For years I blogged every day, when my life was at its worst, when I was at the depths of despair and I could see no way out. Writing became my anchor point, it allowed me to articulate what I was going through and it helped in removing what garbage was in my head at time. Writing was an important part of my day, it was there, it was routine. I didn’t have to think about what to write as I just let my head and emotions do the talking. There were no rewrites, it was raw.

Thankfully that was then and this is now. A somewhat unrecognisable person from the one I was. I rarely, if ever take myself back there, there is no need. It is recorded in this blog, I have written copies tucked away but there is no point in hitting the rewind button. I have memories of listening to cassette tapes as a child / teenager on a tape player before I progressed to a ghetto blaster then a sound system. The younger generation will never appreciate the squeaky sound of a tape rewinding, or  simultaneously hitting the play and record buttons when making a mix tape or recording songs from the charts. I guess my point here is that I have moved away from the representation of tangled tape mess with creases and tears. I still have the reflected imperfections but those are just part of me, part of the recording, those that will always be with me even when I press fast forward.

Now I do not have the need to write every day. I do not have the feelings and thoughts of my past. I do not need to use writing as a form of therapy, but it is something that I enjoy doing and something that I will continue to do. I feel that perhaps it is time to pick up where I left off with the book. I left it because I was not sure how it would end, not that we ever do when we are talking through our experiences especially when it comes to mental ill health. I had to hold off on chapters because to some extent I had no control over the outcome and some of the decisions that were being made for me medically and professionally. Now those decisions have been made, some forced, some jointly, but  either way I have ended up in a happy and a secure place. Words that I could not imagine typing as recently as 12 months ago. 

I am doing well in work after changing roles in November of last year. Having spent most of my police service in CID as a detective in public protection, I  have moved to a uniform role within our public service centre managing a great team. I am in an environment where I never thought I would ever step into again with great support. I am able to recognise my triggers and put processes in place to prevent sliding down the helter skelter on an uncomfortable straw type prickly mat.

People often ask me how I did it, how I got myself back to being George. Firstly, I did not go back to the George I once was. The person I am now is a better George in so many ways. I am not saying I recreated myself, and I am not saying I was bad before, but I had to take a long hard look at myself, dig deep, and through a combination of methods peel the layers back and start from scratch. This did not happen overnight, but started in 2016 when I asked for help.

If I was to say what really helped it was time and importantly time alone. For someone who has zero patience, telling someone that it will take time is not something that you can comprehend. Unlike recovery from a physical injury or illness, you cannot put a healing time on mental illness. My vulnerability and mental ill health will always be there, but I understand that and I appreciate what it can do. Effective recognition and management of it is key and if you let it rule you then it has the potential to destroy you. Perhaps being strong willed with ferocious tenacity and a competitive mindset also subconsciously went a long way in helping. I never let  anything or anyone beat me before (even my young nephew at tennis) so why let something so worthless and pathetic beat me into a life of depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation?  When I was in such states I did not care or see a way out, but perhaps I did not give myself enough credit.

I could write a whole blog on what helped me and maybe I will, but what worked for me may not work for you. What I would say though, is that you cannot rush these things. The brain is a powerful organ, so beautifully crafted, so intricate and so encompassing. It knows you better than you do and will work things out and heal in its own time. Sometimes it may need medication or therapy, sometimes it may need down time and time to reframe, rest and reset and sometimes it needs a kick up the butt (so to speak). 

Accept there is no magic cure, accept that there is nothing to be ashamed of, accept yourself and most importantly be proud of who you are.

I am.


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