Archives for category: Rehabilitation

I’m absolutely incredulous at the amount of time it is taking to move out of this phase. I can tell you how I got here: physically, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, philosophically, sociologically, economically… I have done the reading as a means of trying to find my way out of it.

The last time I healed an emotional wound I looked back and I could list accomplishments like ‘got a degree’. I clearly could not have been doing ‘nothing’ in that time. It’s just that then, as now, I did it all in a haze of dissociation. I was completely overwhelmed by my circumstances whilst refusing to bow to them.

I have to some extent let life wash over me. Sometimes believing that I was giving myself a kind of spiritual once over. I think that’s probably bunkum. I’m just immensely lonely, and very sad. I can not tolerate how deeply I feel that life is passing me by. One year rolls into the next, and I think with each passing year, “you’ve never been so fat”, “so lacking in energy”… and think of all the things that I could have done.

I was the first in my family to get a degree, I was the first to have a career, I went sailing, I engaged in the arts, I actively threw off the shackles of poverty and went to get mine. And now capitalism is functioning like it aught to, the middle and upper classes are squeezing me out of work and maintaining their privilege. And I miss my life.

Knowing this is what’s happening doesn’t make it easier to cope. It highlights the injustices and reinforces my lack of confidence. It successfully gaslights me into compliance. I am the only one complaining. The only other person that understood how this feels, declines to talk to me.

So here I am. Equally loathing myself for feeling sorry for myself, and trying to pep talk myself into taking the least awful routes out of this impasse. I already gave up on taking PIP to tribunal AGAIN, because of the fucking psych evaluation that I had done. The one that confirmed that other than depression (because of my circumstances) I am in fact perfectly sane.

In the long run, this long line of CPN’s and psychiatrist’s and counsellor’s stamp of sanity will be beneficial, but right now, it feels like chains. I am running out of ways to defend myself self against the social. I am living in terror that eventually they are going to sanction me, and that my worst fear will come true: I will end up homeless again.

I can’t handle the pride I feel, and the shame that lives with it. I hate to admit to anyone that knows me that I am out of work. It’s the worst kept secret I’m sure everyone knows, but it’s my Achilles heal. I got a degree, just to end up on the dole. Just who did I think I was anyway.

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.

You run out of steam. Where once it might have taken you 18 months, suddenly, it’s six weeks. Or worse, six days. The things you want to do are continually put aside in order to have the reserves to invest in your health and well being. The doctors appointments, the dole appointments, the job interviews…

You want to keep up with the house work, but it crowds you out. Moving the bedrooms round so you can minimize noise pollution from your neighbour is more important than washing up: because you need to sleep. The tablets the doctor prescribed affect other health conditions, so the ten day respite you’ve had, becomes a painful nightmare and the sleep train is brought to a halt.

You phone a ‘help line’, who is there to support you in your time of need… They fire off so many questions it’s plain they are not listening to your answers: they have their own agenda. Basically, that’s to punt you onto the online forums so you can have a whinge and a moan with other people in your situation. No thanks. With my level of skill and self awareness I become an unpaid support worker. Fuck you, pay me.

Having a minor panic attack you phone the Samaritans and hope to god that you get to speak to someone who is not going to patronise you. GOLD!!! You strike gold. This woman is clearly born into money, but she has empathy in spades. She’s intelligent and humorous and sees you. I mean, she really did see me. I felt held. I felt encouraged. I felt less of an alien for her observation of “You’re clearly quite cultured”.

I have described myself as a working class person with middle class tastes. I internalize a lot of snobbery and inverse snobbery and all kinds of other class war, class consciousness issues. I am pained sometimes by the things I like. The things that I am unable to access, to participate in, and enjoy guilt free. If I had money, these pleasures would not bring pain. It’s perverse.

Then you start to thinking about what kind of pet project you have been and have become. I want to take this lady out of the equation, she was fully congruent, she knew some of the emotional battles I was going through if nothing else. And there have been poorer (in every sense) people than her to not get the fact that £3 to get to a free community event is not free.

I am not putting blocks in my own path. I can not afford to pay for clay. I can not afford to pay for travel to doctors appointments, let alone social gatherings for the poor and dispossessed. And I do want to go, I do want to engage, but it takes energy and money both of which are finite. If you work in support, can you be more mindful of the realities of the people you are trying to support.

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.

So last night was a tough night. I took a tablet that I know knocks me out, I usually only take half a tablet when I need it for pain, but…

A while ago I remember looking at websites for warning signs of psychopaths. I wanted to know what other people seemed to know, and more importantly, I wanted to avoid being drawn into abusive relationships. I need to avoid being drawn into abusive relationships. I have utterly reached my limit with them. A friend of mine asked me to compile a list of ‘tells’ that we could use to create a ‘safe space’ in a business that we are trying to set up.

I didn’t really know where to start. And then it dawned on me last night: I do. And I have the perfect example of it in operation. My neighbour is not a psychopath, but he is a thoroughly horrible person. Possibly an alcoholic. definitely a grade A arsehole. For the last two years I have been slowly indoctrinated in to ‘how to be a perfect neighbour of 32’. It’s only over that last several months that I have realised just how bad things have been, and how traumatic the experience is having to relive the kind of oppression and abuse that I used to have to live with as a child.

We don’t want to make the links; we close our eyes; but there comes a time when our eyes are opened for us. There comes a time, where a series of events forces your brain to acknowledge the severity of the situation you are living with. And once opened, they can not forget what they have seen. This is where I am. Tackling historic neglect and abuse, while trying to manage it in my day-to-day life. It’s exhausting. But the thing I realised last night, I am an educated grown woman, with a voice. I can change my circumstances. I can unlearn ‘learned helplessness’. There is help and I am going to take it.

Here is how it works. I’ve told you all before, I’m sure… Your silence is a pre-requisite for continued abuse. Now listen here, before you go all victim blaming on yourself. It is not your fault you have been silent. It’s not my fault I have been silent, say it with me. It is not my fault I have been silent, but now I realise I have been silent, I will not be silent anymore. You go and you find that person that will listen AND help you move out of victimhood. We don’t live here, not any more. We have new rules to live by, and they are made by us, not them.

I called the police today. When the neighbour pulled up in the car, he got out of the car and called me a something ‘shit’. I just picked the phone up and called the police. They asked me what had led up to him calling me a something ‘shit’ and I said, ‘my front door is open’. When the police officer asked me in that disbelieving tone of voice, “what else happened”, I didn’t own that and think oh god they don’t believe me. I thought, I barely believe it myself mate! And I live next door to it. When I replied calmly and clearly that the door being open WAS the provocation, he asked me further questions. I was then able to tell him about the harassment order.

There is a new thing now, they ask you how you feel. How does it make you feel. Well I barely know, because I’m not used to being able to give voice to my feelings, as and when they happen. I’m not used to taking positive action in the moment. That kind of thing would have led to all manner of idiocy in my childhood days. But I am not a child. And I am not a victim. I am a person who is being intimidated, by another person who has his own reasons for acting like the very devil.

How do I feel? Right now, I feel focused and empowered. I feel future focused and slightly energised. I feel ready to take this man on, and push back those boundaries.

How did I feel at the time? Intimidated, nervous, on edge, anxious, frustrated… I know there will be some people out there thinking ‘brush it off’. ‘Sticks and stones’, but with this type of harassment, no out right display of physical violence or aggression is necessary, he already set that up two years ago.

He proved that he would drive his car at me in the street, the message being clear, “I will run you over”, “You will be punished”, “This is my street”. I once heard his visitor ask him how I got in and out of the house, and he told her that I used the back door, she just said, “oh”, and accepted that. I almost did too, it seems reasonable, doesn’t it? I park here, because she uses the back door. The truth is a little different isn’t it. I use the back door because I do not want to be driven at. I use the back door because I have been threatened with violence if I am seen in the street and he is in his car.

His bullying days are numbered. I AM going to use the front door and use the street, and if he drives at me, I WILL report him to the police. I will report every incident, from the vile words, to the door kicking and on. I will list and log every incident. I will not ‘only tell people of the worst of it’ I will tell of every look and glance designed to threaten, control and manipulate me. He cannot bank on my silence anymore. He can not control my life any further.

There is a new boss in town, and it’s me.

It would be a lie to say that I was a non-smoker since I smoke nearly every week. I began eating meat again. I went out and got laid. He’s an alright bloke, but he’s not for me: maybe he just doesn’t want to be for me. Anyway, we are friends, so at least we’ve lost nothing. We met when I started drinking again. I read an article that said that will power was finite. Being jobless and in the pit of grief trying to hold onto my sanity, something had to give. So, I let it all go (again, with the letting go!).

I called a friend, snot nosed and said this was the worst impersonation of ‘Love, eat, pray’ or what ever the hell that was, that I’d ever witnessed and I’ve seen a lot of messed up puppies in my time. She laughed and said, “You’re not messed up. You’re living. Get used to it”. I decided there was little else I could do actually, so I settled in for the ride. I believe the Buddhists call it developing renunciation.

Then I finally found a freakin job. Hallelujah!

Kind of got sacked because 1) My line manager and I knew each other from a previous job and we both knew it wouldn’t last long, 2) It ended a lot quicker than we both thought it would because I almost burnt the hostel down. Strictly speaking it wasn’t my fault, but still, it was a very close call. We both learned something that day: She’s a person living in fear and my hostel days are over because I just don’t have the love for it like I used to.

I let that go too. Just slunk off and never looked back. Even when I was pleading for my job, we both looked at each other through the facades we’d built knowing that neither of us wanted me to get my job back. But I worked long enough to pile a little bit of cash up. Knowing this might be the last pile o’ cash I see for a while I thought, “fuck it”. I’m going to get drunk. My birthday month was wild. I don’t even remember living like that in my teens, I just went nuts.

As the second half of August pulled into sight I said to myself that I was going to straighten out again and start the soul destroying process of finding work. Then I got drunk and slept with my friend again. We had a big talk a few weeks later about how we were just going to be friends, then we had sex on the sofa. It’s pretty funny you know. At some points I just laughed and laughed and laughed… Grief works in mysterious ways. My friends are phenomenal that’s all I can say. They really have carried me this year, and I will say it till I’m blue in the face, I have had no choice but to let them. At first, I waved to my pride as I passed by, but then it caught me up again all refreshed and wearing new clothes.

What now then?

1) I’m still allergic to the cat.
2) I have a zero hour contract working a bar.
3) I’m still looking for better hours.
4) I stopped writing the book. I don’t have time to research it properly.
5) I created my own event. (It went down really well).
6) I won some funding to be able to put my event on again in a different venue.
7) I’m applying for further funding to take it further afield.
8) I said I’d help a friend with his events. We are gaining a lot of interest and some very serious people are asking questions.
9) I’m going to have to set up new blogs about both of these events, because other wise, I’ll lose the anonymity of this blog. Some of you have come so far with me on my inner journey, that I wouldn’t want to lose you because I couldn’t continue writing with the same level of freedom I enjoy now.

I hope you are well. I’ll post the writing I did for my event when I’ve typed it up. Till then, have a listen to this my loves…

As a child and teenager I used to enter these periods and I would endure them for a short while and shake them off like water. I’d make a motivation and step through walls and climb mountains. The time I experienced the Long Dark Night of the Soul, I sincerely thought that I would not make it out alive. Until of course I shook that off also. It took years. Maybe 10, maybe 14. I still functioned, I progressed in many ways, in ways that were unexpected. And yet, on other levels, I was barely alive. I was moving through this world like a ghost.

Despite acquiring wealth, possessions, stability, a degree, a reputation as a person with integrity among friends and within my career… I felt like a fraud. At times I was angry and anti-social, at times I was classically depressed, at the lowest point I was 100% convinced that there were secret messages hidden in songs, which contained clues about how to resolve my emotional pain. Fortunately, I had an infatuation with a Muslim man who talked to his Imam about me. His Imam said I was seeking refuge in music, ever the Contrarian I said, “I’ll show you”! I wrote a poem and then silenced my stereo for the better part of 3 years.

These songs? This endless list of songs I play, they are just songs with lyrics or melodies that move me. They may be relevant to my current emotional state, they may not, they may be directed at one person, a group or solely at myself; they are all just songs. Audio glitter to sparkle dreary days and nights, there are no secret messages contained within.

There is an understanding that none of this even remotely matters. In my heart of hearts I know that I can unravel this life, right now. I could just choose to walk out of the door and disappear into the night. Thousands of people do it every year, some stay gone for days, weeks, months… some for years. Personally, I have always known that regardless of how far I travel I will always have to take myself with me. And so I ran away standing still; in comfort.

I used to engage in day dreams in absence of action. When I was trapped by my circumstances I resorted to my rich and fertile imagination. Sometimes, these fantasies bled into real life and I was dragged into a shared reality when other people strayed from my script. I hated it when people did not respond in accordance with my dreams. I used to mind read. That is to say, I used to believe that I knew what other people where thinking and feeling, and would rarely ask even reasonable questions.

Since my grandmother died, I entered a period of existential crisis. I am not depressed, I am not stressed, I am slightly numb, occasionally angry (I am not patient); I have chosen to experience this state of being as a period of waiting. I am waiting. What am I waiting for? The bodies of my enemies to pass me by? No. Sometimes our enemies have the most valuable lessons to teach us. What I am waiting for is a revelation.

I am waiting for a door, that once opened wide can not be closed, that will not be ignored. I’m waiting for the wisdom to recognise that door when I see it, rather than when I’ve gone so far passed it I’ve lost it. In the mean time I am meditating on my weaknesses and learning what to do with them. Accept them or develop them into strengths. I know that any time I can change this life, with a word, a thought, an action. I am not powerless. I might not be fully self actualising, or perhaps in going for refuge, I *am*.

These are dangerous times. The world is going crazy. We can only make it a better place by being as authentic as we can, with ourselves and other people. We have to learn that sometimes the people who smile the most tell the most damaging lies. We have to understand that other people sometimes have a vested interest in making sure we fail. It absolves them of having to take responsibility for their own lives and subsequently the consequences of their own choices.

We have the power to unravel this life, now. Sometimes all it takes is a change of perspective, sometimes it requires something more radical. But we, no one else, are responsible for our current realities. The only advice I have that is of any use is this: When making decisions make sure mind, body and soul are in alignment. A sense of calm will help you know when you have made the right choice, and you will be able to act with authenticity. Be kind. Yes, to yourself and other people.

Play Your Cards To Your Heart – Groove Armada

So, back jobless for the second time in a year, and no volunteer commitments, I have started the long slow slump in to stress and possibly depression. I’ve been to the doctors and I have to ‘opt in’ for counselling… It seems the move into a nicer more central area wasn’t quite the boost I was looking for. I might as well have stayed where I was, the neighbours are just as bad and a recession is a recession no matter where you are.

I reached out, looking for a little hope and offers came flooding in… then one by one the offers receded… There are more than just this list but they are future appointments…
1) I spent £4 traveling to visit my dad, to help him with some painting, he wasn’t in. Well, I could have had a pouch of baccy (could do with taking up smoking again), 4 cans of cheap lager, some WonderWeb for the curtains, 2 days food, fish and chips from the expensive but tasty local chippy, or 4 kilos of flour (8 loaves).

But at least you got me out of the house and every little helps. And the Park is beautiful this time of year. I would rather have actually *seen* you, than sit on the doorstep before leaving, but hey I suppose the time we arranged was more flexible for you than me. Feeling great. (Turns out he was in, he was just asleep *read passed out).

2) I’ll give you a ring, tomorrow, we’ll have a good catch up. <nothing>

3) We’ll have a girlie night in, I’ll bring some treats, when shall I come. I’m sorry I can’t come, when can I reschedule?

At least the last two didn’t cost me anything, I’m skint enough as it is. And I’ve decided I would rather just be left alone actually…  don’t bother with your platitudes. I will be OK, I have seen through worse than this, I will be employed again (maybe not until 2014 the expected end of the recession, don’t ask me how I know). I will pay off my debts and I’ll be able to get a whole load more fake ass friends.

Or perhaps, I’ll join a nut club and hang out with the mentally ill and poor again, at least you know what you’re getting folks. Honestly, but I just don’t have the energy for it. Happy clappy everything will be OK groups for when you’re recovering from a period of boo… Frig all use when you need it most. Everyone knows it. And all the do gooders pat themselves and us poor mentals on the back with a job well done… Actually, I JUST NEED A JOB (with a fair wage) we all say…………………

Oh, but I have some volunteering coming… good enough to work, but not good enough to get paid… that’s me and 2.5 million people, all told we are not working hard enough or putting enough in, striving a little less than we ought to… well that’s a fine fuck you too.

On FB a friend was encouraged by another friend to “Smile next time”. He replied, “Smiles mean nothing”. We are permanently and perpetually asked to smile, to be nice, to be kind, to be considerate, to be thoughtful… If we display any negative emotions the presumption is that you are either bad or mental.

Buddhists don’t do good, bad or evil, least not in the way that we in the West do. They do not think that karma is a tool of justice, they believe it is like the universe or a psychopath; disinterested. It will ripen seeds, it doesn’t care if you think they are good or bad. It doesn’t care whether you want it to or not and it doesn’t care if you like the results or not.

I recently had a friend cut me out of her life. It was interesting, it was abrupt and quick. If she had been discontent with our friendship she had not said and if she had been planning on calling it a day with our friendship she hid it well. I have cut people out of my life and I have been cut out by other people before, it is not nearly as traumatic as you might think…

In fact, I am glad; it’s the most honest thing she has done for some time. I can not help her where she is, except be there for her and she has decided (for what ever reason) she does not want me present. Sometimes the best thing you can do for your friends, is not be a friend. Space, time and distance, they are not your enemies.

From the outside looking in, it might seem that I do not care. What do people want me to do? March up to the door and order her to a) be my friend again, or b) tell my why she doesn’t want to be my friend? What, are we six? And what good will that do either of us? She will talk to me, when she wants to talk to me, if ever. If not my tears or lack thereof mean the same… nothing. She has the right to cut ties.

What I am asking of you dear reader, is to be honest. If this tale fills you with dread that it might happen to you, be more honest. Don’t try to put a sticking plaster on the scabs of life, let them open to the fresh air, let them ooze and crust over and heal. Don’t just put a plaster over a problem and say to yourself there! Fixed. What you are creating is an ulcer, a large difficult, foul smelling sore that is hard to treat.

If someone is pissing you off, tell them. If you are unhappy, angry, discontent, sad etc make it known. If you have been told by someone that you are pissing them off, don’t be a baby, deal with it. If you have been told by someone struggling with themselves that they are in distress, do not stick a plaster over it and say it will be alright, it will not. Tell them it is OK for them to be human and that ‘negative’ emotions are the brains way of saying, “Enough!”.

How do you expect people to transition otherwise?

What does this interaction mean for me? I am another friend lighter, it’s a good reason to consider my own period of transition more candidly.