A Conscious Decision

This year I have made a decision that I will not document in my diary what the symptoms of my illness are day after day. Like so many other times in my life, I followed the advice of a Doctor who told me that I should keep a record of the changes to my health.

As I think about it, my health dominated most of year and I see that as a direct consequence of recording it. It consumed me.

How was I feeling?

I dwelled upon every change and duly kept that record. But why? What good did it do? Did it give me the reassurance that it was all happening when the doctors didn’t listen? No it didn’t.

In fact it made me feel worse, it was putting a huge negative right at the forefront of my mind day after day.

I think the final straw, or nail in the proverbial coffin for this behaviour was when the Neurologist I had been referred to for seizures, wrote me off without further investigation because his first thought, that I might be epileptic was proved wrong. He did not delve deeper into what was causing worsening seizures night and day. He simply decided that he did not need to see me and the nerve pain and shaking must be caused by a trauma or psychological issue in my past.

It upset my partner greatly and it really made me wild. So I trusted my gut instinct and had a chat with my GP about the painkillers I’d been described and that the seizures had begun at exactly that time. I asked for an alternative and changed them. You’ll never guess what, I have not had a seizure since then! Sure I still get shaky and have nerve and joint pain. But not one of the three consultants or the two Doctors thought that the painkillers could be the cause, they would rather blame some issue in my past for it all.

I’m not denying it I do have to accept that last year I was sick, very sick for quite a lot of it. I’m not completely well or miraculously healed at this point in time. But and there is one, I am determined to turn a corner and improve whatever I can even if I have to take one small step at a time, even if it is all via small steps it really doesn’t matter, as long as I keep going. Along with my nature of being a positive thinker at heart after all of the knockbacks I am trying so hard to return to that state of mind.

So I am dragging myself kicking and screaming into this new year with the determination that things will indeed be different and better and my good health will once again return and the opportunities await me and I will see them in time and grab them.

I will not wait for this to happen now, or for doctors who last year failed me at almost every turn, failing on both diagnosis and treatment. I have decided that from now on, it is down to me to make improvements.

I have had to make the changes. As someone who lacks self confidence I am naturally reluctant to change so have to be pushed. I am grateful at such times for the driving force that is my partner by my side. He often wonders if I would do anything new without him. Of course I would, it would just take me longer to get off the ground and I might not see it all through.

But I am working on that. I used to have a “self destruct button” as he put it, where I would take silly risks, or not think things through before jumping in to something with both feet. He has taught me over the years to think things through beforehand. As a consequence we talk about almost everything especially if it is likely to affect us both. It not only makes us stronger but saves a lot of heartache.

So this year I would like my lovely new fresh blue diary, a present from my sister. To contain happy thoughts. Things that I will achieve. Items that have come our way. Wonderful things that we have seen, or done. Great experiences and pleasurable moments. So that at the end of the year, or even part of the way through it I can read it for inspiration, love, gratitude and so many other wonderful things safe in the knowledge that I am doing exactly what I am supposed to do with my life. Live it and love it.

It’s my birthday tomorrow which always gets me thinking about the future.

I am not dwelling upon the past or an increase in my age, for that is just a number. But I am grateful for the wisdom that comes with each year that passes as I grow older. For what the previous year has taught me, the lessons and the challenges I have overcome and the things that make me, just me.

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A Clean Break

It was going so well, and then I fell…..

I remembered that my brother used to use this phrase, but it was usually injected with humour after he had done something on a night out, when he had been foolish and got drunk and got caught out in his actions.
I haven’t done anything involving alcohol for a while now or which would apply in this scenario.

However I feel this morning that this saying applies to me.

You see in all of what happened during last year, In August I was referred back for counselling and have been trying to get through everything with the loving support of my family and friends. Sometimes barely holding it together but somehow scraping through. I have been on a list and in the past couple of weeks have been questioning whether I actually need that counselling when my turn comes. I thought that I have been able to heal from last year and had made progress especially since the arrival of furry son #2, otherwise known as the care bear. After all I can now leave the house without fear or panic although I am still watching my back. I have been able to go visiting friends and family and get the shopping again and keep the small quantity of appointments that have been made. I even got and made it through a job interview which was real progress. With legs that felt like lead I walked to it, lightheaded and feeling nausea coming over in waves as I tried it o remember to breathe in full blown panic. I cannot recall what I said to myself to calm me down before I went inside other than, they are only human and if it’s meant to be. Then it’s meant to be.

I came out of there feeling that it had gone well, I was told that I interviewed well and the woman spoke about two jobs that she felt I would be right for. I said that of the two, personally I felt I would be better suited to one of them and she said she would let me know. It was a little over a week before Christmas. I heard nothing. After Christmas I contacted the person who had called me for interview to see if she had any news. She chased up the interviewer and came back to me with apologies for the delay but I did not get either job. Fair enough it clearly wasn’t meant to be but it was a setback.
[However the job search continued and I apply for anything that I feel I can do, old want to do. You see I do not have an industry. I want to find new things. I had a thirst for new experiences and knowledge. I have worked in several industries and yes, there are some I would be happy to return to and other’s I was glad when that episode of my life ended. ]
Meanwhile I have been bonding with our adopted dog and here for my partner who has been unwell. We have spent this valuable time together and both feel that it has been essential to our healing. We have talked openly about depression in both of us and the physical care that he now needs on a daily basis due to his health issues. I am that care giver. I wondered out loud last week how he would cope if I were not. It didn’t please him I should have kept my thoughts inside. We have talked about our escape from this place and the situation which has left us feeling so melancholy and the fact that the authorities are powerless to stop the man who is still running wild and free having threatened our very existence for several months of last year. Life is not the same for us. Our loss and grief continues to marr what could be such a good life and threatens our happiness on a daily basis. Thoughts of our beloved dog and how sick he became due to the actions of that person. My partner and I have also become sick through it all both physically and mentally we have struggled through it and we are not out the other side yet.

Yes I am angry. Not in a twisted way or hellbent on revenge as some might be. I am trying to forgive but I am unable to do that yet. I feel as though the only way that will happen is when I no longer see his evil smile. It is not a kind, happy smile which welcomes you. It is an angry sneer belittling everything you do or feeling that you have whilst he is planning his next move. I can do nothing but watch and wait anticipation it before it happens and trying to diffuse the anger that builds since he is getting away with it. Treating the authorities and the people who look after him, despite the fact he is more than capable of looking after himself, with utter contempt and disdain. He is pulling the wool over their eyes an accomplished actor donning many disguises to play the parts. He has them fooled, he can even do meek and mild and quietly reserved until they bring him back and his champion of the world kicks back in to rule with an iron fist and all the time he knows exactly what he is doing, the consequences of his actions and the mayhem and upset that he wreaks.

I thought that I was coping with it all but I am dogged with a voice two octaves lower than it should be. A gravelly throat with visible lumps inside it and a persistent cough which chokes me at night. This is not a metaphor but it so easily could be. It is the reality and I am stifled. The police told me that I could not say these things about him. That it may incite violence or ill feeling towards him and that he is vulnerable. So for months now I have felt stifled and unable to speak. At times I have almost lost my voice, literally hoarse from a condition which My doctor told me was brought on by stress. The lumps come and go Antibiotics have no effect upon them. I wonder if there is any physiological reason for it. Is it connected to the pain and temporary deafness which comes and goes. My referral to the ENT department cannot come soon enough. But I cannot help wondering if it all stems from this trauma which continues to play with everything I do or think.

I thought I may not need the counselling that there is someone out there who may be more deserving of it. A letter arrived this week asking me if I still required it. I wasn’t sure. My partner was very matter of fact he told me to get on the phone. There are things that you sometimes feel you want to talk about with others. We can talk about anything but as he has figured from my past experience with the counselling, we need to go and do it and get that other perspective. From someone who is outside of the situation and whose judgement is not clouded by knowing how you think. I have requested the same counsellor since the barriers of getting to know someone even in that controlled environment have already been broken down. She was like a new friend to me. I appreciate everything she told me, both personal and professionally in our sessions and it would be nice to see her again as she knows my history to an extent.

I have realised in the past two days that I have a long way to go before I have recovered from this trauma and ordeal. I have been trying to kid myself that it was over and I could move on but it isn’t. The realisation that the creature over the road has been biding his time, waiting for the fuss to die down so that he can start all over again has been tough to stomach. With the arrival of mysterious foodstuffs placed in sections of the garden in places the dog could find have made me realise he is up to his old tricks again. My partner called him on it and other neighbours have seen him throwing food into our garden. We have picked it up and inspected it, but poisons can be unscented but when food is spoiled it does change consistency and colour. So far we have not seen any sickness but when the pup is off his food with a hot nose we worry that we may have missed something and he has found it. But I will not let the creature rule this year. I will not live in fear again whilst he flaunts his carefree existence. He will not tie us up in knots day after day worrying, but he already is, the sickness I feel in the stomach is already there with a gut feeling that knows he has already got to us so I must learn to stop that. There has been a distinct shift in our moods since the arrival of the odd food in the garden and we check for more before we let the dog out there. Every time and thoroughly.

I know that to get out of the situation here would be a new start, a clean break would be a positive thing for us and I am trying to make that happen but I need help. A new job, a new home should be a positive thing, but why does it feel that we are giving up and running away. Why should we be chased off by a situation we cannot fix? We have spent six months trying to think of another way, trying to make it work here and get on with our lives. Our lives have been on hold, waiting for the problem to be dealt with by the authorities and we are no nearer a resolution. I cannot sit and wait, I do not want our time to run out, or be cut short by someone who feels that their actions will never be accountable. He has no fear, a whole lot of other problems maybe but no fear.

I need to move us on from this, to stop it eating away at us to reboot our onboard thinking we are not running away, but are making a break for freedom from this. Life has dealt us some blows, thrown a few bricks at us. It is time we begin to build new things with them.

The Daily Post – Clean

Which Direction the Future will Take and Finding My Happy

Alternative title: Getting my Act Together.

Another Note to Self:
No, you cannot sit around in your PJ’s, or your shorts and flip flops all Summer dreaming and writing.
Yes, you will wear make up again.
You will probably straighten your hair too.
You will have to put shoes on again
Barefoot, Makeup free and scruffy is not considered acceptable work attire.

“Sod It!” I cry, like my inner six year old. “Then perhaps I should go and live on the hill, write interesting books and blogs and try to become self sufficient.”
“Well my little one,” says the voice of reason…
“In time maybe, however first you need to pay some bills and fund this lavish, self sufficient dream. It takes money and how will you actually feel about slaughtering the animals you love and have nurtured when running your self-sufficient lifestyle?”

Erm. Well, that’s just it isn’t it…. In a nutshell. Although I have loved the idea of running a farm, or smallholding since I was that six year old child and drew a picture of me selling bread from the window of our farm cottage, a ruddy faced farmer (Shaun my very first “boyfriend” aged six) standing proudly by a red tractor, and stating that “When I grow up, I want to be a Farmer, Shaun will drive the tractor Marianne (his sister) will milk the cow.” Now there is no Shaun or Marianne, Instead I want to drive the tractor and still bake bread, and the reality of what happens to animals on a farm, might just be too difficult for me to cope with myself. I do not like pain, causing it or receiving it. It saddens me deeply. And in all these years of talking about it, I can honestly say that I haven’t during my dream thought about the logistics. I have a friend who has animals, her husband deals with the disappearances of the piglets they look after and comes back with sausages and bacon, but I don’t think they “lose” any chickens and they have laying hens for eggs. Am I too sensitive to follow this particular dream? It’s the first time I have looked at this from this angle, clearly trying to skirt the issue in all these years.

I guess all this soul searching stems from yesterday. I was updating my CV and spent hours searching for another job. Finances dictate that I must do something that earns my keep and again I am feeling under pressure and clueless as to the direction it will take me. More and more I am deciding what I don’t want from my next job. The people I don’t want to be around and the situations I do not want to place myself in. Putting up barriers before I begin, in the name of protection. I am not prepared to have a re-run of the past next time around.

So finding a proper job, what will I do and where will I go. What will I be? Some high flyer in a wonderful company, or just scraping through, barely covering my bills. As the hopes and fears rise within my thoughts and chest, I am clueless and feel powerless to choose. Could I work outside? Yes, part of me wants to, but only in the summer months as I am not attuned to the cold or damp. My body is simply not set up for winter outside. It is also not prepared to allow me to push it into the daily demands of a manual job outside.
I like people, customer faced roles and B2B have suited me thus far. I like to talk on the phone and interact with my customers. Build the relationships which help the business and I’m successful at it.
I like using the computer and finding out about the systems which provide data and information for the business. Although I also like working odd hours and on my own. I’m pretty good at motivating a team and setting them in the right direction.

I’m not a massively social person, although I love a good get together, I’m no longer your boozy nightclubbing kind of gal and I really don’t like football, or want to know much about it. I recently described the experience as “wasted Saturday afternoons of my youth, standing freezing in fields” which didn’t exactly inspire the person I was talking to. I was supposed to be cheering on the team but was too cold to care and just wanted to get in the pub with the rest of them.  So as the football season is in full swing, I am relieved that I am not stuck in an environment, when there is talk of little else or have it shoved at me via large screens in every pub.

I do try to fit in but these subjects just aren’t my thing so I tend to feel like a fish out of water. As though I am missing interaction on a different level and alienating myself in the process, but I can’t help it. I do like European travel, architecture, nice Art, Music (I mean real music) DIY, Cars, Cooking, Photography, Writing and so much more and I am happy to hold a grown up conversation which is more than about what’s on TV or which team won. I don’t watch a great deal of TV, soaps, football or reality stuff where everybody sounds the same, I can’t stand it. More and more I prefer not to watch killing sprees and abuse and drug addiction which seems to have become the norm on our small screens, I have seen more than enough of that in real life, it isn’t drama it is sick and the world has become more depraved. I’m not one for vigorous beauty treatments, plastic surgery or enhancements. It just doesn’t appeal to me. Instead I wash, cleanse, tone, try to keep fairly fit, exercise but not quite as often as I should. I have regular hair cuts and decent skin. I don’t like putting excess chemicals on or in my face, hair and body. So I’m not a make up aficionado, preferring a clean, natural look with the benefit of a neutral palette when I use it. My days of purple or turquoise mascara, or yellow and green eye shadow are gone. Well I was a teenager in the late 80’s, so it WAS normal back then! I don’t even wear nail varnish, let alone fake nails and prefer a natural tan, not the orange spray that people insist is healthier. Hmm, so to spray tinted chemical all over your skin, which gets right into your system is healthier than sun and vitamin E in moderation? Really? I opt for sun every time.

I’ve always preferred the company of my elders, they know so much. I have a thirst for learning, which I think came from disliking school. I was often bullied, miserable there and couldn’t wait to leave. But I had respect for my elders and in later years, regretted not learning as much as I could in that time. So now I try to learn from the people around me, by listening, watching and reading in the school of life and I’ve picked up a lot of knowledge. I don’t claim to be clever, or an expert in anything, but I’m certainly not thick either.

So, why do I feel as though I am sitting here writing a classified ad, trying to sell myself to the world and convince everyone that I am a good person and ultimately employable?
Perhaps it should read, Likes country walks, talking, music, late nights. It feels like a profile for a date. But as I research the latest how to guides for getting your resume out there and getting it seen, we are told that it is not important what you enjoy in your spare time, what your interests are. They the job search robots are programmed to look for keywords, or phrases and if your wonderful artistically written resume does not contain those specifics, then you will be binned without a second thought or glance.
I beg to differ, (Quelle surprise!) If someone has wildly different interests in their spare time to everyone else, then they are not going to fit in, they will have a different dynamic and this might cause issue. More and more I have found that if you do not like at least some of the same things, then you are an outcast, people make the mistake of thinking that you are posh, or aloof and have a preset opinion of how they will treat you which is extremely difficult to break.

So the resume is preparation for a date of sorts, with whatever the future holds, with what route I choose to take next. Along with a little role play involved. Hmm, will I fancy it, the outcome? Will there be that essential chemistry, enough to ignite the passion of my new career? Or is it already there bubbling under the surface and waiting like a volcano to erupt and surprise people?

Tell the inner child that I cannot be the barefoot princess, tiptoeing around the safety of my patio garden and playing with the dog. There is more to life than time with the family, relaxed and in comfortable clothes, eating when we are hungry, enjoying the late evening walks, sleeping when we are tired and doing housework and other jobs when I am not. With no set routine to time. A luxury that I have not enjoyed for such a long time and have missed. No-one else calling the shots with little expectation, merely that the house is clean and tidier, the bills are paid and there is food on the table. We want for little, less physical pain in our bodies and we are happy for this time together. We are not perfect, our opinions do differ, there are sometimes cross words. Usually when outside influences or interference upsets our apple cart, shatters our peace or something throws an unexpected spanner in the works. But generally, our life has been simple and happy these past few months.

Around Christmas time I saw a friend of mine who I used to work with. We were very close when we worked together and I think of her like a sister. We got on so well from the minute we began work together and this continued after she and I both moved on. She told me that I needed to take time out to do something that made me happy now. She was not the first to say this to me, in fact several people have told me that I should not spend my time thinking about everyone else, but must consider my own needs too.
It isn’t about how much we can earn, or who we can please in our work. It should be about finding your happiness. Being satisfied with what you have been served and just dealing with it, in whatever way you know how to. Or learning a new way to get through. She told me to stop worrying about the money I felt that I needed to make, however as the earner in the household, I must admit I had difficulty in doing that and still do.

My friend was right though, finding my happy again has been more important than finding the next well paid, dead end job that steals my time, my personality and my happiness, in the name of a growth, success or a career. I needed to take a step backwards and think outside the box, hell, throw the box away completely and focus on the new important Oh and Breathe whilst I figured it all out. She is a Yoga teacher, she is used to getting stressed out people to breathe, that is just one of her many gifts. In doing so she did me a real favour. Her chat with me came at just the right time, it saved me from jumping in, Head first with both feet again, something which I was ill equipped to do at the time. It gave me the confidence to ask for time to heal from the bad experiences I had encountered and protect myself for the future and take it. It gave me time with my family, right when I needed it and the luxury of relying upon those closest to me for the support when it was needed. Not everyone gets to do that. Although my transformation is far from complete I feel that I am making progress and am grateful for the encouragement.

I still want to strive, succeed and do something great. I might not be sure what it is yet, but I do believe that I will do it and I will be happy. In the past few months, I’ve made a good start on the happiness front, different things now drive me. My goals are changing, they include the little things and some are attainable, with hard work and persistence.
These small steps will lead to bigger and better achievements I am sure.
My view of success may not bring fortunes to our lives, however it just might and wouldn’t that be amazing! Will I achieve the holy grail of a great work/life balance and a career?

Will I become the inspiration that drives other people to fulfil their own goals? Will people follow in my footsteps one day? I want to Inspire! I used to do that in people, so therefore I can. I just have to find the right ones and nurture and mentor them. Make them believe in themselves and their abilities and I haven’t lost that. I have an excitement surrounding my future, a zest for a good life and renewed vigour, suddenly at 3.30am to go and find it.