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Musings of the Welsh Wizzard

What happens when dilution of the hobby becomes homeopathic

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March 24, 2019

The Devil In Your Head – Part 3


Well I wasn’t planning on writing anymore on my mental health issues but sometimes things conspire against you and the only way to battle it is to be open, so its time for part 3 in this series

Note if you haven’t a clue what I’m talking about go and read part 1 of this series it’s here

This post should be called ‘why it’s not a good idea to let your guard down’ and I think it’s something many people who suffer from mental health issues can relate to. you see I spend my life trying to manage my condition, I know what triggers it and I try to keep away from those things, sometimes I do well other times I don’t. as you can guess currently I’m struggling to keep a lid on stuff, work is stressful, homelife is manic and I just haven’t had time to relax and spend time recharging my batteries.

To top things off we decided to record an episode of Meeples and Miniatures where we would talk about mental health. the idea behind this is very noble, both myself and Neil have mental health issues and we wanted to share ways we cope with it and hopefully help people who might be going through the same stuff.

but to do this we had to open up about our conditions, as you can’t just say ‘hey if you suffer from a dodgy brain go and talk to your doctor’ as that’s crap and doesn’t help anyone

so we had a plan

  1. talk about our experiences
  2. talk about the symptoms we both have
  3. talk about ways to get help
  4. talk about the way the hobby can help (or helps us)

being the Meeples show we chatted around the first 3 subjects at random and we both opened up, Neil more than I did. and we really went into how we got help.

The hardest thing with mental health is making that first step to get help, because the thing you have to do first is accept you have a problem and then you have to tell somebody and that is very very hard to do

but its important and we both told our experiences of making that first step and how its not really that scary.

maybe we should have stopped there, but we didn’t because we wanted to cover point 4, how the hobby helps.

I will admit that parts of the hobby do really help me, but I also have some issues with other parts and it was when we talked about these and how I cope with them that I let my guard down and I let the real me out of the box where I keep it hidden. 

the rest of the recording was a bit of a blur we tried to end up on a fun section and by that time the public me was back in charge.

I went to bed exhausted and mentally shot and obviously couldn’t sleep because my mind was racing

so what I should have done was just spend the next day being quiet and sorting myself out, but I didn’t, instead I chucked myself back into work and I kept my twitter fed open

this was a huge mistake as stuff happened and I foolishly let innocent words trigger me and I lashed out at 2 mates. I then compounded it by making a huge statement basically telling everyone to go and do one and then I just hide away and tried to rationalise what I had done.

I had done the worst thing possible, I had let my condition win and take control of my emotions and I acted like a jerk.

so now I’m sat at home doing what I should have done yesterday, I’ve taken a days leave and I’m doing nothing except getting my head straight and trying to get back in control

maybe that’s why I had to write this post, maybe sometimes people need to know that people who suffer from mental illness spend each day walking a tightrope and sometimes we fall off and do stuff we can’t control. but don’t feel sorry for us, just try to understand that we can’t help it and trust me we all feel terrible for putting our friends through it.

I guess what I really want from my friends is for them to treat me normally, if I’m a jerk, just tell me.

but do it nicely if you can

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5 Responses “The Devil In Your Head – Part 3”

  1. Avatar December 7, 2018 at 2:31 pm

    This series of articles has been incredible, Mike, a real revelation and a breath of fresh air. I can’t express how much I admire you for being so open about this, but I can definitely tell you that your contributions have encouraged a great many more people—including me—to talk about their mental health openly.

    I wish you well, Mike, and rest assured that I, and others, am here if we can help in any way.

  2. Avatar December 7, 2018 at 10:01 pm

    Thanks again Mike for exploring publicly that process many have in common when things go off the rails. For me it’s:

    Feeling flooded – not coping – destructive coping – self recrimination – reaching out – self care – forgiveness – carrying on. Pick the order that suits you best.

    In particular, I’ve found your series of articles affirming because there’s a thread of empowerment and accountability throughout. Sometimes the illness gets to drive but ultimately, with courage and practice, we can take the wheel again. Just have to accept that swerves and spinouts are inevitable. A well-informed good friend can make all the difference if they stick with us while we heave ourselves back on course.

    Stay well,
    Sean

  3. Avatar
    Shaun
    December 7, 2018 at 10:40 pm

    Everyone needs to turn off social media every now and then. The main thing is the community in our part of the hobby is the least toxic and most supportive I’ve seen. Remember that on bad days

  4. Avatar
    Chris Smith
    December 8, 2018 at 11:42 am

    Again a very brave post Mike. I have never suffered from mental health issues to this degree, my brief bouts of depression being relieved and helped by friends and family so I can’t begin to understand how you feel. Turning off social media seems to be a way of helping to manage it. And the painting and modelling aspect of the hobby I have always found has been a great way of escaping from the pressures of life and work and being able to focus on something else, particularly something I enjoy. This allows time to allow you head to settle and perhaps be a little fresher when you go back to the ‘real’ world. A friend in the forces sent me the BBC link that then appeared on the Great Game post from Tony Pollard, where he has been using modelling and painting to help veterans with PTSD. So you are not alone and hopefully sharing your problems will help others and you.

    On the OCD front I do occassionally (or more realistically regularly!!!) have to give myself a slap to say no you don’t need to buy more figures just because you don’t have the 3rd Regiment of Chevauxleger from the Neapolitan Army of 1814. But the whole mindfullness thing of building and painting the unit really helps even if the OCD wins and I buy another box of figures to add to the plastic and metal mountain. Perhaps it is trait of many wargamers as you and Neil have alluded to on the M and M podcasts.

    So you are not alone and there are plenty of people out there to support you.

  5. MikeH
    MikeH
    December 15, 2018 at 9:02 pm

    Thanks everyone for the comments, it means a lot

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