Phoenix Fights

"The only thing we have to fear is fear it'self – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified, terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance." Franklin D. Roosevelt. Fighting the FEAR, depression and BDP on a daily basis AND making my own bread. Bring it on 2014….


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ANGER IS AN ENERGY

Lord_of_the_Kraken_by_SteveArgyle

I can’t be around people I know right now.

Or, more to the point, people who know me, know about me and profess to love me.

I can’t contain the anger see, no matter how I try.

Even if I keep schtum, it twists my mouth, bleeds from my narrowed accusing eyes, and emanates from my core, surrounding me in such a huge miasma of unvented vitriol, I wonder how my hair doesn’t crackle and stand on end.

And whether they know it or not, they sense it.

You see, I may mock these Schema sessions, but it’s only taken three for them to bust through my ‘accepting’ Zen like veneer, and release the Kracken, and since the last meet, I can’t stop the fury.  My lying, weasel of an estate agent, the patronising sexist caretaker, a faux Facebook friend, Oscar Pistorius, and subsequently ‘alternative’ comedian Jimmy Carr have all felt the rough of my tongue, and I don’t quite know what to do with myself.

Even before I got to the session, I was bubbling and roiling with resentment, and when I remembered that (a) we were being filmed, (b) I’d consented to this and (c) the fucking camera was pointing in my direction, (ironic given that in different circumstances I’m perfectly happy with being filmed), I was absolutely determined to give not an inch.

Nada.

They prompt me, you see.

Gently and with apparent concern (retch), but I’m not having it.

‘How are people feeling today?  Sista, would you like to start?’

‘No.’

‘Ah….’

And everyone shifts uncomfortably in their seats.  It’s quite funny really.  They’re so grateful to be there and desperate to be ‘cured’, but I’ve been here so many times before, that a ball of wool, bits of felt and sympathetic tones cut no ice with me.

They don’t care about us.  We’re just lab rats and something else to put on their illustrious CV’s.

Then they start discussing the ‘Punitive/Demanding Parent’ (close relative to Aunty C’s ‘Bad Parent’ I believe) and that, whilst our parents damaged us, they probably did their best at that time, and when everyone seemed keen to embrace that theory, that is when I cracked.

‘Sorry, I don’t buy that at all.’

Shrink No’s 1 and 2 whip their heads my way and frown.

‘They had a choice.  Even if they had a bad childhood, they could have decided to transcend that experience and give their child that which they missed out on. But they didn’t.  They decided that if they were hurt, why should things be any easier for us?’

One of my fellow inmates pipes up.

‘Yeah, but that was back in the day and they didn’t know about all, erm, all this then?’

I know what she means and I know she means well.  But she’s talking arse.

‘I was dragged up in the North West in the ’60’s and believe me, I know that there was no psychological awareness there when I was a kid.  You were either a looney and to be jeered at, or normal and accepted.  No one knew about this “Good Parent, Bad Parent” malarky that’s for sure…’

And I mime inverted commas with slightly excessive force and more than a touch of sarcasm.

‘…but my cousin took his shitty childhood and did the opposite to what his father did and became the best parent he could, and all his kids absolutely adore him.  See?  He had a choice and decided his kids deserved better.  Our parents chose the other path.’

‘That’s a fair point actually, and yes, this is sometimes the case’ agreed Shrink No. 1, and the others mumble in acquiescence.

Then I notice another girl is crying.

No. 2 is on it.

‘Bella*, what’s that bringing up for you right now?’

‘I don’t know, I’m…’ then she lets out a shaky sigh and meets my eyes.

‘….I….just don’t like anger’ and she shrugs apologetically.

I feel a bolt of shame lance straight through me, and I am silenced.

I know that I scare people sometimes, without even trying.  That said, she should see me when I really flip out.  But to be fair, us BPD’s are hypersensitive and I’m sure she senses the molten fury bubbling under my relatively composed facade.

As if reading my mind, No. 1 pipes up with ‘Please remember that this is a safe place people.  We are here to take care of you and Bella, I know Sista isn’t angry with you or anyone else in the group.’

I should say something.

‘Yeah, honestly?  I think you must be stronger than me if you can forgive and still love your parents.  I’m actually the weak one here.  And I’m sorry if I made you cry.’

Bella rewards me with a watery smile.

No. 1 then decides to chime in with ‘Believe me Bella, I don’t think Sista is that angry right now.   Believe me.  I’ve seen her when she’s angry!’

Whaaat?  Thanks Doc.  I’m now the groups very own Incredible Hulk and everyone will flinch if even my top button strains.

I reward him with a mock scathing sneer, everyone giggles and we move on.

But the shame stays with me.  Because the Jolly Green Giant is a mere tantruming toddler when compared to me at large, as I can destroy with my tongue as well as my fists.  And I clearly remind Bella of someone who hurt her very much.

I regularly mourn the fact that I am childless, but right now I thank God that I never reproduced, because who knows whether I would have lived up to my own exacting standards or gone classic ‘Mommie Dearest’.

But the anger’s still there.  If anything it’s worse.

I tried to do the best for myself and kept a pre arranged trip to the cinema with a ‘close’ friend, I haven’t seen for three weeks just to get me out of the flat.

How hard could it be?

1. Buy tickets

2. Small talk till the ads start

3. Watch the movie

4. Drive him to the station

5. Go home

Quite hard as it happens, as after three weeks silence, as went enter the cinema, he mentions that he’d deducted that I’d had a hard time of late from my posts on Facebook.

<yes, but you still kept your distance hey?  funny that….>

I fought to keep control.

‘Honestly Dean?  I really don’t want to talk about it, it’s too depressing.  Let’s focus on what you’ve been up to?’

Great parry.  He filled up the minutes with tales of his full, fulfilling social life until mercifully the trailers started, then the movie commenced.

But oddly my underlying mood clearly seeped into his personal space as unbeknownst to him, his body language clearly communicated his discomfort as throughout the film, he shrank away from me, turned his form in the opposite direction, and even whilst the movie itself was riveting, checked his watch on a regular basis.

When we got out it was late, the pubs were shut so the only option was for us to go to our respective homes.

<not that you’d linger anyway, hey Dean?  skint friends are such a bore and you have much more amusing things to do with your time I’ll bet>

‘Wanna lift to the station?’

‘Please!’

Then it went horribly wrong.

‘So what’s actually going on with your flat?’

‘Oh you know estate agents!  Full of shit until you sign with them!  To cut a long story things ain’t looking good re my great escape and I’m very worried about my future.  How are things at work?’

‘But can’t you rent out?’

<fucking drop it will you? drop it, drop it, drop it>

‘Nooo, because I won’t make a profit and won’t get my rent paid.’

‘So, there’s nothing on the job front either?  Odd because Steve says there’s load of temp work out there right now?’

<shut up, shut up, shut up….>

And then it all comes tumbling out.

‘I can’t move because there are no interested buyer plus it’s unlikely to sell for enough to get me out of this hell hole.  I can’t rent out.  I can’t get a job because I’m over 50, bonkers, can’t do full time because i have to work around my Schema Therapy, and everyone I’ve ever worked with, including my FRIENDS have pretty much distanced themselves from me so would not recommend or help me get something.  If I stay I’m fucked, if I move I lose my therapy.  My bills are bigger than my bank account and I could get repossessed and of course everyone who said I could stay with them is shitting themselves because let’s face it, who wants a depressive and two cats on their sofa?!’

I wink at him mockingly and before he can interject I continue.

‘No one that’s who.  It’s like the Budda says, you can never rely on others only yourself.  I can’t afford to go out and I can’t afford to stay in. My family like my FRIENDS are lying low just in case I ask anything from them and I’m essentially on my own in all this.  There!  Think that covers everything.  Questions?’

And as I take in his shocked little face by the light of the station lamps, I realise I’ve killed off yet another friendship, or at the very least, drop kicked it into intensive care.

‘I erm, well, I didn’t know things were that bad.’

I smile with faux jollity.

‘Well ya do now!’

We stare at each other.

He doesn’t move.

<get OUT of the fucking car Dean>

‘Erm, I didn’t know given you’ve just been a bit distance the last few weeks…’

I feel my mad Joker grin widen even more.

‘I haven’t been distant Dean!  You’re the one who said you’d be too busy to do anything for two weeks!  I just didn’t want to crowd you!’

His mouth is kind of moving but the words don’t make it out.

<get. out. of. my. car.>

‘You’re going to miss your train?’

‘OK, yeah, well I’ll….we’ll…’

‘Indeed!’

We air kiss and he opens the door.

‘See ya!’

And I drive away with a feeling of palpable relief, a furious grief and a howl of pain that never seems to end.

Another one bites the dust.

end_friendship111

But still the anger roils and boils.  I need to find a way to vent this shit before I take down entire cities.

I need to forgive the people who’ve let me down so badly.  Or have they?  It’s hard to tell when you’re certifiable.

I could be wrong.  I could be right.

This anger is the only energy that ever motivates me to do anything. Such a shame it’s a force for evil.

If I ever get to harvest it for the good, that’s when I know I can Rise.

But I ain’t holding my breath.

Ciao for now x

* FYI all names are changed to ensure anonymity, even though I blog under a pseudonom.

http://www.oldielyrics.com/lyrics/public_image_limited/rise.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/jimmy-carrs-controversial-oscar-pistorius-joke-goes-too-far-at-the-q-awards-9812847.html


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HUBBLE, BUBBLE, YARN & TROUBLE

MAIN-Lynda-Bellingham

Today I have been mostly sighing.

I reiterate – sighing.

Not crying.

Despite things not going so great of late, I was doing OK.  I’ve been doing a bit of buddhist meditation and trying to accept my fate and was staying on a relatively even keel, until I went to my first Schema Therapy session.

To clarify, whilst this was my first session, it was the group’s second meeting, because, after all that angst filled waiting, I managed to miss the first one because I’d got the dates mixed up.  I’m pretty sure they (the two shrinks) thought I’d done it deliberately but I hadn’t.

One day seems very much like the next when you don’t have a life.

So, when I rocked up last Thursday, they were very effusive when welcoming me to the flock.

But I don’t trust them.  Partly because (as the scorpion said to the frog) it’s my nature, and partly because I haven’t forgotten them pretending my financial situation didn’t exist and that this would ensure that I was going to be there for the entire two years.  I was quite frankly amazed that someone so intelligent and well qualified would resort to behaving like an ostrich.  Well I’ve told ‘em and if they still choose to pretend that my imminent departure isn’t happening, that’s their funeral.

Also, the list of participants they showed me were women and there are men in this group. That’s going to be awkward further down the line.

The first, my first, session started with the ‘bubble’ exercise where we had to close our eyes and visualise being in a lovely bubble that none of our worries or anything bad could penetrate and where we were safe, at least for the 90 minutes we were at the hospital.

My friends, there are only so many things that a bubble can repel.  And an gang of burly baliffs would smash that motha to pieces, so I stared at the carpet by way of compromise and played along.

We then did this thing with a ball of yarn where we had to say our name wrap the yarn around our hand then throw it to someone else, until everyone was tied together, thus illustrating the unshakable bond between us.

Oh God, how I itched to take the piss out of it, so when they asked us what it looked like, I kept schtum.

But then they had to ask me, of all people, what I saw.

‘It looks like a pentagon.’

‘Ah yes’ enthused Shrink No. 1, ‘I can see that, so it’s like we’re points on a star?’

‘No.  A pentagon.’  As used in black masses? Fortunately I managed to keep that bit in my head.

Then, ten minutes in when one of the girls got emotional, Shrink No. 2 broke out some lengths of felt fabric for us to cuddle and link between us to signify softness, and a comforting bond.

What the absolute fuck?  Is anyone actually falling for this shit?

Well yes they were.  From what i could tell, I was the only cynic amongst them.  And that’s when the penny dropped.

Even in an entire group of misfits and outsiders, I’m the outsider.

That’s no mean feat is it?  Practically something to be proud of.

Except all I felt was despair.

I have nothing in common with the others.  I’m older, from a different area, a different background, and I’ve had lots of therapy over the years, whereas all the jargon, tools and visualisations seem to be new and wonderful to these people.

It’s not their fault but my trust in them is zero.  How can I bear my soul here?

On the plus side, I kind of feel that I might be able help them, and in that sense, help myself.

At one stage I pulled out my bottle of water for a drink and copped a worried grin from No. 2, then when one of the girls asked if she could drink from her flask of tea, everyone froze.

‘Um…’ said No. 1, ‘well, what does the rest of the group think?’

Everyone shifted uncomfortably.

‘Yes’ chimed in No. 2, ‘I think this should be a group decision.’ She nodded gravely.

Sorry?  It’s green tea, not methadone!

I had to pipe up.

‘I’m sorry but it didn’t even occur to me that drinking wouldn’t be allowed’ I said incredulously ‘I get very dehydrated from my meds, and can’t go 90 minutes without water, so as long as it’s not a can of Guinness, I don’t see what the problem is?’

The group burst out laughing and even the shrinks allowed themselves a faint smile.

‘Yes, well if everyone’s OK with that, we’ll agree that you can bring drinks into the group.’

Oh, goodie, goodie gumdrops.  Am I going to have to put my hand up to go wee wees too?

I reported back to Aunty C and she laughed.

‘Try not to rubbish it too much and see what you can get from it.’

I took that on board and congratulated myself on surviving the first session.

Except I haven’t.

Today I watched brave, ballsy Lynda Bellingham’s (British actress) final interview, when she spoke of her incurable bowel cancer and her resigning herself to imminent death, but was planning one last Christmas with her loved ones before popping her clogs.

But it never worked out that way as she died on Sunday.

And here’s me planning the most Scroogy Christmas I can because I feel unloved and let down by my family.

If I had to describe that moment, I don’t think I can do it justice, but I felt a combination of shame, sadness, anger, envy, shame, resentment and pain.

I didn’t cry but I can feel all those unshed tears lodged in my thorax again, and I keep doing those big shaky sighs that you do when you’ve bawled your eyes out.

Maybe it’s a matter of time.  I just pray God that it doesn’t happen there.

Maybe I’ll go and see the Munsters at Crimbo after all.

Namaste x

http://www.ok.co.uk/celebrity-news/lynda-bellingham-final-appearance-loose-women


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PITY PARTY TRACK 20 – TRAPPED – COLONEL ABRAMS

Yes it’s Pity Party time again, so swig down your vodka and orange (squash), put down your cheese straws and hit the dance floor as I’m just lining up the 12″ version of Colonel Abram’s ‘Trapped’ so you can get down with yo bad self 80’s style.

I can get even more down on mine.

:-(

Apols for my absence of late, but I so wanted to have good news for you for my next post, but sadly things have not gone according to plan.

Re my three pronged approach (see Safe as Houses) I’ve done two out of three (which Meatloaf will concur, ain’t bad), but am shit scared to do the latter.

Mainly because my property has been on the market for two weeks now, and I’ve only had one person over to view it.

ONE.

So I can’t even say to my lenders that there’s lots of interest and that I should be out before Christmas and pay you off in full, so right now I am nigh on nostalgic for the days when my biggest worry was which club to go to, and whether my flat mate would ‘borrow’ my favourite tarty, scrunchy body con dress before I got home from work.

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Hell, I’m nostalgic for that pitiful fear I had but two weeks ago at the mere thought of selling this place.  Little did I know that the market is practically moribund due to (according to the estate agent) concern of how the election might affect interest rates and the imminent arrival of Christmas.

Didn’t tell me that when I listed with them, did he, fucking slimy, bloodsucking twat?

Then I was terrified that I wouldn’t make enough to finance my new life elsewhere.  Now I’m shitting bricks and having nightmares about being repossessed, ending up on the streets, and/or having bailiffs take my car.

And before anyone suggests it, I can’t rent it out because I wouldn’t make any profit and I wouldn’t get my rent paid by the government because I’m be a property owner.  And no, I couldn’t stay with friends because now it’s critical, everyone’s has gone very quiet and seem to have forgotten their casual ‘Oh you can always come and stay with us’, because, let’s be honest, they never thought it would come to this otherwise they’d have kept their gobs shut.

As for my family, they never made that offer in the first place (no hypocrite they), and are now very much ‘Oh everyone’s in the same boat’ when I showed them the white of my eyes out of sheer desperation.

Well we’re not actually.  We’re not even in the same fucking river!  No one is going to make you homeless you bastards.

The only good thing about this situation is that you find out who your real friends are.

Trouble is, I don’t appear to have any, so I am trapped, and totally powerless and at the mercy of besuited bankers whom I will have to come clean to, and hope that they give me six months or so to shift this pile and get the hell outta Dodge.

On the plus (?) side, I’ve started Schema Therapy!

Oh boy, now that’s another story.

Stay tuned for another exciting episode of ‘The Fall and Fall of a Failing, Flailing, Fucked Up 50 Something’…..

Namas-frigging-te x

http://sistasertraline.wordpress.com/2014/09/06/safe-as-houses/


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TROLLY DOLLY

keyboard-warrior-meme-generator-me-is-keyboard-warrior-650617

As most of you know, I was blessed (or some might say, cursed) with a very sharp tongue which was seemingly tailor made to wound.

Not a very pleasant skill I know, but if it’s any consolation, as fellow vociferous looney tunes will know, we easily beat ourselves up as much, if not more, than we do our unfortunate adversaries.

Fact.

But maybe, just maybe, we shouldn’t be beating people up in the first place.  Even if they do deserve it.

Until lately, I’ve never been much of a Tweeter.  I’m anonymous on there too so can’t connect with real life friends, the people I really want to follow don’t say much of anything (probably because they have a life), so a lot of the time I find it quite boring.

Who cares if Jonathan Ross just had a bit of toast and marmalade for breakfast?

Not I, and I’ll read any old shit to pass time, so it bemuses me why normal busy people spend hour after hour on there.

Then one day all became clear when an annoying celebrity I ripped into acknowledged me.

I was strangely pleased and flattered, which is odd given that I can’t stand the man. Then the penny dropped.  In a world where you, everything you say or do tends to go unacknowledged and unappreciated (especially when you have mental health issues and/or lack in confidence), Twitter is the one place where you can make the famous/arrogant/entitled hear you whether they like it or not.

So, whilst I don’t do it all the time, every now and then, when someone pisses me off, something is unfair/unjust, someone is being a dick, I go on there and have my say.   For the most part, I do it with humour and a level of affection, but of late, my tweets have been more angry and accusary.

m_140410mg

Appropriate and justified you might say, when it comes to someone like Oscar Pistorius literally getting away with moider, Shrien Dewani attempting to follow suite, Donald Trump riding roughshod over anyone and everyone, and the heinous Katie Hopkins being, well, herself. But one day, I got all het up about a baking competition because some old dear took someone else’s ice cream out of the freezer, let it melt and didn’t say sorry!  What the absolute fuck is that all about?

Then, when it came to what happened on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ last week, I started to turn, well, a bit trolly.  I know, I know, it sound so frigging stoopid, but this female dancer on it really gets my goat.

Let me also just say that joking apart, I am NOT a keyboard warrior.  Anyone that knows me would say that I would happily say what I write about anyone to their face.  And the police would probably be called.  But I digress….

So this dancer, Aliona won the competition three years ago, mainly down the the fact that she was paired up with someone young, hot and a professional performer.  That’s not to say they didn’t deserve the crown, but all of the professional dancers are amazing so she lucked out getting Harry that year.

The following year she got paired up with an adorable old TV presenter, Johnny Ball, someone of whom I loved to watch when I was little.  Aliona was visibly unimpressed but hey, you win some, you lose some, right?  However by the next show she was absent with an ‘injury’, leaving another dancer to tread the light fantastic with the old boy, who, no doubt hobbled by the disruption, performed poorly and was voted out first week.

Then in 2013 the BBC, clearly also suspecting foul play announced that she was leaving the show along with some other dancers.   But, instead of exiting quietly, dignity intact, she went apeshit, telling the press that she was being pushed out and did not know why. All this squawking seemed to work as, later that year she was back on the show and was paired up with legendary golfer Tony Jacklin.

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Had she learned her lesson?  Had she fuck.  Instead of looking after this national treasure, she concocted a ridiculous routine that showed off all his flaws, and that, along with the most ridiculous unflattering outfit I’ve ever seen, earned him the order of the boot in the first week. You could see the triumph in her eyes, and she barely bothered to feign disappointment as she trotted upstairs to rejoin the professional dancers.

This year, unbelievably, she returned again and was duly paired up with Masterchef presenter Gregg Wallace, who, it has to be said, was a veritable Chippendale compared with the other two, but was Modom content?

Hardly.  Whilst her face managed to hold it’s rictus grin, her eyes indicated that she’d rather take to the floor with an incontinent tramp. In a way I got that ‘cos I don’t like him much either, but tough titty sweetie, it’s your JOB to teach him!

You know you really hate someone when you hate them more than someone you really hate.  And I just hate that.

Ahem.

So much wasted energy…

So, seeing a pattern forming, I take to Twitsville and predict Mystic Meg style that poor old Gregg will be first off in week one.

And I was right. The curse of Aliona struck again. Not only that but it turns out that she was so cold and hostile to the poor sap that he was in tears and having panic attacks before his performance.  But she’s not all bad.  She did wait a whole 24 hours before retweeting hundreds of messages saying she shouldn’t have to dance with ‘old puddings’ anymore and begging for the BBC to give her someone hot and young to partner with next time.

Incensed by the unfairness of all this, I went after her on Twitter, telling the world about her evil strategy, how arrogant she was, and that she should be more kind and tolerant or leave, and when I was retweeted and supported, my stony little heart swelled with appreciation and self righteousness. Until I noticed some rather horrible, mocking carping little tweets nestling amongst my nice ones in my outbox….

Ah…..

Kind? Tolerant? Just like moi eh?

troll

Then I realised that I was using my boredom, hopelessness, anger and fear to vent at someone I didn’t know, to make me feel better, and whilst I wasn’t being horrendously cruel or threatening to shank her or anything, I was starting to morph into an ugly, bitter, ranting little troll, that crouched, snarling, snuffling and gibbering over her keyboard, just waiting for someone to trip trap over her hypocritical sensibilities so that she can ‘justifiably’ pounce and rip into them, laughing gleefully as they squirm and bleat with pain.

Who is this girl to me and what right do I have to demand that she loses her job?  What does she resonate in me that pushes my buttons?  Her youth and beauty?  Her arrogance?  Her ageism?  The fact that she gets away with moider?

Whatever it is, my fury is not about her, it’s about me and I have to stop launching myself at people and use that energy to sort my life out instead.

So I’ll stop.

Not totally though ;-)

Anyone with a piss taking gene as strong as mine would have to be made of stone not to join in the #askrobin campaign, someone has to support the underdogs of this world, and I can’t tell a lie, the Donald Trump/Fred & Rose West debacle and the resulting barrage of hilarious retweet requests made me snort tea all over my keyboard.

But when I get really ‘attack dog’ it’s time for me to turn this damn computer off, sit in a quiet place and find another way to vent my pain, before it envelops and poisons the world at large.

God, this self examination shit is hard.

Aliona, you’re a spoilt, disrespectful little cow, but you mean nothing to me or my world, therefore I will leave you alone from now on.

But if you pull the same stunt next year, you are toast bitch, you hear?

Namaste x


5 Comments

WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY

quitter

But I am.

And that’s something.

Things have been tough of late people, and that gene that tells me to fuck up everything that might be good for me is biting down hard, but am ticking off my challenges again, hoping I’ll get some fucking idea re what I’m going to do moving forward, and praying things will change.

Soon.

My beloved Aunty C is back tomorrow and I have never needed her more.

Will post something more eloquent tomorrow, but in the meantime, keep on keepin’ on people

xx


9 Comments

OPTIMISTIC MIX TRACK 18 – I DIDN’T KNOW MY OWN STRENGTH – Andrea Faustini (X Factor UK)

Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 01.36.35

Let’s get one thing straight, I never, ever watch the X Factor.

I don’t like the way the contestants are treated, I don’t like the way they rig the competition and, worst of all, I don’t like the way they take artists with genuine talent (well, about 50% of them anyway) and then mould them into tedious reality TV clones.

Then, when they’ve made their dosh and milked the person for all they’re worth, they cast them aside, and they end up touring Butlins, Pontins and working men’s clubs until they too get usurped by the next onslaught of ‘stars’, and their dreams are in tatters.

No. 25 my friends, No. 25.

Never change who you are for anyone.  Not even portly, puppet master Simon Cowell, the twisty, greedy bastard.

Andrea Faustini is currently in the final 6 for the boys category and ‘Judges Houses’ airs this weekend, and I have to say that I hope he doesn’t make it.

Because he’s just too good for that shower.

Listen to the above and you’ll hear why.

His voice, his conviction and this song inspired me this weekend and I hope it does the same for you, m’darlin’s.

I’m nearly broke, and at the mercy of some vindictive old bitch who hates me, I have to sell up and move to somewhere, I’m having to walk away from 2 years free therapy, I have no idea what my future holds and I’m afraid.

But guess what?

The only crumble is this house is a rhubarb and ginger one, and that’s the way it’s going to stay.

I did 8 of my challenges yesterday, and two of you have joined me so that’s gladdened my heart more than I can say.

Namaste and take care x


10 Comments

31 DAY MENTAL HEALTH CHALLENGE

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OK folks, as I am struggling with a lot of stuff at the moment, I decided to set myself some aims and ambitions for this month, and it occurred to me that those of you who also have mental health issues, or any other shit that might be impinging on your life, wellbeing and happiness might like to join me, so I’ve compiled one of those monthly challenge thingys.

I loves a monthly challenge I does, but sometimes some of them are too ambitious for me, don’t apply to me and my lifestyle and/or some fill me with fear and guilt lest I miss a day, so whilst there are 31 aims/objectives, you/I don’t have do be doing all of them by November.

It’s more of a tick list for your day if you will with the aim to try as many as possible, and includes the basics, but also tools and activities that I’ve found useful in keeping my head above the murky waters to date.

So, I’ll go through them one by one, even though most seem self explanatory:

1. GET OUT OF BED (and STAY OUT!)

Easy huh? Well no, not for all of us. And although most of us have to leave our pit to, at the very least, use the loo of a morning, it’s sometimes only too tempting to dive back under the duvet, even when it’s not a dark day.  So if you can, it’s best to make a habit of making your bed straight away so that there’s less of a temptation to do so.  Then you can….

2. BATHE & CLEAN TEETH

Again some of you might be thinking ‘WTF?  Are you some kind of animal?’.

But for some of us, especially on dark days, are so full of self loathing and lethargy, we don’t think we are worth the effort of getting clean.  But there’s a reason for the belief that ‘cleanliness is next to Godliness’.  You just feel better after a freshen up.  So even if you’re going to crawl back to bed straight afterwards, have a soothing, fragrant bath and scrub your gnashes first and you’ll feel your spirits lift, if only but a millimetre.

3. GIVE IN (Especially for Dark Days)

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As mentioned above, if it’s a dark day and still all too much even after your soak in the tub, don’t sweat it.

That’s what your hibernate tokens are for!  I’ve put six on the sheet for you to tick off, but don’t worry if you go over that.  Whenever you really need to, just go back to bed, wait for the storm to pass, and don’t beat yourselves up about it, my lovelies.

4. MORNING PAGES

OK so I used to do ‘The Artists Way’ and one of the most useful take aways I got from it was to do what they call Morning Pages.  So, if you are able to resist hibernating, grab a notebook or a couple of sheets of A4, sit down in a quiet place and just scrawl down freeform anything that’s in your head.  Your worries, fears, too do list, there’s too much sugar in your tea, your urge for a big poo, whatever; whack it all down there and keep going until you’ve got nothing left to say.  It’s a great way to get everything out there, especially negative stuff, so your mind is clear for the day ahead.  Then if you still have time and the inclination…

5. 10 MINUTE MORNING MEDITATION

I always thought I was crap at meditating; and in a way, I am.  I twitch, i itch, I scratch, I fidget, my mind monkey’s go crazy and I count the minutes until someone speaks, the alarm goes off, or I yearn for an excuse to stop what I’m going and go do important shit.  Like watch ‘Judge Judy’ or something.

But here’s the thing; I did a class last week and went home afterwards, cussed myself out for wasting yet another hour of my life.  But that night, I slept the best I had for a long time.  So on some level, sitting in that hall with a load of Buddhists, a stiff back and cold butt and trying, definitely did something. So I’m going to persist. And let’s face it, it’s 10 minutes! What do you have to lose?  And if you like it, you can always do more :-)

6. (LET’S) GO OUTSIDE

I know, a lot of people have to go outside every day in order to go to work, get the kids to school, check up on their mum etc. but some of us don’t, in spite of George Michael’s enthusiastic little ditty.

And when you’re really down, you just can’t see the point of going for a ‘walk’ when you don’t need to.

Middle and upper class Brits have always kind of been down with going for walks, and tend to make you go along with them, just after you’ve had a massive Sunday lunch, which is incredibly uncomfortable and annoying.  Us working class proles are used to the more sensible option of hitting the sofa and watching a movie after a big meal.

That said, we’ll happily go for a walk TO the pub, have a huge lunch then enjoy a beer or two whilst kicking back in the beer garden (Summer) or on a knackered old sofa by a log fire (Winter), because at least theres some motivation there.

BUT the poshos have a point. Walking increases your fitness, fills your lungs with fresh air and speeds up your metabolism. So even if, like me, you don’t always have a reason to leave the house, do it anyway.  You can always come home afterwards.

7. EAT WELL

I have a history of food issues (surprise, surprise), and have done about a million stints of binge eating before the diet that always starts on Monday but in actuality never starts at all, then in come the ghosts of guilt, the demons of disgust and the, erm, satyrs of shame.  Sound familiar?

But maybe you don’t have anything like that, but eat too much because you like it, or live off ready meals, take aways and Pot Noodles, and worry not one jot?

But if you treat your body like you do your car and give it top quality food, it (and you) will perform better, so make an effort to get the good stuff like your five a day, oily fish, wholegrain carbs and seeds and pulses down you as a priory before eating any crap.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want you to tart labelling some food ‘good’ and other food ‘bad’.

That way madness lies.

If you want a burger, have one.  Ideally make your own or buy one from a street food market rather than Macca D’s, at least then it will be worth the calories. Have some good chocolate or a really great slice of home made cake every now and again, then the next day stick to the low fat/sugar/salt options to balance it out.

List your intake.  Not to beat yourself up about it, but as an exercise and see which days your energy slumps and which days you feel fine and learn what makes you feel good and what doesn’t.  I bet some of you discover that your cat/dog eats better than you do!

8. DRINK WATER

Water is amazing stuff, better and much cheaper than any high end moisturiser, the best antidote to cellulite and the best preventative to headaches and migraines, especially if you are on a shitload of meds like moi.

A lot of the time we mistake thirst for hunger. The next time you meander into the kitchen for a little sumptin’ sumptin’, ask yourself if you are really hungry.  Is your belly rumbling?  If not, it’s highly likely that you are thirsty, so give your body what it’s crying out for and clear the toxins out of your system in the bargain.

9. EXERCISE

I don’t exercise anything like as much as I should, especially as I know how much better it makes me feel (self loathing, self defeating biatch that I am) but if you can, find something you love, like or can just about bear to do, and you’ll reap the dividends in high energy, accelerated metabolism and a calmer disposition.

Weights are great if you are just longing to punch your boss out, walking totally works for the less physical amongst us (maybe get a pedometer and do the 10,000 steps thing) and dancing is totally life affirming for everyone.

Oh and yoga?  How could I forget about that?  Marvellous stuff and you can do it at home!

10. MINDFULNESS

This stuff is great, it’s kind of a way to tame the mind monkey’s by pulling your attention out of the dark clouds, coming back down to earth, being in the present moment and acknowledging what is actually going on with a level of acceptance, whilst not actually judging yourself for that reality.  Mindfulness is a big subject and Ruby Wax’s book ‘Sane New World: Taming the Mind’ is an excellent introduction to the practise and the way it can help you and steer you away from self defeating habits.

Simple example.  If you are at your desk working through lunch, devouring a Pret special, browsing t’internet and checking out your Facebook, whilst answering emails and fretting about your next meeting/argument with your girlfriend/next energy bill, and feel yourself going downhill, STOP.

Log out of your PC and take your lunch to the park. Focus on the trees, sunshine and happy chatter as you walk. Find a spot, sit down and totally focus on your sandwich and coffee and fully immerse yourself into the act of enjoying them.  Feel the warm wood of the park bench beneath your bum, listen to the birds, fucking breathe already and be present.  Then you have more chance of looking at your situation as it really is, and not your worst case scenario.

11. RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS

Sometimes, doing something sweet for someone else can completely lift your mood.

Note, I say your mood.  I am not going soft here, it’s a win/win scenario!

Giving the odd quid to a homeless person, helping someone carry a pram down the steps of the rush hour tube, paying someone’s bus fare when their Oyster card has run out can put the other person in a great mood, which hopefully they’ll pass onto someone else, who’ll do something nice for another person, perhaps even your boss, so when you get into the office that day, he might not be quite as big a dick as he normally is.

See how it works?  Like I say win/win. :-)

12. DO SOMETHING SCARY

God I feel like such a hypocrite writing this!  :-(

Essentially I procraste for England, especially when I have to do something scary. So instead of mithering, fretting and having mad dreams about it every night I’m going to try and bite the bullet and just do the scary stuff ASAP, then let the cards fall as they may.  If you’re like me, grasp the nettle and have a go too.

13. DO SOMETHING NURTURING

You feel awful/worthless/ugly/unappreciated/uncared for and you’re struggling to convince yourself that you are worthy of love from anyone.

So love yourself by doing something nice for yourself.

It doesn’t have to be expensive, and it’s better to think about what your treat should be instead of just mindlessly buying yet another pair of black boots.

Have a manicure or a massage.  Get yourself a bar of expensive (not that pricy compared to those boots) artisan chocolate and eat it slowly and mindfully with a mug of good coffee.  Grill some peaches and have them with greek yoghurt and maple syrup for breakfast.  Treat yourself to the latest book by your favourite author.  Bake yourself a loaf of good granary bread to have with home made soup.  Go to a football match with your mates.  Treat yourself to cut price tickets for a concert or exhibition. Little things can lift the spirits as much as big ones.

14. TALK TO SOMEONE

I can go days without talking to anyone if I let myself.

By ‘someone’ I mean someone you actually want to talk to, as opposed to spam callers, your bank manager or that bitch of a bus driver who won’t even give you eye contact of a morning.  A friend, a relative, a loved one, y’know?

For me, this can be one of the hardest challenges, as I’m so afraid of people picking up on my mood of thinking I’m going to be a burden to them.

But I’ll try if you do :-)

15. MEET WITH SOMEONE

As above but face to face.

EEEKKK!

16. PROTECT YOURSELF

Conversely, we all know that there are people out there who will tap into our shit and give it a bit of a stab with the sharp end of  their letter opener, purely for their own entertainment, because they are wankers and not worthy of the trust it takes for us to share our vulnerabilities and they will not respect your honesty or bravery.

Be sure to guard against such tosspots when you encounter them.  Hide your fears/hurt/doubts/weaknesses behind an impervious confident smile, show them nothing, and remind yourself that such individuals are probably more damaged than you if they can treat another human being with such poor regard.

And whenever possible, avoid them completely.  Who needs that shit in their life?

17. ARM YOURSELF

I do however, know that there are some people like this that you have to see every day, like a boss, family member or cruel spouse, and their shit does not let up.

If you are in this position, do what I was unable to do, and, on the surface, keep your cool.

Stay focussed and do not give them the opportunity of harming you.

If it’s a work colleague, do not trust them, do your share and then some, cover your ass every time so they have nothing to pull you up on.

If it’s a family member, treat them like a child.  Be kind and polite when they’re on form, and when they’re being dickhead, give them your most sympathetic/patronising ‘Oh dear…’ look and excuse yourself, even if it’s just to the next room, and compose yourself.

If it’s your partner, think about getting the fuck outta there, because no one should take that kind of shit from their husband or wife.  Easier said than done I know, but a bad marriage/relationship is the worst place to be for our kind.

18. TALK TO YOURSELF

I’m serious.  If you find yourself in a stressful or distressing situation, make an excuse, go somewhere quiet and ‘talk yourself down’ like you are on the ledge of a very tall building, preparing to jump.

You don’t have to say it out loud. But try and tap into your higher self and let them take over.

Say things like:

It’s OK, no one noticed you fluffed that slide on your presentation, they were too busy focussing on the good stuff!’

‘You’re safe, there’s no need to panic, we’ll wait here until the crowd disperses, then try and board a quieter train’, or 

‘Take no notice, she’s being a bitch because she’s threatened by you.  She doesn’t know that you’re in the loo freaking out.  Chill. Then we’ll put some fresh lipstick on, repair that eye make up and walk back to the table like a badass, OK?’

You’re essentially being your own in house counsellor.  Have a go.  it’s worked for me in the past.

19. GET SOME PHYSICAL CONTACT

Some of us have more physical contact then we ever really wanted, and then some, in the form of touchy feely men on the tube, snot nosed, screaming toddlers and overly sexually demanding partners, but some of us can go weeks without a cuddle.

And that’s hard.  Because as much as we may mentally dread someone being in our space, the human body needs touch, so try and get your quota somehow.

See family more often, lunch with ‘huggy’ friends and/or get yourself a pet.  I swear you’ll reap the benefits.

20. LIMIT SOCIAL MEDIA/TV

At the moment, much of my life takes place on the computer screen I’m currently staring at, but ‘It’s life Jim, but not as we should know it.’

Actually it’s no life at all.  It’s merely escapism, otherwise why would you feel so lonely?  Limit your internet time to 20 minute stints then turn it off, stop watching ‘Real Housewives’ and go out for lunch with a friend instead, Goddammit!

21. SAY “YES”

Oh Gawd, again, I am not good at this at all.

I bail all the time on social events, and as a result, I’m as lonely and isolated most of the time. Trouble is I’m crap at small talk, and unless I click with someone, I tend to long to go home 30 minutes into a party/dinner/Meet Up event because I get bored.

Naughty Sista!  Take it from me, it’s probably one of the most self defeating thing you can do, so say ‘Yes’ to stuff, even if you think you might regret it, and work through your boredom/anxiety/insecurity if you can. The only regrets I have are for not taking that chance and going out in the first place.

22. SAY “NO”

Are you one of those people who gets pressured into doing stuff because you’re afraid to say ‘No?’.  Usually by people who know they’re imposing but still do it because they know they can get away with it?

Fuck ‘em!

Next time they saunter up wearing a shit eating grin with their:

‘Hey can I borrow your brand new car to take my druggy buddies to Glastonbury as we can’t afford trains, don’t have a tend so need it to sleep in?’

‘Hi! Can you just keep an eye on little Igor for say, 8 hours, he’ll be no trouble, he’s nearly over that stomach bug, and is just coming out of his ‘screaming as if he’s being stabbed’ phase?’

Or ‘Sweetie, I’m just off to the rugby, you don’t mind entertaining my sour, humourless, whingy face-like-a-smacked-arse parents till I get back do you?

ZAMMO

Do a Zammo and just say NO!

Don’t get defensive, apologise or justify your decision.  Like Queeny says, ‘Never complain, never explain’ because you’ll just be giving them the opportunity to negotiate.  Just smile sweetly, utter that one syllable word and walk away to the sound of their jaw dropping to the ground.

Sweet!

23. DO NO HARM

Guess what?  I used to be a revenge freak.  If someone hurt, betrayed or shafted me, they’d be punished.  Either by my frosty silence, my cutting excoriating condemnation or even, once, I booked 10 early morning alarm calls in one night (I was young, OK?!) for an ex boyfriend.

:-)

Sorry.  That was not a good thing to do!  Well it was at the time, but us punishers perpetrate our own karma because as bad as we can be to others, it only pales into comparison of how vile we can be to ourselves.

Anger is destructive.  I am the living embodiment of that statement.  I was born angry and whilst it’s lessening all the time, I’ll probably be about 90 by the time all of it is out of my system. But nowadays I choose to try my very best not to lash out either to others or myself.

Be kind and leave the others to their fate and find a way to vent without hurting others.  You’ll definitely keep more friends that way!

24. TAKE YOUR SHIT

Because like it or not, shit is coming to you.

And it’s not because you’re a bad person, have done something wrong or deserve it.  It’s just that shit comes to us all.  We emotionally vulnerable types are just not that great in dealing with or accepting it.

i rather naively believed that the more I was in touch with myself, and the more I prayed and meditated that the shit would, OK, not stop plopping down, but maybe come down the size of rabbit droppings as opposed to huge slabs of elephant dung.

What. A. Fool.

I really didn’t get it.  These things don’t stop it blasting out, they just train us to be more accepting and complacent about it, so that no matter how vile and stinky it is, we have a choice and the opportunity to choose how much it disturbs our equilibrium.

So when you get hit by a massive metaphorical doody (or a real one, some neighbourhoods are like that) shake off the worst and find a way of getting the pain/disappointment/fear out of your system (see Exercise, Mindfulness, Do No Harm, Something Nurturing).

And maybe invest in a robust umbrella. ;-)

25. BE TRUE TO YOURSELF

You feel that people don’t like you, so you try and morph into what they want you to be so that you’ll be accepted?

Enough already.  God/Buddha/Allah/that Rabbit from Watership Down made you the marvellous, unique, individual creation that you are, so embrace your quirks and oddities and stay true to yourself and you’ll attract your true kinsmen instead of cringing in a field of boring, bleating sheep, terrified that you’ll be found out.

26. LIMIT/CUT OUT STIMULANTS

My darlings, people like us need drug taking, binge drinking, overeating, or a constant drip feed of black coffee like a frigging hole in the head, especially, as I said earlier, if you are on masses of medication

Plus such mood enhancers come with a price, and the comedown is hard enough for ordinary folk to bear, let alone us loonies.

Anything beyond a few wine gums or a coffee flavoured Walnut Whip should be avoided or used in moderation.  OK?

27. (ACCENTUATE) THE POSITIVES

Sometimes, even if you’ve had a crap day (or especially if you’ve had a crap day) and like me, you are prone to letting bad stuff take over and sully everything, it’s good to make a list of the nice things that happened and stuff that you are grateful for before hitting the sack.  They can be anything from getting a pay rise, to some hot girl smiling at you on the train, or bumping into an old mate, to having a good nights sleep, it not raining that morning or your flatmate leaving you half a pizza in the fridge when you get home. There’s always something to be grateful for if you look hard enough.

It’s also a good way to start the day, but I’d wait until you’ve had your first cup of tea/coffee first.

Just sayin’.

28. PLAN

Try and plan out a schedule for your week, as it will enable you to ensure that you’re not bogged down with just work and drudgery, or it will ensure that you have something to do if you don’t work and tend to hide from the world.  You might not always stick to your plan for that day, but if you’ve got your week mapped out with fun, nurturing, positive arrangements, you’ll be less likely to let it whizz past in a SSRI stupor of nothingness.

29. FORGIVE

Had an encounter with some total tosspot/bitch and you’re still seething about it?  Try not to let it disturb your rest.  Figure out their side, why they might be behaving like a complete twat, and you might actually start to feel sorry for them.  If that doesn’t work, you might want to put pen to paper and rant about them in your….

30. EVENING PAGES

Remember Morning Pages? Well I also do them before going to bed, especially if I have loads on my mind.  Somehow spilling out my troubles on paper before turning out the light somehow makes me feel as if I have shared them with someone and sometimes I even have a solution when I wake up.  Certainly worth a go I reckon. Then have another crack at Forgiving! ;-)

31. PRAYER/MEDITATION

You don’t have to be religious to pray you know.  If you don’t believe in a Higher Self, just use your prayer as a form of affirmation or to talk to your subconscious.  Share your troubles, your fears, your wishes for the future and see what happens.  Or, of course, you can meditate instead.

Easy, right? ;-)

OK, I know it’s not easy to do anything when you’re at your worst.

But if you print out the attachment, look at it every day and try and do as many as possible, then you’ve achieved something, by the very act of considering your options!

It goes without saying that I’d love for as many of you as possible to join me on this as I’d love your company and to share your stories, so please tag me in if you decide to have a go!

What the hell, in order to get the ball rolling I’m going to tag the first ten fellow sufferers I can find, starting now!

 

http://takingthemaskoff.com/

 

http://phoenixtherebirthofmylife.wordpress.com/

http://lifeinabind.com/

http://thebipolarbum.com/

http://marcimentalhealthmore.com/

http://dysthymiabree.com/

http://mrsbipolarity.com/

http://crazyaboutbipolar.wordpress.com/

http://battybeth108.wordpress.com/

http://momof3isnuts.wordpress.com/

Please have a go and share with others if you’ve a mind to.

I’ll be creating a nice certificate for you to have on your wall (don’t get too excited, OK?) when we’ve finished, and who knows, maybe this list will help you in the way that it’s helped me at times.

That said, no worries if you’d rather pass on this.

Good luck Mistas and Sistas! xx

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Artists-Way-Discovering-Recovering/dp/0330343580/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1412154817&sr=8-1&keywords=the+artists+way 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sane-New-World-Taming-Mind/dp/1444755730

http://acanvasoftheminds.com/2014/01/07/blog-for-mental-health-2014/

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