Just Another Blogger

Just Another Blogger – Blog 1 – 05/11/2020

Just Another Blogger

This week is possibly the perfect time to start writing a blog. It’s the 5th of November 2020. I’m sitting at home listening to a random podcast about ancient civilisations, lost history, and the systematic attempt by various empires over the course of human history to eradicate other bits of humanity. Y’know, as you do. It’s the first day of another lockdown due to the threat of Covid-19 in the UK, Trump and Biden are dancing at each other and both nipping out every now and again to take their uppers, a large percentage of the world is kinda sat on their sofas, popcorn in hand, waiting to see if the US implodes in on itself and wondering when the next mostly peaceful protests will kick off again.

We’re now at 19 years of having troops in Afghanistan, 17 years in Iraq and then there’s Syria and all the other unpleasantness that we’ve been involved in for a long time now. Half the country already hates the other half of the country who voted for Brexit and then chose to continue ignoring social and mass media, voted Boris in and now…..well, now we’re in the middle of a pandemic that has created even more echo chambers over the course of the year, creating more fear and sheer confusion as to what the hell’s going on.

So that’s the macro view I see out and about. My micro view is depression, anxiety, lethargy, pain and recurring illness. Borderline personality disorder hurts. There’s plenty of clinical text that I’ve read online about BPD since my GP suggested that may be what I have. Yes. It should be a mental health clinician to properly diagnose BPD, but it’s not always easy getting access to a psychiatrist, psychologist or correctly trained individual. Also, BPD can manifest in so many different ways via depression, anxiety, paranoia, compulsions, obsessions (not an exhaustive list) etc. that you really need to see the same health professional multiple times, for them to be able to see you in different states of distress and health generally so that they can add up all the pieces.

I’ve seen both a psychologist in the past and a therapist. Through veteran charities. Combat stress (after a face-to-face appointment) couldn’t help me as my problems weren’t service-related and so didn’t meet their funding, and Walking with the wounded were able to give me 12 free sessions of zoom call therapy to address my depression and anxiety. TILS (the Veterans Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service) came to see me following my breakdown, copied most of the report that the Combat stress psychologist had sent to me, and passed me onto Walking with the wounded who were brilliant and set me up with a therapist to talk to once a week for 12 weeks. It helped plaster over some of the cracks and keep me going.

All organisations mentioned did what they were able to do, I’ve not got any complaints other than the choice of medication that was recommended, but then, as I’ve discovered, I really don’t get on with anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds. I seem to get every side effect going that makes me feel darker, more depressed and more thoughts of suicide appear in my consciousness.

I was in the Territorial Army for a few years, in an Infantry company where I met some brilliantly insane people who I still keep in contact with. I mobilised with a regular army battalion that went to Iraq and spent a long-time cleaning dust out of my rifle and radio set but very little time being shot at, and apart from an incident with antipersonnel mines on border patrol (all good, we walked back out) we had a fairly uneventful tour, and I enjoyed the experience itself as well as it being a huge life lesson.

All the issues with my brain are purely down to my genetics, my various experiences over my random life and just the abrasion of life itself.

I was medically retired from Royal Mail about 2 years ago and then -after going downhill rapidly after that- I’ve been on universal credit since. I’ve done a couple of veteran charities courses, then had more of a breakdown whilst on meds and booze and now gradually trying to pull my life together (Pregabalin and homemade mead DO NOT mix well, take note). A lot of things have happened over the years and that stuff doesn’t just dissipate into the ether. It takes a concerted effort to want to face it all and sift through all the pain.

This week I started a course of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy with my local health authority. It’s aimed specifically at personality disorders and its aim is to teach you about what your mind is doing, and then give you the help and tools you need in order to face your internal self. It runs for about 20 weeks and I’m hoping that it can help me. I’ve pulled myself up and out before, but I had age and motivation on my side and whilst I’m not ancient at 39, I get chronic headaches, I always feel tired, and I just can’t see the point some of the time. This time around, I realise that I need the help, so I’m willing to accept what’s available whilst starting to do the things at home that I need to in order to feel well.

So, I’ll take you along on the journey with me and of course, my “feeling well” is going to be different to yours. All of us have different metrics relating to emotions and pain, and all of us have a different pain threshold but at some time the negatives will start sloshing over from where you’ve stuffed them and start impinging onto your conscious behaviours and emotional decisions. Sometimes you can deal with it on your own, but if you’re spending more time looking inward than up and out, don’t be afraid to ask for some advice from the Safe Space Movement or another organisation.

This blog is going to be a journey of thoughts, feelings, what works for me and the things I’ve tried before. It’s my experiences, so they will differ from yours, but hopefully, there will be enough crossover that you can draw something from it to help you fight your demons.

Just another blogger

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