Tag Archive | Depression Alliance

Blue Monday

Tomorrow is Blue Monday. The third Monday in January is considered by many to be the most depressing day of the year. A combination of too much month left at the end of your money, dreary winter weather, no sign of Spring springing yet and abandoned New Year Resolutions and good intentions leaves people fighting against low mood. So well done MHRUK (Mental Health Research UK) for one of their major campaigns of the year.

Make Blue Monday, Blooming Monday!

Blooming Monday!

Blooming Monday!

Out with the head-to-toe drab black and grey traditional office attire and in with the bright colours which have been shown to lift mood. So, shall I wear the pink, orange or red-spotty cardigan tomorrow?

I think the red spotty cardigan and Dorothy ruby-red shoes will be just the thing to brighten up my day and maybe even make a few people smile along the way.

I will also be taking some specially made Blue Monday cakes to work tomorrow….more about those later when I have finished baking.

In the meantime, go and visit your wardrobe and make an effort to wear something bright and cheery tomorrow! Let me know how it goes ūüôā



christmas_2_cfs_chronic_fatigue_syndrome_card-rda17609b3c8444acb78573d11815bdbb_xvuak_8byvr_324I have had a mixed week of fortunes; It started off last weekend with feeling under-the-weather and spending most of my time resting. Sadly, I felt no better by Monday morning and had also developed a very sore and painful throat so I felt that the sensible thing to do would be to take 1 day off work to recover.

Tuesday I felt much, much better and trotted off to work as normal. I was fine all day and came home in a better frame of mind. Positive that I had done the right thing and headed off the germs before they really took hold.

Wednesday however I had a relapse and started to lose my voice. This was worrying as I was due to speak at the Disability Confident conference in Birmingham on Thursday, a huge privilege and something that my colleague Richard and I had been preparing for all week. I really didn’t want to miss this opportunity and let Richard down so I came home after work, had a whisky, lemon and honey hot toddy and went straight to bed knowing that I had to get up at 04.30am on Thursday.

After a great night’s sleep, I felt better and although my voice was still a little gruff it was intact so off I went ready to speak. With the help of some anaesthetic throat spray, I gave my speech at¬†the conference and then spent lunchtime networking with the attendees. I had a few coughing fits which stopped me in my tracks for short periods but I was definitely on a high and thoroughly enjoying myself. I should have known that like “bad” stress, “good” stress can also lay me low and I need to control my energy and emotions better. “Emotional shocks” or new/novel situations when I am out of routine are all big triggers for me and I came home like a demented Tigger. It took me a while to calm down before I collapsed into bed.

During the night however I started to cough badly and was sick several times. This carried on into the morning so that whilst initially I felt able to work from home, it soon became clear that this was not an option. I had no choice but to take another day off work. You can’t focus on work whilst coughing continuously and being sick but I still felt anxious and guilty about staying away. This is the problem about being poorly. I really don’t like it. No one does but after such a great day yesterday it frustrates me that I can be laid so low so quickly. Maybe I was fighting off the worst of the symptoms earlier in the week with excitement and adrenalin and once the event was over, my body relented and the bugs took over in force. I am hoping that this is the case, as it is far preferable than thinking that yesterday directly caused the relapse.

Today has definitely been a “duvet” day. In bed, drinking tea and eating toast supplied by my attentive hubby and sleeping away a good part of the day away. I have done a little writing which has kept me occupied during the periods I was awake but I still have no voice. Hubby knows I have no voice but still keeps asking me questions. Old habits die hard but we are getting quite competent at our own version of sign language. It takes a lot to stop me talking as most people will attest to so this must be some kind of super bug. to lay me so low so quickly.

So, another weekend of rest and recuperation to “look forward” to ūüė¶

It’s very frustrating but let’s hope that this is just a difficult period and that when recovered I will have a prolonged spell of being well.


Today is World Mental Health Day 2012

Raising awareness of mental health issues is critical if we are to reduce the stigma attached to mnetal illness and help people recover in a safe and understanding environment.

Today is World Mental Health Day and the focus is on the “Black Dog” that is depression.

If you know someone who is depressed and don’t know how to deal with¬†it take time today to find out more about this illness and read up on how you can help.

If you suffer with depression yourself, you must seek help. This is a treatable condition and you will get better. It just takes time. Go and see your GP or contact a relevant organisation for more information.

Information is available from;

Depression Alliance


Royal College of Psychiatrists




House of Commons

You’d have thought that a gathering of depressives¬†and their supporters (not sure what to call a gathering of depressives?) would have been a rather sombre affair but you couldn’t have been more wrong. In fact, if you could have heard the¬†increasing¬† volume of raucous laughter and jolity¬†coming from Dining Room A, you may have been forgiven thinking it was a comedians party. But serious business was being done.

I was invited to the House of Commons yesterday as a guest of the Depression Alliance for a reception to celebrate the initial success of their Friend in Need Appeal. The appeal is raising much needed funds to help establish a new website service to help combat the loneliness that often accompanies mental illness.

It’s hoped the service, which will put people in touch with others living in their area, will be launched before the end of the year.

The funds are rocking and rolling in and the DA are spreading their wings to join with other charities and organisations in this quest to provide the support which everyone knows is one of the most potent weapons in your fight against depression and low mood-FRIENDS.

Alan Clayton kicked off the reception with¬†a rousing, and at times, very moving speech about the importance of¬†having good friends around you when things are not going well. As well as being blighted by depression himself he has been through the traumatic experience of his best friend committing suicide. At a time when maybe being a “Friend”¬†would have made a difference, Alan listened to the 9 messages left on his answerphone asking him to call her but thinking that it could wait until morning, he went to bed.¬†Sadly, whatever it was couldn’t wait until morning and by the time Alan made contact, his best friend was dead.

This is partly why Alan is so committed and passionate about this appeal and clearly knows first-hand why friends are such a vital element¬†in the life of a depressive. But not everyone has friends and family support network to help them through. Many drift away, unable to cope with someone who has depression. It is hard being a friend to someone who has withdrawn, become a “different” person and it is often easier to walk away.

The Friends in Need initiative is about to address all these concerns and aims to provide everyone with a friend when most needed.

I wouldn’t be here today if I hadn’t had the support and understanding of my friends, family and colleagues;¬†the patience and committment of the mental health professionals looking after me and yes,¬†a sheer stubborn determination and fundamental belief that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Not everyone has these advantages in their fight against depression so I am asking everyone to think about this initiative and spread the word.

And most importantly, make¬†sure that your best friend doesn’t die friendless.

Goals are dreams with deadlines…

so it says on Page 1 of my running programme. Well, I have achieved the one goal I set for myself today; Run 1, Week 1 complete. Big tick. Let’s eat a bar of chocolate to celebrate. (Only joking)

The “run” was much harder than I thought it would be, part of me still in denial that I am now 3 1/2 stones heavier than I was 3 years ago when I was running 5k three times a week and enjoying it. Still, who is to say that this time next year I won’t be¬†3 1/2 stones lighter and running 5k three times a week and enjoying it? It has to be one step at a time and for those who are familiar with the¬†Depression Alliance, their motto of “A journey of a thousand miles begins with single step” is inspirational when pounding away on the treadmill. Wise words indeed and one of the many mantras that kept me going through my 27 minutes of exercise.

27 minutes of exercise? That’s not even half an hour.

There was a time when I would laugh in the face of 27 minutes of exercise being an achievement. I would deride it as insignificant and a waste of time. Hah! I know different now and am much more tolerant and supportive of anyone who does any exercise for however long-good on them as I know what it’s like to haul yourself off the sofa and start something new.

On that basis, I have just performed miracles! 

Depression Alliance Picnic in the Park coming soon……..

Calling ALL Depression Alliance Facebook page participants, whether you post stuff on the page or whether you “read only”, the DA¬†invite you to a fun-filled afternoon in Stratford-Upon-Avon on Sunday 5 June. There is plenty of room for everyone and I would love us to fill a field in this wonderful location.

This will be a very informal gathering, so bring your family and friends, your picnic and¬†¬†lots of fun games to play so we can make it an afternoon to remember.¬† Here you will be able to “Find your inner child” or sit quietly and watch the world go by, stroll along the picturesque river bank or visit local attractions and make a whole day of it.

Here are the details you need; let me know if you are coming so we know to expect you!

The Depression Alliance Picnic in the Park 2011

What’s happening?                

Depression Alliance & friends invite you to their ‚ÄúPicnic in the Park‚Ä̬†


Sunday 5 June 2011 from 12.00pm 


Stratford-upon-Avon Recreation Ground (adjacent to the river and opposite The Shakespeare Theatre)
Swan’s Nest lane, Stratford-upon-Avon,CV37 6BB                                                                 http://www.stratford.gov.uk/transport/recreation-ground.cfm

Directions:  Meet up in the car park and walk along to the DA picnic area which will  be obvious by the gathering of orange Space-hoppers and interesting collection of outdoor games. 

Facilities available:    

Extensive grassy area suitable for a family picnic and fun day out.
Children’s play area.
Toilets and baby changing available in the public toilet block in the car park.   
Wheelchair access is available along the riverside path.  

What to bring:          

 A picnic and any outdoor games for extra fun-factor and of course plenty of sun cream!

Alternative parking:   

 A Park and Ride facility is available 5 minutes out of the town at  


Please note that BBQs are not permitted. 

Nearby attractions:   


Be there or miss out!

Depression Awareness Week- Rediscover your inner-child

ÔĽŅPlay more.

This is one of the most common pieces of advice to help those with depression who may be stuck in an inactive, guilt-ridden rut. If you are sitting there feeling guilty about enjoying yourself and you often put other’s needs first at the cost of some “me” time then you probably need to find your inner-child and learn to play again. ¬†The chances are that with a combination of ¬†low mood, apathy, lack of motivation and energy you have forgotten how to enjoy yourself. ¬†Putting some fun back into your life can be hard at first but everyone needs and deserves a break. Take a look at your weekly schedule. How many things do you do that you enjoy? What did you used to enjoy doing which you don’t do any more? Why not?

My son’s 5th birthday party was held at a ¬†hall in the town near where we lived.¬† A Bouncy castle was part of the deal and whilst I was quite happy keeping a watchful eye on 30 5-year-olds taking turns to bounce away without inhibition secretly I couldn’t wait until they had all gone home¬†so I could go and have a bounce myself.

And so I did.

What great fun it was and I left the party out of breath but feeling elated.

One of my current priorities is to put some fun me-time back in my calendar. It means I have to be organised, and think ahead but I know that I will feel better for it and won’t be so grumpy. Doing things that I enjoy will lift my mood, increase my self-confidence and give me a platform from where I hope to regain the energy and desire to do things I know is lurking underneath this smothering blanket of depression. You don’t have to go rampaging around on Spacehoppers like yours truly, or get the train set out like yours truly, or fill the paddling pool, like yours truly, but you do need to find something that you can do and enjoy freely and without inhibition.

Try watching a group of children play. No inhibition; no sense of danger; lots of laughter ringing out from all directions. How nice to feel that free and how good for the soul is that?

For my UK readers, watch out for the Depression Alliance Picnic in the Park coming to Stratford Upon Avon on Sunday 5 June…..a day by the river for BBQs, games, chilling out and family fun. Everyone is welcome whether a member of DA or not. Contact the Depression Alliance or me for further details. Let’s make it a day to remember and kick off an annual event.

As my psychologist keeps telling me; ” The best cure for depression is how you live your life”

He’s absolutely right. So bring on the fun and games.


Amazon-Garden games

How to fight depression with creativity

Livestrong-Inner child




Depression Awareness Week-“All Things Depression”

Sometimes through the experience of Blogging you come across a real gem. Be it a web-site, a blog or a person who shares the common journey with depression it is a great way to find and share information, support and new friends.

A few weeks ago I received a comment on one of my posts from a reader who has just created the fabulous All Things Depression blog. Fascinated by the title I duly investigated and discovered one of those gems. The site purports to provide “strategies for anxiety, depression, and anger. It does just that and the articles resonate with many.

As part of Depression Awareness Week I am trying to share some of the best self-help and information resources available.

All Things Depression is one of the best. Try it.

Depression awareness week 11-17 April

Next week, April 11-17th is Depression awareness week and I for one will be trying to get more people to talk about this illness and their experiences with the ultimate goal being that eventually it will be seen as a perfectly normal thing to do rather than a “brave move”. We still have a long way to go to succeed in our battle against stigma and discrimination, and public spending cuts don’t help the cause but as a “tribe” we can do a lot to change people’s perception of depression and mental illness ourselves and help to¬†eradicate the myths which surround this illness.

To do this successfully we need to “stick together like birds of a feather” so that our voice is a united and strong one in both the public and private arenas. By joining forces with like-minded individuals and support organisations like the Depression Alliance we have a solid platform from which we can promote and demand change. By becoming members of and working with the Depression Alliance ¬† we get access to information and professional expertise in the medical, social policy and support disciplines as well as an opportunity to tell THEM what WE need.

So next week these are my goals;

  • To link up with as many people at work that I know who have depression and make sure they know about Depression awareness week.
  • To contact the Depression Alliance and discuss ideas and suggestions put forward by the Depression Alliance Facebook members
  • To follow up and promote the Depression Alliance Picnic in the Park scheduled for early June-let’s make it happen and happen good!
  • To blog everyday about a self-help technique or tool to alleviate depression symptoms

And yes, it’s great to have high-profile entertainers, sportsmen and women and politicians admitting to their depression and talking about ¬†how they cope with it but we also need all you “extraordinary-ordinary” people to come forward and do the same. Let’s follow their example and prove that this illness is nothing to be ashamed of and show that the only people who refuse to accept depression as an illness¬†like any other and to ¬†provide proper care and support are those ignorant of the facts.