Archives for category: Self Medication

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.

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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

I had a fall a last Monday and hurt my left leg. I’m able to walk on it, but I have significant bruising and the pain keeps me awake at night. Combine this with ‘next door neighbours’ and some life issues and I am sleepless in Bradford. I’m a night owl, it has always been thus. They are larks, they have probably always been thus. I am in a lark sandwich.

There are other things on my TickerTapeMind. I’m thinking about communication and miscommunication. I’m thinking about if we can change who we are, and if we can, should we? I’m thinking about normal and what is expected of us by society and I am thinking about ‘Nothing’.

This could be a long post, already I am wondering how long, so I may take this in two parts. The primary thought is how I’ve been neglecting my men folk. My women folk are all genned up with my second hand knowledge, not so much the men; why is this? Any of the above for example?

I had to learn to communicate efficiently. I had to acknowledge that I could not change the people I love. I can get new people, but I am sure they will come with new communication issues. I am certain that I am being as authentic as I am able and have changed what I can from what I want to change. But my pathological cycles began to hamper my well being. I needed to move beyond, in order to make a new life.

I’m about 85% there. My most recent trip to therapy resulted in “Why are you really here?” The answer was to learn that I was in fact OK. That the only thing that was wrong, was that I had forgotten that I was doing really well and interacting with the people around me in much better terms. Not only had I progressed, but the people around me had noticed this and wanted to progress also. They had begun their own journeys. I myself began mine through observing someone elses.

How did we do it? I’ll tell you: AQA Listening Skills and CBT. That and allowing myself to receive love and compassion. By ignoring the permanent berating of my inner parent and by nourishing my inner child. I don’t mind if you think this is all bunkum, or pop psychology, you are obviously happy with your patterns and cycles if you think that way. Good luck to you!

Personally, I needed to know that what I said would be accepted the way it was intended. I needed to know that I could say something and felt heard and understood. I knew that something was wrong when I was always getting into arguments when I was trying to ‘make things better’. Of course, some people have a vested interest in deliberately misunderstanding, but if you take my advice you will know that it is not for lack of trying on your part. You can have your say and then feel completely satisfied when you tell them to “Go fuck yourself”.

AQA Listening Skills to learn how to listen properly. CBT to learn how to talk properly. I am certain in days gone by the community would have taught us how to do this is; via extended family, being receptive to the wisdom of our elders and having time to sit and receive. But this is not days gone by and they may never come again. Let me be clear, this is not going to take five minutes. If you take my advice you are signing up for a year or so of study and self improvement. Ask yourself this: “Can I live the way that I have been living for another 5 years?”. If not, take my advice.

AQA Listening Skills or an equivalent, involves practical sessions with a peer group. You may be able to do the course on-line, but if you need to learn how to listen, well then you are going to have to be with people. CBT is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. This learning how to recognise our cycles and thought patterns and how to break them, it is about learning to identify our true emotions (independent to those around us) and it is about communicating authentically with the people we interact with.

You have everything you need. The best answers are the most simple ones, but do not think for a second they are going to be easy answers. Be prepared for your world to get a bit messier, be prepared to wonder why the hell you thought this was a good idea.

This is why you will need to allow yourself to receive love and compassion, because when you change the way you interact with the people you love, they fight back. They say things like: You’ve changed, I don’t know you any more, Why are you always so angry, You are pathetic… Just remember, this will pass. They will accept the new you (eventually) and they may even be inspired by you to make a change in their own lives.

Lots of love from your absent and distracted friend,
TickerTapeMind.

1) She said, “You live life in orange but talk in blue”. At the time my response was honest. But right now struggling to sleep I am failing to keep a grip, my fingers are slipping.

2) I have pain in my shoulder, it’s a physical reminder of unfinished business.

3) I slept well last night after having burst a little bubble with the idiot neighbour. It felt really good to hoover at 7 am and sing “Ramases Callosus!” at the top of my voice. You will not fuck up my sleep and then have a lay in.

4) Too right Saul Williams, I have a list of demands! They are not written on the palm of my hands, they are branded into my heart and I forgot what they were, now I can’t read them because of all the scar tissue.

5) Yeah, telling my Aunt to fuck off was liberating. She called and started swearing, talking shit about Nans will. When I told my mum, she said she was proud of me. Said my Aunt needed to know she was talking to a woman not a child. I still feel like a child. It made me sad when she said she missed me. I think I prefer it when we argue so I don’t have to acknowledge how much it hurts her living hundreds of miles away.

6) Yes my friend you were right, I do have issues, but they were not daddy ones and I don’t need you to fix them. You play the car game and it’s not funny anymore. If you want me in the car let me open the door, if not drive away. Or what the hell is wrong with me, why aren’t I walking away?

7) Back to not allowing hugs from certain folk because… because… because…

8) All the motivations I make mean nothing.  If I want something I walk through fire and move mountains to get them. I’m not fighting for shit. And I thought I was tired of fighting and needed respite, but at least I knew I was alive. Not that I want to punish my self, no no no… I’m through with that. Or am I?

9) I thought I was frightened too, but I think the only thing I am scared of is ridicule. I find myself ridiculous. I don’t really care that much what most people think of me.

10) This is the last time I lay awake thinking about that woman… I can’t tolerate the way she talks to people. Last week she punished me for offering the clients tea ten minutes before they where due a break, the clients noticed the interaction and I couldn’t hold my professionalism together long enough to wriggle out of it. I hid. I spent the whole session in a different room, when I could just as easily have performed my task in the main hall. Anything so I didn’t have to listen to her kvetching about the clients ‘doing it all wrong’. This class is not mandatory, they are not children and this is fucking art!

11) I wanted to cry. I want a cigarette, but I wanted to cry. Because of new neighbour I didn’t, I didn’t want to wake her, I wanted to fucking howl the place down. So I got up, and by the time I got downstairs I just wanted the cigarette. And now I have stuck tears. This is bullshit. I have keys to my friends house, I could literally break into her house and steal some tobacco, I wouldn’t want to give her hear attack though.

12) I’m reading old writing… perhaps it isn’t wise at the moment.

13) Yes, I know that you have defriended me on FB and the truth is I couldn’t care less. I know why. It doesn’t reflect well on you. Hu-fucking-rah! I made some progress.

14) GOD DAMMIT! Yet more application forms with no sign of interviews, no responses to the funding queries and the money I saved from working is all gone. Gone, gone, gone.

I want to be anywhere but here. Or nearly anywhere, I am not so broken as to court disaster… but seriously, something has to give before I do.

…for example writing a blog, when I should be getting ready to go out. In my defense it’s not my fault, it’s my friends. She’s stuck on a train. I don’t go out often and even rarer still do I get to go to an event of my choosing in my local area. It’s not really known for salsa and soul.

Anyhow, the other thing that I should not be doing is devoting time, energy and wow on a man who is probably unreliable, stubborn, possibly a bit more cuckoo than I can handle and likely to play me like a set of drums. There is another man I like, who would probably play me like a cello.

Let’s be clear, there is nothing wrong with me. I don’t feel like I need to be abused (I think he’s likely to be negligent, not abusive). I do deserve to be loved. I am smart, feeling good and definitely on the up… So this attraction I have, the electricity that I feel, is not something I’d like to wish on myself.

I’m really not a risk taker or an adrenalin junkie… and yet.

It’s quite exhausting actually, it’s like a form of madness. Am I done? Nope… So, here’s hoping that a night on the tiles with my girls will cure me of the burning furnace in my… everything.

Just in case it needed to be said, tonight I will be Baddhist…

Hey old friends, hey new friends, I see you!

I’m one room done and ARGH more to go! The house is upside down and I’m thinking back to the last time I moved. I packed and moved in one day, in a transit. Oh. My. Days. I have too much stuff now.

When I try and get rid of stuff I end up holding on to it. I got rid of lots when the ex moved in and I’m stood in the middle of this big mess thinking, I NEED to get rid of more. This stuff is making me ill.

To help me, I have told my India pal (who is going to South Africa this time) that I am going to let her have the proceeds from a car boot sale. A promise is a promise. So far I have boxed 3 ornaments. I might need to look a bit closer at what I can let go.

Books. There are hundreds of books. I used to need new books like air. When did the acquisition of stuff stop mattering and why can’t I let go of stuff I no longer want or need? I know when it’s gone I will not miss it. So why cling to it?

As another tool of letting go, I have decided that only things of quality can remain in the new house. Anything that is not quality goes in the garden, to be sorted for fund raising for South Africa or for the local charity shop.

And then, my cousin asks me, do I want any of my Nan’s stuff.

In my youth I used to socialise with stoners. As I was so relaxed everyone who was one, mistook me for being a bird of the feather. I didn’t mind, as I had more in common with them than the ‘normals’. I rarely partook, but when I did it resulted in me giggling like a clown on three puffs and then sliding slowly into a supine position. It was almost like ‘other thinking’.

The stuff they smoked changed, they called it ‘Chronic’ and I abstained, preferring to have beer. Research was conducted and it was found this new stuff is low in Cannibinoids and high in THC (or the other way round?). Regardless, the shit that folks are smoking now, is not what they were smoking 20 years ago. Now it can trigger Psychosis. Fact.

Before I came to the end of the line with that set off friends, I warned them that they where throwing their lives away, that they would come to regret it when looking back through the past. The old lines I’m not addicted, I can stop when ever I want, yada, yada, washed over me.

What was it to me if they wanted to blast themselves into the stratosphere? Stoners typically don’t hurt anyone directly, but they all fail to see the damage they do indirectly, through supporting the drugs trade. Even so you can not judge, as people support pain and suffering on a daily basis just though drinking Coca Cola. Don’t believe me? Have a look at Mark Thomas’ research.

One day a friend accepted my challenge to stop smoking, in order to prove to me that she was not addicted. For a month she gave up. She did what she always did, ran a home, raised a child, worked as a physiotherapist, worked in the garden and was a loving wife. It seemed that stopping hadn’t affected her life for better or worse.

When she started again, as I knew she would, she saw what I saw. She understood then, that it was not about whether the drug was addictive or not. It was about how it dulled her. About how much money she spent. About how she smelt. About this drug not being the drug of the past but even if it was, it was about the drug stopping her achieving her full potential. That she was capable of even more, if she left the drug alone.

I don’t know if she still smokes, we don’t talk any more. Letting go of that set of friends was the hardest thing I’d had to do in many years. But it was happening whether I liked it or not, so why not on my terms?

I’m reminded about these times by some pain meds that I have for my back. They smash me out so I only take them when I need to, like last night. As I was sliding into sleep I thought about my book and mentally wrote a page or two. I can remember the visual, but I am too groggy to write properly.