As I Began To Love Myself – Charlie Chaplin

As I began to love myself
I found that anguish and emotional suffering
are only warning signs that I was living
against my own truth.
Today, I know, this is Authenticity.

As I began to love myself
I understood how much it can offend somebody
if I try to force my desires on this person,
even though I knew the time was not right
and the person was not ready for it,
and even though this person was me.
Today I call this Respect. 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

Anxiously Stepping into 2020.

Usually I head into a new year with a level of optimism and hope, and 2019 was no exception.  While I was still struggling with my mental health I had plans and ideas that I thought would change things, especially financially.

The end of 2019 was bumpy to say the least; notably, I had started level 2 of the counselling course in September, but had to give it up after three weeks because I had a complete meltdown, and couldn’t do it.  I also lost my PIP benefit.  Both of these had a massive impact on my mood and self confidence.

While there were successes in 2019, my overriding feelings from the year were ones of increasing frustration and failure.  All the plans and goals had slipped away to nothing; I felt as though I had slipped down the mountain, past base camp and back to square one. Read more

Is This Why People Give Up?

A couple of weeks ago I contacted the Bedfordshire Wellbeing Service (They offer talking therapies and are part of the East London NHS Foundation Trust) to try and get some additional help for my anxiety and depression.

I was originally given their leaflet by my GP because I asked him about finding additional help; you can self refer, so I said I would contact them myself.  I left it for a while but recently my depression became worse so I decided to see what they could do.

What they offer is limited because the NHS only endorse CBT, counselling and medication as mental health treatments; I am already having counselling (not via the NHS because they only offer a set number of sessions.  I had ten with an NHS therapist who didn’t really seem interested) and I wouldn’t touch anti depressants again, so I guess I was going to be left with CBT, which would be better than nothing.  I had CBT before via the NHS but it didn’t really work because I was fighting my old company at the time, and this hindered any progress, so it was agreed I would stop.  I thought that maybe now it would be more effective. Read more

Getting Back Into Running.

Over the last couple of months I have really fallen out of love with running; I can’t really explain why, but all motivation evaporated, and I hit rock bottom with it.

Kim thought that maybe I was just tired and needed a rest; which made sense considering all the running I have done over the last few months.

While it made sense, I didn’t feel like this was the whole reason for my slump.

I put a lot of pressure on myself, and it’s this pressure that I just can’t really deal with or release.  For some reason I could not run less than my normal 11km route; to do any less seemed like some sort of failure.  I also had to keep around the same time despite telling myself that the time was irrelevant, especially when doing the Race At Your Pace challenges; all that matters then is the distance. Read more