2 Spuds in a Pod

Looking after your mental and physical wellbeing.

Category: Getting help

Being a strong person

I have always considered myself to be a strong person, and fairly confident. Always being a bit of a loner, doing things my way without being too concerned about other people’s opinions.

Fast forward to when I had my breakdown, I felt anything but strong or confident. I felt mainly that I was a failure and good for nothing. Looking at it now, how on earth did it get to that point?

The job

I will always hold work accountable for this to a large extent. Obviously you can argue that I should have left and sought alternative employment before it got to that point, however I got so stuck in my thoughts that the only way was to continue working where I was. Needless to say, I had gotten to such a bad place that there simply was no alternative, and I simply did not have the energy to do anything about it. I kept thinking that it will get better, I will get there, give it time and the job will change and I will be happy at work again. Right, well it does not work that way, does it?

Banging your head against a brick wall

When you do a job where you work against your beliefs then this grinds you down. Being a police officer can be a very good job, and I did thoroughly enjoy it the first few years. It is when you cannot do the job for which you signed up for but continue to bang your head against the brick wall that this starts to wear you down. In my case it meant I went from a happy and strong person to someone good for nothing who just cried all the time. We are all different and I know a lot of very good police officers who are really good at their job and really enjoy it. For all of those, I know as many who are on a slippery slope to depression, anxiety and mental health issues, if not there already. So although there were other things that brought this on in my case, the police service as a whole has an awful lot to answer for.

A strong person

Ever since I started my journey with mental health issues, I have struggled with a lot of things. One of the big things was thinking: ”I am a strong person, how on earth did this happen to me?”. Probably also coupled with: “I can’t believe this is happening to me”. I also did not know what was happening, other than crying all the time.


Going to the GP helped in some ways, with time off and getting medication. I was put on the waiting list for the community mental health team. Hearing that the waiting time was two to three months, Helen took matters into her own hands and found a private psychologist for me to contact to arrange talking therapy sessions. Within a couple of weeks, I set off for my first appointment. Needless to say, this made me even more anxious. I told the psychologist what had brought me to the session, and she told me about depressive illness. She also said this is something that happens to strong people. When I heard that, I cried again and more. I felt such a relief. I am a strong person!

The limbic system

The counsellor told me about something called the limbic system (for a fuller explanation of what this is, please read more here).
She explained the limbic system is the control centre of most processes in the body, including temperature, sleep, hormones and keeping your mood at a steady level. Imagine the limbic system as a fuse box: when it gets overloaded, the fuse blows. Stress is the most common cause of overload . Lazy people do not get depressive illness, simply because they do not do enough work. Strong people just keep on going until something breaks. When she told me all of this, it all made sense. This was crucial in my recovery.

Self loving

To all you lovely people out there whose confidence has taken a knock and you feel down in the dumps, please know that there is a way out of it. You need to start loving yourself and be as nice you yourself as you are to those around you. Start by saying no, exercise, be outside in the sun, and eat well. Also take time to do the things you love, especially if you no longer do them.

More importantly, if you cannot cope on your own then you must ask for help. There are many people and places who can help you. Know that you are not alone. Please let me know if I can help.


Change unhelpful thinking habits

I am starting to enjoy my CBT sessions. During the last session we started looking at unhelpful thinking habits, and this was again an eye-opener. It is obvious that if you keep thinking these negative thoughts, nothing good will happen. It is a learnt behaviour, so in order to get out of it you need to re-train your thinking habits.

The forgotten tool belt

Part of last weeks homework was to look at diary for challenging negative thinking, and to complete a few of these. I managed to come up with a great example as I unfortunately made a bit of a mistake at work. To me it was not anything really bad: I had forgotten my tool belt at a customer’s house so needed to go back and collect it.
I fully understand from the company’s view that it was time wasted. I had to pick something up that I should have remembered in the first place. There would be a knock on affect for the rest of the day. On the other hand, we all make mistakes and I do not have a habit of leaving things.
As soon as I realised I had forgotten it and that I needed to speak to my manager, my brain went into overdrive. The thing that worried me about all of this was how my manager would react. In my head I thought that he would shout at me, tell me off, put me on an action plan, have me fired, complain that I was not of any use, say bad things to me and be very disappointed in me. This would lead on to me feeling down and bad for the rest of the day.


So this was my mindset when I called him. Of course, he reacted in several of the above anticipated ways. Not bad enough to have me fired, but certainly very disappointed in me which I could hear in his voice, telling me to learn from this which annoyed me as it’s the first time in a year I’ve done this, saying it’s just not good enough and so on. I was left feeling very down and bad about this, much like I had done before calling him. This then impacted the rest of my day in a negative way. I was also stuck in this negative way of thinking, and could not shift my thoughts.

Better way of thinking

The idea with CBT here is that you try to challenge your negative thinking in a particular situation and come up with an alternative and much more helpful thought. Using this example, a better thought would be: he is entitled to be annoyed, and how he puts that across is just his way of communicating. Do not take it personally.
My rational brain tells me this is obviously a good way of thinking. As I am typing this, I am no longer anxious about it and it is pretty obvious that this thought is a much better one. I understand it and agree with it. Of course he was annoyed, I would be too. I would not speak that way, which says more about him than me. I also do not take it personally. After all, it was only a forgotten tool belt and the impact of this meant an hour of my day was spent retrieving it. In the big scheme of things, it could be a lot worse.

Change your way of thinking

My way of thinking in the above example is a classic example of catastrophising, which is one of the unhelpful thinking habits. To think that I would get fired over this is just that: believing that the worst possible thing would happen. By becoming aware of your thinking habits, you can then start to challenge your way of thinking and look at the situation in another way. As with any habits, this requires work and consistency. It can be done.

Next time

When you notice the unhelpful thinking, take a few seconds to analyse the situation and identify the negative thought.
There are always better and more helpful thoughts, find them and replace the negative thought with the helpful ones. Then let it go. In order to get better, you need to change your way of thinking. Simple, yet so hard. But it can be done.

For a great source of CBT, head to https://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/


There is a shift happening

The last few weeks have been ok. The one thing I am doing different is speaking to a counsellor on a regular basis. This in turn is allowing for my perspective to start changing ever so slightly, and it is making a real difference. It meant I was able to stand up for myself whilst on the phone to my manager the other day (as I did not agree with what he said), something Rosie from the last few years would not have done.

Counselling sessions

What I really appreciate about speaking to a counsellor is that he does not know me. Yes I go there on a regular basis and we talk about very personal stuff, but that stays there when I leave. I spend a lot of time in between reflecting on a multitude of things, such as life, work, relationships and so on. So pretty much anything goes. I guess that is one of the purposes of a counsellor, that they start tapping in to you. This then causes a lot of thoughts and realisations to just come out. It opens up different avenues and it is liberating.
Because he does not know me, and I know he will only ever be part of my life as “the counsellor”, I feel completely at ease when it comes to speaking to him about everything. That would not be the case if it were someone I knew on a personal level.

Answering somewhat awkward questions

As part of the last session, I was given a list of ten questions to answer. Examples of questions are: I feel I have someone to speak to, I have made plans to end my life, I feel it would be better if I was not here, and so on. Now these questions have a purpose for the counsellor, to see where you are and how well you are doing (or not) so they can help you the best.
I scored very low (which is the good end). I knew I felt pretty good, I had tried all day to think of something to talk to him about in the session and had not come up with anything. So I knew there was nothing bothering me at the time. He brought a few things up that I had talked about before, and helped me to put it into persepective. He helps to provide explanations to things which is great.

Difficult questions

I am now used to answering these, but it has taken a while. I remember the first time still, and I can’t really describe the feeling. It is as if you are so unwell that you can’t see what is happening, or that your behaviour is causing such concern to others. Imagine this: you’re at your doctor, trying to explain what is happening and how you feel, telling them what you can and can’t do, when they start asking difficult questions. Are you suicidal? Have you tried to kill yourself? Do you want to kill yourself?
It really hit home how bad I was at the time for the doctor to ask this. Now before you ask, I have never been in such a bad place. Just that they asked made me feel a lot worse. I spent so many years asking others these questions as part of work, and now I had to answer them myself. I did not like that one single bit.

Shift in perspective

Once you start seeing things from a different angle, no matter how miniscule, your perspective starts changing. It feels liberating, I can already see and feel that there is a shift happening and it makes me feel amazing. I’ve been so stuck in my habits, wants, wishes, ideas, work and life, you name it. I’m not sure if was the depression or anxiety causing it (or both) but it’s just gone downwards. Beeing able to shift how I see things is a game changer. Trust me.


The NLP day also helped a lot, and continues to do so. I will come back to this once I feel I know more about it and feel more confident. For now I will just say that this will help me shift things more.

I feel hopeful, positive, energised and I worry less. It also meant I could question my manager the other day when I did not agree with him, something he told me later he enjoyed and thought I did well for doing so. Rosie from a few years back would not have even thought to do that.

There is help out there. A lot of it, we just need to find what works for us. We are all different, with different life experiences and different needs. If you want to get in contact please do and I will help to guide you in the right direction.


Time for reflection

The last couple of years have been an emotional roller coaster to say the least. I have had help from various people and professionals around me, all with their specific purpose at the time. As you might have seen in a previous post, I decided I needed to reach out again and ask for help (read this blog here).


I have now started counselling and CBT, and I am excited about both. This is very personal to me, but I also feel that I want to share some parts of it as I believe that is important. I had a long chat with the CBT therapist about all events leading up to the juice-incident (read about this here) and this caused me again to put in to words how I felt. I believe (in my non-professional opinion) that my anxiety took over a long time ago, leading to a downward spiral of negative thinking which then literally made me depressed. When I initially made contact with the CBT clinic there was an assessment with lots of questions about how I felt. The therapist gave me feedback on this, and the score for anxiety was by far greater than depression. To me that makes a lot of sense, and also confirms how I feel. The aim is that she will provide me with tools for dealing with my anxiety, and this is very exciting.


The counselling is a talking therapy, and it is different from the one I had previously. As the counsellor pointed out, and that I had not thought of, it was more looking at tools to help me get through the day. What we are hoping to do now is getting to the bottom of why I feel the way I do. He is a nice guy and I feel comfortable speaking to him. It is difficult too at times. I realise I’ve spent the last few years not really thinking about things, or reflecting. I have simply just existed if that makes sense. One reason for this is that it is the easiest thing to do. But it does not mean that it is healthy. I’m very good at not talking and bottling things up, however that is all changing now.

Stand up for myself

There are a few things I really want to work with for myself. The one thing that stands out right now is that I always feel that I have to go along with what other people say and do, that I find it so difficult to stand up for myself and say “you know, that does not actually suit me right now”, or “I don’t agree with with that”. I feel that doing or saying anything that rocks the boat is just so difficult, so difficult that I just agree with what people say. That in itself is clearly not healthy. I feel it is certainly a huge factor contributing to me feeling the way I do. When you constantly do and say what others do or say, or expect you to do, then it’s easy to understand that I feel that I’ve lost myself along with all confidence and self-esteem. Again, this is something which is difficult to talk about, but then I feel that I should. This feeling is not based on what others expect of me, which is a nice little learning example. I also feel that by writing this down, I become more committed.

So there we are. If I was to give you one piece of advice, it would be to speak up for yourself and do what is good for you. Do not bottle it up.

Keep moving

I am looking forward to continuing my journey towards a happier self. That is what it is, a journey. I feel I was stationary for quite a while and I am now moving again. And speaking of moving, it is time to put my trainers out and head out for an outdoor gym session with the other spud this morning. It is raining but that’s fine too.

I hope you all have a good week. Please feel free to get in contact if anything here has bothered you, or if you feel that it has been good to read about my experiences. This journey is not a book with precise directions on how to get better, we can all learn from each other!


Knowing when to ask for help – and do it!

Sometimes we all need an extra hand to get through things. I am not good at asking for help as I like to just soldier on and get things done. You could argue that it is a good thing, and I agree, but there are times when I’m not coping well. I have seen warning signs over the last couple of weeks, and I’ve now done something about it.


I feel I have been pretty stable up until a couple of weeks ago. A lot has been going on and I feel both mentally and physically exhausted. This last week in particular I have felt quite down and also been a lot more anxious than normal. I feel I’m stuck in this downward spiral of negative thoughts, and I have to do something about it.
There are various things that could have triggered this. I’m pretty sure I know what they are, as I am sure you all know what your triggers are. What is important is to recognise them when they appear, and not letting them take over.

Asking for help

Having been in this not-so-great place a while now again, I realised I had 2 choices. I could continue feeling really bad, depressed and anxious, or I could try and do something about it. Feeling as bad as I did, I simply had to reach out and ask for help. So I did just that! Not once but twice even. I contacted the mental health service at work, and I am waiting for an appointment for CBT through them. I also have an appointment to start counseling next week.
With previous (not good) experience of CBT, which I did not complete, I felt that I should give it another go. It just so happens that they both start next week. I think it is good, and I am really proud that I did ask for help.


Podcasts have never been my thing, but lately I have started to appreciate how good they can be. Listening to short, empowering podcasts when I am getting ready in the morning or washing up is very good! There are so many great podcasts out there, with a lot of good topics. At the moment I am listening to The Life Coach, which is in Swedish, The Mindset Mentor and Your Anxiety Toolkit. They are quite short which means I don’t have to concentrate for too long. I find them very motivational and they help me to break out of the negative thinking for a while. They help to put things into perspective, and I almost feel they are my own little counselor that I can keep in my pocket and take with me everywhere.
I am currently listening to a wide range of different podcasts. Topics include coaching, anxiety and depression toolkits, mindset, mindfulness, habits and motivation providers. Have a look for yourself and see what you can find! There is nothing to loose.

Professional help

Sometimes you do need that extra bit of help. I am fortunate to have support around me, but I’m at a point now where I need more than they can provide me with. So I need professional help, again. That is ok. Part of me gets worried and anxious just thinking about it. The bigger part is excited about getting more help, and hoping to get closer to what is actually going on. Because I do not wish to feel this way for the rest of my life. I am better than this. I am not my depression and anxiety.

What do you do?

What do you do when things get on top of you? How do you manage everything that goes on? I’d love to hear your thoughts and advice too, please get in touch. Together we can do this!


The road to recovery part 2

Helen’s journey

As we said on Saturday it is time for Helen to give her road to recovery.

My journey

As I have said in a previous blog I suffer from something called Functional Movement Disorder and Dissociation Behaviour. There is a lot of information in that blog about signs and symptoms. Today I want to take you through what it is like to have counselling.

What is a counsellor?

Counsellors are the people who will help you navigate the traumas of life and the curve balls which are thrown at us.  As we have said both Rosie and I have had counselling over the years, and we have different lengths of time in using it as well.  Rosie has had both private and NHS based practice whereas mine was private. My counselling was every week for around two years before I discharged myself.  Counselling has given me the information I needed, my trusty pack of cards and I have been helped through some tricky life turns.  My counselling ended several years ago. In the future if I need it I would go back.

I was scared!

An experience of work place bullying and a loss of identity lead me to counselling. Turning up up to a clinic I hovered outside for a few minutes waiting for my feet (and confidence) to walk me through that door.  My feet eventually took me in, and I went over to the reception desk where I said something along the lines of “I have seen on your website you have counselling facilities, I have no idea what kind I need but I think I need to speak to someone”.  The reception asked if she thought it was a general talking therapy of something called cognitive behavioural therapy.  I said it was probably more a talking therapy as I no idea what the other one was.  I said talking would be a good place to start and if I needed the other one then I was sure that would become apparent.  The receptionist recommended a particular person and an appointment was set up for the following week. 

The counselling room

The following week I turned up in that waiting room and waited for my allocated time.  My counsellor appeared and I was taken upstairs to a room at the back of the building.  The room was red with a big floor to ceiling window and a net curtain.  Through the window I could watch the planes going into London Heathrow too.  Also, in the room there were two armchairs along with a desk and a desk chair.  I decided to sit in one of the armchairs as it looked comfortable.  Next to the armchair was a smaller table with a box of tissues on it.  

A room of safety

This was to become the room of safety, whatever was said in this room was not going to be judged.  I could say whatever I wanted and all that was going to happen was listening from my counsellor and talking by me.  One particular session I sat in my outdoor jacket and winter hat, I can’t remember the ins and outs of why but the counsellor didn’t even bat an eyelid. I was safe so we continued. As I have said it was a safe room at the time, I needed it.  

What did my counsellor do?

My counsellor listened to whatever was troubling me on that day, helped me navigate my troubles back into a reasonable thought and sometimes offered a solution to the problem.  They made me do the work, they didn’t turn around and say this is what you should do, and this is what I think is right. I liked that approach and it worked for me.  

Over the two years

As I have said I was there for about two years and we navigated a lot of different topics from work to family to travelling to love to relationships to Rosie (I had met Rosie a year in) to what other people think to exercise to LGBT issues to what makes me feel good and so on.  I am not going to go into the ins and outs of what was said as that is a very private matter.

My family

Do not let anyone push you into telling you what has been discussed within a counselling meeting.  If you are happy to tell them then do so but do not feel obligated and pressured to do so.  Also, remember that you may not want to tell someone (counsellor, friend or family member) on a Tuesday but may be willing to tell them three weeks the following Tuesday.  The time needs to be right for you.  I am a thinker so I will get to the subject but there may be a gap before I do so.  Many of my friends have referred to me as a closed book or a cryptic clue person.  They are probably the one thinking back now going “oh yes” and now have a good laugh about it. 


Today I have my wife to listen to my rants, issues, personal feelings and so on. I also have my family and friends who I turn to. I learnt through counselling that asking for help is ok. No one is going to judge me for doing that. Depending on the situation I willing tell you the ins and outs of something. However, if I don’t feel like it I will say so and that is fine too.

It needs to be right!

Counselling may be recommended to you to help you. Here is my advice: don’t be ashamed or afraid to take it. Obviously different counsellors have different ways and methods of counselling and that is up to them.  The situation needs to be right for you, no one else.  Just you!


As we have said both Rosie and I have been through counselling. If you have any questions just send us an email or Facebook chat. We are more than happy to help you out.


Building a shelf

The fact that I want to build a shelf makes me happy. Please, just hear me out. To me it shows how far I’ve come on my road to recovery, which is what this is all about.

Last year

A lot of things happened last year. Big things. We moved from London to outside of Glasgow, we both changed jobs and in my case, this was a complete change of career. Not sure it is a career as such, but it is a job I thoroughly enjoy, for now. Especially on a day like today when it’s warm, the sun is shining, I’m currently sitting outside in the garden typing this with both a beer and a coffee as well as my spud (Helen for those of you who are wondering). But I digress.
Last year was truly awful in a lot of ways, although a lot of good things came from it. I can see that now. It clearly shows how sometimes you really must go through the bad stuff to appreciate the good.


Looking back at the beginning of 2018, I was on sick leave and temporarily in Scotland. This was because Helen had gotten a job here, and I was not in a state to be left alone. During the first few months, I was a wreck. I kept crying and was very anxious about everything, constantly making mountains out of nothing. I felt I was not capable of doing anything at all. The one big thing I had to do over this period was to get another job. It had become apparent that the main cause for me getting to this state in the first place was due to work. So, I needed to find another job. Now when you are constantly crying and believe you are good for just about nothing then this becomes very difficult. Things got worse and I decided to go to the doctor and ask for anti-depressant medication. This was something we had talked about before, but I did not want to go down that line, as I felt I was not sick, that such medication is for sick people.

How wrong was I!

I took my first anti-depressant one evening in February last year, and it’s safe to say that this changed things. The next day there were no tears. I can’t really describe the relief I felt from this, that I did not cry so much, that I didn’t have to keep pacing up and down when I felt down because the tears stopped straight away. Now this doesn’t mean that this was it, the solution to everything. It did mean though however that I could start my long road to recovery. So much energy is wasted when you keep crying and the brain stays in its chaotic state and keeps feeding the bad thoughts.

A typical day

Up to this point, my normal day looked like this: Wake up, have breakfast, shower, go for a walk if I felt I could, eat lunch (which was either cooked for me or was something quick and easy from the supermarket which did not involve cooking), sleep in the afternoon, perhaps read something or listen to some music, then dinner which was the same setup at lunch and then off to bed. This is all I felt I could do. I did not have any energy for anything else. Nor did I want to do anything else. For a few months this was my every day, and it was hard for me as well as everyone around me. I kept a diary where I wrote everything down, as I could not retain any information. If it was not written down, it would not happen.

Fast forward

Now, just over a year later, I am doing so much better. I am working full time and managing a few sessions in the gym too every week. Over the last month or so I have been constructing my greenhouse and filling it up with things. Not only green things, but table, chairs and so on. My indoor plant collection has grown and although Helen is very nice about it, I do not want to upset her further by letting the plants take over (around 40 and counting). Therefore, I have decided to make a plant shelf. This involves getting the wood, sawing and filing and drilling and sanding and everything else. I saw one I really liked, as does Helen, so I’m going to make a prototype. It won’t be perfect but in a lot of ways it will still be fantastic. What I love about all of this is that I want to do all these things. I have so much energy now to do all of it, although not enough time in the day. Having spent a ten-hour day of physical work, I come home and continue with everything I need and want to do.

I want to build a shelf

This is in progress now, and I wish there was more time, but that is ok. I have made such great progress: I feel so much better and I know it will all get better still. It is important to give yourself time when you are not feeling well. Having gone through all of it over the last year really puts things into perspective, and I do spend some time reflecting on where I was and how far I’ve come. I’m beginning to feel more back to my old self, I still have ways to go but I’m getting there. My greenhouse is up, my shelf is in progress, we have plans for some time away and as well as everything else we are involved in with 2 Spuds in a Pod.

Life is good

It has its up and downs, but we also would not appreciate the good stuff if we have not been through the bad stuff. I feel I have a lot of experience that I am willing to share, to help break the stigma of mental health. We all suffer, and we need to talk about it more, men more so than women. I am always here and always willing to listen and advice. There is nothing to be ashamed of.  


A video about breaking down

Please be aware that this blog is covering mental health in its rawest form. There may be some words in the blog that may make you stop and think. They are not there to frighten you but are there to make you aware and ask for help if you need it. How to contact the Samaritans is at the end of the blog if you feel you need to speak to someone straight away.

We wanted to give it a featured slot

2 Spuds was approached recently by the wife (Jenny) of comedian Rory Jones. Jenny was asking if we could put a video up on our website and social media platforms. The video was of her husband, Rory, a few days after he had a breakdown while at work. 2 Spuds decided against “just putting the video up” and instead have created more of a feature of it, we felt this was a better way forward. The video highlights several elements to us. The first being that Rory is obviously male. Men tend to have a harder time coming forward with their mental health and statistically speaking they are the ones who suffer more. 2 Spuds along with Jenny and Rory Jones are trying to break the stigma around this and say to anyone (whether male or female) go to your GP and ask for help. The other element it takes into account is the fact Rory is a comedian.

Being a comedian

As Rory states in the video he is a comedian and his job is to be happy and make people laugh. This is true for a lot of comedians. Their main goal is to make the general public laugh. We just need to look at the late (and brilliant) Robin Williams. That was a man who could make anyone laugh with accents, funny stories and jokes. However, behind the funny exterior was a man who had many mental and physical health issues. He would end up taking his own life in August 2014.  

As we say Rory is there to make us laugh so when he was faced with a day from work that ended up with a break down, the funniness suddenly turned serious.

Comedy videos

The comedy videos are below. Please be aware that some of the subject material Rory uses is of a rude nature and 2 Spuds would give a word of caution. If it helps if the material was a film, it would be rated 15.

The video

2 Spuds has watched the mental health video from Rory, and we have found the account to be very honest and brave. It details his workday which started as normal as it could before turning a very interesting corner. Rory goes into a lot of detail about what happened that day. The video highlights how quickly a break down can come about and to what extremes it may take you to with your thoughts. Rory has done the correct thing by talking to both his wife and his GP. He was given a few weeks off work and is now in contact with a counsellor who will help him navigate these tricky mental health waters. He is hoping to make a fully recovery.

Thank you

2 Spuds would like to thank both Jenny and Rory Jones for coming forwards and giving us an insight into such a delicate time. We would also wish Rory well on his road to recovery.

If you have been affected

If you are affected by this video and are finding yourself in crisis please contact Samaritans, talk to a friend or family member or make an appointment to talk to your GP as soon as possible.

– Helen & Rosie

Anxiety and me

I believe we are all anxious about some things at certain times in life. It is when the anxiety takes over and stops you from doing even the simple things that it becomes a problem. Looking back over the last few years, I can see that the main trigger for this was work.

Work ethics

I have always been a very hard-working person, I pride myself with being professional at all times, I am compassionate and always try my hardest to help people, and I want to get things done quickly and to a high standard. When I became a police officer all those years ago, I was so happy and I felt it was absolutely the best thing I could have done. I was really chuffed, here was little me, from Sweden, working as a police officer in London! I got to work with some amazing people, had great experiences and unfortunately some not so great. That comes with this line of work, when police get involved it’s usually because something bad has happened to someone else.

My police work

For the majority of my time in the police, I worked in roles where I was supporting the victims of crime. Now this was initially great, I felt I had found my place and that I was able to really make a difference. This also meant that I was a middle person between the investigation and the victim. There were so many times that I knew I had done a great job, the best that could be done in the circumstances, only for this to be questioned by the investigative team. This was generally due to the fact that life is not always black and white, sometimes you will not get the answers that you want. It might be that that crucial bit of information which will make or break the investigation simply cannot be obtained. It did not matter how many times I was asked to clarify this with the victim, or in how many different ways, sometimes it could simply not be established. This started grating with me, and I started questioning my role and the work I was doing. I started taking it to heart, feeling that I was not doing a good enough job. From there I started questioning every little thing I did, until it got to a point where I really felt I could not make any decisions myself. And if I could not make any decisions, I could certainly not go out and do all the things I needed to do to progress the investigations.

Becoming a detective

During all of this, I somehow managed to study for the exam to become a detective. Fast-forward a couple of years, I was now managing my own investigations. Unfortunately, I was still feeling the same way, well possibly a lot worse, and I must have hidden it very well. No one at work ever questioned my ability to perform my role, and I believe I got good enough results too.

It became difficult to do simple tasks

There were so many things that started to get on top of me, really bringing me down. It became very difficult to progress all the tasks I had. I can see this very clearly now, how I was struggling to get the work done. Every little thing became a mountain. If I knew I had to make a phone call, I would think about this a long time before, trying to play the conversation out in my head first, ensuring I had covered all eventualities so that I would not get caught out if I did not have an answer to all the questions the person might ask me. If I had to write an email, I would write it then re-write it several times, again trying to make sure there would be no misunderstandings from the contents. There were also numerous times when I would get my colleagues to read my emails for me before sending them.

No one asked and I didn’t say

All of this would obviously take a lot of time, as well as energy. Most of the time, I would not get the results I wanted. This was due to a variety of reasons, suffice to say that it was not down to me. It got to a point where I felt I was banging my head against a brick wall. I had gotten to a point where I felt I could not carry out the simplest of tasks, yet I obviously still hid this really well as no one ever said anything. I was worrying all the time, about everything, and I constantly felt it was just a matter of time before I would get found out and pulled up on for not doing my work properly. I have since spoken to my line manager about this, and although she had noticed it to an extent, she had not been overly concerned. It just shows how much I had made this into a big monster in my head. I was constantly anxious about all my tasks, and I felt it stopped me from doing my job to my usual high standards. And I never asked for help either. I did not know or understand what was going on.

The juice incident

Fast-forward to the juice incident, at which point I was crying most of the time yet still managed to do my work. Reflecting back on it now, I feel I was so strong and really trying to do a good job whilst falling apart and not even realising. There were other things going on too, so work was obviously not the only factor making me feel this way, but it certainly was the main contributor.

The book

At some point during this I came across a book written by a fellow police officer, John Sutherland. He wrote a book called Blue: A Memoir – Keeping the Peace and Falling to Pieces. Just about everything he wrote really hit home, it was such an eye-opener and I also realised I was not the only person feeling this way. I would highly recommend this book, both you who are maybe not feeling as good as you can be, as well as to friends and family of someone suffering with depression, anxiety and the like. It gives such a great insight into feeling this way, and it provides a lot of information for the supporters too, as the sufferer might not be able to put it all in to words. Know that it happens to the best of us.
Read about the book on his blog policecommander.wordpress.com here, order it on Amazon here.

Someone by your side helps

What helped me in all of this was having Helen by my side. She has helped me so much, I feel very fortunate having her, and she really took the stress off everything. It got to a point where I wasn’t really able to do much at all myself, so she stepped in and did it all for me.

Find someone to help you

Now I realise that not everyone has a Helen in their lives. My advice to you would be to find that one person you are completely comfortable with speaking to about absolutely everything. Just being able to talk about this really helps. If you do not feel able to speak to your friends, family or colleagues, then call one of the helplines. They are experienced and they can point you in the right direction, as well as listen.

You are not alone

The main thing to remember is that you are not alone. You have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. It is often the strong people who end up feeling this way, when all their energy has depleted through helping everyone else.

One year later

It’s been over a year now since we’ve settled in Scotland, and I am amazed at the progress I have made. I still have a long way to go, and it will be done. If I can, so can you.

2Spuds can help

2Spuds can also help, be it through walk and rant, or simply rant. We are both great listeners and will provide information on how to move forward. Remember that we’ve both been there.


Old-style blue and white classic police car
I found this classic police car parked one night and just had to take a picture of it. As far as I am aware, it only ever comes out on special occasions.
(Photo taken using an older mobile phone, hence the quality not being the best)

The juice incident and getting help

Helen talked in a previous post about me drinking her juice which was the main catalyst into trying to find out what was going on. To read this have a look here.

Just too much

I want to talk about this from my point of view. A lot of things had happened up to that point, which is a topic for another post. To summarise, I had been left all alone in London with our flat packed in boxes, I didn’t know when I would see Helen again, Christmas was around the corner which I would spend on my own and I was also working. For those of you who don’t know me, let me just say that I LOVE Christmas so this was far from my preferred way of spending Christmas. Oh and I had also had to settle for a tiny little Christmas tree, in a pot.


I can’t remember exactly how everything happened, which I think is a way for the brain to deal with things. I know that Helen had come down to London as we were going to drive up to Glasgow the next day. We had talked on the phone before and she knew I wasn’t feeling great. Little things had gotten to me, upsetting me out of the blue, and everything felt very unrealistic.

I’ve always seen myself as a very strong and independent person, and here I was getting reduced to tears more often than not. I also could not put my finger on why. It took all my strength to keep myself together at work, and I remember crying on my way to work and also on my way home. Again for no reason. I simply could not stop the tears. This was also difficult being on the tube or a bus with a lot of people around.

The juice

We had dinner and drank some juice with it. I finished off what I thought was my glass, but this turned out to be Helen’s juice. When she asked I realised I’d finished the last of the juice, there was none left in the fridge, and I felt as if the world was coming to an end. I burst out crying again, finding it difficult to speak as I was crying so much. Helen did what she always does, held me and let me cry, telling me it would be ok. I can only imagine how she must have felt, me completely losing it because I had finished her juice.

I know this was the point where she thought that something was very wrong and that she had to fix me. To me it was just another episode of crying. Looking back, I had clearly gotten used to crying a lot for no reason at all that it almost seemed normal to me.

Going to the doctor

She managed to get us an appointment with the doctor the next day. I knew things had gotten so bad that I had to seek help, which was upsetting. But this turned out to be the best thing I could have done. Since then we have really turned things around and I am so much better now, a year and a half later.

Seek help

To those of you struggling, the one thing I cannot reiterate enough is that you need to seek help. This can be speaking to friends, calling Samaritans, or seeing the doctor. What you need to do is reach out. Do not suffer on your own. The doctor I saw was very helpful and exactly what I needed at the time. So do not suffer in silence, ask for help. Please.


© 2020 2 Spuds in a Pod

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

%d bloggers like this: