When I was 19 and studying politics and economics at university in Southampton I had a dream that really inspired me at the time and I thought that the dream was so unusual and important and like a revelation that I still remember it to this day.
The dream started with me in a dark basement where I was then walked up the stairs out of the the dark basement by my brother into a beautiful and flourishing garden in daylight with a huge oak tree with green leaves on it at the centre of the garden. The oak tree had a small cat trying to catch leaves from the ground but the branches were too high up for the cat, so the cat could not attach the leaves like it wanted to.
Then there was also a very interesting sight on the grass of the garden where I saw 3 almost Aztec multi coloured lizards waking around in like a circle. I have always been interested in the meaning of dreams and their ability to be an interpretation of our present or a possible insight into the future.
From what I could decipher from the dream the dream was kind of reflecting on the fact that I was going to come out of a dark place where into a spiritually better place almost like an awakening.
Very soon after I had this dream I unfortunately experienced my first psychosis which was very upsetting and unsettling. I lost my home, many friends, a lot of money and had to move to a new place and move back in with my mum, while I came to terms with what had happened to me and tried to heal myself and prepare myself to be strong enough to make my way in the world again.
When I had my first psychosis I had no experience of mental health difficulties and no idea what was happening to me and it was a very scary moment in my life. But this dream gave me strength and comfort in that although I would be losing out and experiencing suffering in the short term I new I had the potential to hopefully come out of the experience stronger and wiser and be in a better place than where I had come from before.
Just like walking up the stairs out of the basement into the beautiful garden with the oak tree. But even in that garden there were still potential trials and tribulations as well as wonders and opportunities, with the threat of the cat trying in vain to attack the oak tree, and the wonder of the three multicoloured lizards walking around in a circle on the grass. This all took place in a beautiful setting of the oak tree in full bloom on what looked like a summer’s day. It felt that so long as I continued in life to walk up the stairs out of the basement to the garden that I would be ok and have my brother now in spirit around to assist me should I even need him to show me the way to walk.
This life is a lot harder than I ever thought it could be but at the same time I do have a feeling that my soul chose to be born now at this time in this place and face the life choices that I make and try to come to terms with and survive and thrive with regard to whatever comes my way. I do not know what is around the corner, but I do know that I will always try to do my best for god, life and those that I love.
Back in 2020 I expereince my first psychosis for nearly some 10 years. I am lucky in that I have good insight into when I become unwell I know when I am hallucinating and I know when I am delusional and with the help of medication and medical staff, friends and family I worked hard to hold down my job, keep a roof over my head and get well all at the same time. I know times like now are times when I risk becoming unwell again and I must be mindful of this happening to me now.
Symptoms of psychosis
The 2 main symptoms of psychosis are:
hallucinations – where a person hears, sees and, in some cases, feels, smells or tastes things that do not exist outside their mind but can feel very real to the person affected by them; a common hallucination is hearing voices, though my hallucinations manifest themselves as visual lights, on the rare occations that I see them I know I am very unwell.
delusions – where a person has strong beliefs that are not shared by others.
The combination of hallucinations and delusional thinking can cause severe distress and a change in behaviour.
I started this blog on 1st February 2020 nearly two years ago hoping to shed a skin or two of layers of my perception of life and write about my mental health experiences and my view on politics, loves and life. It’s such a good form of self expression having a blog and just as much fun reading and seeing what other people view and share too. I tend to go through phases of wanting to read others, wanting to look over my own and also wanting to write on my own or find new ones to follow.
But one thing I still have not had the ability to do yet on here is come out about my mental health (both past and present) and I am not sure if or when I ever will. The thing about publishing on the World Wide Web is although not many people do read this blog, it has the potential for anyone I know or even don’t know to read it and judge me. That judgment might then result in someone thinking less of me which is not a big deal, but if that judgement resulted in a work colleague or employee then making life difficult for me or even causing me to lose a job over then that would be a huge problem for me.
I work hard to pretend to be normal in a work environment and that hard work enables me the comfort of sleeping with a roof over my head in my own flat in a comfy bed and with relatively few nightmares. To come out about my mental health difficulties on here makes me feel that I risk all of that. So I don’t really discuss it or go into great detail about it really so as not to be at risk of being found out. Maybe my circumstances will change one day or something like that but I feel safe in my own skin leaving it as it is for now.
I take very few photos of myself although I have found one that a friend took in the most awesomely friendliest bar in Exeter called the Arcade that I was in recently.
Me, Will, Kev, and Nate (all legends on their own barstools)
Friends relationships seem to be shifting on rocket fuel at the moment, in such a fast motion it’s as if there is a huge hurry for those that can enter them and such hope and joy for them when things are going right and a huge disappointment for those that can’t or for when things go wrong.
I am very lazy and shy when it comes to relationships. I am very happy in my own skin and don’t want to jeopardise my somewhat fragile state of contentment, happiness and positive control over my own life. When it comes to make ups, break ups, heart missed a beat moments and heartbroken temper tantrums I have been there got the t-shirt.
There are still many strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities that are out there in life. My job is tough at the moment but I accept that and make the most of it. It’s a place in time doing something that I want to do and would not know where else I could be and can’t really imagine myself doing anything different right now. But I still keep my eyes open to possibilities that come up.
Well that’s my kind of attitude to life in general at the moment. Duck and dive, roll with the punches and keep my eyes open for the next trick shot.
So I went on a train trip down to Cornwall, a couple of weeks ago, where I was able to celebrate Christmas, Easter and pubs reopening all in one week with my parents. I also even found time to get my hair cut for the first time in 6 months to ensure that I no longer look like I am in some kind of 70’s TV police show.
I have also been trying to lose weight, since my diabetes diagnosis and its happening slowly but surely and I weighted in this morning and find that since I started reducing my intake of unhealthy foods, portion sizes and eating less carbohydrates and more vegetables I have lost about 1 and half stone in weight or 9.5 kg. I was a little worried about my weight this week because I went out on my first lads night on the beers for the first time in over a year and also had a meal out to. But I was still able to loose a little weight due to the healthier eating and drinking in the rest of the week.
I still have a heavy weight to loose and a long way to go but it’s all going in the right direction. My biggest risk to my physical health will be when the pubs open up full time and I want to go out and be social and have a pint and listen to live music. But if I do so once a week and keep on track with my eating for the rest of the week (and my life) I should hopefully be ok.
A day of mixed emotions today I have been advised that I no longer needed to shield and so stepped out of my home and walked to work this morning and returned to the office. Its the first time I have walked into Exeter since I had my coronovirus jab, so things on the up for me personally.
But the lives taken of two young people in Exeter were also weighing on my mind. Firstly Lorraine Cox who was murdered in the Summer of 2020 had a jury find the murderer guilty of killing her and he is due to be sentenced next Wednesday. On the night she was last seen she was drinking in a local bar I drink in which is a lovely and friendly place, always welcoming to people who come through its doors and little did the people drinking with her on her last night know when she left what would next happen to her that terrible night in August 2020. It really has been deeply dark time for some of her friends and family that know and love her.
Secondly there is a wonderful young man, younger that is than me that very recently died in Exeter and his funeral was today. His name was Trevor Garman and he was a local legend within his lifetime. He had such a warm and worldly way to him and when we would get talking he was always very welcoming, kind and a great teller of stories and a champion of social justice to boot. Plus he made a great pirate and ran the most awesome karaoke night in town, where even I would occasionally get up and sing. He was always so warm and welcoming to the people that got up and sang and really made you feel supported up on the stage and was always making you want to go back for more.
Sadly after posting this page I have another soul to add to the list of the lost humans
I was lucky enough to meet and work at the Devon Wildlife Trust with a wonderful woman called Emma Parkinson some 20 years ago. We used to chatter in the office, go camping on Wildlife Nights Out for School groups and also go out with the rest of the crew at DWT for an occasional beer or two. When I moved away from Exeter she was one of many wonderful people that I lost touch with and hoped to one day meet again. So I was trying to see if she had a facebook page this week and sadly came across her memorial page I don’t know how or under what circumstances her life was lost but it happened a couple of years ago another real tragedy of a good person taken before their time.
So all in all a sombre day for many Exetonians today.
Well as I write this its 18:10 and my brain in the last few days has become more silent. I am not saying that less horrible things are happening in this world or that I could not quickly find something terrible to tell you or terribly good for that matter.
But as for my ability or will to write about them now has diminished (for now). I have been working in my day job since lock down and am due to start my new job on the 13th July.
I have been preparing for this next chapter of my life. By walking into the city, shopping in the city and wearing my mask when I get the bus. But throughout all this preparation my will and ability to express myself on here has decreased.
It would be nice if the job goes well, covid-19 is defeated and politicians do the right thing by the whole of humanity and not just for their own pockets of supporters or potential supporters. I tend to criticise those in power the most because they are ultimately the ones that can actually save lives and make sh*t happen. The ones out of power are just peeing in the wind waiting for their next chance to get into office normally or at least that is how it seems to work in the UK from a shallow perspective.
I hope if you have got this far in reading this that you are well and continue to be well. I really have enjoyed writing every darn word and if you get bored anytime I dare you to look over old posts there is a lot of my heart and soul that has gone into making this thing.
I will try and continue to post on here but like I say my mind has become more silent of late and I don’t yet know what that means but it feels like a positive necessity to heal or recharge my batteries.