Category Archives: Mental Health

5 Reasons to Vote No

There’s a referendum coming up, just in case you didn’t know. The referendum concerns two issues:

  1. Should the age of a Presidential Candidate be lowered from 35 to 21 years of age and;
  2. Should marriage be extended equally to all persons regardless of sex.

The second one, as you would imagine, is gathering more interest. What with it concerning all people having equal rights and all. Here are 5 reasons you should vote No on number 2, maybe even number 1.

  1. You like things just the way they are: Change, why would you change anything at all? You like things the way they are. Everything in its place. Change is scary after all. The fact is that if this passes and we as a country vote Yes then Ireland will slip off the shelf and plunge into the Atlantic…FACT!
  2. Standards of Weddings: If we allow everyone to have equal rights and marry who they love then the fact is that the LGBT community will probably set the standard for Weddings impossibly high. There will be colours and themes that the average Irish man could never dream of or indeed live up to. Look at Panti Bliss for example. That chick knows how to throw a party. Imagine that. Shindigs like the country has never seen before.
  3. Increase in Tourism: Ireland voting No in this referendum will send a clear signal to the world that we are still that country which likes to segregate people, push people to the fringes of society and deny equality to all. We could see an increase in visitors from groups such as the Neo-Nazis, the KKK and perhaps even The Westboro Baptist Church.
  4. Parenting: Voting yes in this referendum might give LGBT people more power to have, raise, adopt and love children of their very own. Two people of the same sex raising a child couldn’t possibly do a good job of that. Never before in human history have we seen two people of the same sex raising a child. Nope, never. It would be a disaster. Like a Mother helping her Daughter raise her child or a Father giving advice to his Son. Imagine a child having two loving Mothers or two adoring Fathers? Awful stuff altogether.
  5. You’re a moron: That’s right. You should definitely vote No if you are a moron. If you believe it is absolutely paramount to deny equality to all people then you should vote no. If you believe that not all people deserve happiness then vote no. If you believe you have the right to interfere in other peoples decisions and who they can marry then vote no.

Ireland is on the verge of change right now. We have some very draconian traditions and laws which quite simply have no place in the modern world. Love is one of those things you don’t choose, it just happens. To live in a country where you are made to feel like a second class citizen because you are denied a basic right afforded to others must be heart breaking and utterly demoralising.

I became a father recently. My little girl is on the verge of turning 6 months old. I want nothing but happiness for her in her future. If she grows up and decides that she would like to marry the love of her life then I hope she can do so without impediment. It shouldn’t matter if that person is a male or a female, it should only matter that she loves them and that they love her.

I’ll be voting Yes in this election. My generation and the generations before me still refer to people as straight people, gay people, lesbian people, transgender people and bisexual people. Maybe a yes vote will take us one step closer to my Daughters generation just having people. One big group of happy people.

The Sugar Loaf

Like hill walking and hiking but haven’t got a full day to throw at it? Then The Sugar Loaf in County Wicklow is ideal for you (If you live nearby that is).

The Sugar Loaf is a quick climb, not necessarily easy, but quick. It suits all fitness levels. Beginners, intermediates and advanced climbers all enjoy this hike and the views it offers from the peak. Don’t forget to pack a camera and a bit of lunch for the top.

Another benefit of The Sugar Loaf is that you can try out your gear in a controlled environment where you’re not stuck in the wilds of nature. For instance, if you’ve bought a new jacket/pants/boots and you want to check out if they will actually protect you against the elements then this kind of hike may be the place to see if they actually can keep the wind and rain out.

There are many places from where you can start your climb. However, if you are looking to get in a quick hike then I would recommend parking at the car park on the L1031 just off the R755 road to Glendalough. As per usual, don’t leave anything in the car. During peak times (weekends, school holidays etc) the car park will fill up, so try and get there early. If it’s full then exercise patience, there is a good rotation of hill walkers and a space will open up quickly.

There are a few different routes you can take up to the top. Up the front is full of loose shale, so is more challenging. The sides are more hands on and full of rocks to get over.

Where to park and where to climb.
Where to park and where to climb.

The left route as you’re walking up is more straightforward, while the route to your right offers a bit more of a challenge. Whichever route you choose just watch your step. Plenty of bones have been broken on this climb when people stopped paying attention. Yes, it’s a small hike, but that doesn’t mean the wind, the elements or the rocks won’t knock you on your ass.

Once you get to the top all the effort is worth it. The views stretching up and down the coast are breathtaking. You’ll also get to see Dublin and Wicklow from an outstanding perspective. On a good day you may even see down to Wexford and as far as Meath. Look away from the Irish Sea and you’ll see the Dublin and Wicklow Mountains, your next step.

Where will you be in 5 years?

This is a question that runs alongside “Tell me your Faults”. Although this one makes a bit more sense. It shows thought and foresight. Have you thought about where you’ll be in 5 years time?

Really though, it’s a rabbit hole of a question, it could go anywhere! It takes on many different connotations as well. Where do you realistically see yourself in 5 years? Where would you like to be in 5 years? If you could be doing anything in 5 years, what would it be? So really, when the question is asked in an interview what are they asking? Do they want the glib response of “busting my ass for you making you more money”? Do they want you to burst out, rip the tie off and exclaim “I’ll be running a bar on a hidden island in Thailand!”. No. No, I don’t think it’s that second one.

So what do you do? Well, sitting back, taking your time and considering your answer is a good start. There’s no universally correct answer to this question. Unfortunately you’ll have to just base it on how the interview is going. Is it a job you could see yourself turning it into a career? If yes, say it. If not, say something you would like to move towards. Whatever you say try and avoid saying “not working here, I’ll move on as quickly as possible actually!”. Unless, ya know, you really don’t want the job, then say that.

The manner in which you answer that question will reflect on the potential investment that the people in front of you are considering placing in your employment. Remember, there are human beings on the other side of the table, so try and be honest without appearing to be insincere or ridiculous.

So, where do you see yourself in 5 years?!

The Tank was Empty

Myself and the wife have been fairly good at keeping up the Couch to 5K, although for the sake of honesty I’ll say that the good lady has been a lot better at it than I. But hey, it’s not a race, thankfully.

This morning was odd, I just wasn’t feeling it at all. The Tank was Empty. I had no get up and go and I most definitely had that familiar anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach and it was not nice. I have gotten this in the past and I’ve just kept going and it usually went away. However, this morning was different and difficult. The anxious feeling I had affected my legs and I literally had no energy. Into my third lap I just had to stop. There was nothing there and I just had to stop.

Today is also my counselling day. The day when I head up to Navan and talk through the issues which have been taking their toll on me and indeed on the people around me. Today I felt bad, last Monday I didn’t, that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.

Today I could talk about what was going on and see what bubbled to the service. Christmas 2012 was when I lost an important person in my life, my father died. It’s half the reason I’m going to counselling now, so I can be around for my daughter for as long as possible. Not long after going in did I start to talk about that and I did something I haven’t done in a long time.

I cried.

I cried about missing him, about what’s gone on since he died and about what he’s missing in my beautiful daughter. It hurt to bring it out, but it felt a lot better. It was like a weight was lifted from me and I felt energised. It’s amazing how what was primarily a mental block had manifested itself in such a strong physical way. I wasn’t feeling what was going on up top so my body decided to make me listen.

That’s ok though, I should listen to my body, to what it tells me. Some days you just need to stop and take it easy or you’ll be made to.

It was nice to have that revelation and to not feel crazy for still going through the grieving process even this far down the road. But then that doesn’t hold much water either. Grief doesn’t care for my time schedule. It could be twenty years later and I’d still miss him.

It’s all about watching out for the little things and giving yourself a break every now and then.

5 Good Things

All too often I concentrate on the negative things. The negative things about myself and the negative things going on around me. I’m going to try something new. I’m going to try and concentrate on some good things about me and good things going on around me.

So here ya go, just what you’ve been waiting for, 5 good things about me:

  1. I am well educated: I get hung up on the education thing. I did not do well in school. However, since then, I did educate myself and I did find the motivation to pull my thumb out of my ass. I have many letters after my name. Among them are MBS. I completed my Masters in Marketing from DCU Business School in 2010. That was an important personal and educational milestone to reach. Especially so considering I had a teacher in school who convinced me I could do no better than a C in ordinary level English in the Leaving Cert, that was a knock to the confidence and a pretty horrible thing for her to say. I got an A1 in the end.
  2. I have jumped (fallen) out of a plane: I did this mostly to see what it was like. I did this four times and loved it each time. It made me believe that I’m either very brave or very stupid, I’m still not sure. I’m glad I had the balls to get into the plane, leave solo, plummet towards the Earth and keep the head. Again, a big milestone.
  3. I have climbed two of the highest peaks: In Ireland, nowhere else, just yet. I know I still have two to go. However, it’s nice to know I can set my sights on something and do it. It’s important to know that you can keep going even when your body is screaming at you to stop.
  4. I have a wife and child now: It’s nice. It’s a lot of pressure. Sometimes you don’t know what the hell is going on (with the child mostly (just kidding dearest wife)). It’s nice to have people in your life who you know are a massive part of yours and that you are a massive part of theirs. I make my wife smile and laugh and my 3 month old daughter is starting to laugh at with me too. I can make people happy just by being there and that is a very good thing.
  5. I am strong: OK, this is a very simple one but it’s always nice to be strong. It’s comforting to know that you can be the heavy lifter in the house.

So there’s 5 things which are good about me. When you’re getting bogged down by all the negative thoughts running through your head then maybe it’s time to take a step back grab a piece of paper and just write down 5 good things about yourself. If you can’t do it then maybe ask someone else to.

No matter how much of a bad guy you believe yourself to be there will always be redeeming features. It may seem a little self indulgent, but sometimes you really do need to concentrate on yourself before you lose yourself.

Couch to 5K – Day 4

Well, that was hard. My good lady did an early run yesterday so I was flying solo on this brisk and foggy night. My word, that made a difference, the whole not having someone to chat with. I didn’t think it would make a difference, but I guess it’s a mental thing.

The rounds were upped tonight and the whole time I had a thought in the back of my head! The next time the whistle blows I’m throwing in the towel. Funnily enough I think that made it slightly easier to get through each one.

Another thought recurring in my head was my little 11 week old daughter. It’s not fair on her to have a Dad who risks his health by not exercising his body. I want to be around for her for a good long time.

You see, earlier I scared the crap out of myself and weighed in. The grand total was a very worrying 17 stone. What I have now is a combination fit for disaster. My fitness is the lowest it has ever been while my weight is the highest. That situation needs to be reversed. Hopefully this couch to 5k will set me on the right path for a long and healthy life.

I did get through in the end. The legs were still sore and the back still ached. It’s for the greater good though, right? The greater good. I have to keep remembering that no matter how slow I jog, I’m still going faster than I would be on the couch.

Ireland may not be ready to face up to its health problem, but I am. All you can do is watch this space for more info. Hopefully this might spur someone on to make the change they need to.

Couch to 5K – Day 3

Ok, so day 3 was on Tuesday, but I’ve been busy so here’s a quick update before day 4 tonight!

It was cold, wet, windy and the track was waterlogged and filthy so day 3 wasn’t easy. Add to that the fact that my shin splints kicked in and you have a proper combo to knock the motivation out of you. Basically day 3 was hard and probably my tipping point. Ya know, the point at which you either stop or persevere.

It was hard. The runs were longer and we hadn’t a clue what way it was working. There must’ve been a busy schedule that night as the instructions were rushed and the instructors all had a different view of what was happening on the night. My good lady’s knee was also at her.

So, to sum up again. Cold, wet, filthy and sore, we weren’t loving it.

Then I noticed one of the guys there. Now, you have many different types of runners and joggers and walkers there. The more seasoned people fly past you, the ladies who have been doing this for years saunter on by while having their weekly chats and people like me just try to get better each time. Then I saw this big guy who was really putting his all into it. He motivated me. I thought to myself that as hard as I was finding it, how hard was he finding it? So I shut myself up with the moaning and just kept trying.

I’ll go back tonight and see how I do. But I do know one thing. If I don’t put the effort in now then it will only ever get harder.