Tag Archives: life lessons

The pot

My ankle is broken. Not the bone, the ligament. I have to say, the pain of walking on it for the past few weeks wasn’t anywhere near as annoying as this pot has been since last night!

It’s not even a good pot. When I was a kid, part of me was always a little bit jealous if anybody at school was lucky enough to break a limb and came to school with a cast that we could all draw on. It looked like fun.

I’m not having fun. My cast is ugly. It’s soft on top, so no writing on it, and it’s wrapped in bandages that are already grubby looking, and it is very difficult to get around with because it is so heavy.

I’m looking for the positives. While I can’t get out and about I’ll have more time to catch up on my homework, my cleaning, my writing. I’ll be able to spend more time playing with my pet rats. I’ll have lots of time for research. So it’s not all bad.

But if I’m totally honest about, aside from the annoyance of one leg being 3 stone heavier than the other, this has scared the crap out of me. Because it feels to me like this is just the beginning. I know when my ankle first went it was due to my having hypermobility. I felt it go. My condition means that the muscle and tissue surrounding my joints is overly flexible so there’s no stability in any of my joints. They click and pop constantly. It feels like the top of my legs are very precariously balanced on the bottom half and could slip off at any minute. When I was younger it was thought I was just “double jointed” and I had quite a lot of fun with that. Being able to bend my fingers in weird ways always got a good reaction but it was being able to cross my ankles behind my head that was my party trick.

It’s not fun anymore. It’s getting more and more painful. Nobody seems to understand why it’s so painful because it isn’t meant to be, apparently lots of people have the condition with no problems at all, but I feel slightly vindicated as one of my sisters also has it and struggles a lot with her hips. I often feel like people think I’m exaggerating. So I tend to only mention to people I’m close to, when it’s really bad, but the fact is I am constantly in pain, every time I move causes pain somewhere because, of course, the human body has a lot of jointed limbs, and dealing with constant pain, pain that never goes away completely and burns you with hot pokers every time you move, is the most exhausting thing I have ever known. And I had 3 children under 4, I know exhaustion! Two years ago I was the fittest I’ve ever been. I worked out for an hour every morning, I took the dog out speed walking, I walked into town and back twice a week and the 6 miles over to mum’s twice a week. Which just makes this more devastating. My legs are worst affected, my hips have always been bad and are still definitely the most painful, closely followed by my knees and shoulders, in winter my hands are really bad, and my ankles of course, but I can also feel my wrists and elbows getting in on the act. It’s been steadily getting worse for the past year or so, and I feel like I’ve physically aged 10 years in the past 2.

But now, with this new development, my ankle joint giving way to the point that the ligament snapped, I am terrified. I’ve completely overreacted to the “housebound” thing in the last 12 hours, when usually I’d be grateful to have an excuse to be lazy, because I’m scared. I took a few steps with the crutches the hospital gave me and my left hip, which is the bad one although I suppose we now have to call that my “good” leg since the other is in a pot, couldn’t take the strain of my whole body weight. So, even assuming that the fracture clinic put me a proper pot on tomorrow that I can put weight on to try and get about, how am I then supposed to walk with the crutches when my hip can’t take it?

What if my knee goes next, the right one that’s really bad? Will I need a whole leg cast? Maybe they can just put my whole lower body in plaster to be on the safe side??

I have a year clean from drugs. I’m training and studying all the time to improve my knowledge and skills so that I keep moving forwards in my life and try to make up for the stagnancy of my 20s. I have responsibilities, job prospects, I have a whole fucking life that I want to be out living!

I have this fear that I’ll be in a wheelchair before I’m 40. I know people live good, full lives from their wheelchairs and I’m sure I could too, it’s just not something I’ve ever had to contemplate before and it’s really scary.

I’m trying not to think about it because, right now at least, it’s only a product of my imagination and not something I’ve been told I have reason to worry about. But I do. How will I play with the kids? They love to go to the park, the library, anywhere! What about when they have kids? How will I be able to get down on the floor to play with my grandbabies?

I have wondered if this is my karma, or if it’s a product of how I have lived and the stress I have put my body under over the years. Is it my genes? That seems most likely, but then nobody else in the family seems to be as badly affected as I am. Or maybe it’s just sheer bad luck. Whatever, I’m going to have to find a way through it, one way or another, because I have no intention of going back to daytime tv!

Recovery; Relearning to be sober

I just found this article on The Real Edition by Norcross about yet another “study” condemning Alcoholics Anonymous as a cult.

https://therealedition.com/sorry-that-aa-study-is-wrong/:

Now I do want to make one thing clear: AA is by no means the only way to get sober, or even the best. There is no “best” way. The best way to get sober is how you got sober. That’s for me, for you, for anyone who is giving it an honest try. Kicking booze and drugs is easily the hardest thing I’ve ever done, which includes having to re-learn how to walk at the age of 20 due to a major leg surgery.

I really enjoyed this article, and completely agree with the above statement. I could never get into AA/NA personally, I love the fellowship side of it but the rest just isn’t for me. As I’ve mentioned before, it is SMART Recovery that has saved my life. I suppose actually working the SMART tools is very similar to working the 12 steps, though. It works if you work it, and all that. And that, surely, is the point.

Whatever works for you, work it for all you’re worth, because you are definitely worth more than the alternative.

Nobody should be criticising anybody else’s chosen path to recovery. I am a firm believer that anybody in recovery should be researching all the options available to them and taking from it what is right for them, and them alone, because recovery is such a very personal journey. We all have to figure out our own way through it. Getting together with others in recovery and learning from their experiences has been hugely beneficial for me in the last few years. I hope others are able to learn from my experiences. That’s what fellowship is all about. Nobody else will ever understand like someone who is doing it themselves. But there are no hard and fast rules. So just because I don’t get on with NA, I would never discourage anybody else from attending. That isn’t my place. I have no right. Take what works for you and work it!

If it saves your life then grab it with both hands and do whatever you have to in order to keep a tight grip on it.

Embrace your hunger for creativity: Slip inside my mind for 5 – by Antony Stevenson

You should read “Slip inside my mind for 5” on Wattpad. http://w.tt/1JBtAlL

My boyfriend wrote this today and just reminded me why I love him so much. I had to share and I hope you’ll read it cos it’s funny and honest and brilliant….wpid-wp-1441204288294.jpeg

I really hope someone, even just one person, gets some motivation from this to make the positive changes that will lead them to a fulfilling life. That’s what I strive for every day, at least. I think that natural creativity inside of some people can be a precursor to the addiction issues my boyfriend talks about here, maybe it’s an added sensitivity to our surroundings or maybe we feel too deeply, but if that urge to create isn’t fulfilled then it causes a hole deep within our soul, and eventually that hole can become an open wound. Some of the most intelligent and naturally talented people I have ever met have been addicts. I really believe that if we don’t fill that hole with positive, constructive hobbies then that can lead us to try and fill it with substances or other destructive behaviours; always seeking an external remedy for an internal, spiritual deficiency.

I don’t have any evidence to back up this theory, it’s just something I feel strongly based on my own experiences over the last 10 years, but I’m not alone in coming to this conclusion. I assume that it was a similar train of thought that led my mentor, Gary Staniforth, CEO of The Hidden Homeless and SMART Recovery UK facilitator, to create The Hidden Voices magazine and fill it with inspirational stories, pictures, poems, art of every kind, of people dealing with accommodation or addiction issues, allowing those who feel that they have been forgotten by society the chance to contribute in a meaningful way to something that really matters; shedding light on often misunderstood problems and bringing into focus the humanity behind the derogatory headlines, while also giving an outlet to people who have that drive to create.

Maybe everybody should be creating in some way. Perhaps I’m wrong in thinking that it is only ‘some’ people who have this artistic drive. Perhaps society in general has become so used to buying things cheaply, living in a consumer driven world where everything seems to be disposable, that we all suffer to some degree with feeling that nothing we do can make a difference. Maybe with so much emphasis on money and earning, with so many struggling just to survive, we don’t find the time to express what is inside us, we don’t place enough value on what we can create with our own hands beginning with just an idea and bringing it to fruition driven only by a need inside of us that demands to be met.

wpid-wp-1441204288294.jpeg

So maybe I am over excited about my boyfriend finally connecting with his creativity again, it certainly isn’t the deepest, most insightful piece he’s ever written, but I know that those words needed to be let out, I know the talent that comes so naturally to him needs to be used, it was given to him for a reason and if he doesn’t use it then he will never be fulfilled. I value any expression of the inner self that is created by anybody just because they needed to get it out. So yes, it means a lot to me to be able to share this with you all. It is the sign I have been desperately waiting for that I have the man I love back with me, that he isn’t going to disappear again if I take my eyes off him, that there is hope.wpid-wp-1439233920356.jpeg

Thank F*ck. I’m Finally Over You. | elephant journal

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/08/thank-fck-im-finally-over-you/

Just found this article by Alex Myles on Elephant Journal and I identified with it on such a visceral level that I had to share it here.
The way she articulates clinging to the pain of a break up, the grieving for what could, should, have been is so familiar to me right now, as is the fear of letting go of that anguish.
How do you let go of something that you still desperately want, someone that you yearn for every night as you go to bed alone. Knowing you can’t have something doesn’t stop you from needing it. Knowing something will destroy you can’t stop you from loving it.

I cried out your name. I screamed so loud but no sound came out.

No one heard and no one came to the rescue.

So, I danced alone with our death.

I stepped in time with a shadow. Of a love I once knew.

I didn’t know what was there at the end of our line. I was terrified to let go of the comfort that holding our memories gave.

Then it hit me harder. The loss. Not just the loss of you, the loss of us, of what we could have been. And of all the “if only” thoughts that tangle and then knot my mind.

I had to stand up and open my eyes.

I’ve carried this weight. I’ve taken you with me, all because I couldn’t let go. I wouldn’t.

I risked all for this love. I let you in. I sealed all the edges. I locked you in tight.

Now I’m letting it out. I’m letting you go.
Alex Miles

So I get it, and I hope to reach the place she has really soon, cos I often feel I am losing my mind, but in some ways, I don’t want to move on, I don’t want to get over the last seven years of my life that I gave up so much to have. I don’t want to be rid of the future I dreamed for us, the things I knew we would have, and soon, we were so close to finally getting to where we’d wanted to be for so long. I can still see that future we were supposed to have and I don’t want to give up on it. I want it. That’s how my life should look.
I’m getting there on my own, I’m still working hard and achieving everything I wanted, but on a personal level I am falling apart, because it isn’t supposed to be like this. I’m meant to be sharing it all with the person I first imagined it with.

Read Alex Myles’ article, Thank F*ck I’m Finally Over You, here, and I’ve just found her blog, Love and Other Stuff, that I can’t wait to have a proper read of as there looks to be some great poetry on there.

What’s it like living with mental illness? Ask Wil Wheaton.

I originally found this great upworthy.com article, written by Parker Molloy, on Flipboard and felt I needed to share it. I will be looking into Project UROK some more as this is the first I’ve heard of them and it looks like they do great work and I’d like to get more involved in spreading awareness and reducing stigma, as pretty much everybody in my life has had their own struggles with mental health issues. Wil Wheaton, among others, has shared his struggles with mental illness in a video interview in order to reduce stigma and support people in similar circumstances. I’ve always been a fan of his work and love his cameo appearances in The Big Bang Theory, but he has just risen hugely in my esteem for his part in Project UROK. As the founder, Jenny Jaffe, said, “Project UROK is the resource I wish I had had as a teenager.” My own struggles started in my teenage years and I do wonder how different things might have been if I’d had access to more support and resources like Project UROK.
http://www.upworthy.com/whats-it-like-living-with-mental-illness-ask-wil-wheaton?fb_ref=Default
This article was written by Parker Molloy and originally published on Upworthy. I have no rights to it and I’m sharing it only to spread awareness of Project UROK as a resource for those struggling with mental illness.

“Until we can talk about mental illness as an illness that, like anything else, requires professional treatment and care, we will continue to think of mental illness as something to be kept a secret.”
Jenny Jaffe

You can find out more about Project UROK at their website, like their Facebook page, or follow them on Twitter at @ProjectUROK. You can also upload your own video about your own experiences of mental illness so that you, too, can spread awareness and maybe inspire somebody going through similar circumstances.

Coming to terms with my irrational guilt

When I was 18 I was raped by a friend of my boyfriend.
It is something I very rarely mention, yet think of quite often.

Many rape victims never talk about what happened to them as they feel they are at fault somehow.
Many rape victims never talk about what happened to them as they feel they are at fault somehow.

I like to think I’m doing quite well in my recovery from addiction, and actually consider my relapse last year as a part of the journey, I learned a lot from it. I try to maintain a positive mindset. I go to groups, I’ve made great friends, I work hard to confront my irrational thoughts and beliefs head on in order to understand myself and become a better version of me. I’m a constantly evolving organism, my own masterpiece in the making.

I try to understand how the events in my life have shaped the way I’ve lived in order to take control over how I live now.

I’ve tried to deal with all my open emotional wounds in order to stop myself picking at them little by little and causing deeper scars over time.
And yet, this one event, this trauma, never quite makes its way out. I never quite pluck up the courage to mention it, not to anybody, friends, family, many counsellors over the years. It’s the one taboo I just can’t bring myself to discuss. And I obviously need to. As I said, I think of it often. And it hurts.
So why can’t I deal with it?

The truth will set you free. Talking about any issue is often the first step in overcoming it.
The truth will set you free. Talking about any issue is often the first step in overcoming it.

And then, a few weeks ago, I had a sudden moment of clarity. It happened in the group life coaching I attend weekly. We do a brief check in at the beginning. A girl, I’ll call her Kate, just mentioned when it came to her turn how much the life coaching and the various support services had helped her to learn how to manage her feelings and, in turn, her life. She just dropped it in, in rather a blase way, that she had been raped. The way she said it made it clear that it was a past event that was dealt with and put to bed. Which got me started with this train of thought. Why is my rape not dealt with.? Why can’t I announce it like that? Why is it the one thing I can’t be truly honest and open about?

Because, the answer came to me, I am ashamed and I am embarrassed.

I tried to put into words my new understanding to my partner the next day. Why can I not be as brave as Kate and just declare it with no shame? His response was that I don’t want to be identifying myself as a victim. And this got me thinking even more.

Why am I worrying about how it makes me look when it’s not something I had any say in, it’s something I had no responsibility for?
I’m carrying all this shame about something that was done to me. I’m shouldering the blame for somebody else’s decision to ignore word “stop” and beating myself up for failing to change his mind.

Let's raise our children to respect and understand that no means no!
Let’s raise our children to respect and understand that no means no!

To hear Kate so matter of factly saying “I got raped and struggled to get my head together for a while,” was the catalyst for a huge awakening for me. It seems such a small, simple thing:
“It wasn’t my fault”

And yet it’s taken me 13 years to come to that conclusion. I’m not suddenly ‘over it’, how could I be after battering myself with it for so long? But I understand now why such a painful memory has been walled off and hidden for all this time when other traumatic emotional events that also caused me to feel guilty and ashamed, such as being unable to care for my children and their removal to a family member, or the death by heroin overdose of my best friend and my subsequent arrest, have been plucked out of my head, thrust into the light, discussed and dissected with several friends and professionals throughout the years, until reaching the point where I can think about it and feel the sadness without the onset of anxiety that inevitably leads to me tearing myself apart with one destructive behaviour or another.

I am beginning to truly overcome my obstacles.
I am beginning to truly overcome my obstacles.

So although it will take some time and effort on my part, I can’t help but feel positive about this small break through. Having read up on it, I now know that it is extremely common for people who have been raped to feel this way. Most of us feel that we could have, should have, done something to prevent the attack. Why didn’t I look into this years ago?! By closing myself off to any chance of support, i have been dragging out my suffering all these years. I’ve been letting him win! Well, no more.

What doesn't kill me WILL make me stronger!
What doesn’t kill me WILL make me stronger!

Now that I have been able to find the root of the disturbance that the memory of my rape causes me, I can start to come to terms with it and move forwards a little lighter in my heart. One person’s actions don’t define who I am. I know I can overcome what somebody else did to to me and I know that my journey of recovery from addiction has just been made a little easier to travel because of this knowledge.

And, of course, I would not have been in the right place, emotionally and mentally, to have come to these conclusions, to have taken the rape out of its box and had a good look at why it was still messing me up, if not for the life coaching and the Smart Recovery meetings, provided by The Hidden Homeless. It is thanks to that support in working on myself that I have come this far and feel ready to confront my remaining demons.

Today, I am grateful.

Further reading:

Forum discussion of why the victims of rape feel guilty and ashamed
An interesting article exploring and trying to find a way through these emotions
The Hidden Homeless, without whom I wouldn’t be where I am right now.

SMART Recovery UK
Hidden Homeless, Bradford
Hidden Homeless, Bradford

Why I Love Being Me

I love this post, as soon as I read it I knew I had to reblog!

I wish I had felt like this growing up. I was a wreck as a kid. I didn’t fit in. I didn’t trust myself not to say something stupid in front of people that I thought were much cooler than me, which was basically everyone. I was a complete try-hard and I got it wrong every time. I didn’t know who I was so I tried to be all thing to all people and I messed it up.BodyImageInfographic-1self_esteem

And now I have daughters.

I have nightmares about them going through school feeling the way I did. I try so hard to instil them with confidence, to explain the importance of being yourself without caring what anybody thinks. When I look back, the ‘popular’ kids at school were the ones who had enough confidence in themselves to act naturally. They never stuttered when they tried to talk in a group, they never blushed when asked a question in class, they never tried too hard.

But how to explain that to young girls whose whole lives revolve around what people think and how they are portraying themselves? I was trying to explain about the effect being confident has on the image you portray to those around you to my 12 year old daughter recently. Her reply, “Mum, nobody acts like that, that’s how you end up being bullied”. I think my heart broke.

I struggled at school. But at least I got to leave my try-hard self behind when I got off the school bus and could just be myself when I got home. Now, kids have smartphones that keep them constantly connected to their peers. They have Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and however many others I’m too old to have a clue about. And every single thing they post is scrutinised by everyone they know, or an attempt to reach the notice of those they want to know. Every thought they have and every picture they take is an effort to bolster their image.

So I found the post below so refreshing to read. The op is obviously quite young, probably not much older than my daughters, and it’s so comforting to see that some kids are coming through this minefield unscathed. I hope my girls learn this confidence much sooner than I did.

I’m only just coming to terms with the fact that I’ve been worrying myself sick for years over something that just does not matter. I love who I am. Nobody else’s opinion matters!love_yourself

If somebody else thinks I’m being stupid, so what? If I’m feeling boisterous and skipping down the street chatting to Charlie, my Staffie, or singing loudly along to Muse while playing air drums, then I’m expressing my contentment and feeling good, and I probably look a complete tit to anyone that sees me, but so what?

Happiness - Aristotle
Happiness is a choice we make, and it takes the same amount of work as misery. Make the right choice!

I suppose I have to accept that this isn’t something I can teach my daughters. They’ll have to come to the realisation that they are just fine exactly how they are in their own time, just like I did. I can bolster their confidence, praise their intelligence and wit, and make sure they know they are loved more than life, but ultimately they have to develop that self-love for themselves.

I only hope they don’t suffer in the learning as much as I did.

mychemicalflossie

Hey guys!

I recently noticed that most people hate certain things about themselves, or wish they were someone else. With me, I don’t. I believe that what I have makes me, me.I may not be the prettiest girl in the world, I may not have the nicest personality, I may be weird, odd, etc, but I am me.

I am a lot more comfortable doing what I want, rather than what the people around me think I should do. I hate dresses with a passion, and am a lot more comfortable in a tux. I HATE makeup, and am a lot happier without it. I am not girly at all. I don’t run around lusting after attractive people. I don’t keep myself in a shell so I don’t embarrass myself. I will laugh when I throw the ball in the complete opposite direction it’s meant to go in PE…

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