A true mental health champion….

This is Clarke Carlisle, former English footballer. Clarke had great success up and down the English leagues with a variety of clubs. 

Behind the football persona, is a man of great insight, great intelligence and of great wisdom. Carlisle realised all too much that time spent in the goldfish bowl of the spotlight can have very detrimental effects on mental health.

For example, Carlisle had two failed suicide attempts. That he is still with us is testimony to his strength and his courage. He hasn’t been afraid to speak out about mental illness amongst his brethren in professional football, and has actively campaigned for better awareness, to break down those barriers and to get people to speak out about their problems; that is isn’t a weakness to admit you’re in trouble.

I’ve just been watching a documentary on BBC TV, where Clarke talks to various people about mental illness and how the glare of the spotlight can be all too much. It’s a hard hitting documentary, very emotional, getting to the heart of the matter, and it was riveting viewing. 

Here’s the link to the programme:- 

and I’m sure you will enjoy a programme full of insight and reality, better than most programmes on TV currently. Real issues, and how we are afraid to confront them.

Clarke Carlisle is a true champion of mental health in the UK, and I don’t think anybody will disagree with that. Playing football, being in a high profile job, whatever your status, mental illness can affect us all. No matter whether you have three cars in the drive, five houses and a healthy wage, plus a loving family, anybody is susceptible to the horrors of mental illness, it’s just some don’t want to admit it.

Peace and love 

Allen Brooks xx


Up….down…a turbulent mind at work 

Afternoon. Still not good news on the health front really. Haven’t been out today. Took the option of staying in, rather than going to Peer Support group or seeing a mate of mine. Not the best idea, but this is the situation I’m faced with.

Had a strange dream last night which indicates the turbulent nature of life at the moment. I dreamt I was in a high rise building, and I wanted to go to the top floor. In the lift I went, all the way to the 12th floor. Don’t ask me why it’s 12.

I looked around at the vertiginous view. I got rather scared at this point. Time to get back in the lift and return to the ground floor. This I did. It was during this downward journey that I become scared once again. I thought the lift would pick up speed and crash, injuring me or worse still, causing my demise.

That’s the state of things at the moment. I’m not sure what’s going on. Hopefully the doctor will be able to shed some light on how I feel at the moment. My subconscious is having a good go at what is troubling me. It’s telling me that my life is very unsettled. Not sure what direction I should be heading at the present time. All very troubling.

Allen Brooks xx

Not good…..

One of those simply forgettable days. Why? Felt terrible for the most part, though I did go out. Go figure.

I got woken up about 8.30 by a call from a work colleague who couldn’t make it to do her volunteering stint at the tea bar today. I then got ready, had breakfast and was just on the point of leaving when the message came through that I wasn’t needed; there were two people there already.

But I thought, to hell with this staying in, I’m going out. And that is where the problems began. The journey was fine, and when I got to the tea bar, I felt so out of it, that I might as well taken a rocket to Mars and tried to engage the inhabitants in conversation. Their conversation may well have been more enlightening than mine.

I felt dreadful. I didn’t want to converse with my two colleagues, I just sat at the table staring into space. The journey home was little better, and the moment I walked through the door, I fell asleep. What good that has done is a moot point.

The sleeping during the day, the lack of enjoyment of activities, the zombie like feeling that’s accompanying me on most days. It’s time to get some medical answers. Back to the doctors I go on Friday. I hate feeling like this. It’s a kind of depressive state. But why? Don’t know at all. It’s a mystery as to how this started. But I need some answers. Quickly.

Just no self esteem or enjoyment, the demons are back. And they’re taking over….

Allen Brooks xx

The weirdness of mental illness……..

The strangeness of my moods and well being continues today. Now for most of last week, it was hot, sunny and dry. Did I go out much to take advantage of the good weather? Not really. 

Today in London, it’s positively horrible. Dark skies, heavy rain and it’s just miserable. But I don’t feel too bad, strangely enough. I felt able to talk to my sister for 15 minutes on the phone after I didn’t want to speak to her when she contacted me over the last two days. That must be an indication that I do feel better, talking to someone that I should be talking to on a regular basis. She does realise that I have these spells where I don’t feel so great, and it’s nothing to do with anyone else. It’s how I feel and my rather peculiar state of mind.

It’s all peculiar, I will readily admit. Very up and down with feelings of low mood, anxiety, paranoia and loneliness. Could it be depression again? Could it be making a comeback after a vacation? I hope not. I’m going to put off going to the doctors for a while, just so I can work my way through this bad spell. 

But, as I said, slightly better today, despite the weather returning to autumn. Many a psychologist and counsellor have tried to delve into the Allen Brooks mind, and this autism can be a strange beast. I hope that in a few weeks, I can return to the good times again. For the moment, it’s a battle.

Allen Brooks xx

Weekend Summary…..

Hello. Not the best of weekends in all honesty. I feel down again, swimming against the tide…

Saturday saw myself and my work colleague go to a birthday party. It was held at the pub we usually frequent. The moment I set foot in there, something didn’t feel quite right. 

I’m not great with parties or any kind of social gatherings for that matter. The idea of making small talk with people I don’t really know has never struck a chord with me. Socially inept could be an apt description of me. The psychologist who diagnosed my autism drew attention to that. It’s something I can’t get my head around. 

So, I sat there, eating birthday cake, pizza and drinking five vodka and tonics. That was tipping me towards the edge. Not feeling great? Why not have alcohol, which is a depressant, to make me feel worse? 

I hardly knew anybody, and I was starting to feel tired. Time to go home. Went back to my friend’s place and stayed the night. Didn’t sleep that well, and consequently yesterday was not a great day either. I felt so out of it, so away with the fairies, that the best news in the world wouldn’t have made a difference. 

Came home in the afternoon. I’m normally quite alert and awake on a bus. This time, I was in a complete daze. Felt as far removed from my own thoughts as it’s possible to be. As it happened, when I got home, I slept again. My sleep patterns are all over the place. Drinking alcohol doesn’t help either. Perhaps it’s time to cut down. I feel a complete mess.

One of my cricket friends rang up in the evening. Normally, I would be enthusiastic and wanting to talk. I did talk, but with a sense of real disinterest. I really couldn’t have cared less about what he was saying. That’s no reflection on him, it’s just my state of mind at the moment.

The negative thoughts are there, the paranoia is there, the lack of interest is there, the low feeling is there. Could it be a depressive episode again? I don’t know. Perhaps it’s time to see my doctor. Perhaps the medication (which I’ve been on for 18 months) isn’t working. This isn’t fun at the present time. Don’t know what to do.

I feel shut out, marginalised, left to my own devices. Could I be doing the marginalising? Maybe. My head is in a real mess, there’s no sense of order at the moment. Trapped within my own mind. Not a pleasant feeling.

Allen Brooks xx

On the big stage….

Very interesting dream last night. I dreamt that I was umpiring a game of county cricket at Lord’s, the world renowned cricket ground in the centre of London.

The dream consisted of me being very nervous before I went out to umpire (no change there), as I was taking charge of professional players for the first time. I had a former county player turned umpire at the other end to help me through, and I in fact helped him in making a decision. 

The attitude of the players was different, the game seemed a whole new step up. But once I was out there for a while, I was ok. It was a really surreal dream.

And back to reality. There was a remote possibility that I could have progressed a long way in cricket umpiring years ago. The dream probably serves as a reminder that I do still have the ability, but not the confidence, as anxiety plays a major part. Perhaps the dream is telling me that there is nothing to worry about, though consciously, there’s always plenty to worry about. That’s why I do a few games per season, and then stop. The anxiety and low self esteem returns. 

So I was on the big stage for a brief while, but only in my subconscious. My anxiety would have told me to get off the stage, because of the possibility of being judged. That’s the reality. 

Allen Brooks xx