Monday, January 30, 2012

Local Mental Health Services - A Rant


Well it's 2:30am here & again I can't sleep, so my mind has been wandering. One thing that has been on my mind lately is the quality of the mental health services where I now live in regional NSW. Truthfully, I'm not happy with it at all.

I lived in Sydney for about 30 years prior to moving back to the area where I was born. With my mental health problems I just couldn't handle the city life any more - I had to get somewhere that had a more relaxed lifestyle. I'm not living in the sticks, this town has a population of around 35,000 but that's a lot less than the millions in Sydney, which is about 2 hours away.

Up there I was used to dealing with pretty well organised mental health services - many hospitals have 24hr mental health staff & mental health wards. It wasn't THAT hard to find help when it was needed, at any hour of the day. But here it is so different.

I have met a number of mental health workers down here & all seem to be good, professional people, though it appears overworked. But it seems at times the system here fails those in need, quite badly at times. If you are in need of help after hours, good luck finding it locally. The nearest 24hr services are about an hour away, where the staff are expected to cover the needs of several large hospitals.

You would think that a town this size would have better. It seems the regular treatment in the hospital is to wait for the person to calm down a little then send them home with promises of a follow-up from the local Community Mental Health Services - which seems to get lost somewhere, as often the calls don't eventuate. A town this size deserves better - the people deserve better.

An example of this breakdown in services happened to a friend of mine a couple of weeks ago. Mentally, he was in a terrible state. He'd been cutting himself & another friend went to help him but needed to call the police. After the police arrived he pulled a knife on them. They were ready to tazer him. The end result was an ambulance was called & he was taken to the hospital.

The last thing I expected was for him to be released a couple of hours later with nothing more than a promise of a couple of follow up calls, one for an appointment with a local service & the other to be from community health. Well he DID get the one about the appointment but as far as I know he's still waiting for the other call.

The hospital simply doesn't have the facilities to deal with these types of situations. Being the only major hospital for an hour in any direction you would think that it could provide something better. Sadly it doesn't, and this isn't an isolated incident that I've seen, it's been happening to another friend for months.

Mental health is a major problem and needs more support from governments. If a town this size can't provide appropriate around-the-clock services, what hope do sufferers have who live in more isolated areas.


Feels good to have that off my chest. :)

The information contained in this blog can not be considered medical advice. These are only my own thoughts, feelings & ideas. If you or someone you know are having problems with mental illness please seek qualified medical advice.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

SANE UK: Blue Mood Month

As part of its 25th anniversary, SANE UK has launched it's Black Dog Campaign to raise awareness of mental health issues during its Year of the Black Dog. To kick it off they announced Blue Mood Month where celebrities such as Stephen Fry were asked to contribute playlists 'of their favourite sad songs that make you happy'.

Sounds like a bit of a contradiction, sad songs making you happy, but I understand what they mean, at least to me anyway. When I get depressed I attach a lot of emotion to music and a good sad song can get me crying. But this is a release of emotional tension & stress for me and the end result is I can feel better after letting it out. And many songs can make you feel you're not alone, there are others out there who feel like you do - it's not the end of the world, it can get better.

Now, I am far from a celebrity so I will never be asked to contribute a list & can't access Spotify to add my list to their public ones. So I'll list mine here, with links to YouTube. So these are my 'sad songs that make me happy' in no particular order:

You'll Never Walk Alone - Jerry & The Pacemakers
Everybody Hurts
 - R.E.M.
Nothing Compares 2 U - Sinead O'Connor
Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me - George Michael & Elton John
Travelling Soldier - Dixie Chicks
Gravity - John Meyer
Key Largo - Bertie Higgins
True Colours - Cyndi Lauper
He Ain't Heavy - The Hollies
Hallelujah - Jeff Buckley
Lullaby - Nickelback
Time After Time - Cyndi Lauper
Yesterday - The Beatles
Tears In Heaven - Eric Clapton
The Living Years - Mike & The Mechanics

That will do for now - could list many more. Next time maybe I'll just do a list of 'good time songs' that can lift my emotions.

So what are your 'sad songs that make you happy'?


The information contained in this blog can not be considered medical advice. These are only my own thoughts, feelings & ideas. If you or someone you know are having problems with mental illness please seek qualified medical advice.

Finding An Outlet

Over the years, when I've been right down in the pit of my depression, I find myself with a need to write. It's an urge that just happens - I get an idea in my head, maybe a line or two, that just won't go away until I put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). Sometimes it's just those couple of lines that I'll write and maybe come back later to expand on, to make it something that may be worth reading. But most times I can't stop until I have a finished product.

I have no real control over what I write & never know what to expect. A number of years ago I was going through a really bad period around Christmas. One night I sat down & wrote a poem that left no doubt what my state of mind was - The Storm is a dark way to describe my depression. Yet the next night, Christmas Eve, when I think I was feeling worse, the need to write struck again.

The end result this time was Christmas Is, a poem with a religious message about how the meaning of Xmas is being lost in the modern day. It is a poem of hope, faith and love that in no way reflected how I was feeling at the time. And I am far from a religious person, only going to churches for weddings & funerals. It just shows how little control I have when the mood hits - instead of some bleak, depressing, suicidal prose I got this.

Over the years I've found that this writing is a release for me, a way of getting tangled emotions & thoughts out. It's a personal therapy. Even this particular post is, it's coming out the same way as my other writings - just something I have to write at this very moment. This is my release for today.

Now I'm trying to get in the habit of writing even when I'm not depressed or waiting until the 'have to do it' feeling hits. I have found it a great outlet for everything that I would normally keep bottled up inside which would just leads to me feeling worse & worse if I didn't get it out. It is simply a way to help me deal with the situation. And I do think it does help.

Do you have an outlet to help you? If you haven't, maybe finding what works for you will help through the roughest parts of life. For me it's writing, but everyone is different so finding what works for you is trial & error. For me it was easy really, I just had the feeling that I HAVE TO DO THIS! It gets in my mind and becomes a compulsion, an obsession.

There is so much out there that can be used as your outlet. You could paint, draw, exercise, write or any number of things. Be creative in what you look at, it could be something that even you don't understand properly. If you get a feeling that there is something you just feel the need to do then give it a try, expand on it. Let it grow & feed it if you find it helps.

Have you found an outlet for your emotions? What do you do? Let me know, maybe your ideas & suggestions will help others by giving them ideas to work on. Your suggestions & thoughts could do more than you think - they may just save a life.

You can find more of my writings - my outlet on My Scribd Page.

Until next time......

The information contained in blog can not be considered medical advice. These are only my own thoughts, feelings & ideas. If you or someone you know are having problems with mental illness please seek qualified medical advice.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A goal of therapy.

After the previous post, I came across an article on the Counselling Connections site that deals with one of the goals of therapy. It discusses how it's in relationships that therapy is put to the test.

"To some extent individual therapy is about working out a hypothesis of our own inner life. It is in relationships outside of therapy where we put this to the test. Our work and love lives are the places where we try to put into practice what learn in our therapy. We work things out in the privacy of the therapy room and even test them out on the therapist. One aim of therapy then would be to try to work firstly on our relationship with our own self. This is done in the presence of and with an active relationship with the therapist. Good relations with the world may mean working things out on several levels including bringing meaning and purpose into our daily lives. Each of us has to work out these values for ourselves. This is a personal journey but not one which requires that we have to go it alone."

Read the full article here: A goal of therapy.

The information contained in blog can not be considered medical advice. These are only my own thoughts, feelings & ideas. If you or someone you know are having problems with mental illness please seek qualified medical advice.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Making Connections

Making connections with people, places & memories is an important part of anyone's life. But for a lot of people with mental illness making & maintaining these connections can be quite problematic. Being unable to attach emotions to places, events & people can at times be quite difficult.

It is one major problem for me, making long term connections to people in particular. Besides family, I have no-one I could call a long term friend. There is no-one in my life I have known for more than a couple of years, and almost all of them are just people I've met through relatives, only a couple I would consider to be really my friends.

It's been like that throughout my life. I have no old school friends, army buddies, workmates etc. The connections just aren't there. Unless someone is in my face on some sort of regular basis, they just fade away, often to be forgotten totally - people who at the time I would have considered great friends. Probably the only way I managed to stay with my ex for so long is because she was always 'there'.

The issue for me, besides having troubles getting out to meet people in the first place, seems to be the long periods where I am emotionally dead. An almost total lack of empathy with anything at all. A lot of time music, movies or a sad (usually true) story will produce an emotional response where I just have nothing when it's associated with someone I know. Added to this is the lack of emotional connections with almost everything, making it difficult for memories to take hold. A lot of my past is very hazy for me, or simply not there.

Of course, this type of thing creates problems of its own. You know how people EXPECT you to feel about someone or something but for some reason you just can't feel that way. So you fake it. And then you sit there wondering why? Why can't I be like others? Why don't I feel the way they do? Is there something wrong with me? etc. And this type of thinking can start you on a downward spiral into a period of depression.

I am yet to find a solution to dealing with this emotional black hole. It just seems like you're absorbing all the emotions and when you get down towards the lowest ebb of your cycle they rush back all at once. It can just be so overwhelming, making things seem so much darker than they should be.

Over the last 12 months or so I've been getting out trying to establish new connections, hoping to be able to build a few lasting ones. Changes to my medications have helped with that, allowing me to get out & interact more. It lets me keep people in my life, getting to know them & building the links needed to create lasting connections.

Will it work in the long term? I have no idea at all. There are still so many times I feel emotionally empty, looking at the world around me as if I'm not a part of it. But I also know from past experience the emotions will return, even if only for a little while at a time. The secret is not letting them carry me away when they do.

So how do you deal with connections to the past? Do you ever worry about them or have you developed a way to help create lasting attachments to people, places & events?

Cheers for now.

The information contained in blog can not be considered medical advice. These are only my own thoughts, feelings & ideas. If you or someone you know are having problems with mental illness please seek qualified medical advice.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Daily Report - 25 Jan

A very quiet & down kind of day today. Nothing too drastic, just no energy & looking for a bit of quiet. Couldn't even be bothered answering the phone - didn't feel like dealing with people too much. Internet was my only connection to the outside world, except for a couple of friends who dropped in to check on me.

I don't feel this is all that drastic, not a slide down into a depression. Everyone gets down a little now and then. Just one of those days.

Got something planned for tomorrow as long as the weather is ok. Hope it is, need to get out for a while.

Going to have to get to work on some new articles for here, with nothing but daily updates it must be getting pretty boring for others. :)

Emotional: 5.0
Activity: 2.5
Interaction: 3.0

Cheers for now.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Daily Report - 24 Jan

Another day, another dollar as the saying goes. Not much to say about it really. My meds appear to be working properly over the last couple of nights. The only problem with that is they make it VERY hard to get going in the mornings. Can sleep for 12 to 14 hours easy, and if I didn't force myself to get out of bed then even longer.

All this sleep & feeling quite lethargic when I do finally get up means really nothing gets done all day. Hell it's usually around midday or later before I can get moving at all. Don't know what to do about it really - before changing meds my life was in the toilet, but these days of not being able to move aren't much fun either.

Didn't do much of anything at all today. Went out for a cuppa with a friend in the afternoon for an hour or so. Then out for a little while bowling tonight & that's it. Spent a little time through the day working on some outlines to a few articles I want to write for here, hope to start getting them done over the next few days to a week. Maybe. :)

But overall a pretty quiet day.

Emotional: 5.0
Activity: 4.0
Interaction: 4.5

Look after yourselves until next time.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Daily Report - 23 Jan

Haven't posted for a few days so this is a combined report. Today has been a pretty quiet one for me but have been pretty active the last few. Been able to get out - going fishing, visiting friends & family, went bowling again and a few other things.

But evenings are still a bit of a problem. Most days after about 5:00PM I'm alone at home. Generally this isn't a problem, I'll sit around listening to music, reading, writing or something. But then come the nights I sit thinking about my life, my past. Not always a good place to be. I feel the making of an article there....

But the days lately have been pretty good, so I guess I need to be thankful for that. The ratings that follow are for the last few days combined.

Emotional: 7.5 (despite a couple of little hiccups!)
Activity: 6.0
Interaction: 7.0

Cheers for now, take care of yourselves.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Daily Report - 19 Jan

A bit of an up & down type of day. Got more sleep last night than I had in the previous week but got up feeling tired anyway. Went out & did a couple of things but by 10am I had had it, I needed SLEEP! Finished what I was doing & then spent the next six or seven hours sleeping the day away.

A friend has suggested that this need of sleep, so powerful, is actually a way for me to escape from a situation or feelings/emotions I'm not comfortable with, a flight response. They could be right, it is another thing on the list I need to investigate.

But despite the sleep issue & lack of activity, today I felt pretty good emotionally. A much better feeling than the down times!

Emotional: 6.5
Activity: 4.0
Interaction: 4.5

Cheers until next time.

Talking to Someone

While medications play a very important role in the treatment of mental illness, they form only part of the solution. When you find the right medications they can help control the highs, lows & anxiety that is there, but being able too find someone to talk to about any issues you have can be a godsend. It is also one of the hardest steps sufferers can take. But once you make the decision you need help, who do you talk to?

When I finally admitted to myself that I needed help, I was in my GP's waiting room so he was the first I spoke to. Since then I've seen psychiatrists, psychologists, counsellors & spoken to many different people. The hardest part is getting 'comfortable' enough with someone to be able to open right up. Even now I find it hard to open up to professionals, family & friends - they know I have problems, but I just can't talk openly with them.

To my surprise, the people I have found easiest to talk to are other sufferers. The same is true for others I've worked with & spoken to. When you talk to someone you don't know or who haven't been through something similar there seems to be the constant thoughts of 'are they judging me?', 'do they really understand what I'm saying & what I mean?' or, worst of all, 'am I behaving as they expect me to behave?'.

But when talking to someone who has 'been there, done that', you just feel that yes, they do know what it's like to be you. It just seems so much easier to open up & be truthful with someone who knows what it's like. Yes, it's not the best solution & any ideas or suggestions they have to help you should be fully researched because no matter how similar their situation may have been, it is still NOT your situation.

I've also found it easier to talk to people who are not involved in my life in any way - strangers who can't judge you based on what they know of you, or discuss your problems with others you may know. This is where the internet & telephone help lines can be of great benefit, even just to get something out, or seek that little bit of advice/help that you might need right at that time.

In my worst times, I will even talk to myself. Not literally, but through writing. Poems, stories or even just notes to myself, putting my feelings, thoughts & emotions down on paper. Just to get them outside myself so I can study them or shake them off perhaps. It is at times a place I can find comfort when I'm not comfortable with talking to anyone else. Even writing this blog is a form of release for me.

My problem with writing is that it has become associated with my worst down times. My friends & family know that if I'm writing, it's not a good sign for my current mental state. It is a habit I'm trying to change, to move my creativity from just the bad & into the good as well. It is a slow process but I feel I'm making progress - I'm writing this blog when I'm not really at my worst and, hopefully, it will help keep me from sinking down.

So talk to someone, there are many different options available. Professionals may be able to provide more direct help than any others, but if you're finding you can't open up fully to them, then seek somewhere that you can as well. An anonymous phone call or a one off post in a forum is better than nothing. Even just writing notes to yourself can help get things out & improve your outlook.

It is a process, learning to talk to people. It probably won't be easy at first, but you can & do get used to it. As you talk more & more to someone you're comfortable with, it makes it easier to be open with those you aren't. And the more you can tell your doctor/counsellor about what you are thinking & feeling, the more direct help they can provide to get your situation under some control.

Take care.

The information contained in blog can not be considered medical advice. These are only my own thoughts, feelings & ideas. If you or someone you know are having problems with mental illness please seek qualified medical advice.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Daily Report - 18 Jan

Despite another sleepless night, today was a pretty good day. Up early for the fishing trip I mentioned yesterday - no luck though, maybe next time. After that spent a busy but good day in some very good company. We worked few a few things together & had a few laughs along the way. I really enjoyed the day.

Evening was soured a little when I returned home to find a friend having a hard time with their own depression, resulting in a trip to the hospital. They're home now & I hope it will all work out over the next few days with the support rallying around. Fingers crossed on that one.

But overall it was one of my better days. Another busy day tomorrow so hopefully get a good nights sleep!

Emotional: 7.0
Activity: 6.0
Interaction: 6.0


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Daily Report - 17 Jan

A pretty quiet day after another night with little sleep. The day wasn't a total waste though. The previous post today is actually a spin-off form an article I'm writing detailing my history & experiences with severe depression, bipolar, stress & anxiety. It started out just being a post but I soon realised it was too big for that so it's going on it's own page when completed.

Tweeted a little and spent some time chatting with a good friend before actually getting out of the house & doing something. Ten pin bowling is currently my major social activity and tonight was the first night back for the year. I enjoy bowling & really think that if you are a sufferer & can find some social activity you can enjoy without too much stress then try & get out and do it.

Early tomorrow morning I'm taking a friends son out to teach him how to fish so that should be something good for both of us - all I need now is to be able to sleep!

Emotional: 6.0
Activity: 4.5
Interaction: 5.0

So not really too bad a day overall.


Mental Illness: Still a Dirty Secret

As someone who suffers from depression & bipolar disorder, it's hard at times to deal with the stigma many people still associate with the diagnosis. Sufferers will not admit to having a mental illness for fear of being labelled as crazy, be accused of faking it or being shunned & ridiculed in other ways. Even worse is when they won't admit it to themselves, these people can become a danger to themselves & those around them.

On the other side is people who don't recognise the signs and blame it on other things. This is the group I fell into, not knowing what severe depression or bipolar was. Many uninformed people think it's just a case of being sad most of the time & totally crazy at others. Those that suffer from these illnesses know it is much, much more than that.

It is vital that information about mental illness be made as widely available as possible & an attempt be made to get people discussing the issue openly. Being able to recognise signs of possible mental health issues in yourself or those around you AND to be able to get the required help without fear of ridicule or scorn could save a life, maybe yours!

Thankfully today many people, including celebrities, realise what an important issue Mental Health is and the effects it has on society. A number of celebrities have put there names behind campaigns to raise public awareness of the issues and others have come out and spoken openly of their personal experience with depression, bipolar & other mental illnesses.

Mental illness isn't the domain of the weak, the unknowns, it is also part of daily life for many of the rich and famous. And at all levels of society, every day, mental illness costs lives, a lot of the time because the sufferer or those around them fear discussing it, or fail to recognise it for what it is. Times are changing, but how many more lives, great & small, will be wasted before the stigma of having a mental illness is lifted, allowing people to feel comfortable discussing their problems & openly seeking help.

Most major Mental Health websites have celebrities involved in raising awareness of mental health issues. Add your voice so that in the future sufferers, their family & friends can openly find the support & information they need to perhaps save a life.

Mark K.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Control or Direction

In reading & replying to comments to a previous post I began to think about what I meant about 'taking control of my life'. Looking at it more closely, I don't think I really mean control, as there is so much in our everyday life we can't control. Trying to control the things we can't will lead nowhere, just more suffering & frustration.

Instead, I think I mean it more as getting direction in my life, having something to aim for, a goal. I've spent years just drifting, pushed around by the labels placed upon me by others. Accepting them without really seeking to see if they are true or not. In accepting these labels, I have probably altered my life to fit within them - not a good step at all.

So now I'll be saying I'm seeking direction in my life, not control. I need to decide where & what I want my life to be. And the more specific & 'real' I can make the direction I want to go, the better I should be able to reach my destination.

"In life, seek not control. Seek instead direction. With direction you have control of what you can and acceptance of what you can't." ~ Drac0, 2012


Daily Report - 16 Jan

Another pretty quiet, middle of the road sort of day. A couple of posts here, a few tweets there but not a lot of activity. Got a couple of things done that I wanted to, but plenty of room to do more. Just finding it hard to self-motivate right now. But I know the more I keep trying, the easier it will become. I do have to spend LESS time sitting here looking at the screen....

Emotional: 5.5 / 10
Activity: 3.5 / 10
Interaction: 3.0 / 10


Blog Update

Just added a number of links to the Mental Health Links available on the right. These sites are from all over the world & offer help, support & information on mental health issues & treatments.

Eventually I will need to move these links to a new page with more information about each site.


Side Trip - Stephen Fry

Stephen Fry is a British actor & comedian whose work I have enjoyed over a number of years. When the ABC here in Australia ran a two-part documentary called 'Steven Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive' I had no idea what to expect. What I got was an insight into the effects of bi-polar disorder on the sufferer & those around them.

Manic depression is a disease that's little talked about and little understood. This programme, presented by Stephen Fry, explores the highs and the lows, and the causes and the treatments of a condition that may affect as many as 2% of the population. Motivated by his own personal battle, the programme follows Stephen Fry on an emotional but entertaining journey that takes him into the homes of stars such as Carrie Fisher, Richard Dreyfuss and Rick Stein; into the lives of ordinary people who juggle this illness with their working lives; and into the surgeries of psychiatrists and the labs of researchers who are trying to help control the condition. In candid interviews, we hear tales of mood swings and extremes of behaviour that can leave a sufferer living like Jekyll and Hyde; with reckless aggression, crazy sex, wild decisions and criminal impulses all thrown in. And we hear about the lows that make you wonder how they survive.

I highly recommend this documentary to anyone who wants to learn more about bi-polar, its effects & treatments. Stephens website ( is an interesting place to visit and you will find a forum dedicated to this documentary & mental heath issues in general.


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Daily Report - 15 Jan

Well, a real middle of the road sort of day. Caught up on some of the sleep I'd missed the last couple of days so it was a later start then normal. Still not a lot of energy so didn't get much done really. The previous post was my big effort of the day, but hopefully it will help someone if they need it.

Just hoping for a good nights sleep again to have a bit of extra energy tomorrow!

Emotional: 5.0 / 10
Activity: 3.5 / 10
Interaction: 3.0 / 10


Mental Health Web Reources

Getting the right help & information is an important part of dealing with mental health issues. Having the right medications, which often involves a lot of trial & error, is only part of the solution. Information & ideas for dealing with your condition is not only a help for you but will also help those around you understand what is going on better.

Finding someone you are comfortable talking to about your situation is also a great benefit. This doesn't always mean just a counsellor or therapist. I found it easier to talk to people who have been through similar to my situation. Sharing thoughts & ideas with these people can be a great help, especially if you have someone who has managed to get themselves through the situation you're in now.

On the right you will find a list of links to various mental health web sites. These sites provide information, guidance, self-help & contacts for people trying to deal with various issues. Making use of them could make your life a little easier.

If anyone has any additional resources that should be listed just let me know.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Today Was.....

A bit of a slow, down day. Didn't sleep at all last night, despite laying in bed tossing & turning for 6hrs before giving up. So no energy to do anything & not much interested in trying. Having a go at an early one tonight so hopefully can get a very long nights sleep to make up for the last couple.

Emotional: 4.5 / 10 (felt a little disconnected today)
Activity: 2.0 / 10 (I did actually get out of bed & stay out all day)
Interactions: 2.0 / 10 (exchanged a few tweets & text messages, that's about it)

A Motto To Live By?

Always liked Monty Python, maybe I'll adopt this as my theme song...


Friday, January 13, 2012

My Ratings - what are they?

Whenever I do a post at the end of a day (most days I hope) I will give the day a rating on a scale of 0 to 10, indicating how I felt that day was. These ratings will cover 3 areas:

Emotional: How did I feel emotionally over the day? Was I up or down?
Activity: How active was I? Did I get up & do something or was it a lazy day?
Interactions: Did I have much personal/social contact with others? Was I actively involved with those around me?

Ratings above 7.0 I would consider to be a great day while below 4.0 wasn't good at all. Being able to get most days above 7.0 would be fantastic, for Emotional & Activity in particular.


First full day

Despite the consequences of my decision to regain my life keeping me awake almost all night, it wasn't too bad a day. I was up and active very early, starting to get a few things done. The real first step of getting my life in order involves getting my home in order, so started that this morning.

Managed to get myself into town to do a couple of errands & to fully confront something that has been causing me a number of problems in recent months. I can't go into details here but with any luck I won't have any more troubles from that direction.

Ratings for the day:
Emotional: 5.0 / 10 (a pretty middle of the road day, no great highs or lows)
Activity: 6.5 / 10 (a fairly active day for me of late)
Interactions: 2.0 / 10 (spent most of the day alone, hence low score here)


Me or labels?

Have I been me, or have I been trying to live the labels placed on me by others? I know when I was originally diagnosed I wasn't in a good way and since then I've had a number of very rough periods.

But would they have been so bad if I hadn't blindly accepted that I was what people said I was? Would I have done what I've done if I hadn't been labelled with a 'mental illness'? I have actually done more 'living' in the last 12 months than in the previous 10 years. Yet I've been given labels even worse than I had previously.

Is that because of the new medication & counselling I'm getting or because I have begun, even subconsciously, questioning what I am? Or a combination of both?

Additionally, there is the question of 'ownership' of my past actions. It has never sat well with me when my current counsellor tells me that I am not responsible for what I've done, it's the illness, & that I need to separate my actions from who I am. But I've always felt that perhaps the illness did contribute to the results of the action, but it was me who made the initial decision to act in the first place.

Labels & ownership of actions/thoughts, these are 2 areas I think I will need to consider carefully in the coming weeks.

A thank you to a special person...

You know who you are. Thanks for pushing me in the right direction. Your intelligence, insight, patience & friendship means the world to me. I look forward to sharing the best parts of this journey with you.

You deserve any goodness that comes your way.

A Start....

Well, I never really considered becoming a blogger, but here I am with my first ever post!

Over the last few weeks a great friend of mine has been trying to get me to take control of my life, get out of bad situations and move my life ahead. I've spent years looking down, living life as a virtual hermit, living in the past. It hasn't been a good time, barely noticing the world around me & not being a part of it.

But it's time to change. My life has been a mess, but as has been shown to me it doesn't need to be if I'm willing to work at a new future. Time to recreate/release the real me!

Hopefully by putting my journey, both the good & the bad, out there for the world to see, it will provide just that little extra motivation to get closer to where I want to be. And perhaps we can have a little fun along the way too.

So future posts will be small insights to the journey on my road to recovery.