Category Archives: Uncategorized

World Mental Health Day – Tuesday 10th October 2017

How was it for you? Many friends were in school, some probably wore yellow to show an awareness. Others’ institutions wouldn’t let it disrupt their day I am sure. Last year I wore an awkward mix of many yellows, I had talked about my mental health struggles as part of my introduction to the school in assembly-it has helped when meeting now ex pupils and parents in the months since my final breakdown as a teacher and my resignation from my vocation.

So I know about mental health issues, I left the job that triggered many incidents for me so I must be fine now mustn’t I?

Of course not – I have struggled with these issues since a teenager back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, possibly earlier. it’s part of me. Triggers are many and varied. So Monday 9th circumstances saw me hit a rock bottom day. I knew there were positives ahead, I could mention and acknowledge them -this is new and very encouraging. But essentially there were also thoughts where I considered the whole suicidal concept -it’s not a choice I have ever attempted for real and I don’t want to but it’s an ever present escape that pops up and says hi in times of stress. So I am participating in #Inktober2017 on Facebook and Instagram, it is a daily drawing in ink project for October using a daily prompt, yesterday was #screech, today was #gigantic. I used these in my drawings to be open about my state of mind. I have blogged about it for several years now and don’t really care what response I get, it’s a topic I will continue to stick my head over the parapet to talk about  so that someone might not have to go through the same thing as me.

October 9


Today I have woken in a more positive frame of mind and taken part in the day and exercised at the rowing club this evening both on the rowing machines then out on the water and was able to show this as;

October 10


I have many supportive friends and family members who reach out. Tomorrow on the 11th I will attend one of the two Depression Support Groups I attend -we are sufferers who listen with empathy and support where we can. Sometimes when I am low I resist attending even though it’s the best time for me to go. The key thing s I can always be there to aupport others.

So my WMHD has been an exercise in recovery and reaching out to many others online. I hope your day has been a shared experience today.

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I believe…

I am now happy to use the word artist to describe myself after a very successful Purbeck Art Weeks 2017 fortnight – to see more re detail please read the posts on Http://AndyKnillArt.wordpress.com .

In 16 days 252 people visited my Open studio, they spent over £400 on art that I produced and I worked 16 consecutive days – not a pattern to repeat too often.

I would like to thank my blog followers and especially old education teacher friends for their support in my “new life”.

My latest Art update . . .

https://andyknillart.wordpress.com/2017/05/18/andy-knill-art-news-update-18th-may/

It’s sunny today, what to do?


It is Friday 17th March. Last week’s post was foggy as the last few days have been, but today the sun shines. First reason to welcome the sun is to celebrate my mother in law’s birthday today – 95, a very good reason to celebrate. Lunch out later as a family, those that are here in Dorset.

In the last few days news that the next art printing order will be ready to collect next week. More details about that on http://AndyKnillArt.wordpress.com where I am onto my second weekly newsletter.

Too many friends are leaving teaching from both the classroom and leadership and a fear that many more will too with the impending funding dilemma. When will we start to value the individuals (pupils / students) who will lead in the future? What value a teacher with experience?

Each day has offered a few walks taking in the wildlife and shoots on the plants, watching the sheep and birds out on Swyre Head and Houns Tout. Whenever we venture out the changing views of Corfe Castle, a great privilege to live near and sketch at the other morning.

Walks at Swanage and Studland Bay. A key aspect of our new life is definitely taking in the fresh air on offer.

Greetings to friends celebrating their patron saint St Patrick (Noeleen please note) and the rest looking for a reason to raise a glass.

Wishing all my readers a great day and a weekend where some time at least is used for what you choose.

GOB upturn

Just to report that life has improved a lot since Monday 9 Jan. Lots of talking, honesty and taking time. Not completely offline but vastly reduced. Twitter has gone. FB vastly reduced.

GOB exercise uplift

I wasn’t going to blog for a long time but some have got in contact re. my disappearance online generally. A week of deep lows and recovery towards a much better position. 

Monday 9

Deep fall off in MH. Trigger known but not for blog discussion. I was at lowest in memory. Anne got me a gp appointment which I agreed to attend. I was shaking like a large branch in a storm, no gentle leaf fluttering. I agreed to see Community Mental Health Team as even keeping eye contact was almost impossible and I was not in a safe state of mind.

I came off social media and wiped ‘000s off my gross follower total. Twitter accounts are now gone. FB went from over 400 to 28, mainly family and some very key MH supporters.

The GOB diary has continued, there were a couple of positives even on such a bleak day. Lots of chat at home and research behind trigger factor.

Tuesday 10 

More positive. Attended CMHT assessment and spoke honestly. Await outcome. Time spent out on some retail therapy – chisels and food.

Wednesday 11

More positive. There are still certain triggers that reduce me to a shakey wreck. More GOB positives each day.

Thursday 12

Saw gp  and able to demonstrate how things had picked up.

Even went down to row club in evening to drop off some sweets, but I felt immediately at ease and stayed and trained including more of the circuits completed and a 5k row in 20m 55s, went off too fast and at half way stopped for about 90 secs.

Friday 13

Retail therapy – Charlie came out with us too. First to canoe shop and new paddling attire for three, lots of trying on and coping to put on then remove items with neoprene cuffs etc. Lunch at Costa bought by Charlie. Onwards to look at a Yeti – test drove and liked so another purchase initiated. On return journey saw a Defender I had spotted on AutoTrader app. Expensive for year / mileage but lots of toys. 

Spent too much time online last two to three days on cars rather than social media but something to watch.

Saturday 14

All three to Swanage together a.m.. Charlie dropped at railway. Was down to row at 10 but so cold not enough to crew boat available but did help put boat away and got feet wet too. Great coffee and natter in High Street Cafe and Anne came so met number of club. Afternoon did some garden digging, about 4 barrow loads.

Sunday 15

As missed row yesterday asked if space for today. So leave home 07.30, on water for about an hour – now favour seat 1. Cafe again afterwards. Home, Anne wanted some exercise so we decided to go through estate and down South Street towards Chapmans Pool.

Too muddy to get all the way, so up slope and over to Worth Matravera – steak pasty, and drink then easier route back along road.

Measured once home – about 6.5 miles.

Rest and decide to blog.

So a struggle at times and partnership has won the day. GOB record

Extra, extra, seeking sleep

Well this could be a huge negative, at the moment still treating it as a big nuisance I will have to work around later. Basically, I have not managed to sleep all or vast majority of night – headaches, stiffness in next and shoulders have led to an arrray of distraction strategies none of which have worked yet, although maybe getting to point I can’t keep eyes open. Not a positive for the day ahead but as I said earlier, trying not to let it turn into a big negative either.

GOB 03 Jan.

Third day of the year can the run of positives continue? Yes they can and have all day. Looking for positives  and not dwelling on the past is a good way to work through the day. So today started with watching various birds and Cyril squirrel eating in the garden. It’s interesting to observe which birds will push to the food and which are hesitant. PHil pheasant and friends are nervous around squirrels.

+ watching birds feed and sunrise colours

+ online offering support to friends especially teachers returning to work as I won’t be doing that again and of course at the moment Ian not working yet so easier to be positive maybe?

+ a trip to Bournemouth that saw my newer iPad (2014) recovered and able to use again, croissants, walk in the lower gardens down to the coast, a walk then lunch on the pier – all in sunshine, col but still shorts weather on principal if nothing else.

+ dropped into canoe shop to look at alterNatives for winter wear to get out on kayaks – some ideas gathered

+ added to my local know,edge and gaining confidence driving around Bournemouth and Poole without using sat nav (google maps)

Several more too but that’s enough to share. So a good day and ideas to get on with tomorrow too.

2017 starts here.. GOB 01 Jan.

Various suggestions from friends today to make 2017 a more positive experience.

My decision is to keep a GOB (Glimpses of Brilliance) diary / record. This can be positives that I identify for myself or comments from others. I am going to name future posts GOB and the date.

An ex colleague gave me a notebook for such a purpose and it hadn’t been started until today.

I have identified seven positives today and the day hasn’t ended yet. They Include:

a complete change of focus from last night when I was not in a good headspace.

going rowing for a competitive row down in Swanage Bay, my first.

a calm relaxed atmosphere at home

 

So GOB 2017 is started… See how it goes. This week – GP visits to check on Mental Health, rowing training. Tidying up around house, finish cleaning

bottom half of car, start looking at job ideas now I am no longer in education.

Feedback will be welcomed throughout the year.

A dip…

Well Christmas and Boxing Days were fairly quiet. Four of us,past the Santa stage,but still some.present surprises. I received a print and artwork I had expressed interest in but had forgotten about.

On Boxing day the dip wasn’t a mental health one for a change but a swim in the sea. It gave me an excuse to walk around a busy Swanage in my Penguin onesie. I also got to go into the water with other members of the SSRC. The water was cold, I feel I should have tries to swim more, but supporting local charities was a.good cause and we had a good walk around town after including a stroll on the pier.

Today 29 December after a mental health dip linked back to the 22nd a.week ago (see previous post) I got to paddle almost two.miles up and down Studland beach with my feet in the edge of the waves. I have worn shorts most days. Tomorrow I go to London and fear I will need to wear long trousers.