Sunday, 3 April 2016

Fear of Being Alone

Fear of Being Alone...

Today I spent time in the sunshine with a single, male friend of mine.  After a beer or two, he said he was going to head home to eat and watch a film.  I cheekily asked if he wanted one more pint (we'd already had 3) but he declined... I felt boyfriend is currently away with work and the thought of being home alone upset me. 

My regular readers may be aware that I'm a teacher and I live with my boyfriend.  He works some evenings and weekends, so there are times when I find myself on my own.  As I walked home this afternoon, slightly drunk, I wondered why I was dreading spending time on my own?  What was so awful about my own company?  (i-will-not-spend-my-half-term-depressed)

Talking to my friend today, I realised that I've never really been on my own for very long; there's always been a potential or actual boyfriend.  I was in a long term relationship for 7 years, which was extremely destructive for probably a good 5 years of it - that's a whole separate post.  Afterwards, I was a complete mess and swiftly found a rebound.  He was lovely but still a rebound and our 6 month relationship was a complete disaster because I was in no fit state to be thinking about anyone other than myself.  I have to say that he was not quite ready either and we both completely messed each other around by playing horrific mind games, which damaged us both. 

Eventually, I found the strength and wisdom to stop the never-ending cycle of will we, won't we and I finally ended it.  It had been an emotionally draining 6 months.  After nearly a decade of damaging relationships, I had hit an all time low, and was actually ready to start slowly building myself up again (on my own), until I met my current boyfriend.  I was hesitant at first because my head was telling me that I needed time to be single, to deal with the past few years and to find 'me' again (sorry for the cliché).  However, this new man was a complete gentlemen and was exactly who I had imagined sharing my life with.  I took it step by step and I was definitely in control until I was sure I could trust him and that I would not get hurt beyond recovery; I was very aware that I was extremely fragile at this point.

I have been with my wonderful boyfriend for nearly 4 years now.  We own a house, have already shared a great deal of pain, happiness, loss and laughter, and we are still going strong.  I do not regret my decision to begin a new relationship after never really dealing with my past ones.  Sometimes you have to grasp opportunities when they arise.  However, I do wonder about the importance of being comfortable in your own skin and having the ability to enjoy your own company. I'm not sure I have ever managed this!

As a teacher, I get lots of time off and I do find it difficult (feel free to swear at the poor man with too much holiday).   Sometimes I get lonely and feel like I'm missing out on the world around me when really I should be taking time to express myself and making the most out of being able to do exactly what I want to do; something that isn't always possible when in a relationship.  I should listen to music (the-power-of-musicwithout worrying that my boyfriend doesn't like it, write my blog which I find helps my mental health, visit friends who I never get to see because of daily stresses,  and just be who I am and who I was before I found myself in relationship after relationship.

I'm not suggesting that the grass is greener and that I long to be single because I don't - I love my boyfriend very much!  I guess I'm saying that I would like to be content in my relationship as well as with myself.  I need to think of time alone as a privilege and not as a chore.  I think it's important to make the most of each situation, whether that be by yourself or not. 

Unfortunately, society seems to view being single or alone as less desirable than having a partner.  I wonder if anyone is ever truly happy when single or whether it's a case of making the most of it until hopefully the right person comes along?  It's so important not to stay in the wrong relationship for fear of being alone, which is something I have learnt the hard way and will write about soon. 

Maybe this post is extremely ignorant and naïve because I've never given myself time to find out what being single is like?  Perhaps the fear of being alone is just my fear...

Won't Be Beaten

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Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Gay man with twin baby boys

Hello readers,

It's been a crazy few days!  It was my 33rd birthday last Thursday and my twin baby boys came to visit from Bristol, which was wonderful.  They are about 7 months old now and because I don't parent them on a daily basis, they change completely every time I see them!  The boys gave me the most thoughtful present ever - the noro virus!  By memory, it is the worst illness I have ever had: vomiting, diarrhoea, fever, shakes, headaches and lack of energy were all symptoms I had the pleasure of experiencing.  I didn't leave my bed for a day or two.  Luckily, I've beaten it now and I'm even allowed to go to work tomorrow because I am no longer contagious...

For those of you who have been following my blog from the beginning (honestly depressed for first time) , you might be questioning how a gay man has twin boys.  I am a known donor for a lesbian couple in Bristol.  They have been my friends for a long time now and the biological mother has been my best friend since I was about 14!  They chose me because they wanted their children to have a relationship with their biological father.  This means I see the boys every month or so and get stuck in changing nappies, feeding, bathing and more but I am not a daily dad so to speak. 

I feel incredibly lucky and honoured to be in this situation.  Being gay, I thought that I would never get to have children who were biologically bonded to me.  It is quite a unique situation as I have no actual parental responsibilities but they will know who I am and we will have our own relationship.  Sometimes I feel strange or sad even, because the boys don't know me like they know their mums and I feel like I am missing them grow up a bit.  However, I try to remember that if I hadn't made this decision, then the boys wouldn't exist and I wouldn't get any joy at all like when you hold them and they give you a huge, adorable smile or when they stare at you with absolute trust.

The journey will be a long, complicated one and I am sure that there will be many ups and downs.  I do worry about my depression sometimes and I hope that missing the boys does not become a catalyst for any mental health problems - so far so good.  I do miss them at times.  I get a yearning in my tummy but I am being rational about it and just really look forward to the next time with them.  My boyfriend, who adores the boys, is very good at sorting me out when I start to think negatively!

I think the key to the success of this situation is to remember that the boys always come first and that communication and honesty is crucial.  As long as we all continue to discuss our feelings and be honest with each other (and ourselves), then we should be on to a winner. 

I love the boys.  It's a strange feeling that I have never known before.  I know I probably feel differently to other 'normal' dads but I only know what I know, so there is no point trying to compare.

Some people may not understand what I have done but each to their own I guess.  So far it is working out for me and the boys are so loved and cared for.  They will definitely not feel the pain of rejection that I have felt from my own father (response-to-my-absent-dad).  I will always be there for them whenever they need me and I eagerly look forward to spending more time with them and making more memories as they continue to grow.
Happy Birthday Dad: How past can affect us

I will continue to share my thoughts throughout my journey...

Thanks for reading.

Won't be beaten

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Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Response to my absent dad

I received a text from my dad today because it is my birthday tomorrow.  I am waiting a while to decide if I should send my response:

Hi Dad,

I'm not well but thanks for asking.  I suffer from depression and have done since childhood.  I almost dropped out of school because of my mental health.
Sometimes at its worst, I can't leave my bed and I cry uncontrollably.  I've researched it a lot, had counselling and been on medication before.  Luckily, I manage to live a fairly normal life.

I believe that part of the reason why I suffer from depression is because of you and the way I was treated growing up.
All I wanted as a child was to feel loved by my dad but you were unable to do that.
happy birthday dad: how past can affect us

I'm 33 tomorrow.  I don't need or want presents or money from you.  I have needed help and financial support from you in the past but you didn't get in contact or show interest, even after I moved out of home.

I reached out to you a while back and arranged to meet.  I did this to get things off my chest and to try and take away all the sadness I have felt for years.  When we met you apologised and I am grateful to you for that.  I needed to hear you say sorry.

Afterwards you paid me £1000 and nothing changed.  I opened the door to you and you did nothing to try to start any form of relationship.
I don't blame you.  I don't think you have ever been able to give me what I needed, even if you wanted to.  

We are not able to understand each other and never have been.  I imagine you will read this explanation and think I'm weak, soft and pathetic.  It's taken years for me to realise that I'm actually very strong,  sensitive and a good man.

I asked mum not to give you my address because I don't want you in my life.  Mum has nothing to do with my views.  I'm an intelligent adult who knows his own mind.  This is about me and you.

When I receive texts and cards from you on my birthday, it just makes me feel sad because I remember that I don't really have a dad.  I have spent my whole life trying to forget feeling rejected by you.
I don't want reminders from you anymore.  It's like a ghost haunting me.  I'd rather just be left alone to enjoy my birthday with people who love me.

I appreciate that you might think that you are making an effort now but for me it's too little too late.  Sometimes there is too much hurt to move on.

Your son

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Monday, 29 February 2016

Brighton Half Marathon

Hi again,

I feel so brilliant at the moment!  Yesterday I completed the Brighton Half Marathon in 2hrs 4mins.  I feel elated to have achieved this after the few months I've had.  This is a clear example of when I haven't let depression dictate my life!  I was close to not running at all.  running-from-depression
During  the race, in the last 3 miles, I wanted to give up but my resilient nature refused to quit.

At mile 11, I hit my wall, started to doubt myself and I seriously slowed down to almost a walk.  The crowd cheered me on and a complete stranger coaxed me forward and helped me to get back on track.  Thank you whoever you are!  The kindness of strangers always surprises me and you do feel a unique special bond when running together.

My legs are extremely sore and tight and I have been like a complete zombie all day, but my suffering has all been worth it.  When I began to struggle, I thought of my blog, the readers and how I could not bare the thought of having to write that I'd given up.  I am a strong person, even if my mental health can make me feel very weak at times.  Completing this run has boosted my confidence and I feel fantastic!  It really is amazing what you can achieve when you put your mind to it!

Thank you for all the supportive tweets and kind messages.

Won't be beaten
Twitter: @honestly83

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Saturday, 27 February 2016

Running from Depression

Hello again readers,

I am completely overwhelmed by all the support this blog has received since my first post: thank you!

This week, I have been filling my body with as much carbs and protein as I can take.  The reason for the increase in chicken, fish, eggs, rice and beans is because on Sunday, I am running the Brighton Half Marathon!  I am extremely nervous because training has not gone well.  As usual, I have been very stressed at work, which I think has triggered depression.  I have persevered though and with my past experiences under my belt, (2 Marathons and 1 half) I have finally decided that I am not pulling out! depression-and-daily-stress-of-life 
 teaching and depression the perfect team

On Monday, I went for my longest run this year of 8.15 miles.  I was slow but I did it and I could have carried on.  I am so pleased I forced myself out because it boosted my confidence.  The moon was out and shone down on me as I ran along the atmospheric sea front and there were lots of other runners out too.  It was great to secretly compete with them to try to pick up my pace. 

However, the best thing about the run wasn't the fresh air, beautiful scenery or the interactions with complete strangers and that sense of community; it was that my mind was calm, peaceful and I was lost in the moment.  All of my anxieties and stresses vanished as I was transfixed on what I was doing - running.  I felt like the pure version of me, without the dramas, negativity and doubt that the world forces you to deal with.  It was extremely liberating!  depression-its-not-all-bad

Don't get me wrong, most of the time, the idea of changing into my running gear, braving the cold and exercising when I'm tired and hungry seems horrific, but when I'm actually out there doing it, I feel fantastic and completely positive.  One of the main reasons why I am not cancelling the Half Marathon this Sunday is because I remember the rush of excitement, pride and happiness I feel when I pass that finish line!  It really is the best feeling!

So, tomorrow after approximately 2 hours of running, when I will be cold, exhausted, starving and my legs are tight and screaming out in pain, I will remember that I didn't let work control my life and I didn't let stress and depression stop me from achieving something important to me.  These positive thoughts will support me through my tough times when depression seems to be winning!

I'm not saying that running is for everyone but any form of exercise where you can lose yourself for those few minutes is something worth trying.  I think we are at our happiest when we are living in the moment and not worrying about the past or contemplating the future...

Wish me luck for tomorrow

Won't be beaten

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I will not spend my half-term depressed on social media

Happy Birthday dad - how past can affect us

The power of music on the mind

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Half term depressed on social media

Hello again,

It's been a week or so since I wrote anything new because I've been trying to live my life as opposed to write about it.  I also became a little addicted to Google+, Twitter and Tumblr when initially trying to promote the blog.  Thankfully, I'm over that now and will not be spending most of the day posting links! Phew!

It was Valentine's Day last weekend and now it's half term, and for once I'm truly appreciating it.  Usually, my week off arrives and my boyfriend hides away because I am a complete nightmare.  I get so bored because all my friends are at work or busy and I find myself alone; this is not good for me because I start thinking too much and feel low and frustrated.  I spend the week focused on Facebook, getting jealous of all the amazing places people visit and things they do - social media really isn't good for the soul sometimes!  depression-its-not-all-bad

However, this half term feels different.  I think it's because I have really been struggling at work recently and have been desperate not to go in.  There was a time a week or so ago when depression really made it's presence felt and I wasn't sure if I could carry on with school.  Half term this time round feels like a complete blessing! is-it-time-to-see-my-doctor?


Over the weekend, my boyfriend and I bought plants and bulbs for the garden and I loved getting lost in my own world as I sowed seeds, dug holes and delicately placed bulbs the correct depth and distance apart - it was completely therapeutic!  I can't wait for the sunshine and warmth to arrive so I can sit out in the garden and potter.  I can get a tad obsessed with the garden, ensuring everything is happy and well looked after but I think this is a good kind of obsession.

Last night, as no one was free, I went to a Gabrielle Aplin concert on my own.  I'm so glad I went because she was absolutely wonderful.  I arrived early, enjoyed the support acts and took in the positive atmosphere and beautiful music, which made me smile inside and out.  I nearly didn't go because nerves took over and I became very self conscious. I started to imagine strangers staring at me and judging me but then I told myself to get over it and I went.  In the past, I have gone on my own to the theatre and cinema.  I don't think there is any shame in going solo.  If you really want to see something and no one else is bothered, then why should you miss out?  the-power-of-music

Today I am off to the gym after I write this (I will discuss the gym soon) and then I am being picked up by a friend of mine and we are heading to the countryside for lunch.  I'm really trying to make the most of my time away from the many stresses of teaching.

It's something I always say to myself and then forget; I must be grateful for all I have and not compare myself to others - especially on social media!

Hope you're week is a positive one.

Won't be beaten

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Monday, 8 February 2016

Never feel guilty about depression

Hello all,

I hope you all had a positive weekend?

I had a complete melt down this weekend.  I spent Friday evening and all of Saturday (until 6pm) in bed on my own.  I kept sobbing and did not want to join the world outside my bedroom.  My boyfriend tried so hard to help but when I'm in that state, there's nothing he can do. (is-it-time-to-see-my-doctor?)

I would like to focus more on the important moment when things changed.  It was about 6pm and my boyfriend had reluctantly gone out for the night.  I told him that there was no point in both of us ruining our weekend and he went, probably secretly pleased to be escaping the doom and gloom.

Here is the conversation with myself that followed:

'Come on now, this is ridiculous!  Just get out of bed.  You've already wasted your whole Saturday!"

I slowly pulled myself out of bed, my muscles groaning with every movement.  I put on my slippers and shuffled to the bathroom.  I looked in the mirror - I looked dreadful.

"Just brush your teeth.  You can do that.  Come on!"

I brushed whilst studying the frown lines, tear stained eyes and messy bed hair.

"Well done!  you did it!"

I said this sarcastically but the words of encouragement were actually helping.

"Next you need to shave.  You can manage that."

I shaved.  After that,  I showered and managed to go downstairs and cook a pasta meal.  I congratulated myself each step of the way.  However, the most important thing I told myself was this:

"You can't change what has happened today.  It's done.  You must not feel guilty but feel proud of all you have achieved.   You have had a bad day and that's ok.  We all have them and it probably won't be your last.  You just have to manage it as best you can."

For the rest of the evening, I drank water - not alcohol (alcohol-causes-depression). I started the fire and watched 'The Voice' (I love Paloma Faith) (the-power-of-music) and then I found a great, uplifting film on Netflix called 'Hector and the Search for Happiness', which I highly recommend.

At about midnight, I went to bed feeling absolutely exhausted but more positive.  Even though, compared to my 'normal' standards I had achieved nothing, I felt like I had pretty much conquered the world!

In future, I will try to remember to celebrate every achievement and to never feel guilty about being depressed.

Won't be beaten

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Friday, 5 February 2016

Is it time to see my Doctor?


I'm really not in the mood to be writing but I'm forcing myself with the hope that it will help me to feel better.  I'm so fed up of feeling miserable.  I'm starting to get worried as I seem to be spiralling further into a deep, dark pit.  I  think the main contributor is work as I'm finding school extremely difficult; there's so much pressure all the time.  I also think, even after so long, I still get upset around my dad's birthday as I'm reminded of what I wanted so badly growing up.
happy birthday dad-how past can affect us

Tears keep falling with no warning and I get so anxious over nothing.  Yesterday I couldn't even respond to texts from my friends because my head was too cloudy and I was becoming very overwhelmed- my boyfriend had to respond on my behalf.  How ridiculous is that?  I am so grateful I'm able to keep up the act at work.  I'm abit grumpy but colleagues just think I'm stressed.  They'd be shocked if I told them how I really feel.
teaching and depression the perfect team.

Why can't I fight my depression and win once and for all?  I hate the way it creeps up every winter.  I'm in bed at the moment, listening to music, trying to relax before my boyfriend gets home.
He doesn't really get my depression and he doesn't have much patience for it; this puts more pressure on me to perform but sometimes I just can't at home.  I wish he knew how to fix me.  I wish I knew how to fix myself.

Perhaps I need to admit defeat and go back on medication.  I always feel like a failure when I have to go back to the doctors- I shouldn't but I do.  The medication I've been on before makes me feel ill in the mornings and causes me to behave like a sleepy robot - I lose my personality.

I'll monitor myself closely over the weekend and if I'm not coping I'll make an appointment.

Won't be beaten

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Wednesday, 3 February 2016

The power of music on the mind

Hello readers,

Thank you for sharing my experiences so far.  Please feel free to share yours.

This evening, I am sat at home by my lovely log fire and I'm listening to Sia's new album: This is Acting.  I listen to music a lot and it has always been there during my low points.  I remember being at home alone when I briefly dropped out of A levels due to depression.  I used to lay in bed playing CDs on repeat.  It was as if the music gave me the right to cry, to let out my emotions.  It was ok to sob along to Mariah or Whitney and I felt a great sense of release and power doing it.

I also remember playing Florence and the Machine's 'Shake It Off' constantly when trying to get over an unhealthy relationship.  I felt dreadful because we were punishing each other and playing intricate mind games which I couldn't handle.  When feeling completely crazy, I would holler each word out loud and proud and I could almost feel the devil lifting from my back.  Nothing had changed but I was building my strength through song.

Music can heighten the mood I already have or it can drag me out of a pit.  One of the best cures for my depression is a good old fashioned sing song.  Singing just seems to make me smile inside and out, even though I am terrible.  My favourite sing-a-long song has to be the completely dramatic 'Chandelier' by Sia.  You have to prance about as soon as it starts!

I also love songs that take over your body and force you to dance.  Songs like: Whitney, 'I Wanna Dance With Somebody'; Taylor Swift, 'Shake It Off' and dare I say it, Justin Bieber's, 'Sorry'.  They have this magnetic force which my hips can't resist!!  My favourite thing is going all out on the dance floor and feeling completely alive and care free.

Have you ever been walking along a busy street when your favourite song comes on your headphones and before you know it, your screaming out the words, only to find passers by staring and taking the mick?  I love those 'music video' moments when you get completely engrossed in the lyrics and imagine yourself pouting or crying into the camera!

Today (my dad's birthday - see yesterday's blog entry) I have played Kelly Clarkson's 'Piece by Piece' several times because it reminds me of my dad and the mistakes I won't make.  It makes me feel strong.  I picture myself saying the words to my dad.

Try it...whether you have records, CDs or I tunes, blast out a song that allows you to cry, sing, dance or laugh.  Any response is a good one.

Won't be beaten.

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Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Happy Birthday dad - how the past can affect us.

Good evening all,

Tomorrow is my dad's birthday and I often find myself feeling low and reflective at this time.  I'd love to say that this year, I was treating him to dinner or buying him the most amazing present but I don't know what he likes to eat and would have no idea for a present.  I haven't spent time with him since I was about 13 - I'm now 32.  Well, I did meet him a few years ago...

It was the holidays and when I'm not at school, I think too much and thinking always leads me to my dad.  I arranged to meet him, to talk to him, to get my childhood off of my chest.  I had to contact him because since my parent's divorced, he has made no effort to see me. 

We met at a local pub and I offloaded.  I told him that I was terrified of him growing up and that I used to hide in my room when he returned from work.  I recalled how he used to belittle me for studying and told me I should find something better to do.  I told him how afraid I felt when he used to pin my head down against a wall to assert his dominance and reminded him of the time he spat in my face and demanded that I stayed in my room until he returned.  He was gone for hours and when he got back, he shouted at me for doing as he had demanded.  In his head, my actions had made him look bad in front of my aunty, who had been visiting at the time and who had tried to coax me out.  I used the word reminded earlier because he had forgotten these memories.  These memories that have haunted me my whole life and have affected me in ways I still probably now don't realise; he had forgotten. 

My dad was a bully.  He bullied my mum and his children because he had to feel in control.  He would shout, stomp around the house and make me feel stressed and nervous.  I was an extremely quiet, anxious child because I was too afraid to say anything in case he would get angry.  My dad's temper stifled me and I never really expressed myself until he was gone.  After he left, he tried to hurt my mum in any way possible, blaming her for the breakup.  She should have left a long time earlier but she was controlled and afraid more than any of us.  I remember at the age of 14 desperately trying to push my dad away from our house as he attempted to grab my mum.  He used to just laugh at me. 

I finally decided last year, after the odd card from him for my birthday, that I didn't want a relationship with my dad.  He had abandoned me as a child when I needed him (I have needed him on many occasions) and now a relationship with him seems pointless or even damaging.  I don't like him or respect him as a person.  I should make it clear that my dad was abused by his father so there are reasons for his behaviour but this does not justify it - not in my eyes anyway.  The only saving grace was that during our encounter, he did apologize and showed some remorse, although he made no effort with me after.

I don't have a dad and never really have but I wish I did.  I'm a sensitive and emotional person and having that support and love would have been life changing.  Knowing my dad still lives but that we don't have a relationship often makes me sad.  I am however extremely lucky to have an amazing mum who has always been there and has shown me more love than I could ever imagine. 

Happy birthday dad - I wish things could have been different.

Won't be beaten

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Monday, 1 February 2016

Depression and the daily stress of life

Hello there,

Before I begin, I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who is reading so far and for all the words of encouragement! 

My last entry mentioned that I was heading to the country for a relaxing weekend; it was wonderful:  good food, calm, beautiful surroundings and above all, fantastic company.  I returned home feeling like a new person entirely! I am so pleased that I pushed myself to go.  Then Monday arrived...

I woke up and from 6.30am, when I am told that a member of staff is off sick, to 6pm, when I eventually sneak out of school, I don't stop - barely finding time to wee!  I find myself darting around the school, making sure that everything goes smoothly and the year group (I'm a year leader) is not crumbling around me.  Finally, the working day is done and I have survived.  Then I make my way home...

The one single thing I managed to do for myself today was to buy Sia's new album.  I'm a massive fan; I love the drama and my body tingles to her emotive lyrics.   Before you judge me, yes I still buy CDs.  Its a my guilty pleasure!  Anyway, I rush from school to the shop (arriving just in time) then frantically hot step it to the busy supermarket to buy dinner.  I grab a few bits as I can't cope with the people who have no social awareness and I just want my slippers on at this point.  I pay for the items and am judged because I forgot to bring reusable bags with me and have to buy more!  The scandal!

  Next, I arrive home, take out the bins, which have somehow managed to ooze a vinegar-like substance all over the kitchen floor so I mop that up too.  I remember to put on the dinner and then I unload and load the dishwasher which hasn't been done in a week because I struggled to do anything last week and my boyfriend works long hours and is barely home some weekdays.  In truth, it is my job.

Finally, at 7.30pm, I sit down to a curry dinner and I can write my blog (the second thing today that I want to do for myself).  No wonder I suffer from depression - daily living in the modern world is unsustainable and far too hectic and stressful!

I urge you to be better than me, take a stand and try to slow down once in a while.  Go buy a CD.  Listen to it.  Do one or two things each day simply because you want to.  I need to take my own advice more than anyone.  Sometimes I worry the stress will cause me to have a heart attack.  I need to watch my stress levels because it's not good for anyone.

I love doing so many things but never seem to have time for any of them.  I think I need to stop complaining, take responsibility for my own actions and force myself to do the things I enjoy more often - it can only have a positive affect!

I hope your Monday was not as manic as mine felt.

We won't be beaten

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Friday, 29 January 2016

Depression: it's not all bad!

Hi there,

I've just rushed through the busy streets getting completely drenched whilst listening to Taylor Swift, 1989 - a great album from start to finish (if you like chart music).  You'll be pleased to know I got my train: and a seat!
Today has been a strange one.  This morning I felt completely drained and basically shuffled to school.  The kids were on top form though and managed to lift my spirits.  Suddenly I remember why I teach.  The working week is done and I'm feeling good for the first time all week.  I'm looking forward to spending time with my boyfriend's family and just relaxing in the countryside.  Escaping your home city is so important as I truly believe that a change from routine allows your mind to have a reshuffle and forget the daily pressures all around us.

Depression is a funny thing isn't it.  I feel tired today but otherwise normal.  How is it that in one day I've gone from complete misery to fine?  It's important to remember that no matter how low you feel, it never lasts forever - well as long as you are reasonably looking after yourself.  Even if that's all you achieve in a day, you have to make sure you eat, sleep and meet your bodies basic needs.

The cycle I find myself in can be so unpredictable and depression can take me by complete surprise.  I do know that lack of sleep is a huge factor.  I get very low when I'm over tired.  I think my body is very sensitive to change.  I get cranky when hungry and spotty when stressed.

As I say, I'm really looking forward to a calm weekend, which is just what I need.  I don't get to see my boyfriend much in the week due to different schedules so spending time with him will really help me maintain this new found positivity!

I hope you have a positive weekend but if you don't then remember that it's not all bad and things will change.

We won't be beaten :)

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Thursday, 28 January 2016

Alcohol causes depression; or the other way around?

Hello readers!

It is completely brilliant to see that people out there are reading.  It would be so fantastic to hear from you and your experiences!

I am shattered today; the light box is on and I'm drinking wine as I write.  Since teaching, my alcohol intake has increased dramatically.  I think it numbs my brain and helps me forget about the stresses of the day.  The problem though is that it is also linked to depression!  I know I need to cut down or stop altogether but I'm stuck in a cycle.  I'm so used to a glass or two after work that I didn't even ponder Dry January!

I have always struggled with alcohol and as I am complete light weight, I have terrible hangovers and I end up feeling rubbish for days after.  Why do I do it to myself?  Social pressure plays a huge part.  Every time I'm asked out, it involves drinking.  It's impossible to avoid and when you try, you are judged by everyone around you who thinks you are either the most boring person on the planet or you have something seriously wrong with you!  Maybe I'm just trying to be a little healthier?  The next time I refuse a drink, I should just be honest and tell them that I don't want to drink because it makes me cry and feel low.

When I'm having a bad time and I go out drinking (proper out all night drinking), it is a complete car crash - even now.  I become rude, arrogant, negative and start crying uncontrollably.  The amount of birthdays I have ruined because I get carried away!  I've had shirt sleeves ripped off, my face slapped and have been pushed off a podium more times than I can remember - all caused by the lack of self control when it comes to a pint on a night out.

When will I learn that drinking is not good for me and is not good for my depression?  Next week, starting Monday, I will have a no alcohol rule.  I wonder if my week will improve and teaching will seem more bearable...I'll let you know.  It's 5 days.  I can manage 5 days...

I hope you have an excellent Friday.

Won't be beaten

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Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Teaching and depression - the perfect team?

Hello to anyone reading,

It's my second post in 2 days - I'm keen!

I've had a tough day at school today.  At the moment everyday feels tough.  I'm a Year group leader so I am constantly bombarded with all kinds of problems that I'm expected to solve, even though I am a full time teacher too! 
I'm not sure that being a teacher suits me really.  I am good with kids and they do make progress but I am always shattered and grumpy at home.  My evenings are spent sat in front of the TV feeling glum.  I try to do things such as: gym, drinks, dinner, cinema but I feel too tired and often cancel.  I never have energy in the evenings - my body feels like I have arthritis sometimes and every movement is a struggle.

I hate having every minute of my day accounted for with lessons, meetings, break times and assemblies; there is no time to just sit and chill, and if you do manage it, then you can be rest assured that some ridiculous colleague will come and disturb you with a silly problem that they could solve if they actually used a brain cell.

I love being calm and I don't get to feel like that very often at school.  I think teaching adds to my dislike of socialising too as I spent all day talking and being around frustrating people (adults) so when I have free time, I just want to shut down!

Recently, I've been thinking of alternate careers which could still stimulate me but not take over my life so much...I'm stumped!  A professional blogger would be brilliant but I'll need to get a few more readers than me, myself and I!  What do other people with depression do?  Do they manage a successful career?

For now, I'll ponder my life choices while I 'charge up' (my boyfriend's description) with the light box.  I will evaluate the effectiveness of the light box soon...

We won't be beaten :)

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Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Honestly depressed for the first time.

Honestly depressed

It's winter and as per usual, I am struggling with depression.  I wake up every morning feeling bored of my job, bored of routine and bored with my life: sometimes I think I am just a boring person but, when I am strong, I remember that that's the depression talking. 
Do you ever feel boring?
At the moment, I don't want to go out and I don't want to socialise with my family or friends.  Luckily, I have lots of people in my life who care and I do get invited to nights out, dinners and events, however, the problem is, I don't want to go... Sometimes I literally force myself out of the door just because it's what I SHOULD do.  Recently I've been out and really have not enjoyed myself - I find the company (my friends) dull and I get anxious when I go to rowdy, noisy pubs. 

I often think I'm living a lie.  I've spent my life since school pretending to be someone I'm not.  I learnt quickly how to hide my depression and to keep smiling, even though I was miserable inside.  I'm sick of lying;  Why can't I be the person I pretend to be?  Mr happy go lucky...
Are you able to hide your depression?

I have a career, a long-term boyfriend, I own a house, I have friends, I'm healthy but I suffer from depression.  I've tried all sorts of solutions but I think my depression is genetic.  I think I was a depressed child.

I will try to continue this blog (I often start random things which I don't follow through with).

I will end on a positive.  I suffer from depression but I have good days and sometimes I don't even remember I suffer from it.  It does not define me and I do have lots of good in my life.  This blog may even help further - I hope so...

Won't be beaten

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