Plans, Hopes and Dreams for 2021.

As I mentioned in my last blog, I am going to try and enter 2021 with an air of optimism, and that means focusing on things that I can have some semblance of control over.  A lot of my plans will still be pandemic allowing, but as with this year, it’s about being adaptable so that I can keep trying to move forward.

Despite all the stress and the upheaval of moving to a new house this year, I managed to set the groundwork for things that I can take into the new year, and hopefully grow and develop them.

One thing I am really excited about is The Phoenix Enterprise Program, which is being run by Helen Roberts and Ray Lavery, with the support of Richmond Council; the program runs for a year, and is helping businesses and start-ups (that are either located in, or do business in the borough of Richmond Upon Thames) to grow; and I can’t wait to be part of it.

So, here’s what I’m taking into 2021 and how I want to develop them; I’ve also added some CAN YOU HELP? sections for areas that I basically need help with…..

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Speaking About Mental Health.

The path to achieving my goals is constantly moving, and it’s a journey fraught with challenges, barriers and frustrations.  I constantly feel like I am not getting anywhere, and that I’m drowning in an endless storm.

Having said this, there may be some calmer waters ahead….. or at least a boat to help ride the waves.

Last year I did a talk about the basics of anxiety at a local school, and I really enjoyed it; I hoped that I could do more, but nothing seemed to materialise, and to be honest, I didn’t really know how to move forward with it; so it ended up being added to the pile of  what I class as ‘failures’. Read more

Running 480 miles, in 16 Weeks, In Aid of Mind.

When the NHS appealed for volunteers to help during the current pandemic, I thought long and hard about signing up, but soon realised that with my anxiety and depression I probably wouldn’t be much help, so I didn’t do it.

It wasn’t a nice feeling, realising that I wouldn’t be reliable enough to help other people; and I felt guilty when I saw some of the amazing work that volunteers are doing to help their community.

This has been playing on my mind for a while now, and I have kept thinking of ways that I could help.  I guess that in a small way, some of my social media posts, and the blogs I write do help, but it is hard to see the tangible effects, despite receiving some lovely, amazing comments. Read more

The Benefits Brick Wall.

For most of 2019 I have been fighting with the Department for Work and Pensions, trying to find out why they are persisting with a rubbish benefits system that simply doesn’t work for people with mental health disabilities.

Initially the fight was regarding Employment Support Allowance (ESA) benefits, in particular the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) they use to help determine if you are capable of working or not.  The fight has now gone onto a second front, this time regarding the Personal Independent Payment (PIP) benefit that they stopped awarding me in December 2019; in particular the assessment they used to decide that really there is nothing wrong with me.

The way I see it, the current system actually punishes those with mental health issues from trying to make an effort; the greater reward comes from actually not doing anything. Read more

Wading Through Treacle….

At the moment everything feels like a massive challenge.  Having to make major changes to your life is bloody difficult at the best of times however, when the changes are forced and not really of your doing, it makes it even tougher to come to terms with.

I have tried to keep myself calm and relaxed by keeping busy, but I find the constant barriers I face have a really negative effect on my mood and how I feel about myself and my capabilities.  The speed of progress is painfully slow and this dents my motivation to a point where I just want to sit in a dark room and watch TV.

“Sometimes, I feel like one who is on the sidelines, who has missed life itself.”

– Nelson Mandela

I feel as though the world is going on around me and I’m just stood watching.  I want to get off the sidelines and into the game, but there is so much to contend with.  My confidence is shot to pieces, I don’t even know if I can play the game anymore; I don’t even know what game I am meant to be playing.

The engine is seriously running out of fuel, and that’s where the treacle comes into it; just trying to do anything seems to take so much effort. Read more