Archives for category: Family

I was supposed to have a medication review for some anti-depressants that would not interfere with my IBS. A routine referral, has turned into a full psych evaluation. Thanks, tory government. Thanks.

After many years of managing my depression, anxiety and/or PTSD on my own, I’ve finally hit the wall I hit back at the beginning. How do I survive. Where do I draw from when the well is dry. I don’t know. I don’t. Let me tell you how it came to this…

I’ve been told by the government that I am well enough to work, but I know I’m not well enough to do the work I’m trained to do, and no one will employ me anyway. I look for work. As a dyslexic person, I find this very difficult. As a dyslexic person with mental health problems, it’s painful. Honestly: painful.

I broke down in my PIP assessment, not that you would know it according to the assessors write up. She was more interested in this (allegedly) massive IQ I have. I’m having to ask for a reconsideration. After only two days, they are ringing me and I don’t know why. That is hardly enough time to mount an appeal is it?

In December and January I had a ton of doctors appointments, and three were missed. Despite the fact that I did not DNA at least one of those appointments they kicked me off the service. They did this before I could appeal, despite the letter saying that I had time to appeal if I thought the decision was wrong.

The mental health team rang, to tell me they had cancelled my appointment and would rebook in a few months. I rang to tell them I didn’t have few months, in short. They then told me they wouldn’t see me if I didn’t have a doctor. I rang the doctor to complain and beg to be reinstated.

The practice manager said that they would bring it up with the doctors at a meeting. My mother and my nephew come to visit and my mum decides to have an alcohol induced break down. By all accounts, she was jabbing her finger at my brother and calling him by my name. My nephew witnessed this, and my brother opened whoopass.

I’m still ringing the doctors to find out why the practice manager has not been back in touch. My counsellor was away for a week and so called First Response, is unresponsive. What ever energy I gain, I lose. I take a step forward and then I’m plunged back into fuckery. I finally get through to the practice manager and she reveals she forgot to ring me back. And she’s been on annual leave.

They have discussed my case and have decided that I can appeal… by letter. I just imploded. Its like telling a wheelchair user there is pain relief available, but they have to get up and walk to the other side of the room to get it. They want me to write down what I have already told them three times. With each telling the injustice of the situation creates more distress and hopelessness. And now, I have to decide what appeal is more important, AND look for work.

I have to skip some steps, you wouldn’t believe them. Today, I rang the mental health team to let them know that I have a doctor and want an appointment. They said it would be months. I said I didn’t have months. One of the managers rang me within twenty minutes and I said I couldn’t go on, being managed off of lists because of my intelligence. She said it was time for me to have a proper assessment, and I laughed.

I told her that every assessment I have ends in reactive stress or depression, “go get counselling”, was it worth wasting everyone’s time. I said I never thought I would beg for medication, after refusing them for so many years, but that I was begging now. (SSRI’s do nothing for me, except give me a bunch of side effects). She said she thought it was time for a more in depth assessment, and that they would find a medication that didn’t fuck with my IBS.

“When?”, I said. With out pause, she replied, “A couple of months”.

I don’t want to do those lists anymore. Maybe it’s a mood thing. Maybe it takes me so friggin long to log into my account that it robs me of a small parcel of my soul. This is not my bank account, there is no need for these ridiculous passwords.

Yes, ok, I started with Dyslexia despite the title. I’m finding that common these days, I say one thing and do another. I used to be so diligent about being reliable and honest. In previous years I would have been mortified to be so <insert appropriate word here>. See that? That’s me not judging myself. Trying. I’m more ‘human’ now.

I feel less like a 2D cut out, but at the same time, I feel so deflated and heavy. I started with my new counsellor today, and before I realized what I had said I was laughing. “This world is not big enough for me”.  I was detailing how my last counsellor opened up space for me, and after a few tears, this.

The truth is I am a big ideas person. Details don’t just bore me, they kill me. I know some people adore detail, I’ve met them. And while I can clean something to military precision, I still object to having to look at this spotlessly clean tap and be displeased to see a watermark. Come on! (I don’t clean anymore, that’s another post).

I’m a scientist, it’s the thing I am most qualified to do. I follow some Buddhist precepts. I never found either to be at odds, and yet people like to have you in one basket, or worse, box. These labels feel like coffins. Claustrophobic, dark and life ending. How can anyone live freely with all these labels.

Fat lot of good either of them did me. I move closer to a PTSD diagnosis, I’m resigned to it. I avoided the mental health professionals (and was rejected by them as being too sane) for my career. As long as I was working I had all the therapy I needed.

All the hidden threads are leading back to one big fucked up ball of wool. Sleeping problems, stomach problems, emotional outbursts… things that are perfectly ordinary reactions to real and present stress: joblessness and poverty will do that. I haven’t the energy for the mental gymnastics anymore.

The things that are escaping from me now I have no diligence are consistent with PTSD. Or more precisely, complex PTSD. What a shitty world. What a shitty, shitty world. I wouldn’t fair better in any other time: I’d have been burnt as a witch. What a shitty world we make for each other.

Over Christmas I learned something that helps me understand my family and by extension me,  better. Not good things, imagine if you will a Fibonacci sequence of shit. Hopefully, in the descendant, she says with a lackluster pun. I said years ago that it would all end with me. Now I know what ‘it’ is.

I haven’t felt Christmacy in years. Can’t say I’m excited, but I am looking forward to spending time at the female parental’s. Change is as good as a rest.

My dad was in hospital again: pulmonary embolism, pneumonia and left lung lower lobe collapse. I’m pretty sure there is a poem in there somewhere. He’s home now, and oddly happy. Then again, people do find relief when they feel heard. He’s had a sore nose for 14 months (this is an understatement) and they are going to have a look and see what damage was done when they had to pack it (that was one severe nosebleed!).

I’m thrilled to bits with the new diet, despite the problems that it’s causing me. The lack of pain is a major bonus. Combine that with the sleep that I have been getting and I’m feeling quite alert. And hopeful. Ish. (Let us not jinx this).

I’ve been making a shirt. I made my own pattern for it. I’m feeling really accomplished, or I will do when I sow the arms on and figure out how to make a neck line…

I don’t have much to say: things have been incredibly intense and I’ve been worried about all the stuff. I wanted to make a post that was a bit more positive and uplifting. I don’t know why… but I feel light and I’m not going to look too closely into that.

I’m going to wrap myself in a blanket and read a book. I’m not going to do anything else till after Christmas. That feels like a very normal and peaceful thing to be able to say. Hurrah! The calm after the storm. Hope the next one passes me by, I’m all stormed out and hoping for better weather.

Which reminds me of a poem I wrote many years ago:

Batten down the hatches

We’ve headed for stormy weather again

Close all the latches

Before you see my shame

I’ve studied all the catches

And still they’re all the same

Still batten down the hatches

And we’ll see if the weather will change.

I don’t think it’s a particularly strong poem, but it’s nice to look back and recognize how much growth there has been in these years of relentless destruction and destitution and hopelessness.

My writing group came to an end, but there are plans afoot to reinstate it next year. I’m also looking forward to being arm deep in clay. Might there be other wonders on the horizon yet to be uncovered? Imagine that? Things to look forward to rather than feel like I have to cling to scraps to survive.

Yes, I am feeling gratitude and that is a joyous thing.

So, dear friends, I wish you all Joyeux Noel and hope that the coming year brings you a lot of what you need, and a little of what you want. Dare I say, I hope you see a glimmer of things that you had not thought to hope for.

Before I begin, I have to tell you I am sick of resetting my password every time I sighn in. I want a cigarette. A mcfonals burger (u no hu I mean). And I want to get laid: well and often. I don’t think these are unreasonable requests, only 2 of the 3 will kill me, the third being mildly perilous. Well, the third is probably more likely to kill me presently but this is a wish list, shut up.

Having made a cross declaration to several people that I felt trapped by my inability to sculpt, someone said you can always use free things. Did I want to stab that person in the head? Yes, I did. Mindfulness, be damned. So and so uses cardboard, they’ve made some amazing things… blah blah kill me.

I want what I want, and for a change I’m going to get it. A friend has offered to be my patron. Imagine. A proper patron. It’s not enough to earn a living kind of patron, but it is a life saving and life affirming door opening kind of patron. I will be making ceramics very soon.

I’m still fighting the fight with the meds and sleep, but I have slept. Can you tell? I re-read some of my old prose and its really bloody good. Shame my recent stuff is very much me circa 1994. Painful. I’m bored of this bit already. Let’s move on.

I decided to accept a place on an assertiveness course. So far I have learned that you can ask for things and you will be given them. No, really. I needed help with travel, I got it. I told them I couldn’t eat their biscuits they bought me gluten free ones. This has been a week or two of receiving. How pleasant.

The assertiveness course… I’m. I’m. I’m.

Look. Things need to change in women’s services.

Women need to be stopped being asked to prevent their own abuse.

Seriously.

Just stop it.

And this notion that a ‘bad man’ is always a ‘bad man’ needs to change too. We need to be taught how to spot these bastards before we go to bed with them. That’s the problem isn’t it. They come with hearts and flowers and smiles first.

Apparently, assertive people talk with a warm voice. I told her I had issue with that. She was a bit surprised. Half the reason why myself and my class mates are in the mess we are in is because of our warm words and forgiving natures. We are saps. ill equipped to deal with the more predatory of our species.

We are here to get help to route them out before they bleed us dry. The bosses, friends, boyfriends, parents: whom ever chooses to leech off us… And we won’t learn how to do that with your Disney villain caricatures. We are no princesses, there are no knights, there is no justice. Just us and a packet of biscuits, gluten free or otherwise.

I got flashed, people, that’s what happened. I had to hit that man to get him to leave me alone (he started to follow me). I told him I was going to hit him, and then I popped him, twice. My wrist was sore for weeks. When I asked you who the Boss was a few posts back, I meant my answer, I’m the freakin Boss.

I have to clear a few things up… It wasn’t my stepfather that stopped the counselling it was my mother. My mother went out of her way to make my 40th Birthday a bit of an extravaganza. I start the writing course in two weeks, and I am going to resurrect my book. I’m volunteering for two projects and I’m applying for a writing internship, a paid one! I am learning to make my own clothes.

After living in dire straights for so long a little money goes a long way. So when I nervously asked for money for my birthday, I was very pleased to find myself the proud owner of £300. I bought a lot of material and I fished out my Nan’s sewing machine. I am halfway through making my first pair of trousers.

I also bought three pairs of shoes from Blend. I spent my 30th sailing the fjords of Norway and traveling through the mountains, during that time I bought some trainers. I took a pair in every colour they had: green, blue, red, orange… Something made me look them up this year (nostalgia) and there they were. Now, thanks to the wonder of having friends in foreign places and an internet connection I am proud owner of said trainers. £50 for the lot. Thank you, very much.

I was treated to a weekend away by my mum. We did nothing but eat and drink for three days. We even managed not to descend into complete anarchy. Which is somewhat shocking since we were both drinking. I decided to give up for a few days trying to avoid ‘drunk mother’. Amazingly, my new counsellor ain’t that bad, and I’ve moved from a place of anger to real forgiveness. Not the sticking plaster kind, but a lasting forgiveness. I’m glad because anger is exhausting. So is drinking, I don’t know how people find the stamina to become addicted…

Whilst I was preparing for this writing course, I went through my books and found ‘the book’. I couldn’t put it down, even I want to know how it turns out! It’s also given me the confidence to apply for an internship as a writer. I do not publicise this blog not just because I want to maintain my anonymity, but because I fear my own writing. I worry about my consistency, I worry about my pitch and I am terrified of my grammar. I might not if I renamed the blog “Fuck off, I am Dyslexic” but I’m trying to work on my amiability.

I had a few interviews, which after years of having none is a bloody relief, and while volunteering is not ideal it does give me something to concentrate on. Both projects are in areas that I feel particularly challenged so I am hoping to get as much out as I put in this time. My waistline is also thanking me. I signed up to OKSTUPID again. I don’t know why I bother because most of them scare me, but it’s something to do to relieve the ongoing tragicomic monotony that is my life post recession.

My orchids bloomed. I stopped smoking. And I got thanked for being a feminist!

Something terrible happened yesterday.
I don’t want to talk about it today.
I’m at a friend’s cat sitting.
I’m in a lot of pain; physical and emotional.
A friend wants to know if I need anything, I already said what I needed, I’ve been saying it for months.
I look at my friend’s house and I’m transported to desperately sad and unhappy times.
Every surface is covered. Every surface has something on it. Every. Surface.
There is no view.
I think I’m allergic to her house as much as I am her cat.
I can’t believe the years I have lost to my shit.
All of it, physical and emotional.
Other people could see it, but I couldn’t.
Or at least I did not want to.
Why?
Because I was so very sad, and lonely.
Sometimes I think I haven’t moved on at all, but when I look back to yesterday, I think I’m starting to win.
It’s my time to win.
I so desperately need to travel, it’s killing me staying put. I don’t know how to make it happen, but I have to try find a way. Especially before the world implodes. Honestly, I’m really feeling the political disasters presently.
I feel like I’m in a race against time.
Only this isn’t as much fun as crystal maze.
My pain killers are kicking in now.
I hope I can sleep.
I’m wondering if I have enough masochism left in me to spend another night.
Someone called to invite me to a writing course, I can’t believe the range of emotions swirling around this one.
What is my main aim?
Freedom!
Does writing set me free, or does freedom give life to my writing.
I think we all know the answer to that.

I got a text from my bank saying I was over-drawn and had an hour to put some money in. Fortunately, I had some change in a jar. I paid it in, and feeling sorry for myself, went to get some oat milk from M&S (It’s the only place that sells it in town now). I also got some mozzarella and a bag of salad to bump up my existing food supplies. I won’t get any more money for a bit, so I was really focused about what I was buying. Then I spotted a yellow sticker. And another. Then another. All in all I came out with £30 of shopping for £10. Because it’s Marksies, the meals have actual nutritional content.

I’ve been eating a lot of smash and beans.

I gave a beggar 50p. If I could not shit myself at having spent a tenner on ‘ready meals’ then I could afford that act of kindness. (Though, to be fair to myself, the deals were very good and most of the stuff I bought was to supplement what I already have at home.) After I paid I realized what I’d done. I needed every penny left to get to my Aunties tomorrow. She wants to talk about the wills we are all beneficiaries of. Just think Jarndyce and fucking Jarndyce… we will all be dead before they are settled. This is the first time the door ways of communication have been opened since grandma’s and granddad’s funerals.

I’ve been so busy looking after my dad, that I just let them get on with it. My life continues its descent into destitution: the terror I used to feel has now subsided. This is the new normal. I always have to pull money from no where when the rent is due. There is nothing left to sell. My clothes are old and thread bare, my hair is grey and frizzy, my complexion is bland, my eyes tired, and the less said about my demeanor the better.

It’s going to take a forward thinking manager to see through that and recognize my worth. I don’t know my own worth anymore… It certainly is not the £21,000 I used to be able to command. My attempts to get sick pay, have been declined and I am forced into seeking work I am not well enough to do. If I’d been able to find work when I still had juice left in the tank, then this would be a good time to find part-time work I feel capable of doing whilst ploughing through the counselling.

Presently, I can not do both. Did I make this pact before I recognised that or after? I will commit to one thing only and see it through to completion. I have spent my life fracturing my efforts, so this time I am not going to renege on my promise to myself. I’ve have a new counsellor… I start again in two weeks.

My will be done. Before my will power completely deserts me, I will focus on my therapy. When I have wrangled my past into something manageable and my future into something worth sticking about for, then I can take on the next challenge. But for now, I’ll be doing the poor person shuffle from week to week. Aside from the flashbacks, panic attacks and the lack of sleep, I feel an underlying calm. Is this acceptance or denial?

I’ve been working very hard with a counsellor over the last six months or more and just as I was beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, the rug was pulled out from under me. The service I have been using had its funding cut and as a result, I have lost my counsellor.

The things I have been tackling have been so overwhelming that my brain shuts down and I have been almost fainting. Sometimes, I wish I had fainted, it’s a hugely exhausting process to try and navigate. Things that have been suppressed for so long have been making themselves front and centre and I have had no choice but to take them on, or be consumed by them.

I’m glad though, because working on these issues means I get to deal with the aching loneliness that I feel every day. I get to work on the tension that is so bad, that I am pulling leg muscles just walking down the street. I had no idea, that my stomach problems were rooted in my past trauma. And while most people might have said, “No Shit, Sherlock”, I genuinely thought that my jaw clenching was ‘because’ of my teeth aching, not the other way round.

The idea that you have to love yourself before anyone else can has always infuriated me. What the fuck do you do if you don’t know what love is? We all think we do, but when asked to describe it, we can not. I’m going for these things: trust, respect, tenderness, presence. When I can give these things to myself, in the same way that I used to be able to give these to other people, then I think I will have cracked it.

Recently, my relationships with other people have been rupturing. I’m so tired of putting on the happy mask everyday. The more I change (and reveal myself), the more people ‘reveal’ themselves to me. Sometimes, people have been real arseholes, even friends that I’ve had for decades. Sometimes, it’s become apparent that I haven’t the necessary strength needed to maintain friendships with people who to be frank, are just as needy as I am.

I’ve also been getting used to the idea, that not all friendships last forever, which is news to me. I never really knew what a friend is, or what one does. Who teaches you this stuff? Honestly, if you know, tell me, cos I feel like I have to go back to school. Some friendships might be on hold while I try figure out who the fuck I am, I’d hate to hurt someone while I’m writhing about inside myself this way.

It’s my 40th this year and my mum keeps asking me what I want. I’d like to tell her I want my mum back, and I’d like to see my compassion and humour return. I want my ‘bounce’ back. I reckon I’m going to stick to a picnic and two tickets to the opera though. That may be more realistic for now. Maybe by patching together some more positive memories I can build a past I can look back on with some happiness.

All the things I can not say:

I have endometriosis.

Every time I have a period I have a lot of pain. A LOT of pain.

When I was 22 I was in an abusive relationship and he caused me a lot of pain. A LOT of pain.

When ever I have a period, the pain mixes together and I can’t tell how much of the pain that I am in is anguish.

I want a baby.

My body wants a baby.

Every month, I have a shout and a scream and then a big cry, because there is nowhere else for me to burn off this energy.

I want sex. My god, do I miss sex.

I want intimacy. I ache sometimes because I go for so long without being touched, even by friends.

I would like a relationship, but I am terrified of emotional intimacy. I have a very serious problem with not being able to identify monsters. I can see them for other people, but I am incapable of seeing them for myself.

Every time I spend Christmas with my nephew, when I leave him, I feel like a hole has been blown in my hull. My ship sinks. I miss him so much, and yet, I am scared that my clinging love will stifle him. So, I make every excuse under the sun to not go visit: he lives too far away, I can’t afford the travel, I would be interfering……….

I am fed up of my drunk mothers self centred, self absorbed bullshit. I am tired of my stepdads refusal to go to counselling with her because he is terrified she will leave him. I am tired of my dad’s blasé responses because he is also incapable of talking. I am tired of feeling like a fucking teenager, because my parents never taught me to grow up, or learn how to spot a monster.

This Christmas, when my mother stood jabbing her finger an inch away from my face, snarling “You should let someone love you”. I died inside.

I am trying. I am trying. For the love of fucking love, I am trying. It hurts so much, and I keep on trying.

The playlist for this most modern tragedy is the album that was big when I was 22:
Lauren Hill – X-Factor.

It’s amazing how sleep deprivation really clears out your mind. The weird thought patterns and the zoning out can be pretty trippy. I don’t think I’ve slept well for a full week in over 5 months. It’s fair to say I feel quite unwell at times, worst is when you feel that sickening hangover feeling, it’s really difficult to function when you know at any minute you could seriously damage yourself. Simple tasks like chopping onions become mammoth.

The difference when you do manage to sleep, your mood, ability to concentrate, the things you are inclined to engage in, are profoundly noticable. It spotlights where you have real weaknesses and explodes your concept of self. It truly does focus and motivate you, but in strange ways. There is little active planning in the things you do, your subconcious is perhaps more active, and you just ‘do’.

I kid you not, you find out really quickly what is important to you. I recommend it. I will warn you though, it isn’t pleasant. But its like rolling a sculpture down a hill, the bits that fall off you have no purpose. <<< Is that Socrates? Where did I get that from? Anyhoo… I’m done with this experiment. I’ve bought some earplugs. That perhaps is the most stark observation from this period, the myriad ways I have found to punish myself. From not buying earplugs to block out noise nuisance, to persisting in choosing destructive relationships.

I been having the urge to work on my chakras. I have no idea what that is about really. I know that there are very real physical nerve bundles in the areas where the chakras are located so I get the feeling this is more than a spiritual urge. A friend gave me a meditation to do, and I was very surpised at the results as my blocks and stops were in the throat and frontal lobe (third eye) and eye. I really thought they would be in the root and sacrum, go figure.

Try is see what you get. Sit yourself down. Notice your body. Relax. Relax. HEY!!! I mean it! Relax. Your head, give it a little shake. Squeeze up your shoulders, then drop them. Have your hands in your lap. Relax your stomach, your back should be straight, but not like a rod. Give yourself three deep breathes and then forget about your breathing. Are your legs floppy? Relax those thighs and calves.

I want you to notice. Not visualise. NOTICE. Observe. Bear witness to. Start at the root and work your way up the spine, up the neck into the head (stay away from that crown now) and notice the feelings fall down the front of your body. Have your mouth relaxed and your tongue pressed against the roof of your mouth. Come full circle to the root. Where were you blocked. What are you holding in? It takes as long as it takes by the way, so don’t think you can get it over and done with in 5 mins. I took about 40 mins the first time. Perhaps more.