2 Spuds in a Pod

Looking after your mental and physical wellbeing.

Tag: getting help

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

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!

Questions

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.

-Helen

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.

-Rosita

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)

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