Awake Again – Naturally

Here I am again – at the “typewriter” jotting down some words in order to stop the brain from going off doing its own thing. I awoke just after three this morning and did that nature thing that old people need to do in the middle of the night – then had a drink to replenish the fluids. As I was still so tired after the last week with little sleep I thought I would ‘tough it out’ and go back to sleep after a little thinking.

Alas, it wasn’t to be… an hour later I was still lying there with so much going through my head. The mind was racing again and, despite the tiredness, it was time to get up and write again – I can go to sleep later if need be.

So what has been on my mind this early morning? Many, many things it seems, I shall try to organise them into an understandable structure. This will be a little different than previous posts as these will be my inner thoughts not experiences.

Personal Help For Others
Over the past week or so, some of you guys have been contacting me directly for advice on how I handle particular things regarding the conditions I have. I find this most flattering that people actually want my advice and I am happy to respond and build that link between us – but it is important to remember that I am not a trained mental health professional. I have done a few courses recently and I did major in educational psychology at university many years ago but I am far from being an expert. I am just a guy who is living an experience and sharing it with you in an attempt to purge my brain but also let you know you are not alone in the world with your thoughts and suffering. I also hope you can look at what I have done to help myself and maybe use some of that to help yourself.

Commercial Versus Charity
The age old question of money or love – while artists can suffer for their art, should condition carriers suffer for their suffering? I love helping people, I love educating people, I love entertaining people and I have done this the majority of my life – Yes, I have digressed a few times into information technology or corporate sales but even these were disguised attempts to help people by either restructuring how technical support is provided or allowing them to buy a way to improve how they do business.

However, the majority of my helping, educating and entertaining exercises do not make me money so I need to approach life in a more commercial manner while still being helpful – I need to provide the help and ‘voice’ my experiences but we all need money to survive and, at the moment, I am not earning anything – even the live shows are costing me money to do.

So many options arise to capitalise on this venture but i fear alienating the very people i want to help by doing so. I understand that by doing the occasional free show for schools or other cash strapped agencies is important, I have to start to toughen up and not fall into the trap of, “Oh by doing my free show it will give you good exposure” . The fact is, it generally wont – exposure and awareness comes from the mass media.

Desire to Entertain while Educating
There are so many people out there talking about all sorts of stuff who are as boring as batshit. They have interesting stories and experiences to share, or they have a lot of technical information to explain and they are experts in their fields – but they are boring on how they deliver the content. Powerpoint slide after Powerpoint slide, fact after fact, droning on and on – and they get paid good money for doing it.

I need to be careful not to fall into the trap of becoming a droner, the shows need to be kept upbeat, honest and entertaining. Telling the true story, warts and all. I feel there is an opportunity for three different types of show, with varying levels of entertainment factor. I shall work on these over the coming weeks.

Restructure the Talks
I believe that information distribution needs to be entertaining as well as informative – people will remain attentive up to the limits of their attention span then their minds will drift away. So many presentations I have been to by professional conference organisers just don’t seem to understand the basics of human attention span – in order to make sure my talks don’t fall into the same trap I need to restructure them to be tighter and shorter. The first two shows have been a touch too long in both parts. And, incidentally, that is why there is a break in the show – to allow a reset of attention span.

Ruby Wax
The comedian Ruby Wax has been brought to my attention. She has been doing live shows around mental health for a few years now – I caught some of her stuff yesterday on Youtube and was surprised how similar her stories are to mine. But of course, my stories are also similar to yours because the conditions we have affect us all in much the same way. But it was nice to see the confirmation that I am not just making all this stuff up.

If anyone has any connection with Ms Wax, I would love to get to chat to her about what we do.

Getting the Word Out
While it has been a lovely Christmas period for me – busy, then restful, then busy again – the shut down of most businesses for nearly a month has really stalled the momentum of getting the word out about the Captain Krankypants talks. With that stall in momentum comes a fall in enthusiasm – that’s another symptom of one of my conditions. If I can’t see progress and improvement then things are failing. So I need to ask you all to please share these blogs with anyone you think might benefit from them – spread the word, spread the love and spread the desire to help.

Time for a Cuppa
Well that was some of the thoughts from the “Middle of the night thinking session” but just remember, if it all starts to get you down, the pressure is building and the thoughts are racing, get up and move to a different room, or location and take the time to have a cup of tea or coffee and recover your mind. And that is just what I am going to do now…

Rage Against Moronity

A number of times in the past few weeks I have experienced events of such stupidity they have got me to a state where, in the past, I would have got extremely angry and voiced my opinion loudly without any consideration of the consequences. This never bothered me before because it was my way of blowing off some steam having spent so much energy during the day hiding the turmoil going on in my head and showing the world a happy and confident facade.

The anger outbursts were like the valve on a pressure cooker – the feelings inside would continue to build and build and if they weren’t released, well, who knows what might have happened. I have noticed more recently that this ‘pressure release’ is a common event amongst military trained people. While it is never discussed, it just becomes an event that everyone accepts as a normal way of life – “Hey, Davo just cracked the shits but he’ll be okay in a bit” would be a common expression – then everyone would just go on with their work.

Military guys, have the outburst – everyone sees it, ‘Davo’ releases the valve, everyone knows there is nothing personal in it, or if there is then you work it out together in a gentlemanly manner that, in some cases, may have involved an exchange of punches. But… once finished, it is over and done with and things get back to normal – no hard feelings and no grudges.

I have realised, since being diagnosed with my conditions that ‘normal’ people don’t do this and mostly don’t know how to handle situations where people do it. So when a person has an emotional outburst to release the pressure, ‘normal’ people see it as a personal attack and get upset by it. They feel as if the person is angry with them and with what they have done rather than this being the final bit of heat adding to the inner pressure causing the release valve to trigger.

So, what do we do about it? I have two ways of handing these situations now – and they have been tested to their limits over the past month or so…

Run Away!!!! (Probably more professionally know as Avoidance.) When I feel myself getting frustrated at behaviours or attitudes of other I know it will eventually result in an outburst that will upset those around me and possibly cause damage to any ongoing relationship. The best thing I can now do in these situations is to move away from the cause of the frustration and allow the event to go on without me nearby – I accept that people will do or say what they think is best and me getting angry about it wont change their mind. So I get away from it, get alone, out of sight out of mind, calm down and maybe do something I prefer to do while the situations dissolves.

Batten Down The Hatches!!!! (Probably more professionally known as Withdrawal). In some cases it is not possible to get away and avoid the catalyst so you have to get away internally. By this I mean to close down your emotions, try to ignore the stupidity going on around you and just ride the flow through until it is over. The situation that has allowed me to develop this approach is going through airport security. So many times they seem to do things without reason, or they do it differently, or something is picked up that has been okay in the past – many things vary. So much so that you get frustrated with the lack of consistency and perceived stupidity. However, you know that by just saying one word you could find yourself out the back with a large fellow and a rubber glove… so I just shut down and am like cattle to the slaughter – nothing you can do about it so just let it flow and get out at the other end.

So when I am with people and there is a situation occurring where I find myself getting angry or annoyed, I no longer disagree or voice my contrary opinion, I just shut up and stop participating in the discussion. I know by continuing on I will just get angrier and angrier until I explode and that will cause damage to friendships with others who are in the vicinity and friends of myself and the other person/people in the discussion. Don’t get me wrong though, I am happy for people to have contrary opinions to mine and I am happy to debate and discuss those opinions but they need to be supported by valid facts or logic – in some cases I will even accept that my opinion could be wrong if proof is provided.

The sad thing with both of these techniques though is that you risk being seen as sulking because you don’t get your own way but, in fact, this is just the opposite. You know what your limits are and you know what the outcome will be by continuing so you are taking a positive step to avoid hurting those around you and damaging friendships that you hold so dearly. Better to damage how you are perceived rather than those around you.

Another problematic situation is when you are told by your counsellors that it is time you stopped worrying about others and started worrying about yourself – doing what you want to do and enjoying your life rather than helping others to enjoy theirs. When you have spent a lifetime focussing on others this is a very, very difficult thing to do and, sadly, when you do it you tend to upset other people or be seen as hard and uncaring – but this can be the subject of a future post…

Nicked from

Long Distance Driving Therapy

Well it wont be for everyone I can tell you that immediately but this morning I had one of those awesome moments – you know the ones… when you don’t feel depressed, you don’t worry what is going on around you and you feel in control of your immediate destiny.

At 06:00 I left my hotel room on the far south coast of New South Wales (Australia) and drove off into a constant misty rain, heading south into Victoria. Immediately on leaving the town where I stayed the road was forest on both sides, still with the misty rain. The radio station I had been listening to dropped out of range so I turned on my iTunes Favourites playlist and left the cruise control off – I felt like driving a car again, not just aiming it. Also that early on a Saturday there was no other traffic on the road and I was at peace.

For overseas readers, in Australia towns in the country are so far apart that if you leave at a certain time you, generally, wont come across any traffic coming from the other direction until at the soonest half way to the next town (in this morning’s case over 100 km away) – Australian drivers tend to avoid driving in bush or forested areas during darkness due to kamikaze kangaroos and wombats. Also any cars going in the same direction as you are all on the speed limit in front or behind you – so driving is peaceful and able to be enjoyed.

And so the experience began, thoughts came and went as I negotiated the straighter parts of the road; concentration was needed on the winding bends and hills but thoughts returned on the straights. But not random thoughts – thoughts of events over the past ten years and even before… it was as if they were putting their hands up and saying, “Give me some attention and I will go away”. Each was processed and then filed away. Then possible futures came up for consideration: talking shows, music shows, books, media interviews, what team do I need to support the #krankyontour, how many shows in Australia, how many in the UK, what about Canada, the US????

And then a song would come on the playlist and it would grab my attention, then I would listen to the lyrics and see that it would be a good fit into the next iteration of the #krankyontour show… the Captain Krankypants Entertainment Extravaganza… and boy does that look fantastic on the planning pad. I cant wait to do more of the current shows so we can refine the most important content into the new experience. More to come on that in the future.

But anyway, as I drove and pondered past and future I realised how at ease and how happy I was – as we know, you don’t have to be alone to feel lonely and I proved to myself this morning, you don’t have to be lonely just because you are alone. Sometimes it is good to be by yourself and away from familiar surroundings to allow your brain to freshen up a bit and do different things.

And so it went on for an hour then I stopped for breakfast before heading off again and another two hours of “Vehicular Meditation”. Then of course, reality returned and traffic began to build, the mist and rain cleared and the normal stresses of driving returned but it was a wonderful few hours alone in my thoughts.

And so as not to ruin a rather positive post I wont discuss the customer service failures of a certain multinational Scottish sounding fast food franchise who have, I am afraid, finally lost me as a customer… if you want to know that story, private message me on Facebook .

Onwards on outwards everyone…

Recovery or Stubbornness?

Only a short post today but I would like to consider what recovery from mental illness, specifically PTSD and depression, is. Once again I want to remind you that I am not a mental health professional nor doctor of any description so I stand by to be corrected by those much more educated and learned in these matters.

Everyone talks about the ‘road to recovery’ and ‘when I have recovered’ but I have never heard anyone say they have actually recovered form the conditions. I know I am on the road to recovery and I feel a lot better than I did all those months ago but I know I still battle the demons inside – true, not as much as I used to but I sense the buggers are still in there waiting for a trigger…

Do they ever really go away, or do we just keep them managed and under control?

Both of my therapists and my GP tell me they haven’t before seen someone turn around from massive depression so quickly – I have never considered myself special so I wonder why this could be. But I have always been a stubborn person, always forced myself to stretch the boundaries and when I decide to do something, that’s it, I am going to do it… 30 odd years ago I decided to stop smoking; I stopped cold turkey, no patches, no chewing gum, no acupuncture, no slowly reducing the intake… just stopped. Yes it was the hardest thing I ever did in my life – every moment craving for a smoke, unable to think of anything else, but my stubbornness saw me through and I haven’t touched one since 1987. In 2012 my weight got close to 100kg (15 stone 10lb) and when I saw myself in the mirror I didn’t like what was there so I decided to lose weight. Within 6 months I was down to 74kg (11 stone 9lb). Yes it was with the help of a diet and exercise but I have remained between 77kg and 82kg for six years now. Once again, it was because I set my mind to do it and then made it happen.

Maybe my rapid ‘move towards recovery’ has only been because of my stubbornness, or maybe it is just I am so good at masking the conditions after ten years that I am even convincing myself I am okay…

Well I suppose it confirms one of my key beliefs that PTSD, anxiety and depression are just a state of mind and if you can control your mind you can control the symptoms… most of the time…

Stolen from the web, thanks to Anonymous person.

Stress Of Western Life

Here we are, another Christmas/New Year period over with and what will be the start of a new working year for many today. A return to normality and the routine of the western world existence – “working 9 to 5, what a way to earn a livin'”. Gosh there is another change in my attitude and behaviours – I’m quoting Dolly Parton. In fact for the first time in my life I have looked through the lyrics of the song and see that it is one of those songs that sounds bright and chirpy but has such depressing lyrics.

Sadly it is the way of corporate life where it is all about the company, profits and shareholders – many times at the expense of staff welfare. In my final years as a paid employee I worked for a multinational corporation that did hold its staff in high esteem, it had a clear focus on where it stood in the market and employed staff who became a part of the company fabric – and it was like a family. Everyone knew everyone else in the business and the focus was on providing quality customer services – as a result the company was well respected by the customer base.

But, over a relatively short period of time the company started an expansion programme that took it away from it’s core business and looked to move into higher volume and higher profit areas – it started to focus on revenue and profit rather than delivery of quality services in its traditional niche market. In order to do this a new management team was employed – people taken out of other corporations and hired at high salaries to give the company a new direction – one at odds to the traditional values of the company and the focus and attitudes of the longer term staff in the company.

So suddenly the company (family) was no longer what it was; new people were brought in, focus was changed, new skills were required, personal attachment of staff to the company was destroyed and people just ‘started coming to work 9 to 5’ rather than living for the company and its values.

Sadly, this focus on profit and pleasing shareholders is the major focus in many western cultures now and staff tend to spend most of their time stressing about meeting budgets and hoping their jobs are safe. This stress then leads onto depression in many cases. This then causes problems at home and before you know it the spiral down into the pit of despair begins.

Workin’ 9 to 5, what a way to make a livin’
Barely gettin’ by, it’s all takin’ and no givin’
They just use your mind and they never give you credit
It’s enough to drive you crazy if you let it

So anyway – what am I getting to with this post? While PTSD is one of my key focusses in this blog, we really musn’t forget that depression and anxiety are suffered by more than just military and para-military personnel. Office workers, bureaucrats, small business owners, models, entertainers and many others also experience them, even school kids – in fact there is so much stress in today’s society that it really is amazing that anything gets done.

And then there is relationship stress, another significant issue in society today but the subject of a future post I think as that involves not just personal pressure but also pressure caused by western society’s adherence to traditional christian values.

A bit of a different post this time but I am trying to show here how my thoughts are working and trying to see from where the issues are stemming nowadays so that I can better focus the Captain Krankypants talks for different audiences. Have a great day everyone and I will be back in a day or two…

Image result for dolly parton 9 to 5

Random Thoughts

Awake again at 2:30am – not because of an active brain but active legs. For some reason my legs tonight cannot get comfortable, no matter what position I lie in they want to move to another position. My head is tired and wants to sleep – a good thing because it is usually the head activity that keeps me awake, so to have a physical issue affecting my sleep is a new experience. I took a couple of prescribed Valium before going to sleep earlier so goodness knows what quality this post will be as my brain is mush, the body (including the typing fingers) is lethargic but sleep eludes me.

But as I recommend, if you can’t sleep, get up do something to keep the mind active, have a cup of tea and then try for sleep later.

With no real theme this evening/morning I guess this post will just be an amalgam of random thoughts as they come to mind. But, if the blog is to be an accurate representation of what is going on in my lie as I move along the road to recovery, then even things like this have to be recorded – after all it might be linked.

I do have a bit of a blocked nose as I sit here so just used a few sprays of Vicks Sinex nasal spray just to clear the head a little but it smells a bit odd – I’m not sure if this is due to my head being in a strange place of or due to the use by date on the bottle being July 2013. Might be time to buy a new bottle I think.

It has been an interesting few weeks… oh look, there’s something bright and shiny to look at… my brain is finding it very difficult to focus tonight and many things are taking my attention away from the task at hand. But the last few weeks have been interesting – Christmas has come and gone, a lovely time with a traditional Australian Christmas after a big build up to Christmas in England and experiencing the cold and the traditions that so enveloped Christmas memories as a child. Then there was seeing many of the rock bands I always wanted to see from the 70’s, the new experience for me of going out to a pub with loud music on New Years Eve and the rekindling of friendships from the past and catching up with new friends.

The next experience for me is to finally get to use my membership to the Melbourne Cricket Club. 27 years I was on the waiting list to join this club and I have only used it once to see a game of Australian Football about four years ago with my daughter… I have wanted to get to Melbourne a few times over the past few years to use the membership but have never got there – with my new attitude of doing things I like to do, I will make the 10 hour trek down there in a week and finally go and see cricket being played at the MCG from the members’ stand.

While down there it might be nice to reconnect with some friends from the past but I have lost track of who is actually down in Melbourne now – if you are reading this, old friends, drop me a Facebook message and let’s ‘do coffee’ in town. I do like Melbourne, it is one of my favourite cities.

While mentioning Facebook, as some of you would now from my previous life, I used to be an avid poster of my opinions on all things onto Facebook – controversial comments designed to elicit a response and encouraging discussion. Many of these posts were complaining about how society was going or political views or, even just on stupidity that seems to be running rampant in the world today. I have received comments from friends recently that they miss these posts as they were generally stimulating – humorous, controversial, observant but never really offensive to anyone of mature sensibility… well,, sensible as far as I was concerned. Many of these posts added to the persona of the old Captain Krankypants and where the impetus for the initial development of this website as one for whinging and bitching about things in life and society – no longer something I do because I no longer watch, read or listen to the news.

I am, however, starting to respond to other people’s posts a little more than I have over the past six months – purely out of a sense of fun and naughtiness – I am trying not to offend anyone’s sensitivities but occasionally might stretch the boundaries a little. I find it interesting that I am again doing this, I think it shows another step forward to getting back to normality but I must be careful not to start to fall back into the trap of constant negativity. A positive mind begats a positive life – see that there???? A biblical term – must be the Christmas spirit still in me, or it might be that yesterday’s Aldi catalogue had a double page spread on how to eat your Hot Cross Buns at Easter.

So, as we move out of this twilight zone of Christmas and New Year, days will once again have some meaning. We will actually know what day it is – this seems to be the first year that days have had no relevance over the period – to me it was just dates, the actual day meant nothing. But now we will get back to the working week and the weekend (not that the self employed, unemployed, chronically injured or retired ever really experience this) with some firmer structure to our existence.

At least next week it will once again be possible to contact people to discuss opportunities for talks on this journey we are going though.

Weird and Wonderful Things

Well here I am, practicing what I preach. Went to bed around 10:30pm last night and woke up at 1:10 after a few hours of uncomfortable and disjointed sleep. I then lay there for 15 minutes trying to get back to sleep but found my mind racing and wanting to go off and do its own thing. So now I find myself sitting at my computer in my underpants writing a blog…

“Why in your underpants?”, I hear you ask. Well it seems that when I went to bed I took off my dressing gown (robe) and laid it over my feet area . When I got into bed and drifted off to sleep, it appears Mr Bigglesworth (the cat) had decided that the dressing gown was the most comfortable thing on the bed and wanted to lay on it. Despite the “hard bastard” exterior that brought about the name “Captain Krankypants, I am a softie inside and couldn’t bear to disturb the sleeping Mr Bigglesworth. So cup of tea and blogging in my undies it is… there will be no photographs and the video intro will be recorded later.

It has been an interesting couple of days – in the post Christmas/New Year ‘time-free zone’ (What day is it? What time is it? Are there Easter eggs out yet?) I have found myself eating so much rubbish food I am feeling decidedly unwell – chocolate, sweets, shortbread biscuits, chocolate coated almonds, chocolate coated peanuts, ‘tucky duck (KFC) and associated high sugar soft drinks. For someone who gave up eating high sugar and processed food so many years ago, this has been a terrible affront to my body. I was surprised to see when I jumped on the scales yesterday morning that I had only put on an extra half a kilo (1lb and a bit).

I shall be getting back to ‘real food’ again now because I found that my mood has been deteriorating and yesterday morning I started to slip back down towards depression. I decided not to blog while I was in the negative place but instead to take my own advice again and get out and do something I liked; to try to turn the mood around. So I packed up my book, a bottle of water and a towel and went down to the beach for some quiet time reading and enjoying the scenery.

There was not much scenery to be enjoyed because the beach was not as it normally was – usually I am there with half a dozen other people at most and it ends up being windy from the onshore wind. Due to it being holidays there were hundreds of people but that wasn’t the issue… the beach I go to is so big that a short walk either north or south quickly finds solitude… the issue was that there was so much sea spray coming of the ocean that visibility was down to about 50 metres. As I walked along the beach it was like walking into a horror movie (was it The Fog?) and before I knew it I was out of sight of any other person there… there may have been people around but I couldn’t see them… it was actually very enjoyable to ‘lose’ myself in the mist.

So I found a spot on the side of the dunes and started reading, occasionally stopping to look up and check if I could see the water yet, or to see if any other daring souls had decided to venture into the mist… it was about 45 minutes before the mist started to clear and the crowds up the beach could be seen. It was so eerily peaceful, even with the sound of the waves, that my drop into depression ceased and I started to feel a little positive again.

Today I am reconnecting with some friends from the past – another of my own suggestions from previous blog posts. One of the entertainers I took to the Middle East in 2008 I found out lives fairly close to me so we are doing coffee at 10:30 – I am hoping I can get some sleep before I have to go…

Another thing that happened recently was New Year’s Eve. Normally my NYE is spent at home in front of the tele watching some dreadful lead up show to the midnight fireworks. I didn’t like to go out anywhere because that meant having to deal with crowds and lots of noise. This time though, I found myself out at the local pub to have dinner and then a few drinks (non-alcoholic of course) before going home because there was going to be a band and it was going to be loud and crowded. A nightmare for me…

But I decided to hang around and, purely for research purposes, see how I would react in such a daunting environment. I was surprised – the room where the band was playing was pretty full when we got there after dinner but we found a table in the middle somewhere – a disaster, couldn’t get a back to the wall, couldn’t clearly see all the entrances but I knew there was one out to the smoking room behind me and a main entrance up to my left… the other entrance was across the dance floor and about four rows of tables full of people away.

As I walked past the band gear set up at one end of the room, I cast an eye over the set up – very neat, good banner, nice merchandise set up and decent equipment. “This might not be too bad” I thought and decided to stay and see what the band was like… and they were very good. If you like your pub rock with a bit of a Southern Rock feel about it then go and see “Dirty Byrd” (Google: Dirty Byrd band Nowra) – a few sad moments though when they did some songs that were made famous by a friend of mine who we did a show with on NYE in Katoomba (Australia) about six years ago – but everything else was great and I ended up staying until after midnight. Now for those of you who have been close to me over the past ten years will know that this is unheard of – Trace Dann at a pub full of people with loud music and deciding to stay rather then sneak away. Granted I did not really move from my seat all night but I stayed, I spoke to people I hadn’t met before and rather enjoyed the experience… I actually surprised myself. Another step forward I think.

Now I think it is time to go to sleep – sitting here in the glow of just my computer screen, in just my underpants might seem a bit weird if any of the neighbours can see me through the window… oh yes, and I just felt a rather large spider crawl over my foot in the darkness under my desk.

The camera doesn’t do the spookiness any justice.
People who know me well, will know just how odd it is that I stayed here.

’twas the Day Before Christmas

Well here I sit, back in Australia, the day before Christmas. A Christmas different to most others – this one will see me in a new situation where the anger, frustration and stresses of previous years and hiding my condition no longer exist. Yes, the condition is still there being managed but no longer under the surface. I can get out and be myself and enjoy the time with family.

The last few weeks in England has also given me greater perspective on what Christmas is all about – not anything religious (although that is the historical reason for it) but about community, family and a positive atmosphere (emotion). It’s about a state of mind where other pressures and stresses can be forgotten and we can all enjoy a little down time. What really brought this home to me was hearing the carols and pop songs played everywhere when in the UK, seeing the trees lit up, houses with lights and people smiling and dashing about in the cold and the rain. But most of all – what really showed me how much fun Christmas is, was going through security at Heathrow airport and seeing one of the bearded security guys wearing a Santa suit.

This was joy enough but as a got closer I noticed that under the hood of the suit the guy was wearing a turban. As far as I am concerned this chap has been the greatest influence on me of how there is hope for our society as long as diversity and inclusion go both ways. He will never know the effect he has had on me but I thank him so much for what he did.

I also stop and think a little nowadays about the people who wont enjoy their Christmas because of their personal circumstances or as a result of some trauma they have experienced around this time. All I can say to those people is to remember that depression, anxiety and PTSD are a state of mind – while it is natural to mourn of be wary after a trauma it is important to sometimes refocus your mind and enjoy things for what they are.

Those of you who have been to one of my talks will remember the example I gave about flashbacks, this also applies to memories of bad events, no matter how much you think about them, you cannot change the past- The past is stuck there forever unchangeable but you can affect your future and how you relate to the past. It comes down to how you take control of your brain and make it do what you consciously want it to do rather than what it subconsciously wants to do.

Take the time to mourn or remember the event – allocate a time to do that – then file it away as best you can, get on with the tasks of the day and enjoy your down time.

Merry Christmas to you all.

Wizzard to Oz

2:20 am with a cup of tea and I reflect on recent events. So much has happened in such a short period of time. I have now completed all the work I had planned for this tour of the UK and am resting before going to the last concert on my wish list tonight – Roy Wood (See My Baby Jive). I am trying so hard not to expect to be disappointed but it is difficult when you have looked forward to something so much and remember past disappointments.

This tour has been sensational – so much more than I expected. I have made some new friends and reconnected with some old ones – there is so much interest in my story and there are so many opportunities popping up for talks next year – it’s just a matter of finding the right times and dates and scheduling them in.

It is so rewarding to hear how this blog and my talks are helping people understand things a little better. I am particularly getting thanks from partners of sufferers who now say they understand better what their loved one is going through and recognise the character traits when I mention them.

The second live show of the tour, in Newark, was to a full house again, made up of a few ex-military but mainly other interested parties, partners and civilian sufferers. A diverse group that is making me reconsider the structure of the show for the future – a little less time spent on the reasons for, and symptoms of, PTSD, Anxiety and Depression with a greater emphasis on how I handled the symptoms myself. The sustenance required to help the sufferers – it’s a fine balance and each group will be different.

I have now had informal advice from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs that they will be accepting liability for my conditions and that they see the Captain Krankypants project as a great thing to do as a part of my rehabilitation program. Yes I still have a long way to go on the road to recovery – the road that you guys are on with me – but I find it so rewarding to be getting out and about and raising awareness and understanding of the subject not just to fellow sufferers but also to the general public.

There has also been so many offers of assistance and support from people who have come to the shows, also the flood of new information, reports, statistics, treatments, etc from experts. I need to go through all this in the coming weeks and work out what fits into the show and what could be the basis for a second series of shows. I have to keep reminding myself that the focus of the talks is to reflect the content of these blog posts, that is, to tell my story in an effort to let others see what they are going through is not unique or, it is what they can expect to experience as they progress towards recovery. It will be a fine balance…

I need to take time to thank everyone who has helped me get this tour organised. Again I will not name them individually for fear of forgetting someone, or thanking someone for the wrong thing. But I believe I have chatted to all of them individually now and they know how thankful I am for all their support – one day soon I will look to set up a web page that identifies each of these people and gives them the public recognition they deserve.

So today is a day for packing the bags, tidying the notes, grabbing a little bit of Christmas shopping, enjoying the festival feeling and tonight rocking out to songs from The Move, Wizzard and Roy Wood then on the plane tomorrow back to Australia. It is such an lovely experience being in England in the lead up to Christmas – cold, cheery, carols in cafes, Christmas pop songs in the stores. Yes… I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday.

Strength Returns

After two days of being down and hanging over the pit of despair, I have found the strength to lift myself once more from its darkness. Being busy once again did the job – the need to focus on a goal in order to make the brain do what I want it to do. Rather than sit around, I got out and about with making sure I had everything needed for Tuesday’s show in Newark, I had a meeting with a social media guru, had lunch with some good friends, picked up some essential equipment for the show, went to a club on Saturday night and met some lovely people, did a 40 minute radio appearance on Newark Radio and then went to another club to see a new band “Cliff and the Shadz”.

A very busy two days – no alcohol and no drugs (apart from the prescribed ones) and I broke the cycle; the spiral down to depression that I used to experience stopped and I was able to lift myself back up and out. I now know there will be good days and bad days but, unlike in the past, the good days now outweigh the bad significantly.

I have also found that while keeping busy and aiming for a goal helps, it is necessary to manage the effort applied and ensure I don’t get too intense in the chasing of the goal. By getting too intense, the stress levels rise and everything starts to become a chore rather than a step to the desired solution. I end up getting frustrated and angry and then the threat of falling into depression increases. So a relatively slow and controlled approach is needed to ensure a steady forward momentum rather than charging ‘up the guts with all guns blazing”.

A long discussion with another friend about the need to fix things all the time also helped me realise another trait I had.  Whenever someone comes to me with a problem it is my immediate desire to fix the problem – I could never just be a sounding board and listen to someone vent their frustration – I need to fix the problem. Sometimes that ‘fixing’ was to just throw everything out that was part of the problem and start again, other times it was to physically do something to make things better. It’s my nature I am afraid and very difficult to get away from. I shall now have to try to work on that.

So what was this challenging and demanding goal I set for the weekend to get away from the pit of despair? It had to be measurable, achievable, timely, realistic and specific – it was “Re-engage with at least two old friends and meet some new people”.

Two old friends were met with that included lunch with one and a relatively quiet drink with another. And two new people were met – one of whom was a breast cancer survivor – my problems really aren’t that bad when put in perspective of what others have been through…

Onwards and upwards…