Depression & Anger: The Dastardly Duo's Latest Adventures

Things to say before I crack into this - YES, this feels extremely, "Oh look at me, aren't I all special" and, this might come as a surprise to those not used to sharing emotions ... looking at you Kiwi blokes. My responses to both are, "Fuck it, it's my blog" and, "Deal with it ya uptight buggers" - both responses apply to both things.

Back in mid-March I was away at Castlepoint with, oooh, around 10 families on a weekend of whanau friendly fun. The weekend was a lot of things to a lot of people - mostly fun, sliding and amazing company (especially the kids). To me it was a dark, turbulent, and poisonous place. (for those that recognise those words, yes, this is the most of the apology email I sent out ... I still treasure the replies)

For years I have struggled with anger (I'm sure that comes as no surprise) and whatever triggered my inner rage on that particular weekend led me to be particularly nasty to people that had no cause for me to be.

To those people, and everyone else, I have already offered my heartfelt apologies and particularly to those sitting in front of me as the alcohol coursed through me. Alcohol eh, gin in this case, a catalyst that is not the cause of the rage but opened the doors. I no longer drink spirits, beer it transpires isn't that clever for me and so a glass of red wine now and again is my happy lot.

I've also embarked on a  journey of drugs (Fluoxetine, which has a trade name you'll probably have heard of, Prozac), and therapy to face the feelings, the causes and to change.

Where am I at nine weeks later after Castlegate?

For two weeks, I was a mess ... crying, so far out I was floating past the Sun and just a total mess. I finally took to my bed for 3 days and allowed myself to just be. I stopped, I didn't attempt to be the old me, the working me, the father me - I just stopped and let it all settle inside. Those 3 days saved my sanity.

After that, the drugs have kicked in took about 3 weeks for anything to noticeably happen, but then they did. They have balanced me, they have centred my emotions and reactions and they have allowed me to steer a ship through calmer waters. Those that have been with me for a coffee and chat have commented that I am much more still, slower, and have a peace about me that was previously missing.

What the drugs haven't done is in any way is remove the underlying anger, the reason for the depression (although some would argue this is a chemical thing and it's exactly what the drug is doing) or the feelings of "I'm going to be found out" - imposter syndrome that is hidden away.

With the drugs, the no drinking I present to you my third (out of four) foundation that I am now using to ensure I have a kick ass future. Every week I pop along to see Gordon who, for the first time in many attempts at therapy, is someone that I have felt I delivers the experience I need ... and the timing is perfect. My challenge is to keep going and not, as I have done so many times before, stop after 4 or 5 sessions with a jaunty, "All done, all fixed now" as I start getting to the nutty hard stuff.

So far, so good - keep me honest and ask me about it.

Because Castlegate can never be an option again.
There are people way too special and close for me to do that.

Never again!

It's been tough. Actually, I was explaining it to a friend yesterday morning: "It's like I have left a country that I am used to and have, or am, flying to a completely new place. Not like leaving the UK to come to New Zealand which has so much the same it's not really that hard. More like flying from New Zealand to Japan. I am in a place that even the basics are foreign to me and I am having to re-learn so much"

"I was explaining to a friend" - and that's the fourth foundation, the people around me. When it all went POP! I reached out to old mates, close mates, the special few that I love so so dearly and those that have experienced something similar. Some people fall into one camp, some fall into all (you know who you are).

Those that have travelled to a new land, those that have been to Japan and can show me a little of the landscape, the culture, the "how it's like to be here" have been especially wonderful. They say, "we" and "us" a lot, they get it and they are, when they can, so willing to reach out and lend a hand with, "Well, this is what I wished I'd been told when I got here", and then pass on a few hints and tips.

Never alone, xx

There is so much more I'd like to write about but for now, that'll do, enjoy donuts and bananas and mostly be loving, caring and peaceful* ...

Some of those hints and tips:

My favourite quote from seeing stuff (or "research") on the web - The Prime of Our Lives is NOT About Finding All the Answers — Brene Brown on Living in the Questions:
I think midlife is when the universe gently places her hands upon your shoulders, pulls you close, and whispers in your ear:
I’m not screwing around. It’s time. All of this pretending and performing – these coping mechanisms that you’ve developed to protect yourself from feeling inadequate and getting hurt – has to go.

Your armor is preventing you from growing into your gifts. I understand that you needed these protections when you were small. I understand that you believed your armor could help you secure all of the things you needed to feel worthy of love and belonging, but you’re still searching and you’re more lost than ever.

Time is growing short. There are unexplored adventures ahead of you. You can’t live the rest of your life worried about what other people think. You were born worthy of love and belonging. Courage and daring are coursing through you. You were made to live and love with your whole heart. It’s time to show up and be seen.

After the night, there is always one more dawn ...

And finally, HAVE A LAUGH!

* bloody born again hippie!


  1. I don't know what ails you Mike but this was enlightening for me:

    I got the book from Amazon, but here's a precis:

    1. +1 for Learned Optimism. I read it over 10 years ago, at a time I needed to get myself out of a hole that others had dug for me. It helped tremendously. @Mike Kudos for your blunt honesty. Give yourself time!

    2. Thanks Surpher for the recommendation, added to the list.

      And marielle, big hug, thanks, time is a very good healer and I'm trying (not always succeeding) to give myself as much as possible

  2. Good on you Mike, glad you have a good therapist & that you are doing so well with it all eh. I remember you as someone who's given heaps to the community, so great that you're having some time & focus for yourself :-)))

    1. Thanks Rebecca, I like giving (it's a source of energy for me) but for now I have to just chill for a bit ... hope you're well.

  3. Love you Mike. Thanks for sharing yourself and what you are dealing with, in Japan ;) You are braver and stronger than you may know x

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. Hi Mike, my name is Scott Lancaster, would love to chat with you. I think we have a few things in common, this sounds like me!
    Regards Scott

  6. Hey Mike, sorry to hear you have been going through a rough time. From reading your blog, it sounds like you might be seeing a light at the end of the tunnel...which at times may seem brighter than at other times. Keep moving forward, stop when you feel you need to, and be gentle with yourself. You have family who love you, and friends who care about you. Thank you for sharing your story. xx

    1. Thanks Dawn, absolutely perfect advice - although I think I'm just entering the "tunnel" (or
      "dark forest" as I'm currently calling it), exciting times ahead :)

      Happy to share, after a time, and will continue to do so despite bad advice to the contrary - 99.9% people see why I do :)

  7. Cheers Nick, it's good to know people that are loving the new land - I am enjoying it but still find it a little strange, scary and "foreign" - talk next time you're in Wellington :)


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