I Am Your Father – Part 9a: Labour

This is the first of a two-part “I Am Your Father” special, which will tell the story of what happened in the hospital when the time finally came for my son to be born.

I was labouring (no pun intended) under the ridiculous notion that I would be mostly superfluous and that I would have the time to ‘live blog’ the birth; making notes every-so-often as we went along.

What a sweet, naive, young man I was!


Losing Faith – A Muggle’s Guide to Dementor Defence

The Muggle’s Guide to Dementor Defence is based on my experience with mental health issues. Posts like this are more personal than, for example, my recent post about sleep and insomnia, but I hope to include some helpful advice as well as telling my story.

I struggled with many things when I was suffering from depression and anxiety, including issues surrounding my career, my relationships, my social life… It’s too much to talk about all at once, so I want to break it down and focus on one thing at a time. The following is based on notes that I made during therapy and is the story of not only what happened but how I came to terms with it.

Long before the events that triggered my mental health issues, I lost my faith. I didn’t really miss it at the time, but when I was depressed, I felt like I had lost a part of myself. It took some time – and a lot of soul-searching – to realise what the problem actually was.


The Journey

Last year, I wrote a short story for a competition by Mind, the mental health charity. The story, ‘The Journey’, was shortlisted but didn’t win any of the top prizes. Given that I wrote the story specifically for the competition, I didn’t really know what else to do with it, so as it’s currently Mental Health Awareness Week 2020, I thought I’d share it here. I’ve tweaked it only slightly and even had a go at illustrating some of it.

The story begins below. For more about how and why I wrote the story, click here.


Learning Blender

A lot of people seem to be struggling to find things do with their time recently, but I’ve actually been quite enjoying the lockdown at times as there is loads of stuff that I rarely have the time to pursue. So, I thought I’d share some ideas to help you fill your time during quarantine (and, perhaps, beyond) that are more creative than just saying “read a book”, “watch a TV series” or “play a video game”.

So, in that spirit, I wanted to tell you about my new favourite hobby; 3D modelling, using an application called Blender. It has been a good creative outlet for me and has been helping to keep me sane these last few weeks!


Sleep – A Muggle’s Guide to Dementor Defence

So, this is the first entry in what I’m calling “A Muggle’s Guide to Dementor Defence”, which is based on my personal battle with mental health problems, my notes from therapy and my own research/experience of trying to live a happier life (for more background on The Guide, click here).

One of the aims for this series is to present some practical advice on a range of mental-health-related subjects and today, I wanted to look at what was, for me, one of the most challenging things to manage; sleep and insomnia.


A Sense of Perspective

Now seems like as good a time as any to discuss a key realisation that has helped me to make sense of the world. I’ve noticed that people don’t always seem to distinguish between ‘The General’ and ‘The Specific’.  So what? Well, it can be an important distinction. Let me try to explain. (more…)

Working from Home: Tips

A lot of you will have started working from home as the coronavirus pandemic continues and many of you won’t have had to do this before and may not be used to it. It takes some time to adapt and to find a balance of happiness and productivity, but it can be done.

As someone who’s done a PhD and works from home a lot, I thought I would share some tips. A lot of this is ‘common’ sense, but I still have to force myself to follow some of this advice and I’m usually better for it. Hopefully, at least some of these tips will be useful.


Introduction – A Muggle’s Guide to Dementor Defence

For a fair chunk of the last decade, I have been battling with a range of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety and insomnia. I suffered on and off for almost seven years before finally getting the help I needed to turn my life around. While I was in therapy, I made a lot of notes and now I’m trying to turn those notes into something useful. “A Muggle’s Guide to Dementor Defence” will be a series of blog posts that will, if nothing else, help me to organise my thoughts, but hopefully some of this will be helpful to any of you who are going through similar things.

But first, I wanted to explain how this all came about.