Tag Archives: Mental illness

Frank Bruno Boxing

Boxing Legend Frank Bruno Is Trending For All The Wrong Reasons

British Boxing legend Frank Bruno made an appearance on ITV’s news magazine program This Morning earlier today. Bruno, the 54-year-old sporting legend, was soon trending across the world as a result of his television appearance. Unfortunately for big Frank, it is for all the wrong reasons. Bruno has struggled with mental illness for many years, and according to the Express, viewers who saw this morning’s interview were horrified by its content. Mr. Bruno appeared unwell and used the interview to announce that he intended to return to the ring at the age of 54.

via Boxing Legend Frank Bruno Is Trending For All The Wrong Reasons.

Imagine Dragons

Imagine Dragons Star Dan Reynolds Is As Depressed As Hell

Imagine Dragons are fast becoming one of the biggest rock bands on the planet. They move from success to success, and Imagine Dragons are one of only two rock bands with at least three top 40 hits since 2010 (Fun is the other) and inescapable single “Radioactive” hung in the Hot 100 for a record-shattering 87 weeks.

When Imagine Dragons stood on the main stage at Reading festival last August in front of 100,000 delirious fans, they looked every inch the rock superstars. Yet through it all, Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds was hiding a terrible secret. You see, Dan Reynolds and Imagine Dragons may have topped the charts with their hit “Demons,” but according to Us Magazine, Reynolds is opening up for the first time about his own demons.

Read More at http://www.inquisitr.com/1842107/imagine-dragons-star-dan-reynolds-is-as-depressed-as-hell-lost-his-friends/

[image by  by Anthony Mair via Vegasseven.com]

Clarke Carlisle Admits That His Accident Was a Suicide Attempt!

Many of my regular readers will be aware that I suffer from depression.  Did you also know that today there is a campaign highlighting the effects of mental illness and the effects it can have.  All too often this awful illness ends in suicide to attempted suicide.  I applaud Clarke Carlisle for speaking out.  Please read his story and share it.

Three days before Christmas, soccer star Clarke Carlisle was hospitalized after being hit by a truck. On December 22 The Mail revealed that the retired soccer star and TV pundit had been critically injured when he was hit by the truck on a road near York, England. The 35-year-old married father of two had to be airlifted to hospital. Carlisle, who played for nine clubs and was a players’ union boss, suffered serious head injuries and was in a coma for a month.
Read more at http://www.inquisitr.com/1816191/clarke-carlisle-soccer-star-admits-suicide-attempt-by-jumping-in-front-of-truck/#xtJS4Qfk9bXt03oV.99

The WordPress community – A depressive gives thanks

I must say I am feeling very humbled today.  Do you want to know why?  Well if you have five minutes, grab a coffee, put your feet up and have a read.  It may turn out to be a little bit of a long read, but it might be worth it, I hope so anyway.

Back in February of this year I was retired from the Police service in Dorset (UK) as a result of my ill health.  I have never been out of work for a single day in my life though I have had a couple of lengthy periods of sickness due to my depression.  Work related depression has been my companion for some time but after a lengthy bout in 2002 I managed to get back on top of it, returned to work and had some promotions and very responsible positions.

In 2011 I reached rock bottom again as a result of stress related depression.  I have so much to be grateful to my family for.  My wife and my son were stalwarts throughout the bad times, offering unwavering support even at times when I was  insufferable.  My son has just turned 16 and, to be frank, he shouldn’t have had to put up with what he did but he was an absolute star.  I did manage to get myself back to work in 2012 but I just couldn’t cope and was soon on sick leave again.  I was surprised but relieved when the decision was made to medically retire me.  Whilst I was relieved and knew deep down that I couldn’t cope with work I couldn’t escape the feeling that, there I was, on the scrapheap aged just 52.

Despite a good education, 8 years in the Navy and 29 years in the Police, a wealth of transferable skills and numerous years of experience as a trainer I did feel washed out and apprehensive about the future.  Now I have never been afraid to talk about my mental illness but I am all too aware that there is a general lack of understanding and a great deal of prejudice where mental illness is concerned.  I was concerned about how my family would cope and to how I would adapt to life without a job.

I have always considered myself lucky, I have a lovely family, a nice home, I live in a beautiful area and I have my dogs to keep me occupied when I am at home alone.  As those of you who read my blog regularly will know I have had a really busy summer immersing myself in one of my great loves. Music!  Family, friends, my dogs, Freemasonry and my music.  The five things that have helped me through all of the bad times and made my life bearable and worthwhile.  Since May though a sixth dimension has entered my life and I am really grateful for it.

Whilst I was still receiving counselling my counsellor advised that I should take up some creative pastimes.  Some 18 months ago I started to teach myself to play guitar.  I spend a little time most days playing guitar and learning new songs.  I do love to play and whilst I am by no means great I have reached a reasonable standard and I do love to sing.  Music has always been a huge part of my life and it always will be.  I love to immerse myself in music, I love music that makes you think, that is outside the mainstream and that has something to say.  I love music that challenges the establishment and that has a political message.  I wanted to channel my creative energies and I have always loved writing.  I have also had a passing interest in Photography.  What better way to channel my energy than to write about music and better still to illustrate my work with my own photographs.

In recent years I have become very cynical about politics, all of the corruption in the UK political system, politicians abusing the system, lining their own pockets at tax payers expense has brought me to believe the system is rotten to the core.  As an armed services veteran I am scandalised that our politicians continue to send our young men and women to war in places were we have no right to be, where there is no end game in sight and based on false premises.  I find it unbelievable that western governments cannot see that interference in middle eastern politics only builds Islamophobia in the west and radicalises young people in those regions.  Ultimately our policies in the regions will serve to create more terrorists not fewer.

So, as you can tell there is a lot going on in my world.  I really needed a medium to allow me to pull everything together.  As I started to explore options I came across WordPress.  After having an explore and setting up a trial site I slowly began to gain followers.  As I began to understand better how WordPress works I began to discover the WordPress community.  I was amazed that there is so many things going on, that there are huge numbers of people out there who share my views, who have similar interests and who want to talk about it.  I found people who love music, who are living with mental illness, who take photographs and who are willing to engage with others will similar interests.  I also found people who have interests so diverse I had no idea they would want to talk about them in a similar way to myself.  It must be said some of the interests I find bizarre, crazy even.

I was totally amazed to find that WordPress even runs classes to help us newbies to make the most of their sites, to network with others, to uncover hidden assets and to optimise their sites.  Whats more it is available to any WordPress user free of charge.  Amazing.

I have signed up for, and completed, Blogging 101, Blogging 201, Writing 101 and am now doing Photography 101.  These courses are all great fun, I have learned a huge amount and more importantly I have built up a great network of like minded people.  I would really recommend doing these courses, especially if you are early in your blogging career.

I am fortunate in that I have the time and enthusiasm to write most days and it seems that some people at least have an interest in what I have to say.  I won’t say that I haven’t had my dark moments.  There have been times where I have thought “Why Bother” but you know what if I stopped I would miss it.  As time has gone on I have seen a regular group of people making comments on my blog. My readership has started to expand and I now have nearly 850 followers.  In less than five months I have had almost 20 thousand hits on my blog and earlier today I had my 1000th ‘like’.  I have been nominated for several blogging awards and I now get 150 or more hits on my blog virtually every day.

I am stunned that so many people from all walks of life are interested in my little corner of the internet.  I find it so gratifying when someone makes a comment on my blog, when people like my photographs or share my love of a music album or an interest in a band.  I like it when people take the time to discuss a point of view even, or perhaps especially, when they disagree with my own views.  In the five months I have been blogging I have only had one negative experience, that was when I challenged a persons views on a difficult and contentious issue.  To be fair I should have realised from the tone of that persons site that an opposing view would not be discussed rationally.

Last but by no means least I have been totally amazed by the wonderful people who have reached out when I have written about my mental illness.  Some of these people have some experience of living with mental illness, either themselves or in a loved one.  Others have little or no experience but what they have all shared is a sense of empathy.  The willingness to just reach out and say hello or “Thanks for sharing, stay well”.

So many people write so powerfully about their own experiences, whether this is to discuss their experience of being a survivor of mental illness, of domestic abuse, of rape or of any of the myriad challenges that we humans face.  People write with courage, with fortitude and sometimes even with humour about the dark times. You find everything here on WordPress, everything from the born comedian who writes a few lines that make you smile.  The poets who artfully turn their thoughts into prose to surprise and delight us, the artist or photographer who shares a little beauty with us in the shape of a photograph.  There are those, like me, who just write on whatever captures our imagination on any given day, who write just as an outlet, sometimes emotional, sometimes dull, sometimes nonsensical, just giving their thoughts a voice. Some, again like me, jump onto the often fascinating daily or weekly prompts and some just throw random, sometimes irreverent thoughts around.

There is one thing that binds WordPress writers together though.  You are all amazing.  I offer heartfelt thanks to every single person who has visited my blog, left a comment, hit the like button, nominated me for an award or just dropped in, found nothing of interest to them and moved on.  Each and every one of you give me another reason to carry on writing and that helps to make my days a little better and helps me to cope with my depression 🙂

Unequal Terms – The Daily Post.

Todays Daily prompt is to join in with Blog action day by discussing what inequality means to me.  I am approaching the task by way of free write so here goes.

We face inequality, unfairness, prejudice and discrimination in every walk of life.  I hope that I am open minded and that I stand up against inequality whenever I come across it.  I suspect that my strong feelings hark back to my growing up in Northern Ireland.  Early in life I was aware of members of my family displaying an extreme and totally irrational prejudice against anyone who was a Roman Catholic.  This seemed totally bizarre to me.  I could understand people hating on those responsible for terrorist atrocities, but grouping everyone of a particular faith for hatred as a result just didn’t seem right.

I left Northern Ireland and joined the Navy at 16 and very quickly became aware of how it felt to  be on the wrong end of discrimination and prejudice for no good reason.   Just because I had a Northern Irish accent I was labelled stupid, a terrorist and became the butt of a never ending stream of Irish jokes.  I was called Paddy, Mick, Bog trotter, Boggy, just about anything except my given name.  This was not just by my fellow trainee’s but by instructors and trainers as well.  I can’t even begin to explain just how difficult it was to stand up against this.  When you stood up against this type of insidious bullying you were labelled a trouble maker and accused of failing to fit in.

When I moved to my first ship this type of behaviour was prevalent.  I remember when two black lads were attached to my ship for a period of training.  They were from a foreign Navy though I don’t remember which one.  The were immediately nicknamed ‘Daz’ and ‘Omo’, the names of two popular detergents at the time.  The implication being that they would wash ‘Whiter than White.  Even now the thought of people being treated in this way makes me cringe.

After leaving the Navy I joined another male dominated macho culture where despite being in a position of authority I continued to be the butt of Irish jokes and so on.  In this job I saw at first hand how badly women were treated in the workplace.  it was always assumed that they should be ‘looked after’ by male colleagues.  To this day I will never forget the treatment of one female colleague by other members of staff.  This lady was in her late 20’s and was jaw droopingly beautiful.  One day in the office she was leaning across a desk when a senior colleague came up behind her, grabbed her by the hips and ground his groin against her rear simulating having sex.  As you can imagine she was horrified.  She stood up to the bully and made a complaint against him.  As a result she and her partner were totally ostracised and subject to the most horrific abuse by other colleagues.  despite their being numerous witnesses to the actions of the male colleague the complaint was not upheld and the lady eventually had to leave the job because she was so badly treated.

These are just a few examples of how I have witnessed prejudice in action over the years.  I have seen people passed over for promotion and be subject of discrimination and bullying as a result of the colour of their skin, their gender, their sexuality, their ethnic origin, their appearance and just about anything else you could imagine.

I spent much of my working life in training roles and spent a lot of time helping colleagues to identify inequality, to stand up against it and to support others who were subject to it.  I genuinely believe that I have been able to use my own experiences to raise awareness of inequality issues and as a result have done as much as possible to combat the blight on society.

One issue I often talked about openly was my own mental illness.  I am a big guy, 6’2″ tall, even after 37 years of living in England I have a broad Northern Irish accent and I am both forthright and confident.  people see me as very strong minded and I guess a little brash.  I was always amused to see students reactions when I told them I suffered from mental illness.  They seemed unable to grasp the fact that someone strange and confident could suffer so badly from depressive illness.  Unfortunately for me my organisation was not great at dealing with mental illness and on many occasions they were unable to support me effectively.  This eventually lead to my being retired early as a result of my illness.

Talking about inequality, discrimination and prejudice openly is the only way to widen understanding of it and (in my vision of Utopia) to eradicate it.  I hope that through the vast majority of my life I have done this and I hope others will to.  It is about understanding the effect your actions have on others.  It is not always possible to know that you have offended other peoples sensitivities.  Only by raising issues and talking about them in a calm, rational, non-judgemental and supportive way can we educate others and make life in general better for everyone we come into contact with.

So thats my story.  Have you faced similar issues?  How did you deal with them?  Did you feel you were adequately supported?  please let me know, I would really like to hear your story.

Robin Williams – A Black Dog Day

Today the world mourns the passing of another tortured genius.  Robin Williams, a man who brought a smile to the face of millions, took his own life whilst in the grip of a serious bout of depression.  Once again the Black dog of depression has claimed a life.  It is widely acknowledged that those with high levels of intelligence, creativity or artistry are, for reasons we may never understand, more susceptible to diseases of the mind, especially to depression and bi-polar disorders.  It would appear that many are also susceptible to addiction.  It would seem that Robin Williams fitted into all of the categories mentioned. An intelligent, articulate man, a comic genius who had a unique gift to make people laugh, especially, for me at least, in his more slapstick roles.  Seemingly hugely successful in everything he did and yet his struggles with alcohol, drugs and depression are well documented.

Thankfully the subject of depression and mental illness is less of a taboo now than it once was.  Williams spoke openly about his problems, he paid regular visits to rehab and no doubt employed the best Doctors in their field and yet depression still claimed his life.  Those who have not suffered from or lived with depression may well look at Williams life and ask the question ‘What did he have to be depressed about’?  Why on earth would a man with all the resources available to him feel the need to take his own life?  The answer in Williams case may never be known, but from my own experiences I will make some educated guesses.

When in a depressed state a sufferer feels like a failure, no matter how brilliant or successful they are or how wonderful their lives seem to others.  No matter how loved you are you feel worthless.  No matter how much you are supported you feel alone.  Depression rarely lasts for a few weeks, recovery takes many months, sometimes years and all too frequently it is a lifelong struggle.  Medication helps in some cases, talking therapies help in others.  For me a mixture of medication and mindfulness meditation exercises has helped me to bring my condition under some measure of control.  That said just last week I had a couple of really bad days, my black dog days.  Singer songwriter Gaz Brookfield’s song really touches a chord with me.  Depression is that black dog that you can never outrun, it is always there ready to pounce, but with help it can be leashed and brought under some measure of control.

That old dog knows how to find me
It matters not which road I travel on
And I thought those days were behind me
But it turns out I could not have been more wrong
And he sits right there on my shoulder
His cold, wet breath upon my neck
And they said he would leave when I got older
But he still creeps up when I least expect

And it’s hard to say why it has to be today
And I can’t explain how it feels
But a black dog day could be just one sleep away
And I’ll never see him coming but I’ll keep running with him snapping at my heels

And there’s no good reason for his visits
He requires neither catalyst nor cause
And he’ll push me to my very limits
And leave with nothing but the scars left by his claws
And he steals the wind right out my sails
And he leaves me at the mercy of the waves
And I’ve tried but I have failed to outrun him
But I’m not fast enough on my feet to escape

And it’s hard to say why it has to be today
And I can’t explain how it feels
But a black dog day could be just one sleep away
And I’ll never see him coming but I’ll keep running with him snapping at my heels
At my heels

And it’s hard to say why it has to be today
And I can’t explain how it feels
But a black dog day could be just one sleep away
And I’ll never see him coming but I’ll keep running with him snapping at my heels
And it’s hard to say why it has to be today
And I can’t explain how it feels
But a black dog day could be just one sleep away
And I’ll never see him coming but I’ll keep running with him snapping at my heels

Robin Williams I am so sorry that your black dog caught you and that you felt you could not fight him any longer.  I am sorry that you couldn’t make through the day, I am sorry that your loved ones now mourn your passing, no doubt asking themselves what they could have done to prevent this tragedy.  It will be very hard for them to understand that they could not have done anything, you would have found a way.

A light has gone out in the world, we will miss you.  Rest in peace.