The Return of the Beard

I’m Back!

Well, it certainly has been quite some time since I talked about my life. I have missed blogging terribly but my life was so busy that I just could not keep on top of writing, along with everything else.

Since I last wrote a wee update, I’ve started a new job, come off my meds and I’ve been practicing more self care. I am definitely in a much better place than I was the last time I wrote. I guess, in some ways, that makes it a little bit more difficult to write; mainly because I am so used to writing whenever things are going wrong or whenever I am feeling like the pits. Well, inspiration has struck and I will take this wherever it may take me. You all will just need to deal with whatever drivel I unload into this post.

My New Job

I think that this new job has made the biggest difference to my mental health over the last few months. It seems to have been the thing which catapulted me into a better place. That is in no small part thanks to the fact that I seem to have found a job where I feel appreciated. It is also a relatively new development within the company I’m working for, which means there is a lot of room for progression. I am still aiming for a job as a teacher or a trainer and it seems an opportunity like that may come up pretty soon within this project!

I am still doing training, despite starting the job in November 2018. The fact that they provide 12 weeks of training for this role shows me that they are invested in their staff and it is a huge difference from my last employer. It has lead me to feel more relaxed and at peace with my job, which something I have not felt for a very long time. I am nearing the end of training, which is only 2 weeks away and I already feel like I am ready to do the job well. I am excited to work hard and show them what I’m capable of!

Off My Meds?

Yep, you read that right. I am currently cold turkey on my meds and have been for around 2 months now. Don’t get the wrong idea, this was not purely a conscious decision for my mental health. The meds were definitely helping me. The reason I stopped taking them was simply that I ran out and I suddenly became too busy with work that I forgot to refill the prescription. Since then, the new job and better mindset has kept me going and I have not really felt like I need them; however, there have been times when I have felt incredibly intense depression and anxiety. I think my body is telling me that I need that chemical balance again and it is struggling to cope. I haven’t yet decided whether or not I will go back on them but I do feel that it would be a good idea. I will keep you posted on this, for sure.

More Self-Care

I have never been very good at looking after myself. All I have ever been good at is surviving. Well, since I left home and had to look after myself without my parents being there 24/7 anyway. I would always find myself doing the bare minimum in terms of staying clean and healthy and also in keeping myself fed. Lately, however, I have been making sure that I follow a daily routine, which includes washing, looking smart, being productive and and setting aside time to cook meals. I have been making meals that I can take to work, which has made me feel very proud of myself. I have been making lovely meals for dinner in the evening, which has made me feel more creative and just happy in general. I have also been making sure that I change into my PJs when I get home then having some tea and biscuits. This makes me feel a lot more relaxed and content. These may all sound like silly little things to the average person but all of them have added up. All of them together make me feel mentally healthy, even if it is just for brief periods. Long may it continue!

I still feel very much like my mental illness has a vice like grip on me and I don’t think that will change any time soon. The demons are being kept at bay for now but they are still lurking. Can I keep them away long enough each day so that I can continue feeling good about myself? I will certainly try my hardest.

What’s in Store?

Well, now that I am in a better place and feeling motivated, I have decided to continue blogging in my spare time! I will be updating this as often as I can. I also will be doing my Twitter chats, retweets and mental health awareness support on Twitter. I will do my best to upload more content to my YouTube channel, as believe it or not I am still super excited to have that medium available in my fight against the stigma of mental health. I thoroughly enjoyed making my first 2 videos and will definitely be continuing with the project.

This is all a lot to handle and keep on top of so I will of course be keeping an eye on my mental health in case the pressure of everything ends up being too detrimental. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep up with everything.

Thank You!

I would just like to end this post with a heart-felt thank you to all of you who have stuck by my side whilst I have been away from blogging. You know who you are and I cannot express just how much I really appreciate it.

Until next time!

Love and Peace

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

Not Everybody is Like You

I’m sat here, thinking to myself. I’m in danger of my thoughts taking me to somewhere very dark and negative so I thought I would write something meaningful and keep my brain in line.

The thought occurred to me that I often get hurt by other people. The majority of the time, this hurt is not intentional by the offending party but that doesn’t make it hurt any less. How could they have been so thoughtless and inconsiderate that they would do something which would hurt me so much? Am I overreacting? Would another person like myself be hurt in the same way? I like to think that everybody else would feel the same way as I do but that, quite frankly, just isn’t the case.

Although there are bound to be people out there who think and feel the way I do, the reality is that a majority of humankind is so different from me. What is offensive or hurtful to me, will be nothing to a great percentage of my peers. This is quite hard to accept, as we all seek to relate to others in one way or another. If we can’t relate to them because of a differing opinion or feeling over something, it becomes harder to connect with them. Harder but not impossible, I might add.

One thing that I often reinforce for people who are having a difficult time and feel like they are overreacting or just acting crazy, is that their feelings are valid. They are valid because it is what is going on in their mind and they feel that way whether they like or not. Perhaps I should remember that piece of advice when it comes to my own mental health and my own feelings of being hurt. It is valid that I feel hurt because, whether I like it or not, I feel that way. What’s important is how I approach the situation and whether or not I am able to figure out why I’m hurt and if it was justified. There is a difference between something being valid and something being justified. I think we all need to find that line, in all aspects of our lives.

This was a bit of a ramble but I hope it’s been thought provoking. Have a wonderful Saturday evening.

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

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

My Heart, My Soul, My Bitter Brain in Revolt

I am sitting here in my pit,

Waiting for motivation to hit.

My heart yearns for a better life,

While my soul battles through all this strife.

This struggle has gone on far too long,

I want to be but I’m really not strong.

Fighting against my mind, it’s becoming old hat,

Constantly over thinking about this or about that.

I know what I need to do to get better,

But my brain, it continues to stutter.

It is winning this fight, right now,

Keeping me from doing even that which I know how.

Will I ever beat this darkness, this debilitating illness?

Will I be able to substitute it for happiness and wellness?

Alas, I do not know, truth be told,

As it seems my bitter brain is in revolt.