4 September 2014

Away with the Faeries - Dereliction of Duty

Regular readers will have noticed a distinct lack of posts lately and many blogs that I visit have been devoid of my comments. I am not going to apologise for this as my mental state has not been in the best place and hence the reason for complete apathy on my part. This post is not about wargaming at all and to be quite blunt is about my mental health.


Now if you don't understand mental health issues, let me enlighten you a little with some honest statements from my perspective.

You see when you have a brain that short circuits as mine does and will not do what you want it to do, it interferes heavily with any pattern or routine you may have established. Daily life becomes a challenge and any organised thoughts disappear as quick as they come. The mind goes completely blank and I am very forgetful. All of which can be a great source of frustration and the cause of some anger issues for me. That's not an excuse for being how I am it's just what I have to live with on a daily cycle and it gets a lot worse for long periods of time.

When I blip out I have no ability to concentrate at all, my mind is constantly fluxing from one thought to another. The little voices in my head tell me what I should be doing but I am unable to carry act on them, as soon as I do another thought pops along and I drift off to another place or get distracted by nothing in particular. Now of course I am fully medicated for my condition but it only helps to give some stability it's no miracle cure. My sleep patterns are extremely disturbed and I often survive on a couple of hours for days but always struggle to wake when I have slept, My body has no energy as a result. often just laying in bed wide awake but without the desire to do anything in particular. My moods and thoughts can be very dark the trick is not to act on those thoughts, something that having had this illness for a long time I am able to manage more often than not.

Possibly the worst part of living with this is the wild unpredictability. I can not predict what mood I will be in when I wake up the next day, although I am aware that I can be down for months on end, then fly to the moon for a couple of months and then it starts over. However when those events happen, can not be worked out. So I am thankful of a very supportive family and some good friends that understand the way I am. You see I am very blunt and honest ,I say it how I see it, lots of people cant deal with that and many more run for the hills once they work out I am a little tapped in the head. Ok I joke about it but it saddens me to think that people wont talk to me. I was completely unaware that being mentally ill meant I turned into a three headed beast that ate small children and women for breakfast! I mean come on seriously I look fairly normal and those that take the time to talk to me will realise, I am fairly normal if not a little blunt at times so why?

Having said all this I have obligations to carry out, I have my commitments to Martin and Diane for the Warbases Wednesday and I have the lads that I game with on a Thursday. These provide some points to focus the attention but when things are bad its a struggle to maintain just these small commitments.To put that into perspective for you yesterdays Warbases Wednesday has taken weeks to put together as I have had no desire to paint and keeping my attention on a display figure has been next to impossible, so on average I have managed to paint 1 figure a week for the last month. Hardly a stunning output when you compare that to the time of last years winter challenge, when I had an episode of manic brain activity (the opposite end of my illness) and produced hundred of figures in a similar time frame.

Having said all this my brain is starting to respond well to some new medications and I have been able to paint a little this week not a lot but it has to start somewhere and from small acorns grow mighty oaks. So hopefully things will return to some form of normal service shortly. I have also started to read blogs again this past few days as I am able to hold my attention for longer periods a good sign as far as I am concerned.

Now I realise as I stated at the beginning this post has little, in fact nothing to do with wargaming at all, but I have had lots of messages asking how I am. So I thought I would take the chance to explain exactly what is wrong with me. Yes I am sure some of you will be scratching your heads, for others things will now click into place remember the three headed beastie! Above all I am still fighting daily to get a grip and wont stop fighting. I know of many people who have mental health issues and dare not raise the subject for fear of the prejudice of others. I am not afraid of those who are prejudiced, my life is far better without narrow minded friends in it. So if I lose followers or friends from this then so be it.

To all of you who have asked how I am doing, or taken the time to read this post I thank you.

Regards
Loki

51 comments:

  1. <>
    Word!
    Hope you get on the better end soon.

    One of our relatives is bipolar and it is always frightening how she (and her mood) can change from nearly one hour to the other. But everyone has somehow to deal with.

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  2. I'm always here buddy.
    Anytime , day or night.

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  3. Excellent post Andrew! I work with I guy that goes through a similar cycle. He is open about it and we accept him the way he is. I also know several others with mental health issues. Thanks for sharing this with us.
    Your breakfast meals sound very interesting, I will have to join you for brekkie sometime!
    Take care mate.

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  4. Mental illness is not an area I know too much about - it is only by people like yourself being open about the challenges they face that I will gain a greater understanding so thanks for the post.

    I hope your life regains a better balance soon

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  5. A great post. I think it's great that you can be open about your condition, it's not something I know a lot about. Keep up the fight

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  6. Keep hanging in there. I hope you get well, but I do know that it can be a very hard uphill struggle.

    Keep in mind that blogging is not something you must do. Concentrate on doing what you want, what you can cope with. You have no obligation to us.

    Just take care. And thanks for sharing.

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  7. Ignorance can be an awful thing - thanks for sharing what is both a very personal but also important perspective on a struggle that most just don't understand. I wish you and your family strength and solidarity as you continue to overcome your challenge.

    As for painting and posting, as others have said, only do what you feel up to. I always look forward to your posts and if they're a bit fewer for now well then that just means I'll enjoy the ones that are done that much more.

    Best of luck!

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  8. It is interesting how many wargamers I follow have such issues. I wonder if there is a link -perhaps painting soldiers is particularly metnally therapeutic - I certainly find it sp if I am stressed!

    Glad to hear that the new medication seems to be improving things! The key thing is not to let not painting (as I have often done for weeks if not months on end) become a stress inducer itself!

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  9. I have struggled on a few occasions with depression and a fairly mild level so know some of what you speak of, especially the friends running for the hills. Just cherish those that stick around.

    Won't see you at the weekend unfortunately but as soon as my cold is through I will be in touch about getting my feet wet

    Ian

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  10. Hey buddy look on the bright side. WE get to call ourselves "Mental Health Survivors!" I do know what you are going through and am an email away if you need anything.

    Take care, stay safe, and if you need someone to talk to just give us a bell.

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  11. Been there done that got the t-shirts..................it is a continuing 'struggle' for me too mate thankfully less so than it once was but still prone to short bouts of depression/stressed out or whatever label it comes under.

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  12. BT, DT myself. You have my sympathy and please accept a hearty "well done" for having the courage to state it and for encouraging people to pay attention to what is very significant issue.

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  13. That Ol' Black Dog is a major bummer.

    Hang in there, and remember that there are many, many people who are wishing you all the very best for your recovery!

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    Replies
    1. The Black Dog is the best explanation I've come across and is often what is used in our family.

      But regardless of anything, stay safe, there's plenty support here.

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  14. Keep up the good fight. I enjoy what you post here but don't ever feel obligated to do this. This should be fun for you and not a burden. Glad to hear you have a good support base in your family.

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  15. What all the others have said:hang in there. This is a very important post, more people need to understand the difference between being sad and being clinically depressed and between having a temper and being bipolar, for example.
    Having lost people close to me to depression, I can only urge you to take care of yourself.

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  16. "I was completely unaware that being mentally ill meant I turned into a three headed beast that ate small children and women for breakfast!"

    Nah, you were a three-headed beast eating small children and women for breakfast long before the illness started :)

    On a more serious note, if people treat you differently or don't want to know you because you are bipolar, well, f%$k them! They are the ones with the problem, not you.

    It's good that you have friends and family to support you when you hit crisis points.

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  17. You are very brave for this post, and by talking about it, you are helping combat the stigma associated with mental illness and depression. Many more people than we realize have to deal with this at some time in their life, though it sounds like your issues are more than most. Hang in there, focus on whats important and see you when you're able.

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  18. The mind is indeed a very powerful thing and mental illness is nothing to scoff at. Having had some exposure to neurochemistry, I am well aware of how the slightest chemical imbalance wrecks havoc into one's health. I wish you well in your fight against this illness ... stay well and may you find happiness more often than not with the help of your family and friends.

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  19. I'm bipolar, but don't rapid cycle. My manic periods can last for weeks and I'm happy and productive during that time. However my depressive periods can go on for months which is dangerous as thoughts of suicide are ever present during these periods. Medication helps, but it doesn't cure, which means we must just keep slogging it out and not give up.

    I sincerely wish you the best.

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    Replies
    1. That was a good comment, Anne. I like how it ended with never give up.

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  20. Your honesty in this post is praise worthy. I have no experience of mental health issues however, your post has shed some light on how some people have live their lives. I hope you find some balance soon and resume your painting and blogging when the time is right. Respect, Ross

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  21. Depression is an illness, not a weakness and it's barely understood, even by the 'experts'' Unfortunately it doesn't require a bandage or a plaster cast so it's no so easily explained or accepted. However, other than to family and close friends (and sometimes to few of those), you don't have to explain it and you don't have to give reasons for it and you certainly don't have to worry about anybody here. It's a great blog, but it's your blog and you can post what and when you want.
    Having said al that, it sounds to me as if you're making a damn good fist of it and you have 'got a grip' as you said. So, see you Sunday and you can sell me something or hurl abuse as applicable. ;O)

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  22. You have a family that loves and understands you. That is head and shoulders above the rest, and quite a blessing. I wish you the very best as you sail through the stormy seas, Andrew.

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  23. Top post, it's good to see more overall recognition of MH issues. I have plenty of experience with family members having it , so I have an empathy with you. I think the quote is "it's not the problem , that's the problem, but people's attitude to the problem". It sounds like your coming out of it bit by bit. If there is anything I can do to support just shout.

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  24. Mate, I applaud your honesty and self-awareness. It's also great to see so many messages of support! I have worked/do work with some kids who have mental health issues, and it's as real it gets. If people can see someone in a wheelchair or with an arm missing or whatever, they immediately understand a lot of things. With mental illness there is a big barrier of awareness and understanding to cross first. Hang in there, do what you have to do, the world needs more people who tell it like it is!

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  25. Keep plugging away ol' boy, you'll get there in the end!

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  26. To be frank I never really understood what it ment to be mentally ill till I experienced it first hand when my brother was diagnosed beeing bipolar. My parents and me were searching for an answer why he is like he is for years now and when the diagnosis came we were first shocked. It has taken us a while to fully comprehend what it means but today I'm not as ignorant as to call someone with neurological issues 'crazy'or 'maniac' anymore. My brother also experienced close friends turning their backs on him because of his mental illness, so my hat off to you sir for being so frank about your mental state. I think we al hope for you to find some balance in the near future. May your longship always make safe passage through stormy as well as calm sea.

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  27. Thanks for writing this post and sharing this. You wrote it well. I agree with Anne, in the never giving up bit. Here's to that, here's to keep plugging another and never giving up.

    Hugs.

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  28. Very brave post Loki.
    Mental health issues will effect most of us at some point in our lives and the more people like you with the courage to talk about your experiences, the less likely it is that sufferers will be viewed as three headed beasties and the more help and support given to those affected.
    I hope you find some peace for yourself.
    Tom

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  29. Chin up I might even let you have a chocolate hobnob at the Derby show :D

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  30. Living with three people who have issues of a similar nature I can empathise with you. The thing to remember is that the people who stick by you through this stuff are the ones that really matter. This is real and it requires daily hard work and support to keep going. Chin up mate, tomorrow might be a better day!

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  31. A most excellent post my friend. It's not easy to open up in this way but the longship crew is a good one and we value all our members. None more so than our great leader that makes sure we keep on rowing despite rough weather.
    Cheers

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    Replies
    1. Very well said Brendon! Absolutely spot-on!

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  32. Thought provoking post Andrew, and a good heads up to those not in the know, and indeed interesting info too for those who are, and must work with, deal with, manage such friends, colleagues, patients...

    Hoping you manage to keep that Black Dog under control as best you can...

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  33. Grab those straps and ruck on, Andrew!
    I've been told I have PTSD, because of my "irrational Anger". It seems very rational when I'm angry though! ;)
    Keep doing the best you can. Good friends love and support you despite your failings. The best friends happily accompany you on your adventure!

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  34. Hello Andrew while you go through your dark days period just try to keep in mind that inadvertently affect others around you. I myself can't live with some with your illness when they are in the down state it triggers a depression in me. I can be around and I am around people who have this illness, but if we share space 24/7 the dark days in that person always triggers depression in me. So some people my pull away for a time for reasons even less understood than your illness.

    Robert

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  35. The best thing to have is a supportive infrastructure (close friends and family). If you have got that then nothing else matters, so says Dr Jonathan Shay and he's right! All the best.

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  36. It's a very brave post from you! I hope you'll get the wheels turning again and everything more in balance. Chin up and never give up!

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  37. Went through a brief period of the irrational thoughts and brain malfunctions over the last couple of days, myself. I'm in no way as worse off as a lot of people with mental health problems, nor trying to belittle your own plight. Just, trying, and probably failing (I'm not good with words at the best of times), to say I can appreciate a little in what you're going through. Roy

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  38. I'm pleased the docs are helping find some meds that work, good luck getting your life back Loki.

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  39. Honestly I'm impressed by the honesty within this post. Many thanks for sharing these intimate thoughts with us. It requires a lot of trust and courage to express such a look into one's inwards.

    On the other hand I'm rather speechless with advice...
    Look at the bright spots, gather with the family and your friends who support you.
    Carry on fighting!
    At the end of every tunnel there's light!

    All the very best for you, good chap!
    Stefan

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  40. Thanks Andrew for sharing your story, and thankyou everyone else for such positive and supportive comments.
    Like others who have commented, I too struggle with mental illness, something similar to PTSD, anxiety, stress adjustment disorder, and a difference in my brain wiring from "neurotypical" folk. I also do commission painting, and have found it helpful to have something by way of a project to do, but I have also appreciated that my customers have not been stressed about deadlines, which helps me operate at my own pace.
    Being ill or different in this way can feel very lonely, a real valley of shadow, but it's great to know that there are some folk out there who understand and love/accept us whatever happens.

    Good on ya Andrew!

    All the best,
    John.

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  41. Don't worry about us Loki, the worm will turn and you'll get out of the doldrums. Hang in there and take it easy.

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  42. Thank you Andrew for your honesty and insight into your illness.I have to say I am very proud of you for doing this as it cannot be easy and that makes it all the more poignant but I have to say you have my full support mate and know its a battle you have to fight every day.

    With the real events in my own personally life with my own darling wife Helen, Mrs PK's real name, and you know about that, it has made me realise that some things, including little wee man, are not that important in the larger scheme of things but rather the people and friendship you make along the way.

    You are an amazing chap and a wonderful example to us all and I am happy for have you as a friend.

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  43. Hi Andrew, I'm sorry to hear of your recent struggles and am glad that you have found some medication that works for you. It boggles my mind that anyone would even consider ending a friendship over this. I suffered from a pretty bad bout when I was about 18-20, dropping out of school etc. But medication and talk therapy got me through that. I know what you mean about learning to deal with it as we age. I just wish I could get over the bi-annual wallow I've had the last few years.

    Sorry didn't mean to make it about me.

    All I wanted to say was I value you in the community and wanted to show my support. Now I just have to get off my ass and complete my projects that were dovetailing with yours about the Vallejo Paints.

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  44. I know what you are going through. Having support is essential especially family and friends. Well done for having the courage to talk about this.

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  45. As others have stated, Andrew, hang in there and never give up! You have a strong interwebbed support group standing by only a keystroke away.

    Best wishes.

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  46. Andrew. Thank you for posting this, it has helped me to look at my own situation and made me realise (after talking it through with family members) that I need to go and see my GP, to see if anything can be done to make things a little easier for me when things go wrong. Cheers. Roy

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  47. I game once or twice a week with some mates, in addition to our monthly club meeting. We have talked about the frequency of our gaming, with one being married, another being widowed, and two of are divorced, only one of us as to answer for his actions to someone else.

    Each of us has issues, either mental, emotional, or whatever. Depression does figure large in our conversations. Although I have not been officially diagnosed with anything, the suspicion is that something is going on inside, with one or two of my mates really having to deal with the out-of-the-norm types of things.

    However, we all recognize that our gaming together is a form of group therapy, where we have fun (or try to), talk and banter, and provide support that we'd not get otherwise. Best of all, all it costs us is gas and snacks.

    For myself, RL has been extremely frustrating for the past two years, on top of a long series personal disasters, my recent history has been worse. This has become especially troubling over the past couple of months, where I too took a break from posting.

    Yet, my participation in the hobby has kept me going, has given me an outlet with friends, and my sons, and allows my mind to focus on "more fun" types of things, keeping the shadows at bay.

    That all being written, each of us deals with what we've got in our own way, some better and some worse. The important thing is to get through and carry on, and eventually the haze and fog will clear and things can be more enjoyable again.

    Best of luck and keep being creating.

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