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Finally…in Recovery and getting Back to Life

By Health, Life, ThinkingNo Comments

Me Drinking Coffee. Slowly Getting Back to Life 🙂

In January, everything stopped. I stopped being able to function and was ill. The truth is that I had been ill for a long time before this, but that I had continued to solider on – hoping that I would start to feel better.

Here were some of my symptoms:
Tick Box Bullet Point No concentration span. I wasn’t able to watch TV or films, read or write. I didn’t feel safe to drive, so I didn’t.
Tick Box Bullet Point Short term memory loss.
Tick Box Bullet Point Feeling constantly exhausted despite sleeping for many, many hours.
Tick Box Bullet Point Some insomnia and night terrors.
Tick Box Bullet Point Back pain – despite resting and regularly completing physiotherapy exercises.
Tick Box Bullet Point Head aches.
Tick Box Bullet Point Stomach ache/constipation despite eating a reasonably good diet.
Tick Box Bullet Point Poor personal hygiene and not cleaning my home environment.
Tick Box Bullet Point Overeating or forcing myself to eat despite feeling that I didn’t want to.

Tick Box Bullet Point No motivation – I found it extremely difficult and tiring to do the smallest of tasks.
Tick Box Bullet Point Reckless spending of money – mostly through online shopping.
Tick Box Bullet Point Any extremely variable mood which changed throughout the day and night. From being void of any feelings to a tornado of fast swirling feelings including: guilt, inadequacy and feeling like a failure.
Tick Box Bullet Point Anxiety – resulting in becoming antisocial and finding it difficult to leave home.
Tick Box Bullet Point Worry and panic about what people would think of me.
Tick Box Bullet Point Feeling hopeless, which is the worst feeling in the world.
Tick Box Bullet Point Feeling like I was loosing my mind.
Tick Box Bullet Point Feeling like I was falling down a dark bottomless pit.
Tick Box Bullet Point Feeling frustrated at not being able to snap out of it and that nothing I did made a difference to how I felt or my ability to function.
Tick Box Bullet Point Overly self-critical thoughts and zero self esteem. A critical inner voice that was loud and repetitive.
Tick Box Bullet Point At two particularly bad points I suffered from compulsions to end my life.
Tick Box Bullet Point In short, feeling like my mind, body and soul were being devoured and destroyed by this illness.

So I went to see my GP who completed the PHQ depression test and diagnosed me with severe clinical depression. At several points throughout my treatment, this test was repeated to check on my progress. At one point, I was scoring 24 out of a possible 27. My GP started me on antidepressants and encouraged me to self-refer for counselling.

The first antidepressant didn’t work, despite gradually increasing the dose to the maximum. Apparently this is really common, happening to at least 50% of people. So my GP gradually withdrew the first antidepressant and then started me on another – which thankfully is working. I self-referred to counselling, had an assessment and to this date am still on the waiting list.

January to May has felt like a write-off in every sense of the word. But I feel extremely lucky to have made it through this dark and difficult time. What’s that phrase? Ah yes…I believe I made it through by the skin on my teeth.

Looking back, I’ve had depressive tendencies for at least the last few years. I’ve been rubbish at spotting the symptoms in myself, but am much more aware of signs, symptoms and triggers now.

I’m still in recovery and it is a gradual process. I’m still on the antidepressants and will be for sometime. I’ve started taking multivitamins to make sure my body and mind is getting what it needs. But now I’m feeling good, better than I have felt in years. I’ve even started laughing again, proper belly laughs, which I haven’t done for what feels like forever.

Now I’m getting back to life. I’ve thanked those close to me for their support, love, care and kindness. I’ve gone back to work and realised that I have the most brilliant, amazing and fantastic work colleagues. They’ve been so supportive and I feel so lucky to work with such wonderful people.

Blog soon,



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Help! Excessively Meowing Cats

By PetsNo Comments
Dylan Bengal Cat Meowing Excessively Dylan & Russell my Bengal cats have been meowing excessively; it has been enough to drive me mad. But after reading some cat behaviour books and forums on the Internet I managed to deal with the problem. So I thought I’d share the advice for others who maybe struggling with cats that meow excessively.

1. Identify the Cause of the Meowing
The first thing to do with cats that meow excessively is to identify the cause of their meowing. Cats meow for a number of reasons including: hunger, thirsty, wants the cat litter changing, illness, attention seeking, wants to play, loneliness, stress and horniness.

I made a list:
Unticked Box Hungry? No. Food always in bowl.
Unticked Box Thirsty? No. They always have fresh clean water in their bowl.
Unticked Box Wants the cat litter changing? No. clean and emptied regularly.
Unticked Box Illness? No signs or symptoms of illness. They are eating, drinking, using the cat litter as usual and no other change in their behaviour.
Tick Box Bullet Point Attention Seeking? Possibly. They meow excessively when they here me come through the front door and as soon as they see me. They usually stop meowing when I give them attention.
Tick Box Bullet Point Wants to play? Possibly sometimes. I can tell as their tail is up high with the tip swishing from side to side.
Unticked Box Loneliness? Unlikely. There’s two of them, so they always have one another for company.
Unticked Box Stress? Unlikely. Nothings changed that would cause them to be stressed.
Unticked BoxHorniness? Nope. Both of my boys have been neutered.

excessive-meowing-2 2. Address the Cause of the Meowing
Next you need to address the cause of their excessive meowing. Work your way down the list like I have. Hunger, thirsty and cat litter changes should be top of your list to check and sort. If you’re worried about illness a trip to the Vet might be in order.

I don’t mind a vocal greeting from my cats when I come home, but their excessive meowing was like a baby.

I decided it must be attention seeking, as giving them attention shut them up. But the more attention I gave them, the worse their meowing would be the next time.

I started ignoring my cats when they were meowing and showering them with attention when they were quiet. It was a bit of trial and error and it took them a while to get the message, but they eventually did. It seems to be working as they have really calmed down on their excessive meowing.

excessive-meowing-3 3. Things to Note
All cats are individuals and as such some will naturally be more vocal than others. Your cat may just like the sound of his/her own voice. Still there are strategies you can put in place to modify his/her behaviour.

It is worth noting that some breeds of cats are known to be very vocal. However bengals (my cats breed) are not particularly known for being vocal.

Blog soon,


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Sye’s Summer Stay

By Friends & Family, Home2 Comments

My good friend Sye was back from Uni for the Summer and needed a place to crash; I happened to have a spare room so he came to stay. His creativity and motivation seemed to rub off onto me as I got on top of the housework and even started putting together my ‘Loved Ones’ Wall.

The ‘Loved Ones’ Wall is in my hallway and the concept is to buy one photo frame a month, fill it with a photo of good times with someone who I love be it family or friends. When complete it should be a wall of mismatched photo frames that come together show the people I love, their personality and diversity reflected in the different photo frames. It’s an idea I’ve had and been saying I’ll get round to starting for two years. Sye helped me decide the positioning of the first few photo frames, did the manly, butch job of hammering the nails and slamming the doors to makes sure that they were secure enough on the Wall. Here is the work in progress:

(Click on image for full size photo.)

Now before I get loads of comments saying: “Hey, I’m not on the Wall…” Please bare in mind that I’ve only just started this and that I’ll be added too it every month.

Sye’s been a great support while I’ve had problems with my waterworks. No, I didn’t mean those waterworks…I mean’t that my bath had been leaking. The cost of the plumber to fix the water leak has been covered by me, but luckily the cost of replacing two damaged floors and a wall is covered by my buildings insurance.

Without a doubt the best thing about having Sye to stay has been being able to share experiences of day-to-day life. Talking about our successes and celebrating them with cake, discussing anything that wasn’t a success and learning from the experience. I miss being able to come home and exchange stories about the day. The cats listen but to be honest don’t seem that interested – sometimes they even yawn before falling asleep.

So I’d like to thank Sye for his stay over the Summer, he’s probably helped me out as much – if not more than I was helping him out.

Take Care,


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DVD Review: 28 Days and HELP

By Reviews, TV, Online Streaming & FilmsNo Comments

I recently bought 28 Days [DVD] [2000] as I’m a fan of Sandra Bullock. The story is about the always drunk and drugged up Gwen Cummings who at her sisters wedding is dancing and falls on the wedding cake. Gwen, determined to fix things gets in to the Wedding limo in search of a cake shop. Gwen rather dramatically drives in to an house and gets sentenced to 28 days in a rehabilitation centre out in the country.

You follow Gwen as she sets out on her path to recovery from her drug and alcohol misuse. Starting with her being unconvinced that she had a problem at all, to acceptance and starting on the path to recovery. From the outset you realise that this is a budget film – were most of the budget went on Sandra. The other actors feel false and unconvincing.

The overwhelming theme that is interwoven in to the story is about asking for help. This film made me look at myself, do I ask for help? Especially when I need it? The answer is a residing No. I’m not sure why this is, perhaps a desire to be independent? Perhaps not wanting to put on anyone? Maybe fear of being let down by those I ask?

Something for me to think about and work on.

Write soon,


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