Archive for May, 2017

As well as being entirely too interested in what is happening in the world outside for my own good I subscribe to the belief that my team , Chelsea FC, are the best in world. If anyone wants me to prove this I will of course struggle but if the rule of advertising counts then I can, every week thousands of consumers shout out this as a de facto truth and if asked at least 9 out of 10 would agree as long as it was our gang asking .

Anyway that said I support my team through thick and thin, for the first thirty years were very thin indeed, and I am aware this will not necessarily be a popular, other teams are available as the ad man never says. The FA cup final took place at the weekend and my boys were attempting to top off a stellar year with a flourish and to achieve the much vaunted double, our opponents were the ner do wells of Arsenal who under achieve to such a level its hard to really feel any malice towards them, but of course I do.

The game was, from a purely Chelsea perspective, awful. We were not on our game, at the races or any other of the many metaphors used to describe a poor performance. I can live with that, we won 30 games in the league and if the cup wasn’t to be so be it. Problem is there were a number of poor refereeing decisions that sent what was a frustrated fan, myself, into the realms of a crazy fundamentalist and I am not being insensitive to the weeks events here, that is genuinely how angry I was.

The game started with a very early goal for the opposition, a shock for any team but when the referee blew up for offside myself and the other fans nearby were relieved as there had clearly been a handball prior to the goals as well as at least one offside. Being the beautiful game seldom are such matters concrete and the ref duly changed his mind and gave what can only be described as an abomination of a goal that put us on the back foot and proved to be the deciding factor as we lost 2-1. Anyone who watched the game will agree that Arsenal deserved the win, we were lucky more than a few times and their keeper pulled off a few great saves, even their poor finishing seemed to mock us as I hoped they would either concede top us or score another fair goal so the abhorrent one had little effect on the end result. I was to be disappointed and then ensued the rage I spoke of earlier.

Now no matter what side of the footie debate you are on everyone knows what passion about something feels like, you cheer when it goes well and feel deeply unhappy for a while when it doesn’t, I’m normal in that respect I imagine but I can honestly say I went far beyond anger in a matter of seconds and managed to continue, in many ways growing its intensity for another three hours. Why is my real question here. I have watched games where the ref has ruined the result many times, for Chelsea and England and usually I can accept it as the vagaries of sport and even realise these things even themselves out but not this time.

It took until very late on Saturday to calm down and I was aware of the ludicrousness of the whole situation even as I ranted inwardly but try as I might I couldn’t console myself or relax enough to let go. I did think about it on the Sunday while doing my version of meditation, which is DIY, and could say with some confidence I understand exactly what happened and its so simple I could kick myself. I perceived the game, due to the very early bad decision, to be unfair.

I saw in what was happening an injustice I couldn’t protest about and that, added to the many voices giving alternatively agreeable and argumentative opinions made me furious and this wasn’t really about the game any more hence why it carried on for so long. I understand trigger better than many people due to the nature of my groups, we discuss them a lot, but still I was caught out entirely by the anger and due to my inability to recognise what was happening I was left with the sore neck and shoulders and tight jaw that always follows an episode of true rage.

Its lovely to have the hindsight to understand it all without the need for a therapist and I will obviously put this in the column of stuff to be aware of but the fact is I am angry at myself even now. I, like every other fan, knows that a referee can and will do whatever they want. The governing body of the sport is the most corrupt in the world and we all watched as they did exactly as they pleased for years, so why I would even dare to hope that any game would pass off without a clanger being dropped is beyond me. We, as fans sing what we think of the ref more than once at almost every game, and the opposition fans do too. So my evening could have been saved and the anger and frustration unspent, just by realising that the referee will always be a wanker my life will be so much better.

So I was lying in bed in the early hours having given up watching films and hoping sleep may come at some point. As I often do I checked the news and was assaulted by the images of the cowardly attack in Manchester, I wont say too much about it as my ire is likely to arouse many feelings in myself and others, nothing needs to be said surely?

The thing I am willing to say is my reaction made me feel quite shocked as I went through the many differing emotions that most people will, as I always say PD doesn’t make me different it just heightens the depth of emotions and reactions I enact. I first became angered by the fact it happened, not the iniquity of the act, that’s a given but the failure to prevent it. I genuinely went into one at the authorities for a while which writing this now is entirely unfair but that’s how it went. I was then more sanely angry at the people responsible, that is still there of course but then it quickly escalated into the ideology of these cowards which very quickly went onto their religion itself.

I am irreligious as well as an atheist so I cannot claim to understand the idea of a devotion but I was quite able to imagine the acts of violence I wanted to commit in reaction to this and all the other attacks of recent times and it was only due to my recently found ability to catch myself in the act that I realised the irony of such a thought and the futility of violence in reaction to violence.

I was a child of London in the eighties, a time of IRA attacks and I myself was present in Chelsea when the barracks were bombed as we all being in the subway leading up to Rotten Row as the car bomb detonated, we emerged onto that bridleway to the horror of men and horses just half a mile ahead and the anger I felt at these and other acts fuelled a sectarian hatred that took years to understand and even longer to set aside. I was already unwell and my strong feelings were a clue to my future problems but the reasons were valid. I imagine that somewhere there is a misguided young man who equally believes that whatever grievances he has validate the use of violence and I try to look at it in this way as an attempt to moderate my aggression but its hard when the targets are children, in fact its impossible but I’m trying.

I guess the depth of feeling I and no doubt everyone with heart feels at times like this are entirely justified and I can accept this. The aggression I feel and indeed the internalised violence I am seeking to vent are my own and the PD makes it worse but not in a special way. Ultimately there are at least 22 lives lost and many more changed forever and their suffering is where I choose to direct my thoughts at this time, reacting would be sad memorial to such innocent lives and the scum who acted so cowardly want us to react in such ways and I refuse to do so.

My thoughts are with the people affected and the wider community of Manchester.

I am getting less annoyed by the idea of a week dedicated to mental health awareness,  I mean it drives me nuts, no pun intended, that we get a week of the year and that’s supposed to somehow change things. I am not a naysayer, I can see the changes over the past ten years and yes the stigma around most conditions have receded to a degree but I am easily frustrated and all talk and no action makes Steve a mad boy.

The biggest thing that gets my goat is the constant refrain of “talking will make a difference” I know its good to talk, Bob Hoskins and Maureen Lipman made it very clear but most of us are talking about the wrong thing, or at least the least important. Mental health isn’t an isolated condition that leaves the rest of your body in top form while it tries to waste your mind, in fact those with a mental health condition are 60% more likely to develop a major physical health problem than someone who is “well”. Now that isn’t saying we injure ourselves or our problems make us do things that eventually ruin our health, we just don’t look after our physical wellbeing and the effect is cumulative.

So we are more likely to be unwell in the traditional sense and the question is why? or more importantly how? If you have any depressive related disorder you may well be neglectful of your basic needs so the vitamins and nutritional elements of your diet may be lacking and this can lead to issues, especially if you’re housebound as no fresh air or sunlight can make you more prone to all sorts. Add to this the problem many of us have with grazing. For anyone who doesn’t know grazing is caused by some of the mood stabilisers and even a couple of anti depressants and as I understand it the chemical that affects your mood also plays some part in quelling your need to eat and without it you constantly pick at food, not so much little and often as little and always.

This allied to a sedentary lifestyle brought on by lack of motivation and those indescribable pains that come along with many mental health problems means you start to gain weight at a rate that’s not sustainable, at least if you want to stay at a healthy weight. Its a well documented fact that every few pound over your ideal weight you are the risks of so many serious conditions around your heart and diabetes  increase proportionately, and as your self esteem is already faltering the added weight becomes another reason to feel worthless and cocoon yourself in your home, meaning even less exercise and the added risk of comfort eating on top of the grazing.

Comfort eating itself can be very common without the added drug factor and while talking about weight might seem a little trite, after all what’s a few extra pounds if you’re improving your mental health right? its a major issue for some, and yes I do mean for aesthetically. I have heard so many times how this is just vanity and it is so often brushed aside by professionals and carers as silliness when compared to the real issue which to them is always making us more stable and safe to leave alone. Now I get their point of view to a degree but if your self esteem is already at rock bottom and then your clothes start to feel tight or look wrong then you already low opinion is going to nose dive and as I have said the added health risks just make it far more important than “just” looks, surely.

Now I write this as a very unhealthy man. Apart from my collection of acronyms that cover my mental health I am probably 6 to 8 stone overweight. This, depending on which specialist you believe is either the cause or caused by my diabetes, I have had asthma since childhood and my liver is all kinds of screwed too. I am suffering from spinal issues due to a misspent youth and the extra weight doesn’t make any of this very easy to work with for the doctors, not to mention my fatalistic approach to my self care means I rarely do anything to aid my recovery from the physical problems and that is entirely attributed to my mental health issues, so I am equally as unwell mentally as physically and maybe the conversation we should all be having is how can we get people like me to look after both sides of our wellbeing, isn’t it?

I have written and published two books, not bragging just stating the facts as they stand today. Now there is something of a convention that I would be expected to write a third, in actual fact a fourth and fifth have been requested by some of my more impassioned readers and therein lies the problem.

I wrote my first novel almost as a reaction to leaving long term therapy, that’s not to say they were at all related in terms of subject matter but the fact I had gone from three days a week of intense psycho therapy to sitting in my front room alone for hours without an emotional or intellectual outlet so off I went into the dark twisted world of fiction and voila a book was born. Book two seemed like a natural progression and although not as easily found the creativity flowed well.

Now I am three years further on and book three is banging around my head awaiting a release and somehow ‘ the keyboard, not entirely but in terms of a workable document its stuck. There are many reasons for this but if I am brutally honest with myself the main one is my mind is too dark for even myself to be comfortable with on paper. I think everyone agrees that a good story must have passion and n that evokes feeling, preferably positive but equally good is a detestable one. I write very much about things I know a bit about and this can be a rich vein to work from but when, such as now, I open up the darkest parts of my psyche I fear that I am the detestable fiend I hope to document.

I am obviously not a Tajik pornographer or an afro Caribbean ex con, the protagonists in the first two books and neither am I the ex service man or his courageous brother who are the heroes of those stories . So why am I so tied up emotionally with the newest characters? I often tell my peers that we do get some compensatory qualities with our PD and one of them which is highly treasured is our creativity and lateral thinking, things I believe I have in some small measure. I know that I can take a scenario and pick it apart to see it from every angle and if necessary use the unpleasant side of things to put a different bent on it and my readers have said they really liked the way I got inside the darker issues so I should take that as licence to continue, shouldn’t I?

If I take the next step, which I think is almost inevitable in some form, then I may be delving into a very unpleasant place. My fear in doing so is I expose the true quality of my mind and that the world at large may not appreciate it as fiction. I have always been creeped out by Stephen King, his appearance alone does it but having read a few of his books and seen a lot of the films I always wonder at his true intent. That suspicion then sets me to asking what others think when they read my work, do they imagine my personal knowledge goes as far as personal experience or if it is something I fantasize about, which would make me a very dangerous person indeed, wouldn’t it?

I can’t say for sure there’s an answer to this conundrum, after all its a personal problem of internal strife and therefore with the best will in the world no one can advise me otherwise as I will second guess their motives and even assume an ulterior one when I get a moment to reflect. I guess I’ll just have to do whatever it was I did before, just have to try to remember what the hell that was, until then book three is very much a work soon to progress.

I’ve been wound up recently by a letter, just one solitary utensil in the alphabet used by writers and speakers throughout the western world, sounds crazy but its true and that letter, that profane insipid little consonant is B.

Don’t get me wrong I am no fan of X or any of the weirdly unusable letters from scrabble but this isn’t about anything so minor or uninteresting as a game or even syntax I just hate the way it has somehow inculcated itself into everyone I meets diagnosis. Not just that but it seems to managed to make even the intelligentsia of psychiatry believe it is somehow ubiquitous and necessary when diagnosing personality disorder. BPD! that’s what I read and hear all the time, theres even a BPD awareness week and courses being run just to heighten awareness of BPD?

I mean pardon my ignorance on this but ICD has 8 listed personality disorders and DSM has 10 so where are all the others in the vernacular of these people or has there been a shift and all of us now just have Borderline? Its even more confusing when you consider that BPD is not a valid diagnosis in the UK, we come under ICD and they use the term Emotionally unstable but nowhere am I hearing EUPD so what the fuck is going on?

Its relatively common in groups to have to clarify this and I have started to get the impression that things have gone backwards recently as people even turn up asking if we’re the BPD group and seem perturbed when I explain its for all Personality disorders, as if they have a special one that needs a special group and its not their fault, no they are being given a clear impression that BPD is PD and anyone who says otherwise is probably just not that in the know.

Now I can put up with a small amount of ignorance, I have a mental health issue so it goes with the territory but I am becoming even more worried that the B isn’t the only piece of misinformation that is being espoused as fact. Apparently its also a female issue and therefore misogynistic in its use, as if saying women are being subjugated by the diagnosis. I have EUPD as one of my diagnoses and last time I looked I wasn’t a woman, indeed in every group we run there are men who are struggling in the same ways as the women. I could throw back an argument that Anti Social personality disorder is equally sexist but that would be trite at best and only spinning the stats in the same way to score a point.

The fact is that it is generally agreed that personality disorder is equally divided between men and women and the fact that some are more weighted towards either gender is a case of diagnostic laziness and misfortune than anything else, men are more likely to become known to services after an act of anti social behaviour and therefore get the ASPD diagnosis, that’s just an unfortunate incidental fact whereas many women will be known to services earlier in their prognosis and this means they are seen as less anti social and hence seen as Borderline, not that they are any less likely to be anti social just they haven’t presented because of it.

I’m not an expert and don’t want to change the world by informing people of their errors but if I hear another professional giving the term BPD just as a catch all I will be very hard pressed to withhold my anti social traits.