I am honoured to be nominated for The Sunshine Blogger Award.

A wonderful surprise, I have been nominated by Pazlo Armchair Zen – Nomination for the Sunshine Blogger Award.  It’s a first for me and I am feeling honoured to have been asked. It has taken me longer than I thought to be able to do this. I hope that I am able to do it justice.

sunshine-blog-award

Rules of the Sunshine Blogger Award:
Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
Answer the eleven questions set by the person who nominated you.
Nominate eleven other blogs and give them eleven questions to answer.
List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post.

The questions set by Pazlo:

How do you come to be a blogger?

I was advised by my counsellor, to take time out and do something for myself once a week and since I had been missing my creativity, she told me that I should nurture it.  I had written poetry and had a keen interest in photography which needed to be rekindled. Having begun to write poems again, I looked at how I would get them out in the open and felt that a blog was a good place to start.

Tell us a bit about where you live.

My time is currently spent between the the East Coast of Scotland where I spend my time in a rural and derelict cottage and the South of England, where I have a small bungalow. Both are coastal locations and are enjoyed in totally different ways. Scotland is my sanctuary, where I go to replenish my soul.

What other creative talents or outlets do you have, besides your blog?

I love photography and making things, and have a good eye for detail.

If you could send a text to everyone in the world simultaneously, what would you say?

Please can we have Peace?

How would you describe humankind to an alien that knows nothing of humans?

Interesting creatures, in all shapes and sizes and a mass of contradictions.

What, in your opinion, is the most important or valuable invention of modern man?

It’s a relatively simple answer for me. Travel, in it’s many forms which has brought the world closer together and opens up so many opportunities.

What attributes of your favorite season do you most admire?

Sun, Sea and Air with bright colours all around.

What is your earliest childhood memory?

Of a Bright blue painted upright piano with flowers all over it.  I was convinced that it was in our house and was devastated to be told years later that we had gone on holiday when I was about 18 month old and been in a concert hall somewhere and that was where I had seen it.

In what ways do you now differ from the person you thought you’d be when you were a teenager? 

I don’t have the biological children or the financial security that I was sure I would have by now.

Who has been an inspiration or hero in your life?

My Partner, who has been by my side through thick and thin and is my rock.

If you could be a different species, what would it be? 

I always thought that I would be a cat.  It would have to be a Tiger, since I have an inner strength that surprises me from time to time and I don’t like to be cornered.

My Eleven Questions

What inspired you to write publicly?

If you could pick one quote which describes you best, then post it.

Of the four elements, Earth Water, Fire or Air which would you be and why?

If you had never travelled abroad before and money was no object what is the first country you would go to?

What was the last thing you photographed?

Describe your perfect morning.

Animals or People, who would you prefer to spend your time with?

What motivates you?

If you had the perfect Christmas (or other seasonal holiday), how would it be?

Are you creative in any other ways other than blogging, if so then what is your passion?

If you were to describe yourself in one sentence to people who did not know you, what would you say?

Ana Linden Ana Linden

Phoebe Chi Musings of PuppyDoc

Ishita Lakra https://eddietaughtme.wordpress.com/

Truly Unplugged https://trulyunplugged.com/

Elaine https://firespiritblog.wordpress.com/

Gilly http://www.anythingexcepthousework.co.uk/

Lisa https://bloominuterus.com/

Len https://lenmoriarty.wordpress.com/

Shareen https://otvmagazine.com/

Rachel https://howtoprovide.com/

Alex https://septemberwriter.wordpress.com/

 

 

Tess https://tessblogsblog.wordpress.com/

 

Christmas, The Holidays How are you spending them?

This was going to be my “Happy Christmas” post when I began it last week.

We are still enjoying or enduring the Holiday period here in the U.K. As we head now towards New Year. I am grateful for the fact that I am enjoying it.

This Christmas I knew would be vastly different for us and I honestly did not know how it would go. After the year that we have had it couldn’t help but be. It is the first one where we have not had Kato physically with us, he was here only in spirit. He entered my thoughts daily and although I looked for signs I did not see any. However I still felt that he was part of the family here enjoying Christmas morning together.

The past week we have been getting ready for the occasion and I have never felt so unready before. I went for a job interview the week before and it went well. I came out with such a positive feeling about both the job and myself and hoped that I may be offered one of the two positions they had spoken about. That weekend, my partner told me to call my friend who was emigrating this week and book a ticket to visit her. It was a wonderful thing to do, I feared that she would be too busy but she jumped at the suggestion. So I had a fabulous time with her and her family before they went, I came back having felt such love, I was on cloud nine.

On coming home I tried to fit in getting the house “Christmassy” but had only just enough money to get food and a few small gifts for family, so had to buy gifts wisely. Whilst my partner and I sold a few items, the people came to collect. The truck went this week, I didn’t feel stressed about letting it go. The relief that we would have funds for the shortfall again this month outweighed that.

It also meant that Hope, my Beautiful blue car has been brought out of the garage and I  able to drive her again for the first time in months again thanks to the assistance of friends who made sure that she was safe for me. I played Santa and delivered gifts and cards on Christmas Eve and got to see and hug another friend I have not seen this year.

So being broke has been the new norm for this past year along with so many other emotions. But as we end the year I can’t help thinking we have lost a lot of people. Not just the ones who are old, but the ones who are taken far too soon. When faced with this situarion, you cannot help but rethink how you wish your life to be as the new year approaches.

I did not hear about the job, but that did not stop me from applying for many more this week. At some point, someone will offer me one, when the time is right so I must trust that the right one will come along too. It felt like I have turned a corner being invited for an interview can do that to you. Lift you up spirits and all and make you concentrate on the positives.

However recently my partner has been ill, he is feeling very stressed out about making ends meet but it has all come together just in time and he is wondering where the next bit will come from, looking for things he can turn around for a little profit to keep our heads above water until that elusive job comes along. But his heart is heavy and it’s making him tired and he is in pain with the various health issues he has and damage to his body over the years. He has been told to take it easy by the doctor, but the doctor knows that he doesn’t know how. Which can be a bit of a cycle for him, it also makes me worry about him.

This Christmas we did not get fancy gifts for each other. He bought me something lovely when we were in Scotland in the Autumn and I have kept it for Christmas. I bought him something he needed, a pair of boots to keep him comfortable whilst we walk the dog together and our present to each other was our beloved Roki. For Birthday, Christmas and my Birthday. No other gift is necessary as we have the love and happiness that he brings us. We collected our new baby seven weeks ago and he is the family we craved to have again.

We awoke on Christmas morning and all piled onto the bed for a big family hug. The day was mild and bright and we made plans to go out and see it. I did not spend the morning wrapping gifts for others as I had in previous years. I had managed to wrap the few that I had bought and most had already been given by then.  We sat talking, played music and had a lovely breakfast of smoked salmon omelette which is an all family favourite. I thought about the big Meal that I would make later and planned to speak to my friend to wish her a safe journey.  Our Christmas Day was non eventful to the outside world but just right for us. We sent and received messages of good cheer to family and friends but to see the face of your child as you give him presents on Christmas Day was just the perfect way to spend it.

Our boy had two fleece blankets which were donated by the emigrating friend and he was so thrilled with them. He had a rope toy which I had given him a couple of days earlier when I had returned from my trip and a woven cloth toy, which in our house is known as “A wonderful fling to be flung” which my mother had made for him. He also had some treats and was so ecstatic that he didn’t know what to play with first. So he just decided to pick up as many as he could at once, throw them all into the air and then roll on them. He is happy. I sent a message to his old family Thanking them for the most wonderful gift to us and received a touching response.

It was late evening by the time I had prepared and cooked our Christmas meal which meant we were up until very late and watching the films on the TV till the early hours. It didn’t matter so much. On Boxing Day I collected my brother and took him to our sister and her partner’s house for a feast. It was lovely, I haven’t seen any of them in months it was just nice to sit around and enjoy a meal, we also watched a funny film and laughed together.

They say it becomes different as you get older, but that is the true meaning of Christmas to us. We have love. We are not in Scotland for the first time in three years we have stayed at home. That in itself felt a little  bit odd but less stressful for me as I didn’t have to pack or travel Christmas week and it never quite feels like the holiday until you arrive at your destination.

My good intentions as to how we should spend Christmas did not come about, again we did not decorate the house for the occasion. My partner said it wasn’t important and we just ran out of time before the big day. This Christmas was about sharing Love and Time, after all who knows how much of it we have left, that was the most important thing and we achieved that.

So however you have spent yours and however you choose to spend the holiday time you have left, I hope that you enjoy it.

I want to Thank you for following my blog since I began in February, for the friendships that grow along the way and the support that you have shown me over the past few months.  I hope that we all continue on our journeys through the next year and find new inspiration, experiences to write about and I will enjoy hearing about yours.

The Daily Post – Festive

 Sisters

I am not talking about the ones you cannot choose the ones you are bonded to by birth and blood. Although I love her dearly, I am also lucky enough to have other sisters of my choosing. They are treasure to the soul and I am totally blessed to have known them and loved them.

For instance there is the girl who I have known since I was 18 months old and saw her moving in up the road, she has been a sister of mine ever since.  Sure over the years we have fought, when we were on our way to school with each other as small children, we regularly argued.  When I see or speak with her, time stands still, we are six again, chattering and laughing and always pleased to be around each other. When she went away to college and I moved away in our teenage years, I missed her so much. I am glad that I am able to see her and her family more often nowadays.

Then there is another lovely lady, with whom I have been through so much over the years. When we were 13 or 14 years old, we became blood sisters, you know where you are so close that a part of you wants to never lose that. You ceremoniously cut yourselves and say something like “your blood, my blood, our blood” and swear that you will be sisters forever.

We shared our first boyfriend, but that was not intentional, he was just a rat! We moved on from that and remained very close. Then a while later we lost touch for several years. During that time I honestly felt that a part of me was missing and I often thought about her, but did not know where to find her, or even if I should. I did not know if she would be the same girl underneath or even if she should be, but when we met up again and I met her wonderful family for the first time. It was as though no time had passed and they all were part of my family too. I am writing this as I think about the years since then and the fact that I am about to be parted from this family again as they emigrate to Australia on Christmas Day. Yes the other side of the world and wonder when I will see her again. Notice I say when, not if. You see I have a wonderful man who knows and loves me and makes things happen for me. He has driven across the countryside just to make sure that I see my friend whenever we are en route back to the South from Scotland. He knows that I will feel such loss when she is gone again, as I did before. So he has given me yet another wonderful gift. His Christmas gift to me is that yesterday told me to call her and tell her I was going to visit her and her family before she leaves next week and I am heading off on the train to see them all for a couple of days. I am so thrilled to be able to do this. We are looking forward to walking those hills together and her showing off the sights in her pretty part of Yorkshire. 

Her children when we last visited said that they would like to see me for Christmas so I have sworn her to secrecy and will just turn up at their house to surprise them. We are all excited about this unplanned visit as it was beyond my wildest dreams to see them all again since they weren’t able to visit us.

I have a treasure that is priceless. It is the people who surround me with Love and I am truly blessed and grateful.  

The Daily Post – Treasure

To Those Who Are Getting Help. 

This is a bit of a follow on Post from the other day about CBT When Those Three Letters Mean Totally Different Things and when it’s just time to Breathe!

Someone very dear to me and whom I haven’t seen for some time had told me that they are getting help to work through their issues. I am so happy for them since although I love them it has been really hard for me to stay away but I had to for my own good. I didn’t want to be hurt again. So this is kind of like an open letter to them and others seeking some answers from within who have decided to speak to a professional.

First of all, I am proud of you. Now if you don’t know me personally then you might say, so what! But, down the line if you get to thinking have I done the right thing? Trust me if anyone is proud of you then it helps. The first step is to recognise that there is something you need to sort out and by seeing a counsellor then you may find that you understand better and can help control the emotions that wreak havoc.

Secondly, if you get past the group therapy of a CBT course and feel you need to see a counsellor one to one you are going to feel emotionally exhausted once you start talking. The process of opening up and talking about your innermost thoughts is going to hurt like hell so you are going to need some pretty tough people around you as you act like a child from time to time and let it all out, which is totally normal and part of your healing from whatever you are going through. You will release whatever is inside and the way it comes out may surprise you. Leaving you thinking Who is this person I fail to recognise? 

After your sessions, take a walk on your own. Sit in the car for a while, take some time for yourself to calm down before you drive home. If you like me felt sensory overload then you might also want to escape afterwards. But although you may want to flee the scene, for goodness sake do not drive when you are emotional if you can avoid that since you are most likely to lose concentration which could cause an accident. I used to sit in the car for about half an hour, do something like check my Facebook or text my friends and family or call them before heading off and then I used to just drive.  Go and find something beautiful to look at somewhere, or feel the wind on your face for a while.

I was also advised to Do something for yourself, just you every week, then every day. Just one small thing can make a huge difference when you are running around after everyone else. For me it was to become creative again and write whenever I can. I still come up against obstacles when someone would rather that I did something else. But I am hanging on to this one thing for me although it began as a small part of my therapy. It has become so much more.

At the end of it all you may feel a bit lost and wary of people since you have opened your heart and mind to a relative stranger and are still pretty raw. So take time to heal your mind, body and soul. If you can, during this time try to avoid getting drunk or high (if either of those are your thing) since you may feel differently to how you were before and may not actually recognise the person you are becoming.

It will take time so allow yourself that. Good Luck on your journey and when change begins to happen for you, however hard this might be, embrace it. You never know what might happen. Remember that there is a future out there and you have a part in it.

A Recipe for Love?

A short story. 

It was strange, there was a time when she thought that she may have loved him.  They had been around each other for a while. As friends, she liked his company, they laughed easily together. It was all there in the mix, the mutual and intense physical attraction. They Cooked meals together, drank wine, made love easily and talked freely. They had pastimes and interests which intermingled. They met quite regularly back then, so one day she summoned the courage to ask him whether he would ever see her as anything more than an affair. Perhaps in a bid to elicit feelings which were not really there, to find out whether they could be anything more, she swallowed her pride and broached the subject one day while he was getting ready to go.  They had fun, the memories of that would stay with her for a while, there were fireworks and chemistry, but he did not want any more. Maybe the time just wasn’t right for them. She had to ask, if her feelings were reciprocated then this could be a turning point for the relationships thus far. She wondered what she was doing wrong then she would know for sure which direction to take.

Although it wasn’t really meant as an ultimatum it suddenly seemed so. So that was it. He had decided that he wanted something different. A short while after that, she changed her social circle and found work in a different town. There was someone new and she moved on with her life not wanting to prolong or encourage the torture of his rejection. It was obviously just not meant to be. She was disappointed so did not go out of her way to see him, or frequent the places where they had been previously. She never found out whether it was love or not. But settled on a fondness for the time that they’d had. Some memories remained, good ones, they could have been much more, but she would keep the memories and occasionally they would make her smile.  She didn’t hold it against him, she was young, probably erratic at the time, she may have been too much of a liability, but she was certainly not what he was looking for.

It was strange when years later, she would suddenly look up as she drove past his place.  She remembered that he had a beautiful apartment where you could watch the sunrise from the bedroom its light bathing the space and welcoming the day. The window seat overlooking water and listening to the gulls flying overhead. A place where the sunsets warmed the skin and the soul. She often did that with people she knew though, look for the places which were familiar to her. Was it also odd when she would hear from him all those years later and he would send a message that said, “I looked for you once, without success, assumed that you had married and changed your name. I can’t believe that our paths never crossed again. I have good memories of our time together, as short as it was.” 
She smiled as they chatted online for a while.  Like old friends, just as they had been really.  They knew some of the same people although she hadn’t seen them in a while it always was a small town. She’d grown over those years, any person would it had been so many. She felt no bitterness, or remorse for what could have been and yes things could have been different but after all had been and gone she was happy. He had been married after it ended. Since divorced and now had a football team of grandchildren to be proud of. She hoped that he was happy again too now. 

The Daily Post – Elicit

 

In Gratitude 

In gratitude I sit

And remind myself of it.

Of all the things I feel.

How it reminds me that I’m real.

That I overcame the fear

And that I’m sitting here.

That I have a comfy bed,

Upon which to lay my head.

And friends to hold my heart,

Even when we are apart.

A family to hold me tight,

When I wake up wracked with fright.

Someone with love to bless,

Wouldn’t want for any less.

Thankful hear my call.

For the Gratitude in all.

A Familiar Pain

As I read posts here and there about women going through the endless quest for a child, I cannot help but feel their pain and the suffering they are going through. All those memories suddenly returning of being hopeful that this was the month when my period would not appear early and the tightness in my abdomen and swollen stomach would mean something other than an Endometriosis flare up. My heart goes out to these ladies every time that I read of their torture. There have been two such posts that have popped up on my news feed this week. I hope that those ladies do get their wish and are able to bring precious souls to the universe. I know that if they are lucky enough to do so that they will shower such love upon their miracle babies and praise the IVF treatments they put themselves through to get that longed for baby.

I do not have an IVF journey to share instead I tried everything that the Drs suggested just to try and be pain free and it wore me out. My partner had not expressed a wish for more children so when I was told that we would be eligible for one course on the NHS at a time when I could not have felt so ill equipped to deal with a pregnancy we had a big talk. He could see that I was ill and he told me that from his point of view he had everything he wanted, he did not need a child to be the icing on the cake. He was happy with me so I wasn’t under any pressure to bear children. I thought that when the Doctors told me at 17 that I wouldn’t have children had really done a number on me and I hoped that one day I would just prove them wrong. Alas it wasn’t to be. So as for IVF I would give up my chance and not pursue that route. It felt as though I would be trying to force nature and perhaps someone else would give their child better chances that I could not. You had to both want it so badly that you would go through everything to get there. I thought that I would have made a good parent, others told me that I would. I loved children and in the early adult years was everybody’s babysitter, a nanny and honorary Auntie to so many. There were a few occasions when I thought that I might be pregnant again. Periods were late, just by a few weeks which never normally happened, but then Mother Nature would play her cruel trick once again and I would be left quietly devastated.

I settled into the life we had and the pain of a condition along with multiple surgeries over the years and prayed a lot. That if it were right we would be blessed with a child and if not, then the pain would go away. Over time I asked about more permanent solutions since my symptoms were clearly cyclical and getting worse I was finally given the green light on a hysterectomy having fought to have one for several years. I was told that they didn’t want to do it as I was too young and had no children. They said it would be irreversible and force a medical menopause. I argued that having been told I would never bear children at 17 what were they waiting for, why prolong it any longer? I could have had a life and been pain free before now! Finally someone listened to me. A week before my 35th birthday I was scheduled for a hysterectomy and I thought that my Endo problems would be over. In my mind it really was a case of New Year New Me! The one thing that wasn’t explained was that even that could not heal the condition as it is incurable. Yes it could slow it down ease some of the symptoms but it could come back, as I would find out.

I was in surgery for several hours, they cut me about a lot and as my partner paced the hospital in the snow smoking and worrying about me, as they stopped the haemorrhaging he was glad that I had made it through. As I healed I felt that my life was truly about to begin. Full of hope, ambition and excitement for what might happen next. A healthy and happy future together pain free.

For a few years, I championed the work of the surgeon. I happily recommend him now to other ladies who need to see a specialist for the condition since he is the only Dr I have met who understands it. He had after all enabled my life to start given us me back. There was an Endometriosis support group at the hospital and I used to go there after the operation. I even did a talk and told my story there once. My partner was so proud of me. Prior to the surgery I had often had thoughts that I shouldn’t be here anymore, Endometriosis can do that to a girl,  it was usually when my hormones fluctuated uncontrollably. But then I thought that some people might miss me and they shouldn’t have to. My hormones had a lot to answer for!  It was a huge step to be able to speak there in public at that group and when people came up to me and told me that I inspired them it made the stage fright worthwhile.

I threw myself into my work, getting on with our lives together and for some time felt no pain. I went on HRT within 24 hours of the operation and have remained on this since. Opting for patches rather than tablets due to suffering with irritable bowel for all these years I did not wish to lose the benefit of the HRT. About 2 years went by I think before I started to get those familiar dragging pains back again and I remember asking how it were possible that you could get the same pain when you no longer had the equipment. No-one seemed to be able to give me a straight answer and by then I had been signed off as healthy by the gynaecologist. I also received a letter saying that I was no longer required for smear test screening since I no longer had my ovaries. (Yes they actually wrote that! ) I began to research how on earth I could be getting Endo pain again when I’d had a hysterectomy. In my naïveté I had assumed that that was it and I would be cured. I got on the hysterectomy association website again and checked the forums and to my horror my fears were confirmed. There is no cure! 

In all the appointments after a diagnosis which on average takes seven years, I did not ask. I merely accepted it when I was told by the consultant that “There is no sign of Endometriosis” after the operation at the time that sentence had me doubting my sanity more than I ever had before. I asked my partner had I imagined it all these years and gone through all that uneccessarily? Had the other Doctors got it wrong then? No, he reassured me that it simply meant that he had removed all traces that he could find at the time. So after that I was discharged from his clinic.

The Endo pain comes and goes, in times of stress it flares up along with the irritable bowel and my stomach swells making me look as though I’m pregnant, sometimes adding several dress sizes to my body overnight. It causes pain in the strangest of places and I have no idea whether it requires further surgery. After all, I wonder what else could they take away? Sometimes it is a chronic pain which doubles me up making me shake. Leaving me wanting me to hide away all I want to do is curl up and sleep for days. Other times I get by with rest and painkillers and there are times it stops me doing things that I would love to do. It has had a devastating effect on my sex life. I am not alone, so many other Endometriosis sufferers go through this. Far from giving me the freedom to enjoy sex more which I had hoped for, the hysterectomy was like flicking a switch on my libido plunging it into darkness  where I often can’t find the switch to turn it back on again. It’s devastating when two people who have always found each other the best thing since sliced bread with great chemistry are suddenly just not being turned on so much. We both felt cheated by this since no-one had forewarned either of us. Over the years since then our relationship has shifted and Thankfully we are strong enough to handle the ups and downs and can still light each other’s fires even though it may not be as often as before.

He told me years ago that if we did not have children of our own then we would raise puppies. Our second one since then has joined our family taking the place of the first one who left a gaping hole when we lost him earlier this year. For me that loss was like the miscarriage of my youth all over again. Having your baby suddenly gone can tear you apart as well as open up old scars. It took a while but we needed that unconditional love back in our lives so we lavish so much love upon the new puppy and he is happy here.

Whatever your circumstances. There are some wonderful support groups, on Facebook and other forums now. When I first went through this before my illness was diagnosed I was reliant upon libraries and a disinterested GP who was happy to palm me off, as is so often the case. I knew absolutely no-one else who had these symptoms so felt that there was no one to ask. Most of all you need to know that you are not alone. As a statistic one in 10 women suffer with Endometriosis but it is natural to doubt your own mind when your body is doing unexplained things to you. If you have chronic abdominal pain, or just that something is out of the ordinary with your body and it worries you then please ask your GP. Do your research via these forums and get a second or even third opinion. The social network is a good place to start but you do need to get it checked out by a professional.

If you are UK based and diagnosed or think you may be living with this condition then please take a look at the attached links Endometriosis.Org – Facts

Should you wish to connect with others in the UK please go to Endometriosis U.K. But other groups and locations are available worldwide.  Endometriosis Sisters Support Group – Facebook is  a place where you will find so many people who will inspire, encourage and advise you, based on their own experiences of dealing with this condition. You will also find lots of research articles via Bloomin Uterus Blog

You do not have to face this alone.

 

The Scents of our Memories

If I were to ask what your favourite scent is I wonder what would spring to mind?

Whether just one thing, or many of them, what memories would they bring to you.  I have so many, I could not pick just the one.

So, in no particular order here are some of mine.

Fresh Mown Grass.  Laying on it in summertime, looking up at a blue sky with clouds.

Baking Bread. On the few occasions I’ve made it myself, the wonderful scent lingers in the home, I don’t do that nearly often enough.

Freshly Brewed Coffee. Reminding me of sunny mornings, with the light streaming through the window, sitting overlooking my favourite view on the hill.

Freesias, Roses, Lavender.  Just a few of my favourite flowers.

Sea Salt on the air. A reminder of all the moments, happy and sad when I sat on the beach.

Ysatis by Givenchy.  When I was younger, this was my signature scent. Years ago, my friend was in Hospital with difficulties when her first daughter was born, I remember her telling me that she knew I had been by her side because she had smelled my perfume when she awoke.

So which scents invoke special memories for you? Do share…

The Daily Post – Aromatic

 

 

 

 

CBT When Those Three Letters Mean Totally Different Things and when it’s just time to Breathe!

It confused me slightly when I first heard the phrase. Compulsory Bike Training was what came to my mind with them as when years before I had learned to ride a Motorcycle this was a legal requirement. I did the training then the throttle jammed I rode the motorbike up a wall and it landed on top of me see  Almost a Biker Lots of physio for several months put pay to me ever getting back on one since then but I still have my bike gear in case I change my mind.

There I go flitting off on a different subject, Oh the butterfly mind again.

CBT -This time we are talking about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy 

When I first attended Therapy for PTSD & Trauma following an accident I was sent into a group session for this therapy and to be perfectly honest with you I hated it. I tried really hard to be the positive one and take good experiences from it but dreaded each session, leaving early from home, sitting in the car thinking “I don’t need to go” sometimes getting out and having a talk with myself to pull myself together before getting back in the car and heading off.

At the sessions I could relate to what they were saying. I knew some of this stuff anyway but somewhere along the way had stopped applying it to my everyday thinking, or even when I really needed it. I had felt that sometimes I was unravelling and I really didn’t like the feeling. I did not have confidence, it had gone but I did retain the ability to instil confidence in others which meant that I fooled myself into thinking that I was recovered long before I actually was. As the weeks went by there were a few other people who turned up early and we would sit and talk to each other before the sessions started, some were very open about their reasons for attending, others were a little more reserved.

I do not actually remember her name, but she was post operative transgender who had been placed in a homeless facility. She had been Hospitalised  due to someone taking offence at her and had lost her home and her life as she knew it. The authorities moved her there and she had to share the whole facility with men. Following her ordeal she was wary around them and they saw her as skivvy to them as a woman but did not accept her either because of her sexuality. She was going through hell, but was fighting a battle against abuse substances and alcohol too. There is always someone worse off than you If you can think past yourself, did she but know it she helped me too. She just needed someone to talk to, to hear her since she had tried to commit suicide and felt so alone but before that would happen she, like I had to go through those sessions. We both struggled with the group sessions. I think everyone did but in the end I hope that she found them useful as I have done and found an understanding counsellor.

CBT taught me how to remain calm at least on the outside when the inside is in turmoil. Many talk of fight or flight and I think I was born to fly.  Unless I have a bee in my bonnet and decide to stand my ground which does happen, from time to time when my stubbornness kicks in. It also taught me that not all gut feelings are to be ignored. Yes we sometimes get things wrong and don’t see them the way we should due to paralyzing fear when we are in that fight or flight mode. 

If you look into this type of therapy then CBT is described as a type of talking treatment that focuses on how your thoughts, beliefs and attitudes affect your feelings and behaviour, and teaches you coping skills for dealing with different problems.

It combines cognitive therapy (examining the things you think) and behaviour therapy (examining the things you do).

It forces you to rethink your first reaction to something in a negative or stressful situation and focus the mind to enable you to calm the body. It is beneficial if you suffer with anxiety or depression.

But if you can’t quite get your head around what is ruling it when you are stressed out…

Then it’s time to breathe. By regulating our breathing we can give our mind the chance at rational thought when flight or fight kicks in. Just a few deep breaths can make the world of difference. Don’t believe me? Just try it next time you are wound up.

Take the deepest breath you can and hold it whilst you count to three, then breathe out from as low down as possible in your stomach, do this three times at least. How do you feel now, a little calmer perhaps? I tried this at night when I was having awful nights with very little sleep. I found it improved that too. It was just too much for me to expect me to clear my thoughts as I did so, but just that small change has helped me.

After these group sessions and before I saw my one to one counsellor, there was a three month wait in between, whilst I tried to put into practice what I had learned and deal with the day to day, rebuilding my self confidence and with it my life.  I thought that I was doing so well I learned to block out my gut feelings for a while. I became mistrusting of them thinking that they should all be ignored as my brain struggled to cope with what life was throwing at me. It was a mistake. 

In certain situations I had a very strong feeling usually about people I met and during that time I did not trust my instincts and I should have. I put my trust in some people who saw weakness and chose to manipulate me and a situation, which left me wide open to their attacks. There I was kidding myself that I had my strength back, after all I was fine on the outside and wasn’t going to let it get me down. I got a new job, I thought I enjoyed it. I got on well with almost everyone there, was eager to please but could do nothing right for my direct manager. I spent a year working with a team where I just didn’t fit in.  Try as I may I could not change that, they had seen me as a usurper, someone who was there to break the little clique they already had.  For 12 months I tried my best, but struggled and felt as though I was drowning.  I had become even more withdrawn, desperate and miserable, when beforehand I was trying and had started to become upbeat and positive again.  Whilst I saw the counsellor with whom I was referred for a totally different reason, to get me through the trauma of an accident I spent the majority of the sessions discussing my job, the situations I was in and how I should cope.

I really felt that I gained a benefit from the one to one sessions. She told me that it wasn’t me, it was them. Where I had been beating myself up, figuratively speaking for months thinking where did I go wrong?  I found that running the situations past her, someone who wasn’t biased like my partner or mother, might help me see more clearly. She advised me to find a new job for my own sanity and get out of there, she could see the damage it had done to me over the short time I had been her client. Furthermore, she said I should also find something which made me happy, to do something for myself at least once a week it would help my recovery.  She suggested that since I was missing my creativity, (it had gone when things started to go downhill for me) that I follow my true nature and get creative again. I began with a simple adult colouring book and it seemed to open the floodgates, just the simple act of adding colour to the pages.

It took a while but I did and began to write poetry again.  After a while there were quite a few poems. I thought about a book, but did not have a clue how to get my work out there or publish it. So I decided to begin the blog so that at last I would be able to have a voice again. I had felt that there were very few who were inclined to listen, however my counsellor reassured me that my voice would be heard.  I am not talking about shouting from the rooftops or getting on my soap box about subjects. I needed to make sense of the things that were in my head. It was part of my therapy and would help me more than I could have ever anticipated.

I am not out of the woods yet, figuratively speaking there are times when thoughts are dark and miserable. There are others when I am extremely happy and there is so much in between.

If you are feeling depressed or suffering, please do not do it alone. Whatever it takes to get your help, speak to someone, if you do not have someone you can trust then call a helpline.

 

 

I’d Lost My Marbles!

This is not a metaphor, but it’s not necessarily what you’d think either.

I have not been writing much lately. Instead I have been quietly storing away to memory hoping that I will remember it and write it later. I have not even written notes to jog the memory, so I hope that I don’t forget. My partner told me I “had far more important things to do” as he does from time to time when he wants me to stop what I’m doing and do something different. We had storage which needed to be emptied out on a deadline and with it memories of the past, so many moments lost in that room for years and years. Many people  have wondered why I keep stuff, I am sentimental and it started out as a habit. Those who know me have often asked. I used to collect the things that people did not want, or maybe I just found them interesting. I have furniture and things handed down to me by other family members.  I’d also kept all the books which I had as a child, some I had made as projects at school. I did not throw them away, wanting to share their wonders with children of mine some day, or ones I’d been lucky to look after in the early years, waiting for my time to come as a mother. I kept the books and as time went by I stored them away.

When I had to move out of my large flat and had no where to go, many of my belongings went into a storage facility and when I had filled that up, we talked a neighbour into lending us their storeroom, in the basement where I used to live.

And there it has stayed… For several years now, it’s amazing how time flies isn’t it?

For the past three years getting into the building has been impossible. Prior to which we used to go in there get things out and store other stuff, but basically things were left there. Many of them have been quietly rotting away, ravaged by time and flood water. I hoped that some at least could be salvaged before it was too late.

The anticipation of finding things again after all this time, was mounting in my mind.  My partner was dreading the whole process but did it with me. All my toot, as he referred to had to be moved.

So should we have cleared it all out and disposed of it all years ago?  I have to say that there have been times over the past fortnight when we both felt that we should have done, it was a horrible job to do, it was smelly and damp which got right on your chest and everywhere else.   We pulled muscles in the process but it is done and now we are sorting through, having moved what remained.

But there was some good news, there were things that I thought were long gone.  I had assumed that they had been taken when the storage facility moved my belongings leaving them out in a corridor for passers by to walk off with. From the numerous burglaries in the basement, or lost when I could not remember which place they had been put in. I thought I may have got confused and donated the wrong bags to charity shops. I had doubted that I had many of these items still, whilst others I would fondly look forward to finding again.

Unfortunately,  I lost most of my childrens’ books, all of my photograph albums from when I was growing up. During the clearance I picked up a box of books which were stored at floor level, hoping to keep them. They had obviously been placed there hurriedly. It looked fine from the top but as I moved it, the bottom fell out of it and water, so much water.  I took it towards the bin and as I put the box in there, I realised that it held the photos and the children’s books. The photo’s destroyed and the colours running from the pages in multi coloured rivers. These were my first photos from when as a teenager I had saved my pocket money to buy my first camera and develop the film.  I also found my art folder from my school days, the work was damp and mouldy and something I thought was there for years, is not. These were the low points but in the midst of it all, I found other things.

Among them was a bag which had been preserved containing the blue dress I bought when my Nan died and was wearing the first day that I met my partner.  I found the favourite dress which I had when I was 18 and wore on many a night out and other new/old dresses which I had not yet worn.  I found childhood collections, Love letters, letters and cards from friends. So many things, prized sentimental possessions from many years ago and after all these years I found my marbles!

My marble collection was won when I moved to this Southern town, new to the last year at Junior school. I was worried about settling in and making friends having been bullied at my previous school, there was a craze in the new school and I would learn how to play, then win a collection of marbles. I spent my meagre pocket money on marbles from the local toy shop and played every break time.  I won most of the marbles in this container that year.  I thought that the pasta jar (another of the things which had been stored away) was the perfect place in which to store them, on the kitchen windowsill where the light can bounce through them and I can enjoy them again.

Although I am a self-confessed hoarder and it will take me a while to get through it all. I will be working on my clutter and I have realised it is quite exhilarating to throw things out which are broken, or damaged and finding new homes for things which are no longer needed. As I enjoy finding other items from our past, no doubt there will be other things which put a smile on my face.

As I spoke to my oldest friend and also my mother after we had finished. I wondered out loud whether I would finally stop dreaming of the flat I’d had years earlier. Dreaming that I still lived there and that other people had taken over the place and my life along with it, holding parties that I did not want, with people I did not invite. That happened a lot. Mum told me that chapter is now over, now that things have gone from there I can finally stop living in the basement and be free at last. It seemed to mark the turning point, as I have been going through things with fervour throwing out decayed pieces of the past as I look towards the future. Maybe that is my metaphor and meanwhile, the strange dreams seem to have stopped.

 

The Daily Post – Anticipation