Between problems at work and accommodation problems I was under a great deal of stress in recent months. After a bad day at work and with no enthusiasm to go home I usually ended up in the pub. I had a couple of weeks sick leave in August but that was only a temporary respite and things continued heading down into full-blown depression. (Missing work, late for work, avoiding social situations.) After a recent out-patient visit I was offered a week's "respite" to get me out of my stressful situations and "re-balance."

When I discussed the offer with a friend he said, "the pressure on resources is incredible, so if they are offering you this you must really need it." However when on arrival I was put on librium (for de-tox) and had all my charger cords and razor blades removed I realised it was a bit more serious than that. It turns out that alcohol abuse and male suicide are major problems in Ireland and they take no chances.

The good news is that my blood pressure and pulse, lungs and heart are akin to a fit 21-year old: unfortunately the libido is like the picture in the attic...I do not understand why, given the link between exercise and positive mental health, there are not more gym facilities. I am actually missing my weekly bike ride while in here.

On balance I think my stay here has actually been of great benefit. The first few days I felt wiped out and dozy, but in the last couple of days I have found the time to write this blog, and have got on with some long-term projects which required peace and quiet and uninterrupted headspace. It remains to be seen whether I can take this new calm forward into my work and life.

So when I am discharged tomorrow I have to abstain from alcohol for as long as I can, if not forever. Which is strange, it seems the cure is to avoid the one thing which has kept me going all these years: cognitive dissonance! (Actually the doctors probably don't realise that as a Geordie if I was going to lie about my alcohol consumption I would increase it not reduce it!) I also need to find new lodgings, and possibly a job back in Newcastle.

There has been a sense of inevitability about being here because from early adolescence I always felt I would end up in a mental hospital, a very strange tick-box on the bucket list indeed! However having done it I feel that the only way from here is up. So up I go!

I will let you know how I re-adjust to civvy street.

A Moodscope member.

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