cybermummy, you have a very happy customer here. I was well fed, well entertained, in great company, creatively reinvigorated and came home with literally rafts of goodies, I’ll be back next year, with bells on…

Oh and anxiety? Screw you, I beat you again didn’t I? Now crawl back in your hole and stay there


Jun 24

A Bitch Called Anxiety

I’m off to Cybermummy tomorrow, and I should be excited, I’m spending a night in London and I should be so looking forward to it, but ‘should’ is a familiar word in this house.

I have blogged before about anxiety issues, it used to own my life, now it just rears it’s ugly fucking face every now and again, and here it is again, as reliable as ever, to rain on what ‘should’ be something really fun and exciting.

I had a serious wobble last weekend and almost pulled out, and this week have fought every single instinct I have to say ‘I’m not coming’ but I am going, I might be a bit quiet and not quite myself, I might well feel sick inside, I might employ old tactics of hiding in the loos, or looking really busy, I might even look a bit off or distant, thats not who I really am, but I’m going.

I can’t let anxiety take over any part of my life again and let it eat away, I have to tackle it headlong every time it shows it’s butt ugly self.

I’m going, I will be ok, but do me a favour, if you see me at Cybermummy just give me a smile or a wave and help me show that little anxiety fecker that I’m doing ok and kicking it’s ass.

Can’t wait to see you all xx

PS sorry for being such a dufus Heather


Apr 13

Not the ‘counselling’ type

Seems I’m full of mental health posts at the moment. So bear with me, I’m sure this too will pass

Regular readers will know about my completion of the first year of my degree in counselling and psychotherapy, it’s certainly been an eye opener, in many ways, both to mental health in general, my own health, that of others and approaches in dealing with various mental health issues.

One thing has remained constant throughout… That when I explain to people what I am doing, it’s generally greeted in one of three ways,

1) raised eyebrow followed with ‘wow that’s really excellent.. I/someone I know had counselling and it really made a big difference to them’

2) roll of eyes ‘I/someone I know had/should have had counselling..was a waste of time, I’m not the ‘counselling’ kind..’ Generally said with fingers making the international sign for inverted commas

3) sounds like a right load of psychobabble

Whilst I’m not about the start taking on the number 3′s.. Leave that till year three of my degree… I’m often fascinated by the number 2′s, who in my experience, generally don’t want to discuss it in any more detail than that

So my question today is… Is there a counselling kind?

It is a universal truth that if that person doesn’t want to be in that room being counselled, then they shouldn’t, it’s not going to work, there has to be a will to change, they have to really want to be there, to experience a significant change in their life.

The old ‘my doctor told me to come’ or ‘the missus says it will help’ probably isn’t enough will to make that ball pick up momentum and roll down the hill. You have to want things to be different. FACT.. Sounds obvious doesn’t it, but apathy hits us all, the status quo is manageable, not pleasant but manageable.. And doesn’t involve spilling your guts to a virtual stranger.. I’ll stick with the status quo thanks very much

I remember my psychiatrist asking me tentatively whether I would consider counselling, I replied if he told me to do a head stand for 3 hours a day, I would do it, if it worked, if it felt better than this seething pit of anxiety vipers then sign me up, but I know many others who don’t feel that way, many never even making to the doctors let alone any further

It seems to be an unfortunate position that due to the waiting lists for NHS counselling, between 6 weeks and 6 months, that within that time there appears to be a cycle, this is just a personal observation, it seems that a person reaches a point where their life has been disrupted and disjointed enough to seek help, whether enforced by loved ones or by their own hand.

The doctor assess and diagnoses, possibly prescribing anti depressants and counselling, person starts taking anti depressants and waits for the counselling, if it’s even accepted at that point, in the meantime the person starts taking the anti depressants and things start to middle out, it’s not just as awful, its bearable, some good days.

So the counselling appointment comes through and the person thinks it’s pointless going as they are already doing better, life has improved a bit, they might have been able to go back to work, or started functioning better, loved ones might have vocalised about the improvement… So they don’t go, carry on as they are, taking the pills and getting on with life.

This might go for months or even years, the person taking the pills, perhaps attempting to come off the pills, but at the heart of it, nothing has really changed, unhelpful thinking patterns still beavering along, unchallenged. Low self esteem still eating away. Person locked into a cycle, trying to establish why they have been affected this way, delving backwards to understand whats gone wrong and taken them to this place, what catalyst drove them here. This brings them back down, pills dont seem too effective, they go back to the doctor and the cycle starts again.

It seems an impossible task to ever just be pill free and happy, counselling never seems to make an appearance again, it’s seen as pointless.

So back to the question, is there a counselling kind? Are some people more accepting of this type of help? Aside from the cycle I describe above, why WOULDNT someone seek whatever help they could to feel better, Im really keen to understand this. I seem to speak to so many people who seem to struggle so hard day to day but just have an outright ‘no chance’ to taking counselling, which offers a proven path to improvement and good health.

I so want to understand what the barriers are, both on a personal and soon to be professional level, in my head its a no brainer, but to so many it’s just not do able?

Is this about talking to a stranger?
Worrying about what you will say?
Worried about being judged?
Worried that if you start crying you might not stop?
Think it wont work?

I so want to understand and I would appreciate any help that you can offer with this one.

I have a friend, who won’t mind me telling you, has had some mental health issues, a few false starts with counselling, but now following a really short course is in an entirely different mind set, life changing, skills for life, stuff she has battled with all her life she now has a specific toolset to work with to keep on the mental health straight and narrow.

I’m a walking, talking, blogging advertisement that counselling works, its so good I bought the damn degree course (said in Victor Kyam voice) so for me I find it hard to grasp why someone wouldn’t do this. Please help me understand, when I do come to do this for a career, I really want to try and see it from all view points so please take the time to tell me your gut feeling about counselling, be it from personal experience, or from an opinion point of view

Thanks so much, well done for getting to the end of that epic!