Tag Archives: today

Attempting To Take Back Control Of A Life With Depression

20 May

My blog updates here have certainly dried up recently. There are two reasons for this, the first of which I mentioned in my previous post, namely that I had a lot going on with finishing my degree.

The second reason is that I have been thinking about a lot of things in my life and making some decisions. The first big decision was making a real, concerted effort to try and get back to a happier, healthier state and frame of mind.

Every bout of depression is different in its severity and a bad one can leave a long lasting, residual mark on your mentality that can lead to unhealthy and unhelpful wallowing.

Looking back and analysing the last few years, I could clearly see the point where I was happiest, and it coincided with the time that I decided to make a real effort. Obviously that isn’t rocket science but a bad bout certainly derailed me and it all lead to me beginning this blog.

What exactly do I mean about making an effort? Well it means not coasting and really taking control. If I’m completely honest a kind of ‘woe is me’ attitude was setting in and if I’m really really honest, I have to admit I was sleepwalking through a vast majority of my final year of university.

So in the last couple of weeks I’ve made an active effort to ‘wake up.’ I’ve been readying my writing portfolios and have started looking for freelance work whilst continuing on with my novel and scripts, plus I’ve started doing other simple things like exercising again.

Regular exercise is genuinely such a great tool in fighting and coping with depression. Getting back into the shape I was, regaining the muscle I lost when I was wallowing is not only a great self esteem boost, the endorphins from exercise really are a great, natural buzz. I’ve also taken control of my alcohol consumption which is a huge step.

When it comes to my writing/professional life, all of that side is in my real name and does take up a lot of time so this blog will almost certainly revert to being updated once a week at best, but I’ll be keeping it as an outlet.

As always the challenge comes not when times are good, but in times of adversity and it is here that I hope I can take strength from the last year and a so of my life and remember that, when I am making a real, concerted effort life is better and indeed fun. When the next bout comes I believe/hope I’ll be able toKeep-Calm-and-Take-Control deal with it.

 

I had to go with a Rocky video here didn’t I haha.

Council Estates, Ex Girlfriends, love and Uni

17 Apr

I try to keep my posts focused on one thing at a time but on this occasion there are a few things on my mind.

I’ll start by saying that today was a lovely day here in South London; it was sunny and warm. You often hear how the weather can affect your mood and I always forget just how true this is until those first proper sunny days appear and you really do feel better about things. It just puts a nice tint on your emotions; even those things that are making you feel rather melancholy can be diluted down in their effect by filtering them through the happier disposition the sunshine can give you.

I was travelling on the train today, going through Norwood Junction, Crystal Palace, West Norwood, Gypsy Hill etc on the way to Balham.  I grew up in these areas, specifically a council estate in West Norwood; as I looked out of my window at my old stomping grounds I felt this pain deep within me, this void that I feel and know could never be filled. I was thinking about the council estate I grew up on and how I wished I could go back; experience it again as I was when I was younger, when things were so much more simple. My mind was sound, I had a happiness that I doubt I’ll ever recapture, a boundless enthusiasm for life I feel I’ll never rekindle. I rarely get such thoughts but today it was an urge that was – I don’t know – I’ve wracked my mind and the only word that comes close to describing it is an existential urge; probably because I know I can never go back in time but that somehow, some way I hope that I can experience those emotions again.

These days my happiness and forward thinking is filtered through the mechanism of simply coping; coping with depression, coping with bi polar, coping with a life tinged and tainted with an unremitting sense of ‘this wasn’t how it used to be, it used to be more fun but at least right now I’m doing OK because I know how to cope.’

As for uni, one of the other parts of this headline, I’m in the last two and a half weeks of my degree, which just seems strange. Three years gone but it feels simultaneously much longer but also that it has passed in the blink of an eye. Time is a strange concept. One thing that made me smile recently was that as part of my dissertation I obviously had to do an essay. I chose to look at Sherlock Holmes and why his popularity has endured through the years and unbeknownst to me there was a Sherlock Holmes story set in Norwoodwest-norwood1 called The adventure of the Norwood builder. After doing some research I found out that part of the story was in fact set in West Norwood, very close to where I grew up. Conan Doyle actually lived in South Norwood, again close to my local area.

Another point about Uni was that when I started I was going out with my most recent girlfriend. Tonight I met her for a couple of drinks; we still meet up quite often. She told me yesterday that she had split up with her current boyfriend (I briefly mentioned her in my last blog post). As much as I do not think we could work out (we were on and off for three years) I can never escape the fact that she was the one woman that I truly, deeply loved. I know she feels the same way because she says so but again love is a strange concept. Not complicated, just very…. strange is not the right word but I’m running out of steam now so strange will have to do.

Silly Little Grey Hairs

12 Apr

Grey hairs are one of the most trivial yet visible signs of stress I can think of. I say trivial, I guess for some people it could be a big deal but I’ve never really worried about things like hair loss or grey hairs. Anyway I went for a haircut yesterday and this morning after a shower I realised that ‘hey, there’s a few more then there used to be.’

I know the first ones came along a couple of years ago and it didn’t really surprise me; I certainly feel stressed a lot of the time due to dealing with depression. I also know a few others appeared during my last relationship due to issues beyond my control. How beyond my control? Well there’s nstress-gray-hair-1ot a lot you can do when her parents don’t like you because of your skin colour and would prefer you not to go out with their daughter because of it. Oh and social class, they were pretty well off to put it lightly. That kind of thing wears a relationship down after awhile. There were plenty of other issues to. In the future I will probably blog about it.

Certainly in the past I would be able to take any and everything in my stride and deal with things really well, but added to the depression, I guess I just don’t handle things as well as I used to. There’s only so many battles you can fight before you’re spreading your self to thin so in the end, even the little things that used to be handled easily, like dealing with impending work deadlines can seem altogether more draining and stressful.

And when you’re operating beyond the stressful threshold often, I guess it’s no surprise that there will be more of those silly little grey hairs.

Depression Update via Questionnaires

6 Apr

In this blog, I talked about how I would track my progress by doing depression questionnaires every couple of weeks.

Each time I do these I’ll be picking out a couple of questions from each one and expanding on the reasons behind my answer.

Last time for the ‘Goldberg depression questionnaire’ I scored a hefty 69. Anything above 54 is severely depressed. As you can imagine I wasn’t in a very good place. This time I got –

Total score of: 29
(22-35, Mild-Moderate Depression)

You appear to be suffering from mild to moderate depressive symptoms commonly associated with depressive disorders.

As you can see a marked improvement, tallying with what I have been describing in recent blogs. The improvement in my mood has been brilliant and has felt brilliant as it always does.  One of the statements you have to rank according to how it applies to you is –

2)  My future seems hopeless.

My answer this time was ‘just a little’ as I am scoring for the whole week but really today I could make that ‘not at all.’ The difference in outlook when you have come out of an episode is incredible and I plan to blog about these differences soon.

Moving on, my tri-axial Bipolar spectrum screening results last time were 32, which means –

Your answers indicate levels of experiences which are consistent with bipolar disorder, including those associated with both manic and depressive symptom 

This questionnaire takes into account how you have felt and behaved over your life so I won’t update this one for a while as I’ve blogged about the bipolar side recently in regards to money.

Finally we have another depression one but with different depression questions that I can talk about. This one is called the ‘Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D)’ and last time I scored 41. Anything over 21 means a possibility of major depression. Like the Goldberg questionnaire it asks you to take account of the last week in your life.  This time I got –

Total score of: 17
(15-21, Mild to Moderate Depression)

You appear to be experiencing some mild to moderate symptoms of depression.

Again a huge improvement. As for one of the questions –

14. I felt lonely.

The crazy thing I find with my depression is that whilst you tend to isolate yourself when you’re going through it because you don’t want to be around people, you can also sometimes simultaneously feel this intense loneliness that really cuts right to your core. That feeling can even arise when you’re with people. It’s just a very unpleasant sensation.  At the moment though that sensation is a lovely distant memory.

As I said before I decided on doing these as a way of tracking my progress and to have some concrete signposts as I go forward.

Doing them this time was a much more enjoyable experience as I chart just how much better I have felt recently.

That’ll be it today I think. Signpost

Mood Swing Central

27 Mar

That’s pretty much me over the last couple of days. I had planned one or two blogs about how I was feeling, after all that was why I had initially set out to start blogging in the first place, only for my mood to completely switch and leave what I had planned to write redundant. So let’s talk about the mood swings then.

Yesterday afternoon I had an overwhelming sense of happiness, the kind of happiness I usually feel when I ‘wake up’ after having been numb. In this instance I’d been feeling pretty numb since February, (I mentioned before how January was the last time I felt really good and ‘normal’) reaching a peak in early March and since then I’d slowly felt myself coming back to reality. Great I thought. Well unfortunately I was wrong because later on in the afternoon my mind just switched back to nonsense emotions of guilt, paranoia, worthlessness.

And it’s pretty much just cycled between feeling great and feeling rubbish.

I thought I’d include thismood swing t-shirt website as a sort of reference for a few things and pick out some of the things that have characterised just the last couple of days.

Loss of confidence

This one is so disconcerting. I can feel super confident in my abilities as a writer, hell as a person haha and then suddenly BANG it goes and suddenly my thoughts are feeding into

Feeling useless, inadequate or hopeless

pretty self explanatory.  Then I might jump to

Full of energy or ideas; moving quickly from one idea to another

which is, well, OK if I just stayed there. Finally, amongst others I had the dreaded

(thinking about) Spending money recklessly

it was quite a large urge, bigger then I’ve experienced in a long time. I would love to say I stayed strong with no help but the truth is I have no money for a couple of weeks anyway.

So yeah, a bit of a weird couple of days, I certainly don’t usually experience so many swings in such a short space of time.

Late Night Writing and My Tuesday Girl

26 Mar

Last Monday I had a tutorial with my screenwriting teacher at university. Getting feedback on your work is always nerve wracking but it’s one of those things you have to get used to, as is criticism. Imagine my surprise then as, sitting opposite my teacher, he flips his page of notes over and the only word I can see – written upside down from my vantage point – is ‘excellent’. Underlined. It was just the first 10 pages of the script but he also had the treatment so knew how the story was going to end. He then proceeds to tell me he thinks it’s excellent. I’m obviously pretty happy with this, I respect his opinion highly because he’s aTuesday screenwriting professional currently working in the industry. So I thank him and try to hide the smile dying to break out.

So obviously I resolve to crack on and I have a lot of added enthusiasm if a little tight for time. We only have to submit the first ten pages for this module plus the treatment and, being now fairly confident of a good mark could just leave it till May to finish, what with a dissertation to complete and the first quarter of a novel to redraft for my portfolio to. But I enjoy all the work – well the creative aspects anyway, the essay part of the dissertation is a pain – it keeps my mind occupied.

Anyway, typically I aim to do 5 pages a day when I’m working on a script project. It doesn’t sound much, to me it doesn’t anyway but it means that in less then a month I can have a project finished. Last week didn’t exactly go to plan so tonight I thought, tonight is the night to catch up, except I got carried away and now I’m on page 70 already which is great.

Now for something completely different.

It was only when I looked at the time that I saw it was gone 2am. Tuesday morning is here. As your mind is prone to do at these times of the night my thoughts wandered to a girl I used to see on and off. Every Tuesday afternoon I’d go and meet her for lunch. I don’t know why that memory is so strong tonight, just going for lunch and chilling, there are certainly other, more recent and noteworthy memories to think of. It turned out to be quite the rollercoaster with her in the end but right now I’m just thinking about Tuesday lunches and it’s quite soothing haha. This really has nothing to do with the first part of this post.

In fact this post really doesn’t say much at all does it.

I Turned my Phone on Today

15 Mar

Catchy blog title no?

Yep I turned it on, I went to uni, things were going well. If I took one of those depression questionnaires I spoke about yesterday at about 2pm I reckon the scores would have been better. But then I had a strange wobble in class, then on the way home. Like, I just felt emotional.

Hmmm, definitely the added stress from getting the courage together to start to make some proper lifestyle changes that will make my life easier playing a part here.

In saying all that, now that I’m home thing’s aint to bad at all. Been doing some work on my novel, my essay for next week is finished and Friday looks like it’ll be a nice, chilled evening.

Not the most riveting or informative blog ever today that’s for sure. Image