Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Getting Old?

Yesterday I got 2 reminders that I'm not as young as I used to be.

Firstly I had to have a new photo pass for work and, as part of the procedure I had to take in my passport as 'photo ID'. Now my passport photo dates from 2002 and given that I was bald and bearded then you would think very little could change. Wrong. In the past 8 years my hair and beard have gone grey making me look even older.

This was brought home to me in the evening when I caught the tram home. I got on and looked for a seat. Usually there are some free seats at that time but yesterday there were none and so an involuntary sigh, not very loud, escaped from my lips. At this point a young woman got up and offered me her seat which I politely refused. No-one has ever offered me a seat before; do I now look that old?

I know I'm like the late Dave Allen, who said inside he felt 25 but when he looked in the mirror there was this old git looking back, but oddly I actually feel fitter than at any time in the last 8 years. My chest conditions are under control and the pains I had breathing and walking have both been traced to my back and sorted out by first seeing and osteopath and then starting on some back strengthening exercises. This morning I did 22 press ups - not bad for an oldie who 6 months ago could only manage 3!

Monday, 29 March 2010

To Tab or not to Tab

Last Wednesday I had a bad relapse into depression. The following day I saw my care co-ordinator and, despite being exceedingly tired due to lack of sleep, I was rapidly feeling better. She, however, was worried enough about me to call me in to see the psychiatrist on the Friday.
He wants me to go back on anti-depressants as he now accepts I’m depressed; oddly he wasn’t convinced when I was put on them in hospital! I don’t want to go back on them because, as I posted before, the main effect was to dull my brain and I need all my brain working if I am going to sort myself out.
We couldn’t reach an agreement but he has given me the prescription in the hope that I will get it made up.
The question now is do I go with my instinct and avoid medication as it won’t help my recovery or do I go with the opinion of the expert who has only seen me 2 or 3 times.
To misquote Shakespeare – To tab or not to tab, that is the question.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

How Are They Going To Do That?

I have just spotted a headline that says "More help for missing people" which begs the question if they are missing how do you find them to help them? Of course once you've found them they are no longer missing so they wouldn't get the help anyway.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Yesterday I went to Work

Yesterday morning I woke up at 4:45 and didn't get back to sleep properly because I was worried; worried because I was going to work. Normally going to work isn't a big deal but yesterday was my first day back at work since early November when I had some form of mental breakdown. Going back to work was one of the big steps back to normality and I was worried: worried about how my colleagues would react and worried about how I would react.

Of course it went OK; most of the things we worry about never happen anyway. We had moved office while I was off so I spent part of the day unpacking 3 crates and working out how to fit it all into one desk, a lot of time clearing some of the 979 (approx) unread e-mails and a short time talking to my boss. All in all it was a gentle, stress free day and yet I had been worried about it.

Was I right to worry? I don't know. But what I do know is that God was with me and I was supported by a lot of prayer and without them I would have struggled.

When I was first ill I thought work was one of the main causes of my situation but I have now come to see that most of my work stress was self induced. It wasn't the work that was wrong but my reaction to it. A reaction born out of situations that have existed from as long ago as my childhood. An understandable but wrong reaction.

It's still early in my journey back to normality (whatever that is) and I'm only working part time at the moment but the great thing is that I'm on that journey.

When I started this blog one of the subjects I said I was going to cover was living with disability. At the time I defined that as being 'dyslexic with knackered lungs' but I now realise that my biggest disability is living with depression. Of course I'm still living with lung disease and dyslexia but it's the depression that has the biggest effect on me and, more importantly, those around me. I hope that in my future posts I will be able to shed some light on what it is like to be a Christian living with depression.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Only 2 years to go?

Despite my mental health problem I have, in general, been feeling physically much fitter over the last few months than I have for several years. It was, therefore, something of a surprise to read in the paper that old age starts at 58 leaving me a mere 2 years of middle age before the rot sets in.

Now if I am that close to my dotage you would have thought that I would already be on a downward spiral instead of an upturn in my health.

Read the whole article here:


Wednesday, 10 March 2010

When You Are Going Through Hell, Keep Going.

I came across this quotation by Winston Churchill recently and thought it was very apt and something I should try to build into my life. You see like Churchill I have periods of depression (what he called his ‘black dog’) and so, like him, I need to learn to get on with life even when in ‘hell.’

Last November I was admitted to hospital for my own safety suffering from severe depression. Later a counsellor was to say I had been through a ‘psychotic episode’ although, at the time, the psychiatrist just said I’d ‘cracked up’ – so much for medical terminology! I was in hospital for 2 ½ weeks (it seemed an age) and have yet to get back to work.

While I was in hospital they started me on some medication that was meant to help and, in a way, it did. I was put on Citalopram and told that this would help my brain recover by helping it re-build its connections. It may well have done this but it also made me very sleepy; to the point where I was sleeping 2 – 4 hours in the day on top of a full night’s sleep.

Now this is, obviously, incompatible with getting back to work so they agreed to take me off it and monitor whether I was managing OK. What very quickly became apparent to me was that the main effect of the citalopram was to anaesthetise my brain and while this may have had some benefit the main result was that I couldn’t be myself or think properly.

While I was in hospital several times I thought about the 23rd Psalm and walking ‘through the valley of the shadow of death’ although I changed the words to ‘valley of the shadow of life’ as this was how I felt. In fact I now think I may well have been correct and this verse is about living through dark times and not, as I’d always assumed, about facing death. In fact ‘going through hell’ may also be a good description – I can’t describe what it is but I know what it feels like – so Winston Churchill’s words are a great comfort and encouragement. Comfort to know that others felt like this and encouragement because you can get through it!

I has taken me several months to pluck up courage and blog about this as I felt scared about putting something so personal on-line. If I’m lucky no-one will read it; if I’m very lucky someone will it and be encouraged by it. There is a lot more to say but I think this will do for now.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

My thoughts entirely.

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forgo their use. - Galileo Galilei

I wanted to incorporate this into my heading but haven't managed it as yet. This, apart from the need to access another blog, sums up why I started blogging and is exactly what I mean by 'Don't leave your brain at the door.'

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Why Justice Should be Blind

It did not take long to find the following article complaining (I nearly said screaming) about a convicted prisoner being taken back into prison for breaching his licence conditions.


Of course we don't know all the facts in this case as they have deliberately been kept private to stop revenge attacks.

Take a look at these pictures of justice:

The first is the traditional picture of Justice who is blindfold so she only weighs the facts and the second is the figure on top of The Old Bailey who, for some reason, isn't blindfold. I do hope were are not moving to a version of justice in this country that is based on emaotional response instead of blindly weighing the facts.

Bathroom 2

Work is progressing on the bathroom and, at least, we have central heating. I did manage to programme the controller so it even came on in the morning :) However as we didn't have hot water my wife and son headed off to the gym for a shower while I repeated the jug of hot water for a wash routine.

Here is the culprit for the lack of hot water waiting to be taken away and shot. (More likely repaired but I think shot would be more appropriate.) Do notice the neat wiring heading away from motorised valves - a veritable work of art.

As I type the replacement hot water cylinder is being installed :D

Here is the bath in position and the units for the toilet and handbasin in place and waiting to be installed.

Mosque helps out local church

As a break from the bathroom saga here is a great story of the way Christians and Muslims should get on:


This is more in line with my experience of Muslims who I have found to be charitable, peace loving people. Following on from this story:


I hope it will stop at least some people as seeing all Muslims as evil.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010


Progress is being made on the bathroom but this meant that while we had a new boiler and tank yesterday they weren't actually connected. This meant no heating and no hot water. My daughter has, sensibly, taken herself of the the flat she and her fiance own and my wife headed over there for a shower yesterday evening. This morning I had to boil a kettle of water, pour it into a jug and carry it upstairs to have a wash - I know this would have been common a hundred or so years ago but even I don't ever remember doing that.

With no heating I am feeling rather cold - particularly my feet!

There is now water in the tank so I hope by the end of today we will have the immersion heater wired in at the very least so we can have hot water even if no heating. Anyway this is what it looked like last night:

New boiler and hot water cylinder in position but not plumbed in or wired up.

Hole that used to contain the cold water tank - should be useful storage in the future.

Where the toilet, handbasin and bath will go - notice the door on the left!

Impressive bit of plumbing waiting to do something.

UPDATE - They have just discovered that the brand new hot water cylinder is faulty so we are unlikely to get hot water tonight. The workmen are not happy (to put it mildly) as they have been trying so hard to get it working today.

UPDATE 2 - No hot water but they have worked like mad to get the central heating working. All I have to do is work out how to programme the controller.