How it works

I have found that talking about issues that bother people can be daunting to some, which inevitably leads them not to seek help at all. This can have a detrimental effect on their health. This is why I came up with this idea.
Pen Relief allows anybody to write, anonymously if chosen, about any issue that may be bothering them. You can ask for help, seek advice or simply write to me. If you write then you have two options, one is to get an e mail back or the second is to post it on our page where several people may wish to advise you.
All comments and posts are moderated by me and will not be posted without your permission.
Try it, it may be an asset to you.


Feeling good

I have been on new meds for the past few months and together with exercise and a new diet means that life is rosier at the moment. Since I began my new job last December I have gained new friends, contacts and information which I have benefited from.
I have learned some new skills which has given me a pastime, working with natural slate. I am about to begin driving lessons, something I thought I would never do, and I begin a start your own business course soon.
This is a big turnaround for me and I am really pleased with it.I still have bad days but they are not as frequent. Oh, I am also taking a food supplement to build my immune system.
I continue to write my journals and look back on last years ones. The one for this day last year simply reads ” Going to Portugal for a week, hope my anxiety does not ruin it”. My anxiety has improved bigtime since then.
Well thats it for now, have a good one wherever you are.

I know you are there!!

Hi all,

As Pen Relief reaches another milestone I call in everyday to see who has visited the site. There is not a day has passed since I put this site online that someone has not called in. I thank you for that, its great to know that you are there. Leave a message the next time you drop by, I will answer you back. Thanks to those that remain silent(choice), but still leave an e mail. You make my day!! Have good days, and if you are having a bad one then don’t worry, this too shall pass!

It works!

Over 20 people have now improved their lives as a direct result of writing to Pen Relief. They have received requested advice and suggestions from us which has had a positive effect on their mindset. 14 others have told us that they have done likewise just by reading the pieces on the page. Have you got an issue that is bothering you? If so write to us at You can remain anonymous if you choose and your piece does not have to be displayed, the choice is yours. Have a good day!!

And then the rain came

Looking back at days gone by,

it hard to imagine such a tiny soul surviving such immense loss’

and then the rain came


Looking back to days that were black, without feeling , full of sorrow, 

and without words.

swallowed in the depths of other despair, INVISIBLE.

and then the rain came


Looking back, feeling, remembering.

and then the rain came, and finally

release, acknowledgement,

and then the rain came


its how life is, there is no why, no reason, no


then the rain came

and now i wait for the sun..

Christmas is coming.

Christmas!! The time of joy and happiness, excited children and adults, turkey dinner and lots of TV and sweets. That’s for the lucky few I feel, normally it’s a time of stress and anxiety. We have money to spend on food and presents, we have people to call to (some we do not see all year), so Christmas for a lot of people is a highly stressful and anxious time of the year. Of course this year in Ireland we have water meters being installed outside our front doors, which will charge us for our fresh fluoride laced water. That’s another worry for another day though.

To cope with stress and anxiety you need to plan things properly, allocate your time and other resources in a manageable way. The last thing any of us need is to get a bad bout of depression on top of all this.

Get help with the cooking and cleaning, we all know that there is a lot of it at this time. If you are inviting family over then ask them to provide a cooked course, this will be one less task for you and can be an olive branch for those family members with whom relationships may be strained. A chat over the sink after dinner can be beneficial to you all.

Money is an issue for all of us, now that austerity measures are taking every spare penny that we have. Buy what you can afford, try not to borrow money. Be selective with your presents; don’t buy what gets put in a cupboard for the rest of the year. Small children love unwrapping things, whether they cost a Euro or many Euros, the excitement will be the same.

It is also a time when we remember those that we have lost. It’s natural for our emotions to be magnified so learn how to control them, if you need a cry then cry. It’s good to get it out. Never force yourself to be happy if you are sad, it will make the problem worse. Its important to remember that alcohol will compound things so take it in moderation.

Make time out for yourself, away from the madness that can be Christmas. Go for a walk, take a bath, paint a picture, write a book if it relaxes you. Personally I will spend as much time as I can in my garden.

Try your best to enjoy this time of year, it can’t be easy at times.

Alternatives to medication.

I am an ordinary man, nothing special nothing grand…says Christy Moore in the song Ordinary Man. Christy is a singer I have admired for years , he is someone that you can sing along with, and I love singing out loud but I will come to that later. Firstly I will talk to you about what helps defeat depression or at least keeps it at bay. I am not a therapist or Doctor but I have researched mental health issues for years now in my battle against depression and anxiety and I will tell you of some of the things that you can do to help improve your mind-set. I am not an advocate of medication although I appreciate that sometimes in the short term it can work wonders.

There are a myriad of reasons that one can feel depressed, loss is a big one. Not just death but any loss in general. Losses of a job, limb, pet, place on a team, favourite charm…get my drift? The majority of us get depressed at some stage in our lives, some more so than others. It affects us all in different ways; but there are some  measures that you can take, according to research and my personal experience, to improve things.

  1. Get help.It is a brave thing to admit that you have problems that you cannot deal with, it is a sign of strength and not weakness to do so. A problem shared is a problem halved and all that. Just by talking about it can improve your general outlook. Even if it is bending the ear of a friend, just getting it off your chest will help. Professional advice is a better route though so try that.
  2.  Write it down. If you cannot face talking to someone then write it down. It helps to see it in print in front of you, it means you are facing your issue. Some people do this and burn it as a way of cleansing. I like to keep my writings, after all it might have taken me a long time to write a piece I am hardly going to destroy it!! To each their own though, whatever helps you.
  3. Exercise: just getting out for a walk will help. Do some gardening, something I took up a few years ago and I reckon has improved my life big-time. I won’t go into the chemicals released when exercising but it’s all good chemicals and not those bad ones that you see on cereal boxes and tinned foods which leads me into my next point.
  4. Diet. You are what you eat as the old saying goes. We need to eat properly because if our body is not getting the right nutrients to help us physically then it affects us mentally.  Vegetables, fruits, and whole grains as well as lean meats and low-fat dairy products are all good for us ( remember your mother telling you to eat your veg!!). Processed foods and foods with added sugar should be removed from your diet. Take supplements too, such as some oils and vitamins although a walk in the sun, eating an orange will raise vitamins D and C respectively.
  5.  Educate yourself. There is so much research done and available to you with the introduction of the internet that this is easier to do. Go to your local library for access if you don’t have broadband. Find out what ails you and what improves things for you.
  6. Substance abuse. Avoid over use of everything. Everything in moderation of course. This applies to not just alcohol and drugs of course. Drink especially was the bane of my life. I felt that if I got drunk I could forget about my problems. Problem there was, I forgot about everything and everyone too.
  7. .Get out more. Don’t become a recluse, which can become the norm. Call some friends, go out for dinner and have some fun. Laughing a lot helps improve the mind. Find a person whose company you enjoy and who you can trust, and have a ball. Follow Peppa pig’s line and jump in muddy puddles together if it makes you feel good.
  8.  Sing. Sing loud at the top of your voice ( not recommended if you live in council estates). I do this to Christy Moore songs. Try it with friends when you go out. Whether it’s a candle-lit carol service or a  raucous evening of karaoke , many people will enjoy a good old singsong this Christmas. Singing releases chemicals too which make you feel better.


I hope that you found this helpful and that you might try some, if not all of the above. It will work if you keep it going, believe me you. At the end of the day a lot of it will be down to you and your attitude towards your mental health issues, that can make all the difference in your life.


How to defeat the enemy.

Worry, do you do it? Of course you do, we all worry but there are some people that overload and find it difficult to cope. This is the stage where worry becomes anxiety and the mind is overwhelmed with thoughts that most of us can/cannot. cope with on different levels. What am I doing today? What’s for dinner? Will they eat it? Have I money to buy it? Will there be many people down the town when I go out? Will I meet someone? Should I stay in and get takeaway? The kids love takeaways, but it’s not really healthy, will they get sick? Is the dinner really nice or are you just saying that to please me? Confident? Of course I am, well not really, well no then not at all.

When the eyes open in the morning, the worry begins. Will I have time to do this task, it’s a menial one yet it seems monumental. Panic sets in, some jobs are half done, others not done at all. What about the washing? Will it rain? The clothes will be ruined and I will have to wash them again. Now I am tense and angry. I did not sleep well last night; I was worried so how could I? I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in years!!

My little one needs changing, but I have lots to do, where is the time? I am manic at this stage of the day and I have not even had my coffee. I am inefficient and a poor parent. Will they be better off without me? Oh Christ, life is tough. Is it like this for others or is it just me? This is what life is like for me some days and this is a good day. Here is what I consider a bad day…..

I don’t get up at all; the blackness prevents me from doing so. It’s because I did not sleep well, I worried too much about today last night. I will get things done tomorrow, the laundry can wait. It’s safer under the duvet; no one can see me here. Why are they staring at me when I go out? I won’t go out, that’s the answer!! I found it, it’s a Eureka moment. I will feel better if I lock myself in, away from others who might see that I am sick. I am an unsocialite! Is that a word? Can I use it? I will do it anyway as I am sure someone will critique it.

The only thing being fed here properly is my anxiety; the menu is above clear to see. I therefore seek professional help when it gets too much to bear. Although I am not an advocate of medication I can see its importance in the short/medium term. We must have an honest outlook of our problems and ask those we feel can offer the best advice; it’s unusual to be able to defeat these feelings on your own.

When help arrives in the shape of a Doctor or psychologist/professional, do not fear the labelling system and language that they use, labels often confuse and /or destroy the peace of mind that we are always seeking. Get to know that language, learn how to speak it. It is wise to educate yourself fully about your condition and the fact that it may re- occur. I feel that it is only then that the real magic occurs, the self- awareness needed for you to step up and be able to relate your story to others in order to help them cope better and build resilience. We have got to know our enemy. More of us need to do this if we are to help remove stigma, it is our duty I feel.


I used to have a comfort zone where I knew I wouldn’t fail.
The same four walls and busywork were really more like jail.
I longed so much to do the things I’d never done before,
But stayed inside my comfort zone and paced the same old floor. 
I said it didn’t matter that I wasn’t doing much.
I said I didn’t care for things like commission checks and such.
I claimed to be so busy with the things inside the zone,
But deep inside I longed for something special of my own. 
I couldn’t let my life go by just watching others win.
I held my breath; I stepped outside and let the change begin.
I took a step and with new strength I’d never felt before,
I kissed my comfort zone goodbye and closed and locked the door. 
If you’re in a comfort zone, afraid to venture out,
Remember that all winners were at one time filled with doubt.
A step or two and words of praise can make your dreams come true.
Reach for your future with a smile; success is there for you!Image