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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THE ARTISTS WAY: Week Four – The Long Good Friday


So after another bruising fall from grace, I’m back in the ‘Artist’s Way’ saddle again, so please excuse that my Week Four has seemingly been about a month long!

Ironically enough, this is around about the same time I dropped out of the course last year.

‘Recovering a Sense of Integrity’ shouldn’t be a deal breaker for me. Hell, I walked out of my job, am studying yoga, and am looking for a job in charidee, so ain’t nobody braver or more authentic than me!

But when I look back, it seems that I’ve mainly spent the last eight months watching TV to block out the fear inside, so whilst Julia C seems to think that reading is the enemy here, the goggle box is definitely mine.

I recently set myself the challenge of limiting myself to two hours viewing only per day. What’s so difficult about that, you might ask? Well when you’re not working, anti social, borderline agoraphobic and trying not to spend too much money, it’s your main refuge.

If I think about it, I’m a bit like Scrat from Ice Age, clinging nervously to my little acorn nest egg, hiding in crevices, casting around anxiously for predators, when for all I know, there could be a veritable forest of oak trees out there.

But it’s not about da money.  It’s about clinging to my warm, safe comfort zone, and protecting myself from risk, harm and pain.

The upside of this is that I have the luxury of only seeing and having to deal with my ‘safe’ people (the number of which are gradually diminishing), get to watch endless crap on TV, interact with ‘friends’ on Facebook, blog to my hearts content, browse the internet, quaff wine, and comfort eat to my hearts content without putting my heart, ego or soul on the line whatsoever.

The downside?  I afford myself little opportunity to open my heart, let new people in, test and risk my ego, enrich my soul and embark courageously on the next chapter in my life.

So I stay stuck in my trench waiting for the bomb to drop.

But I’m trying.  I’m gradually nudging away my crutches, peeling away those protective layers, recognising and weaning myself out of my self destructive, self sabotaging habits and braving the inevitable cliff jump that lies ahead.

I’m given up booze for Lent so no longer drink at home and I’ve been off Facebook for at least a fortnight.

Is this helping me progress?  Yes, but sllowwwly, as I’m now slyly, surreptitiously taking refuge in blogging, faffing around on the internet and (the biggest sin of all) watching too much TV to keep me safe/stuck and stop me from having to make those all important changes.

As I type this, I’m sat in a silent sitting room, and every key tap sounds like that ‘Go Compare’ bloke tap dancing  on sheet metal.  I can hear my breath, the cat shifting on the duvet in his sleep and a tap dripping in the bathroom. The silence is all consuming.

I don’t like it.

For a while now, I’ve maintained that one of the main reasons I don’t like going out and doing stuff on my own is that it made me feel lonely.  That has never made sense to me, but now, all of a sudden, it does.

My TV is and has been my best friend for a long, long time now.  It natters away cheerily in the background, calms me, thrills me, educates me, makes me laugh and makes sure I’m good and bug-eyed tired before I go to bed.  And if I’m on Facebook, I get to interact with others about what I’m watching, and it’s almost like being with them in person.  Isn’t it?!

And now, in the absence of its endless, comforting white noise, the truth emerges; I don’t just feel lonely when I do stuff alone.  I feel lonely all the time.  The TV just shields and protects me from that fact when I stay indoors.

I didn’t want to know that.

I’m scared.

I can hardly bear to type this down.

On Thursday night, I’m going to turn my TV off and leave it off until Easter.  And whilst I can’t compare it with the suffering of a certain someone, this is going to be my very own Long Good Friday, where I get to spend a whole lot of silent, quality time with me, myself, I.


I can only hope I don’t end up shooting someone.

Finally, one of the challenges I have yet to complete from Week Four is writing my own Artists Prayer, and whilst I have toyed with some wording, in the lead up to Easter, I’m sure it will come out all by itself, as in ‘Oh God, what have I done?!’

Julia Cameron – biatch, you have a lot to answer for……

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I suspect the purpose of my blog might have been a ambiguous as my wording in the heading was, in hindsight, maybe a mite vague, so I’ve tweaked it and will give you a quick outline just so we’re all clear:

I started this year pretty much in the shitter with regard to nearly every facet of my life, was at the end of my tether, and had no motivation or energy to even attempt to get it back on track.

So what does our heroine do? Lay down and die? Enter a nunnery? Find a damp cardboard box under Charing Cross?  Get committed?

No!  She creates an anonymous online journal, makes to some tough, outlandish (and sometimes bizarre) New Years Resolutions with the aim of achieving them all by 31 December 2013 thus completely transforming her life as we know it.

Ta da!!

That’s where you lot come in.  Because I’ve said it now, in writing too so it’s all legal, and if I don’t do it you’ll think I’m an arse.  You might already think I’m an arse, but that’s by the by….

On good days, I also employ the things that I feel enhance my life such as cooking, music, knitting, poetry, yoga, etc) in the hope that doing things that fulfil me will help get me well.  I blog about them too in the hope that it helps others suffering from depression find solace in them too.

I also regularly host a Pity Party and play ‘boo hoo’ tracks when I feel sorry for myself or just in the mood to hear them.  This sounds pretty grim, but the plus side is that I only ever feature the very best music :-).  I even feature ‘Optimistic Mixes’ too when I need a kick in the arse!

So, you get the ups and downs, rants and raves, thrills and spills and, if you stick around long enough, you’ll get to know whether this tatty old Phoenix achieves all of her planned so-called ‘Flights’ into the real world!

To date I’ve made a teensy bit of progress, but I’ve still go the best part of 10 months to complete everything, Okay?!

So when the bongs chime on New Years Eve 2013, I hope to be….

An employed/working/solvent, outdoorsy, attached, dancing, bendy, serene, cat lovin’, successful Amazon of a woman, who gets up with the lark, so is always presentable post 9am (even at weekends – imagine!), who has loads of multi orgasmic sex (that she wears comfortable sexy underwear for), so doesn’t even have time of an evening to watch TV, has loads of friends because she  is very reliable as far as social arrangements are concerned not to mention forgiving, so is hardly ever in to drink at home,  looks after herself mind, body and spirit, and whenever she passes a mirror, she winks and whispers to her reflection ‘You FOX, you!’

I think that covers most things?

Glad that’s been cleared up, Better get on with it then……




Some days all I can do is sit staring into space as minutes, hours, huge tracts of time go by.

Doors bang as others leave the building in the morning, and slam when they arrive home at night.  In between those times, the letter box clacks, mail and spam hits the mat, buses trundle by; workmen, delivery men come and go, Jehova’s Witnesses (or some other unwanted intruder) press the buzzer in vain, gangs of school kids yell, squabble and banter en route home for their tea.  The sun rises, brightens, moves slowly from the small bedroom window past the sitting room, to the other side of the block, then dims and sets.  The sky darkens, the moon comes up and I barely notice.

This time is interspersed with the bare minimum of activities; getting up for tea or water, using the loo, feeding the cats, cleaning the litter tray, going to bed.

At these times I still manage to care for my cats when I can’t for myself, but I thank God that I took them in, and that I love them enough to honour the small but important responsibility of being a kitty momma, as goodness knows what would happen if they weren’t here.

Days go by.

I know I’m coming out of the worst of it when I want to run a bath.

I know it’s not a false alarm if afterwards I want something to eat.

I never want much.

Sometimes I have something wholesome like a slice of wholegrain home made bread toasted, and spread with butter and Marmite.

Sometimes I want an orange, mango or some other fruit, craving something fresh and juicy for my dry, foul tasting palate, savouring the moment it soaks up the liquid goodness like a brittle, wispy, under watered plant.

Other times I just open the cupboard or fridge and grab anything that stops the hunger pangs until an authentic desire for food returns.

But sometimes only a Crunchie and a cup of tea will do.  I usually have a stash tucked away for such occasions.

Lest you confuse this with a binge, let me clarify that this is not so.  One Crunchie does not a bulimic splurge make.  And it’s usually the only thing I have or will eat all day.

Let me set the scene.

I’ve had a bath.  I’ve cleaned my teeth.  I’ve combed out my wet hair, put on clean pyjamas or a robe, moisturised my face, made some tea and am curled up on the couch, fresh and clean as a small child, waiting for a story before going to bed.

A new drama or movie will be about to start on TV.  Whilst watching telly can be unhealthy, addictive escapism, I actually want to watch this programme as opposed to blindly gazing at anything that happens to be on the box for hour after hour, and I will most likely turn it off and go to bed when it’s finished.

I carefully open the Crunchie which is cold from being in the fridge, and slowly, tenderly snap off a small chunk, push it to the back of my mouth with my tongue and bite down.   The firm coating yields, the honeycomb shatters and my mouth fills with the slightly burnt taste of sugar and smooth, silky milk chocolate.

I then take a sip of boiling hot, milky tea, and the remaining shards dissolve along with the chocolate and flood my mouth with sweet, sweet comfort and a powerful sugar rush.

I slowly, carefully continue in this way, savouring each mouthful until the Crunchie and nearly all of the tea has gone, whilst losing myself in someone else’s story playing out on the TV screen.  I then fold the wrapper until it is as small as can be and pop it in the bin.

When your cry for help has been unanswered, when you don’t love yourself enough to eat proper food, and you’re still waiting for The Man (as opposed to ‘a man’) to appear, all you can do is give yourself 10 minutes of oral, sugary comfort and thank Tuesday it’s Crunchie.

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After my little posting on religion the other night all manner of things seem to be cropping up, mainly demonstrating what a bleedin’ hypocrite I am.

Whilst I have allegedly left the rat race now and am something of a pseudo hippy, I sometimes find it hard to turn off my business/customer service brain, especially when it comes to finding fault with folk :-).

In an attempt to stick to some of my 2013 aims, I joined quote a rather gung ho hiking club called ‘Earn That Lunch!’ and booked myself in for a tough 13 miler. This is the act of someone who has barely moved from the sofa for 9 months, but that’s me I’m afraid, all or nothing.

The person who runs this group is very strict on who she allows in, and is especially clear on the desired age and level of fitness of her participants.  Let’s just say I probably just scraped through.

After several emails reiterating how fit we all should be leading up to the day, I got a mite nervous and emailed her back.

‘Hi A, I have to say, I’m getting a bit anxious about this now.  I haven’t hiked since Christmas and am a bit worried about keeping up with all of you Amazons!  What happens if lag behind?’

She replied:

‘Hi Sista, you shouldn’t be worried, honestly! I’m just being cautious, as sometimes people turn up in leather jackets and trainers and think we’re going for a leisurely stroll.  I can tell that you’re going to be fine, trust me!’

Okey Dokey, it’s on!

So on the eve of the big day I get out my day pack, fill it with the required supplies (water, snacks, wet wipes, plasters, lipstick 🙂 ) lay out my walking togs and get out my mud splattered boots.

That is when I realise that I am actually serious about this, I’m preparing and not just setting my alarm in the sure and certain knowledge that when it goes off I’m hit snooze a few times, cancel then go back to bed.  I really mean it this time.

So when the big day dawns, I rock up in all the right kit, day pack on my back feeling quite excited and pretty pleased with myself to boot.  I made it!  I’m going to have a great day out!  I’m going to get fit!  And make new, healthier than me (in more ways than one) friends!

‘A’ turns out to be a tiny, hyperactive American lady with wild eyes and an almost OCD approach to organising the day.  She passes out flapjacks to us all (nice touch) on the train, then she asks us to choose what we want for lunch so she can ring through the orders to the restaurant, presumably so we don’t waste any precious time chilling and chatting for 20-30 minutes whilst our food was being prepared. That should have been a very obvious red flag to me with regard to how intense this hike would be, but at the time I just thought she was super efficient.

So we set out at a brisk power walk pace; what I expected.  Hell, I can do this, I’m only just behind A at the front.  It’s a beautiful day, people are really friendly and I’m starting to enjoy myself.

Then we start to go uphill and all of a sudden I’m gasping.  I have about ten layers of clothing on and want to stop and take my jacket off, but I’m scared of lagging behind.  So I unzip the front, create a gap where a bit of air can get in and keep on truckin’.

But it only helps marginally. The lady next to me is chatting away and I can barely give her one word replies.  I look desperately at A who has nearly reached the top of the hill to a path where the ground plateaus out.

Please, I think, please for the love of God go that way.

But it’s not challenging enough for A. She pauses, crosses that lovely, forgiving path and starts to ascend again.

That’s it; I have to stop and get this jacket off.  My chatty friend pauses, concerned.

‘You OK?’ she asks.

‘I’m fine,’ I lie, ‘I just need to shed a layer or two.’

I remove my jacket as fast as I can but the inevitable happens; the group race past me and I find myself at the back.

In no mans land. Alone :-(.

Most walking or hiking groups have one person walking at the rear to help stragglers like me, or at least make sure they don’t get lost, but this clearly isn’t A’s priority.  Her priority is to walk as far and as fast as she can so she burns up lots of calories then can stuff her face when we get to the pub, and she makes no bones about that.  You snooze you lose.

I curse, pull my day pack back on and try in vain to catch up, but, not being able to stop and catch my breath before moving on, invariably I start to lose sight of the group.

I’m getting kinda scared now; I have no idea where I am, there is no sign of civilisation, let alone a taxi and I’m starting to panic. Then out of the woods come a couple from my group.

Thank God!

Bless their hearts, they are paying customers just like me, but wanted to make sure I didn’t get lost, unlike A who clearly doesn’t give a flying one. The husband takes my coat and daypack and the wife grabs my hand but it’s no use; I’m absolutely exhausted and I’m holding them back.

Eventually we come across a pair of elderly walkers, so I thank my rescuers profusely, tell then that I don’t want to spoil their day, that they should go on without me and I’ll make my own way back to civilisation.

And that is what I did.  I walked about 5 miles along a road to the nearest main line station, get on a train and go home.  It takes me around three and a half hours, and by the time I get back I am in equal parts relieved, angry, indignant and humiliated, not to mention 100 percent exhausted.

If you read this blog, I’m sure you know that I’m aware of my shit, so I get in the bath with a big mug of tea and try to push down the urge to lash out in the form of a bad review on A’s site.

‘Don’t do it,’ whispers my Higher Self, ‘it’s an act of revenge, no more no less, and you are above all of that now.’

‘That’s all very well for you to say,’ I retort bitterly, ‘what if that couple hadn’t come back? What if the old  couple hadn’t happened to pass by?  I would have been screwed!  People need to know the risks!’

‘I’m sure A’s learned her lesson,’ wheedled HS, ‘it’s for her to learn this and not for you to teach her.’

I get out of the bath, dry off and make myself a big sausage sandwich to cheer myself up.

But I can’t let it go.

I go to the web page, log in and post something like this for the group to read.

‘Well that was pretty humiliating to say the least!  Sorry not to make it to the pub but I couldn’t keep up, but thanks to the lovely couple who came back for me, we found some locals, I got directions and eventually got home safely.  I think I need to leave this group until I get a bit fitter, but it was lovely to meet you all and maybe I’lll see you again sometime :-).

To anyone who wants to join this group, I know A emphasises that you need to be very fit to go along, but believe me you do, so if you have any doubt that you can keep up, I’d give this one a miss.

Bye for now!

S x’

Whilst I immediately feel better, my HS is not impressed.

‘Well there you go, you got your revenge, albeit in a lovely passive aggressive way,’, she cooed sarcastically, ‘feeling better now?’

Higher Selves should not be sarky, otherwise how are they ‘higher’?

I’m unrepentant.

‘She got off lightly!  A year ago I would have taken her down big style! That was a mere love tap! Plus people should know what they’re letting themselves in for, otherwise Ms A will have some kind of Blair Witch scandal and law suit on her hands!  She needs to be more customer focussed instead of treating us like she’s doing us a favour by taking our money.  She should be thanking me for the heads up!’

‘What,’ retorts HS, ‘like exposing the vet?’


For those who haven’t read the post, my vet recently tried to scam me by pretending one of my cats, Dexter needed a scan, but when challenged he admitted that he didn’t actually have anything wrong with him. Then, probably terrified that I was going to bust him, he changed his mind again and said that Dex might have something wrong with him after all.  Suffice to say, I was furious and have been busting his ass ever since.  And when he ignored my emails and letters I posted him a message on his Facebook page.  Ahem.

‘Again,’ I say loftily to my HS, ‘people need to know what they are dealing with. He is ripping people off.  People who can barely afford to eat around here, let alone pay hefty vet bills!’

HS sighs. ‘Have a little think to yourself my love and see if you can say, hand on heart that you didn’t enjoy any of this whatsoever; that you’re not punishing people for crossing you or letting you down.’

And then she’s gone.  Leaving me to figure out exactly what my motives are to this end.

And you know what?  I’m not entirely sure.

In fairness I am, from a business point of view very pro customer service, especially in this tough financial climate. I do hate liars and cheats and can hand on heart say that I hope my FB post stops my vet scamming anyone else. And it’s humiliating to be left behind like a runt pup (or should that be old bitch?) while the rest of the pack disappear without a backwards glance, and scary to be left alone in the woods when you don’t know where you are.

But as my HS, and indeed Vic Reeves might say, ‘You wouldn’t let it lie!’ as I have the rather unattractive propensity to punish and keep on punishing until the poor bastard in question falls to the floor and stops moving.

Not exactly a great way of making friends and influencing people, Sista.

So I didn’t verbally beat A up until she apologised/lost customers/begged for mercy.  I did punish her though.

So I haven’t reported my vet to the BVA.  The fact that I know there is a BVA indicates my inclination to do so, plus I have no doubt given him a few sleepless nights, the lying toe rag.

This desire for revenge is my own inner demon and does me no justice or favours, and whilst I have got it on a short lead nowadays, I need to keep an eye on it at all times lest it wriggles free and starts biting again.

I also need to develop and feed my starved, emaciated little characteristic called Forgiveness.

I just have to find it first, thats all 🙂

Onwards and upwards.

Namaste x




So just to update you on my Scary Man Juice (aka testosterone gel) treatment, since applying it (albeit tiny amounts as I am fwightened) I have, of late, felt something of a stirring down there……

I’ve also had strange, random, erotic dreams, (which, you will be relieved to hear, I will not go into on here) and, as I can’t blame my usual mixing alcohol with my meds habit, I think it’s fair to say something is happening.

So whilst I wouldn’t go as far as to say I feel horny, last night I had a bit of a tingle, and as I couldn’t get to sleep, I decided to have a play and see if my orgasm was working again.  For the sole purpose of reporting back in this blog of course……

Please don’t close this page, this isn’t going to be some female porno wankfest, I promise!

So  initial signs were promising.  Arousal was swift and it was fair to say that pretty much from the onset it felt like orgasm was only seconds and a slightly firmer stroke away.  But, again for science purposes only 🙂 , I dragged it out as long as possible, hoping for a better return as it were.

The overall sensation stayed the same.  Very intense, almost peri climatic, but pretty much ‘Get on with it, I’m ready to go here!’ rather than the slow, steady, gradual but amazingly rewarding journey I was used to.  So as soon as I realised this, I listened up and went for it, hoping for a glorious return to the heaven I once knew and loved.


OK, if I’d never had a proper orgasm before, I might have thought this was fantastic.  But I have.  So I didn’t.  ‘Cos it wasn’t.

Let’s use the Rollercoaster analogy again.

If my real orgasm was a rip roaring, ride of thrills, spills and excitement with lots of different levels, dips and climbs that once it got started, seemed as it it would never end, until eventually, breathless, exhausted, totally satiated, you just  had to come down before you passed out?

An my pre Scary Man juice orgasm was an ancient old rollercoaster where the rusty old car slowly and painfully chugged to the top of the lowest peak, then, just when you thought it might make it over, it rattled, creaked, groaned and broke down leaving you stuck, totally dissatisfied and wishing you’d never got on the damn thing in the first place?

In this orgasm the car raced you to the top so fast you almost got a nose bleed, then just as you hit the peak, and almost flew over, it then ran out of gas, hissed as the tyres deflated then slid slowly into the dip below and stayed there.  Rocking, throbbing and humming annoyingly.

In sum, ‘It’s an orgasm Jim, but not as we know it.’ 😦 😦

And it might be enough, if a nice big willy slid in there afterwards and added a whole new dimension to the experience, but as it is I’m just left squirming and arching, trying to rid myself of an unsatisfied throb/burn that didn’t abate for a good half hour or so.  Grrr.

So, on the plus side, things seem to be going in the right direction.

But riding solo?  No go.

Never was a woman, so alone, so alone 😦

I don’t normally request comments, but please if there are any peri or postmenopausal women reading this I’d love to know how you are faring when it comes to the Big ‘O’?

Also, anyone whose anti depressants or other meds are affecting them?

In the meantime, I’m off out to buy some shoes, get some Haagan Dazs, and punch a passing traffic warden or something.

Over and out.

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Kittens - 54

Dexter is lying on the rug in a patch of sunlight, his soft, dappled tummy soaking up the rays.

I am lying on the sofa as usual, feeling tired, muzzy, dyspeptic.  My back aches and I am cranky.

As the sunlight shifts, so does Dex, inching along in its wake in a series of little, snake like wiggles, ensuring that every inch of his furry body stays in its blaze.

After a while, I slide off the sofa and join him, hooking my legs over the seat so that my back relaxes into the floor.

Dex looks at me as if to say ‘What on earth are you doing?’

I slowly reach out my hand to tickle his tummy.  He moves back half a centimetre so that he is just out of reach.


Shifting slightly, I try again.  This time I connect  and savour his softness, vulnerability and warmth.  Before a minute is up, he lashes out playfully with his back legs and pushes my fingers away with his paws, claws still sheathed.

I keep my fingers on the pads and wait for the rebuff.  To both our surprise, it doesn’t happen.

He purrs.  I close my eyes.

Warm rough paws, connection, soft back, hot sun, cool feet.

I breathe fully, deeply.

Crazy black clouds skitter by the window, tree branches flail in the wind, the threat of rain imminent, but in our world there is only heat and light, and for the first time in days, I feel something akin to happiness.


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Sticky mouthed, tired, sore. Numb from meds.

Didn’t sleep much last night.  Dug away at the beastie on my hand with a paper scalpel by way of distraction.  Fun, fun, fun!

Woke up late and cancelled yet another class.  Lord if i could get the money back from every single thing I’ve paid for and bailed on, I’d be living in my dream mill/cottage/lighthouse by the sea and not a flat in Shitsville, Chavland.

This blog has become a lifeline for me, but if it doesn’t deliver what its meant to, then it becomes meaningless and shows me up as the fraud that I so clearly am, so tough love is needed.

So, today, somewhat inexplicably is Yes day, and i have already via email (you don’t actually expect me to verbally communicate with anyone today do you?!) committed to the following:

  • A Yoga class tomorrow
  • A trip to the cinema on Thursday
  • Dinner with a close friend on Friday (the easiest challenge)
  • Dinner with a friend I am mad at, at a restaurant I don’t want to go to on Saturday (harder)
  • A ballroom dancing class on Sunday (hardest, as some bloke/weirdo from the group is emailing me and freaking me out already)

Five days of going out in a row.  Scary shit.  If it happens, it will be a record for 2013 so far.

Enjoy being holed up in your little nest today Sista, because you have officially ran out of ‘tomorrows’, as if you don’t do this, you have to stop blogging.

And leave your fucking hand alone!