Monday, 24 August 2015

Why am I called Musashi?

Why am I called Musashi?
While I think anti-depressants work great as a mood stabilizer   they're not going to help you improve or eradicate your depression.  From what I could gleam from Bad Science by Ben Goldacre pharmaceutical companies are quite happy to test their anti-depressants against placebos.  Having read this before becoming severely depressed I apprehensive about taking them in the first place so weather it was suggestion from what I'd learned from Bad Science  the 20mg of Citalopram  I was taking each day did little for my mood except stabilize it but that's what they're  there for. I was surprised I was on a low dosage compared to some people  who were on 60mg  I still got a long list of the side effects but not the persistent painful erection thank god.  It's not listed as a side effect  because  probably only one person got it and reported that they had a persistent painful erection. so if you are taking Citalopram you probably won't get one......I hope.

Now this isn't a post telling you to put down the meds  I'm not suggesting that for a second , what I am saying is do not expect pills or even counselling to be the solution  they work for some and not for others. You need to go out and experience new things , meet new people  and over all  gain new life experience , sometimes you'll get hurt  and sometimes it'll be amazing. Having depression it's easy to get stuck in that rut of  counselling and medication and these are the things that will make you better. That's what you're told  but just medication and counselling while great are like putting life on pause or at least that's how  I felt and while I'm still depressed my mood is stable  by experiencing  new things and looking at life from a different perspective.

It's at this point  you get to learn why I call myself Musashi my real name is Liam but I don't mind either , it's not just a gamer tag it has a deep meaning to me, now when I was younger  I played the shinobi games one  sega mega drive or genesis if you're an american at the end of Shinobi 3 you learn your characters name and it's Musashi.  As soon as I saw the name I liked it felt kind of drawn to it if I'm honest so I did a google search and Musashi Miyamoto popped up, he was and still is a famous duelist in fact the most famous duelist in Japan's history. The next week I ordered  the Book of five rings from a local book retailer, I read this book at home, college , on the bus to and from anywhere. I read it and  re-read over and over every page had a deeper meaning  that could be interpreted in 100 different ways. I still regularly research Musashi  I can't exactly remember when I came across it but I came across the Dokkodo  it's quite sad really but it translates to the path of aloneness  and I found a few things in  there which really kept me going.

  1. Accept everything just the way it is.
  2. Do not seek pleasure for its own sake.
  3. Do not, under any circumstances, depend on a partial feeling.
  4. Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.
  5. Be detached from desire your whole life.
  6. Do not regret what you have done.
  7. Never be jealous.
  8. Never let yourself be saddened by a separation.
  9. Resentment and complaint are appropriate neither for oneself nor others.
  10. Do not let yourself be guided by the feeling of lust or love.
  11. In all things, have no preferences.
  12. Be indifferent to where you live.
  13. Do not pursue the taste of good food.
  14. Do not hold on to possessions you no longer need.
  15. Do not act following customary beliefs.
  16. Do not collect weapons or practice with weapons beyond what is useful.
  17. Do not fear death.
  18. Do not seek to possess either goods or fiefs for your old age.
  19. Respect Buddha and the gods without counting on their help.
  20. You may abandon your own body but you must preserve your honor.
  21. Never stray from the way.

    Some are quite extreme  but think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world can open your eyes to an entirely different world  and don't regret  what you've done , I don't regret a single blog post.
Tell me if you have some one  as inspirational  as this in your life or if you're looking for some kind of inspiration or motivation.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Fake Depression Vs Real Depression

Fake Depression Vs Real Depression
I should stress that this is mostly personal opinion and again based on my own experiences. I do feel that there are people out there who fake depression   and these people stand out  because to them depression is more a go to excuse than an illness. My self and a lot of others who have depression it's guarded secret you tell to people you trust  but it's not just a case of telling people it's how you interact online  as well it kind of re-writes the book a little bit.  Now I know of several people  who have put  up a Facebook status telling people that they're going to commit suicide now is this a cry for help? Or is it a cry for attention ?   A lot of the time it's the latter it's just a cry for attention that being said there's still a problem with that person but it's most likely  not severe depression in my opinion.

I had a friend and for the sake of anonymity we'll call him Dick , now Dick used to talk to me about his depression all of the time now I wasn't depressed at the time  and I didn't really understand depression but he liked to send me instant messages through MSN Messenger at the time (really showing my age here) telling me he was going to slit his wrists, take an overdose or hang himself I would have to call his mam every time to check he was okay and 100% of the time Dick was fine doing nothing special  , not stringing together a noose  or sharpening blades. I used to get quite pissed off with the threats and after a while I stopped  listening. Shortly after a string of arguments about the threats of suicide and him being turned down by a girl he really liked Dick genuinely attempted suicide  and swallowed over 50 pills  high strength pain killers, luckily for him his body rejected a good bulk of them  and he was in hospital for a few days.   I went to visit because no one else would , I felt obliged to and  we chatted for a bit trying to understand why he did it. I had to leave when he bragged about knowing the right number of pills to take next time.

I don't want to make it seem like the kind of people that do this don't have problems they certainly do have problems but  when Dick actually attempted suicide  there was no warning, no Facebook status no messages  it comes out of no where.  It's pretty much the boy who cried wolf and social media can be rife with it a times.  So how do you tell the difference? Well people who suffer from depression tend to reflect everything inwardly  don't get me wrong we still vent about things but ask how we're doing and we're always just fine. It's common knowledge by now it's all fake smiles and jokes and the depression just bubbles under the surface.

credit where it's due  is  here's a link to the I'm fine picture  ^_^ I'm Fine

Friday, 21 August 2015

Depression doesn't exist?

Depression Doesn't exist?

Now before you fetch the lynch mob stay with me for a few minutes, I know depression exists , you know depression exists I'm not for a second suggesting it doesn't. I am however going to point out that you will come across people who will say it doesn't or at least that they don't believe it does. Don't bother trying to convince these people ,don't bother arguing with them  but don't avoid them.  You will be challenged about your depression by friends  and by doctors sometimes but that's normal and to be fair to some people it's quite difficult to understand if you're not going through it. 

My former flat mate  came up to me once  and she said "you know I never used to think depression was a real thing  I thought people like that were faking but after meeting you  I kind of do understand it" I laughed it off  but was happy I had managed to convince someone in doubt that depression is a real illness and not just a mental one but a physical one as well. I mean think of any other illness or injury  do people think heart attacks don't exist ? Cancer? Is gout also fake?  no like depression they're all real illnesses.

Above   we have some statistics provided by the Samaritans here's a link to the PDF: Samaritans PDF

Now looking at those statistics  thousands of people commit suicide each year in the UK  were they all faking? A lot of people commit suicide because they have no reason to keep going on, no reason to keep on living  or no reason to keep on living that will satisfy them. Feeling dejected and somehow redundant from life can be strange. Every time  I've been in that situation there has always been light at the end of the tunnel   but I never could see it.

If' you've been in this situation where someone has flat out told you you're faking be patient with them  because they have the potential to understand, If they don't stop don't avoid them but definitely don't listen to them. I'd like to think for every one person who thinks it's a fake illness there are another 10 who know it's not fake and they are sympathetic to your situation.

Please tell me what you think and tell me if you've been in a situation like this whether it's depression,anxiety or PTSD feel free to comment.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Flash Backs In The Work Place

Flash Backs In The Work Place

It happens  sometimes I'll be at work  and I'll be extremely busy working in the crowded bar and I'll have a flashback, I've had to learn how to function during flashbacks  I focus on the task at hand and fill my head with the thoughts of how I'm going to do that.  They are pretty much unavoidable  you're going to have them it's how you deal with them that matters so don't worry about having them focus on how you're going to stay in the rhythm of work. Sometimes depending on how severe  the flash backs can stop you in your tracks and most people don't notice whats going on. Increased stress and anxiety unfortunately  is going to mean more flashbacks and I have to say I don't get many flash backs at work now.

I think the best way to describe it is auto pilot  and that's what happens to me a lot of the time I'll be having a flashback  and if I'm in a public place surrounded by people I go into auto pilot , if I'm alone and have a flashback I'll completely zone out but I won't notice till the brunt of the trauma comes to the front of my mind.  That may not make much sense but it's quite hard to explain I guess my therapist said I actually had quite good control over flashbacks in public.

What I really struggle with is what I guess you would call a hypothetical flash forward,  some of you may know what I'm talking about  and some of you might want to call bullshit  but if I know there's about to be a situation within a day or few hours I think about it to the extent my mind presents me with possible outcomes in the same way I get flash backs  but I find myself  responding to an argument that hasn't happened but could potentially happen but probably won't. It sounds ridiculous it always does when I tell anyone so I can't describe how daft it feels writing about it.  Sometimes those hypothetical arguments  escape my mind and I'll respond to the argument out load but I'm able to stop myself immediately if I do. Yeah it sounds genuinely crazy I know  but that's the most extreme part of this condition I have to deal with and day by day I'm coming up with more coping mechanisms  and I'm improving  and this rarely happens  now.

Feel free to comment even if this doesn't happen to you tell me what you think ^_^ 

Get involved

Get involved

So what do I mean when I say get involved? 

I mean make a comment , ask a question , ask me anything about my experiences  don't be shy. I really don't mind I want that challenge it's really why I'm doing this  because not only will this help me but I think it could help you by starting discussions.

What am I doing exactly?

Well this started off as a therapy I guess, once your experiences are out there they're not so bad it's in the past it's nothing you can change but it's everything you need to learn life lessons and maybe you have PTSD maybe you don't but maybe I stumbled upon  life lesson you haven't. Maybe I have more life lessons to learn but everyone suffering from PTSD  is going to be at different stages. I would describe my PTSD as mild if it can be classed as that but different scenarios can make it worse and there are most certainly people out there who are in worse place than I am with PTSD  just read my earlier post "The Bridge".

Whats the point?

There's some misconceptions about PTSD I want to try and set the record straight  where PTSD is concerned  I recently had a run in with a volunteer at my old workplace who said I couldn't possibly have PTSD  because I had never been in the Army. That's just not the case all those suffering from depression have a potential trigger for PTSD   but for a lot they don't reach that trigger. While I was doing my foundation degree in my second year I was moderately depressed doing all the work  I could  but being told it was worthless by one tutor , that tutor went on to bully me in the class room and went so far as to ban me from the classroom for no reason. I felt dejected  and after I passed my course and got my foundation degree I turned towards charity work and it felt rewarding. Up until that point  I didn't have PTSD it's when I got attacked multiple times out of no where in places where I had always felt safe that's what triggered my PTSD.

What do I hope to achieve?

If you have PTSD you're always worried it's going to work against you  whether it's seeking employment  or while being employed, personally I don't tell my employers about my condition in interviews but I am quite open about my PTSD with colleagues.  Really I just don't want people to suffer in silence  and really PTSD is a personalized mental health condition  so there's no one right answer  as to how to treat it CBT, EMDR now equine therapy  there are new treatments starting  and I think sharing experiences could help or at least act as a mild buffer if counselling isn't for you.

What do you think ? 

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Lucid Dreaming

Lucid Dreaming

Firstly this just helped me I'm not saying it'll help you but maybe it could there are certain ways you can make yourself dream and then  begin to gain control over those dreams. Now my PTSD causes flashbacks and nightmares some symbolic of the trauma , sometimes you relive the actual trauma. Again I'm going to stress I AM NOT A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL THIS JUST WORKED FOR ME.  I usually always dream when  it rains  and it was quite dry where I was living at the time so  I decided to play some rain noises through my phone as I slept and you know what I  had more dreams  and those dreams  were centered around my trauma and I was facing it each night.

I guess you think about dreams more than real events so I was back in my trauma each night and finding I was getting more control  in those dreams each night. You often think there was nothing I can do and I would say shortly after the trauma I was broken I felt completely powerless and I guess that was my first ever break down.  Reliving that drama is what gave me my strength back because I felt powerless in real life it's my dreams were showing me   that I wasn't.

I didn't win any fight  but I didn't loose either I got a really bad facial wound it healed within two weeks , I still have the scare but in the dreams it showed me what I did, I stood up for myself , I stood my ground and I fought back I defended that off duty officer  and I would say at that moment I had real courage. I didn't get knocked out or down yes my blood was painting the pavement at the time but I never gave up.

I wouldn't have been able to see my actions for what they were without my dreams without gaining  control of my dreams. Again I must stress this is what I feel helped me  you should really go away and do your own research as to what could  help you .I just used to play 2 hours worth  of rain sounds with no loops but there are a lot of different sounds that relax different people.

However here's  a good guide to help you get started 
binaural beats  was my method meditation helps as well

The Bridge

The Bridge

Now this is where it gets quite personal, To get to my therapy sessions, to go to work, to got to the shops and go to Uni I had to cross this big green bridge  every day while I was living in student halls. The previous year I was getting quite low near the end of the year  and stopped attending because of that bridge. Because it was an opportunity presenting itself every day  that's the frame of mind  I was in at the time. It used to get to a point where I couldn't walk across it without thinking of jumping  and when you got to therapy you get asked if you had ever planned to kill yourself  and I hadn't really planned  anything , I don't really plan much at all but I was having an inward battle with myself  every time I stepped foot on that bridge.

The bridge wasn't going to go away obviously  and I didn't really plan on conquering it but you know it took a while and it was mostly by luck. The way I got over the bridge so to speak was having a positive experience on it.  Shortly  after moving to Sunderland I had a date with this girl I met at an event  and she was amazing we had a walk around to get some air because we could barely hear each other where we were  and we ended up at the bridge and long story short we shared our first kiss on that bridge and it was amazing . Anytime I walked across that bridge after that I'd think about her and I'd be happy no dark thoughts whatsoever.

Fast  forward to February we broke up I still don't know why, I don't regret the time we had together I wish we had more really but life goes on I guess but this put me back on square one. I was struggling with the bridge again because after we broke up I reached a low that I previously thought was impossible  and I was really hurting. It didn't resolve itself till May because in May another event happened I didn't kiss another girl  this time XD but it's changed me for the better.

I was on the way to one of my last therapy sessions  and the bridge is a popular suicide location, I get to the top of the bank and a car pulls up and stops a passerby  and asks him to call the police.He points at the bridge  and I look and I see a man sat on the edge of the bridge. As I walk over the bridge I see people  just ignoring him  walking past pretending he's not there.  I reach him and crouch down  ask what's your name  and he just replies "I don't want to live anymore" and I tell him"I'm Liam ,  Liam Parry Whats your name?"  I offered him a hand shake and he took and said "Sean Young" he was sat there with his favorite soft drink I think he'd thought he'd finish his drink then jump.

I started talking to Sean and I asked "why are you sat on the the edge of the bridge mate?"  and he said he was having nightmares and they wouldn't stop and how he just wanted them to stop. He told me how no one would miss him  and I asked if he had any family  and he told me he had a daughter and grand kids. I asked him "don't you want to be there to see them grow up?" and he said "they don't need me" and I said "of course they need you" It was at this point the police arrived and took over the negotiations I told the officer on scene that Sean was suffering from PTSD  he actually spoke about being in northern Ireland with the British Army the officer asked if I was a doctor or nurse I laughed and said no I actually have PTSD.

I gave the officer my details  and continued on the way to my therapy session I had no idea if I'd done the right or wrong thing,  it definitely felt wrong to keep walking though. I got to the other side of the bridge and my own personal struggle  was over and I was pretty much decided I don't want to be another a guy sitting on the edge of that bridge someday  and also the fact that I did some good that day, I have the potential to do something good everyday. Everyone has that potential to do good and do the right thing and I think that's what I took from my experience with that bridge.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Going off medication

Going off medication

So yeah I quit anti-depressants cold turkey you're told not to you are meant to keep taking them and lower your dosage until you can just stop, mostly because of withdrawal  which is a complete pain in the arse.  Now when I moved back home from uni I had a lot to do I had my room to work on and I had things to fix, in other words my mind was very occupied at the time  and I had a weeks worth of anti depressants left,  I had no money coming in and  no way to get to my doctor so I had no choice but to quit .

It still scares me that some people are going through this and they don't have the support I do from friends and family. My advice to anyone going through that and having to make that decision focus on what you want from life because that's what I had to do I had find my resolve reasons to keep on living  and to want to keep on living and although it was a painful time both physically and emotionally I came through the other side feeling much better. Sometimes I still get quite low and other times I ride the mania. It works for me and I'm learning a lot more about myself because I'm capable of doing things when I ride the mania at least maybe it's not the healthiest way of dealing with depression but really I need to do work. Medication does work for some though.

I've developed my own coping mechanisms  Gaming and live streaming was one of them but as I'm writing this my PC is out of action.  Breathing exercises helped during the withdrawal. I also have a cat called Mickey he's kind of my PTSD pet and he's pretty awesome I kind of feel like he relates to how I'm feeling or has some understanding probably doesn't but he does help.

Monday, 17 August 2015

How do I have PTSD?

So yeah how do you have PTSD?

This is a question I'm assuming will come up  so how exactly did I get PTSD? one person in the past  said "don't you only get that if you've been in the army?"  and yeah soldiers are more likely to develop PTSD  because they're exposed  to more trauma than most of us are in our regular everyday lives.  Personally I was exposed to a trauma in my everyday life  and I think the fact that it was out of no where  that caused the brunt of the problems.

It was a hot day in June or July  I'd come back from Gateshead  after meeting with some of the people I was organizing Cherricon with , a small charity event which I set up with friends. I'd just finished my foundation degree and I was looking for work  any work at the time  so  I arrived in Durham about 2ish I think.  then had a walk around the shops handing out really badly done CVs. There was a group of lets call them wankers from now on wandering around Durham  and as I left a shop I saw an Asian woman on the floor  and  the wankers running away shouting "ching chong ching chong" their racism disgusted me. Writing this,recalling this makes me feel genuinely sick.The Asian women had wandered off  over the bridge  and I caught up with her and asked if she was ok she seemed terrified but said she was ok.

I was quite angry but I still had CVs to hand out so I kept wandering until had hit up every place I was willing to work at,  soon after I headed back to the bus station and came across the wankers. I don't even know how it happened  but I ended up in an argument with one of them, the argument turned into a fight  but a 1 vs 5 fight , I've played enough league of legends  to know how those go but I was still standing at the end of it and  was quite lucky as an off duty police officer tried breaking it up and helping me out. I thought it was over I'd just gotten off the floor after being punched and kicked and stamped on from all sides. I was wrong they started attacking the police officer and I was now assisting the police officer.  The entire front street was watching  what was going on and it was a mess  the officer was on the ground in a 2 on one fight I was trying to pull one of them off him  and while I as doing that head wanker was about to do a run up kick on the police officers head  and I could almost see it as it was slow motion.  I put myself in front of the officer  and pusher head wanker away . He threw the hardest punch I've ever received in my far any way  it tore my lip from the corner of my mouth.  I later found out  the police officer  suffered a broken elbow the poor bastard only went out for milk I still feel terrible about that but I'll always be grateful for his help.

That was my first trauma  I was attacked on the bus 2 weeks later by another gang related to the first  and  again soon after  starting university as chance to get away from the violence so yeah my luck was terrible wrong place wrong time. without therapy I won't know what attacked triggered the development of PTSD  my therapist did say it could be all three which are responsible.

Either way that's how I developed PTSD you don't need to be in a war zone  really bad luck will  do  I guess. 

Yeah I have PTSD

So what does that mean when I say I have PTSD? Well it means I went through a traumatic event a few years ago  I was already suffering from depression before the event although it  was only really moderate. Now why am I talking about my PTSD?  because it's something I haven't tried before I have enough trouble telling people or deciding when to tell them because it does play a big role in the way I am socially even if it's only noticeable to me.

I think trying new things and new ways to cope with  the depression and PTSD are the way forward from now on, as I said before the traumatic event my depression was moderate  recently between January and February  of this year I was severely depressed  and had to go on anti-depressants. I started limiting my drinking  as you're not meant to drink while on any anti-depressant  but basically I started to regiment little bits of my life. It didn't go so well I was on and off anti-depressants for a few months until June 20th when I moved back home I'd been living in student halls since September. I had to go cold turkey and just stop taking them because they did regulate my mood but  they also made me feel really ill and sleepy all the time. What really goes through your head when you have depression  and you're dealing with life events it's not so much wanting to be happy it's wanting to be functional, being able to get up and do things,

Well by now if you're still reading you're ok with this rambling on kind of style I have going on  that or it's really irritating and you're interested in what I have to say? Either way I would like to say I am kinda lazy  so what I'm writing may not make perfect sense  it might make some grammar Nazis get a bit angry but the reason I write like this is because you get the version of events as they come to me so straight from my brain to the blog post.

Now where were we? Yes I quit anti-depressants and it was the best decision ever  because after a while after a horrible year and dropping out of university things started to look up and when I tell people I dropped out  they get all panicky and apologetic but you know I'm fine it makes me laugh actually. I'm only 22 but I've gained a lot of life experience since that traumatic event and although I'm still dealing with the trauma things make more sense to me than they used to. An example of this could be GCSE results A-level results and Uni results all great examples because when I went through GCSEs I did ok then I did A-levels I sucked at A -levels  not an A or B to be seen ,not even a C  but I still got into Uni and did my foundation degree , but guess what I learned nothing I mean GCSEs and A-levels  yeah I learned  quite a bit but the rest are just very ticky box exercises  for the establishment.  Very few applicable skills were gained    my point being the idea that your future hinges on any of these qualifications is laughable  but when you're doing them the pressure is on and your surrounded by people telling you that you need to do well but guess what I did Shit , I did really shit  and I got there I got on the honors degree course  and I've finished half of it  and yeah I've failed but I'm not long afraid of failure  because that's all GCSEs and A-levels do they make you afraid of failure. It boils down to this I would rather have money in my pocket to pay for bills and my lifestyle than a piece of paper that says I did a ticky box course and am super smart.

To get by you need experience and in March as I was severely depressed I saw light at the end of the tunnel when I got a bar job  and it was great I love doing bar work , I find it more fulfilling than any uni work and yeah I like being paid.  I know when I go to work there's a team there and we rely on each other and it's great. It was working at this bar that I realized I don't need an honors degree to get a job that makes me happy ,  I've got one and am going to work at it  and improve may even open my own bar some day ^_^.

You've had a few off topic paragraph/novels there I should probably explain since getting that job I picked up another  bar job, I was considering handing in my notice at the other bar and I was so sure  I was going to hand it in and give that job up.  So what changed?
 Well  I had a brutal shift last Saturday  we were short staffed I have blisters all over my feet but people were looking out for me and I was looking out for them. My PTSD recently got worse  because when you have it you need so good therapy to get over it  and you develop something called hyper vigilance and I'll talk about that more in another post it sounds really cool  I know but trust me it's not , trying to explain it off the top of my head and the way it works with me when you're in a traumatic event  your brain goes into fight or flight mode  and when I went through my traumatic  event  I stood my ground and my brain is kind of readying itself for standing my ground  even if the situation  doesn't present it's self it's like stuck on that setting, they're may be a better explanation  but this is similar to the way my counselor and therapist explained. The hyper vigilance makes it hard to be around  hundred of people and when I do bar work there's usually 500 people minimum so I had considered quitting.

I don't know how often I'll update this maybe once a week and I'll try and add a little bit more detail as I go  or it may just be when I feel like it. As a tip though if you are on anti-depressants don't quit cold turkey like I did speak to you doctor about coming off them  I'm just impatient.

If you made it this far thanks  for reading ^_^  hope my perspective helps