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It's amazing how at times you can struggle for hours, days or even months to try and explain something. Usually it is an action or something very complicated that needs to be put in just the right way to make clear exactly what your point or conclusion is. Other times is can be something so very simple. A few lines, just to drive home the desired message, and give, what seems trivial to others, some clarity.
Anyone who knows me knows just how complex my brain can be about the smallest of matters, and how sometimes I can dwell on something, fixate on it to a point of destruction of the said situation. Usually ending in more misery and confusion, for me at least.

It will also  am sure, not go unnoticed that I can also be a bit of a word smith at times, and find a way to convey a message or opinion in such a way that the whole world can understand (or so it feels at times). So imagine the quandary for me finding myself in a situation I understand, but can't express! It's painful.

There have always been two sides to my thought process, maybe more at times depending on the situation and reward offered by it. But let us concentrate on the two main sides. There is the side that sees things logically, for their true worth and intentions. Accepting things for what they are, like any other rational person. Then there is the self destructive side, the voice of doubt and negativity. Again, everyone has this side, but for most it is just the voice of reason, making us consider things for their worth before jumping in head first. A good thing for most, swaying us away from situations we would otherwise allow ourselves to do things, only to regret them later.

Sadly for me the negative side of my thought process is far too active, and manages to get involved in the simplest of situations and run amok through my mind, complicating things which are otherwise pretty simple and harmless. This happens all too frequently, and when it does, it leaves behind a path of destruction every time. Sometimes damaging important things. Then, rather than feeling regret and sorrow, it barrels on with no recourse, and justifies things in a way where I am meant to feel I am better off thanks to the stupid actions. The negative side will always see it as a win, while the downtrodden normal side can see the true magnitude of what has happened.

So, back to the point of this entry.
Recently the negative side of my mind has been hard at work, trying to push me back down the slope of depression. Taking things which have felt positive, and turning them against me. Each time managing to get me back down the slope, and back into isolation. Seemingly alone and isolated is somehow safer than being in the real world and exposed to the risk of hurt or harm.

Trying to convey that however has been really hard for me, especially in certain situations. But yesterday, during a tattoo sitting of all things,*POP* the negative bubble surrounding the matter burst, and my ability to express EXACTLY what I have been trying to for a long time came flooding back.
I have said since my CBT sessions started, I need counselling, not some sort of brain washing radicalisation to make me conform the to text book way of thinking and rationalisation. It seems I was right. I have had some of my greatest moments of clarity while being tattooed, maybe that is why I seem to have a growing number of pieces. Do I really seek the sensation of a tattoo in order to trigger my mind, a jump-start of sorts. I think in a way I do! Hardly an epiphany for me, I have considered this possibility a number of times over the years. Having had some tattoos done as almost a time out from real life.

To finally see a matter for exactly what it is. See how simple it really is, and not at all scary or complicated like negative mind wants you to believe. It is SO refreshing, empowering and exciting. Of course, sometimes the clarity comes too late, and while it makes perfect sense, re approaching  a situation in which the dust has now settled is somewhat counter-productive, and this is also quite frustrating, as you are left with something wonderful that you are unable to share. What should be a fix could actually turn it into a massive clusterfuck.

Either way, to finally walk clear of the fog on the path, and be able to see again is wonderful. An analogy I used to use when helping a friend through tough times. We all lose our way at times, and stumble from the path, sometimes the fog closes in and we cannot see our way. Instead of panicking and running scared, it is wiser to slow down, retrace our steps, and allow the fog to clear before carrying on any further. For me, the fog is well and truly clear, and I can see. Visibility is still low, I'm not sure where the road leads, but I know I will see whatever is coming before it happens now, and have no reason to fear the things my negative mind has led me to believe previously.

I can see the wonderful things people have done for me over the last few months, the wrong turns I have taken, and the speedbumps along the way which have upset the load a bit. Slowing the journey down now, I can overcome speedhumps with caution, and see where I am going, so hopefully no more wrong turns, well, not big ones anyway.

So this blog really is a thank you to Michelle more than anything. A friend (who charges me for her time and scars me for life lol) who has a wonderful way of seeing things, and an amazing ability to connect with me, in the way I usually connect with others, and dig deep enough to find the root to each of my problems. I am used to being the one who manages to dig around in peoples minds to help them see what is bothering them, and once I realised that, I found it rewarding to know I could help others. So I hope you too have found reward in what you do, knowingly or otherwise.

I know I have caused some upset along this journey, and won't say for one second that none of it was intentional, that would be a lie. But there are things that have happened which should not have, misunderstandings, and some huge moments where I have failed to consider the impact of my words or actions, which has led to awkward and sometimes painful situations, for which I am truly sorry.
While taking the time to realise I have to do what is right for me, and me only, which has only come recently. My conversations with close friends has made me realise lots of people need that level of control in their lives, and it is NOT selfish or ignorant, it is necessary and normal to protect what is precious to you, at any cost!

I also realise while I manage to pigeon hole people in my life, in an order of trust and importance, so do others. And just because they hold a prime pigeon hole in your life, you may not rank the same way in theirs. Not a bad thing, just a reality of life. Of course you can be upgraded and moved around as life goes on, but it is not for us to decide our place in other peoples lives.

Right, that's enough of that.

Thank you to the special people in my life, in the top row. I shall try to grow from this and respect whatever place you have for me in your life.

Probably not the best of ideas, given that its the root of my issues, but I'm only human right! And with no thinking, comes no doing.

Tracking back over the course of the past few weeks, trying to think where it all started to go wrong, it's impossible to say it was one event, if it was even anything I have done or been a part of that is. But I do know that in the past couple of months I have really gone outside my comfort zone, A LOT! Doing things I don't usually do, going to places which don't conform to "the norm" for me, and having thoughts and feelings which I, am in fairness, unfamiliar with.

After much advice and a little pressure, ok a fair bit of pressure, I did the whole "get back out there" thing. And I have to say, as  much fun as it was meeting people, spending time with them, and chatting, it has really taken its toll on me. Just sitting thinking about it now stresses me out. For the short while I bothered engaging with the whole "meet people" sites and apps, I felt obliged to impress or be someone I am not. Fact is, as per other entries, I am no good at that sort of thing, and am rarely as comfortable as I want to be with others.

There is one exception to the above, but things don't always go the way you expect, and sometimes you realise things a little too late.

So looking back, I have to say that trying to get out there and meet new women hasn't really worked out for me. If anything all it has done is allowed me to upset a few lovely people, and damage friendships rather than building new ones.

Then of course there is work, that in itself can really take its toll, and for quite a while now has added to the stressed of day to day life. That said, it has also been a great release too, so I can't honestly say what impact that has had. But can be sure it has played a part in the whole situation. Whether it be the nature of the job, or the environment, well that is another discussion.

My last blog entry on Tuesday mentioned that I might lose my writing brain for a bit, and I have to say, given that it is Saturday now, that seems to have happened. Trying to put paragraphs together is a bit of an effort, and thinking far enough ahead to write this, and keep the flow going is a nightmare. Let alone trying to stay focused on one thing for long enough to make it all make sense.

It's hard to say what impact the medication is having right now, 5 days in it will be having an effect, but as things have been a bit crazy the past few days, its hard to get a baseline. Tuesday evening I contacted a tattooist who's work I love as he said he had availability this week. Confirming Thursday all day was still available, I got thinking on ideas, and took the booking. Within the next 24 hours of conversation I went from one location to be tattooed to another, but stuck fast with my design idea.

The basis of the idea was quite a simple one. But might be awkward to explain. The artist is a new school artist Craig Measures (Instagram link to his work)  so the idea would have to be "cartoon like" I wanted something to relate to my ongoing battle with the day to day persona I have, and the inner me who constantly struggles to get out, so what better cartoon or comicbook character to relate to than The Hulk. Just out of coincidence, one of the things that is really helping me right now is working out. Be it cardio or weights, I have to go into a zone when I am training, so can put everything else on hold. Smack bang opposite my multigym is a huge Marvel mural, and directly opposite where I stand to train is... The Hulk. So the meaning ties in nicely for me.

Now obviously when I get a tattoo from a specific artist, I want their interpretation of the idea, so to jolly the idea up, we went with The Hulk smashing his way through a field of candy, just to put some bold and happy colours in there. Oh and a rainbow in the background, which is open to your own interpretation lol. So 24 hours after the first discussion I headed up to Birmingham for what would turn into a pretty epic day. Like I said earlier, things haven't been normal enough yet to get a baseline of how I'm actually doing.

Late morning we put the transfer on, and put a film on and got started. Anchorman played through, and as it did a couple more people joined us in the studio. Coffee was consumed, as were cookies and other sweet things, and progress was good. Over the course of the next X hours, we got through Anchorman, The Wedding Singer, Wreck It Ralph, Wayne's World and finally 40 Year old Virgin. By the time 40 YOV finished it was just us left in the studio, so it started to play over again, and got about half way through. Leaving at just after 9pm, I had been there for about 10 and a half hours, a fair bit of which was being tattooed. Craig admitted it had taken longer than expected, but was determined to keep his word and get it done in the day.

The end result, a stunning and bold piece, full of colour and character. Just what I needed. That said, the 130 mile drive home after was fun!
So here it is.

Now the downside to having your whole rather large calf tattooed with heavy colour in one go is, walking! As the healing starts, walking becomes rather uncomfortable to say the least. Not impossible, but just a little undesirable. With walking the dogs, and staying active having been my crutch recently, it leaves me in a bit of a bind. Today has been a first for a few things. First blog entry since meds, first dog walk since tattooing, and the first day of mixing with the mass public since doctors too. That went well!

Walking around Sainsburys earlier was a huge wake up call for me. Sitting in your own company it is easy to think that things are going well. But returning to the human race, and dealing with others really hits home just how you feel. Bit like coming home from 2 weeks away back to your home and dogs, and realise how much they stink. Put up with something for long enough and you become desensitised to it, so don't realise how it impacts you. When people put up with crap day in day out (from other people not dogs!) you soon just learn to live with it, and don't see how it affects you. Take a step back for a while, and on your return everything is a lot clearer to you. Then you have to decide what you are, and are not willing to put up with anymore.

Anyway, returning to the main subject before I sign off, thinking!
What I have realised is, with the best of intentions, sometimes things just don't work out. Be it your own ideas, or things others do and suggest, believing its for the best, from time to time the outcome is worse, not better. And then when you mix that with the issues of over thinking things, and anxiety, you are suddenly left with even more mess on your plate, and harder things to think about.

For me, for now, it is back to the depths of my own mind, and looking after myself, and my new tattoo.

For someone who has a past of, let's face it, mental health issues, but isn't receiving ongoing care for it, it's a really strange thing to have to go and see a doctor about. Usually you walk in, the doctor asks what's up, and you point to something, or present a symptom or injury to them. But when it's all in your head, you have to try and find a way of explaining yourself, without just saying "I'm depressed", or "I'm anxious".

Or at least I think you do! I'm not actually 100% sure how much explaining is necessary really, but I have always felt obliged to give some insight into the matter, just so they can make their own decisions on what the best course of action for you is. That said, as we know from numerous reports, GP's are only very basically trained for such issues, so how much information is really needed? That of course isn't a snipe at GP's, there is a limit to how much any one persons brain can absorb, so would rather the referral route, than the "I think I know what I am doing" one.

Last  night, after speaking with friends, and making the decision to go to the doctors, just to prove how messed up things are right now, I was fretting about it. That's right, after making the decision to get help, I was now worried about how to explain myself, and worried about how I would come across to them. Is that strange? Well it might be to you, but for me it is a classic symptom, and just reaffirms the issues I am having right now.

I got to about 1am and finally tried to change the subject in my head. So I imagined being underwater, scuba diving. Crystal clear waters, surrounded by a reef and loads of different species of fish. Just imagining myself drifting with the current, effortless. No finning, just gliding. That did the trick! That was also a eureka moment for me, and I realised that what would help right now is to get under the water again. Problem being, UK diving is rather nippy right now, and I have no drysuit, and obviously Red Sea etc costs money, and then there are the dogs etc. So it's unlikely I will be using that as therapy any time soon. But hey, I can try and find a way. Nemo 33 anyone?

Back to the whole doctor issue. I remember the last time, seeing a doctor I have known for years, and one I trust to listen before making a sweeping judgement. I felt at ease because I knew him I think. I explained that sleeping was a huge issue for me, getting my mind to stop was impossible, and it was affecting aspects of my day to day life. He got it, and we dealt with it step by step. I had counselling supplied by work, and at the end of it, I came out feeling alive again.
This time it is a doctor I have never met and know nothing about, so I am on the defensive straight away. I realise this sounds really stupid to some people, surely you just walk in and tell them what is up. But it isn't that simple and here is why.

Mental health issues span a huge expanse of conditions, and they all have very different ways of being dealt with. Especially when it comes to drugs, there are a multitude of pills and medications that can be prescribed. But it all depends on how your issues present.
For a physical issue the doctor can see it and assess it based on how it presents. For something in the head, it is very different, and it is also quite awkward. Have you ever tried to explain an object or a sensation to someone, without them having seen or experienced it. It really isn't easy, but the better you know someone, the easier it is to be on the same level and get your message across.

Then, even if you can explain it properly, you have the perception aspect of it. Example, tattooing. If two people with a tattoo discuss how it felt to have the procedure carried out, a lot of the time they will not only use different descriptive words, but also disagree about how the sensation felt.
Now take that to being a patient, trying to verbalise what is going on in your mind, in a way a complete stranger will understand.

I guess it comes back to the whole thing of keep it simple, but I don't do simple, so that in itself is a struggle for me.

So I have come up with this... And if need be I will have it in front of me when I see the doctor tomorrow. That way I won't ramble or lose my direction, but will say what is needed.

About 4-5 years ago I suffered quite badly with anxiety and depression. It wasn't the first time, but was the worst by far. Recently I have started having the same issues I had back then before I hit rock bottom, and am concerned that I am going back in that direction. Over thinking, trouble sleeping, lack of motivation, lack of concentration, and dwelling on certain aspects of life, both important and totally random.
A lot has changed for me over recent months, so I think the sudden instability has triggered this, as it did the last time. Last time I was put on medication, but would like to avoid that this time around, and see if I can shake it by other means first. Of course I am not ruling out the possibility.

Or words to that effect eh!

My appointment is early tomorrow morning, so I have about another 16-17 hours to get through before seeing someone about this.
Last night's blog entry alone had a positive effect for me, getting some thoughts and fears out there in the open, for me to understand a little better. Crazy as it might sound, typing and reading back most of the things I say, is like having the conversation I needed to have, but had no-one to have it with. Like one of those moments in something on TV, where something totally unrelated suddenly puts a case into perspective. It is the same for me, saying things, often typing them faster than I can think them (honestly, I think THAT slowly!.......... joke), words seem to appear from nowhere. Almost like opening the floodgates to my mind, and letting it all spill out, thoughts I could not access before are right there, and it makes sense.
Told you I was nuts!

So there we have it, the issue that has been smashing around inside my skull since late last night, driving me mad, and exhausting me mentally all day.
See there is another thing that has just come out that I had not even considered!

The mental exhaustion from the overthinking. Another classic symptom of the matter for me. Like a computer with some infected program running in the background sucking up all the resources, when you go into task manager, it is using 98% of CPU and memory, rendering the rest of the computers functions useless. THAT is how my head works when I am like this. A simple mundane issue will suck up all the resources and energy I have, and make it impossible for me to do the simplist of things. So sitting on the sofa staring at the TV which is switched off, is about all that is left within my limits of capabilities.

Right, before I run out of energy and shut down to conserve vital functions, I shall wrap things up here.

Basically the conclusion reached here is, keep things simple, explain the basics. That's all. Everything above was an example of my train of thought, just to come to a simple conclusion. Exhausting to read isn't it, and the real long way around.. Now imagine what it is like to have that thought process for most of the decisions you make every day. I kid you not, other than simple bodily requirements, everything else goes through the same mental red tape.
Needless to say, it is the reason I try and stick to a routine where decisions are not necessary. I can go the whole morning without needing to make any decisions, but once the first one arrives... Its over!

Right, that is enough this time. Here's to seeing the doctor. This time tomorrow I will have an idea of what their decision is.

Wish me luck.

For some reason my brain is having an off day. Ok, so anyone who knows me will know that me having a dumb day is nothing rare. But this isn't me being stupid for once. Today is not about brain not engaging, its just not starting. Flat batteries, flooded with thoughts? I don't know, but its frustrating as hell.

Usually by this time I'm alive with thoughts, ideas, even if they are somewhat depressing but today, nothing really. Instead I'm moping around with nothing but bah and meh on my mind lol.

I'm sure fresh air with the dogs will help, so fingers crossed I can get the morning started soon. Thinking about it, I think one of the other problems is, I have done so many of the important things I needed to do now that there is very little stimulating or worrying left to do. Compared to a few weeks back, with bills building up, problems with the carers, stressing about work etc, this week so far is rather dull and mundane.

Not to say there is nothing to deal with, of course there is. But for once none of it has me in a spin.

Instead I'm left with other things that are months away yet. And other things that I can only wonder about. How is my dear daughter going to do in her exams (I'm sure she will do amazingly well), what is going to happen about my escape to Florida this year, what will I be doing by July/August... So many things, but none that I can influence so far away.

So my plan today, spend some time talking to mum, the weekend has been a bit quiet between us, keep up with the housework, give the dogs a groom with my super new brush from Pets at Home, walk and feed the dogs, feed myself. Oh I just remembered, pick up prescription for mum from the pharmacy... I'm sure more will come to me as the day passes, but for now, that's it.

Quick updates on other things...
Mum, been feeling a little less energetic recently, seems to have more of a job moving about. Quite grumpy (understandable with me about) and spoke to an old friend the other day on the phone. After being asked how she was, she went on to inform her "not that good, I have cancer now, I'm tired of all the fussing and just want to be left to die now". Great way to break the news. But her choice.

As for me, maintaining weight, believe about another 2-3lbs went over the past 10 or so days. Not paying too much attention now, but I'm not gaining, and recent weigh ins have been after food and drink, and are still lower than previous. Happy happy.

Right, I better get on, have a great week all.

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