I have a black dog, his name is depression…

It’s taken me a long time to build up the courage to write this post but I thought it was now time to discuss my current situation and the issues I am having. First, I will share a video with you; it might make things a little easier to grasp:

Thursday 18th April 2016 – It was suspected that I was suffering from depression!
Tuesday 29th March 2016 – It was confirmed that I had clinical depression!

Some of you may be thinking, why has he put this in a blog and moreover why has he shared it via Facebook – the truth behind that is mental health has such a stigma attached to it and I want to share my experience with others and to help them talk about it! Also I want to be ’emotionally genuine’ with everyone. Some days I may not be myself but by you knowing about my black dog you might know why!

I am NOT doing this to get attention; that really is not what I am doing this for! I am doing this to help myself and I am doing it to encourage other young people who may be suffering from a mental health illness to speak out and get the help that they need!

Every day I feel that I am battling my mental health because there are large parts of our world that fail to see mental health illnesses as real; or other parts that believe depression is an attention seeking mechanism!

Here is another video:

Living with the black dog isn’t easy and I was hoping that I wouldn’t have to. But unfortunately this is something that I couldn’t have stopped happening to me! My dads death has had this effect but I am determined to fight it and not let the black dog rule me; I will eventually be able to put my dog on a lead and take the little shit for a walk! At the moment, I am struggling to fight it with therapy alone so I am on medication to help! I caught it early and hopefully that will help!

So thats it – I have built up the courage to tell you – my friends, my readers, my family – I have depression but I am dealing with it! You’re support is truly truly appreciated!

Ben

PS: Some thank you’s:

  • A massive thank you to my amazing girlfriend Emily, without whom the last 18months would have been completely unbearable! I love you dearly!
  • My wonderful mum, I know I haven’t been the easiest person to deal with at home for a while but you have been by my side throughout so thank you!
  • My amazing friends but to two gents who have been by my side throughout my battle: Barney and Jake – thank you for everything chaps, you’re support has been second to none!
  • Also a massive thank you to all of you that have read my blog from the start and also to those of you who have donated to my fundraising campaign – all being well I should jump on 30th May!

Day 2 – Blog Challenge 2016

Today really wasn’t anything special; my best friend was my chemistry revision guide and some past papers. Trundling through revision in preparation for the march mocks.

Revision is not fun; but it is the key to success I suppose. It will be the death of me I am sure! Thinking of a few of my friends today! Not really that much to report; its been a boring one!

Thats that – day 2 wasn’t all that exciting!

Ben

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Negatives to Positives – Ben’s Blog Challenge 2016 – Day 1

ITS BOOKED!!

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Its official – I have now booked my charity skydive! But more about this later.

I just wanted to write a post, as I haven’t written for a while and wanted to update you all, as my wonderful friends as to where I am with everything.

I won’t lie, I have been finding things with Dad pretty tough at the moment; I have been struggling with the psychological side of his death and that has not been easy. BUT I just want to say, that I know that I am in a better position than some people.  And don’t get me wrong, I know that I am very lucky in comparison to others.

To those of you out that there are struggling with life, school or work; to those of you out there that are dealing with a recent loss or sudden illness of a family member; to those of you out there that are struggling with mental health – I salute you! I promise you that no matter how well you think that you are doing, you are doing exceedingly well. It might not seem like it now, but one day things will get better; just don’t expect a miracle to happen over night.

Some of you reading this are my closest friends, some of you I know professionally and others of you I have never met; but I want to thank you all for the support that you have given my blog thus far and the support that you continue to give it. Those closest to me will know that I really do struggle to talk about my emotions and feelings in person – and unfortunately this is not healthy. I know it sounds silly, but I do this to protect myself, if I don’t put up my defences, I feel exposed and liable to being knocked over by myself. Which is why I try to express myself on here; I can tell people my feelings without feeling exposed. So your comments of support really do mean a lot to me! Thank you for all of them.

As I have mentioned before, I have received a fair bit of criticism from a small group of individuals for authoring this blog, because they feel that I am just trying to be the centre of attention; trust me that is the last thing that I want. I am just trying to express myself. So if you are one of those people, I suggest that you stop reading now and visit this page here….http://cdn.meme.am/instances/24950093.jpg – if you support me and want to read it to see what I think about those who don’t support me, feel free!

So just a quick update about where I am with things at the moment; firstly lets start with the negative stuff, its best to get that over and done with. I have gone back to my extremely lovely pattern of sleep that seems to be nothing to 3 hours, 4 at a push. I feel that I am struggling with the emotional side of grief, so if I don’t seem myself that will be why. But hey thats why I do lots of things to try and keep my positive.

As you will all know I have setup my organisation – Cycle4Charities – this has really taken off and we have our first event coming up in March. Further to this, I have recently started a Memorial Fund in memory of my Dad, and as mentioned above – I have booked my skydive (when…Saturday 5th March – and yes as some of you will know that is my birthday) . Now this is where I do some pleading… I would like to be able to donate as much money to all three of my causes as possible (each getting a 33.3% share of the funds raised). Once again my three causes are – Dorothy House, Altzehimers UK and a ‘Build a School’ project in Kenya.

I would like to say a huge thank you to those of you that have already donated – now that I have my first event booked, I am able to promote my cause more and get more sponsorship.  Click here to download a sponsor form. Any amount big or small would help all three causes and would have such an impact on their work. Get your friends and families involved! I will be pushing the event more at school and will have sponsor forms available in the Futures building.  If anyone owns or think they know someone who owns a business and would like to provide a business sponsorship in return for logo’s on all branding plus other benefits drop me an email on manning.ben09@gmail.com to discuss suitability and requirements.

Now lets move away from all that business stuff. All of this is a coping strategy for me and I have realised that I use it all to cover up my feelings. I want to be more honest and transparent with you guys as my readers; and I know that I have said this a lot, but I am going to post more in 2016. I will not promote every post through Facebook, but I want you to know that I will be posting, all being well, every day. I appreciate that you guys might not want to read it every day, but for those of you that want to follow my blog when I do not promote it via Facebook, bookmark it or sign up for a free WordPress account and you will get a little email notification every time I post.  I will ensure a link to my blog is on my social media bios so that it can be read as you please. I do not expect comments and I do not expect feedback, but on a personal level, I have had enough of struggling to express myself and keeping things in. This is going to be my slate, my area to write my thoughts and feelings. I feel like 2016 is going to be a good year for my blog, Cycle4Charities and my fundraising. I want to share that journey with you all so I guess it starts here.

Day 1 – 15/02/2016

Today was the day, I visited the hospital for my issues that I have had with my joints over the last three years. I am awaiting further investigations, however they feel that it may well be a form of arthritis. At present that is all I know and I will update you as I get more information. Other than that the day was pretty positive, I went over to visit my grandad, taking him his christmas and birthday presents (I know the christmas presents are late; but still). It was such a warm feeling seeing his eyes light up as I walked through the door. As usual we had a chat about school and I listened to stories of years ago. We talked family and Dad, we had a tear together. But all in all it was a positive day.

Short, sweet and simple for today!

Finally…

I would like to thank all of my close friends who have supported me throughout all of my crazy ventures, my mum also for all the support. My family and even those who know me only professionally.

The main thank you is to my late, great Dad, without whom, I would not be in the position I am today for both the positive and negative reasons. I hope that I make you proud and I hope that you are still sleeping tight up there; until we can be together again!

To any of my friends, if you need me I am here! Or in the words of Marvin Gaye – “If you need me call me, no matter where you are, no matter how far!” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tepYJno7rU

School is tough!

Its been a while…yet again!

Hello everyone,

I know that it has been a long while since I last posted. Life has been very busy and as all my friends will be well aware, A-Levels have truly kicked in and free time is a true luxury.
I, like everyone in Post 16, am beginning to feel the wrath of the increased level of work! The stress levels are increasing week on week and free time seems to get less and less! Trying to relax is almost impossible and sleeping is also fun!

Now a quick one about the blog itself – I just want to thank all of you as my readers for supporting me and getting me through the last year and a bit. It is approaching 1 year since I started writing my blog and it has been one of the most sensible decisions that I have ever made. Being able to speak my mind, openly has helped me significantly and I would like to thank you all for reading my thoughts. As I have said before, I find it particularly difficult to vocalise my thoughts and letting all of my friends know by writing about it helps. So once again, thank you everyone.

The last year has been full of a lot of battles for me and I don’t know how I have got through certain parts of this year. There have been parts that have gone well and other parts that have made me want to give up on certain things! I am able to reflect on these moments are try and carry the techniques on that help me cope.

We are yet again approaching Christmas, and this time last year I was approaching what was going to be the most difficult one of my life and it was. I didn’t look forward to it last year, I was like Scrooge there’s no doubt about it. I know that I am still a grumpy specimen in normal day-to-day life and I am sorry for anyone that this effects.

I have now been without counselling for nearly 3 months and I know that my life is on an upwards trend. I am in a much more stable and calmer place mentally and I am feeling more able to cope with things. Better than I would have ever been able to cope before. I suppose that is one of the positive things to come out of my dads death.

Loosing my dad has revealed a few things both positive and negative, all of which I am understanding of and I am able to use to my advantage.

To the previous readers of my blog, you will remember Richard (those new here – Richard is the ‘DICK’ that I refer to as being in control of my feelings). Well I am pleased to say that Richard hasn’t reared his ugly head for about 3 months. I am glad to say that he seems to have backed away into his little cave and is no longer bothering me! I hope that he stays there because to be honest, I’d rather live my life without him.

There are many reasons why I am in such a positive mind frame and a better place. But one of the main reasons is thanks to my wonderful girlfriend Emily. She has been my rock and has helped me through everything. She has been resilient with me and has dealt with me when I have been grumpy and down, upset and miserable and sometimes a damn right pain in the ass. She has put up with me. She has helped me to keep my head above water and she has kept me smiling when things got tough! She is honestly the most wonderful girl in the world! She is perfect! She is beautiful and I am honestly the luckiest man because she is mine and I am so glad that she is! I would be lost without her!

My closest friends have also played a massive part in getting me through the tough times and they have also had to deal with me when I have been down. Everyone of them has been a incredibly good in supporting me. I may be off and sometimes not myself, but they realise that its nothing personal and always try and cheer me up! Thank you to all of you – you know who you are!

My mother has been a great support. We have argued and we have shouted at each other, but she has put up with me! She has been wonderful and I couldn’t wish for anything more. She has done so much and I know that sometimes I haven’t shown appreciation for this. I wish I had because without her support I would be lost!

Frome College have been incredible in supporting me throughout everything. I have a great support network of teachers and knowing that they are there for me helps me through the difficult days at school immensely and it makes the battle that bit easier. Thank you to the wonderful members of staff that have helped me.

My amazing theatre family at the Merlin – Matt (Tipper), Oli and Claudia – they have listened to me moaning, allowed me to vent my emotions/feelings and have provided me with a great distraction when I have been down. I am really looking forward to working on Little Mermaid – by the way, you should come and see this, it is going to be a great show!

Life is much better now I am hoping that it can only get better – the only way is up as they say. School is going to cause much stress and it will be difficult sometimes but I know that there are people much worse off than me!

I will keep blogging and I will try and post more regularly,although I know that I have said that before! I hope that I continue to piss the critics off too – I still get feedbacks from year 9’s and 10’s stood in the Car Park at Frome College saying that I am a self centred twat – well to you – piss off is all that I can say!

Cheers,

Ben


Quote for the Post:

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Dealing with it…

Today was a big step…

Today, I made the decision that I wanted to stop my counselling. Now you are probably thinking so what? Well it was such a big decision to make and it had to be made, but now I really feel that I have got my life on track and I am where I want to be. There’s no doubt that its taken a lot but now I am slowly getting there.

Lets track back…
Throughout the last year, I have been in some very unhappy and bad places both emotionally and mentally. Subsequently, that has had a large impact on my day to day life. I have done things that I regret. I have fallen out with people that I never wanted/intended to upset, I have drifted away from people and we are still drifted and I am blaming myself partly but I am also blaming the emotions of grief and the effect that they have. All of these things added to the unhappy places lead to a very hostile land in my head which can be very difficult to deal with and often annoys me.

It is almost as if I have had to battle with myself over the last year to maintain myself as a person, but I know that it is what my Dad would have wanted.

When I was getting into these negative places, it was very hard to get out of and can lead to so many feelings. BUT…when things get negative, you just have to stop and re-evaluate things. Look at the positive things that are in your life.

I have a wonderful Mum, the most perfect girlfriend and such an amazing group of friends. Furthermore I have a great group of peers that haven’t judged me or taken the piss for the things that I have done.

Today

Today started off with doubt – did I make the right decision about my counselling? Should I have stopped it? We then had an assembly that helped me with that doubt. I was sat there, listening to Mr Hain talk about various things including links with the Rotary Club, then he eyeballed me and I just knew what was coming next…I was incredibly touched by his description of me being Inspirational & Admirable however I would never use these words to describe myself – I just see it as me getting on with life! He presented me with my Youth Citizen of the Year award – it was such a happy moment and I am so thankful to everyone whom has helped me achieve this. However the thing that touched me the most was the round of applause I heard from my whole year group. But then came the congratulations from my peers and then those people whom I don’t speak to very often commenting on my blog and congratulating me for that! A day that I felt was actually going to be shit actually turned out to be one of the most uplifting and motivating days of my life. Lesson learnt – don’t judge a day by its morning.

Moving on…

I want to be able to continue to move on with my life. I would like to thank Ruth for the support she has given me over the last few months, she deserves a medal dealing with me. Furthermore I would like to thank the whole of Year 12 at Frome College for your ongoing support with everything – it means the world.

I would like to be able to try and repair any damage that I have caused. I want to strengthen the friendships that I already have and hopefully I will make some more. Now that I am not being counselled, I feel that I will have a need to write more and I intend to blog a bit more, I won’t be posting to Facebook about it all the time, so if you enjoy reading my blog, check by every few weeks for an update. Thank you to everyone who has made kind comments about my blog, it means the world to me that so many people enjoy reading about my progress. If you feel that I am an attention seeker, please do let me know, but don’t expect a response!

Sorry the post is a bit blabby and nonsensical, however its how my mind works.

I’ll be blogging again soon!

Ben

 

Well its been a year…and a while since I posted

Exactly one year today I lost my Dad and I can officially say that it has been one of the hardest, most frustrating and most confusing years of my life. Furthermore, it has also been a long while since I last posted.

Quickly flashing back to last year, at 15, I seriously didn’t expect to be loosing my dad. However the year has also had many positive aspects including an super holiday and other uplifting events along the way.

Lets talk about dad first and get that over and done with. When I lost dad, one year ago today, I was unsure of what that would open the door to, I was unsure of how that would affect me and how I would cope. But I have managed to get through it. Sometimes I am confused, sometimes angry, sometimes sad, sometimes I have no feeling at all. The emotions that I have experienced and felt over the last year have subsequently had large effects on things and furthermore they have been the source of much negativity in my life. However they have also been the source of some positivity in my life.

Emotions
There are those times where emotions take over and I feel a lack of control, I feel that I cannot control who I am. It feels as if there is an external source controlling me and telling me what to do. Now let me tell you, this is shit. I have to make an effort to lock this source or person away. If you have read my blogs before you may no I refer to this person as Richard. I personally like to force him into a cupboard that has about a thousand locks on the door. But I have realised that this is not always sensible as it can sometimes cause a large scale build up of varying emotions that include anger – which is not good. As I described to my counsellor, it is almost there is a battle in my head between Richard and Myself and sometimes he wins and others I do; but that can change within a few hours.

I still have a lot of anger and frustration towards Dad for leaving me like this and unfortunately that is a feeling that I am always going to have about him until I can deal with it better. Before I get any comments it is not immature, pathetic or stupid to have these feelings so if you are thinking that, keep it to yourself and stop reading because you have no clue at all. Being left by him made me feel alone and stranded and that is something that I will always be frustrated at him for.

Another weird feeling is a one where you wake up in the morning after a dream that Dad has featured in and then you have the realisation that he isn’t here anymore. I can’t text him and I can’t call him. However this is the time where I can reflect upon the messages that we sent each other before he died. These are some messages that I wanted to show you as my readers. I will admit freely that I was in tears whilst typing these to my dad, and he admitted that he was in tears whilst replying to them.

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Every time that I have re-read these messages since it has made me cry! They mean so much to me and they will never be deleted.

One year from his death I just want to say the following to him:
“Dad, I miss you. I miss you more than words can ever describe. The loss and void that has been left in my life is monumental and cannot be described. I know you are looking down on me and I hope that I continue to make you proud every single day. I love you to the moon and back. Keep dreaming sweetly until we meet again, then we can get tiddly with a bottle of Jack Daniels. But until that day, behave and wait for me!”

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Like father, like son!

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“Look its my face” – You can tell that he wasn’t used to a selfie.

Positivity and Moving Onwards

This summer I was lucky enough to experience the holiday of a life time with my wonderful girlfriend Emily and her lovely parents. Furthermore I have also been able to enjoy lovely moments with my mum this summer too. Many of you may have seen my Facebook post back in August about my holiday, but I just want to say again that it was amazing. So many memories made and many that will stick with me for life. I just want to say a special thanks to Emily’s mum in particular – she was the source of most of our mickey taking and she coped very well!

I just want to do some dedicated bit now about certain people.

  • Emily: You have been there for me through thick and thin. I know that I haven’t been easy to cope with and I have been irritating at times. I am sorry for my frustrations this year and I am sorry that you have had to deal with them. We’ve been rocky at times but I am very glad to say that we have now become so much closer and we have a much stronger relationship due to that. Thank you for the things that you have done for me and thank you for the things that you continue to do.
  • Claudia: Claudia has been there for me through the tough times. She has listened to me blab on about pointless crap sometimes and for that she deserves a huge medal. Claudia has been invaluable throughout my grieving process and I owe a lot of my sanity to her.
  • Jess: Jess is like my sister, she has been there from day one and furthermore she never fails to make me laugh when I am down. Along with her mum, they have me in stitches and crikey we’ve had a laugh. I hope you are getting on okay at Sexey’s!
  • Barney & Millie: This wonderful duo have been there when I am down, making me laugh and checking that I am OK. They have been amazing friends.
  • My amazing ‘in-laws’ who have supported me and given me amazing experiences.
  • Mrs Bendry, Mrs Love and Miss Latham who have formed my in-school support and provided me with invaluable support and advice. Furthermore they have helped me develop strategies to deal with my grief and the stress that it causes. They have been amazing!
  • Joss – the lady without whom my dad wouldn’t have died in such grace nor dignity and furthermore the person that has provided me with invaluable advice about anything and everything. Thank you just isnt enough
  • My Mother without whom I wouldn’t have got close to my dad again and the lady that was cooperative even when they weren’t together. So thank you Mum!
  • And finally, it goes without saying the man that has inspired me to write this blog, the man who has inspired me to set up Cycle4Charities and the man that lives on in me. My Dad. I just want to say:
    “Dad, I owe a lot to you. You are an inspiration and I will always look up to you. Although our time together was short, I gave so many fond memories and I am proud to call you my dad. I love you with all of my heart and without you there is a void that will never be filled. Keep dreaming and behave. Where ever you are they are lucky to have you”

Thanks for reading everyone and I hope to post again soon. Please can I invite you all to like the Cycle4Charities Facebook Page 

All the best!

Ben

PS: Congratulations to every one of my friends who got their GCSE results this summer. I wish you all the best for your Post 16 Study or what ever route you are taking!

Happy Fathers Day…yeah!

Oh what fun fathers day brings!

I always knew that today would be a challenge. It felt like a normal Sunday when I woke up this morning. It took me a while click on to what day it was. I was soon reminded. Yay it hit me (nice one grief) with a thud but I picked myself up. Thanks to those who offered support to me today!

I sat on my backside this morning and binged out on TopGear, Lee Evans DVDs and Blackadder – you may be thinking why…let me explain – these were the programs that me and my dad watched together and those where we had the most laughs. It was a good way for me to deal with it! I laughed and enjoyed them but they weren’t the same without Dad there. The binge will continue tonight and I will have a nice beer to wash it down with. Here’s to you Dad!

This week has been good though – I started my new job on Monday; what a great job! What great people to work with! Instantly made to feel welcome! So thanks to my new work colleagues for making me feel so welcomed and happy within my new place of work. You are all brilliant fun to work with!

Now I have quite an apprehensive wait…I am not going to see Ruth, my counsellor, until 9th September (coincidentally the anniversary of Dads death) so please if any of you see me plummeting into a hole, please rescue me! I can’t afford to be down this summer! Thank you to those of you whom have helped me already! I would like to pay special thanks to Emily, Jess, Barney, Millie and Claudia for keeping me afloat over the last year, you guys have been amazing and you have been incredible supports to me! Forever in debt to you all! But also thanks to Matt, Oli and Claudia (Stage Mumma) for keeping me afloat during my times in the theatre, also to Matt for giving me the inspiration to write about my feelings – I am glad to welcome him back to the UK after his road trip – I am no longer responsible if anything goes wrong at the Merlin (phew)! Also a thank you to all of the new people to have walked into my life and started supporting me. But a thank you to the people out there whom take comfort or inspiration in my blog because without you – I would struggle to be honest about my emotions sometimes! The support I have got and people making contact from all over the world makes me aware of the impact that my blog is having and even that contact a little closer to home. Thank you wonderful people! But also it goes without saying, a huge thanks to my incredible mum!

I want those people dealing with grief weather it is recent or it has been years – the pain does come in fits and starts but it really helps to get your feelings out of your head. Whether thats in a notebook, on a blog, to a friend or to someone you trust! I encourage you to express yourself, it makes it that bit easier. My heart truly goes out to those this fathers day that don’t have a Dad! We are a unique bread and are much stronger than most! Huge respect!

Thats all for now folks! Cheers for the continual support and enjoy the longest day of the year!

Ben