More Four…

Is the name of a UK TV channel. But also that applies to the Peer Support group this morning. There were only four of us. Due to various reasons, the twelve that adorned the room so well last week was reduced in size.

But no matter. We chatted away about various things, like family history, our own current mental health status, and about medication. So, despite the paucity of numbers, we found plenty to occupy the two hours. 

The weather has changed today too, for the better in my view. It’s still warm, but with more than a hint of freshness in the air. The oppressive humidity and airless conditions of the last few days is a thing of the past. A few people I’ve spoken to have complained of the heat being a little too much. I like the day we have today. Warm, but fresh, not sweating like a pig. Perfect.

How’s my anxiety today? Ok, as it goes. Not a hint of it. But as I said in other posts, it comes and goes in fits and starts. Off now to see a friend for the day.

Laters

Allen Brooks xx

Downhill run..

Hello. 21st June today. The longest day of the year. The day that marks the downhill run to 21st December, meaning it gets gradually darker in the evenings. Joy! 

Today is the hottest June day since that glorious summer of 1976. It’s been about 35 degrees C, 95 degrees F in old money. Hot enough. Having ventured out earlier, I was then regretting leaving the cool of indoors to sample the oven like conditions outside.

A few people are not happy with this hot spell. Then again, we English are never happy. It’s either too wet, too dry, too cold or too hot. Personally, I prefer it to be less humid and oven like. Next time I’ll squash myself in the oven and turn on the heat to regulo 8. Not a pretty sight, I’m sure you’ll agree.

What about me and anxiety? It’s been a little better. I even ventured out to a meeting yesterday without too much trouble. But there was a warning shot fired across the bows today. Someone wanted me to go and umpire a match tonight. I had to decline. Even thinking about the possibility of umpiring makes me anxious at the moment. I don’t know why. The enthusiasm and zest for cricket that was there for 8-10 weeks has disappeared, hopefully temporarily. The prospect of standing there and making a fool of myself plays on the mind to such an extent that the negativity is overbearing. 

Of course, I don’t make a fool of myself at cricket, but try telling that to my fertile mind that sets off on a voyage that leaves me ready to hit another iceberg. The wrestling that goes on with my mind is something I’ll never be able to come to terms with. 

Bizarre. But that’s me. Utterly bizarre.

Allen Brooks xx

A mad dog Englishman….

And guess what all mad dogs and Englishmen do? Go out in the midday sun. Yet another roasting day in the big city today, temperatures hitting 90F or so. The only down side of the heat for me is the puffy eyes, streaming nose and endless sneezing. But you can’t win em all.

Off out to a meeting today. A meeting revolving around the cafe that I volunteer at. What’s the future going to be? Will I end up serving in a burger van on the A12 in Essex? Nothing like setting the bar high! 

Seriously though, the meeting will discuss how long we’ll be able to stay open, amongst other things. The staff within the hospital must like us and the affordable prices, otherwise we wouldn’t do so well. Hopefully this time, the stays of execution that the cafe seems to get might be a thing of the past and that something more permanent is in the offing. May be longer opening hours and more days of the week. We shall see, nothing lasts forever. The drivers on the A12 may be spared my wit and repartee for a few months longer….but I digress.

On a train, no air conditioning. 21st century technology haven’t reached some of London’s trains. So the passengers have to sit in a sweat box. It’s lucky that it’s midday rather than morning or evening, where it’s standing room only, and the whiff of smelly armpits pervades the carriage. Not mine, I hasten to add. My personal hygiene is reasonable, before anyone asks.

That’s enough for now. 

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

El Scorchio….!!

It’s been extremely, some might say, dangerously hot in parts of Southern Europe, with temperatures topping out at 100 Fahrenheit or more. Unbearable heat.

Some of that is wafting it’s way to the UK. The weekend could see temperatures in the 90s. The trouble is, it’s coinciding with the hay fever season and the rise in pollution. I’m not complaining mind you. After being totally windswept and soaked by a ghastly Tuesday last week, this is all very welcome.  Could be beach and factor 30 time again. Now where is a lovely lady to rub sun tan cream on my back? Nowhere to be seen…story of my life!

Enjoy it!

Allen Brooks xx

Good vibes……

Day:- Thursday. Time:- 10.30 am. Reason:- Peer Support Group

Two hours of fun, laughter and good times. Mental health doesn’t need to be a difficult, heavy subject, with morbid undertones and dark thoughts. Today was just a pleasure to facilitate. Twelve people sitting round a table, and it was so good, you wouldn’t believe.

At times it was like a comedy sketch, and the four who attend who have passed their accreditation as facilitators, were feeding each other lines and keeping the mood upbeat. At other times, it was like being in a class of unruly children, but with a nicer atmosphere, if you get my meaning. 

Everybody had an equal chance to say things, no one topic of discussion came up to be honest, but that wasn’t a bad thing. It just sort of flowed. There were lots of jokes at my expense, but I managed to fight back on a few occasions. Women outnumbered men by 5:1. But I didn’t feel alone, I was able to use that numerical disadvantage to my advantage. The group runs better with a little bit of gentle mickey taking and laughter. And they say that laughter is the best medicine. 

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The group runs brilliantly every week and we see no reason to change anything. If people keep coming back, which they do, then we are doing our job properly as facilitators. It never gets out of hand and everyone is polite and responsible, well, nearly everyone…. mention no names! Ha ha. 

It was in fact, a real pleasure to sit there and just enjoy the company of like minds. If they laugh at my jokes, so much the better. Money changing hands has nothing to with it…..again ha ha. 

I was expecting only a small number of people to turn up, as we have another very nice summer’s day outside. I can’t blame people for taking advantage of the nice weather and the great outdoors, but how wrong I was with my prediction. 12 of us. Fantastic.

Allen Brooks xx

Showing strong and stable leadership….

Now where have we heard that before? Can’t quite place who has just recently uttered those immortal words….the name escapes me.

Morning. Well I do have to show strong and stable leadership this morning…but only in the interests of the Peer Support group that I’m supposed to be facilitating. Can Allen Brooks manage it? We’ll see…..but one thing is for certain, I won’t be sounding like an android. 

How do I feel today? Ok, nothing special really. It is another fab day weather wise as that bright orange orb does it’s work and tries to make people happy. Got a touch of hay fever though. Like most others, my eyes are streaming, my nose is running and the amount of sneezing has increased. The joys of living in a polluted city….summer can be joyous, but it can bring it’s down side. 

We’ll see what happens at the group today. Not overly enthusiastic, but once it starts I should be ok. It’s not been the best of weeks, I’m a little bit all over the show. Strong and stable? More like weak and wobbly. And that’s the closest I’ll get to an alliterative phrase at this time of the day.

Catch you later…

Allen Brooks xx