August Update

I’ve just emailed this out as an update to my 2500 Clue Challenge. If you want to be put on the mailing list, simply email me at 2500cluechallenge@danielpeake.com and I’ll put you on the list!

Phew! What a scorcher! (Note: at the time of writing, this seems like it happened years ago. Lack of internet at home has meant it’s had to wait until I’ve had time at work to send this.).

It’s been a hot month, a busy month, a Nuts Challenge month. Yes, earlier this month I completed the Nuts Challenge (www.nutschallenge.co.uk) in under two hours and what turned out to be a whopping 15 minutes quicker than last year. I ran the course with my friend Geoff and we had tremendous fun, as me diving into a massive mud pit shows.

That’s me trying to keep active – because it is so very easy not to be. But what about the mind? Well, this month I solved 181 out of 630 clues (28.7%), bringing my total to a round 1700 clues. That means I’m 3 days ahead of schedule.

August’s Clue Of The Month is the following: Might a mouse stew do it as a dish of leftovers? (6,3,6). Answer later.

In the last update I said I was going to respond to your questions! But I’ve not received very many (i.e. 1), so I plan on doing this next month instead. Do you have any questions about depression, how I cope/not cope with it? Please email me at 2500cluechallenge@danielpeake.com and hopefully it will make an interesting update.

So this month I’m going to talk about isolation. The first thing a good proportion of people with depression want to do is shut down socially and not interact with anyone. Despite writing these monthly updates to tell you how I’m doing, it’s something I’m really struggling with. I’ve just moved to SW London and I don’t know anyone in the area, so it’s natural for me to be a bit daunted. Having moved here, all of a sudden I realise it can be hard to make new friends.

I’m going to have to make a huge effort to go to pub quizzes that I’m not familiar with, sports clubs I know nothing about, board gaming stores where I know no-one – and it’s a task I’m not quite able to tackle most days. People! Scary! But even if you do have a close network of friends all around you, it’s so easy to find excuses to stay in and watch the telly rather than go out and socialise. I’m always making excuses to myself.

The one way I’ve found around this is by using a phone! Calling people! It allows you to communicate with others, but also to control when that communication starts and stops. It’s been a major help to me and I recommend to others that if you can’t face talking to someone face to face, then this makes it easier. Then there’s always writing things down. I’ve written letters to my friends, to which they responded using letters, when even the phone was too much and when I shut myself in my room and locked the door.

I can’t vouch for others, but one of the reasons depression inhibits my socialising is that I feel like I’m lying to people. Not lying in the true sense, but lying about my emotions. “Hi, I’m happy and bubbly and everything is fine”, my demeanour says. “But actually I’m a miserable sod” my internal monologue says, and that makes me feel bad that I’m ‘lying’ to others.

But interacting with others is an essential part of being human, and denying that can make depression worse, so it’s annoying depression makes socialising more difficult.

Join me next month when I might have socialised in London (I’m sure there must be someone else around here somewhere).

The answer to the clue of the month: BUBBLE AND SQUEAK (Cryptic definition)