Domestic Violence or “The Thing”as Jo Calls it, is everywhere in our Communities -Please read Jo’s first Blog Post and help her to raise money for and the profile of Women’s Aid

I have always had wanderlust! My amazing Mum & Dad will vouch for that…at 13 I went off to stay with strangers ( a pen friend whom we only knew via old fashioned post!) I left home as soon as I could in an attempt to see more than West Yorkshire, I worked as a […]

via Time to raise awareness and help someone just like me…. — From Rock Bottom to the Top of the World!

Happy New Year 2016

Happy New Year everyone.  I hope that 2016 is a happy and healthy one for you all.

It’s 6.30am on 1st January 2016 and I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself.  I’ve made it! I’ve got through Christmas and New Year’s Eve and none of the fears that I wrote about in my blog of 24 December 2015 (My Life in Song) have manifested themselves.

I’m up at this time as I am feeling high on life at the moment and I couldn’t sleep.  We are in The Lake District at the moment and we had a fabulous New Year’s Eve with some friends of ours.  The other reason I’m up at this time is that I don’t have a hangover for the first time on New Year’s Day in 30 years.  Probably my best achievement in 2015 was giving up alcohol.  I haven’t had a drink since the of 9th August (The day we got home from Ibiza).  That’s 144 days dry and for that I deserve a massive pat on the back.

As I sat here contemplating that statistic, I started to think.  If I can do that for alcohol, surely I can do it for something else that is bad for me.  So I have decided to make a New Year’s Resolution (One Only!!). I know that yesterday I said I wouldn’t but I’m doing a U-Turn.

I resolve to give up chocolate, biscuits and cake for the whole of January. That’s 31 days.  Surely it will be a piece of cake if you will pardon the pun!

The kids had a bit of a party at our lodge last night.  Thankfully there is not too much rubbish to clear and even more thankfully there is no vomit on the new carpet.  When I put some rubbish outside to take to the bins later it struck me how quiet and peaceful it is at this time of the morning.  To be honest it’s my favourite time of the day and always has been.

The stillness in the night sky, the bright shining stars and the solitude of the place reminded me of the opening line of the early U2 song – New Year’s Day.  It goes:

                    “All is quiet on New Year’s Day”

You have probably gathered by now that I love music, I always have.  It has played a massive part in my life and it is a powerful way to generate happy memories. When you are depressed you lose the ability to do this and music means nothing.  Just like everything else in your life.  I stopped listening to it for a long time.  I preferred silence. I’m so pleased that I am enjoying it again now.  I even did a bit of Dad Dancing last night!

We listened to a lot of tunes last night.  Some in our lodges and some at The Haybarn Disco.  Here is the first list of 2016. It is 10 songs that I heard last night that bought a smile to my face for one reason or another.  Those reasons will remain private so don’t ask me if you see me:

  1. California Girls – The Beach Boys
  2. Meet me on the Corner – Lindisfarne
  3. Smalltown Boy – Bronski Beat
  4. Don’t Stop Believin – Journey
  5. Here I go Again – Whitesnake or White (pause) Snake as I used to say to annoy Rachel.
  6. It’s a Kinda Magic – Queen
  7. The Number of the Beast – Iron Maiden
  8. I gotta Feeling – The Black Eyed Peas
  9. Don’t stop me Now – Queen
  10. Sex on Fire – The Kings of Leon

Have a very happy and healthy 2016.  Thank you all for your ongoing support.

The Bipolarbeancounter

New Year’s Resolutions 2016

So after the Dalai Lama’s words of wisdom are you all fired up for the New Year?  Have you got your resolutions sorted out? Perhaps you are:

  1. Going to stop smoking.
  2. Going to lose weight.
  3. Going to join a gym and excercise more.
  4. Going to give up alcohol in January or perhaps stop drinking during the week.

You know the score! If you can do it and stick to it then fair play to you.  Give yourself a massive pat on the back as you are stronger than me.  And, I suspect, stronger than most.

In the past I have always set resolutions.  It seems like the right thing to do at this time of year.  Why have I done it? Because all has not been well in my world.  Have I stuck to them? No!, Am I healthier or fitter? No! Am I happier? No!

I won’t be making any resolutions this year.  People with severe clinical depression shouldn’t.  The reason we shouldn’t is that we have to live each day as it comes.  Live in the Now as Eckhart Tolle says in his book – “The Power of Now”.  Clinically depressed people can’t plan activities for a week.  Never mind a month or a year.  I’ve lost count of the number of holidays, parties and appointments I’ve cancelled or not turned up to because I can’t even get out of bed.  My family and friends have got used to it now.  It is the norm.

Instead I am going to concentrate on moving forward very slowly at my own pace.  A very good friend of mine said that I need to take the “Crawl- Walk- Run” approach to moving forward. I will live one day at a time and enjoy life.

If I looked at all of my negative behaviour over the last few years I could make a few rules to live by. But, the trouble with rules is if you break them you feel bad. If you feel bad you beat yourself up with a stick (not literally!).  And, if you get the stick out you will get depressed again.  Give yourself a break – Put the stick away!

At this point I must dedicate the stick idea to an inspirational guy who I have met on my Mental Health journey.  His name is Alan Wilson.  He is employed by MIND, the mental health charity and is the founder of a self help charity group for men called Moving Forward.  I have been attending Alan’s groups twice a week for the last 3 months and they have played a significant part in my recovery.  Have a look at the website:

http://movingforwardgroup.org/

Have a great night tonight everybody and start the New Year with a positive, happy, attitude as I intend to do.

Keep Moving Forward – The Bipolarbeancounter

 

 

 

 

 

Instructions for life (Part 3)

Did you like yesterday’s wise words from the Dalai Lama?  I particularly liked the points about spending time on your own and enjoying silence.  I think that’s why I enjoy walking in The Lakeland Hills so much or walking the dog at 6.00am, you very rarely see anyone. Anyway, here goes with the final installment:

  1. Share your knowledge.  It’s a way to achieve immortality.
  2. Be gentle with the earth.
  3. Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.
  4. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
  5. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
  6. Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.

I resonate with 6 today.  I joined Slimming World in September and although I’m losing weight I haven’t really embraced the cooking side of it yet. Perhaps my new year’s resolution should be to cook more, Rachel would like that.

Happy Tuesday everybody – The Bipolarbeancounter

Instructions for life (Part 2)

I hope that yesterday’s post made you pause for thought.  As promised, here are 6 more pearls of wisdom from the Dalai Lama for your consideration:

  1. Spend some time alone every day.
  2. Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.
  3. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
  4. Live a good, honourable life.  Then when you get older and think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.
  5. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
  6. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation, don’t bring up the past.

Enjoy your Bank Holiday Monday – The Bipolarbeancounter.

Instructions for life (Part 1)

I came across an inspirational poster one evening as I was attending a Mindfulness class at MIND in Bradford.  Over the next 3 days I intend to share with you some of the wisdom of the Dalai Lama. Some of these points may help you frame some of those New Year’s Resolutions that you are thinking of making for a happier, healthier life.

  1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
  2. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
  3. Follow the three Rs: (a) Respect for self, (b) Respect for others and (c) Responsibility for all your actions.
  4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
  5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
  6. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
  7. When you realise you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.

Have a happy Sunday – The Bipolarbeancounter.

My life in Song

Christmas and particularly the month running up to Christmas are challenging for many. There are many added pressures and stress levels can be higher than usual.  This is NORMAL behaviour and I have to keep reminding myself of that. I have lost sight of NORMAL over the past few years.  What is NORMAL anyway?

People have been asking me for the next installment of the blog and in 2016 they will be more regular.  But the truth is I have been struggling to keep myself well.  The last few Christmas’ have been pretty grim and I have been piling the pressure on myself to enjoy this one.  I spent two full days in bed last week and thought that I was going down!! But somehow I pulled myself around and here I am on the eve of Christmas feeling good and if I’m honest, very chuffed with myself.  The boy done good as they say in footballing circles.

There is no place for talk of depression on a day that should be filled with joy and happiness so today I’m going to give you a few short lists. I love lists and I love music as you will soon find out.  So here we go:

5 Songs that make me feel Good !

  1. Hakuna Matata – Timon & Pumbaa – The Lion King (It means no worries for the rest of your days)
  2. Shoes upon the table – Blood Brothers (My family love a good musical and this is a favourite)
  3. The Letter – Billy Elliott (My Mum left me a letter when she died 13 years ago.  I love to read it from time to time.  I’ts like she is there with me speaking to me. Have a listen and imagine how I felt when our son Alex sang it on stage when he was younger!! Tissues at the ready!!)
  4. Take me home country roads – John Denver (Mum played guitar and sang his songs a lot.  The kids used to put his best of CD on in the car and sing all his jolly tunes)
  5. Send me on my way – Rusted Root – From the film Ice Age.  This is a request from Amy. A very uplifting little ditty!!

5 Songs that sum up my illness!

  1. Fix You – Coldplay
  2. Wilder Mind – Mumford and Sons
  3. Lost Weekend – Lloyd Cole and the Commotions
  4. Wonderwall – Oasis
  5. Fisherman’s Blues – The Waterboys

5 Songs for a brighter future!

  1. Life’s what you make it – Talk Talk
  2. Keep the faith – Bon Jovi
  3. Alive and Kicking – Simple Minds
  4. Don’t stop Believin – Journey
  5. Don’t stop me now – Queen

And finally, a song for living in the NOW! Which is what we should all strive to do!

Merry Christmas Everybody – Slade (1973)

I particularly like the lyric:

“Look to the future now, it’s only just begun”

Have a good one everybody – The Bipolarbeancounter.

 

 

Wow, I’m blown away by your support!

I’ts been almost 3 weeks since my first post. A longer period than ordinarily I’d like between posts.  I have been well all that period so I have no real excuse for the delay other than that I have been overwhelmed if not a little spooked by the response and support that I have had for what I thought was a fairly ordinary, run of the mill introductory post.  I have had time to gather my thoughts and now it’s time to write a bit more.

Firstly, as an accountant, I think it would be a bit remiss of me if I didn’t share a few statistics, so here goes:

1 post, 1182 visitors, 1544 views, 18 comments, 3 followers.

Fairly astounding, I think you’ll agree.  The power of social media is amazing.  The challenge now is to convert those visitors to followers.  I cannot rely on my Facebook friends and Twitter followers sharing every one of my posts but I would urge you to continue doing so.  It really is time for change.  It’s time to spread the word and make the world a better, happier place for sufferers of mental illness of all kinds.

It’s been a very tough 7 or 8 year journey for me and my family.  I say 7 or 8 because I now know that I was very ill before I realised it.  This is the way of mental illness. You know that there is something wrong but you can’t put your finger on it.  I pressed on and on with my job, working many hours a week (evenings and weekends) .  I was very unhappy.  Then one day out of the blue I snapped, I could take no more and my mind and body said “No More Adam. You need a break now.”

Although I don’t have any formal medical or psychological qualifications I have amassed a huge amount of knowledge on the subject of mental illness and specifically depression since my troubles began, I believe that I am qualified by experience to talk and write on the subject and help people similar to myself understand what is happening to them.  If I help one person recover or help prevent another taking their own life then my time spent writing here has been worthwhile. If I do happen to reply to a comment, please bear in mind that I have no piece of paper that says I’m qualified to give advice. I will be speaking from the heart based on my own experience.  While I’m on the legal stuff, I cannot remember all of the sources of the information that I may talk about on this blog.  I have read too many books to remember and you pick up little snippets of information all of the time.  I’ll give credit where I can but otherwise I’d like to thank all of those authors now.  I cannot say that one therapy or one book have got me to the space I am now but the cumulative knowledge that I have gathered has given me the necessary information and tools to get me where I am today and manage my condition on a day to day basis. So, thank you to you all.

I’m not sure exactly what form this blog is going to take yet, it will evolve as we go along.  I hope that you find it both informative and useful.  If you like what you see then please click follow and you will automatically receive all of my future posts by email.  Please continue to share on Facebook and Twitter, I want to reach as many people as I can.  You never know which of your friends might be suffering in silence. I’m not going to promise that I will post every day, every week or even every fortnight.  My condition may not allow it, but hopefully I’ll have more incentive to write the more visitors / followers I get.  I hope that my blog will become one of my “wellness tools” in time.  A purpose in life, that at the moment I have lost.

For now I’ll leave you with a question that you should ask yourself every day:

“Am I living a life that I love?” (Phil Parker’s Lightning Process http://www.alanpriestley.co.uk)

If the answer is no. Something needs to change.

Until next time.  Stay happy.

Welcome to my Blog on Mental Illness

Hello everybody. My name is Adam Turk. I’m a 47 year old Chartered Management Accountant from Burley in Wharfedale in West Yorkshire. I have a fantastic wife, 3 wonderful children and until 2009 I had an idyllic life. I had had a couple of big blows along the way, particularly the deaths of my Grandpa in 1993 and my Mum in 2002, both huge influences on my life. But I had bounced back, or so I had thought. Nothing however could have prepared me and my family for what was to follow between 2009 and now.

I don’t want to dwell on the negatives as this blog is going to be a positive place. But, in short I had a mental breakdown, lost my job, lost my self respect and dignity, lost contact with a lot of friends and slowly but surely descended into the dark, cold, lonely world that is depression. A place so horrible you would never believe unless you have experienced it first hand.

Depression is evil. It mutates, gradually changing form as time passes. Getting worse and worse until you reach rock bottom. It is only then that you can find the strength to recover. Everybody’s experience is different but for me it went from stress to depression and anxiety, finally taking a Cyclothymic form like Bipolar Disorder. I say like Bipolar Disorder because I have never officially been given the label. This is quite common and quite a relief to be honest. There is a stigma attached to many mental health labels and with stigma can come prejudice and lack of future employment opportunities.

At the height of my illness in 2013 my condition changed roughly every 3 weeks. I would have 3 weeks of deep depression where I would sleep for hours, plan my suicide, moving between bed and sofa. I was housebound and not even capable of the simplest of tasks like having a shower, opening the post, emptying the dishwasher or walking the dustbin to the end of the drive. The poor dog (Oscar) got a walk when the kids got in from school but not the lovely walks he enjoyed with me when I was well. The following 3 weeks would be fantastic (or so I thought). I would be on top of the world. Rarely sleeping and capable of anything. Always rushing around filling my diary, meeting people and doing stuff. I was superior to everyone and I talked down to my wife all of the time. I spent a lot of money and made some very bad judgements. From the outside looking in I was manic and a liability to the public but for me it was great just to have a break from “The Black Dog” (depression). But I knew it would be back.