Phoenix Fights

Fighting the FEAR, depression and BDP on a daily basis AND making my own bread. Bring it on 2016….




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

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THE ARTISTS WAY: Week Two – Recovering a Sense of Keeping the F*ck Up


So, yes, I admit it, I didn’t check in this time last week; I fell of the horse (mechanical bull more like) but I’m back on it.  Just.

Rather than cram everything into this one post and bore the arse off you, I’m going to do last week’s key observations today, and Week 3 observations tomorrow, OK?

One thing I need to flag up is that unlike most of the people following this course, I’m kind of doing it in reverse; I’ve got some creative stuff going on in the form of this blog but need to use the lessons to get back into the workplace, make new friends and carve a complete life for myself without losing my creative self again.  And do even more creative stuff.

OK.  So last week was about Recovering a Sense of Identity and this mainly addresses the people/things/thoughts that can trip you up along the way. Again, I don’t have work/family commitments or distractions but the ‘Poisonous Playmates/Crazymakers’ section was very interesting.

A Crazymaker is essentially some arsehole that makes unrealistic demands on your time, surrepticously puts you down, and tends not to be too chuffed when something actually starts to go right for you.

Being the defensive old cow that I am, any psychopaths that wander into my life are given very short shrift indeed, but the friend I am estranged from didn’t seem to like the fact that I was coming out of victim mode and trying to get back on track. She’s not a bad person and may not have known she even felt that way, but it’s probably useful to think about your friends and do a quick ‘health check’ on them and make sure you don’t have a secret saboteur. Remember, you don’t need to be paranoid to have someone in your life who’s out to getcha 😉 !

Another part asks that you analyse where your free time goes. Mine tends to be taken up with being in a drugged stupor on the sofa, buried under  a blanket of cats, watching ‘Real Housewives’ (aka narcissistic bitches with more money than sense, who would find someone to argue with if they were at the bottom of a lift shaft to the centre of the earth.  Post Armageddon), but that’s all about to change.  I’m going to start putting together a plan for every day so that I can’t fanny around and waste this precious life God has given me.  I mean it this time.  Honest.

This will also incorporate doing some of the list of ‘20 Things I Enjoy’, some of which I already do so can tick off (yay!) but picking at the wound on my hand doesn’t count, so am I going to force myself to really push the envelope and have a good time this year.  Yowser.

My biggest challenge however and something I need to put some real work into is ‘ATTENTION’.

When one is paranoid, panicky and generally bonkers, you are essentially driving on autopilot because your mind is whizzing around like a rat on a wheel, and you pay only enough attention to not totally insult whoever you are with, get knocked down by a car, or get the sack.

Because I’m constantly obsessing about me, me, me, I tend to pay very little attention to others.  It’s not because they’re not important or interesting, but I’m totally absorbed in trying to survive.

Every encounter with a stranger or a group of people would end with me thinking something along the lines of the following examples:

‘Phew, she didn’t seem hate me; think I got away with that! Hang on, what was her name again?’

‘Oh God, they totally hate me, I saw that blonde one look at her manager and smirk! They think I’m shit, that I’m a joke, word will get round, I’ll lose my job, and…..oh fuck, I didn’t take any notes, what am I going to write this report with?’

‘Well, he clearly thinks I’m desperate, I bet he thinks I’m a sure in for a shag but not good enough to be his girlfriend!  Oh no, he clearly thinks he’s much too good for me!  Well, I’ll show him, just wait till he calls, I won’t be in and….’

Even typing this out makes me cringe, but I can be frank with you, and quite honestly, to date, I can’t help it.  And because this is my default, I have to constantly back peddle to try and catch up with the things I should have taken notice of, and eventually I end up so paranoid and defensive that these people don’t want to be around me anyway.  And who can blame ’em?

What also doesn’t help is I’m ‘blessed’ with quite an aloof face when I’m not smiling (not my choice, I wanted a J Lo or an Angelina – thanks again for that, God…) so a lot of people think I’m snooty.  Little do they know…..

I saw the above image on Facebook today, and it hit me like a frying pan upside the head, so I thought I’d share it.

Who knows, maybe someone else on here has ‘Chicken Licken Syndrome’ and/or is as demented as I am, if so, this is for you my feathered friend.  Take heed.  Worrying is pointless.  Bok, bok, bok, SQUAWK!

I’ll close with the part about ‘Praying for Guidance’.

Look, I haven’t got clue who is up there.  I could be God, Buddha, Allah, Thor, but I don’t actually care.  I feel and have always felt that there is another greater, higher intelligence who exists alongside us, and I don’t think he/she/it cares what you call it either as long as you call it.

I call it intermittently; sometimes I pray, sometimes I meditate, sometimes my yoga feels like a dance with it, sometimes, when I’m angry, hurt, or afraid, I tell it to bog off, but I know it’s there. Hovering.  Hoping for the best for me, willing me to get my idle arse into gear and make a difference, I just wish it would give me a frickin’ clue sometimes.

But again, maybe it’s me who’s not listening…..

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OK <deep breath>, this is where I stop skirting around the subject and get down to brass tacks.

I think, well, I know I’m going through the menopause.

(Men you are permitted to leg it if this is all too much for you.)

I’m not sure what the stages are, I know it starts with peri, then you’re then smack bang in the middle of it, and you’re only done when your periods totally stop.

Mine haven’t yet. That said, I went on HRT the minute I thought it was happening, so I haven’t had that much in the way of hot flushes (flashes?) or night sweats, mood swings are par for the course for me, as for vaginal dryness I haven’t test driven her for a couple of years so not sure really, but I don’t think so….

There’s a well know adage that says ‘move it or lose it’, well clearly I haven’t moved it enough because I went into this quite young, and now I’m being deprived of something that has been seriously important to me all of my adult life.

So what’s actually bugging me apart from the pending loss of my periods, which have incidentally been the bane of my life?

Well, apart from the message from the gods to tell me that I might as well kiss my sexual attractiveness to men goodbye (for what its worth), along with my waistline, skin quality and libido, my orgasms are, well, fucked.

One minute they were still earth shattering, the next, barely worth the bother.  From a bang to a whimper.  A massive earth shattering expulsion to a tiny mouse like nearly-sneeze, you know, one of those ones that is all ‘Ah-ah-ah-ah…’ and no ‘Tishoooo!’.

No one tells us about this part, do they ladies?

This was and is a big deal; whilst I don’t date that much and I haven’t had a lasting relationship for a number of years, I do masturbate, I’m very good at it, and it was very good for me.

Concerned, I went to see my gynaecologist who hummed and haa-ed and eventually came up with ‘Well sometimes that’s what happens, it’s part of life.’

WHAT?  I was incensed.

‘Would you say that to me if I was a man?! Would you forgo yours just because ‘it’s part of life?’’

He swallowed and fiddled with his specs, clearly flustered.

‘Would you say that to your wife?  Or is it not a problem to her?’

Clearly stung by my implication that his missus didn’t get off, he just upped my progesterone prescription and wished me luck.  Twat.

I went back to my GP decrying this misogynistic quack, and she, equally outraged, sent me to a new one, whom I saw for the first time (oh the irony) on Valentines Day morning.

Whilst I suppose a lot of women might be intimidated about talking about the quality of their climax with strange men, I went in feisty, belligerent and determined to be taken seriously, but I did not have to worry; Dr FG was a very different fish indeed.

Rather suave and dapper with a little smile ever hovering around his lips, Dr FG had the air of someone who held a woman’s gratification in the palm of his hand like a glowing little pearl that he may or may not hand over to you.

‘You do know that your anti depressants are likely to be having an adverse effect on your libido don’t you?’

‘Ye-es, but this isn’t my libido, this is what happens or rather doesn’t happen when I actually masturbate.’

‘So, what happens when you try?’

‘Well…it’s like being on an ancient roller coaster creaking to the top of it, then the car breaks down, you’re stuck, agitated and disappointed, and you wish you’d gone on the big wheel instead.’

He smiled a world weary smile of a man that has heard far too many ‘women’s problems’ jokes, then took out a box and handed me a small tube.

‘I suspect your testosterone levels are low, so let’s put you on this for a while and see what happens  I’ll write you a prescription.’

Testosterone?  I look at the instructions and read aloud ‘Apply one tube daily’.

‘Ignore that; this isn’t normally prescribed to women so they are the instructions for a man.’

Huh?  What am I, a fucking guinea pig?

‘You just need to apply a pea sized blob every day and one tube should last you a week.’

I try to sound casual ‘So this is the, erm, only solution?’

Dr FG breaks out his best reassuring, urbane smile, and tilts his head ‘What is it that concerns you Ms Sertraline?’

Facial hair.

‘Erm, are there any side effects?’

A big, sticky out Adams apple.

‘There shouldn’t be as long as you use the prescribed dose, but any that materialise are totally reversible.’

A huge clitoris like those steroid fuelled female bodybuilders get.

‘OK, I’ll, well I’ll give it a go!’

He smiled and shook my hand, holding it a couple of seconds too long, leaving me in no doubt that Mrs FG undoubtably gets off as regular as clockwork.

So that is that, I have to apply this stuff every day and risk ending up looking like a pre-op trannie, and for what? Vanity?  Sex appeal?  Physical gratification?

Whilst I would never admit this to anyone in real life, I think it’s about hope.

Because right now I feel like a battered little rowing boat stranded out in the middle of the lake, trying to ignore God on the megaphone shouting ‘Come in No. 6, your time is up!’ because I’ve blown all my chances of a happy loving relationship he has given me so I need to come back to shore and hang up my oars so to speak.  Any sexual powers I ever had are rapidly diminishing, the market is narrowing and I still haven’t met someone with whom I can share my life.

I know I’m being a bit hypocritical here as the whole premise of my doing this is to rise like said Phoenix from the ashes of my old life and embrace and develop the new, but in reality the thought of losing my womanhood makes me feel like a wizened old air dried duck.

Questions fill my head at night; will I ever snog anyone again? Will anyone need me again?  Will I ever have sex again without the aid of lube?

That said, a friend wanted to fix me up with a friend of her lover (who demands and gets sex from her up to five times a day) and instead of jumping at it, or at least being open to it, I was horrified!  What if he’s like U (her man) and paws at me morning, noon and night like a whining toddler?

I know, I know, I’m very, very confused…..

I know being single isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I know I’ll never be a mum now, and I’m OK with that but I don’t want to be on my death bed not having had another significant love in my life thinking ‘Was that it? What was it all for?’

I have so much love inside I just need someone to give it to in some way, shape or form.  But I guess I need to fix myself before releasing it upon an unsuspecting world.

In the meantime, I’ll keep you posted on my man juice medication and the hopefully imminent return of my mojo.

Look out world, ‘cos one day this is gonna blow…..




I’m sat on the edge of the bath, wrapped in a big blue towel staring in fear and loathing at a little tube of gel.

This can’t be right, surely?

I part the towel slowly and regard the suddenly goosepimpled landscape of potential application sites.

But where?

‘Not us!’ say my tits, ‘for we are the epitome of femininity.  It wouldn’t be right, in fact it would be downright obscene!’

Good point.

‘Don’t even think about it!’ shrieks my tummy, ‘your fucking ovaries are in here!  Are you mad?’

Not totally, but I’m well on my way thanks.

I open the tube, squeeze a bit of gel out and smear it between my fingers.  It stinks of some kind of chemical perfume, obviously added to mask the smell of man musk.


‘If you put it on us’ hiss my arms, ‘people will smell it!  They’ll think it’s your perfume!  They’ll think you want to smell like this!’

Shit, thats true.

‘Not us, not us’ plead my thighs, ‘put it on your calves!  No one will smell it down there!’

Yes, but it might be too far away from my core to work, plus it might get on my cats and they’re mental enough as it is without any additional testosterone.  There is no doubt about it, my thighs or rather one of my thighs is the only option.

I squeeze a pea sized blob onto my fingers, reach down to the spot above my right knee and pause.

Come on bitch! Do you want your va va voom back or not?

I’m hyperventilating now.


On the next out breath, I smear it all over my knee and lower quad, then hang up the towel, run into my bedroom and yank on some jeans.

That’s it.  It’s done.

I can still smell the cloying sweetness half an hour later, so decide to put on some body lotion.

I strip and look down at my right knee, half expecting to see a thatch of newly grown hair like a werewolf’s pelt.  Nothing.  But the smell is overpowering.

‘You may not have a hairy knee,’ whispered my right thigh, clearly piqued at being singled out ‘,but what you end up with is very hairy legs, like a geezer. And it won’t be fine hair, oh no; it will be thick and bristly like a badgers arse.’

Oh God.

‘That’s right,’ chipped in the left thigh, ‘I can feel it growing on me now.  Can you see it yet?  You’re going to look like a geezer from the waist down.  A big, rugby playing, alpha male, hairy arsed geezer.’

As quick as a flash I’m back in the tub, hosing down my legs, grimacing in horror as man juice dribbles down my calves. And not in a good way.

‘And nor is it likely to be ever again is it?’ said my nunny, clearly unimpressed by my blatant cowardice, ‘Well done you. Don’t expect to get any co-operation from me any time soon.’

But I don’t care. Bollocks to sex (pardon the pun), it’s a highly overrated activity as far as entertainment is concerned anyway.

That’s not true.

My memory isn’t anywhere near as bad as my ability to delude myself is good.

I’m just not quite man enough for man juice yet.




I wake up this morning tired and hung over after one of those boozy lunches that turns to dinner, that turns to last tube home, so I make myself some tea and prepare to slink back to bed.

Ping! Up pops a reminder on my phone that I have to go into town to pick up something for tonight.

Already, I’m unhappy but I jump in the bath, take my meds, pull on a towelling robe and go to my underwear draw only to discover I have no clean knickers.

Well, to be more precise, I have no clean comfy cotton panties. Cursing, I look in another drawer to see if a stray pair had hooked up with a particularly static sock.


Then I remember my wearing sexy undies resolution. I guess now would be the perfect time to give it a go? When I say perfect, I suppose I mean unavoidable, and whilst I don’t think I’ve ever felt less sexy (or indeed receptive to knicker inspired admirers), I can’t go out in this weather without drawers, so……

I fish out a matching lacy white knicker and bra set and regard them with suspicion. M&S’s finest. The bra is still my size and the bottoms are of the ‘shorts’ variety, and given the choice, I would prefer a more substantial coverage than, say a g string.  I try them on and study myself in the mirror.

They are pretty, but…..

I check the TFL bus app on my phone that informs me that the one that stops outside my house is on its way. Shit. I quickly pull on a pair of jeans and a jumper, yank on some boots, sprint down the hall, grabbing a jacket and my bag from the coast stand and hurtle towards the bus that has just pulled up.

The moment I step from the pavement onto the bus platform, it happens. My treacherous knicker gusset, as if on cue, immediately morphs into a thin elastic band like innovation and disappears up my foof.

I freeze as if I’ve just been goosed (which would be like a birthday present in comparison to this), but the bus has already started to pull away, so its too late to turn back, people behind me are tutting and sucking their teeth so, resigned to my fate, I head upstairs for a seat.

Slice, slice, slice goes the gusset turned cheese wire, practically performing an ad hoc circumcision on me, whilst simultaneously encouraging the seat of the garment to thoroughly explore between my bum cheeks. My vaguely disconsolate mood turns rapidly into something resembling homicidal rage.

Who. The. Fuck. Invented. These. Things? Clearly not anyone who understands human anatomy. To allow 2 centimetres of cloth in width for the average ADULT fanny is far from generous and hardly realistic. I bet it was a bloke.

I manage to get to a seat without punching anyone, wriggle until I’m as comfortable as I can be (i.e. numb) and try to ignore my inner dialogue:

‘What were you thinking? Haven’t you learned anything from the last time? You now have to wander around a busy shopping centre looking for a dress for tonight whilst suffering death by a thousand cuts down there, you silly…….’

‘Excuse ME!’

I raise my eyes slowly over my sunglasses and stare balefully at this enormous woman who is holding about three bags, an umbrella and wearing a really strange hat. Classic Public Transport ‘Space Invader’. And she’s looking at me like I’m hogging the seat!

Partially to save my clitoris, and partly for effect, I slowly and deliberately move an inch closer to the window, allocating her pretty much three quarters of the space. Sighing dramatically, she drops herself practically into my lap causing me to have to wriggle out from under her, encouraging the cheesewire like damp strip of cloth even deeper into my anatomy.

How I managed to restrain myself from elbowing her hard in the ribs, I really don’t know. How could this be worse?

That question is immediately answered by some huge ‘gansta’ complete with ginger dreads sitting directly behind me, shoving his knees into my back, and shouting into his mobile for the entire duration about how the lucky callee was his ‘blud’, and ‘familee to me man’ and how much he’s looking forward to meeting up with his betrothed (well, he actually said ‘biatch’) that evening and applying his huge length to her ‘gash’ until she screams for mercy. Lucky girl. She should swap with me, I ruminate bitterly to myself, what I’m suffering is probably his idea of foreplay.

The rest of the conversation was around who he was going to hurt/kill/maim, and was voiced in a faux threatening manner a mere 4 inches from my ear, no doubt to intimidate me.  Twat.  To be honest, the only reason I was glad he didn’t have a gun was that I would have snatched it out of his freckled mitt and taken out the entire upper deck.

Still simmering with fury, I draft in my head a letter to the head honcho of frillies at Marksies about how he is illegally selling instruments of torture in the guise of undergarments, and if he doesn’t refund me/compensate me/pay for my reconstructive surgery, I will seek him out, stuff this wretched garment down this throat, scoop out his testes with a melon baller and feed them to my cats. And this is AFTER I make him walk down a catwalk wearing a pair size 6’s until his scrotum bleeds. What’s good for the goose and all that……

The minute I disembark from the bus I head off to Boots, jaw clenched in agony and buy a pair of nail scissors.

I then bolt into the café next door and head for the loos.


Are you fucking kidding me?

I turn to regard some gum chewing, scrawny teenager festooned with  Amy style tats, bristling with metal piercings and attitude.

‘Are you planning on buyin’ sometink?’

She obviously had a bee up her arse about something and decided to take it out on me; maybe she’d ran out of syringes or meth amphetamine.

I walk slowly and stealthily to the counter, my gaze never leaving hers for one second, watching with some satisfaction as her eyes widen to saucers. When I get there I lean against it, my face inches from hers and hiss one word/syllable.


She says nothing.

I return with some difficultly to the loos, take a cubicle, yank down my jeans, cut the sides of offending article and carefully fish it out of my private parts.

Oh my God. The relief.

On my way out, Miss Attitude seems to have been reunited with her mojo (probably facilitated by the presence of her long streak of piss goth colleague) and starts giving it some again.

‘Oh thank you! Bye! Bye!’

I smile sweetly, give them both a one finger salute and exit onto the high street.

It’s absolutely freezing. The wind is whipping around the shoppers, rubbish is airborne, scarves are flapping, umbrellas are blown inside out, and my fangita is getting more than an airing than it probably good for it, but you know what? I don’t care if it fucking sneezes, at least the torture is over.

On the bus back, I sit on the back seat near the window. The heating is on. I thank God fervently for that little bit of grace.

I sigh and pull out my paperback.

‘Excuse me?’

Again?  Really?!

I look up. A seriously cute young guy is smiling at me mischievously.

‘I think you’ve dropped something.’

I see something white on the floor. I go cold. Please God let it not be my shredded panties.

But it’s only a tissue. I pick it up.


He smiles and sits down next to me without impinging on my space. The pet.

So much for sexy underwear. It seems to me that palpable relief and gratitude is much more attractive to the average man on the street.

And maybe the fact that I’m wearing no knickers. And loving it. Albeit, for a very limited period indeed.

I look into my carrier bag and smile fondly at the contents.  A six pack of brand spanking new, ready to wear Granny knickers!

Well they didn’t do Bridget Jones any harm, did they?