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


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


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

Into the wall….

I could feel it, I could sense it. I’ve crashed, psychologically, straight into the wall. I felt myself starting to go on Thursday night at the pub. There’s no trying to hide it, I wasn’t that enthusiastic about going and seeing my work colleague for a few drinks. Wasn’t anything to do with her at all, I just couldn’t muster the energy or effort. A spent force.

Today is a follow on from that. I was due to go out and umpire today. I’ve had to cancel. Woke up about 30 minutes ago and found I had little energy or drive to go out the door and travel to the game. I cannot give of my best at all when I’m feeling like this. I don’t want to see anyone, don’t want to talk to anyone, I’ve just run straight into a very large wall.

I’ve let the appropriate people know. I’m not sure how this has happened. There is that anniversary I was speaking of, but this is a combination of mental and physical tiredness. Burnt out, shot to bits. I’ve been walking round as though my legs and feet have been made of cement, struggling to move myself around. Not good.

I suppose it was too good to last. I’ve enjoyed the year up to now, and enjoyed the cricket. But I’ve gone. The well of enjoyment and enthusiasm has run dry, it has caught up with me. Think I was running on autopilot just recently. 

Yes, the cricket has been good, the players have been good and it’s been great to be involved. But there’s only so much I can take before I go down once again. I’ve reached that point. 

Too good to last…

Allen Brooks xx