Do You Want to Change the World?

How To Change the World

Make your bed.  I know, not something that sounds very groundbreaking or earth-shattering, but William H. McRaven says that if you want to change the world, start by making your bed.  That way, you will have accomplished the first task of the day.

How often do we, as mental health sufferers, say that we need things to change?  We need people to get on-board and support us through our illnesses.  No one really talks about mental health, it’s too stigmatised, we can’t do it alone, yet no one cares.  How often have you heard those words?  We want to change the world.  We want to raise that all important awareness for mental health so that people will not suffer as we have suffered.  Don’t we?

But how do we do that?

We start by making our bed.  Check out the video below and see what William H. McRaven has to say about that.

Time to Change the World

So do you want to change the world?  Do you really want to change the world?  I think we’ve got everything we need right there to change the world.  Here’s what I took from it:

  1. We need to start by making our bed.  Accomplish the little tasks, that way we will have the courage and the determination to accomplish the bigger tasks but, either way, we will have accomplished something.  No matter how small the accomplishment seems, it is still an accomplishment.
  2. Lift others up.  Encourage them, support them and raise them up.  Empower them to make the change and they will go and make that difference.
  3. One voice became two.  Two voices became three.  So on and so forth.  If we raise our voices together, we can become unstoppable.  Together, we can make that difference but only together.  Only together.  We need to stand as one, joining in that song together so that we can change the world.
  4. Accept that you will fail and that you might fail often.  You will go through relapses.  As long as you don’t stay at rock bottom, you can survive.  You can get through.  It’s alright to fail, as long as you don’t stay there.
  5. Finally, hold onto hope.  As hard as it can seem, hope is there, despite what our mental illnesses tell us.  Hold on, pain ends.  Hope and you can achieve.
The Starfish

I want to leave you with a little story that I think fits in quite nicely here.

Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing.  He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work.  Early

one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions.

Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching.  As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea.  The boy came closer still and the man called out, “Good morning!  May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young boy paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves,” the youth replied. “When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”

The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”

The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!”

adapted from The Star Throwerby Loren Eiseley (1907 – 1977)

Let’s go change the world!

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How do you Parent when you Have Depression?

Parenting with Depression

After reading a blog post by one of our Twitter followers, Lucy, where she talks about the ugliness of depression, it got me thinking about when you are a parent and battling with mental illness. In the post she talks about the realities of how awful it can be, the terrible effects it has on her and how it can fool her into thinking she’s failing as a wife and mother.

As a mum, I can relate, when my depression hits hard I am my own harshest critic; I withdraw myself and feel like I’m a failure at every aspect of family life, disappointing my children and letting everyone down. It’s awful because such feelings often only serve to drive me further into the darkness. So when you are fighting a battle with your mind like this, how do you hope to be an effective parent?

Ask for Help

Asking for help is something I personally struggle with, I find it difficult to believe that anyone would be willing to help me. (My own dark passenger does its very best to convince me that nobody would care, so why bother asking?) I’m sure you can relate! But it’s something that I am learning to do, because it’s not just a benefit to me, but to my children as well. Having a parent with depression can take its toll on kids and having someone to talk to or somewhere they can get a break is necessary.

So where can you get help? Most of these may seem logical, but it’s surprising how much we become blinkered when we’re in a depressive state.

  • The other parent– whether you are together or not, both parents are responsible for their children and their well-being. It’s OK to admit you need assistance where necessary, so if that’s getting your other half to take on some extra chores or if you’re not together, then encouraging (where appropriate) them to take kids out for the day, handing over the reigns for a bit can be a huge help.
  • The Wider Family- Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles, Sisters and Brothers, they’re your in built support network. I don’t know where I’d be without my parents and their enthusiasm for having the children over for a sleepover! Likewise, being able to talk to my sister is hugely important, even if it’s just to vent about my teenager and his dramas, it helps.
  • Friends- OK, this one depends on the type of friendship you have. For you friends out there who are supporting someone with mental illness you may be afraid of getting lumped with someone else’s children.  It really doesn’t have to be anything as big as that. Popping in for a coffee, or just running an errand for someone who is struggling is more helpful than you think.
  • Your Local Family Centre- I cannot sing the praises of these wonderful institutions highly enough. They are an excellent way to access social service assistance, are brilliant for meeting other parents and carers, simply put they can be a life line! Many offer free courses which you can attend with your child, like children’s cookery or craft, or alternatively offer adult courses with a crèche for a small fee. It may seem silly, but doing something simple like making stuff from toilet roll tubes in a safe environment can be good for you and your child.

Now these are just some of the places I’ve found help, it’s not an exhaustive list but I hope it reminds you that the help is there.

Surviving the Dark Days

So there are going to be days when depression is crushing you, you can’t face going out and maybe your usual route of help isn’t there. What do you do? Take today, for example, for no apparent reason I have woken up with what feels like crushing weights on me. I don’t want to talk, or move. Everything just feels hopeless and futile. I just want to lie in bed and be away from the world.

But I can’t. I have phone calls to make, my 3 year old needs breakfast, there’s shopping to do, washing that is getting urgent, bathrooms in need of cleaning and hoovering to do. It sucks. The list of tasks is daunting and I feel like even more of a failure because so far all I’ve managed to do is to serve up a bowl of Weetabix that my daughter has refused to eat and mashed all over herself and the table.

My advice to me and to you, is give yourself a break.

You can’t will yourself to get out the door for the picnic you promised your child you’d go on today? Put the blanket on the living room floor and have your picnic inside. Cooking is too daunting a prospect? Order a pizza. Junk food occasionally won’t kill you or your children. Sod the cleaning for today.

My point is that you are battling an illness, you are not expected to be supermum or superdad. What’s more important to your family is that you are there, in their lives. Toys, gadgets and days out are never going to be as important as you being in your children’s life. My son and I often talk about how fond his memories are of what we called ‘duvet and Disney days’. We’d take over the sofa with blankets and cushions, stay in our pj’s and eat rubbish while ploughing through movie after movie. It’s only as he’s gotten older that he now recognises that those days were my way of coping in a depressive spiral with a small child. It didn’t hurt him, in fact it’s a treasured part of his childhood and it got me through.

I still have really bad days, there’s probably more to come after this one. But I’m surviving, with 2 wonderful, compassionate and well balanced children. And if I can do it, even if today is a day where I parent in pyjamas, you can too.

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The #MedsWorkedForMe Debate

You all know by now that I am frequently on Twitter, interacting with people through the various hashtags, helping them with their mental health struggles.  It’s a part of what we do at Pushing Back the Shadows.  Anyway, while interacting, I’ve come across the debate that’s been going on about antidepressants and other mental health pills.  More specifically: the #MedsWorkedForMe or #MedsDidntWorkForMe debate.

So what’s it all about?

In a nutshell, the debate centres around the effectiveness of medications used in treating mental illnesses.  Scientists are arguing that they have proved antidepressants work, despite many studies previously disproving their effectiveness.  Now, the people of social media have taken to platforms such as Twitter to state whether or not medication worked for them.  In truth, it’s been quite a divisive argument and it seems to be taking two rather extreme approaches:

  1. Medication is absolutely necessary.
  2. Medication doesn’t work at all, therapy is the only route.

Hmm…does anyone else see a problem with this?

Medication Matters

Personally, I find there is a stigma around taking medication for mental health issues that needs to be addressed.  That thought aside, how effective is medication?  Does it work?  Well, I’d say it does.  Granted, medication – particularly antidepressants – come with a large amount of baggage in the form of side-effects, but the long and short of it is that they do work.

But how?

Antidepressant PillsSimply put: they block the symptoms.  Whilst those are crude terms of explaining it, that’s effectively what they do.  While we are struggling with the symptoms of our mental health condition, we are sometimes unable to function or missing key chemicals in our brains. These pills will work on correcting that to bring us back into a better place.  Sometimes the side-effects outweigh the benefits and so some experimentation and tinkering is required, but they do prove to be quite effective.

There are people who will require medication for the rest of their lives – bipolar, for example, is usually treated for life with medication – but there are others who will only require a short burst of medication, a quick fix if you will.  If anything, that quick fix prepares them for therapy.


Therapy in itself is the long-term fix.  Instead of simply blocking the symptoms and enabling us to function, it deals with the root cause of the problem and helps us fix that.  Many experts say that it’s through therapy that we heal, that we recover and that we put all the pieces back together.  So it would seem if we want to get better, we need that therapy.

A man receiving therapy.Many people find therapy incredibly beneficial.  Being able to open up about our problems, talk them through with someone impartial to the situation and get advice on how to deal with our situations can be such a benefit.

That said, it doesn’t work for everyone.  My first course of therapy was quite unhelpful.  After deciding to tackle my insomnia as the first port of call, my therapist went through multiple techniques to try and help me sleep.  One by one, I replied that I’d tried them.  Eventually he reached the conclusion that there was no reason why I shouldn’t be sleeping.  Yeah…not so good.

Despite my experience, therapy can certainly be beneficial in dealing with the root cause, putting those fixes into place and helping us move on.

#MedsWorkedForMe and My Thoughts

So which approach is the right one?  Both?  Neither?  It’s a difficult question to answer.

Personally, I believe it’s neither and both.  Really, it’s whatever works for you.

That’s right: I said whatever works for you!

See, one thing I continually say is that mental health is very unique, very individual and, as such, is subjective to each person.  What works for me will not necessarily work for anyone else, and so on.  Thus, the approach that we should take in treatment is whatever works for us.   As I mentioned previously, for some people those pills will be a necessity for them.  For others, it will only be temporary.  Some find medication works, some find therapy works, some require a combination of the two.  Yoga, meditation, prayer, video games…the list is endless!  But really, whatever your coping mechanism is, whatever helps you get through your mental health struggles, that is what we should be focusing on (within reason, as naturally things like recreational drugs and self-harm aren’t necessarily the best).

If you need meds to get through, that’s fine.  There’s no shame in that and there should be no stigma.  If you need therapy, that’s also fine.  If you require a combination of both or require neither, that’s also fine.  Realistically, whatever your treatment is, whatever works for you is what you need.

So keep fighting.  You’re worth more than you think you are!

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Become a PatronDisclaimer: I am not an expert, nor am I medically qualified.  This blog is based on my personal experiences only.  Always seek medical advice in the first instance.

Existentialism vs Purpose – A Discussion

A Discussion of Existentialism

I have to be honest: I love it when people comment on my posts on Twitter.  After all, who doesn’t like having discussions or comments on their work?  For most, if not all of us, we enjoy receiving those positive and encouraging comments about what we’ve written or produced or drawn, etc.  But what about when we get into those not-so-nice comments?  Conversations where people do their best to put you and your work down?  Or, perhaps, conversations about existentialism versus purpose, as this post is about.

So let’s get started.

One thing that I firmly believe – something I’ve experienced for myself and heard stories from other people about – is that no matter what we’re going through, we can turn it into something good, a purpose, if you will.  I wrote about how I believe that everyone has a purpose and shared that belief with many other people.  It received a couple of interesting comments, on of which I responded to in my post A Comment On Purpose, explaining how I would go about finding that purpose.  More recently, however, that first post about purpose garnered this response on Twitter:

First off…what do you think of that?  Do you agree?  Do you disagree?  Why?

Needless to say, I disagree with the comment.  I’m sure you’ve got a fairly good idea of why I would disagree, but I would like to take a moment and just develop that point a little.

The Discussion

Ok ok, discussion might be putting it a little bit mildly.  Having looked at some of his tweets and replies, it seems that Space Needle Exchange really likes to argue.  Call it what you will, but some of his tweets do come across in that manner – which one or two of my own followers have commented on.  Even so, he makes his point that life has no inherent purpose.  According to him, not every life is worth living.

Now whether or not you agree with him, I find it quite an interesting point because, in some respects, it sounds very much as though we’re born to die and our lives don’t matter.  To support this theory, he cites the case of Genie, a feral child in LA.  He states that her life was meaningless, there was no purpose to it whatsoever.  After all, she was feral, she was a victim of one of the worst cases of child abuse ever recorded in the US and to this day no one seems to know what happened to her.  How could she possibly have a purpose?

In response to this, I argued that in actuality, would her purpose not have been that she was a driving force in getting governments and social services to respond to the horrible reality of child abuse?  As uncomfortable as it might be to think about, could one not argue that her suffering was made purposeful by the attention it garnered?  I’m not saying she was put on this earth to suffer, by any means.  But maybe there was a purpose in the end.

You see, in my post about finding purpose and also in Episode 14 of the podcast, I stated that purpose is not necessarily found in the situation itself but can come from after we’ve made it through.  Sometimes we might not ever make it through.  If you want to get religious, you could argue that Jesus came with the sole purpose of dying.  Likewise, there are people who would martyr themselves for a purpose.  Is it such a stretch of the imagination to believe that this poor girl, this feral child, might have had a purpose in her life after coming to the attention of the media?  Maybe, maybe not.


One point that I picked up on in that aforementioned tweet was how Space Needle Exchange argued that existentialism clearly wasn’t important to me.  Now, I’m not a philosopher, nor am I someone who goes around questioning the meaning of life (which is 42, by the way!) but I did some reading up about existentialism and believe I’ve found a fundamental flaw in his argument.  As far as I understand it (and feel free to correct me if I’m wrong), where existence precedes essence, it is argued that the actual life of the individuals makes up their “true essence” which seems to mean that human beings, through their own consciousness, determine a meaning to their life by creating their own values.

Does that not mean that we, as humans, create our own purpose?

Likewise, does that not also mean that our purpose can be what we make it?

By extension, as it does talk about consciousness, for people who are unable to create their own values, in the case of Genie, would that not suggest that we are able to influence the purpose of others as well?

I’d say so.  What do you think?

A Final Note

I should point out that the second post I mentioned – A Comment On Purpose – Space Needle Exchanged admitted he had not read it, nor was he going to.  He simply argued his point.

Me, I still believe everyone has a purpose.  We may not see it now.  Potentially, we may not see it at all.  But I still firmly believe that purpose is what we make it.  It’s subject to each individual case, but it is what we make of it.  If we’re going through the darkness, what do we do with that darkness?  We can give it a purpose by taking it and using it for good.

What do you think?  Let me know.  I am interested in your thoughts for this one.  Take heart from what I’m saying, though.  Take your darkness and turn it into purpose.  Don’t let people discourage you from finding that purpose because there is certainly something out there for you.

I took my struggle and I turned it into a purpose.  I turn it into a purpose every single day.  More than that, I believe everyone has it in them to do the same thing.  If they are somehow unable to, I believe others can do it for them.

Life is not inherently good, nor is it something that we should take for granted, but you can make it into something better.  You can do it.  So please, take heart from that.  Don’t let your struggle become your identity, remember instead that you can turn it into something good.

After all, we, through our own consciousness, define our own morals and values and, thus, determine the meaning to our lives.

So go determine that meaning.

Take care, guys!

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Become a PatronDisclaimer: I am not an expert, nor am I medically qualified.  This blog is based on my personal experiences only.  Always seek medical advice in the first instance.

A Potato Message

A Potato Instead of a Quote

I’ve told you before how, when my inspiration strikes, I tend to look for images that will go with what I’m talking about.  For the most part, I look for ones that have quotes associated with them, as the quotes continue to jog the creative part of my mind.  Occasionally, however, I come across a few pictures that either make me smile or surprise me.

So the other day I was looking for pictures with depression quotes in them for another post and I came across this:

I'm a tiny potato and I believe in you. You can do the thing!









Yeah, I know…not exactly the depression quote that you were expecting. After all, it’s a potato!  When I pointed this picture out to Cheryl, we both had a good chuckle over it, finding it to be a rather amusing image.  Then, almost like a lightbulb moment, she said that it actually made a bit of sense.

Why?  Because it’s a potato.

The Life of a Potato

A running joke amongst my friends is that I’m a farmer because I have a Gloucester/Somerset accent – not a strong one, admittedly, but enough of one that people pick up on it.  I guess that makes it rather ironic that I’m going to talk to you about potatoes but I’m sure I’ll get over that.  Even so, let’s talk about potatoes!

I’m sure we all know that potatoes are grown underground.  Only small tubers go above the soil surface, so that it can still get a little bit of light to give it what it needs to grow.  Reportedly, depending on where you are in the season, potatoes can take between 60-90 days to fully mature.  They spend all that time buried, growing, before being harvested, ready to be sent on for other things.

The Potato Message

As Cheryl and I sat looking at this photo, she explained why she believed it made sense.  This little potato that was telling us it believed we could do “the thing” had a very powerful, very important message to tell us.  Despite it being quite small and somewhat cute, it was still important in its own right.  Why?

Because of its life.

When battling with depression or anxiety or any other mental illness, it can feel as though we’re constantly surrounded by darkness.  It may feel a little like we’re buried alive.  The pressures of life surround us, compress us and leave us feeling hopeless, crushed and isolated.  Like the potato, we spend our lives in that perpetual darkness that we cannot escape.

It’s a horrible thought.  Some people’s worst nightmares are of being buried alive, and that can be the way that depression personifies itself. But let me challenge that thought.  What if that darkness is shaping us? Helping is grow?  Just like the potato, buried until it reaches maturity, what if we are buried so that we might grow?  What if our darkness is merely the place where we can mature and become something else?

When the pressures of life come crashing in around us, we have two choices: we can fight them, allowing ourselves to be crushed in the process, or we can be like the butterfly or the potato and allow ourselves to be shaped, moulded and eventually transformed.

I don’t know about you but that actually brings me a great deal of encouragement.

“I’m a tiny potato and I believe in you!  You can do the thing!”

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Episode 22 – Taking Back Control

Episode 22 – Taking Back Control

With depression, anxiety, bipolar and other mental health struggles, we can often lose control of events in our lives.  Too often, we find our lives are dictated by our anxiety or by our depression and there isn’t much room for what we want.  In this episode, Alex takes you through his guide to taking back that control and starting to make the change you want to make in your life.

Useful Links:

Episode 17 – The Power of Perspective
Episode 19 – Inaction’s Iniquity
First Day Fears

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Become a PatronDisclaimer: I am not an expert, nor am I medically qualified.  This blog is based on my personal experiences only.  Always seek medical advice in the first instance.

Whispers of Hope

Whispers of Insights

This morning, I’d like to give you a little insight into a part of my creative process.  Normally, my ideas and inspiration comes to me late at night. For this purpose, I keep a notepad and pen on my bedside table so that I can capture any ideas I have during the night.  Then, the following morning, I’ll draft them up a little and see how they develop.  Usually, I try and find an image or two or a video that will go with it as well, to add that nice visual flair.

So when I had the inspiration for Whispers of Hope, it had started with an image that had appeared on Twitter the other day.  Now, I come across a lot of pictures on Twitter and normally I’m quite good at flicking through them.  This one, however, resonated with me.  Check it out below:

Hope is the little voice you hear whisper "maybe" when it seems the entire world is shouting "no!"

What do you think?  Personally, I think it’s a very apt and very powerful quote.  As I mentioned, it also set the old cogs in my head whirring and thus the inspiration for Whispers of Hope came.


The world is a noisy place.  Technology makes it easy for us to be bombarded by information 24/7.  Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, text messages, emails, you name it, we get it!  So many things demanding our undivided attention that it’s so hard to know what to focus on.  Do we reply to the text message first or check the Twitter stream for updates? Too many choices, too many decisions and, overall, too much information.

Similarly, I find it’s noisy inside my head as well.  Thoughts upon thoughts upon thoughts all colliding with each other, clamouring for space to be heard.  Sometimes there are so many, I can scarcely hear myself think, which sounds odd, I know.  It’s true though.  Sometimes they are simply just too loud.

Amidst all that noise, the clamouring of my thoughts and the beeps and whistles of my phone, it can be hard to hear the things that really matter.  Especially on days when my tumultuous thoughts are all trying to grab my attention.  When my thoughts are at their darkest, it can be hard to find that little ray of hope, can’t it?

Sometimes it can be deafening.

Whispers of Hope

Seeing that picture reminded me that hope is still there.  Often it gets drowned out by the noise of my phone, my computer, my thoughts and much more.  Occasionally, though, my mind goes quiet enough that I can hear its gentle whispers.  They’re not loud, not by a long shot.  Sometimes I have to concentrate really hard to hear them.

See, the world will constantly shout at us, trying to get our attention. Hope, on the other hand, whispers quietly, gently so that it’s there when we really look for it, when we need it most.  If we listen carefully, we can find hope.


Whispering gently.

Isn’t that something to hold onto?  Those whispers of hope?

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Episode 21 – A Barrier to Change

Episode 21 – A Barrier to Change

After an almost heated debate on Twitter about an image posted alongside an informative page link, Alex talks about how sometimes we, as mental health sufferers, can be one of the biggest barriers to getting the change that we want.  Do we want the change?  Or are we comfortable just listening to what people say and sitting back, doing nothing?  Why not join me and hear my point and see what you think?

Useful Links:

Understanding Self-Harm

Join Us:


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Take the Pain Away

Pain Pain Pain

Over the course of my journey and some of the series that I’ve run, I’ve talked about how I use self-harm and pain to break out of the numbness and emptiness of depression.  As a sure-fire way of feeling, it’s almost 100% guaranteed to break through that abyssal void and bring me back into a place of feeling.  Sadly it works, even though it’s something you should never have to go through.

You hurt yourself on the outside trying to kill the monster on the inside.The pain I inflict upon myself is intentional.  What about the unintentional pain, though?  The innermost pains caused by depression or anxiety, the ones that just don’t seem to go away no matter what you do?  See, people always tend to think of it as a physical sensation, something caused by physical stimuli such as a broken leg.  You do get headaches caused by that sort of mental fatigue but you wouldn’t normally associate it with depression or anxiety.  However, according to the American Psychological Association, pain is something that can be caused by emotional, biological and psychological factors.  It is possible to be feeling hurt from your mental illness.

But what do we, as friends and family, do with that?

The Drive to Wellness

As a friend or a family member, we want nothing more than to alleviate the suffering of our loved ones.  We hate seeing them hurting, we want to make it better.  For some, they would move mountains if they could make it better, doing whatever is possible.  From taking on the burdens themselves to simply being there to reduce the pain, it’s something they would do.

My parents are one of the best examples of this that I can think of.  They would tell me that they are “fixers” and they want nothing more than to fix my problems and make me well again.  If they could take the problems upon themselves, they would.  They would do anything to make me well, even if it was detrimental to themselves.  I know not all parents are like this but I am lucky to have parents who would do that for me.

There are friends who would love to help me in similar ways.  One or two people I can think of want to take the pain away so that I can be well again.  Sometimes they have expressed that desire directly but, more often than not, they ask what they can do to help.

Sadly it’s not always possible, though, is it?

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No Solutions

Recently, I had my godchildren to stay and, at some unearthly hour, the toddler woke up crying.  In short, she was in pain.  Her leg was hurting as though she had cramp in it, though it wasn’t cramp.  I did my best to soothe her and to settle her back down but she was in too much pain to go back to sleep so easily.  As I cuddled her, trying to calm her, I had a realisation…

There was nothing I could do.

Depression is like a bruise that never goes away. A bruise in your mind. You just got to be careful not to touch it where it hurts. It's always there, though. - Jeffrey EugenidesNothing that I could do would alleviate that pain.  I had no magical balm, no soothing touch, nothing that would take the pain out of her leg.  That translates over to mental health and the pain felt as a result of that.  Sometimes there is absolutely nothing that we can do to fix it.  It’s just something that we have to cope with.

So, as I sat there cuddling my goddaughter, I was thinking that sometimes the only thing we can do is simply be there for that person.  If they’re hurting, sometimes our presence is the only thing that we can do.  How much worse would her problem have been if there had been no one there to give her that cuddle, comforting her.

When no solutions present themselves, our presence is the only thing that we can offer that will bring them some measure of support or comfort.

Over to You

Is there someone suffering from some kind of pain due to mental health?  If you know someone going through that perpetual darkness, offer them your presence.  You might not be able to fix it but that’s alright, you don’t have to fix it.  Sometimes your presence is enough.  Sometimes that’s all they need.

See what you can do.

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Become a PatronDisclaimer: I am not an expert, nor am I medically qualified.  This blog is based on my personal experiences only.  Always seek medical advice in the first instance.

A New Year

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to you all from the Pushing Back the Shadows team!

Out With the Old Year

2018!  Is it just me or does anyone else think that 2017 flew by?  It seems like only yesterday that we were celebrating the end of 2016, which most people seemed to think was an awful year.  I know that’s what everyone says – that it seemed like only yesterday – but it really does.

Looking back at 2017, I’ve had a few opportunities to pick as highlights. Starting this website, for example, has been a major highlight as it’s enabled me to help people with their mental health struggles.  Whether on Twitter, Facebook or just this website, it’s been extremely rewarding to be able to connect with people and bring a little light into their darkness. Simply by reaching out and encouraging them, I’ve been encouraged as well.

Still, 2017 has had its difficulties.  If you follow my journey, you’ll have seen it’s had its ups and it’s had its downs.  I wrote about the Harrowing Void, how my scars have faded and the desire to bring them back has just increased.  I told you about my sleepless battle, how depression and anxiety affected me at work and much more.

In With the New Year

So as we’re gearing up towards the New Year, we might be approaching it with anticipation and trepidation or excitement and enthusiasm.  Perhaps you’re thinking that this will be your year, where everything goes right, you get that dream promotion, you get your finances in order and so on.  Conversely, you might be thinking it will be a disaster of a year where everything goes wrong, you lose lots of things dear to you.  Who knows?

In truth, no one knows what the future will bring.  2018 will continue to be elusive and mysterious.  It’s important to remember, as we approach this new year of new opportunities and events, that the only thing we can truly control is the here and now.  We don’t know what tomorrow holds, yesterday is done, so we focus on the present.  Live for today.

Now, I’m not saying go wild and blow all your money, drive your car recklessly, go out and buy booze and drugs and live wildly because that’s just not practical.  No, what I’m saying is make the most of the time that we have.  Tomorrow could be one day too late, as anxiety keeps telling us, or it could be one of the biggest success stories of our lives.  Make the most of it.  If that doesn’t tell you what I’m trying to say, check out this scene and let one of my favourite fictional characters tell you:


So, as 2018 unfolds and we launch into this new year, take the time that is given to you, decide what to do with it.  Perhaps start a new project, one that will help your mental health.  Alternatively, make a New Year’s Resolution that might change the course of your life.  2018 is your oyster, you go and make the most of it.

Why not subscribe?

Subscribe today to receive a free chapter from my eBook “Pills and Blades”, a subscriber-exclusive podcast episode and more!

Become a PatronDisclaimer: I am not an expert, nor am I medically qualified.  This blog is based on my personal experiences only.  Always seek medical advice in the first instance.