The Bus Chronicles: The Long Wait

It’s been a while since I did a Bus Chronicles post but today seems like a good day for another one, given the experience I just had whilst coming home with my Christmas shopping.


A lot of folk think that shopping on Christmas Eve is a pain in the arse but it really isn’t all it’s made out to be. I was able to get everything I needed quite quickly and I didn’t feel rushed as I was browsing for presents for my family. I was in a really good mood and feeling very festive. Well, that was about to change drastically.


The worst part of today was the journey home. When I finished my shopping, I went to the nearest bus stop, knowing that there would be one along shortly… or so I thought. There was a couple standing at the bus stop when I arrived and I noticed from their expressions that they seemed to have been waiting a while before I arrived. That wasn’t a good sign. Thus began the longest wait for a bus that I’ve ever had. The sun was going down and it was getting colder by the minute. My legs became sore very quickly from standing in the same spot. My mood changed from one of happiness to being very grumpy and cranky. I was not loving life.


It was now getting ridiculous. I started to try different things; superstitious gestures that supposedly cause a bus to arrive. I sparked up a cigarette regularly to see if that would summon a bus, the way it usually does. Nope. I started walking away from the bus stop in the hopes that Sod’s Law would intervene. Nope. I even waved my wand at the side of the road to see if Ernie and the Knight Bus would magically appear. Again, nope. I was cold, tired, hungry and cranky. I just wanted to get home. When the bus eventually arrived, it was, of course, busy, given that it was super late and crowds must have built up at each bus stop. Normally this would irritate me but I was just so happy to be on my way home.


The bad mood didn’t continue for long and by the time I reached my home stop, I was happy again. I wished the driver a Merry Christmas and went on my way. I’m home and wrapping presents and very much looking forward to seeing my family on Christmas Day. I’m also very glad that I won’t need to get any buses tomorrow, not that they run on Christmas Day anyway.


A very Merry Christmas to each and every one of you and I hope you spend some time with your loved ones.


Love and Peace

Stan Lee, A Tribute: Excelsior!

The world has lost yet another legend today. I don’t use the term lightly; I reserve it for very special people who have had a great impact on society and people’s lives. Stan Lee was certainly a man of that magnitude and he will be sorely missed by comic book lovers, super hero lovers and movie goers alike. It is a very sad day today and I am sure my dad and I will raise a glass to Stan during our weekly Monday night at the pub. This will be a short tribute to Stan, with my own thoughts and opinions on his life and achievements.

 

Stan had a genuine passion for comic books. I have watched many interviews with the man and seen monologues from him that reflect the passion for his trade. He lovingly created characters like Spider-Man and Iron Man, as well as many, many others in the Marvel Universe. If it wasn’t for Stan Lee, there would be no Marvel Comics in this world. It was Lee’s love for comic books himself that allowed him to stay current and relevant throughout his career. He created characters and wrote stories that he wanted to see, first and foremost. As he himself was so passionate about the genre, he could quite confidently put out content that he loved and know that it would ring true with others.

 

An advocate of “action” over “violence”, Stan Lee would often be quoted as saying that he would not allow violence in his comic books or stories. He regarded action and violence to be 2 completely separate phenomena. Action was something that was exciting, like explosions, fist fights, epic battles, etc. He saw violence as something that would make one cringe or recoil in disgust, such as gore for the sake of gore, rape, etc. I think that this is something which allowed him to stand out from other comic book producers. Other producers were going down the graphic novel niche market, which was becoming quite popular but Stan kept producing his action-based stories, confident that people still wanted to read them. It is also something that has continued through the Marvel film franchise, as each film arguably contains action, rather than violence of the nature which Stan Lee condemned.

 

You might say that the comic book has become quite a niche media outlet in recent years. That may be true, as I understand less and less people are reading comic books each year. One thing that I will say, however, is that Marvel has been thriving despite this fact. They have taken Lee’s beloved Marvel characters, which he created decades ago, and brought them to life beyond anything that Lee could have fathomed when he initially created them. I feel that Lee is very grateful for this, as it has allowed him to see his characters live on in this new Marvel Universe in TV and film. It is clear that he supports each of the films, as he has made cameo appearances in almost every single Marvel Movie, if not every single one. His cameo appearances have always been a highlight of Marvel films for me and I am sure for many others like me. It will be sad to see the day when he no longer appears in a movie; however, I believe he has filmed several in advance so we could be a while away from that yet.

 

To me, Stan Lee was a living super hero. He was somebody to whom I could look up as a role model. Somebody who followed his passion. Somebody who was kind, respectful and a cheerful guy. He was larger than life, in more ways than one. Stand Lee was an example of what we should all strive to be in our lives. I hope that I may one day be able to look back on my life and say that I followed my passions. I imagine that Stan Lee was very happy with his life choices and will have died with very little regrets. That exactly how I want to see my life when I reach the age of 95. Having such a shining example as Stan Lee is a huge inspiration for me at this time and I hope that I continue to follow his example.

 

Rest in Peace, dear Stan Lee.

 

Excelsior!

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I Am Not Okay

I have made leaps and bounds with my mental health and some of the good days that I have had lately have been absolutely amazing. I have experienced many moments of absolute clarity, when I feel invincible and I can see my path laid out before me. There is just one little problem and I am not okay because of this: the comedown from these moments. It is relentless and I have not been able to push it back.

The Comedown

When I am feeling good, I know exactly what I must do to take care of myself and put my mental health first. I understand the importance of seeing the comedowns for that which they really are – the bad with the good; nothing more and nothing less. I know that I should be thinking about the bigger picture and allowing these moments to pass but when it comes to it, I just cannot. I end up falling down into the pits again, my brain refusing to let me do anything. I have spent the majority of my time in my bed. I feel helpless and unable to move. I want to move so badly… but I can’t. I can’t bring myself to get up and do the things I know I need to do.

This has been and will continue to be the hardest, most debilitating and most soul crushing battle that I have ever had to fight. I want to keep fighting and I know I will; I am just losing the energy to keep it up. I cannot see how I am going to keep moving forward.

I hope that I see another light again soon so that I can continue the fight.

Love and Peace

I’m Back! Wee Life Update

Hello!

I have been very quiet as of late and I feel a little guilty for closing myself off; however, I recognise that it has been for my own mental health and I have to say: I am feeling much better for taking the time off from social media and my blog. Before I get into it, I would like to give a shoutout to the people who have checked in on me whilst I have been quiet. You know who you are and I want you to know that it means the world to me.

Well, I have always said that I will continue to blog as long as I am enjoying it and it is helping me so here I am. I think it’s about time that I give you all a wee life update and let you know how I have been getting on; the good and the bad.

The Downward Spiral

A few weeks ago, I started feeling the side effects of my antedepressants very badly. I was experiencing sickness and diarrhoea. It was horrible and I was off work because of it. I knew that these were possible side effects so I tried to roll with it and wait until I got better; however, it took a little longer than I had anticipated for the side effects to subside. Now, this is where things start to get really bad. The side effects had really affected me physically more than anything else and my sleeping pattern had been badly affected. I was up until all hours of the night and the morning, which obviously did not help with my routine or my mental health. Thus begun the downward spiral.

My mental health began to deteriorate and it only did so quicker and quicker, until my anxiety was so bad that I could not face going into work. I knew by this point that my mental heath was very important and if my brain was telling me that I shouldn’t be in work then I should listen to it and look after myself. I tried this and stayed off work to give my brain as much of a break as I could. Except, I had no idea how much this would eventually affect me in the long run. I was about to hit the lowest point of my struggle with depression up to this point. Days off work turned very quickly into a week and before I knew it, I was off for 3 full weeks. As I started preparing to go back to work, it hit me: I don’t get sick pay from my employer and I have rent and bills to pay at the end of the month. This realisation hit me like a tonne of bricks and I was absolutely floored with my depression. I instantly felt numb, like my brain had just shut down in order to protect me from the anguish that was realising my failure and the impossible situation with which I was now faced. This numbness was very familiar to me by this point but there was something else… something new. I suddenly no longer wanted to be here anymore. I didn’t want to live as somebody who had failed so miserably and fallen so low that I would not be able to pick myself back up. Some of you may be thinking that I was feeling suicidal and you would be forgiven for assuming this; however, I wasn’t suicidal. I wasn’t having feelings of ending my own life; I was having feelings of no longer wanting to exist anymore. It is difficult to explain but I hope that others have felt this as strongly as I have and they will be able to relate to it. If you have, get in touch and tell me about it.

On the Up ‘n’ Up!

I was in the pits for what felt like an age but it was actually only a couple of days. I knew that I had to do something positive and at least try to get myself out of this difficult situation so I did. I arranged to go over to my mum and dad’s house for dinner on the Sunday. I have been in situations before where I am hesitant to talk to my mum and dad about certain subjects but let me tell you: this one was a doozy. Not only was I in a financial crisis but I had to tell them the reason why I was. It meant having to talk about my mental health to a degree that I had never had to reach before. This was scary stuff… but I did my best to stay positive and remember that my mum and dad are there for me. They are my family and they always have and always will be. My maw ‘n’ da!

Well, after dinner, I plucked up the courage and spoke to them about everything. The side effects, the spiral into nothingness, the time off work and the financial troubles. I would be lying if I said they weren’t taken aback and a little upset with me; I had, after all, neglected to tell them that I had been suffering. With that being said, they were absolutely wonderful and more supportive than I could ever have imagined. They were my light at the end of the tunnel. My saviours and my heroes. I could see clearer than ever before that tey are my rock. This feeling of love and support filled my heart to the brim but at the same time, it lifted a huge weight off from my shoulders and allowed me to relax for the first time in weeks. This was the beginning of my gradual climb back up towards being myself again and do you know what? I haven’t stoped climbing! To this day, I am feeling better with each day that passes and I can feel my positive outlook coming back. I don’t know if this is due to the dosage of my meds being increased or if I have somehow had some sort of epiphany during all of the anguish or even during my climb back up. All I know is that I feel fantastic. Will this feeling last? No, it wont… but a big part of me now realises that and knows that it won’t be the end of the world when I drop back down a little. I know that I have support in many places and I don’t need to suffer.

What Now?

You might be wondering: what’s going on now that you’ve managed to fight your way back up, Duncan? To be quite honest, not a lot has been going on recently. I have been taking a lot of time for myself. I have been chilling out and getting a good night’s sleep for work as often as I can. I have been eating as well as possible on this tight budget and I have been seeing my friends and family whenever I can. Now that I feel like I am in a better place, I will be able to write more often. I will be able to start making more videos for my YouTube channel. I will be able to enjoy my life, as well as ensure that I am a more active member of this wonderful blogging and Mental Health Awareness community. I want to start really making a difference in the world of mental health and what better time to do it other than when I am feeling positive and productive?

I will probably be looking for other bloggers to collaborate with in the near future. Already, I am in talks with somebody about a few different projects and I have been in touch with one of my favourite bloggers about doing a collab with them very soon. We had planned to publish a post for World Mental Health Day on Wednesday 10th October but life got in the way for both of us and in the end this wasn’t possible. We will be getting together very soon, I hope. It’s going to be a very busy time for me and I couldn’t be happier about that. I will of course still be doing my #BeardedChat and keeping up with my @BeardedRT account, as well as keeping you all updated on my personal/blogging Twitter, @TalesofaBeard. There has never been a better time to follow my blog. I promise you that it will be a very exciting, thought-provoking and even funny time for all of you who are keen to keep up with my goings on.

Why don’t you join me for it all?

Love and Peace

Today, I Was Feeling Down

Here is my latest video! It is a proper vlog this time around and I had so much fun making it! Like and subscribe to keep up to date with my vlog!

 

 

Love and Peace

The Next Step: My Vlogging Journey

I have been pretty quiet on my blog for the past week or so. This has really been because I have been in a rut with my mental health and even writing couldn’t bring me out of it. I was just in my pit and not doing anything of any substance. I have managed to scrape by and can say that I am breaking out again. Let’s try to keep that going.

 

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The Next Step

I have taken a huge step on my blogging journey: I have decided to start a YouTube channel so that I can vlog, as well as keep you updated on this blog.

 

I am still enjoying writing and will continue to do so for as long as it helps me and it is fun or therapeutic; however, this next step comes at a time when I really want to help other people. The vlog will still be centred around my own life but the stories will be told with the intention of reaching out to others who are going through similar experiences. Talking directly to people who are struggling with mental health issues, particularly men, who are far more likely to conform to the stigma that mental health should not be talked about in any circumstances.

 

Breaking the Stigma

The main goal of getting my vlog out there is to try to break the stigma surrounding mental health. I want to show people, through talking about my own problems and suggesting ways to improve mental health, that it is absolutely fine to talk about your mental health and you are not alone in your struggle. We are all human and our brains are all susceptible to mental illnesses. This is just a fact of life and the more that people realise this, the better chance we have of breaking the stigma surrounding it all. Mental health can no longer be a taboo subject. There are too many people suffering and even dying because of this.

 

My Vlog

Here is my first video, which is an introduction to the kind of content I will be posting and my goals with the vlog. Give it a watch, visit my channel and like and subscribe to receive more updates. I am so excited to continue with this project:

 

 

Love and Peace

The Flawesome Award

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I have been nominated for the Flawesome Award by katedaysaweek and I am really honoured to have received this nomination from her. Apart from anything else, she is an amazing blogger and I am thankful that she thought of me.

The Flawesome Award was created by Sophia Ismaa Writes and I would like to show you her own description of the award and its intention:

“It’s time to celebrate the flaws that make you awesome.

How many times do we see an award that celebrates all things bright and shiny and sunny in a person? How often do we forget that our weaknesses can be a strength? Our flaws make us human, our flaws tell us more about who we are, and in turn we turn those flaws into awesome strengths. In short, our flaws make us #flawesome.”

 

Rules:

  1. Link back to the creator – Sophia Ismaa Writes
  2. Display the award
  3. List 3 flaws and turn it into a strength
  4. Tag 10 other people

 

3 THINGS THAT MAKE ME FLAWESOME

I am far too laid back a lot of the time and while this can have a very negative impact on my life, it has its positive sides too. The main things that come to mind when I think of positives that could come from being too laid back are my demeanour and mannerisms. It makes me very approachable and I have been told by many people I have a very calming air about me. I make people feel at ease and if they are panicking or feeling anxious then I can usually bring them back down and help them to ground themselves.

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I can be too kind sometimes and this can get me into situations that are, overall, not very good for me. For instance, I have been taken advantage of many times throughout my life. People have taken my kindness and run with it so that they can get things from me but they never repay the favour; however, my kindness is also one of my greatest traits and my experiences with people taking advantage of me have allowed me to build my judge of character. I am now better able to determine who is worthy of my kindness and who isn’t. Now, when I give all of my kindness to somebody, it is greater appreciated and I feel better for it. This is a hugely positive thing for me.

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I have been told I take myself too seriously. This is something that causes me to be quick to emotion when somebody takes the piss out of me or something that I have done. My friends often pull me up for taking things too seriously. Although it can be an annoying trait, it also means that I take my life and my goals seriously. I don’t see myself as a joke and I see myself as worthy of being taken seriously. This is something that I have recently lost sight of, as I have fallen into the depths of depression; however, it is something that I will be trying to keep in mind so that I can continue my journey to beating this mental illness.

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This has been fun to write, as it has allowed me to look at myself and bring even more positivity out of me. It is incredibly important for me to remember that there can be something positive pulled from almost any situation.

 

I will now nominate:

  1. Jen
  2. Charlene
  3. Megan
  4. Nicole
  5. Batmom85
  6. The Unmapped Nurse
  7. Becky
  8. Meglio
  9. Britt
  10. Cordelia