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

There is something going on….

Hello. A good indicator if I’m feeling ok is the fact that I go out and enjoy some activities, like cricket umpiring, or enjoying this very fine and hot weather that is here.

Well, my enthusiasm for cricket umpiring, or just cricket in general, has ebbed away for the time being. This has been the case for the last few years, and I’m unable to think of a good reason why. For the first two months of the season, April and May, I was throwing myself into the cricket and largely enjoying it. Now that has ended abruptly. Last week saw myself pull out of scoring duties within an hour of the scheduled start. Anxiety was the main cause. This weekend, numbness and shock seem to be the overriding emotions. Again, at a loss to explain why. 

Why aren’t I going out and enjoying the hot weather? Why aren’t I indeed? I don’t want to. Whereas I usually leap at the chance to go to the beach and relax, I’m sitting in the flat, unmotivated, unenthusiastic, uninterested. My brain is operating on a reduced level. I’ve gone backwards, again. 

I don’t know how I managed to go out to do volunteering or the peer support group the other day. Maybe there was a glimmer of light, a glimmer of hopefulness that this may be a blip, and I will return to normal soon. In fact, it’s a pattern that reflects the last few years. Enthusiasm and enjoyment to start, overtaken by loss and bewilderment. Perhaps my counsellor will shed some light on Monday afternoon. Perhaps.

Sorry that I can’t be more optimistic or positive. That’s how I feel today.

Allen Brooks xx

Crashed….

I just can’t do it. I just can’t face it. I cannot go out and face the world today. All negativity. No, can’t, cannot, won’t, all words in my vernacular today. I’ve crashed. 

I’ve been sitting in my bedroom, head in hands, nearly ready to cry uncontrollably. The barriers have finally come down and are staying down. It’s a lovely day outside. I wouldn’t care if it was 90 degrees and blazing hot sunshine, I ain’t going anywhere.

Yep, anxiety has taken over once again. Really has caused an emotional crash. Three days ago, I was ok. Maybe it was bravado, maybe it was adrenaline, maybe it was because I had a few to drink. The last two days have been vastly different.

This happens, not often I hasten to add, but it happens. Everything goes along swimmingly, and even though there might be the odd blip, I keep going. I tell myself I will be alright. Then, the spectacular crash.

The psychologist that diagnosed my autism, paid special attention to my social anxiety, fear of people, fear of the outside world. Usually, I can do ok, but like now, it takes an iron grip, and will not relinquish it.

Imagine a room without any light, heat, any amenities at all. No windows, nothing. Imagine just sitting there. Imagine the walls closing in around you. That’s how I feel today. And a consequence of that is negative self talk. Can’t, won’t, cannot, no. And the fact I should have let people know earlier that I cannot do scoring today, also feeds the anxiety. What will people think of me? What will they say? And on and on it goes, a continuous loop of ordeal and agony.

Not a million pounds would get me out of the flat today. My colleague rang me and tried to encourage me to come along and just watch, but to no avail. The walls have closed in, and I’ve let people down, again. 

It isn’t funny, it isn’t amusing. I hate feeling like this, but mental illness is a strange thing. You think you have it cracked, then bang, back down the abyss you go. And that’s where I’ll stay, for now.

Allen Brooks xx

Hi….lo

Morning. From the high of the other day, enjoying good company and partaking in my local pub activities, I’m experiencing a bit of a downer.

Yesterday, I withdrew from my umpiring appointment due to a panic attack. Today, I’m due to be doing some scoring. But the enthusiasm that has been there for most of the season, even year, has temporarily gone. 

Story of the last few years. I start off ok, and then the interest and excitement for cricket starts to wane. That’s how I feel today. I shall go through with it, but it will seem a drag to go up to the club and perform duties. Not a good state of mind to be in. 

No doubt I will be asked why? Can’t explain why to be honest. If I had the answers, I would list them here. But I don’t. It’s no good trying to find answers. I’m sleeping a lot again (even before staying up for the election results), and that isn’t good. Perhaps it’s time to withdraw my services for the rest of the season. I’ll think about it.

So, not a good day for Allen Brooks. Two days in a row also that the weather has been excellent. Warm and sunny, and I’m starting to beat a retreat. Bad signs.

Allen Brooks xx

Block..

  
Morning. Not a good morning. Despite the fact it’s a fantastic summer’s day out there, Allen Brooks is having a mental block. Why? Because I was due to go out and umpire a cricket match today. I’ve woken up, had breakfast and could feel a panic attack coming on. Again why? I just can’t go through with it today.

This has happened in previous years, especially last year. I found myself waking up, preparing to get ready to go to cricket, and bang, the panic attack would start. It’s not a nice feeling, laying here now typing this, my breathing is rather shallow and a feeling of dread has come over me.

Why again? I’ve done a lot of matches this year and this shouldn’t present a problem. It’s an irrational fear. An irrational fear that I cannot face anyone or anything today. A fear that I would turn up and everyone would be looking at me, making remarks and judging me. Now this of course is not true, but that doesn’t stop me feeling like this. Anxiety is a constant companion in my life. On occasions, it prevents me from going out and doing things. 

I’ve had a reasonable week, so why today of all days that this has struck? Stage fright maybe, fear of getting things wrong, fear of being judged, fear that 22 cricketers won’t be able to like or respect me.

I’d better stop writing now. Need to concentrate on calming myself down.

Allen Brooks xx

A rest is as good as a change…

Just mangling a well known saying there. Afternoon folks. Spending a quiet Sunday at home and I think the rest is in the process of doing me some good.

As I alluded to in other posts, fatigue combined with an anniversary has seen my enthusiasm and zeal drop quite markedly since around the middle of last week. I have been in the middle of a busy spell with presentations and umpiring cricket, and I think it caught up with me. My mind and body were telling me to take it easy. 

This I have done. Yesterday wasn’t a great day, but slowly and surely, I’m starting to feel ok again today. Just by resting, that’s all. Drawing from that experience of dealing with mental illness, I’m able to recognise what works for me and what doesn’t. Also, the weather has been very warm and humid and quite energy sapping, so though I’ve missed out on umpiring this weekend, I think I’ve done the right thing by taking a back seat. Sometimes throwing oneself into too many things can have a detrimental effect. 

As I said, this afternoon I feel somewhat brighter. That wall doesn’t look as daunting, and I’ve been getting some good wishes from friends and acquaintances, which is always a good pick me up. Having a week off from stuff isn’t always the worst idea. The mental health toolkit does work sometimes!

Knowing the mind and body….so key to wellbeing!

Allen Brooks xx

Dreaming of Negativity…

Hello. Strange day. My emotions are bubbling to the surface, and I can categorically say that 3rd June is not an easy day. It’s days like this that the loneliness factor creeps in, wondering why I’m in this situation.

Also, I’ve been sleeping very heavily today, and for a fairly long time. Trying to shut out what is going on. It’s then that my subconscious comes into play. The dreams I had this afternoon were vivid and unpleasant. 

Why? Because they were dreams about negativity. Dreams about being told that I’m not good enough for anything. Being left on the shelf, being ignored, being shut out, that was the gist of the dreams.

Of course that isn’t true at all. But occasionally those feelings come to the surface, the demons that lurk quietly in the background making their way into my psyche again. I hope that the negative dreams were just that, dreams without meaning. But I must have had some things weighing on my mind for it to go off on that tangent. Mentally and physically tired. I didn’t miss going to umpire today. I knew that I wasn’t in the frame of mind to do so. Someone suggested that I go to umpire and that would make me feel better, but no, if I can’t perform to a high standard, then that is unfair on me and the players.

Burnt out….maybe I do need a rest, perhaps a little holiday might be in order again. I’ll see. Just want to get this weekend over with. It isn’t good. 

Allen Brooks xx