Where have I been?

I have on so many occasions in the past few months attempted to write an update to the blog. To give some kind of reason as to why my writing seemed to have just come to an abrupt halt here online. It’s as though I feel that you deserve an explanation for my absence, the hope that perhaps in all this time (dare i say it) My writing may have been ever so slightly missed.

I haven’t been doing anything spectacular. No more trips abroad for the time being. It has been a year to this week when I wrote this when I visited Corsica and the memories have come flooding back, my brother so small in stature, yet still as large as life appearing in descriptive music and favourite songs, special moments, when dragonflies, robins, butterflies and white feathers appear. Reminding me that although he is no longer here in the physical sense, he is most definitely still by my side spiritually and for this I am thankful.  I am still grieving for him and dealing with that it sometimes catches me out and leaves me weak and vulnerable. 

Life in its various forms has taken a bit of a backseat as ill health has stepped to the fore and rather dominated, stamping over hopes and dreams and causing mayhem at every twist and turn. 
I have fought again, to try to overcome the irrational fears in my head of dealing with an illness which still has yet to be given the correct diagnosis. I have tried sometimes in vain, to treat it homoeopathically without causing further health implications and at this present time, again my health is suffering. For a small part of the summer at least, I have been able to enjoy the warmth of sun on my skin and time sitting in my little garden. A small corner of solitude which has been so neglected and yet still rewards me with flowers and colour to lift the spirits and delight the senses. It is good for the soul. Despite the short bursts of scents (my sense of smell has still not returned) and colour it calms the sensory overload. There have been times, when my nerves have spasmed and dislocated joints quite often in my sleep, when I am fortunate enough to get some. These do not follow a pattern they choose randomly and I am left in pain until it reseats itself sometimes days later. 
My neurological symptoms have worsened over the past year and I am still waiting for the neurology appointment I was referred for in November 2018.  Meanwhile the nerve pain is at times unbearable causing me to cry out in pain, sweat and shake and causes numbness which makes me clumsy. The restless legs at night are only controlled by taking  Gabapentin which I’d rather not take. My pain relief these days is Tramadol and I am conscious of the fact that both of these are controlled drugs and could be highly addictive. I do not wish to take them, but since I am unable to take codeine based drugs and no other options are available to me I am left with no real choice. I am regularly covered in bruises from clumsy incidents, my hands don’t work properly and I get disorientated. It is embarrassing, I don’t have a social life, save for visiting a few understanding friends when I am able. On good days I can hardly function for a few hours and on bad days I can’t get out of bed.
One of the things about how things have been is that for someone with a good command of English and grammar, it seems to have gone to pieces.  I often have word blindness and brain fog, I type now since hand writing is no longer an option due to pain. I find that not only do I forget the words I intend to put down, but I often am unable to spell words which I know well. I type them the wrong way round as though some wire in my head has come loose and the short circuits caused by the spasms have dislodged the memory.  It is deeply frustrating and means that typing anything now takes me twice as long and spell checking is always essential.  It also happens when I read things, I see them round the wrong way too.

Anger and frustration over this time has caused me to write things which I do not feel that I should share. Personal feelings when I have been angry or upset I still write about them and hope that I have the sense not to put them into the public eye, for fear of reprisal later. Along the lines of if you don’t have anything nice to say, then you should say nothing at all. 
I find myself asking”When did I turn into a person who got so angry, so impatient for change and yet bitter about the cards I have been dealt”. I am fighting my own demons every day and sometimes it feels like a losing battle. It is depressing. There have been family issues and upset and health scares in my beloved, I have watched his health decline rapidly, reach a plateau where I am grateful for any small improvement in his health, whilst his pallor has turned from white to grey to tanned and everything in between until the depression has taken a hold of him and he has felt as though he was dying and I was certain that he was. His fight against cancer was getting the better of him and he became more and more depressed. His constant pain getting him down so far that he did not feel as though he could pull himself out of it and the positive mental attitude dwindling before my eyes. 
It took a turn for the worse in early spring he was assualted and robbed in the front garden and late spring someone else threatened him with a knife outside his own house. It seems that there are more junkies who will now do anything for their fixes and life becomes as cheap as their next fix from a schizophrenic drug dealer who thinks we are out to get him. 
Yes we have been angry, felt cheated by our health and unable to do a damn thing about it to improve it.  We do not want to settle for a life like this, where our dreams are shattered before our eyes and we are left behind, shadows of how we once were. Life is not supposed to be this way. Our life is not cheap or worthless it is still worth fighting for.
Our darling dog had surgery, he was hosting a tumour on his back which had it been left would have paralysed him. Thankfully the surgeon was able to skilfully remove it and he has now made a full recovery back to health, his skills at assisting us when we have health issues have also improved out of necessity and we are so grateful to have him in our lives.

So after the spring upset we headed north, to our home in Scotland in the hope that it would bring us peace and comfort. I pushed him to go, thinking that it would do us both some good to get away from here. It has always been my serenity and peaceful place up until the horrors of last year and I hoped naively that that was now over. The reality however was far, far different and I am wholly responsible for the worst imaginable Summer there.  Now neither of us have a wish to return there and we had such plans for the place and the things we wanted to do to our home. We had taken up furniture and things and I was hopeful that my creative streak would once again return to favour me with poetry that I could share and things that I could make.

We had a very long and exhausting journey there and once we arrived and set up the house we had been there less than a week before we were both verbally and physically assaulted by our next door neighbour.  It seems that the grudge he has held for so many years since we bought the place now harbours a dangerous resentment and in his mind we need to be eradicated. So it began, almost two months of sheer hell, dangerous goons sent up to scare us away and threats to kill, a man with a knife despatched to finish us off and the daily torment of a workman who ran the engines on tractors, diggers, lawn mowers and machinery for 8 hours a day. He even left them running unattended right outside the house and clearly delighted in his work, when he wasn’t falling off them drunk. Of course we involved the police after the first incident and were advised not to confront the neighbour or his associates at any point. So we became prisoners in our home and were not even able to out in the garden without being heckled, abused or tormented for the duration. We were followed  in the car, had visitors abusing us in the night time and walking about shining torches into the house throughout the night in an effort to scare us. The fully working farm at harvest time made less noise than these guys.  For my part it worked I was a nervous wreck who sat up throughout the night worrying and regularly tearful, it rendered me incapable of doing things and we were around each other almost 24/7 which often caused friction. The guilt of making us go there was huge and excruciating. Our family, friends and neighbours were concerned for our safety and our family were just too far away.

By the end of July we had enough. The police are taking it seriously and we will most likely have to go to court, they were talking about witness protection for us.  It was worse than a soap opera, friends were saying you couldn’t write this stuff and yet. We’re living this nightmare. Both literally sick with the worry and worn out and run down, we packed up and came back South hoping for some rest when we got back here.  The journey was hellish and  my man was so ill that I did not think he was going to be able to get us home, but he did. He still has not recovered, he had pneumonia and a dislocated shoulder and neck, yet still drove us back as I wasn’t able to either. He has some stubbornness and  perseverance! 

So this last month we have been attempting to gather our strength and rest, well he has although the concept of rest and recuperation I believe is is alien to him.   My parents have finally sold and moved out of what was their family home for the last 35 years. It was extremely stressful for all concerned and distressing for my younger sister as she saw her childhood home pulled in so many directions until it was shredded. I found it less so and just pushed myself to deal with the task in hand and try and hold them all together. 
Trying to help go through sections of the house which had remained largely untouched for about 25 years was a voyage of discovery, that’s for sure! I moved out from there 28 years ago. Trying to do this with poor health has severely taken its toll, I damaged myself lifting heavy things and clearing out. But as of last week, they were finished and we all said Goodbye to the house in our own separate ways. I took cuttings from the garden that my mother had cherished and nurtured in the hope that it would gain a new life in some small way as she has done. Time will tell whether they are happy enough to reward me with growth. I was also allowed to give a new home to some old furniture from the garage and my grandfathers and father’s tools. So I am hoping that I will be able to use them for small projects when my health allows.

So as we settle back in down South after the changes have taken place and hope that we remain safe and are able to get well, or at least not any worse I hope that I get the chance to welcome my creativity back with open arms. I am looking forward to once I have the space and have cleared the debris of the summer and my parents house, found new homes for acquired items and disposed of others which are no longer wanted.   I am hoping that the peace I have regarding their home now being gone remains and does not turn to grief, I think that despite my sentimentality, that part of me is firmly in the past and I moved on from there a long time ago. They have new homes now and are living their lives differently, we have all grown.  I can then return to the task of getting my own house in order and going through the rest of my brother’s belongings. It has been over a year since we lost him now and although I feel his presence, it is not necessary to keep every thing that he owned, there are things which can be of use to others. I just need to sort them out. 

I realise that as time goes on our dreams and our priorities change.  Sometimes these changes are forced by circumstances beyond our control. Those changes seem to be the hardest ones to accept and I will be dragged through them kicking and screaming and hopefully come out the other side intact.  
I am still writing, it is sometimes the only sanity that I have in all the madness around me, giving me a moment of clarity  especially when I am awake throughout the night in pain. It is my therapy, helping me to adapt and grow. I just hope that I am strong enough to keep up the fight, to nurture and cherish those around me who show me love and friendship, who have my back when I have theirs, who listen when I need them to and who speak when they need to. The give and take friends, my tribe.

I will once again share my poems with you. Carefully selected of course and I hope to stop writing what I refer to as “whine poetry” and make a return to the happy, grateful side of my personality. Perhaps I will find a new place that will become my muse, some fabulous life experience which brings back happiness, some joie de vivre.

Written on 080919

Sent from my iPad

Person in Progress

via Daily Prompt: Toxic

Not to put to fine a point on it, most of the last year or two has been toxic in alot of ways. It has not gone well, besieged by illness and tormented by the past and situations which I felt powerless to change.  But underneath it all, little did I realise that actually I was changing. We are ever changing and sometimes, it creeps up on us and whacks us over the head with the proverbial hammer. Sometimes it needs to.

I needed to change, so many things.  My self-destructive thinking, my approach to people always thinking that it was my job to make them like me and getting awfully disappointed and even upset if they didn’t. My attitude to myself and general way of thinking. I had to stop taking things so personally, but the trouble with being an empathetic soul means that unless you take time to protect yourself, then it feels as though it is all on you, your responsibility to make things better for others, to listen, to advise etc, etc. Sometimes it is just too much to cope with.

Then someone wonderful sat me down for a little talk, well actually a lot of talks over quite a long period of time. She told me that I was a nice person, (I have always tried to be) that I am loved and that people should be proud to know me and work with me, that I am an inspiration and encouragement to others and if they didn’t like me, then it was their problem and not mine.

That last bit, I have to admit was a bit of a thunderbolt. I don’t think that I was equipped to deal with it at the time, but it was nice to hear it.  But there it sat, at the back of my mind for months and months.  Slowly over time, I began to view myself differently, I looked at the things that I could do, the ways that I could help people and even in some small way, I decided that if people didn’t like me, then that was it. I wasn’t going to beat myself up trying.

This was a sign of a new me emerging.  I also found my usually reserved thoughts, creeping out, when someone made me angry, or sad, or hurt then I became vocal about it. I occasionally swore, whereas the previous me would have done almost anything to avoid this, I have become more like my siblings who don’t hide their emotions. It didn’t always make me nice to be around, but as time has gone by, I have been fighting invisible illnesses which people do not understand and trying to keep a brave face.  Sometimes the cracks show.

I have looked into myself, rediscovered my spirituality, things that make me tick, instincts which I have long neglected to follow, recognition of things that I know to be true.  I have looked at alternative ways to heal physical ailments. Having been let down by medics who are supposed to help, left out in the cold I decided that it was not good enough and would look at alternative therapies, return to reflexology and homeopathic remedies in the hope that it would start to make a difference and slowly it did. Little steps, bit by bit I began to change.

I have consciously tried to regain my confidence that had been ripped from me by the people who tore away at me. By the circumstances which have caused havoc in my life lately and by the grief caused by the loss of loved ones.

But, I am still the new me in progress. My eyes have been opened to so much in the past few months. The toxic people and relationships which I have had to sustain in the workplace just to get along, are gone along with the job. I have found that by having time to work things out in my head and realise people for what they were has given me a better understanding of their behaviour.

I miss working, in the normal sense but I now realise that I don’t have to accept their bad behaviour any more. Lately I have been concentrating on getting my health back to normal and I am still a way off. I am less trusting of people now. I no longer take them at face value, I watch for the signs, body language and follow my gut feeling. As someone who was watching my back once said, “if something looks too good to be true, it usually is” the same can be said for people.

The environments that I had been around had become toxic, there was bad feeling all around me and it was making me more and more sick. Those of you who have followed the blog for a while will notice that some of what had been happening, or had happened in the past has been mentioned sometimes at length and this has been part of the process of healing from it. Fixing my mental health along with my physical health and finally I feel as though I have turned a corner.

I took time out from the norm, actively encouraged, (well pushed and shoved kicking and screaming would be more apt) to go off and take some time out, to see friends not knowing how my health was going to be in the future it was arranged for now. I was also encouraged to do things which caused happiness and to get creative, which I have been busy doing for a while now. In conclusion it has been exactly what was needed.

So have I rebooted my system, for want of a better phrase?  I hope so. I think I am becoming a different person and it isn’t just about growing up and being an adult. Time changes us, situations change us, relationships change us, so we remain ever-changing, evolving into hopefully a new improved version of ourselves, before we get to grow old disgracefully, having the time of our lives, surrounded by loving people who will miss us when we are gone.

Overload

via Daily Prompt: Nervous

It sometimes feels as though too much.
Indescribable feeling, not unreal as such.

Fatigued, exhausted from it all.

Setting myself up for a fall?

I try to sleep, but sleep won’t come.

Nowhere from it that I can run.

I worry it will swallow me whole 

Falling down this great big hole.

I feel the senses overload,

As I travel on this road.

Sometimes uncontrollable quakes,

After which my body aches.

Often feel as though bound and chained.

When I have felt my energy drained.

All the senses heightened here,

Shaking, sweating cloaked in fear.

Sounds so loud, then they are gone.

But they tell me nothing’s wrong.

Suddenly I’m temporarily deaf, 

Frightening leaving me bereft.

I asked them the problem to address, 

But they say it’s caused by stress.

I tried the calm. To meditate.

Can’t force the quiet, myself I berate.

My voice has changed, I cannot shout.

When I try to let it all out.

Swollen throat I almost choke, 

Sending the message my body has broke?

My mind and body feel detached,

Suddenly, became ill matched.

At this time I feel bereaved.

For what’s been lost, I am aggrieved.

I rest a while and floating free,

Willing just to return to me.

The blood is pounding around my head, 

Surging, thoughts fill me with dread.

With gritted teeth and clenched jaw,

My muscles aching and so sore.

Is this real pain or anxiety

there’s changes needed to just be. 

Cannot just stay powerless,

Wanting to relieve the stress. 

A deeper meaning I search to find,

Whilst hoping it’s not just in my mind.

Tremble

As I tremble, from the sheer weight of my feelings underneath it all. 

My hands are shaking, the blood races around my body.

I roar, the tiger inside momentarily wounded. 

Reliving the moments, I feel the pain of my recent past. Hurting from it all, renewed anger and sadness rising from the pit of my stomach. 

It is laid bare before a new person who didn’t know. She is in tears as I leave. Why did I do that to her? I did not do it on purpose or for gain it is my cry for help. The long awaited appointment. 

The ups and downs of thinking that I may have healed myself but the reality that the painful process has just begun again. I return to the safety of my car, where I sit and look at random things for a few minutes. My head pounding and a feeling of sickness creeping through my throat. I need to calm my nerves feeling numb, a bit dazed and confused. The next step in my therapy.
via Daily Prompt: Tremble

When it’s alright on the outside.

This is the inspiration beind this particular post. This picture came from Facebook as so many do but in particular advertising awareness for Crohn’s & Colitis.

It got me thinking about just how many people I might know who are dealing with an invisible illness. The ones where it does not show, people who we are sure they are alright because they don’t look ill. It occurred to me how  almost everyone we know fights a battle of some sort.

It could be cancer, mental health, abuse, addictions, or a physical illness or disability. It could be anything at all.

It is very easy to not think about what other people might be going through and just react to a comment, a look or an emotion but in a judgemental world that we are living in, just take a moment to think about it before your own assumptions take over. Some fight it all alone whilst others can have a whole network of support. Some simply cannot cope and will shut down hoping for the storm to pass. Some will talk about it whilst others will not everyone is different.

Respect those differences but if you know someone who has is coping with an illness invisible or not, just a small gesture to show that you are thinking of them, or that you care can mean the world when it all gets too much.

I know we have just had the season of goodwill and you might be feeling that New Year warm fuzzy feeling but can we extend that around the rest of the year and it might just start to make a difference in our lives. I’m not asking for world peace, after all who am I to ask?

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.

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.

 

 

3 Quotes in 3 Days Challenge -Day 2

Well. With such a huge choice at my fingertips I was torn as to which one to choose for today. I don’t know if like me you have a folder full of quotes to lift your spirits, reassure you or push you on to greater things. Most are gathered from facebook pages throughout the daily onslaught there and many which hit the nail on the head. 

Will it be inspiring or push someone to do something they might be doubting their ability to do? Is it time for me to become a leader for a moment after all I was taught to lead by example?

Well, actually not today Thanks. 

I know that for some a tough week is governed by their workload where as for others it is governed by their health. Sometimes physical and mental. This week for me it has been the latter so although I would normally relish the chance to encourage others. The challenge I thought may shake me up and encourage a change in mood but I find that this is leading me in it’s own direction. Maybe I will re-do this challenge at a later date when in a different frame of mind, but for now it’s one day at a time. Meanwhile Thankyou again to my nominee http://www.TrulyUnplugged.com

I begrudgingly returned South again last week which has left me rather blue and craving the place we have just left. The sanctuary removed I have been on alert again and feeling very unsettled. Hoping for changes for the better to come here and bless us with their presence and at times feeling rather broken and emotional.

This quote by Jamie Lee Logan’s page Princess Sassy Pants & Co is another good place to look. I find that she combines her artwork with quite often just the right thing to say. This reminder came when I needed it. 

Summer Reflection

Well, as the warmer weather is still with us and we have sunny days, isn’t it technically still Summer, after all the clocks haven’t gone forward yet, casting us into darkness mid-afternoon.

But I am taking the time now to reflect upon the Summer, which this year should have been great, but really wasn’t.

The past two months have been harder than I ever thought possible and at the moment there is no let up, no sign of Hope, (she is still firmly under the tarpaulin and again has not been driven) whilst these shenanigans continue. But hoping that things will change is clearly not enough to make that happen. I have pulled myself every which way to try and make things better.

In my mind at the beginning of Summer, I was looking forward to the Sunshine and making things happen, plans for the future. I was going to finish my book, publish it, write another or at least a large chunk of it. My mind was working, I was inspired by things around me, open to opportunities and new experiences. I was looking forward to a great future and felt that I had been able to let go of the past which had haunted me for so long. I had turned a corner. I have a family who love me. We would go to Scotland and spend some time there for the first time in months. Walk my Beloved Boy on the beaches and in the forests nearby and also enjoy some of the sunshine here before we went. Once there, I would make repairs to the cottage and try and fix it up a bit, to halt the decay slightly, I might even get the log burner fitted before winter and stop the damp from a leaky roof. I would also apply for work and see if I could get myself another job to cover the bills for when I came home.
I was out taking photographs again, enjoying the space around here and time with family, I even got some shots that I was pretty happy with and was looking forward to getting a whole lot more of them.

I had spent time getting the garden here under control, watered and it was thriving, rewarding me with beautiful flowers and plants and a peaceful place in which we could all relax and enjoy the nature around us. I love getting my hands dirty and awaiting the outcome of my labours out there. Here it is only a small garden, so easy to maintain and shows quick results in whatever work you put in. It gives my mind time to unravel anything which is complicating it, that it doesn’t understand or just needs time to digest and I am not sitting around doing nothing.

Doesn’t that sound simple and idyllic?
I only wish it had panned out that way….

In July, I had applied for some really good jobs my fate was in their hands, they were all ones which I could have done easily, some of which I would have really enjoyed. I was also writing daily at least something, a lot of poetry and other things too. Not all of it posted here, some was for the book of Poetry, some for another book I was working on and I was trying to expand a website which had lain dormant for too long, to turn it into a more of a lifestyle website. I was feeling hopeful about the future and finished my book of poetry in early July, the Blog here was gathering momentum and followers and I was generally happy in my little life. We were looking forward to the rest of Summer and our lives and thought about different options going ahead, what we would change and what that would bring. All positive things, Life was mostly feeling good.

And then….

Suddenly our world was turned upside down.

Alas just as the good things were supposed to happen life went more wrong than any of us could have expected. And, what is worse is that I haven’t been able to put it right yet.

For those who are wondering what on earth I am talking about although it is covered in my previous posts. In short there have been problems with a neighbour who has made threats to our lives, attempts upon them and the loss of our beloved boy through sudden illness caused by poisoning as it turned out, oh and I also had a brief time in Hospital and a long recovery, which continues. Although we have tried to, we have not been able to shake off the doom whilst we remain at our home here in the South and we have had the getaways, but it has not been safe for us to decamp in case the man concerned decides to carry out the other threats upon our property whilst we are gone. The pressure of having to search for work was taken away by a 13 week respite due the accident and recovery and because of what has been happening here, right when I needed to be away to get through the trauma of what has happened, I cannot. I needed rest and recuperation, but have been unable to have either, unable to sleep and in fear of my life. So instead the onslaught continues.

Although I am working on that, they say that the pen is mightier than the sword….
I hope that they are right, I have been corresponding with so many departments that my head is in a spin and I can only hope that my call to action has been heard. It was all quiet on the western front up until last week, but finally it seems that they have taken on board what has happened. All the police reports and maybe some of the other neighbours have also decided to speak about what has been happening here. I wrote a letter to my neighbours last week, explaining what had happened here, asking them to be vigilant and to report any issues to the authorities. They should not be living in fear caused by one or two people who have chosen to terrorise the neighbourhood. From it all, the neighbours have actually been more friendly towards us, stopping to talk and attempting to be supportive.

We are adamant that we will get away to Scotland at least for a small break, I have four weeks until I am expected back to look for work, yes a whole nine weeks have been wasted of this time, which could have been spent somewhere beautiful, pulling our lives back together. Not spent looking over our shoulder every time we leave the house. Not having to fit CCTV to our house to protect it, not having to visit the shrine of our boy every morning in tears wondering why this happened and if someone will have desecrated it again. Not having to follow each other like sheep, to watch each other‘s back so that this one person can take a run at us and stab us.
We have been kidding ourselves that it will make a difference that we are in pairs, he knows that he is invincible, in his head he can do what he likes, the police in general remain powerless, they can only take him away and incarcerate him for short periods, then he is back. Looking for the next opportunity, we are not safe outside of our home and the stress this has caused has affected the health of both of us, in mind and body over the past two months.

So Meanwhile our lives have been put on hold, the things that we would normally be doing around here, have not been done. Our time is spent with the authorities, giving statements and having meetings about what he has chosen to do to us. We are told not to speak to him, meanwhile at will he can stand across the street yelling all kinds of verbal abuse, making all kinds of threats and we are expected to do nothing at all in response, to just walk away and ignore him.
For the first few times this happens, you can ignore him, not take it seriously, but when he runs at you with a knife and you realise that it isn’t just the rantings of a disturbed human, he actually means to cause you harm. Well then that puts a different light on things. Your own instincts for self-preservation kick in, if you haven’t run off, on your “In flight” mode. You try and stand your ground, which is rather difficult if you are told not to speak to him. Yes, we cannot antagonise him by retaliating to this onslaught.
In days gone by, if someone said something to you, or verbally abused you, you could shout back, tell them what you thought of them, even tell them to shut up and go away. But now, well we are told not to respond in any way and it has made it worse. It has made me angry that what little power I have to cope has been taken away from me and the calm and peaceful home has become somewhere that neither of us want to be, both trying to deal with things in a way which is so different to how we are used to and it doesn‘t suit us at all!

If as a naughty child, you did something wrong and someone tells you off, then when I was growing up that was generally enough to make you pack it in. But not this one. I guess there was very little discipline as a child, his Mother grew her own Monster and he has behaving just as he likes ever since. The way that he speaks to her is atrocious and she lets him. Her “child” is now heading to 50 years old.

Yesterday, I had some supportive emails arrive, finally from the people I have been rallying in the past few weeks, they have responded to let me know that things ARE being done, to warn me that it is a slow process, but the situation should be improved soon. They cannot tell me any more than that at this point. But at least my actions have not been in vain and importantly for me, my voice has been heard, by someone, somewhere.

I only hope that their action comes before his does. That he does not get his own way and finish us off, before skipping off to the nearest facility for a little break before being released to do exactly as he pleases again. As they say sometimes, PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN THE CURE.

I kind of like having a life, in particular, the one I have had for the past few years, despite its ups and downs and I don’t want someone to take it away from me. As a kind lady reassured me a couple of weeks ago…

I still have things to do on this earth and my time is not up.

The Daily Post – Fragile

The Frustration in Fighting for Peace and Justice.

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Try as I may, I am bundled up with frustration at the situation which we currently face.
Following on from the incidents of this week, as mentioned in my previous post The art of holding it together…. Or keeping calm in a crisis.(which is a bit of a long read)

I have been told that the man who tried to come and kill me has been released, whilst I was being told this, he arrived back to his own home opposite mine, at about 11pm shouting that he was back. I told this to the Police officer who was informing me, she sighed and said, “so he is already kicking off then.”

It is the sort of response that I would expect from a friend of family member, but again it seems the police are actually powerless to deal with this. They know exactly what they are dealing with here and yet they had to let him go on bail, because he said that he didn’t do it! As my friend put it quite succinctly, did they expect him to say, “Yes Officer, I am a complete arse, I cannot live or function in Society”

I found out yesterday, that he told the officer who questioned him that he had never spoken to me before, which was a complete lie but thus admitting in theory at least that he did on this occasion. They said that there was not enough evidence. I am pretty sure that in the three hours it took the police to actually find him and arrest him, he was able to return the knife he was carrying back into the kitchen drawer, only to remove it and come back over the road carrying it a further twice, but there was plenty of time.
They released him on bail, but did not apply any bail conditions, like staying away from me or my partner. I questioned this, since I had been told that he had been told not to come near or speak to either of us. The police officer said that he would have been told that, but it was not an actual condition of his bail. My question, “So there’s nothing to actually stop him doing that then” “No,” he replied.

The officer came to gather more information for the Crown Prosecution Service, who are now trying to build a case against him. The two witness statements given and a verbal statement to another officer were simply not enough for them. I offered two letters from a former neighbour which mention that he was taken into custody some time ago by riot squad for using knives, and had returned to his old ways he told me that they were not useful to this investigation. I was confused as they showed a previous history of violent behaviour involving knives from a further independent witness. I also mentioned the neighbour who confirmed for the policemen who attended that he had been throwing knives about whilst she had a conversation with us and shouting abuse at us, just after he attempted to run my partner down, just 2 weeks earlier.

The police officer forgot something when he left and returned moments later to collect it to find this man standing at our front gate, yelling abuse at my partner. Clearly the neighbour did not expect him to return. He searched him and cautioned him again and sent him back to his house telling him to stay on his side of the street and not come near this property. The ranting went on for a large part of the afternoon. I stayed indoors.

Yesterday early evening he was in his front garden, yelling across the street again and mimicking my partner walking about. Then standing in front of the house menacingly. He certainly had some acting skills, that man and seems to love a camera, he was acting up for it. He was also wearing a white chefs jacket in his new cunning disguise. Pieces of a puzzle, why would he have chefs whites you may ask, well if he was out of his garden with another kitchen knife, someone might mistake him for a chef.

Thankfully since he seems to have the thought pattern of a 17 year old and you can watch the cogs whirring, we are able to see things coming to a certain extent, but basically think of a set of circumstances put together with childlike thought and remain one step ahead at all times.

I again notified the council of this incident who I would have hoped had not got their hands firmly in their pockets on this occasion. However it seems that the fence they are sitting on is so far up their backsides that you cannot even see it. A local councillor who had previously promised to deal with the matter as mediator and to lend it some weight when this first began some seven weeks ago, has done nothing not been to see other victims and now feels he’d like to go and visit the man himself for a chat, telling me that there is compassionate feeling for his circumstances. In seven weeks, no-one has visited him yet and there is clearly absolutely no compassion for mine, or the other neighbours whom he has terrorised during this time or beforehand Well, I hope that the dear councillor takes a stab vest with him and I am sure that the neighbour will have his carer present, or perhaps the barrister that his mother provided to remove him from custody the other day. Most certainly he will play his part of meek and mild to the hilt, he will probably take his medication that day, wear smart clothes and wait until the councillor leaves the house and then he will go back to being the monster he has become. I only hope that they are not fooled for a minute, but fear that they will be completely taken in by the charade.

For him it is a fine game, which can be played day in, day out, night and day endlessly for as long as it takes by someone with far to much time on their hands. Meanwhile we cannot continue with our lives or get anything done. No preparation for a trip we were due to take in July and have yet to, since our days are taken up with dealing with the circumstances of his play, or the fallout from it. Does it all boil down to politics at the end of the day, since he is Special Needs. The response which I received from the councillor certainly led me to believe that.

The frustration I feel right now is so intense that I am wound like a clock. Suffering with Hypertension, you tend to know when you are about to become ill and I am about one step away. I am not sleeping properly, I am jumpy and cannot relax, my chest is fluttering and pounding and my heart rate is ten beats more than usual. I know this since the Dr asked me to check it before I left the surgery the other day. She is concerned and has prescribed me medication for acute anxiety. Although I would love the release of forgetting about what has happened and being able to relax. I cannot afford to let my guard down outside of the home. I am on higher alert than I was three days ago, when he was away. I am looking over my shoulder as I walk accompanied down the road. I would rather not leave the house at all, I only feel safe out in the car, to a certain level.

My home here is no longer a place of safety where I can sleep, relax and enjoy being. I crave the sanctuary of the Hill, somewhere I can take us both off to recharge our batteries and forget about the Trauma caused by this  Summer’s events. Or at least can gather my own thoughts into some semblance of order once again, without the domination of this person. I have the getaways so badly that I can taste it, but am powerless to get there. I have the offer to stay with friends, but a night away, would bring fear of what may have happened by my return, so I have declined thus far.

The other day, I was feeling an inner strength which I know is still deep down. I am digging deeply for it at the moment, trying to be strong and remembering that I have a voice and to make it heard. Surely one man cannot chase off a whole bunch of neighbours, well he has managed to terrorise them for months now. I do want to move, but I don’t want to be seen off and leave the other people around here to try and deal with it. They haven’t been able to before, if I have become a kind of ambassador for the local neighbours, then that may not be such a bad thing. To have someone fighting their corner for a change. We all want to be safe in our homes.

A couple of weeks ago, I repainted a bench in our garden.  It is there as a reminder, during the times when it feels so dark. It also sends a message to the whole neighbourhood. #LoveisStrongerthanHate Although I am finding it hard to love this particular neighbour after what he has inflicted upon us as a family, which is pain so deep and personal in a barrage of unprovoked attacks, by sharing some love amongst the rest of the community, we will become stronger.

I thought about asking my current landlords about moving me to another property as they did when I moved in here following a burglary carried out by my next door neighbour. But since this man’s mother has friends in high places who are giving her information, I know that I would not be safe there either, if he was not held in a secure unit he would come and find me, since he is not giving up. Also, I have asked myself the question who would want to move in here, I would have a duty to them to tell them that there was an issue with one or two of the neighbours, so who in their right mind would want to move to a place like this at the moment? Part of me would see this as defeat if I moved. Meanwhile, the torrent of foul abuse is launched upon me whenever I step out of the front door.

I don’t have the answer, I am begging them for something to be done. For this horror story to finish so that we can all get on with our lives, but at the moment I am stuck in limbo. I am unable to proceed and certainly not wanting to retreat. If I can hold my ground, I am in with a chance of survival.

The Daily Post – Recharge