Phoenix Fights

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


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PITY PARTY TRACK 21 – BREATHE ME – SIA

I’ve always been a bit obsessed with Six Feet Under.

I own the boxed set and have just finished watching all five series (seasons) for about the third time, and the finale always stays with me for days, hence this song stuck in my head on repeat.

Because I’m also obsessed with death, plus I totally and utterly envy the fictitious, feckless, fucked up Fishers.

Because despite their disputes, down times and dysfunctional behaviour, they are a proper family.

They fuck up time after time, they fall out, make up, make the most appalling choices for themselves, are promiscuous to a man/woman, but they are family.  That creepy house come funeral home with its coach house, dated decor, antiquated kitchen always has room for everybody, with a constant influx of the living and dead alike, and they all ebb and flow like the ocean that features so significantly in the dream sequences, so that it’s almost like a living, breathing entity.

Plus they all seem to have plenty of time to hang around smoking pot without ever getting busted.

Not to mention Ruth’s crazy, pill popping sister Sarah has an amazing flower power domicile somewhere out in the sticks, and has a constant stream of hippy friends popping in to dance around the bonfire naked.

And when I saw all the women standing around the body of Fiona their fallen sister singing ‘Calling All Angels’, I, like Ruth longed for that kind of intimacy on a permanent basis.

Who lives like this?  Can I live like this?  Where is this fucking place anyway?

Because what is left of my family is strewn across the UK.  And my friends are either estranged or busy with their hectic 9-5 (or rather 8-8) existence, and I am lonely.

Wrap me up.

Today I walked to town and back.

So what, you might ask?

Well I did my 10,000 steps and its the first real bit of exercise I’ve done this year.

The Fishers made me do that.  Well watching Nate (the bastard) collapse after shagging that awful Maggie and wake up with stroke symptoms, and then die, might have spurred me on a bit. 🙂

And I know for a fact that I’m not going to find my very own utopia sat at home on the couch with the cats living vicariously through the Fishers.

So tomorrow, I’ll take a deep breath, and do it again.

And try not to lose myself again.

Namaste x

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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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BUNNY GIRL

 

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It’s official.

The days after lots of social interaction are always the worst.

When I don’t see anyone for a long period of time, I can almost kid myself that living in this little high rise burrow is a normal way of life, but then arriving home after being with the ‘normals’ I start to realise how lonely and isolated I really am.

That’s not to say that my weekend by the sea was idyllic. Nothing is ever perfect.

  • There was the concern that my flat may be burgled whilst I was away.

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  • The worrying about my cat feeder not working and coming back to two kitty skeletons instead of two sulky toms and clumps of fur everywhere.
  • Then there was the rabbit.

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No, I don’t have a long eared lop, a Dutch Dwarf or a cheeky Chinchilla.

Sally brought the bunny.

Lots of it too.

I know I’m being a bitch because there’s nothing wrong with being chatty and having lots to say, and it was great catching up with her, and super kind of her taking a miserable old cow like me away for the weekend, but it got to the stage that there was no silence in my days at all and I got sick of hearing my own voice, let alone hers.

Even when we were watching TV she would pipe up, just as something pertinent was happening and I had to strain to catch what was being said so’s not to lose the plot, without looking like I was ignoring her.

How do people manage this?  I assume I used to have this skill, or (more likely) perhaps I told the offending friend/boyfriend/flatmate to shut the fuck up and watch the programme already.

Even when, at her suggestion, we went and laid on loungers on the beach ‘to read’, I’d never get beyond one paragraph without her piping up with something or other and totally breaking my concentration again.

Doesn’t everyone appreciate a comfortable silence every now and then?!

Even before my ‘crash’, when I was out working amongst the normal, the whole point of seeing a movie or reading a book was to lose myself in someone else’s story and forget where/who I was.

If you watch a comedy you want to hear every punchline or witty aside;  If you’re reading a novel you want to get engrossed by the end of the first chapter; If you’re watching a thrilling drama, you want to be able to work out who the killer is, not listen to someone else’s annoying, speculating yap, yes?

I have to admit that I tend to show very short shrift indeed to anyone inadvertently breaking into my private world in these circumstances.  In my 20’s I once hurled someone’s copy of The Sun across the Tube carriage because he kept wafting it in my face and brushing my arm with it when I was trying to read.  I did fire two warning shots by (a) giving him a dirty look, then (b) saying a very icy ‘Excuse me’ which he chose to ignore, so it was his own fault really that I had to resort to (c)…

Ahem…

I am, of course, a lot more chilled and tolerant nowadays (hurray for medication), but I live alone apart from two mainly silent animals and so am used to a lot of quiet in my day, and endless superfluous chatter can be, if anything, even more intolerable to me nowadays.

But, apart from cracking once and raising a hand to silence Sal after the umpteenth interruption to my current fave programme (which earned me about 20 mins of, albeit, stony silence – bliss!), I think I coped very well.

Because we also cooked for one another.

Went out to lunch.

Sunned ourselves by the sea.

Went for long walks on the beach.

Went shopping.

And yes, for the most part, I very much enjoyed having someone to have some girl time with.

And ironically, when i got home, I immediately missed the chatter and felt the solitude hit hard and brought with it all the troubles and pending decisions, which, surprise surprise, did not leave the building when I did.

My lack of funds.

My need to find a job.

My medication situation.

My fear of all of the above and so much more.

And it became apparent that there are worse things to live with than a bit too much rabbit.

And these problems are only enhanced by the sound of silence.

Ooops where did that bit of tumbleweed flitting across the carpet come from?

Missing your company Sal, even though you do prattle on a bit….

Namaste x

PS Any non Brits wondering where the term ‘rabbit’ comes from, please find the below cockney ditty by the one and only Chas & Dave!

 


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IT’S JUST ME, MYSELF AND I

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So as of last weekend, it’s now officially British Summertime.

Eeek.

For most people this is great news, but I’m one of the few oddities that dreads the return of those bright mornings, long, heady days and balmy summer nights.

https://sistasertraline.wordpress.com/2013/03/04/these-are-the-days-of-the-endless-summer/

But this year I realise that if I want things to be different this year, it’s me who need to change with regard to my attitude toward summer, others, and, of course, me, myself and I.

Summer is lovely when you have friends and family to spend it with, but historically I’m not great at maintaining a loyal fun band of beach buddies or picnic pals.  I’m OK at making friends, it’s keeping them that has been the problem because I tend to put all my eggs into one basket, and when said old basket invariably (sensing my vulnerability and reliance on them), does something shitty and lets me down, I respond by dropping their ass so hard their nose bleeds.

Classic BPD behaviour doncha know.  Shame no one told me about this, oh 30 years ago?!

In fairness, I always knew that something was wrong, and Aunty C (my counsellor) tried her best to help me change the behaviour pattern without labelling me (something she was and is highly resistant to), but there is something about being diagnosed EUPD that has kicked my arse hard enough to make me realise that the world isn’t going to change, so I have to.

Before I thought it was all others doing stuff to me.

But the reality is that it’s my behaviour that allows them to do it.

And my desire for only a couple of soul mate and no superficial acquaintances compounded by my ridiculous reluctance to do anything by myself tends to leave me in a very shitty, lonely spot between the proverbial rock and hard gaff.

So, as I see it, a two pronged attack is necessary.

Firstly, I need to be more sociable.  Yes, I know I’ve been saying this for months, nay, years now, and I’m still on the back foot, but from now on I am really going to try and get out there, do small talk (ARRGHH!), meet more people and spread my eggs far and wide.

That sounds a bit unsavoury doesn’t it?  But you know what I mean.

And even if the first few times are, sorry, feel uncomfortable/boring/pointless, I must persist as sometimes it takes a while for people to show their true selves and grow on you, and vice versa.  I know for a fact that this is going to be a massive challenge, as I’m not good at ‘trying’ with people, and flee at the slightest whiff of rejection, but I don’t think I have any choice if I want things to change.

For example, I could have gone dancing tonight.

But I didn’t.  I’m here writing this for you because I made up all the excuses in the world for not going, and I’m not going to meet any new folk that I can socialise with in my spare bedroom.

At least I hope not anyway…

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The other thing I have to address is my fear and reluctance of doing stuff on my own.

You may well be thinking right now ‘Why does this stupid mare dump her friends all the time if she hates flying solo?’

The answer is ‘I don’t know dipshit, I’ve got a personality disorder!’

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Sorry, I digress….

The other day I suggested to a friend that we go for a walk in the park.  She couldn’t make it because she had to study.

Did I go anyway?

No.

Why?

I’ve asked myself this a million times, and I think it’s because I’m frightened of looking sad/lonely/conspicuous to those of you out there with loved ones to play with.  However, when I think about it, I’m sure you’re too busy arguing with your wife, trying to find a parking space, stopping your kid/dog from jumping in the pond after the ducks, squeezing your boyfriend’s bejeaned bum or finishing your Mr Whippy before its dribbles down your arm to notice some old misfit like me hovering around the periphery of life, apologising for my very existence to absolute strangers, some who are probably just as weird as me.

And some even more so.

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Anyway surely it’s better to look like a saddo and be out there enjoying the day than staying at home and actually being a saddo?

You keep telling yourself that Sista, just you keep on telling yourself that….

I know it won’t happen over night.

But I am going to try harder.

Because I may not be like everyone else or fit in with the masses, but who wants to be the same old boring ‘coloured water’ anyway?

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And if people stare, whisper and laugh, well that’s their shit.

 

Because one day I’m gonna be happy with my own company.  And when that day arrives, my aura will be so beautiful, attractive and beguiling, I’ll probably have to fight all the others off with a stick.  😉

I know that many of you are in the same position as me.  You cannot bear yourself, let alone love yourself, and at times the isolation, darkness and pain are so intense that you wish yourself to be somewhere, anywhere but here on this earth and face all the shit we have to encounter every single day.

But you matter.

WE matter.

Be yourself, my lovelies.  Everyone else is taken.

Namaste x

 

 


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EVERYBODY LOVES YOU WHEN YOU’RE DEAD

Poem inspired by recent deaths, both in and out of the public eye, and the nature of modern ‘friendship’.

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Oh everybody loves you when you’re dead

Those accolades they go straight to your head

Well they would if it were there

Half mine’s splattered on the stair

Oh yes, everybody loves you when you’re dead

 

Everybody loves you when you’re gone

It helps that you don’t need them to lean on

You don’t lean on anything

When from a ceiling you do swing

In those darkest hours just before the dawn

 

Oh yes, you are adored when you’re no more

And not a living, frightened, needy bore

‘Oh I wish I’d known the score’

Well you would have, silly whore

If you’d gotten up and answered your front door

 

Everyone loves a funeral doncha know

It means you get to put on such a show

Of how much love you had

For this person oh so sad

That you hadn’t seen for, oh, 2 years or so?

 

And you always give good quote

And you’ll don black shades and coat

And you get to show off that new Prada tote….

 

And naturally the wake you will attend

And meet your buddy’s other lovely friends

And stories you will share

About the times so free from care

Or so it seems to suit you to pretend

 

So the next time you are needed, my dear friend

Perhaps you’ll help and be there till the end

As believe me, it is true

That one day it might be you

Who seeks that ole Grim Reaper to befriend

 

Everybody loves you when you’re dead

The eulogies they’d go straight to my head

If I could hear their song

But alas I’m dead and gone

As your words die, like your roses, so blood red

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THE PAPER DOLL

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OK, I this is going to be a bit negative.  I KNOW I’m supposed to be trying to change things for the better, but I just have to get this off my chest!

Today, I let yet another friend go.

The way I see it, this person wasn’t really much of a friend, I wasn’t seeing them at all as they’ve been avoiding me like a dose of herpes, so the fact that I gave them a hearty push toward the door marked EXIT was only un-delaying the inevitable as far as I’m concerned.

I’ve lost a lot of friends this way. Some might say I should shut my gob, hang tough and wait for things to change when someone lets me down, but I seem to have a complete and total intolerance for insincerity and bullshit, coupled with a total inability to keep quiet when I encounter it, which doesn’t bode well for any fair-weather, bullshit toting ‘friend’.

In order to tell both sides of the story, I have to inform you that this friend has had a bad time of things of late, BUT even though she’d kept me at arms length long before her stuff hit the fan, I made sure she knew that I was there if she needed me and helped her both emotionally and practically when the going got tough.  In return, both before and after these incidents, I heard nothing from her.  Not even at Christmas or on my birthday.

So today when I contacted her to suggest we meet up, she fobbed me off, offloaded to me on the phone as per usual, and asked me a perfunctory ‘So how are you?’ right towards the end of the ‘conversation’.  When I told her I was up and down as usual, to save her listening to my woes, she started lecturing me about how I was wasting my life.  I told her that it was not my choice to be this way and that I had an illness, but she continued to spray me with her ignorant, arrogant, uninformed volley of verbal effluent, so I quickly brought the call to a close before I lost my temper.

She then proceeded to lecture me via text with regard to my pulling myself together, telling me very helpfully I only have one life, I’m master of my own fate and only I can change things for myself, to do ‘happy’ things, get out into the world, the aforementioned globe was my crustacean, be happy, take each day as it comes, light at the end of the tunnel, blah, blah, cliche, cliche, bullshit, bullshit.

I seethed.  But I managed to hold it together.

Then she made the fatal mistake of following this pile of shite with another text saying ‘I wish I knew how to help’.

Really?

So I told her.

I told her that those times I’d contacted her in the last three months inviting her to do stuff with me was me trying to, albeit rather unsuccessfully, get myself out there, but despite her previous assertions of being ‘there for me’, she did not make the time to be by my side.

I told her that I had recently been diagnosed BPD before Christmas and the reason that she didn’t know this is that the one and only time we’d spoken since, I couldn’t get a word in edgeways.  As per usual.  I’m not kidding.  In 2012 when I walked out of my job it took three meet ups for me to inform her of that, as she never shuts the fuck up long enough to let me speak.

I told her that lecturing me is NOT helpful as it frustrates me, especially when she talks such a load of wank, and that her monthly period downer is not in any way comparable to how I feel, even on a good day, as on the depression scale, it is like a mosquito bite compared to being torn apart by a shark.

I then told her that the most helpful thing of all for people with mental health issues is to do what I do for her; which is to LISTEN without comment, judgement or prejudice and to be there.

I then finished by saying that it’s obvious that she doesn’t can’t really cope with/tolerate my friendship right now, so I was going to stop trying to get her to do stuff with me and leave her be.  And maybe, just maybe we’d touch base later on in the year.  But that would be down to her.  Not me.

Right now I feel like I usually feel when I’ve dumped someone.  Satisfied, a bit smug, and full of self righteous indignation. But I know one day I’ll regret it, and will be pleased that I’ve kind of left the door, if not wide open, but slightly ajar.

After all, no one is perfect.

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But I’m so fed up of these Paper Doll Pals who call themselves your friend, claim to be accepting and supportive of your condition (mental illness is very ‘right on’ nowadays, doncha know), but will actually do anything to avoid seeing you, and if they absolutely have to, will come mob handed, and talk at you with a jittery, staccato delivery, just in case you utter a word, which could lead to you drowning them with your tears, ranting at them like a maniac, foaming at the mouth and showing them up in front of that cute waiter in Carluccios.

This is particularly galling, as it’s very rare that I offload on anyone, and if I do it’s when I’m in control so the dialogue is conversational, analytical and usually in response to the other person’s questions.  I’ve never dared let anyone see me on my darkest days, cos if they’re like this at the mere awareness of my condition, they’d probably run from the room screaming if they saw me at my worst, buried under my duvet, crusty eyed and gummy mouthed, willing myself to die rather than face the world again.

For anyone reading this who has mental health issues, or is close to someone who has, you know yourself that we aren’t always easy to be around.  We’re not always reliable.  We cancel a lot, to spare you seeing us when we’re sick.  We can be a bit fuzzy depending on our med intake at that time.  But on the plus side, we’re usually witty, creative, intelligent, empathic, have integrity, and if someone is lucky enough to be a real friend to us, well in return, you will not find a more loyal, empathic, supportive pal, even if you try.

We are flesh and blood, body, mind AND spirit, and will be there for you in every capacity we can and will stay strong, even when you yourself cannot.  We will not flutter away, flapping crazily like the Paper Doll Pals of this world when the wind blows a little.  Come rain, sleet, snow or shine, if we are well, we will be there, braced against the wind, face scrunched against the onslaught, because we value your friendship more than anything in the world, because you are rare and all the more precious for that.

Want to know how to be a friend to someone with mental health issues?

Listen on those rare occasions that we want to confide in you.  Hide your embarrassment if you can as that will only make us clam up and feel mortified that we are impacting you this way.   

Be there.  Bodily.  As in, in the same room!  And if you can’t be there bodily, be present in the best way you can. ‘Cos sending a text saying you love someone when you can’t be bothered to drive five minutes down the road to be with them is untruthful and insulting.  Spare us your bullshit purlease, we have enough to deal with, thank you.  Once, many years ago when i was having a killer migraine, my sister knelt beside my bed and held my hand for hours.  Practicality wise, it didn’t help.  Her hand and arm got in the way as I twisted, turned, wept and groaned trying to find comfort and respite.  But her and it’s continual presence reminded me that I wasn’t alone. That someone who cared was there, suffering alongside me.  And I still remember it to this day.

Be normal with us!  You don’t need to gaze moonily into our eyes and ask ‘How are you?’ nodding sadly, squeezing our hand at our response, as personally, I’d likely to throw up, laugh or take the piss out of you mercilessly. Just be the same sarky bitch/jerk/clown you always are in real life as that’s why we love you in the first place.  Plus it will, no doubt help us from going under, so tip toeing around us doesn’t do us any favours.  You being you, enables us to be who we are, at our best.  And we’ll tell you if we’re feeling off, OK?

Don’t preach or make suggestions unless we ask for them. There is nothing rational about mental illness.  We know that going to the gym, doing voluntary work, meeting new people can be beneficial. But for a lot of the time, despite good intentions, we just aren’t able to do the best for ourselves, because a lot of us are afraid, neurotic, paranoid and/or hate ourselves.  if however you’re doing something yourself, offer to drag your nutty pal along with you.  They might just say yes, and you’d be doing them a massive favour.

Be honest.  If you have your own shit to deal with and need time alone, just tell us.  We, if anyone, will understand the most and will give you the space you need until you feel strong enough to deal with our crazy asses again.

Have I missed anything?  Please comment if I have because it’s important that people don’t treat us with kid gloves, or act like they’re in the presence of an unexploded bomb.   We’re still the same old Sista/John/Caroline/Edgar that you know and love, just a bit flawed that’s all.  Like everyone else.  Just more so.

In the meantime, I’m hoping that my therapy will start sooner rather than later, as at this rate, I might as well be on a dessert island, such is my growing isolation. 😦

As for my thin, wispy little friend, I’ll just have to see what happens to our friendship, and will let you know if she returns.

Anyway, you know what they say, don’t you?

If you love someone, let them fuck the hell off until they realise what they’ve lost and come back, with their weedy, scabby tail between their legs.

Well it goes something like that, anyway…. 😉

Namaste x


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CASHMERE CUDDLES, WOOLLEN LOVE

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If you were to pass me in the street, you’d probably think that I look like the average, mild mannered, rapidly ageing, peri menopausal maiden, if a little frosty about the edges.

But I have a secret life.

I’m a very adept, dedicated, highly skilled, sniper.

Not the kind that fires semi automatic weapons at passing civilians, of course.  Although in the neighbourhood I live in, it’s not unheard of and sometimes a prudent course of action if you’re carrying a designer handbag, the latest iPhone or even a six pack of Fosters.

I’m one of those really annoying people that goes on eBay and just when the last seconds of an auction are ticking away, jumps in at the last moment and bids for your item, and usually stealing the deal right from under your nose.

Nice huh?

But I don’t do it to annoy.  I’m kinda of addicted because it’s (a) something to do, (b) a cheap(ish) thrill and ( c) I’m hunting, not wabbits, but super warm, beautiful cashmere goods.

$_12

I’ve always wanted a 100% cashmere coat, but would never stump up for the price of a new one, as, rather like buying a new car, it’s one hell of an investment and loses value the minute you walk it out of the shop.  Plus, I’m unemployed.  So I peruse eBay just waiting for the right item to pop it’s head up, then I can monitor my target and wait those 45 seconds at the end of the auction to strike.

And it’s turned into something of an obsession.

Especially when something I want is elusive or in short supply, then I’ll usually end up hunting it down to some small village in the Cotwolds and demand to buy it, which is why I ended up driving 40 miles to a small exclusive boutique the other day to purchase a beautiful mohair car coat that I hadn’t even tried on, as it was the last size 10 in existence.  Fortunately it fit me, but to be honest I barely ever go out anymore, haven’t worn it yet, and not sure when I will, so quite why I felt compelled to buy it right now I do not know.

But it’s winter, cold, and as a tallish person with long extremities I always get the urge to swathe myself in warm sumptuous layers to protect me from the weather.  I’ve always been quite a sensuous person too, so am very attracted to natural fabrics that feel good against the skin.  Cashmere, wool, mohair, brushed cotton, alpaca, you name it and you’ll find me buried under a pile of it come October through to March.

And in the summer, when the weather is hot (ha!), cottons, silk, linen and light denim make up the majority of my wardrobe.

I’m not rich or a snob, it’s not about that.  I love brushed cotton as much as virgin wool, but I can’t abide anything unnatural, itchy or sweat inducing against my skin, but nice fabrics and yarns feel like caresses to me, which probably boils down to the fact that in my day to day life, I am rarely physically touched.

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Of course I get light, air kissy, mwah mwah embraces from my London friends when I meet them, but apart from when I see my family, it’s rare that I am on the receiving end of a proper embrace, let alone a cuddle.  And when you see photographs of me with a group of people, I’m always slightly separate/aloof from the group, even if I’m liked by them, as ironically from a body language point of view, I strongly suspect that I put out an untouchable vibe, when I’m probably more in need of physical contact than anyone I know.

And don’t even get me started about sex. The thought of it is just unimaginable to me right now.

There is no doubt that I am lonely, isolated, and as a result I have built myself a very comfortable, homely fortress here in South London, and with it’s plush carpets, log fire and cosy nooks and armchairs strewn with throws, it would be the ideal little sanctuary to come home to.

If I ever went out that is.

And as much as I love and appreciate my home and the garments that make up my wardrobe, there are times where I’d be willing to set a match to the lot of it in exchange for a cuddle from someone who loved and will love and take care of me until the day I die.

But until that person comes along, if they ever do, I will stay here snug in my lonely bunker, behind the blanketed barricades, scanning the horizon for something that will kill the pain.

If only for sixty seconds.