(or: “Where have you been, moobit!?“)- some of you may have noticed I disappeared for a while. Here’s why…
The words in the screen shot to the left have been heard by thousands of people who have watched/listened to any of my/my team’s content over the years (Thanks to each and every one of you by the way), almost to the point that people now joke on Social Media “yeah we KNOW dude – get on with it!” 🙂
But, y’see that’s just the thing:
I’m not “Moobit”…
It’s true – I’m not Moobit, and Moobit isn’t me. He’s just a character I play in my Digital life (and if I’m honest with myself – in real life too). Moobit is a character I became to put a gloss over something that, until relatively recently I didn’t have a name for. Something that I’ve been running away from by pretending to be Moobit for too long now.
It’s something almost intangible, yet very real at the same time. It’s something completely debilitating, yet for many people relatively easily hidden – until a time when it’s too late that is…
And given recent events in my life, it seems that my own time has ran finally out…
**Look – maybe I should start again:
Wow…. Seems so real when I finally write it down. But it’s true – I’ve been trying to write this Script/Blog Post for so long now that I’ve almost worked it up in my head as some kind of “Everest Scenario”, and not just the open and frank discussion I initially hoped it would be.
My intentions were to join the thousands of other Bloggers and YouTubers out there who have been talking about their own/their loved ones conditions and what it all means to them (obviously I’ve missed that day) – and in the process perhaps do my bit to help end the misconceptions and stereotypes that surprisingly to me, still exist out there in the 21st Century.
“A little experience goes a long way – to making things… worse??”
I say “surprisingly to me”, because back in the late 90’s/Early 00’S I used to work for the NHS – first as a Student Nurse, then as a Technician.
As a Nurse, I had first-hand experience of what could be seen as the “far-end of the scale”, if you will – poor souls who were sectioned under the Mental Health act for various reasons. People who in their previous lives were from all manner of backgrounds, from a young Women who unfortunately had been in care nearly all her life, to an ex-CEO of a large Multinational, to Elderly Clients, and everyone in-between.
I was a very young man at the time from a relatively sheltered environment, and those experiences taught me that poor Mental Health is a cruel Mistress. It is vicious and it can be debilitating. It pays no heed to who you are, where you come from, or your own perceived happiness. It can hit you without warning or choice.
Put simply, I learned in those formative years that Poor Mental Health is universal, and it is everywhere – just as poor perceptions of Mental Health conditions were quite universal and everywhere at the time.
“You’ve got Depression? Cheer up!” = “You’re in a Wheelchair? Walk it off!”
Flash forward a little to when I was a Technician and, as well as overhearing comments like the above as I wandered the Hospital corridors over the years, I had another experience that has, many years later affected how my own Mental Health condition manifested itself.
For y’see one particular medical rotation did sit in very well with my natural skills base at the time, and was also something that made me feel a sense of purpose – that job was working with drugs used in Chemotherapy. Yes for the most part we were stuck in a Clean-Room making this stuff, but you quickly learn what the meds are used for, the names of “regulars” and what a change in dosage might mean for them and of course their loved ones as a result.
That kind of exposure really changes your own outlook and, I think, gives any person a rather unique sense of perspective on life in general. When things got bad, rather than face them, I’d just hide myself behind a quite Dry/Dark Sense of humour, picked up from my colleagues, and a “well it could be a lot worse” attitude. I built a “Shield” in my mind to protect myself from the Negative things in life. In those early moments, the “Moobit” character was born.
“Ohhhh the Hypocrisy of it all!”
Flash forward again, dear reader, to around 2013/2014 – and this is where the years of living behind a self-imposed “silly Shield” finally caught up with me, and where I feel that I become the Hypocrite in the story…
I have (on paper at least) the experience needed to be able to “spot” the emergence of a Mental Health condition, and yet when my own Health started to more noticeably deteriorate – I ignored it – “keep calm and carry on” as they say…
But my condition didn’t improve with time – rather it deteriorated relatively quickly. I started to isolate myself from my family and friends. I “quit” my freelancer YouTube career. My memory and concentration started deteriorating. My mood was low. I found myself almost frightened of crowds, work meetings, even Supermarkets – where previously I was quite confident in front of groups of people (I’m a Semi-Pro YouTuber and Podcaster for crying out loud!?!!).
But for the first year or so, I carried on ignoring these warning signs and assuming the “Moobit” persona – the silly, confident, hyperactive, annoying Clown – more and more times that I cared to admit – scared of what was happening to me. Scared of what people might think/say. Scared of what all this could mean for my family, my relationships, and my “Dayjob” career.
And then guilt reared its ugly head…
…because throughout it all, I thought to myself “who the HELL am I to feel depressed?!?”
I thought to myself “I have a Wife and Daughter, a roof over my head, a car, not a lot of Money compared to many, but enough to pay the bills without struggle…”
Also given, what I’ve revealed to you, my lovely readers, regarding my previous careers, I was constantly also thinking to myself “there are CHILDREN just down the road from me with CANCER for crying out loud – imagine what they and their parents are going through!”.
But Mental Health doesn’t listen to your own perception of logic and it does not understand reason. It just piles on the guilt and makes you think about things you never thought you would.
And so that downward slides continues until all this guilty feeling eventually makes you, in your own head at least, feel a complete hypocrite. You remember the person you USED to be – in my case, I was always one of those promoters of seeing Mental Health problems “positively”…
For example one of my favourites:, “you don’t get all judgemental on a person for having a Cold!” – and yes it’s true – many MH conditions are no more a choice for people than for one who has a runny nose…
This, as you can imagine made me feel even MORE guilty, which started the cycle again, and so-on and so-on, creating a never-ending “shame spiral” from which there seemed no exit.
Eventually enough was enough and I started the process of seeking help for the first time (full details in another blog post – there’s a post in itself regarding access to, and experiences of, services, trust me!).
“Batten down the hatches”
I was still very much ill, but for the first time, I felt I could “see the light”. My Wife had already suspected what had been going on with me, but I was finally open about it. It would simply be a waiting game now, yes?
Unfortunately it wasn’t that simple, as not long after initially reaching out for help, the “Month of Hell” happened – a period of multiple, close together Traumas that when combined, made a total of about a month in “time passed” that would test even the most hardened of minds.
I’m not going to detail everything that happened here (some of it is quite personal), but the footnotes of the stuff I’m willing to share with the world include:
- An almost mid-life crisis level of “I’ve wasted 10 years of my life in my current dayjob”, where I interviewed 3 times for various promotions (and many, many times in the years before that), only to lose out to others (yeeees I know – “that’s life, blah blah blah”).
- Being involved in an RTA with my Daughter in the back of the Car, where a small child of a similar age bolted out of a house, between two parked Vans, and across the road without looking, just at the exact time I was going past in the car. The poor girl bounced off the car and flew forwards down the road. Luckily I was only going at 20mph anyway due to all the parked Traffic, and it turned out the little Girl had only a few Cuts and Bruises – but at the time, the shock of it happening, the fact she was a similar age to my Daughter, and my Daughter’s own screams were all quite a lot to take in. As a Parent myself, that kind of scenario happening to any child is everyone’s worst Nightmare – I truly felt for her and her Parents.
- My Daughter also got Chicken Pox (not a massive deal), but as a complication from it she contracted a relatively rare condition called Acute Cerebral Ataxia. This caused her to lose the use of her arms and legs and also caused a degradation in her speech. Seeing this normally bubbly and confident 6yr old child deteriorate so rapidly was truly heart breaking as you can imagine. She couldn’t play, attend School (which she loves), and simply do all those things we all take for granted. As it turned out, she eventually recovered over a long period of time, but with the tests and strain it put on our Marriage at the time, the damage to my longer term Mental Health had already been done.
- ”Bad news comes in Threes” they say – so with all the above happening at the same time, the last thing I expected was for my Uncle – a beloved man who was basically a hero of mine – to die quite suddenly. Short version is he went to his G.P by duress of his partner with a “cold” one morning, was sent straight to Hospital and diagnosed quickly with Leukaemia by Lunchtime, fell into a Coma the same Afternoon, and passed away that Evening with us at his bedside.
Brain: “So long – thanks for all the fish”
As you can imagine, with all the above – my mind finally decided to say “see ya!” – I relapsed, completely shut-down, and fell into a very deep Depression. I was referred to specialists where soon after, I was diagnosed by both Neurological and a Psychological Consultants as suffering from PTSD, with associated Depression and Anxiety.
Life for myself and my loved-ones would never be quite the same again.
It was the start of a very long roller coaster of lessons, adjustments, and soul searching. There have been lots of negatives, yes – but there have been positives too – after all… I managed to write this Blog Post!
But I’m afraid, dear reader that those lessons will have to be covered in a future blog…
(Continued in “Life Attempts brought Life Lessons…”)
“HELP! Do you need somebody..?”
If you’ve made it this far, Thank-You for sticking with me.
I truly hope this article has helped you in some way, weather you yourself or perhaps a family member suffers from poor Mental Health, or maybe you were just curious about the subject.
If you are a sufferer – please know that you are not alone. There are many services and online communities out there who can help (I’ll put some links below to get you started – feel free to leave a comment if you need further info and I’ll do my best to help out).
And lastly – if you suspect you may have Poor Mental Health, or suspect a loved one does, and you have not done so already – don’t “wait and see” like I did… PLEASE approach your G.P – trust me, (as you will find out in my next blog post) – They are there to help!
Visit TIME TO CHANGE’S resource page for loads of info, leaflets, and relevant links.
NHS Live Well Page is a great resource/starting point for anyone worried that they are having mental health problems.
Also check out the NHS Mental Health Services landing page for a Glossary of Mental Health services, local teams, and care pathways.
MIND: The Mental Health Charity also has a lot of information and access to support for both sufferers and carers.
The Samaritans offer talking support, and are experienced in listening to people with suicidal thoughts, feelings and plans.