Welcome to the recovery.

So I’ve moved away from the beautiful leafy suburb of Croydon to the beautiful leafy suburb of Finchley. It’s a pretty nice area and it’s a great house. I’m really lucky to be living with someone excellent too. There’s a great looking sushi place I want to try out (it’s all you can eat).

Moving is very tiring though. Especially when you’ve just started back on antidepressants after a particularly crazy few weeks. Sleep is still hard to keep up. I wake up often and the quality of my sleep isn’t great. The tablets are wreaking havoc in my body. My eyes are constantly itching, my appetite comes and goes, my motivation to do anything varies on an hourly basis.

I have to really force myself to do even the tiniest things. Even the most awesome things that happy Alex would normally love to do, unwell Alex struggles with. I’m going back to work in the morning after a long long time and that’s both exciting and terrifying.

Going back to work after a mental health episode is often the hardest day. Anxiety runs high and it’s extra high after a huge change in my life. So for now, work, relationships, everything else, takes a backseat. My focus is going to be my mental health. I may have moved to a new place in a new town but I’m trying my hardest to get back to my old self.

I’m going to be blogging more about my recovery this time round so stay tuned. I want to show that you can get better.

Welcome to the recovery!

New Year… Old Me?

I’ve been neglecting my blog somewhat recently especially over the Christmas break where I was refusing to do anything at all! But I’m alive and awake again and first things first, happy New Year!

There are a few different things that I’d like to write about this time. First of all a little bit of appreciation for all things 2014. Obviously this is a super short version of things I’m grateful for!


1. Work
There was a point in 2014 where I wasn’t particularly enjoying my work. My depression was kicking my arse and I didn’t feel like I was up to the job. However it’s extremely important for me to recognise that without work, a routine and meeting the people I’m trying to help I wouldn’t be feeling better now and I wouldn’t be enjoying my work! 2015 has me sticking around with work with a new exciting role!

2. Friends
Well, there’s not much I need to say. I have amazing people around me. Not necessarily geographically, but you know what I mean. My friends always always support me through the roughest times and celebrate with me when the good times come! Even the friends I don’t see or speak to very often, whenever I see them, it’s like I saw them yesterday. We can pick off where we left off with no problem whatsoever.

3. Music

Whether it’s listening, gigging or writing music, I feel better when I’m around it. Music is one thing that almost everyone listens to and it’s often one thing that can instantly make people happy and I hope that I can make more people happy with my music!

4. Volunteering

I’m not doing as much as I used to at the moment but the little bits that I do always leaves me feeling great. I get to try new ways to help out the people on the programme and our little gang of mentors. Keeping volunteers motivated has never been easier than when I’ve got my mentors around!


Lots of people talk about turning over a new leaf every New Year. It’s understandable, it’s a symbolic clean slate for the upcoming year. I’m not knocking those who make resolutions, but why do we need to wait for a new year to attempt to better ourselves?
I try my hardest at all times to make myself better than I was yesterday. I don’t want to wait for a new year to do that. Also, nothing that has happened in 2014 will be forgotten! The hard work that I put into 2014 will carry over to 2015 as will all the bad things. To me, there’s no clean slate. That’s not a bad thing though. If you lived 2014 to the fullest, that energy and positivity will carry over to 2015. 
Making a resolution is a great idea. New Years may be a good time to do it, but don’t forget you don’t need a calendar to resolve to do something. If you want to do something, DO IT! Don’t wait for a new year to do it. Just go for it. There’s no better time than the present. (I understand the present is new years day, but you get the gist.)

The Volunteer Effect

In the jobs and volunteer roles that I have had I’ve noticed a definite shift in various aspects of my life and the lives of those around me. We don’t always realise how much things have changed until you just stop for a second and reflect on the years gone by! I’ve spent my weekend off thinking about all the things that have made me who I am today. A lot of these changes have come in the last few years and I’m sure they’re going to have a huge impact on my life from here on out.

A lot of these changes came about after I started to volunteer and since I started, I’ve felt a definite shift to the positive for various reasons. I wrote a blog on my LinkedIn profile about the benefits of volunteering recently, you can have a read here.
The benefits that I’ve written about in that blog are due to the Volunteer Effect. Volunteering effects people in different ways. For some, like myself, it has a profound effect on everything that I do.

The volunteer effect has made me consider the people around me before I do things. Even the little things, like whether or not I wash up, or what kind of food I eat in the office (I try not to eat overly smelly food!).

I was a very different person years ago, I was rude, obnoxious and generally not a very nice person. This is going back to secondary school. Some people say it was just a phase of teenage years and that’s fine. A lot of teenagers act out, but I don’t feel like I should have used it as an excuse. Between 2008 and 2012, after leaving my secondary school, I endeavoured to change who I was for the better. Stop stropping, be nicer and less of a drag on the people around me.

It’s only when I started to volunteer after dropping out of uni did I feel like I was succeeding. Not only were my decisions affected, my mood improved and I was excited to do stuff. All kinds of stuff, whether it was voluntary, work, social, everything seemed better. Despite volunteering for causes which were shocking, unjust and heart breaking the main thing that helped me see things differently were the people I met along the way. All these people working their arses off to help and I could see the smiles on their faces while they were doing it.

The Volunteer Effect for me is hard to describe with words, it’s benefiting me in so many ways (which I believe is best described in my LinkedIn post above) while I’m benefiting others and hopefully they go on to pay it forward. For me, the Volunteer Effect is simple, it’s a chain reaction of good. To finish, have a little look see at the image below. This, to me really embodies what volunteers do for the world. They want to make people happy. It’s just a bonus that it usually makes them happy too.