Eccles’ Run

I watched a movie a long time ago, “Logan’s Run”. It is still one of my favourites. In the year 2274, young residents enjoy an idyllic, hedonistic lifestyle within the protective confines of a domed city. The general belief is that when each person turns 30, they are reincarnated for another blissful life cycle. The truth though is that noone is ever reincarnated. 
Why do I like this movie? I have these very brief thoughts that I would not mind at all if I just wasn’t here anymore. I feel life life is to long and to difficult. The world of Logan’s Run seems ideal to me. Why do I think like this?

My friends and family know I suffer from quite a deep depression and anxiety and I am on an ongoing medicine/counselling regime to help me “be happy” and not want to kill myself. Well I don’t want to kill myself, but if I lived in a world where the choice to end this life was not my decision I would not be upset.

Over the past 10 years I have had three diagnoses as to what is ailing me; PTSD when my father in law died in my arms after I tried to resuscitate him, a long standing anxiety from my childhood that still haunts me, and a chemical imbalance in my brain. Personally I think all three inflict me. We are battling the chemical imbalance with medication that needs to be approved before I can get a script. The depression, anxiety and PTSD are being handled with counselling.

I have just deleted a paragraph. The paragraph was my thoughts about home life. I am glad I wrote it down, but I promised myself there are some things I would not publish on my blog. Currently only my psychologist and I get to see my private blog posts. One day I may publish them, but not today.

As a quick aside, I would encourage everyone to write stuff down; keep a journal, write a blog be it public,  private or both like mine. Maybe a video blog is more you. Whatever, getting stuff out of your head is a great release (he says with tears rolling down his cheeks).

I.must end this post and get home. In the words of two of my heroes 


A broken man trying to be better,

Eccles

My favourite book

My favourite book of all time (so far) is The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne. I have had the book since 1970, I was 7 at the time. My favourite character from the book changes depending on how I am feeling. I find that I am like many of the characters and all of them.

WinnieSometimes I am Pooh; muddleheaded, philosopher, naive, a great capacity to accept others regardless of their failings, and knows he has some very great friends who love him and support him.

“For I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words Bother me.”

“Oh bear!” said Christopher Robin. “How I do love you!””So do I,” said Pooh.

“Tigger is all right, really,” said Pooh lazily.
“Of course he is,” said Christopher Robin.
“Everybody is really,” said Pooh. “That’s what I think,” said Pooh. “But I don’t suppose I’m right,” he said.
“Of course you are,” said Christopher Robin.

PigletSometimes I am Piglet; small, scared, afraid of a lot of the world and yet also knows he has great friends, one in particular.

Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.

“What?” said Piglet, with a jump. And then, to show that he hadn’t been frightened, he jumped up and down once or twice more in an exercising sort of way.

“I think,” said Piglet, when he had licked the tip of his nose too, and found that it brought very little comfort, “I think that I have just remembered something. I have just remembered something that I forgot to do yesterday and shan’t be able to do tomorrow. So I suppose I really ought to go back and do it now.”

eeyoreSometimes I am Eeyore; depressed with everything, down, can’t see anything good, doesn’t want to participate and is sometimes surprised when others want to help him.

“Good morning, Pooh Bear,” said Eeyore gloomily. “If it is a good morning,” he said. “Which I doubt,” said he.
“Why, what’s the matter?”
“Nothing, Pooh Bear, nothing. We can’t all, and some of us don’t. That’s all there is to it.”
“Can’t all what?” said Pooh, rubbing his nose.
“Gaiety. Song-and-dance. Here we go round the mulberry bush.”

I thought,” said Piglet earnestly, “that if Eeyore stood at the bottom of the tree, and if Pooh stood on Eeyore’s back, and if I stood on Pooh’s shoulders -”
“And if Eeyore’s back snapped suddenly, then we could all laugh. Ha Ha! Amusing in a quiet way,” said Eeyore, “but not really helpful.”

It’s your fault, Eeyore. You’ve never been to see any of us. You just stay here in this one corner of the Forest waiting for the others to come to you. Why don’t you go to THEM sometimes?

A complex man,

Eccles

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Sometimes there is no warning

No WarningTrigger warning: this post contains text from a twitter post that was a trigger point for me. Please be careful if you reading this.

My blog, my views, my thoughts, my ramblings, nobody else’s. I may upset some readers with my posts, and that’s okay because we are all entitled to our own opinions. However, nobody is entitled to force their opinion onto  anybody else. Nobody is entitled to hurt others by using assumptions about that person. I saw this happening today on social media. It’s not the first time this has happened. It won’t be the last time. So, why am I writing about this now?

First I ask you to consider the following. Sometimes my posts are long so please make sure you read the whole post, in context, before making any assumptions (there’s that word again) or making any comments.

Social media, in this case Twitter, can be dark, ugly, deadly and in my case triggering. Social media can also be bright, beautiful, life uplifting and also in my case a place to find healing. I am always amazed that I can find healing in the place that cam bring me down.

I say social media in the paragraph above but it isn’t social media that has these characteristics. It can’t be. Social media is just a platform for people to use. And use it they do. For some reason people feel a need to attack others and bring them down.

I was following a thread today where a male twitter user felt it was his duty to attack a female sex worker and her chosen career online. And even though he said he didn’t use assumptions in his arguments he proceeded to make all sorts of assumptions about the lady that he could not know to be fact or otherwise.

Then came the two posts that had a profound triggering affect on me. He said that maybe the lady had a mental illnes and that was what was causing a number of her problems. Three posts later, and I quote, “Try not to cut to deep later when shaking off the rage you’re in.”

Sometimes there is no warning…

Yes I have a mental illness that I battle with every day. Yes I have had a problem with self harming. I thought I was coping with my past (and present) illnes. But bam, those posts just broadsided me. I had to stop reading and unfortunately I misread a post from another person that at the time of reading seemed to be agreeing with the original poster. I posted a reply. I am lucky that the person I replied to was level headed and reasonable and we sorted my misunderstanding out quickly; if you are willing it is possible and easy to have congenial and rigourous discussions without having to resort to insults.

I had thoughts all afternoon for the lady who was being assaulted by this man. I do not know how she reacted to the abuse, I hope she is okay. It is not acceptable for this to happen to anyone. I did report this person, as did others, to Twitter for this targetted abuse. It seems trivial but I can only hope that he may realise what he was doing and learn to be a better person.

What happened to me? I was disgusted and offended at the trivialisation of mental illness and self harming. These are things that destroy many lives every day, and all to often can lead to the end of life. This sent me into an episode I am lucky that I have many friends on twitter who actually care about other people. All it took for me was to post that I was not doing well and I had four friends who were online at the time checking on me, one who was willing to have a lengthy chat.

It has taken me a long time to be comfortable accepting help or asking for help. I encourage others who battle as I do to reach out to your friends. They care and they do not mind and they do not judge.

Today I found both darkness and healing using twitter.

A broken man,

Eccles

BeKind

 

It’s Been Awhile

ItsBeenAWhileSo here I am, with you, and all that shit seems to have disappeared. I am sitting at the computer, the headphones are on and I am listening to It’s Been Awhile by Staind. I quite like this song, I find a lot of myself in it.

Anyway, it’s been a while since I last wrote anything, last October in fact. I’ve been struggling to write anything since then. I’ve started many times but never get past the first few lines. Was chatting to a friend in Melbourne the other day and he said to just sit down and write. So here I am. I may not make much sense as I haven’t thought of anything to write about so, to fit in with my blog title, here are some ramblings of a man just trying to survive and keep himself together.

One of the things I have found over the last year on twitter is that there are many, many people who struggle in a similar way as I do. Each person has their own way of trying to cope. Some have a pet that helps. Some do exercise. I listen to music and write. Some of my writing ends up here. I find it interesting that the choice of music for me does not seem to matter (except polka maybe, I don’t listen to polka). My music tastes are very eclectic; I listen to anything from opera to classical to heavy metal and everything in between (did I mention that I don’t listen to polka?). And when I write the world just seems to disappear and I am here, with you, in the words I write and the songs I am listening to. I should be able to sleep well tonight.

A friend just sent me a text and asked “Why do we pretend to be what we are not?”. I was unable to provide an answer. Her answer “To make everyone else feel happy”. Do we do that? Do I do that? And does that affect me? If I am being honest I am pretending to be someone else to please my family and friends. How does that affect me? Sometimes I struggle to talk. Scared to say things. Things that may hurt. Things that may cause conflict. Things that may have big consequences. So I will keep my mouth shut and continue pretending.

Anyway, it’s past my bedtime, again. So hopefully I will be back again soon.

A rambling man,

Eccles

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Meeting new people

Someone I admire greatly, and hope to one day call a friend, has recently been tweeting about meeting new people in social environments. Like me she is extremely introverted and has asked for people to share strategies for

making new friends / meeting new people in your personal lives. Particularly those of you who are huge introverts (like me) trying to be quiet & observant in this loud and overwhelming extroverted world!

First up, I think her description of the world is exactly right for those of us who are introverted. We get intimidated by the “noise” of what appears to be an extremely extroverted world. Everything we see nowadays tells us that the world is “all about me” and that I need to look after me first. This does not always fit in with the thinking of an introvert. We want to just to wander through the world, and for the most part, not being noticed. However, everybody needs friendship. We are beings that require relationships with others. So how do we achieve this.

I too, like my friend find it extremely hard to meet new people. Those of you who know me will understand that I will think the worst is going to happen in any given situation, especially social ones. I am petrified of looking like a fool. However, when I actually get around to meeting new people nothing bad really happens. I do sometimes say absolutely stupid things and yes, sometimes people do laugh. But I have come to realise that they are not laughing at me, but are trying to ease the situation.

I have been visiting a psychologist (again) for many months now and for me with my extreme social phobia there is no magic cure for meeting new people. There are some strategies to make it a little bit easier, but really the best strategy is practice. So what have I been doing? I have been deliberately putting myself into situations where I have to interact with new people. Scariest thing ever for me. But after the initial few minutes and introduction I tend to settle down and the interaction gets easier. I still have to excuse myself after about half an hour to calm down a bit. But its the knowing that these people are mostly just like me, sometimes scared as well, that helps to continue to meet new people.

I hope this little bit of personal experience helps others who are finding it tough. It is not easy, it is tough, but it is short term. And it is far better than not meeting other people.

A scared man,

Eccles

Oh my God

I have two posts to blog. I thought I would start with the dark post first and then the lighter post. I have released them at the same time as they are related. These posts will show just how quickly moods can change in someone suffering depression, and at the end you will see why I think this happened to me. There will be no background for what I am saying here, if you need some background for this see the next post.

This afternoon I found myself at the “David Bowie Is” exhibition at Federation Square in Melbourne. All of a sudden I was crying. Not just crying, sobbing. Sobbing uncontrollably with my whole body and mind. As far as I can remember this had happened only once before when a very good friend had died when we were 28. I had a reason to cry then, but why was I sobbing now.

My depression had caused me to cry before but nothing like this. The tears were streaming down my face and falling to the floor. I couldn’t breath and my body was trembling. This was scaring me, but what came next was worse.

If you have been following my blog posts you will know I have two lives, one I have been living for the past 30 years, the other, which only you guys know about, started at the beginning of this year (although my other life has been around for years just inactive). I realised during this episode that the last 30 years of my life have been a lie and if I leave Melbourne I will be returning to that lie.

“I don’t want to do this. But what can I do? I have to go back to my lie, to my family, friends and job in Canberra. I have to, don’t I?”

Is there an alternative? Could I stay in Melbourne? It seems to be a nice city and I “know” some great people there. But how would I do that? Quick get outside and think properly.

Outside the sun was shining, it was raining when I went indoors. This is good, this will help me feel better. I looked around and saw Melbourne again, It still beckoned me to stay, it still said I shouldn’t go back to Canberra. If I stayed what would that do to the people I cared about in Canberra. Would I survive a change like that. Okay, I can’t stay and I don’t want to go back, what to do. Only one thing left for me. Time to stop this life, but how? Oh shit, the scary monster is back.

Put my action plan into action. Find a friend and talk. I got on a tram and sent a message to my Melbourne friend who had helped me out before. But he was getting ready for a night out and I didn’t want to bring him down. So the conversation was just a brief chit-chat. I didn’t tell him what was happening. I think he knew. Just having the chat with him was enough to distract me.

How quick did it take me to get into the scary state, about 10 minutes. How long till the end of the episode, 90 minutes.

Epilogue: I now know why my doctor keeps emphasising that I should not miss taking my medication. I was sitting at the airport later and opened my blood test kit so I could check my blood sugars. There, in my kit so I wouldn’t forget to take them, were all my medications for the last two days. I am hoping that forgetting my medication for two days was the reason for the episode. I will be visiting my doctor to find out.

Eccles

Down to the depths we go

cantdealBefore I get into the meat of this blog I need to warn readers that this blog post contains details that may upset you. This post comes straight from my heart and soul and involves many tears and just a few nips of whisky. I was not going to write about this subject today but it has been on my mind all day.

If you are feeling down, anxious, sad or depressed you probably may not want to read past this paragraph. If you need or want to talk to someone I strongly encourage you to contact any of the following Australian organisations. This may be the hardest thing you have ever had to do, but please do it. You will talk to someone who understands and the conversation will be totally confidential.

There are many other great organisations that can help. The ones above are the ones I have had contact with.

So what is this blog post about? What you read here are things I have never talked about, let alone written about. Never. Not even to my psychologist, my wife or my parents. It is not till now, 9 years later, that I am able to write about this. I wasn’t going to write about this but it’s been on my mind all day so I thought I better write it down.

I am writing about me when I was at my lowest. I have tried to kill myself twice – August 2006 and August 2007. I will not write about how I tried to kill myself, just know that I am glad I failed. I sometimes still find August a hard month to get through. I think this year will be different. I am a different person this year.

What the hell was I thinking? Why would I consider that I would be better off dead? How could I even think of doing this? What about my family? What about my friends?

If you have been reading my blog you will know that I now believe I have been suffering from social phobia and anxiety since about 12 years of age. I was diagnosed with clinical depression after my second suicide attempt but was well and truly suffering for many years before that. I can’t pinpoint exactly when but since at least the year 2000 probably earlier.

As a Christian I believed that God would not put me in any situation that I couldn’t handle. Regardless of what you are told I believe that killing yourself is not an unforgivable sin. So I would still be going to heaven. What bullshit that was. If I was considering killing myself, isn’t that a situation I couldn’t handle?

I was at the lowest of lows. I was so lonely. I lived in a city, I was part of a loving family, I was in a church of “loving” people and could name at least 100 friends. And yet I was so alone. And no-one knew. Even my wife and children did not know what was going on with me. Even after the first attempt. I recovered physically and no-one was any wiser. I was always smiling, joking, being a nice guy. No-one knew. It is that difficult to tell if someone is suffering sometimes.

So how does a person get into this state? It is very different for each person. For me, I was unable to live up to the standards that I thought I had to live up to. At the time I was not strong enough to see that I didn’t need to live up to anyone’s standards.

I have talked quite a bit with one of my new twitter friends about the church I was in; thanks for listening to me. This was one of the places that really oppressed me. I believed there was so much I had to do to be good enough and it crushed me. That was the first attempt. I have left the church. IF I ever return to the Christian faith I now realise all I have to believe is that Jesus was the son of God and he died for my sins. That’s it, nothing else. I don’t have to do anything to be worthy. But as I said … IF, and it is a very big IF.

No-one has ever heard this from my mouth before and there are tears on my cheeks as I say this. The second place that oppressed me and made me feel unworthy was my family. I had so many feelings of failure. That was my second attempt. This one crippled me. I still remember the night I decided to kill myself. I still remember my actions and my thoughts. I felt calm and that I would soon be at ease and my family would be so much better off without me. I was hoping they wouldn’t even want to grieve for me, I really was not worth it.

I woke up being attended to by two ambulance officers. I have no recollection of the next 48 hours. Even then no-one knew I had tried to kill myself. But at the end of that 48 hours I broke down and that was it. Talk to the wife, talk to the doctor, talk to the minister, on to medication.

Recovery is a long path, it is still going on for me. Every day is a struggle. I have stumbled a couple of times since that second attempt but have never gone close to wanting to do that again. Until a few weeks ago. My heart goes out to my good friend in Melbourne, thank you. You didn’t know it at the time because I think I lied to you about what was going on and what I was thinking. But being able to just talk to you was great.

I’ve said enough, for now. I have not written this for sympathy. I write this as part of my recovery and also to try and help people understand what others go through. I am happy, I have made some decisions lately that means I am now living my life the way I should be, not the way I am told I should be.

Thanks for listening to a man who was sad,

Eccles

I listen to the song that contains the following words a number of times a week. They are written by what is probably my favourite band at the moment, Red Hot Chilli Peppers. The song, Under the Bridge, talks of a time that the bands singer Anthony Kiedis considers to be one of the worst of his life. I don’t listen to feel down, I listen so that I remember what can happen.

I don’t ever want to feel
Like I did that day
Take me to the place I love
Take me all the way

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