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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2015 – THE YEAR OF ‘GET HAPPY’

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Here we are again.  Another year nearly over.

And whilst looking back to December 2013, and acknowledging that things seem to have gotten worse, I no longer have the expectation that making a list of New Year Resolutions to work through and tick off is an appropriate strategy for someone with EUPD, or indeed any kind of mental illness.

Human beings in general, let alone us crazies, are much more complicated than that, otherwise there’d be no such thing as irrational phobias and fears, unhealthy addictions would not supersede our higher selves and ALL diets and fitness training plans would work because we would apply ourselves to them without question.

So there you go. BUT, as I’ve bored you all year with my pain, failures and woes to date, I’m actually going to try and focus on the positive and try NOT SAY ANYTHING NEGATIVE!

So what was good about 2014?

WORK

I’ve done some successful bits of work in the last year and have even been in the papers, so I should give myself a pat on the back there.  I dabbled in a baking business, and maybe gave up a tad too soon, so perhaps that is something to revisit come 2015.

FRIENDS/FAMILY/LOVED ONES

I can count the number of people I can rely on on one hand, but I am learning to manage my expectations with regard to the others.  Making friends isn’t a problem for me.  When I’m in fun mode, I attract people to me, no doubt about it. Keeping them is.

I think I’m getting better at it.

SELF ACCEPTANCE

Whilst I still can’t say I like my appearance I think I am learning to accept the way I look, the ageing process and other things about myself.  The other day I was subjected to a barrage of romantic intent (see DATING/SEX) AND I looked like cack as I barely had any make up on so maybe it’s not all about having the perfect nose, a botoxed brow and perky titties?

DATING/SEX

Danny-Dyer-deviation

I’m still a born again virgin (coming up for 4 – 5 years now – practically healed up), but whilst doing some volunteer work I was heavily pursued by a big hairy, lairy dude, who kept calling me his new wife, bringing me bottles of water and little treats all day.  And whilst he’s not really my type, is barely literate AND smokes, I was pathetically enchanted by these crude overtures, and that he kept calling me ‘Princess’ and ‘Treacle’ in a very butch cockney accent.

Ludicrous really.  I’m embarrassed for myself.

I wonder if God has figured out yet that our hormones and genitalia are seriously unreliable when choosing one’s mate? Because it also turns out that he’s not as strong as he appears and could be quite vulnerable beneath that brash exterior.

Great.  Just great.  Another casualty of war. 😦

BUT we’re still chatting and I’m going to try and not be too judgemental.

PHYSICAL HEALTH

I am in pretty good shape really, considering that I neglect and test my poor old carcass with daily mistreatment, so if I start to look after myself better in 2015, it can only improve. Right?

Plus I’m still working on my…

ANGER

….and working out helps tamp my temper down.  Look, anger is at the heart of me.  I haven’t figured out why, or why it’s so all encompassing, but I’m a whole lot better at controlling it nowadays. Despite the fact I screamed abuse at a call centre worker only this very morning, because they’d pushed my patience to the very edge.  Yet again.

Ahem…this is a work in progress y’know?

FINANCES

I lived off one years money for nearly two and a half years, so I don’t need to earn as much as I did in order to survive.  Good news right?  Except I don’t just want to survive anymore.  I want to LIVE more fully and have some fucking….

FUN WITH FRIENDS

….so I do need a swift and steady cash injection in order to participate fully.

I’m also trying really hard to find ‘fun’ friends as per Aunty C’s instructions, but need to figure out what I’m putting out that attracts the walking wounded to me, and how to change that frequency.  Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate all my friends, and empathise fully with my fellow casualties, but sometimes feel a bit like Jack Dawson, as I attempt to clamber on board a bit of raft in order to save myself, but keep finding people who need/deserve it more that keep dragging me off, so I just go along with it instead of piping up ‘Budge your fat ass over Rose, you selfish bitch, before my dick falls off, and then I can get us both some help!’

FILM: Titanic (1997), with Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack Dawson and

After all, like all the airline flight attendants inform us when we’re busy browsing our Duty Free pamphlets whilst lingering on the tarmac, in an emergency, we have to give ourselves oxygen first in order to survive long enough to save our vulnerable, so could someone please tell me where all the fun people are?!

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Or is it my duty to fix the weak ones before I can move on?  All very confusing really, but I’m going to try and do a bit of both, that’s fair isn’t it?

GOALS

I have goals.  Yes I do.  I’m just not going to look at them too closely as there is no surety or clear path for me right now and that’s pretty scary, plus I know my inner saboteur will put on my Doc Martens and stamp the shit out of them. This I have been proving for two years now.  My inner sab can turn the most enjoyable thing into a chore in my mind, so I’m keeping stuff under my hat for now.

Ssshhhh…

FORGIVENESS

I’m a whole lot better at this nowadays too.  Maybe hard times do make one into a better person. Don’t get me wrong, I still have my moments of ‘Fuck them’ and the desire to block people out of my life still seems to be my psyche’s knee jerk reflex of choice, but this is all becoming all the more obvious to me, because of my group….

THERAPY

Gawd.  This has been hard, continues to be hard and I have no idea if I’m going to be able to stay in London in order to complete it, but it’s been a fucking education to date.  Not necessarily because of the specific discipline, or because I rate the shrinks, but seeing your shit reenacted by others is beyond cringeworthy which impels one to do better with regard to certain kinds of behaviours.

I still don’t think it’s a good idea to get too friendly with my group fellows, nor do I like all of them, but they are some of the  best teachers I’ve ever had and I can only applaud and appreciate them for their presence, and be as kind as i can to all of us as the process continues.

Right at this moment in time, I should be very worried and uncertain, but I am starting to realise that hiding away and settling with survival does not a positive life make. So whilst on paper, I have very little reason to be confident and excited about the year ahead, I’m going to try and be happy and get out there and see what I can achieve for myself. This is of course, no easy feat and there will be plenty of times that I’ll be back in my pit of despair, but I’m going to try and control my mind a little more, make positive affirmations and at least try and see if it has any affect.

I’ve been OK over the seasonal period and survived it, but that says it all really.

That word again.

Oddly enough the thing I enjoyed most over the last week or so was the charity work, grafting flat out for a common goal.  And yes, I suppose the little flirtation and attention I got kinda upped the ante a little too. But it’s important for me to recognise and record the times and things that have made me happy or contented in the past.

Such as:

Working as a team with fun people.

Horse riding in the Spanish mountains.

Being around animals.

Getting praise for things I have done.

Being accepted.

Nurturing and being nurtured.

Getting attention from the opposite sex.

Had to note down that last one, as I’d much sooner ignore it.

AND I MUSTN’T IGNORE IT!

Because maybe there is someone out there who I can be around who’ll add value to my life.

Re New Year’s Eve, I’m actually not going out tonight, because there was nothing very interesting happening, but I think this is a positive thing, as there is no act more lonely than to hurl yourself out of the door and attach yourself to someone, anyone, rather than be alone at the stroke of midnight.

And it’s not like I haven’t been here before, and only good things came out of that.  Like this blog! 🙂

Thank you to all of you for your friendship and continual support.

I’ll keep on keepin’ on and hope you do too.

Happy 2015!

Love and kisses Sista xxx

2014-12-28-1746_54a033cce087c341a3941537 https://sistasertraline.wordpress.com/2013/12/31/last-flight-update-2013-back-on-the-tarmac/

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DEATHWISH 2001

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It was a bit of a sad day yesterday.

I’d been experiencing the inevitable guilt fest people like me go through when someone young, vital, and full of love dies.
God alone knows why he takes the ones that want to stay, and keeps those of us that would be thrilled to be beamed up Star Trek style to the great beyond down here.

Yesterday young Stephen Sutton finally died at the heartbreaking age of 19, after a four year battle with cancer, who, before thumbing a lift to the afterlife, raised a staggering £3.2m (and rising as we speak) for the Teenage Cancer Trust by working his way through a 46 item bucket list and being sponsored along the way, after having been told that his cancer had spread and that he didn’t have long to live.

Whilst most people (i.e. me) would have, on diagnosis, sighed pitifully, settled back under the duvet (assuming I ever emerged from it in the first place) and intermittently slept and stared wistfully into space whilst everyone (I don’t know ‘Who?’ OK? Just go with this willya?!) ran around doing shit for me.

I might have stretched myself a little by planning an Ealing Comedy style will/inheritance challenge scenario to torment my family after my demise, pitting them against one another whilst alive by way of pre match training. 🙂

But that would be it.

Not this kid. He was a fucking whirlwind and did not waste one second of his life.  He grabbed it by the throat and made it work for him and for those in his position, and had a blast doing it.  Did being in pain, sick, nauseous or weak get in his way?

Not for one single moment.

He even completed his exams and got A*s aplenty in the process.

And whilst he’s been doing this?

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I’ve been vegetating away at home doing squat for pretty much two years.

Oh the shame…

I and others with mental health issues have no doubt wished for death at least a couple of thousand times in our lifetimes; and it still happens.  I do try not to because (a) it doesn’t work, (b) it’s an affront to people who are dying and very much want to live, and (c) unless I am woman enough to crash the party and boogie along to the mortal coil shuffle, it ain’t happening.

I did it again yesterday though.  One more time.

As I’d have given anything to take this kid’s place.

Not for me. But for him.  Because for less than 2o years, the world was a better place with him in it.

And my heart aches for his mother and loved ones.

If you are trying to guilt me into taking an active part in life God, it’s starting to get to me, y’hear!

I had to go to the dentists today and be fitted with some god awful medieval oral contraption in order to stop me gnashing my remaining teeth to chalk.  Mincy (https://sistasertraline.wordpress.com/2014/04/24/rubberneckers-of-the-world-unite/) went to great pains to be nice to me again, bless him, and I feel vile for judging him before.  Anyway it was hardly a barrel of laughs but at least it got me out of the house.

Afterwards I must have walked for miles and miles. Rain was forecast and I didn’t have a brolly, but whilst the dark clouds were never far away, I didn’t get wet.  And as I walked I tried for once to see the good stuff and be thankful and mindful.

The sun on my pallid little phis.  The breeze in my hair.  The soundness and solidity of my body.

My back didn’t ache.  My head didn’t hurt.

I wasn’t the person over the road being screamed at by his scary, chavvy partner.

A toothless, snot nosed little cherub beamed at me as I walked past.

I got a cheeky wink from a huge roofer as I passed under some scaffolding (what is it with me and big, dirty geezers?!).

My freshly washed cotton trainer socks were not rolling up and chafing my heels like they usually do.

The way my stomach relaxed as a long, luxurious, silent-but-deadly fart exited my body as I passed a gang of surly looking school kids <Man!  You is rank!>.

And my fully functioning, almost full , hot water bottle of a bladder, insistently reminding me to stop for a loo break already.

Nothing is perfect.

At least I didn’t wet myself.

And I am here.

An animated, corporeal lump of meat, bones and blood perambulating along the street.

Alive.

And for once? Bordering on grateful.  Or at least trying to be.

I catch a late lunch and sit in the late Spring sun, nursing a latte, pondering my next move, and when I think about the last year, some things have changed, and I am better than I was.  Aunty  C would be thrilled to hear me say that as she is very pro my recognising what she sees as my triumphs.

I am less angry and aggressive.

I get out and about a bit more.

I earned some money.

I am learning to live with loneliness.

I am learning to forgive.  Properly.

But I can’t carry waiting for something to happen all the time as the days of my life whizz past.

In health, I give others good advice. Everyone says so.

In fact I’d go so far to say that I give really good advice. Everyone use to come to me for it.

But it’s that age old thing, innit.  Physician heel thyself and all that. But maybe it’s time I tried.

Time to book an appointment with…me.

Yes, I’ve finally lost it.

I hope that God has put meat on your bones and colour in your cheeks, young Stephen, and that you get to keep on partying hard in the afterlife, along with some well earned rest.

Do me a favour though, and give the Man Upstairs my best won’t you?

I just want to make sure He hasn’t forgotten to put my name on the guest list.

Lots of love

xxx

 

 


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IT’S ‘JUST ONE THING’ MY SOUL MAY BE FEELING

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Sorry for the radio silence.  Have had just had three days of hell, brought on by yet another frigging birthday, having to resort to applying for benefits and the betrayal of a friend which left me a knuckle biting, goggle box watching, contracted, balled up, terrified wreck who ground her teeth to a bloody mess every night.  And it’s a bugger to get those pillowcases clean afterwards!

I wasn’t rendered completely inactive though.

Unfortunately.

I’ve had to ban myself from eBay after incessant stalking of Joyce McKinney levels via the ‘ending soon’ option, and have spent a small fortunate on stuff I don’t really need, just to distract me from the pain of my crisis which was threatening to obliterate me.

So it felt like I couldn’t get any lower.

But I’m alive, I have a roof over my head, and I have options. But it’s up to me to take direct action in order to change my situation.

Plus I got an email from my very own celebrity stalker, Dr Rick Hanson.

Ole Rick’s always emailing me.  I mean it’s getting embarrassing, and there are days when I open the message, stare at his perky, happy, successful visage and think ‘You again? Really?!  Back the hell off, geezer!’ but there is no doubt he means well, and today’s missive totally hit the spot, so, as it’s not on his website yet, I thought I’d share it with you.  I’ve bolded the bits that resonate the most with me.

The Practice 
Keep going.

Why?

I once attended a workshop led by Joseph Goldstein, a Buddhist teacher. I had realized something about the lack of a fixed self, and shared the insight with him. He nodded and said, “Yes, right.” I felt seen for taking a step forward. Then he smiled and added something I’ve never forgotten: “Keep going.”

Of all the factors that lead to happiness and success – such as class origins, intelligence, personality, character, looks, luck, race – the one that typically makes the most difference over time is persistence. Knocked down ten times, you get up ten times.

If you keep going, you might not reach your goal – but if you stop, you’ll never reach it.

We respect people who persist. There’s a magic in determination that draws others toward it and elicits their support.

And you just don’t know when your day will finally come. There are so many stories of “overnight success” that actually arrived after many years of effort, often including some failures. For example, Dwight Eisenhower was an obscure colonel in 1939 – and nearly forty-nine years old – when Germany invaded Poland to begin World War II; four years later he was in charge of all Allied forces in Europe; nine years after that he was elected president.

How? 

Make sure your goals are worthy of your perseverance. You can be determined to a fault. Don’t “keep going” down a tunnel with no cheese. Consider the collateral damage: are you winning battles but losing the “war” of overall health, well-being, integrity, and welfare of others?

Know the feeling of tenacious persistence. It could be fierce, strong, stubborn, unyielding, clear, inspired, surrendered, on-mission, purposeful, focused, committed – or all of these. Recall a time you had this feeling, and know it again in your body. Call it up whenever you need to draw on resources inside to keep going.

Take the step that’s right in front of you – one after another. I’ve taught many people to rock climb: Beginners will often have one foot down low and one foot at knee level, on solid placements, plus two good handholds, yet they can’t find any new holds, so they feel stuck. But when they simply stand up on the higher foothold – taking the step that’s available – that brings higher handholds and footholds within reach.

Find the pace you can sustain; life’s a marathon, not a sprint. For example, on my first Boy Scout backpack trip, I was a skinny, nerdy, unathletic kid. But I wanted to be the first to our campsite. We set out and the burly “alpha” boys raced ahead, while I kept up a slow-but-steady pace. After a few miles, I passed them sitting down on the side of the trail. They were startled to see me trucking along and soon got up and raced past me. But after another few miles, once again they were laid out by the side of the trail, this time really fried as I walked past them – and I was very happy to get the first, really cool tent spot.

Keep going in your mind even if you can’t make any headway in the world. Maybe you’re truly stuck in some situation – a job, an illness, a certain sort of marriage. But at least you can continue to reflect on what’s happening, learn to cope with it better, and love the people around you. And over time maybe things will improve. As Winston Churchill said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

Have faith that your efforts will pay off. You may have heard this teaching story: A bunch of frogs fell into a vat of cream. They couldn’t jump out, and one after another drowned. But one frog refused to quit and kept swimming and staying alive, even after all the other frogs had died. Finally its movements churned the cream to solid butter – and it hopped out to safety.

Keep churning!

Isn’t he annoying?!  One of those ‘lemons to lemonade’ types, whereas no doubt I’d cut the lemon in two, bite down on half of it, squirt the other in my eyes then apply it to a particularly deep paper cut, such is my desire for self destruction….

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But, all joking aside, the one thing that made my ears prick up in this instance was his reference to tenacious persistence.

I know I have this in spades. Trouble is it only comes out in bad situations where i feel I need to defend myself, and then I’m a like a rottweiler on steroids with an elastic band around it’s balls.  Furious, dogged (sorry), committed and determined, I hang in there, fight clean, fight dirty, and ‘never stop fighting till the fight is done’.

So why can’t I harness this trait and use it for positive things instead of attack mode?  It’s possible. Isn’t it?

So from now on, before I hit the hay, I’m going to write a list of what I want/need to do the next day.  I may not do all of them.  Hell I may not do any of them.  But at least I’ll try.

I’m going to try and fight my urge to procrastinate by watching bad TV, unnecessary eBaying, playing scrabble and fannying around on the internet.

I’m going to try and fight for a better life, fight to make people see and treat me better, fight for my rightful place in this world, fight my shame and self recrimination, and show those nagging, tormenting mind monkeys of mine where the door is.

I’m not always well or motivated enough to read all of Rick’s emails, but when I do I find that they are always compassionate, practical and inspiring and it won’t hurt you to subscribe to them as there are days when they are the only thing that get me out of my pit.

So whilst the image of buttery frogs makes me want to break out garlic and breadcrumbs à la française, I’ll try to keep churning and not disintegrate into a pool of congealed mess every time something or someone hits me.

And there’ll be more missiles to come; i can feel it.

But that’s life, isn’t it?

Dontcha just lurve Karma folks? 😉

Namaste x

http://www.rickhanson.net/writings/just-one-thing


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A BEAUTIFUL MIND

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Today, coincidentally, I had an appointment with Aunty C my counsellor so I limped off to hers, still a bit shell shocked by yesterday’s events.

And whilst she poo pooed Dr Grey Fox’s diagnosis a little, I noticed that she didn’t look that surprised.

‘Ah, some practitioners need to pigeonhole people like you in order to process them and get them the right treatment.  Believe me, you could probably make anyone fit the emotionally unstable criteria as we’ve all been hurt by life and behaved, erm, abnormally or irrationally at some stages of our lives’ she said, smiling encouragingly.

‘Ah, C, I appreciate your support, but the criteria fits me like a top of the range Saville Row suit.’

Regardez:

1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. – Yup.  HATE rejection and will reject first if I get so much as a sniff of it.

2. A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterised by alternation between extremes of idealization and devaluation. – Check

3. Identity disturbance – markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self. – ‘Oh Yes!’ (said in voice of Churchill)

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4. Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging, e.g. spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving or binge-eating. – Yes.  Not so much nowadays, but in the past?  For sure.

5. Recurrent suicidal behaviour, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behaviour. – The latter and the desire not to be here

6. Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood, e.g. intense episodic dysphoria, irritability or anxiety, which usually lasts for between a few hours and several days. – YES

7. Chronic feelings of emptiness – YES

8. Inappropriate, intense anger, or difficulty controlling anger, e.g. frequent displays of temper, constant anger or recurrent physical fights. – Again, not so much of late, but I used to be a bit of a maniac, and I am on a lot of medication nowadays

9. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms. – Yes

See?

C sighs.  ‘Why are you so keen on labelling yourself?’

‘If it helps move me forward, I’ll have it tattooed on my forehead.’

We laugh, albeit a little sadly.

‘Look, I know I’ve improved and I know some of these symptoms are mainly in the past, but I’ve plateaued, and now I’m stuck.  Frozen.  Still scared to go out and face the big wide world.  And I know you think the ‘good parent’, ‘the inner child’ and all that lot will help me out, but they don’t and I just can’t do it alone.  And if I don’t do something quick, I’m going to be in real trouble financially.’

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Aunty C looks sad.

‘I don’t think you appreciate how well you’ve done’

‘I totally do, thanks to you, I’m not going to use the diagnosis as an excuse to write myself off, and I won’t necessarily buy into everything they throw at me, but I know I’m still quite a bit bonkers and think group therapy might be a good “dry run” for interacting and learning to deal with people outside of my comfy safe circle of friends.’

She looks at me with real warmth.

‘You are not bonkers.  You have a beautiful mind.  It’s creative, insightful, caring, lyrical, instinctive, even psychic but you let it wander off to dark places.  It rules you, not the other way around.  Try and catch yourself doing this, make some notes and we’ll talk about it when I see you in the New Year.’

‘OK, I’ll keep that mo fo in check, sho nuff!’ I quip jokingly.

Aunty C grimaces in frustration. ‘See how you talk to the child! The language!  Learn to be more gentle on yourself!’

‘OK!’

You’ve probably heard this ‘catching my thoughts’ thing before, so forgive me if i’m going over old ground, but it’s a tricky old ting this ‘beautiful’ mind of mine.  One minute it’s my ever faithful companion, and all ‘Oh it’s Christmas, how lovely!’ then the next it’s trying to creep off somewhere without my noticing.

‘Oh, you’re missing out on so many parties, and no one is missing you…still jobless, still on your own, just as well they don’t want to see you…’

And before I know it, it’s twice the size it was, has grown big, sharp teeth and claws, and has dragged me down some stinking filthy rabbit hole, where it’s all dark, stinking and rotten, and it takes me forever to get out.

‘..and everyone is having a good time without you, but let’s face it, no one would miss you if you weren’t here at all would they, I reckon by next year you’ll be dead and…’

But I’m trying. And hopefully this extra therapy will help.  In the meantime, I’ll just have to adopt the ”Ere, where do you think you’re going?’ approach, implement the use of a choke chain when necessary, and maybe this time next year there’ll be no doubt about who’s in charge anymore.

‘Who’s a beautiful boy then?  But I’m the boss.  And if you ever want a walk again, don’t you ever forget it!’

Whoops.  I forgot.  That’s not a nice way to talk to it.  I’d better modify my tone and try again.

‘OK Mind/Child/Whoever you are, this isn’t somewhere we want to linger is it?  Look at all that mud, poo, and I don’t even want to think what that thing is over there in the corner.  You are loved and liked and will have a lot of fun this Christmas if you put yourself out there and try.  Look there’s a bit of light winking over there, shall we head in that direction, climb out of this hole and go home for a nice hot bath?’

‘OK M/C/WYA, I thought we were doing some business research, so why are we searching eBay for coats/vintage sewing machines/boots/monkey fish mermaids that we cannot at this moment afford?  Let’s close those windows and focus on the job at hand, hmmm?  And then maybe, just maybe we’ll be able to buy this kind of stuff again one day.’

‘OK M/C/WYA, you’re obsessing about things that may not even happen, and if you think more optimistically you’ll have more chance of preventing this hideous glimpse of a possible future.  Focus on the now please, OK?’

‘OK M/C etc, etc, maybe she did betray and deliberately hurt you and maybe she didn’t; fact remains that she only has power over you if you give it to her.  Leave her stew in her own juices and go out for a nice dinner with someone else. She’ll be back, you’ll see her again if and when it suits you, and the balance of power will be a whole lot more even.’

Exhausting all of this Mind monitoring, but hopefully one day in the future it will lie at my feet, trusting and contented, and I won’t have to police it anymore.

Well I can dream, can’t I?

‘There’s my beautiful girl!’