Month: March 2014

Discomfort Eating Part 1– IBS-D versus Emotional Support from Pancakes

pancakes_use It was never going to be a good idea.

Tesco factory made pancakes full of wheat and milk, together with Waitrose Pre-made Beef Bolognese full of onions and tomatoes. And all that after the Apricot Tarte that I specially bought for my father’s 80th birthday (he loves apricots and tartes so I think I made his day). He insisted I have a slice of, as it was his birthday, and he wanted me to /”make the effort for him”. He then reminded me that he thought all these food intolerances were rubbish, “made up nonsense”, and I was wasting my time going on food exclusion diets in order to overcome my IBS-D (Irritable Bowel Syndrome – Diarrhoea). So to please him, as he was already miserable at getting hardly any cards and having to live for so long in such a horrible, unjust world, I ate the tarte, although I was controlled enough to say no to cream. In case you are wondering the Apricot Tarte was delicious. However, as you may have already guessed, it was the start of a downward slide for my hyper-sensitive gut.

If the Tarte was the only wheat, yeast and lactose I ingested that day, it may have been OK. I probably still would have suffered some increased symptom of my IBS-D. I had, you see, been stuffing myself full of chocolates over the last few days, to numb the increasing emotional pain I was feeling within me. I also fell of the wagon, so to speak, by binge on wheat and dairy filled fancy snack food at a christening last Sunday. My wife was made Godmother to her school friend’s daughter. The service was beautiful (I love old churches – this was 800 years old), but the reception afterwards was my true heaven. Honey Roast Beef slices, smoked salmon with prawns on top, pork and leek pies, goats cheese and sundried tomato quiches. Poppy seed roll bread. My favourite type of seeded bread. All the stuff of my dreams, denied to me by my recent years of exclusion diets. I could have tried to have more self-control. Yet it has been a hard few weeks, in fact months. So I gave in to the naughty demons inside me.

As a drug, not all food works for me. It has to be tasty food. Generally fatty, unhealthy food. Chocolates are one of the best drugs that give me the hit I need to distract from slipping down into a spiral of depression or anxiety induced panic. I have had to deal with a lot of emotional tension, stress and turbulence recently (due to a myriad of financial and family related drama’s that I have done my best to avoid but which have sought me out and keep haunting me). The chocolate hits have helped get me through, in addition to the pork and leek pie, though at a price.

Anyway, enough about the Double Decker bars and Pound shop Thornton’s boxes, back to the pancakes. So after the Birthday Tart slippage, why did I make it worse by devouring the pack of pancakes I bought impulsively as they were seducing me at the entrance to my local hypermarket. My excuse?

It was Pancake day, one of my favourite days of the year. In terms of religious faith I am not a religious man. Food, however, is my religion. Any day or event where the celebration involves or revolves around food is holy to me.

I live to eat. It is the thing that makes me get out of bed in the morning, for breakfast. I push through the drudgery of mornings dreaming of the reward of lunch. After lunch the day is all about getting through to dinner time (hopefully with some tasty snacks in between). When I used to have a very high pressured, fast paced, long hours finance job in central London, the things that powered me on through the day were sausage rolls from Waterloo station in the morning, a Snickers’ bar (Marathon for all you old school Brits out there) for morning break, a large Chili Con Carne lunch from the subsidised work canteen, a can of Dr. Pepper and a bag of Flame-grilled Steak McCoys Crisps for afternoon break and the thought of some overly oily, yet tasty home-made cooked meal, full of marinated meat, made by my equally carnivorous mother.

So that is a very concise summary of why I eat and why eating tasty food that gives me a stimulating hit is so important to me. It is emotional comfort eating, I understand that now, but that doesn’t mean I crave it any less.

This is why I thought milk-based pancakes with Beef Bolognese sauce might be a “good” idea. Aside from the fact that it was a weird combination (I like weird) for a pancake, and my wife thought it was disgusting, I should have known better.

I have cut this post into 3 separate posts to make it easier for people to digest (excuse the very bad pun).

This is the link to Part 2, which continues on from this point (to be updated once the post is published!)

Link to Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treatments List on NHS Website

Announcing New Embed Support for Getty Images

This is awesome. I think visual communication is the best way to quickly express many of the thoughts and feelings I have in a moment, so access to this vast library of professional photographs is a real asset.

The WordPress.com Blog

Earlier today, Getty Images announced a new embed feature that will allow people to access and share photos from its extensive library of images for non-commercial purposes. We have been working with Getty Images over the past few weeks and are excited to bring this feature to WordPress.com!

Embedding images at the speed of a shutter

Imagery is a powerful way to communicate your ideas. Whether you want to profile a famous personality or share your passion for soccer, you can now do so with Getty Images’ photography. With this new embed feature, WordPress.com users can access one of the world’s largest digital archives in a simple and — just as important — legal way.

To embed an image, you can grab the embed code directly from the Getty Images website. Just hover over the image, and click on the embed icon “</>”:

Getty Embed SS

Next, copy the embed code into…

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More than a TV Show – Doctor Who Touching Lives

The_Master_Roger_Delgado

Roger Delgado as The Master from Doctor Who

I am suffering from Doctor Who withdrawal symptoms.

I just finished watching the 1971 Jon Pertwee Doctor Season 8 Serial “The Claws of Axos” on iTunes. It was fascinating stuff. The idea of a single organic life form that can is a sentient spacecraft and can split off and conquer worlds through duplicity is such an engaging idea. Doctor Who always was and still is the most inventive, imaginative and creative show on TV. I personally think that is the secret of its success.

Having watched all of the post-2005 revived Who episodes (in just a crazy 2 month period), I am now watching as many Classic Who episodes as I can in chronological order. I want to do it this way as many themes and character arcs are linked and developed across many serials. The whole of Season 8 is basically the arc of introducing The Master and his various plans to destroy Earth. Roger Delgado’s performance is, if you excuse the pun, masterful! He is suave, slick, conniving and manages to look cool with a goatee. He is a villain, but you just fall in love with his character and his portrayal, more slick loveable rogue than true evil. In the end, he always ends up helping the Doctor defeat the very foes he himself brought to destroy earth! And his suit manages to stay pristine.

So why the withdrawal symptoms? Due to financial considerations, I can’t afford to buy any more classic Who DVD’s, even though I love the amazing extras, with all their fascinating insights into the making of the classic episodes. My new idea is to rent the DVD’s via LoveFilm, but that means watching the DVD’s we currently have languishing within our dusty TV cabinet.

In the meantime my love of Doctor Who has been increased by this very touching article I came across from another WordPress blog.

My girls meet Peter Capaldi ( little Dalek ) – Blog Post

You Tube video from the post with Peter Capaldi talking to the post author’s daughters and reassuring her youngest daughter that Matt and Jenna say it’s ok for him to be the doctor. 

I really had to share it, and insist that all Doctor Who fans, and anyone undecided on the greatness that is Doctor Who, read this. It is about a young Doctor Who fan with autism who happens to be with her family in the same place where the new series of Doctor Who is being filmed.

It makes you fall in love with all the great people who come together to produce this work of TV that touches so many lives in many different ways. For my part Doctor Who has been there for me as a means of escape, comfort and joy during a very emotionally difficult time in my life.

I really wanted to reblog this post on Kamblog, but I am not sure about the idea of reblogging other peoples posts. I don’t know the etiquette behind whether or not one should reblog a post or just link to it. It also feels odd as Kamblog is meant to be my posts composed by me. Posting other blogger’s posts feels like cheating. It feels like stealing someone else’s thunder by posting their writing here.

Anyway please click the link, as the story is so touching and will make even the hardest heart feel good. It certainly put a smile on this Whovian’s face.

How Tomorrow Makes Me Feel – Back in Therapy and Dealing with a Depressed Father

Too Much Information OverloadThis is my 3rd attempt at composing and publishing a short post.

I seem to be pathologically unable to compose a short blog post. I always have too much to say. This comes from years of being forced to keep quiet and not express my true thoughts and feelings, which is unhelpful when the atmosphere I grew up in was so unstable and traumatic.

When I do start to open up and write from the heart and soul, everything just floods out. I am desperate to let it all out and to be listened to, validated and comforted.

The problem is that we live in a world where image is everything, and the stigma around mental health issues is still really powerful. I am lucky to have come across lots of recent campaigns to increase awareness of mental health issues and break down the stigma’s attached to them. However, when it comes to telling my own true story, my anxiety gets triggered just thinking of any unintended and negative consequences of being open and honest. “Outing” myself (as suffering from mental health issues) and then being negatively judged, mocked or side-lined for doing so, scares the living daylights out of me.

To try and prevent this, I have spent the last few days trying to build a barrier of anonymity around this blog and my online presence. A virtual wall to protect myself from exposing my true vulnerability and being attacked (I am always on red alert for being attacked) which ironically maintains my alienation mental health issues. I am the same in real life. I create and maintain emotional walls to defend myself from being hurt, but the side effect is being continually disconnected from developing meaningful social interactions and relationships.

This is really ironic, as opening up, on this blog, has made me feel free, energised, and excited. The point of posting my true thoughts and feelings, my story, on this blog, was to connect with other people. I didn’t originally set up this blog with a view to chronicling my battle with mental health issues. It just happened. I still plan to post about other facets of my life. I am more than just someone with mental health problems, but those conditions are a big part of where I am in my life right now.

I currently feel very alienated in my life, so trying to connect with people I can relate to or who are in similar circumstances can only be a positive thing right? If only it was that easy. Anonymity comes at a price, it can maintain alienation, but opening up in a truly honest way, though really brave, can have its costs too.

With all this in mind, let’s try to push back the flood waters of my suppressed inner thoughts and summarise.

I really wanted to post something today as tomorrow is significant for 2 reasons. I will summarise these 2 events now and then publish 2 separate posts expanding on these summaries.

Tomorrow is my father’s 80th birthday. What should be a day of celebration is shrouded in misery and depression, which is exactly what my father, who has depression but denies having it (even though he is on anti-depressants), or that all these “made-up” mental health conditions actually exist, wants it to be.

I have been at my wits end trying to cheer him up over the last few days, weeks, months, years in fact. Nothing makes him happy. No matter what you do for him it is never enough, and he always finds a fault in it and with you. If I buy him a Strawberry trifle he will let me know that Raspberry is his favourite. If I buy him an Apricot Torte he will mention how he only likes Apricot Tortes form a certain patisserie. I offered to take him for a birthday lunch at his favourite café, but he told me he no longer eats lunch (which is not strictly true) and he doesn’t want me to take him out until I have a job (which is his way of guilt tripping me into going out there and getting a high flying well paid job I am actually too mentally ill to be able to hold down).

He has been bullying me and putting me down my whole life. That is at the core of my low self-esteem, which is one of the drivers of my depression and anxiety disorders. He is like the mother in Woody Allen’s most serious film, “Interiors” or like Livia, the mother from The Sopranos. He has constructed this idea that he is a victim and everything and everyone is out to make his life miserable. He has to discount and push away any evidence that counteracts this constructed idea. I completely sympathise with him as a person suffering from depression, but instead of admitting that and trying to work through it, he denies it exists as a condition, denies he has it, and focuses the blame on me and other people around him for his misfortunes in life. He mocks my own attempts to seek therapy for my depression and pushes back any attempts I make to be compassionate towards him.

The question is not about what to do with him. The question is about what to do with me? Why should I be responsible for making him happy and saving his soul from the darkness of destructive depression? I love him and have enormous compassion for him.  Yet for all I do for him he just bullies and mocks me and is a destructive influence on me. I think I need to stop now and elaborate further in the main post about this. So look out for my post about my father, me and his 80th Birthday non-celebration.

The second important thing happening tomorrow is my assessment session for counselling talk therapy. I have had various forms of talk therapy over the last 10 years. Not continuously, but for different periods of time, with big gaps in between. The last therapy I was in lasted for 3 years. I really connected with my last therapist and we built a really positive and insightful relationship during 3 years of weekly sessions.

It was prematurely cut short, just when I was really exposed and opened up emotionally, when she got pregnant and had to end her practice. I felt like a patient in hospital being left cut open on the operating table, mid-operation. That was in April 2013. The last 11 months have not been easy. I realised I needed to continue therapy, for the sake of my own emotional well-being, my marriage and career prospects. My social anxiety has only gotten worse. I only feel safe and comfortable locked up in bed, the toilet or at him, alone, watching TV, or in my study. When the telephone rings I get nervous. Having to deal with other people makes me anxious. I assume everyone hates me and is out to get me. That I always fail other people, let them down, and they will punish me for it. I am also really struggling with containing all my negative thoughts and finding the focus and motivation I desperately need in order to finish my courses and get a new job.

I am very apprehensive about starting therapy with a new counsellor. I really believe in psychological therapy and think it’s far harder than anyone realises. I will elaborate further my thoughts on talk therapy and my own experiences in another post. So look out for that!

Enough! I have already gone past my limit of a one page word document blog post! I need an editor.