Fears, tears and a few beers.

 

Hello,

Been a wee while since I’ve sat in front of this laptop and tried to write one of my ramblings, Like I’ve said previously I used to write them to clear my head and get all those depressive and anxious thoughts out of my head, I found it very therapeutic and was a way of connecting with others who were going through similar or simply to let people know where I was with my battles with the PTSD.

I don’t know why I am writing this one or where it will go, I sometimes like that, I just sit down with a nice red wine and a cheeky wee San Miguel and see where it goes. That sentence pretty much sums up my life recently. I think that’s where this one might go, a wee blog about my mental health, what I see as the benefits of alcohol and the downside of drinking when you have mental health issues. To be fair with a title like this one it can’t exactly be about much else.  Without a word of a lie I’ve just spilt half a glass of red wine on a nice cream carpet. Any tips on the removal of this would be greatly appreciated. Anyway back to the task in hand.

I think my motivation and desire to write on such a subject comes from interactions and chats I’ve had in pubs over the last couple of years since I opened up about my anxieties and depressive thoughts. There’s been many a night out where someone has come up to me and said “I suffer similar to what you go through” or “I’ve read your blogs and it strikes a chord with me”.

I love that people come up to me and open up to me, It might only be because they’ve had a skin full and have the confidence to do such due to the alcohol but I can assure them it goes no further and despite waking up most mornings after a drink with a memory black out I do remember our chats and they never go any further. Chatting about it makes me feel like I’m not alone and I’m guessing it does the same for them. It saddens me that society makes people feel awkward about chatting about their mental health issues in the first place. I’ve accepted mine and began to believe that it isn’t the weakness I once thought it was. It isn’t going to hold me back in life and doesn’t make me any inferior compared to the next man. It actually makes me more empathetic, more compassionate and more focused on what I want to achieve. Anyway we’ve heard all this chat before.

Scotland is renowned for its drink culture, let’s be honest we do it well and there’s pretty much fuck all else to do. Aw man I swore, not swore in the last few blogs as I was told it reaches and pleases wider audiences when I don’t use foul language, to be fair those blogs were for decent charities, this is just for the sake of it and just cause I can. If any of you are bothered, I used salt and damp cloth to clean up that red wine, it has worked a treat. If you don’t take anything else from reading this just remember that handy tip, anyhow back to the task in hand eh. Aye so Scotland and drink, it’s engrained in our culture, that text at the weekend or sometimes a Monday depending on how the weekend has panned out “fancy a pint?” I don’t think it’s a bad thing. Obviously when I was at my lowest and when I was hiding away and hiding my thoughts and anxieties I didn’t drink and I think at that time it was important not to drink but I think there is massive benefits to going for that pint and the chats that entail from doing so. Chatting about your thoughts and feelings is a massive help when you’re toiling. 

It’s world mental health day today, a chance for people like myself to play a wee part in encouraging people not to be ashamed if they are toiling. It is a chance to write something and raise a wee bit of awareness. A chance to let people know they aren’t alone and that what they are feeling is perfectly normal. It saddens me that we need days or weeks like this. We should be able to chat about our mental health the same as we would about our physical health. We shouldn’t need to hide our thoughts and fears away as if they are some dirty secret. 

Me, I get anxious and anxious periods, I get days where I can’t face the world, I can’t really face seminars at university, I’ll maybe have a build-up of anxious thoughts, where I want to get myself somewhere alone where I can regather my thoughts and regain control of body, somewhere where I feel safe. I don’t get them anywhere near as often as I used to but I still do. I’ve came to accept that I always will. It’s my make-up, it’s who I am. If my thinking becomes as irrational or as depressive as it was 3 years ago then I’ll seek professional help for them but the now I feel I get enough support chatting to my mates about my fears and my daft irrational thoughts over a couple of pints. I’m not saying alcohol is the best route, what I’m getting at is sometimes it’s easier to open up for people after a drink or two, plus being social and staying connected is amazing for your mental health. Isolation brings with it depressive thoughts and low self-esteem. 

People need to realise that mental health illness are more common than you think but anyone can fall foul of anxious or depressive thoughts. It doesn’t discriminate and life can through all sorts at you that can affect your reasoning and thinking, grief, trauma, job loss, breakdown of relationships. Sometimes it’s just the final straw for you. Years of stress, trauma, grief and then boom you’ve hit that snapping point. 

Anyway this rambling is going nowhere and I don’t really feel it’s making any sense or points that I haven’t previously. I think basically what am trying to say is look out for each other, don’t worry if you’ve told me shit when you’re drunk it won’t go any further and mainly don’t be ashamed to come and speak to me about your thoughts or fears. I think it’s why I’ve went through what I’m on this planet to do. If you see me in the boozer and you want to confide in me or simply to have a wee generic chat about mental health feel free. Mine’s is a peroni. By the way I’m still amazed at that salt and cold cloth tactic on that spilt red wine, totes amazeballs so it was.

Anyway, as always thanks for reading this and I know it’s not been the best of reads hence why I don’t write as often now. I’m trying to keep all the best bits for my best selling book.

 

Keep on keeping on 

Weasel

 

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Stuttering, sweating and storytelling

Hello,

Well it’s been an incredible few weeks as you all know. It’s been such an emotional roller-coaster and so humbling. I am genuinely so grateful and so overwhelmed with all the support and kind words I have received over the last few weeks that much so that I have taken out a decent life insurance policy to ensure you all get a decent steak pie and even a dessert at my funeral. In all seriousness though thank you, you honestly have no idea what your words and kind wishes mean to me.

When you spend years like I did telling yourself that you will never achieve anything with your life and that you’ll never amount to much and that people can see how weak you are and how much of a failure you are and then you get hit with support and some of the stuff you were all saying about me it was incredible, some feeling, I’m not going to lie for the first time in my life I was truly bursting with pride.

I never really had a doubt about putting my story out there; I write these blogs after all, people know my deepest darkest secrets. People know my weaknesses, they know my flaws, they see my daft ways, I tell them of my anxieties, I sometimes even cry to my mates about the shit that I’ve lost but what I was really worried about was letting every victim of crime down, every person who wasn’t lucky enough to receive the support and help I’ve received from qualified professionals, from friends and family, strangers who I’ve never met but are going through or have gone what I went through. I had the chance to be the voice of a group of people who are sometimes not empowered enough to speak for themselves or when they do they simply aren’t heard and all I wanted to do was represent them. I wanted to speak for and to those people. I wanted to let them see that they aren’t weak; they shouldn’t be ashamed of their thoughts and feelings. Most importantly I wanted them to know they aren’t alone. I hope I have achieved this and judging by the response to my interview and the feedback I’ve had from my bosses at Victim Support and you lot It appears I done that.

I just wanted to write this piece to give you a wee update of what we at Victim support have achieved and where I am at personally as so many of you have taken such an interest not just in the telly appearance but since my first blog. We entered the process with the hope that we would make people aware of our great charity, I think we achieved that most importantly we wanted to change at least one life. We were sitting in the waiting room at the studio and we were hoping that it would make the main STV news that night but sadly it was a busy news day, however we sat there and agreed that if we could turnaround one life then it was all worthwhile. We don’t know for sure how many life’s we have changed but what we do know is that two people phoned in the day it was aired and said that they were phoning cause they seen me only the telly. I can’t put into words how proud I am of that and all of us involved. I’ve also been bombarded with messages of support and messages from people who have told me their story and have took a bit of hope from my story. 

Just under 3 years ago I walked into a Doctors room and told him I couldn’t take any more, I needed these thoughts to stop; I’d lost all confidence in myself and in the world. Basically I hated myself and I hated this world, this big scary world that was one cruel bastard. Like I’ve said before I don’t know if I could have took my own life but I certainly can understand why people do. Thankfully I had a great GP, an even better psychologist and friends and family who I will always be in debt too. 

When I was discharged from my sessions I swore that one day I would be a psychologist or a CBT therapist and my goal was to turn one life around like my psychologist has done with mine. These people show up to work every day and they think they are just doing their job. Laura will probably never know the outcome of her work, she’ll probably never know what I’ve achieved and what I hope to achieve but I do. It is so important to me that my story is out there, it’s so important to me that people can see an example of a way.  I never write these things or went on the telly in a kind of look at me way. I’m not like that, like I have said before I’m just a wee specky guy from Whitburn who lost the lost plot and lost his way.  I love when you all share my story; I love when random people get in touch with their story and seek advice or simply let off a bit of steam or get some horrible thoughts out their head. I don’t have all the answers and I’m just one man and at times I’m bombarded with messages but I do try to reply to them all and everything people tells me stays with me. 

I just wanted to write this as a wee thank you. I appreciated every single share of my interview; I appreciated every single like of the Victim Support page. I don’t like when people tell me I’m brave or an inspiration. I’m not after that or Facebook and twitter likes. I just want to reach as many people suffering as possible and do what I can for them. 

Anyway I just want to thank you all and I also want to let you know where I’m at with my voluntary work and that. I’m going on my advanced training so I can help victims of sexual assaults, domestic abuse and support families who have been affected by murders. I know this sounds horrific but again it’s an example of how far I’ve came. 

There’s no shame in suffering from mental health illnesses. I still do and I have some crazy habits and some crazy thoughts at times but when the bad days come I think about all your kind words and the people I’ve helped. We need to break this stigma and we need to be more open about suicide. It’s the biggest killer of men under 50. Me, I’ll speak about it all my days and I’m open to anyone who needs to speak to me about it. 

Honestly, the last few weeks have been epic and eye opening, I have all these crazy dreams about the Kevin Welsh foundation and free support for people when I’m qualified, I dream of writing a book one day, I dream of conferences, school visits where I talk to kids about the dangers of alcohol related violence. You know what they might be wild dreams but 3 years ago all I had was horrible nightmares and look what has happened since then.

Keep on keeping on and feel free to share.

 

Weasel

That was then and this is now.

 

Hi,

It’s been a while, I don’t know how to feel about this or what I make about my absence from behind this pink laptop which is missing the letter p. I guess in a selfish manner it’s been a good thing that I’ve not sat down and wrote about those feelings and emotions that haunted and controlled my mind for so long. In terms of the other people and the bigger picture its probably been not my kindest move therefore please accept my humble apologises, however I’m back and intend to try and help whoever and wherever I can.

So why the return to writing these ramblings? If you’ve followed my journey from the start of my dark days, which I like to refer to as my meltdown, you’ll know how far I’ve came from where I was and how well I am doing or someday’s appear to be doing. If this is your first time reading my blogs you will be able to catch up on my  journey from my wordpress account or my twitter account, I’m not going to lie you’d be better catching up on the walking dead or criminal minds boxsets so to save you a bit of reading I shall give you a little insight. I suffered or still suffer from a condition called PTSD. My world was filled with illogical and irrational thinking, fears, self doubt, depression, the need for safety and an abundance of self doubt and a a lack of self worth. The world was a scary and horrible place for me, I cut myself off and slowly allowed the depression and anxieties to convince me life was going to be a like this forever, a constant battle, a cycle of anxious and depressive thoughts, eventually I sought help and thankfully met my amazing psychologist Laura.

Laura diagnosed the PTSD and then we began my treatment which consisted of Cognitive behavioural therapy sessions and me facing up to my fears and approaching head on the situations I was avoiding. Two and a half years later I’m here and I’m still doing well, I’m mentally stronger, I’ve not suffered a period of bad depression since the end of my treatment and I do not look back with regrets or look forward to the future with the seem sense of apprehension as I did previous to my treatments. I do however have periods of anxiety, It’s nowhere near as often or as continuous as it was when I was at my worst but I’d say it’s crippling when it takes a hold.

This is the reasoning behind this blog, a friend asked me to describe how my anxiety feels and what happens when it does get a hold of me and could I write a blog about it. I’ve had a couple of efforts previous to this one trying to write a blog solely about anxiety and failed. I think this is because it was always the depression that affected me the most, the depression was my greater enemy, the anxiety was fed from the depression or from the memories of the actual event that led to me suffering from PTSD, now I’m in a different place mentally and not suffering from the depression I am slowly learning and realising the affect that anxiety is having on me both mentally and physically.

So how would I describe my anxiety, it’s hard, it’s the most illogical thing you can imagine but also it’s the most controlling thing you can imagine. I think because I underwent my treatment and learned skills how to cope with anxious thoughts, like asking myself the following, “how will this affect me in five years time?” “what is the worst that can happen?” “what are the chances of it actually happening?” I can recognise it is happening more than I could before I underwent my treatment  but at times you still feel it taking control of your mind. This overwhelming feeling of dread, panic, fear. I feel my heart racing, I can feel my breathing speeding up, I can’t get the anxious or illogical voice to stop. It’s so hard to explain. What makes it harder for me to grasp or comprehend now is that my fears are more illogical now than they were when I suffering from the PTSD. When I had the PTSD my fears were focused on being safe, avoiding pubs, being  on the street at night, I should probably explain here that I got attacked outside a pub and it was at night, like I say it’s all in my other blogs, so I can understand why I had those fears, now my fears are focused around my health and getting ill.

I’m not simply talking about catching a cold and it escalating to Man flu, I mean when I get Ill I imagine the worst case scenario. It’s so illogical you wouldn’t believe it. I’ve took 3 HIV tests this year even though I’ve not even put myself in a position where I’m at risk. I get a rash, I’m googling my symptoms to see what is up with me, it’s never the most common illness I have either, it’s always the worst case scenario. I know this is common and it’s labelled as Health Anxiety so I’m slowly accepting it and not beating myself up about it but I’ve used this to highlight what I mean about anxiety, it’s so illogical yet so powerful. Crippling is the best term to describe.

Sometimes my anxieties cripple me for a bit, I spent a week or so in a state of apprehension, I’m vigilant, agitated, grumpy. I recognise it though and try to deal with it. I’ve found friends I can talk to about it and I do. I don’t get it that often now but when I do it’s horrendous however I know it’s a temporary setback. I focus my thoughts and look back to where I was and where I am now. I’m nearly half way through an undergraduate psychology degree, I’ve got a job supporting adults with learning difficulties and disabilities, I do my voluntary role with victim support where I help support victims of crimes, I can see the difference I make to peoples life’s. I’m able to spend time with my mates and go places I could only dream of when I was at my worst and all of this pulls me through.

I believe I felt the need to write this blog because I think when people look at me and see how far I’ve came they are both amazed and pleased for me but I don’t want them thinking it was easy to get to where I am and that I am completely cured. I guess I’ve slowly accepted that I’ll never be completely cured. I also don’t want people looking at me as some kind of bench mark and saying at this stage Weasel was at this point, 6  months later he was at this point. Anxiety and depression are unique to yourself, it’s horses for courses in terms of treatments what worked for me might not work for the next man or woman. I think I felt the need to write this blog to show people that you can get better, you can recover, you can go chasing your dreams, you might take a tumble from time to time but you can pick yourself up and get back on with it. I’d say the last four or five months have been hard for me. I had about two years of positivity, confidence flowing, everyday I was improving mentally, gaining strength and confidence where as the last four months or so I feel static or that there’s been a slight decline but that was probably always going to happen. In fact that’s what this blog is about, it’s about recovery, it’s about reaching out to people who are at the start of their journey and toiling thinking it can’t be done and that it’s a hopeless situation, it’s not. It’s for the people who are maybe a year in and growing in confidence, keep at it, you’ll find there’s more to come, chase those dreams. It’s for those people who are struggling, take a few minutes and think about where you were and where you are now, there you go, you’re doing better than you thought eh? It’s always for those people who are where I am the now, have we recovered? Does recovery exist? Who knows but we’re in far far better places than we were and personally I’m doing more and achieving more with my life than I ever did previously. I guess life gets a bit static at times, it’s about focusing on the here and now and those short terms goals otherwise things will overwhelm you and that cycle of anxious and depressive thoughts returns, I’m not allowing that to happen again.

I actually don’t know if I could imagine my life without anxiety, in a way I think it plays a part in a lot of the positive aspects about me. I think what I do now is a make light of my daft traits and my anxious ways. I try to make people aware of them. It’s me, It’s what makes me unique, I’ve slowly learned everyone has these traits, most people have anxious thoughts or worry, it’s all about how you control it and approach life. I hope this blog has made some kind of sense, I dare say there’s a few out there who will see elements and relate, there’s a few who will mock and there’s a few who will still thing I’m a specky pest. However this is life and I’d rather have it than not.

oh and if you want to read my blogs you can find them on @weaselblogs I also have my own account @theweasel1980 if you wish to follow my moments where I’m not anxious, these tend to be spent drunk, at work or writing essays so sadly you won’t be entertained.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and apologises for the poor use of the English language, I’m not a writer and It’s also pretty hard trying not to swear.

Love and peace

Weasel,

My real names Kevin, Just in case you wish to know this.

The importance of openness and honesty

Aye so, another blog, a few  paragraphs of wisdom, an insight into my personal experience of post traumatic stress disorder and the symptoms associated with it, the depression, the anxiety, the feelings of failure, the need to stay safe, the loneliness, the turmoil that would flow through my mind. To be honest I can’t really remember half the symptoms and to me that’s a result, another reminder of how far I have came and the victories I have achieved since my first blog in May 2013.

If you’re that interested in the symptoms and my battles you will find all my previous blogs via whitburn1980@wordpress.com or on twitter @weaselblogs. If you are suffering from PTSD or other mental health conditions they might be worth a read, they’ll let you see that your demons can be beaten, controlled, I’m not really sure what the best term to use is but I’m pretty content with where I am mentally now.

I don’t even know why I am attempting to write this blog, previously they’ve been used to get thoughts out of my head that is haunting or controlling me, stuff that I needed to say but couldn’t or found too hard to. I’ve also used them to give some practical advice to others that are going through similar but haven’t been fortunate enough to receive the professional help that I have. I also like to use them to give others hope, hope that one day things will get easier for them. Hope that they too can win their battles and find this contention mentally. I’m not going to do that with this one as I think it’s just going to get repetitive.

I think I want to use this blog to highlight the importance of being open and honest about your problems and the benefits that come with this honesty. I know it’s hard to open up, it would feel like a defeat, a sign of weakness, a failure, it honestly isn’t. It’s been the single best decision I have ever made, it’s led me to being the most confident and content mentally that I have ever been.

It took me to get to the lowest I could get to before I could admit I had a problem, I was  forced into opening up and admitting my problems, sharing my fears, telling the people I love why I was acting the way I was and how my mind was out of control.  Who wants to tell someone that they believe they are going crazy and that the world and everything in it scares you.

Maybe if I didn’t get that low I would never have opened up, I’d maybe never have sought the professional help that I did, I’d maybe be spending the rest of my life battling my thoughts and believing I was weaker and inferior to everyone else because I had all these irrational thoughts, I had all those social anxieties and all those fears that were stopping me from living.

I’m not saying I am the man I want to be now that I’ve dealt with my demons but what I am is content mentally and I have belief and confidence in life, myself and the world around me. My mind now works as logically as it has ever done and my thinking is calm and under control. I’m maybe lucky that PTSD can be a temporary condition; maybe mine wasn’t as severe as it can be, maybe I just got a right good psychologist, who knows but I’m in a great place mentally and I never ever thought I would get here this quickly or get here at all.

I’ve learned along the way that most people have anxieties, fears, worries, it’s perfectly normal, it becomes a problem when it takes control of you and stops you acting the way you truly want to act and when it stops you doing the stuff you love and enjoy.

When I started my psychology sessions, I decided to be as honest as I could with my psychologist, this was my chance to get everything out of my head and find out why I was acting and thinking the way I was, I wanted answers, I wanted to be normal again, I wanted to be able to compare myself to my peers and feel on equal par again. We talked through my fears and my way of thinking, Laura my psychologist explained why I was thinking what I was and acting the way I was. In that first session she diagnosed what I had, explained all the symptoms and told me how I was going to beat it.

I came out of that first session and I knew I had to be as honest with everyone in my life, friends, family, and my girlfriend at the time, my work colleagues. I didn’t know how to go about this but I needed to. I needed them to know what was going in my illogical mind. The only thing I could come up with was one of these ramblings and soon I had my first blog.

Within minutes of sharing my first blog, I received incredible messages of support and some amazing words of wisdom, people who I believed to be far stronger and greater than me would tell me about what they feared or told me they felt similar. They told me how brave I was to be as open and honest, I didn’t feel brave I just felt this feeling of pressure lifting off of me, my mind slowing down a bit, a sense of pleasure that I had took this action and it was so positive.

This is where I believe being open and honest has been a massive help to me. People couldn’t wait to offer support, an ear to let off steam into, words of wisdom or simply to tell me that I was loved and a far better person than I believed myself to be. Since that first blog I continue to be open and honest and I shall for the rest of my life. I’ve realised It’s just me that can make me feel inferior, only me, can deal with my thinking and keep it under control.

I believe if I am going to stay on this path, where I am positive and living the way I want to live I need to continue being as open and honest. The lies I told to stay safe when I was ill will probably frustrate me for a while yet, that’s why now I am so honest. When am having a bad day, which has been very rare, I’ll talk about it, I try to share the wisdom and knowledge I have gained from my experiences to help others.

I ask you that if you are toiling open up and you will see the love and wisdom people can give you. The ability to stay connected and talk to your friends and family is part of the solution in terms of things getting easier and better for you. I’ve managed to help a few other people who have issues with my honesty and that’s what it’s all about, giving that wee bit back and breaking down the stigma. You soon realise that you aren’t alone, depression and anxiety are more common than you imagine, it’s just some people hide it better than others or have the skills to keep it under control.

Anyway, I’m not really sure I’ve achieved what I wanted to with this blog and I don’t feel it’s as strong as my others but maybe that’s a sign of where I am and how positive I am feeling. It’s hard for me to recall the feelings, the fears, the symptoms, it all just seems like a journey that I was meant to take in order for me to help others and learn so much about myself, love and life.

It has been two years since I got discharged from my psychology sessions, in that time I’ve completed my first year at university studying psychology and I’ve regained my life and had so much fun with friends and family. Life can change in moments, my attack and breakdown demonstrates that but it can also change for the better. That moment I tweeted my first blog was a massive help to me, the moment I walked into that room for my first session my life started improving again. What’s the worst thing that can happen if you try opening up? I guarantee you it probably won’t be as bad as you think. The human race can be an understanding and caring lot when they need to be. I rely on them when I do have my moments of anxious thoughts, they don’t happen that often but when they do, I’m not long in discussing my irrational and illogical thoughts.

Anyway keep on keeping on

Love and peace

Weasel

Conquering violence related PTSD the observations of a 34 year old.

Positive, inspiration, happy, content, care free, cheery, these are just some of the terms that have been used by people to describe me recently, to be fair, I’ve probably used them myself. I’m just beginning to accept the inspirational one as I find this a bit overwhelming and it doesn’t sit right with me to describe myself as such but I’ve slowly began to realise that inspiring people is maybe not a bad thing.
I’m not out to change the world, I’m not wanting to be part of a revolution, I don’t even know if inspire is the right term. I simply want more people to pull through the battles that I pulled through and to find this sense of contention, empowerment and positive way of thinking that seems to be flowing through my mind and way of thinking.
This time last year I was in a mess both physically and mentally, my mind was full of so much self doubt, illogical thinking, soul destroying anxieties, fears that made me believe I couldn’t function and live in this world and in a society that appeared to be filled with so much evil, pain and suffering. There was a darkness that engulfed me. Negativity in my outlook and the words I spoke, I was low, defeated, overwhelmed by so much pressure pushing down on me. I don’t know if I ever seriously considered taking my own life, I often thought about how I wouldn’t be suffering anymore and fighting the daily battles I was fighting, I certainly could understand why someone would take their own life. I was desperate for my mind to slow down, for my thoughts to be logical again. To shift the depression that seemed to take the shine out of my life and make me so negative, irritable and argumentative.
I wanted to be me again, in fact I didn’t, I just wanted to be normal, I wanted to be like the cool, self assured folk that I would compare myself to, you know, the ones without worry, the ones who seem to have it all, life seemed so easy for them. Mine? Mine was a disaster, out of control and it was always going to be that way, especially as I was going nuts, turning mental, couldn’t sleep without having a those soul destroying nightmares, I’d randomly have wee flashbacks to when I was attacked, I’d avoid my mates and my girlfriend at the time, they’re better off without me anyway was how I’d justify it to myself.
Now I don’t want to be like those normal people, the cool and self assured people, know why? I don’t believe they exist. Since I opened up about my problems and my battles with PTSD so many people have confided in me about their worries and fears, the feelings that haunts them, the fears they have or how they can relate to aspects of my blogs and you know what? Most of them are the self assured and confident folk that I wanted to be like.
I think what happens is we all worry, we all have fears, we all have anxieties that get in our mind and chew away at us from time to time but some of us just have the skills to cope or know how to hide it or handle it better. I say we all worry or have fears but really that’s inaccurate as I don’t anymore and that’s thanks to my breakdown, the help of some amazing family and friends, a top class psychologist and random strangers who get in touch with words of encouragement or simply to tell me their stories on the back of these blogs.
My positivity and contention comes from the work I done with my psychologist Laura, the CBT she carried out and the way she made me address my fears and control my thinking and my thought process is where things turned around for me. You can see the methods see used in my previous blogs. It’s all about challenging your thoughts, looking realistically at the chances of your worst fears happening and how much of an impact will they have on your life in 5 years time. I’m stress free now as well and that’s been a massive help, the stress thoughts are gone and that allows your mind to work more logically. You think irrationally when you’re stressed, I placed so much emphasis on staying safe and that in turn caused me to avoid doing the stuff I loved with the people I love, that disconnection soon causes a sense of loneliness that plays a part in destroying your self esteem and adding to the depression. Staying connected is a massive part of beating depression and anxiety. Along with giving a bit back, getting active, being open and honest about your struggles and avoiding alcohol, anyway this is all old ground covered in previous blogs.
When I first wrote these blogs it was about, about apologising, getting my thoughts and fears out of my mind and out there so family and friends knew what I had been through and what I was going through daily, now they’re about giving that wee bit of hope to someone out there who is sitting feeling the same way I was this time last year. You know what? Maybe I do want to inspire, I want to get into that persons mind and hit a chord with them, I want them to read all my other blogs, see how desperate and low I was, see how I’d gave up hope and thought I was destroyed, life was going to be a constant battle and be on top of me forever. Well you know what? It isn’t.
I don’t say this arrogantly or in a sense of screw you look at how well I am doing. I say it with a sense of, if I can turn my struggles around and become a so called inspiration then what’s stopping you? Will it be like it is the now forever? Can you give it a go?
I was so weak this time last year, I had a sense of inferiority and you could feel the anxiety off of me. My actions were strange where as now I’m empowered, confident, passionate about spreading the word about the benefits of being open and honest about your mental health. Mental health illnesses are as real and as harmful as physical illness. It’s not been easy to get to where I am. Facing those fears was horrible, pounding the streets at night in the dark, hanging about outside pubs, standing in busy bars all the things I avoided for the fear of being attacked again. You know what causes these fears? The stress voices in your mind. Before I was attacked none of these fears bothered me, the trauma of what happened to me caused my thinking to change, I had to regain control of this and I did. It wasn’t for a minute easy but it can be done. Maybe I’m just lucky, maybe I just had a right good support network who understood and pulled me through, who knows but I hope that if you’re sitting there toiling you might see that it’s worth a shot, can it really be any worse than what you’re going through just now?
Positive thinking is an incredible and powerful tool, since I’ve addressed my fears and anxieties I’ve gained a place a university to study Psychology I’m hoping to qualify as a clinical psychologist and try to use the experiences I have to get others back on track. I do some voluntary work with Victim Support and that’s been a help to me as well. That sense of giving a bit back and also seeing others going through what I went through makes me feel less alone, less illogical. I’m not a victim any more I’m part of an exclusive club where I’ve went through some horrible trauma and times but came out at the other end stronger and prepared to break the stigma that surrounds mental health.
Basically all I want is for someone to read this and think, right let’s give this a go. Get that help you need, I’m no expert and I’ll probably not have the answers you need or are looking for but I can tell you what worked for me. Anyway I think I’ve said what I wanted to say. You aren’t alone and you certainly aren’t the only one who is having those thoughts and it can be beaten or at least controlled.
I want to thank every single person who has helped me over the last year, be it a text, a tweet, a deep chat, words of wisdom, everyone has been incredible and I’ll never forget that or let you all down again. I’ve got faith and belief that this has all happened for a reason and I’ll use this to do some good, I’ll inspire as many people as I can, I’ll use what was once a negative to achieve so many positive outcomes.
Keep on keeping on
Peace and Love
Weasel

Aside

Conquering violence related PTSD, the observations of a 34 year old

Positive, inspiration, happy, content, care free, cheery, these are just some of the terms that have been used by people to describe me recently, to be fair, I’ve probably used them myself. I’m just beginning to accept the inspirational one as I find this a bit overwhelming and it doesn’t sit right with me to describe myself as such but I’ve slowly began to realise that inspiring people is maybe not a bad thing.
I’m not out to change the world, I’m not wanting to be part of a revolution, I don’t even know if inspire is the right term. I simply want more people to pull through the battles that I pulled through and to find this sense of contention, empowerment and positive way of thinking that seems to be flowing through my mind and way of thinking.
This time last year I was in a mess both physically and mentally, my mind was full of so much self doubt, illogical thinking, soul destroying anxieties, fears that made me believe I couldn’t function and live in this world and in a society that appeared to be filled with so much evil, pain and suffering. There was a darkness that engulfed me. Negativity in my outlook and the words I spoke, I was low, defeated, overwhelmed by so much pressure pushing down on me. I don’t know if I ever seriously considered taking my own life, I often thought about how I wouldn’t be suffering anymore and fighting the daily battles I was fighting, I certainly could understand why someone would take their own life. I was desperate for my mind to slow down, for my thoughts to be logical again. To shift the depression that seemed to take the shine out of my life and make me so negative, irritable and argumentative.
I wanted to be me again, in fact I didn’t, I just wanted to be normal, I wanted to be like the cool, self assured folk that I would compare myself to, you know, the ones without worry, the ones who seem to have it all, life seemed so easy for them. Mine? Mine was a disaster, out of control and it was always going to be that way, especially as I was going nuts, turning mental, couldn’t sleep without having a those soul destroying nightmares, I’d randomly have wee flashbacks to when I was attacked, I’d avoid my mates and my girlfriend at the time, they’re better off without me anyway was how I’d justify it to myself.
Now I don’t want to be like those normal people, the cool and self assured people, know why? I don’t believe they exist. Since I opened up about my problems and my battles with PTSD so many people have confided in me about their worries and fears, the feelings that haunts them, the fears they have or how they can relate to aspects of my blogs and you know what? Most of them are the self assured and confident folk that I wanted to be like.
I think what happens is we all worry, we all have fears, we all have anxieties that get in our mind and chew away at us from time to time but some of us just have the skills to cope or know how to hide it or handle it better. I say we all worry or have fears but really that’s inaccurate as I don’t anymore and that’s thanks to my breakdown, the help of some amazing family and friends, a top class psychologist and random strangers who get in touch with words of encouragement or simply to tell me their stories on the back of these blogs.
My positivity and contention comes from the work I done with my psychologist Laura, the CBT she carried out and the way she made me address my fears and control my thinking and my thought process is where things turned around for me. You can see the methods see used in my previous blogs. It’s all about challenging your thoughts, looking realistically at the chances of your worst fears happening and how much of an impact will they have on your life in 5 years time. I’m stress free now as well and that’s been a massive help, the stress thoughts are gone and that allows your mind to work more logically. You think irrationally when you’re stressed, I placed so much emphasis on staying safe and that in turn caused me to avoid doing the stuff I loved with the people I love, that disconnection soon causes a sense of loneliness that plays a part in destroying your self esteem and adding to the depression. Staying connected is a massive part of beating depression and anxiety. Along with giving a bit back, getting active, being open and honest about your struggles and avoiding alcohol, anyway this is all old ground covered in previous blogs.
When I first wrote these blogs it was about, about apologising, getting my thoughts and fears out of my mind and out there so family and friends knew what I had been through and what I was going through daily, now they’re about giving that wee bit of hope to someone out there who is sitting feeling the same way I was this time last year. You know what? Maybe I do want to inspire, I want to get into that persons mind and hit a chord with them, I want them to read all my other blogs, see how desperate and low I was, see how I’d gave up hope and thought I was destroyed, life was going to be a constant battle and be on top of me forever. Well you know what? It isn’t.
I don’t say this arrogantly or in a sense of screw you look at how well I am doing. I say it with a sense of, if I can turn my struggles around and become a so called inspiration then what’s stopping you? Will it be like it is the now forever? Can you give it a go?
I was so weak this time last year, I had a sense of inferiority and you could feel the anxiety off of me. My actions were strange where as now I’m empowered, confident, passionate about spreading the word about the benefits of being open and honest about your mental health. Mental health illnesses are as real and as harmful as physical illness. It’s not been easy to get to where I am. Facing those fears was horrible, pounding the streets at night in the dark, hanging about outside pubs, standing in busy bars all the things I avoided for the fear of being attacked again. You know what causes these fears? The stress voices in your mind. Before I was attacked none of these fears bothered me, the trauma of what happened to me caused my thinking to change, I had to regain control of this and I did. It wasn’t for a minute easy but it can be done. Maybe I’m just lucky, maybe I just had a right good support network who understood and pulled me through, who knows but I hope that if you’re sitting there toiling you might see that it’s worth a shot, can it really be any worse than what you’re going through just now?
Positive thinking is an incredible and powerful tool, since I’ve addressed my fears and anxieties I’ve gained a place a university to study Psychology I’m hoping to qualify as a clinical psychologist and try to use the experiences I have to get others back on track. I do some voluntary work with Victim Support and that’s been a help to me as well. That sense of giving a bit back and also seeing others going through what I went through makes me feel less alone, less illogical. I’m not a victim any more I’m part of an exclusive club where I’ve went through some horrible trauma and times but came out at the other end stronger and prepared to break the stigma that surrounds mental health.
Basically all I want is for someone to read this and think, right let’s give this a go. Get that help you need, I’m no expert and I’ll probably not have the answers you need or are looking for but I can tell you what worked for me. Anyway I think I’ve said what I wanted to say. You aren’t alone and you certainly aren’t the only one who is having those thoughts and it can be beaten or at least controlled.
I want to thank every single person who has helped me over the last year, be it a text, a tweet, a deep chat, words of wisdom, everyone has been incredible and I’ll never forget that or let you all down again. I’ve got faith and belief that this has all happened for a reason and I’ll use this to do some good, I’ll inspire as many people as I can, I’ll use what was once a negative to achieve so many positive outcomes.
Keep on keeping on
Peace and Love
Weasel

Maybe am just part of an exclusive club.

 

Well it’s been a while since I sat down behind this wee pink laptop to write one of my ramblings. I don’t even know why I am the now, I don’t feel the need to clear my head of thoughts and fears that are taking control of my mind and making me act in a manner in which I don’t want to. Shit isn’t on top of me or controlling me like it was this time last year, in fact it’s the opposite, I’m on top of the shit and in control. Those fucking anxious thoughts about the future and what it will bring are gone; the feelings of failure and regret about what I have done or not done are banished. I don’t look back now, to be fair I don’t even look that far forward, I live for the day and approach each day as a new and fresh start. 

I don’t see the point in making long term plans, life will just get in the way or you’ll end up on a different path from the one you intended to be own. I just let life and faith guide me. 

It’s strange talking about faith as I’m not a religious man, I don’t believe in god or the bible, I think I’m starting to realise that my faith is in myself, my friends and family, my new logical way of thinking, guess I just believe that life will see me alright. When you’ve been through what I have and thought the thoughts I have and came back stronger and better from it, you realise you don’t have much to fear or worry about.

I’ll never mock people’s views or opinions on religion, my condition thought me to believe in what you believe in, put your faith in whatever gets you through, we all take comfort from different things in life. My illness also thought me that the nonsense we crave or believe we need just adds to the pressure we put on ourselves. Do we really need that big fuck off motor, does that impressive bank balance make us better than the next man, does it fuck, I’ve realised that all that matters in life is your health and having enough to get by each month.

I believe we as humans are naturally greedy, we’re animal like, we don’t know when we’ve had enough or got enough, we just want more and more. More money, bigger houses, cooler clothes, healthier bank balances, shit so that we can keep up with our peers and make ourselves feel that wee bit better about life. Me, I don’t give a fuck about any of that any more, don’t get me wrong I’d like it but I don’t place any kind of importance or need on materialistic things, I just want to keep this mental contention going, remain this positive and try to inspire and help others who are where I was this time last year.

If you haven’t read any of my previous blogs, basically I suffered from a condition called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; this condition got inside my head and destroyed my life. The condition caused me to suffer flashbacks and nightmares about my attack, It made me question every single aspect of life, it makes you regret stuff that you believe to be failings, it makes you worry about the future, I don’t want to go into it too much as it’s old ground and can be found in previous blogs. 

Now I’m free of the condition I can see clearly and can see how much of an impact this condition had on my life, I think I probably suffered this well before my attack but this was the final trauma that I could cope with. Anyway this again is old ground, I think the point of this blog is going to be to give people a bit of hope and believe that no matter where you are or what your thinking is, it can be changed, controlled and defeated.

This time last year, I was so low and so out of control mentally that life just got on top of me, looking back I can’t believe that I was as bad as I was and now I am where I am. I’m not saying I would have taken my own life but I certainly understand what leads people to do so. I was desperate, the stress voices took control of my logical thinking, you act out of control, you constantly feel all this fucking pressure on top of you, I couldn’t sleep right, I was tired all the time, life was a hassle.

Going out was a toil, I just wanted to stay safe, fuck being attacked and going through all that again, society was fucked, the world was full of evil, I was a failure, I’d fucked everything I ever set out to achieve, I’d continue to fail, run man, run for the safety of your flat, push that beautiful girlfriend you have to fuck, get her out of your life, she’s better off without you, kids? Fuck man that’s something else I’ll fail at, someone else to let down. Every cunts better off without me. It’s a slippery slope when you’re mind is like that, it’s racing at a million miles an hour, you’re anxious as fuck, you’re so low, being honest there’s two ways it could go eh, you open up and hopefully get the help I got or you probably end up going down the route of suicide, I don’t know, am no expert that’s just my views from my experiences.

We need to, as a society break the stigma around mental health and the stigma around suicide, 1 in 4 people will be affected in some way by a mental health illness at some point in their life. Are we just meant to take the gamble that they’ll cope, they’ll figure it out themselves, they’ll pull themselves together? Great good attitude that is eh, pull yourself together, if only it was that fucking easy.

I’ve found inner confidence and strength since I dealt with my shit, I’ve learned that you’ll never understand why people do such nasty and evil things, I’ve learned skills to cope if the dark days ever return, I have faith and confidence they won’t. 

Life for me now is about using this confidence in the right manner and to do some good and help others who are going through similar shit to what I did. I’m not going to lie it would be easy for me to forget the stuff that has happened to me, to move forward and do selfish shit and think, great am better now let’s enjoy life, I will to a certain degree but I need to do more than that with what I’ve learned and where I’ve been. I’ve got a desire and ambition to help others, if I can stop one person making the mistakes I did then this whole experience has been worthwhile.

I used to hate when people called me an inspiration or made out like I’m some kind of hero or brave for talking about my shit, I don’t see myself as any of that and I never will. I’m a soul who got lost for a bit and fucked up everything that mattered to him, now I’m a soul who is found and hopes to stop one or two others doing the same. I’ve accepted that maybe my story is inspirational, the victim who now has the strength to volunteer with victim support and be someone’s support mechanism or simply the man who gives them a tissue when it’s needed. I’m proud that I’ve got the inner strength to do this and that I’ve got the ability to do so as a result of what I’ve been through. 

I don’t have all the answers, nobody ever will but that it’s self is an answer. Shit just happens, life, the world, nature its way more powerful than any of us and at any time any of us can succumb to its powers. You just need to stay cool and most importantly of all, accept who and what you are. Be honest with yourself and others. Stay connected, love the people you love, do the things that you enjoy and most of all not give a fuck about what others think about you. Be humble and polite though.

I’ve learned most people have issues or some kind of self esteem issues, the people who appear to be confident and have it all, simply hide it better.  

I’m no longer ashamed of who I am or where I’ve been. I no longer worry about where I’m going or what I’ve got or not got, I know what I do have, people who love me and will be there for me regardless. That’s the beauty of what I’ve been through, being that victim, being that PTSD sufferer, it led to me opening up and learning so much about myself, love and life.

I no longer feel weak or anxious, I feel empowered and loved. I believe that being a victim or one of the 1 in 4 has made me part of an exclusive club. I’ve got an understanding of what is really important in life and I’ve got the ability to share my experiences and wisdom to try and help others, to me that is more beautiful and more satisfying than any bank balance. When we die our graves will all be the same size, we come in on our own and we leave on our own. Life is for living, learning, loving and laughing. Just make sure whilst doing so that you’re keeping an eye on the people around you. 

Stay cool; believe in yourself and maybe one day you’ll be in this exclusive club too.

Mind if you want to read any of my blogs….@weaselblogs or whitburn1980@wordpress.com

Keep on keeping on guys.

Love and peace

A contented

Weasel.x

 

Open and honest, not simple but really effective.

Aye so, another wee blog, few wee paragraphs of wisdom, just insight into my personal experience of post traumatic stress disorder and the symptoms associated with it, the depression, the anxiety, the feelings of failure, the need to stay safe, the loneliness, the turmoil that would flow through my mind. To be honest I can’t really remember half the symptoms and to me that’s a result, another reminder of how far I have came and the victories I have achieved since my first blog in May 2013.

If you’re that interested in the symptoms and my battles you will find all my previous blogs via whitburn1980@wordpress.com or on twitter @weaselblogs. If you are suffering from PTSD or other mental health conditions they might be worth a wee read, they’ll let you see that your demons can be beaten, controlled, fuck knows what the best term to use is but I’m pretty content with where I am mentally now.

I don’t even know why I am attempting to write this blog, previously they’ve been used to get shit out my head that is haunting or controlling me, stuff that I needed to say but couldn’t or found too hard to. I’ve also used them to give some practical advice to others that are going through similar but haven’t been fortunate enough to receive the professional help that I have. I also like to use them to give others hope, hope that one day things will get easier for them. Hope that they too can win their battles and find this contention mentally. I’m not going to do that with this one as I think it’s just going to get repetitive.

I think I want to use this blog to highlight the importance of being open and honest about your problems and the benefits that come with this honesty. I know it’s hard as fuck to open up, it would feel like a defeat, a sign of weakness, a failure, it honestly isn’t. It’s been the single best decision I have ever made, it’s led me to being the most confident and content mentally that I have ever been.

It took me to get to the lowest I could get to before I could admit I had a problem, I was kind of forced into opening up and admitting my problems, sharing my fears, telling the people I love why I was acting the way I was and how my mind was out of control.  Who wants to tell someone that they believe they are going crazy and that the world and everything in it scares the shit right out of you.

Maybe if I didn’t get that low I would never have opened up, I’d maybe never have sought the professional help that I did, I’d maybe be spending the rest of my life battling my thoughts and believing I was weaker and inferior to everyone else because I had all these irrational thoughts, I had all those social anxieties and all those fucking fears that were stopping me from living and being the man I wanted to be.

I’m not saying I am the man I want to be now that I’ve dealt with my demons but what I am is content mentally and I have belief and confidence in life, myself and the world around me. My mind now works as logically as it has ever done and my thinking is cool and under control. I’m maybe lucky that PTSD can be a temporary condition; maybe mine wasn’t as severe as it can be, maybe I just got a right good psychologist, fuck knows but I’m in a great place mentally and I never ever thought I would get here this quickly or get here at all.

I’ve learned along the way that most people have anxieties, fears, worries, it’s perfectly normal, it becomes a problem when it takes control of you and stops you acting the way you truly want to act and when it stops you doing the stuff you love and enjoy.

When I started my psychology sessions, I decided to be as honest as I could with my psychologist, this was my chance to get this shit out of my head and find out why I was acting and thinking the way I was, I wanted answers, I wanted to be normal again, I wanted to be able to compare myself to my peers and feel on equal par again. We talked through my shit, Laura my psychologist explained why I was thinking what I was and acting the way I was. In that first session she diagnosed what I had, explained all the symptoms and told me how I was going to beat it.

I came out of that first session and I knew I had to be as honest with everyone in my life, friends, family, and my girlfriend at the time, my work colleagues. I didn’t know how to go about this but I needed to. I needed them to know what was going in my wee fucked up mind. The only thing I could come up with was one of these ramblings and soon I had my first blog.

Within minutes of sharing my first blog, I received incredible messages of support and some amazing words of wisdom, people who I believed to be far stronger and greater than me would tell me about shit they feared or told me they felt similar stuff. They told me how brave I was to be as open and honest, I didn’t feel brave I just felt this feeling of pressure lifting off of me, my mind slowing down a bit, a sense of pleasure that I had took this action and it was so positive.

This is where I believe being open and honest has been a massive help to me. People couldn’t wait to offer support, an ear to let off steam into, words of wisdom or simply to tell me that I was loved and a far better person than I believed myself to be. Since that first blog I continue to be open and honest and I shall for the rest of my life. Only I can make me feel inferior, only me can deal with my thinking and keep it under control.

I believe if I am going to stay on this path, where I am positive and living the way I want to live I need to continue being as open and honest. The lies I told to stay safe when I was ill will frustrate me for a while yet, that’s why now I am so honest. When am having a bad day, which has been very rare, I’ll talk about it, I try to share the wisdom and knowledge I have gained from my experiences to help others.

I ask you that if you are toiling open up and you will see the love and wisdom people can give you. The ability to stay connected and talk to your friends and family is part of the solution in terms of things getting easier and better for you. I’ve managed to help a few other people who have issues with my honesty and that’s what it’s all about, giving that wee bit back and breaking down the stigma.

Anyway, I’m not really sure I’ve achieved what I wanted to with this blog and I don’t feel it’s as strong as my others but maybe that’s a sign of where I am and how positive I am feeling. It’s hard for me to recall the feelings, the fears, the symptoms, it all just seems like a journey that I was meant to take in order for me to help others and learn so much about myself, love and life.

Anyway keep on keeping on

Love and peace

Weasel

Can it go that wrong yet be for the better?

Hello,

Been a wee while since I felt the need or even had the time to sit down and write one of these ramblings, not entirely sure why I am the now and the direction in which it is going to go in.

Anyhow, hopefully by now you all know my shit and know my story. If not you can find out on @weaselblogs on twitter. I can’t be bothered going to in depth again. Basically I was the victim of a violent crime nearly 6 years ago and as a result 5 years down the line I had a breakdown caused by post traumatic stress disorder. My world fell apart, I started acting out of character and cutting people off, staying safe, avoiding situations that I feared and made me feel anxious. I basically stopped living and merely existed.

I cut off my girlfriend at the time, who is now an ex as a result of the way I acted and treated her when I was ill. I cut off and avoided my family and friends. I don’t know why exactly but mainly because I believed they would be better off without me, I was a failure of a man, an underachiever, the shadow of the man I was before I got attacked, a letdown, weak because I couldn’t deal with the thoughts I had or the depression that was hanging over me. Life spiraled out of control until I had no other option but to seek professional help.

Between the professional help I received from my psychologist Laura, facing my fears and the amazing and incredible support from old friends, new friends and family, I am in a position now where I honestly believe I am in the best place mentally I have ever been. I have gained so much wisdom and knowledge due to my battles. Their love and support have pulled me through and now I have a belief, passion and confidence in not only myself but life again. I live by a wee motto that I firmly believe in now, living, loving and learning.

As the months go by I just seem to be more and more positive and have more passion for life, I have regained trust in society and the people in it. I’m not scared of anything anymore and for a man who was pretty much scared of every aspect of life this feels incredible to say. I was scared of venturing the streets at night, scared of becoming a father as I didn’t want to lumber kids with someone like me as a dad, scared of failing and never achieving anything with life, Scared of busy pubs and places, scared I would become a victim again, scared that I was weak and that I would lose everything as a result of my irrational thoughts, I was even scared I was going to die young. Now I can see that all my fears tied in with the symptoms of my illness.

I read a quote today and it struck a chord with me as before even reading this quote I was thinking along this line. The quote is from Chuck Palahniuk, “it’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.” I honestly believe this to be true.

I lost the two things that I placed greatest importance on, the woman I hoped to marry one day and the ability to control my thinking and in turn believed I was going mental. At one point these were the two things I feared losing the most, no man wants to admit he thinks he is losing control mentally and they certainly don’t want to lose the one person they love the most in the world.

I lost both, I can fully understand why and it’s only now that I’m beginning to accept this and it’s also only now that maybe I can appreciate, like the quote says that we’re free to do anything. My ex girlfriend never held me back, so please don’t read it like that, she was incredible and was the one who convinced me to get help. I owe her so much and I’m thankful and grateful to her but what I mean is I’ve lost everything that mattered so what is there now that I have left to fear? Fuck all. When you admit to your friends, family, girlfriend and pretty much the world that you think you have problems mentally, you really do have fuck all left to fear therefore my whole outlook on life and the manner in which I act and think has changed. I have belief in myself and for the first time in a long time actually feel quite proud of whom I am.

Admitting my problems was a huge weight of my shoulders; it was like getting a dirty little secret out of my mind, I just felt a pressure release instantly. My sessions with my psychologist Laura made me understand that I had an illness and that I was not going nuts, I was suffering a condition that was caused by being the victim of a violent crime, where is the shame in that?

To get better I had to undergo cognitive behavioral therapy and also had to face my fears and remove the safety behaviours I had adopted in situations that made me feel anxious and panicky. It was a hard process but when you reach rock bottom like I had, you hang on to a hope that there’s only one way to go and that’s upwards. I began my treatment in May and now 7 months later I can honestly say I’m in the best place I have ever been mentally and physically. I believe I have so much wisdom as a result of what I have gone through. I am probably the most confident in both myself and the world that I have ever been. I have faith in something and I believe that it’s guiding me, I don’t know what my faith is in but it feels like all the pain and trauma I endured is worthwhile, it’s not something which controls me anymore, it’s not something that makes me weaker or inferior, it is a personal experience that I can use to help others, It’s wisdom and knowledge. I need to use this confidence to try and do good, rather than use it for selfish reasons. I need to keep faith that I’m on this path for a reason.

I’m trying to help others going through what I went through by volunteering with Victim Support Scotland, I enjoy the work I do with them and being able to place myself in the shoes of the people I visit gives me a reasonable insight into what they are feeling and going through. All I want to do in life now is help people who are suffering in silence like I did. I want to make as many people as possible open up and face up to their problems. I want to give people who are as low as I was hope that they too can turn their shit around.

The hardest thing for me now and an ongoing challenge is to face up to the hurt that I caused and deal with the frustrations that this has left. I treated the people I love the most really poorly when I was ill, I can use the reason that I was ill but it was still me saying those words, still me making them feel shit, It was me causing them hurt and chipping away at their self esteem. I’m no longer oblivious to the hurt I caused and how I made people feel. Anyone that knows the real me knows that isn’t my style but it doesn’t make it any easier to live with. Unless you’ve been through post traumatic stress disorder or other conditions similar, you’ll probably never understand why we act so out of character. That’s my biggest frustration and the hardest thing to accept, it wasn’t really me.

I’ll get there though because I believe life will see me alright, I’m keeping faith that am on this path for a reason, I’ve done some good as a result of my breakdown that I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t went through it. It’s all about your thinking, staying positive, taking the positives from every negative. I’m free of my anxiety and depression and that’s the way I intend to keep it.

I just wanted to write this blog to let you all know where I am at and to give people who are where I was some kind of hope. Shit can improve pretty quickly. You might never get everything you want from life, I know that I won’t but you’ve simply got to make the best of what you do have.

Someone will always be more than I’ll ever be so then I’ll just be myself, this is a line from a cast song called live the dream and it’s so true. I’ll keep this line in my thoughts forever and it should keep me right.

Anyway if you want some advice or help let me know. If you want to read my other blogs you can on wordpress.com my blogging name is whitburn1980 or on twitter @weaselblog.

Keep on keeping on

Weasel.

Suppose I am still me after all

 

Hi

Been some journey since I wrote and published my first blog in May. 

3 and a half months off sick from work, Appointments with Psychologists, stress and anxiety control classes, blogs about my conditions and my battles, facing numerous fears and safety behaviours, a relationship break up with my girlfriend, engaging in discussions with other suffers of mental health conditions, there’s so much that has happened, some negative and so many positives.

I don’t want to go over what happened to me and the symptoms of my post traumatic stress disorder, I’ve went over that in my previous blogs, these can be found on twitter @weaselblogs or on wordpress.com if you are new to my blogs and are interested in the journey I have been on. 

This blogs more about where I am and what I have learned and what I hope to pass on to others who are maybe on the start of their journey to recovery. People who are where I was, low, depressed, their thinking out of control and illogical, scared of living but afraid of dying, irritable, worried, stressed, questioning every little aspect of life. Regretting choices made in the past and fearing more failures in the future.

I stopped living and simply started to exist in my own wee depressed and anxious world, controlled by illogical thinking and anxious behaviour. Why? I was ill.

The post traumatic stress disorder took control of my thoughts, my mind and in doing so I lost control of my actions and body. I know this sounds proper dramatic but because I was thinking anxious thoughts and my thinking was out of control I had to stay safe, cut myself off from the world which I believed was evil and corrupt, there was no safe place for me in society and nowhere that I felt I belonged.

Looking back now, I honestly can’t believe some of the stuff I feared or believed. I am ashamed and embarrassed of the way I treated people and acted. Anyone who knows the real me, knows I am a decent, kind and understanding guy. I didn’t act like this when I was ill. I was dismissive, irritable, and argumentative, anti social, just a horrible person to be around. The hurt I caused and the shit I lost will annoy and frustrate me forever but I’m beginning to deal with this a bit better. I’ve spent months righting most of my wrongs and spent months trying to right wrongs that I can’t right. It’s took me this long to realise that sometimes you can’t fix the mistakes you have made, you can’t take back the stupid things you have said, you can’t rebuild trust when you have destroyed it without being giving the chance to do so.

I’m at a stage now where I am accepting what happened to me and where I went wrong in life. I’ve learned some harsh but very valuable lessons over the last year, lessons that have changed me for the better and ones that I intend to remember for the rest of my life. My whole outlook and way of thinking has changed, I guess when you lose the shit you were most worried about losing, fuck all else can really scare you.

The post traumatic stress disorder made me believe I was weak and inferior because I had all these fears, all these fucking anxieties and safety behaviours. I just didn’t feel I could function like the people I was comparing myself to, the normal people, the stronger people, and the happy people. You know what, I now believe I’m stronger for admitting my problems, for facing my fears, for opening up about my battles and I’ll tell you what else I’ve learned, the happy, stronger and normal people have worries and anxieties too, they just know how to cope or hide them better and as for normal, normal doesn’t exist. What the fuck is normal anyway?

It’s been about 6 months since I wrote my first blog and in that time I’ve turned my life and myself around. I’ve managed to pick myself up and for the first time in my life I can look myself in the mirror and feel proud as fuck. Proud that I didn’t do something stupid when my thinking was out of control, proud as fuck that I have faced my fears and nothing scares me anymore. Proud as fuck that these blogs have helped others, proud as fuck that people confide in me about their shit. I honestly believe now that something has put me on this path, I was meant to get that bottle smashed into my head, I was meant to have that meltdown and lose the plot so I could help others, I was meant to learn all these harsh lessons so that the future doesn’t scare me anymore, instead it excites me. I’m a more compassionate and understanding man because of this.

I can’t believe that I couldn’t speak out and ask for help, I ain’t a macho type or someone who is afraid to discuss their feelings, I just couldn’t ask for help because I believed this would show how weak I am. I think this is a sad reflection on society, we can’t tell people how we feel for the risk of being judged, this saddens me. 

Why do we judge? Make ourselves feel a wee bit better about ourselves? Take a bit of encouragement from someone else being worse off than us? I don’t know and I don’t care anymore. I now do my best not to judge, I couldn’t give a fuck what you have done or where you have been, we all make mistakes and we are all capable of doing wrong the same as we are all capable of doing good. I’ve been in a very dark place and it was horrible but you know what? It’s changed my perspective and outlook on life. I’ve got a wee motto I like to live by now, loving, living and learning. 

Know the saddest thing about not being able to ask for help sooner? When I did ask for it and tell my friends, family, partner and whoever about my fears, battles and shit, not one person judged me or questioned me. They were incredible, the support I have received and the words of advice and encouragement have been tremendous. 

I honestly couldn’t have won my battle without the professional help I received and the love and support of friends, family, my ex, her family, my work, my work mates, strangers over twitter. Speaking about my shit has been a massive help, getting it out of my nut and lifting that pressure was massive. People won’t judge you, not if they truly care for you. You’ll probably find that they feel something similar or have their own issues. 

I’m at a stage in my recovery where I can’t believe how far I have came, I’m doing stuff that 6 months ago would’ve scared the shit out of me, I would have found and excuse to get out of it. You really need to face those fears; you need to stay connected with the people who care about you. You need to get professional help if it’s really bad and you think crazy thoughts. There’s all kinds of tips and stuff that I used to win my battles in my previous blogs, honestly I was cynical as fuck when my psychologist told me what I had to do, but trust me it’s worked. 

People keep telling me I’m brave for putting my feelings and that out there, that I’m an inspiration, I’m not, I’m just an average guy who suffered a terrible trauma and got lost. Life is a cruel fucker at times and sometimes we just need that wee bit of advice or wisdom to get us back on track. Maybe I wouldn’t have got in the nick I did if I could have asked for help sooner. I think we need to break this stigma around mental health illnesses. We need to discuss stuff more openly; we need to share experiences, knowledge and worries.

To begin with, I hated when people called me inspirational but if my story can benefit more people and help them, then I shall continue to put my shit out there and I’ll continue to talk openly about my experiences and I know I’ll never ever bottle shit up again. Friends and family care, they’ll ride it out with you and pull you through and if they can’t there are plenty of charities and professional bodies who will.

Dig in and speak out, you aren’t weak, you aren’t inferior and normal doesn’t exist. Contention does and it can be achieved.

I’m in a good place now, content, and positive and in control again. If I can get there from where I was I truly believe most people can, however you aren’t going to achieve it alone, you need a good support network and the love of positive people.

Anyway I hope you have found some help in this. I find it hard writing them now as I don’t want to continually repeat myself. Read the other blogs if you want to learn more. I don’t have all the answers but I don’t think anyone ever will.

Keep on keeping on

Weasel