Monthly Archives: February 2015

It hurts


on different levels… 

Yesterday my run increased to 2×3 mins and 2x 4 mins with walks in between. I found it tough going! I didn’t stop. But it was the nearest I have been to not completing the schedule. Today- it hurts! I’m stretching like I’m an elastic band! Tomorrow- I try it again. 

I’m also hurting because last weekend I was burgled. I’m hurting because unwanted visitors came into my home, messed it up and stole my things. I’m hurting because I feel scared to leave my home, but also scared to come back home in case I don’t like what I find. I’m hurting because the insurance company won’t pay out for any losses and I can’t afford to replace what I want to replace. I’m hurting because intruders have been in my bedroom and gone through all my personal things. 

It also hurts- because I was doing so well. My house was becoming a much safer place for me. I was choosing to spend more time in it. I even managed a bath in it. I was allowing myself to lock myself in. And I now feel like ive fallen off the ladder again. Today- I need to try again. 

I feel like the wind has been taken out of my sails. Not helped by things at work getting awkwardly tricky. Sometimes things knock you when you’re down. 

Today, I need to try and find some time for me- not quite sure where it will come- but something I have learnt very clearly over the last couple of years- ignoring hurt is totally unproductive- it will always come back and bite you in the bum. 

Thanks for listening. 



A Shared Post and a Lesson Remembered


This morning, I did something relatively unusual for me. I shared a link on Facebook. It came up on my news feed, I read it, thought about it and then decided to share. It felt a risky share for me, because I could have been this woman…

but it took me a while to realise that I was this woman!

As I was reading it initially I was thinking, “how awful for her… must have been embarrassing… she must be really uncomfortable… I bet that hurts…” and then I had that moment of thinking, flaming nora Hepzibah- YOU HAVE EXACTLY THE SAME CONDITION!!!!! I honestly, didn’t equate the two things initially!!! How strange is that!

I too have no large intestine. It was surgically removed 12 years ago. I too have a J-Pouch (I think technically mine is an ileo-anal pouch but I’m pretty certain they are the same thing). I too have ‘accidents’. I too make the most horrendous noise in the bathroom! I too, create absolutely awful smells. I too, am usually too embarrassed to use the disabled toilet even though I have a key. I too have had groups of people laughing at me in the toilets. I too, have skin burns from the acid.

And I choose to show myself the same compassion that I felt for this woman. Yes, it is awful. Really embarrassing. Painful. Just terrible when I mess myself.

I don’t deny the condition and of course, people who know me and have to share a bathroom with me unfortunately know it very well ūüė¶ But equally, many people I work with or spend time with would have no idea I have this adaptation. As with many things I tend to laugh about it and shrug it off. But actually, sometimes it isn’t always so funny. So I decided to make my voice heard this morning. I shared her post.

Penelope sometimes remarks to me, that she ‘forgets’ how poorly I can be (or is it ‘am’, or is it ‘has’…) not a grammatical or existential question- but a question of identity for me. The issue is, I am fine on the whole with people forgetting my physical struggles, but I must not forget them. I must not forget that on the whole I do my best within the limits I have. The gift I can give myself is to remember that for myself.

Thank you to that lady for sharing.

Thanks for listening.

Keep on Running!


This week I have been for a run 3 times! My calf muscle has recovered, (Florence intervened and made it clear that to run on it while injured was really not a good idea!). I am so pleased I can run again. Not just because I enjoy running but also because I have proved to myself that a break doesn’t necessarily mean a total stop. I’m chuffed.

I’m also chuffed because during my last run I:

ran for 2 mins, walked for 2 mins

ran for 3 mins, walked for 3 mins (TWICE) and then

ran for 2 mins and walked for 2 mins.

HOW COOL IS THAT. I can run for 3 mins without stopping!!!!! 

I went ‘running’ with Paul and Emma earlier in the week (I am embarrassingly slow!) but as Paul commented, I am now running double what I could do at the start- actually I think nearer 3 times. So that’s pretty darn good in my book!

I had promised myself that if I was still running by Feb half term I would buy myself a pair of decent trainers. I went and had my running videoed and based on my gait purchased the recommended trainers. They are delicious! It makes a big difference! Daniel, get yourself some decent trainers!!!!! Really worth the money.

Keep on Running everyone, in whatever form that means for you.

Keep on keeping on.

Thanks for listening.


Another fine mess I’ve got myself in to!


laurel-and-hardyAs a child I sometimes watched Laurel and Hardy, a well known comedic duo. I never entirely knew which ones were which, but ¬†a famous catchphrase was one saying to the other “that’s another fine mess you’e got me in to!” Sometimes I think of that phrase, but realise that I don’t have anyone else to blame, I am quite capable of getting myself into situations!!! I can do it all by myself! Today, has been another of those times that I’ve remembered the catch phrase.

I am on half term holiday from school. Last half term was very tiring and stressful for me. I have needed this holiday. And like lots of things that I need, I have to protect that need- as for some reason I find it very easy to negate my needs in favour of others.

A few weeks previously a family from school had asked me to attend an appointment with a psychologist with them. I really wanted to attend. I have wanted this child to have an assessment for months, and then it goes and falls in my half term. I know it was only 3 hours I was needed, but I also know that those 3 hours could potentially disrupt my entire week. I was so proud of myself, I said no. I can’t quite believe I did it as part of me really wanted to go. But I said no. I asked them to either go ahead without me or to re-arrange. They decided to re-arrange. I feel a little bad that they have had to wait 2 more weeks, but I made that decision. Well done Hepzibah. Good work.

Then absolutely bizarrely, last Friday, close friends asked me to attend a hospital appointment with their son- today (Thursday). My gosh, what a challenge. I was completely torn. I had the opportunity to be away with friends. But this couple are also my friends and in this moment they felt they needed me. (The context is, I am pretty useless when it comes to dealing with Doctors for myself, but I am a pretty good advocate for others who need it!). I knew I should say no. But I just felt unable to say no. All my resolve to protect my holiday had already been used up! My reasons for saying yes, were not only from a place of weakness… I genuinely DID want to be helpful, support my friends, try and help… also, loads of times my medic friends have had to come to hospital for me in a similar bus man holiday type of thing- and maybe I just needed to be nice for a change and sacrifice a bit.

In many ways it was one of those situations where it wasn’t quite as black and white as there being a wrong or right thing to do. The issue once again was, am I free enough to say no. Could I tolerate my guilt, uncomfortableness with not attending the appointment. The answer was no I couldn’t. It was easier to leave my friends a day early and turn up than to sit with myself. I was so tired at the start of the week, it really was just easier to give in!

The consequences to my week: I left my friends 24 hours earlier than I had hoped to. And then today I had to get up at 6.30 as I needed to be there by 8am (earlier than when I am at work!). However, by yesterday evening I was coming to terms that for better of for worse I had made this decision and I needed to get on with it.

Mum, dad, child and myself arrived at the appointment. And then lo and behold, the Doctor asked whether I would stay outside and look after the child!!!!! it was a totally legitimate request- it would allow mum and dad to speak with the team without the child. I got that. But babysitting a 9 year old for ONE HOUR in a waiting room without any thing for either of us to do was really not the best use of my skills!!!! In fairness, I’m not beyond babysitting- but equally that was something Grandma could easily have done.

My reaction? Crossness. With myself. I felt it was a just punishment for me not saying no. Served me right. Good for the humility. Tough shit. The rant at myself went on for ages. The Mum and dad came out, and mum made a comment about it being a shame for me. And of course I said, “no problem, it’s fine…!” We had a 30 min break before mum and dad were needed back with the Doctor and my babysitting would continue. I was desperately trying to redeem this disaster…so I decided to take the child food shopping with me, I had to make something good out of this fiasco!

But I went on saying to the mum and dad it was fine. But it wasn’t fine. I was being completely un-authentic. It was anything BUT fine. It wasn’t there fault at all- they didn’t know how the morning would unfold. ¬†But it still wasn’t fine. Then, almost out of nowhere- I told them it wasn’t fine. It wasn’t to do with this situation but it was to do with me not articulating my needs in the first place. It wasn’t fine. I had not been honest with them or myself. They were really¬†supportive. And the amazing thing was I felt so much better for saying it. Nothing changed. But I had managed to bring myself back in to the situation. I existed and that felt so good.

I continued to look after the child- we shopped and it was fine. Mum and dad went into the appointment again and I was really pleased that I could be there for them afterwards, which was when they really needed me.

I did mess up and I feel a pressure to feel better by the time work starts again. But something very beautiful came out of it today. As Penelope would say, I managed to make lemonade out of lemons. I may have got myself in to the mess, but somehow I managed to redeem it a little! The critic in me sighs Hepzibah when will you learn, but I’m trying the self-compassion route- at least I said no to the first family!


Thanks for listening

My first sports injury


I have acquired my first sports injury.

Technically it wasn’t really a sports injury as I did it getting out of my car… but it is impacting my running, so therefore I think it sounds more virtuous to think of it in terms of a sports injury!!!! (New Labour are not the only ones who could be accused of ‘sexing’ up events!!!!)

Joking aside, I have pulled my calf muscle, which from over-compensating is now affecting my knees. ūüė¶

As soon as it happened on Wednesday, I knew this was going to be a challenge.

1) Could I do the sensible thing for my body and not overdo it and

2) If I stopped the routine of running, could I tolerate the slightly irrational fear of not ever running again.

It got me thinking, sometimes not being free to do something, is just as special as being free to do it. I feel the need to explain- to myself as much as you my reader. I manage life on the whole by being very rigid and slightly disciplinarian with myself. If I commit to something- I commit to something. If I start a new routine, by hook or by crook, come what may, I will not deviate from it. I started to run, and whether I have to drag myself out come rain or snow, I will run every other day. This attitude does have some advantages, I can be quite productive… but it has a terrible side-effect: I treat myself appallingly. I find it difficult to bring compassion into the equation. I ignore both my physical and sometimes emotional needs. And I do most of it from a place of fear. Fear of never getting going again. For example, running. If I stop, will I ever run again? Will I be able to make the humongous jump from nothing to something again.

I have been trying to do things differently. Two weeks ago OFSTED came a-visiting: I knew that putting myself under pressure to run, was just not going to happen. I was ok with that. I got back on track (which made me feel enormously happy) but on Wednesday the calf muscle thing happened. I did some research and the consensus seemed to be I needed to rest it. But I don’t want to rest it. I want to run. I want to increase my running stamina. I want to be outside running.

And marrying these two needs is proving to be quite difficult for me. In my head I agreed to wait until the weekend. Today,(Sunday) ¬†I want to run. Today my knee is really hurting. What am I going to do. I just don’t know. Kindness says, maybe I shouldn’t. The harsh critic says get off your fat arse and go for a run you loser.

Obviously, I need to do some more work on self-compassion. With Penelope on Friday I had a horrible moment when I started hitting myself and the words I was calling myself were just awful. I would never say those words to other people, but I find they easily fall from my lips towards myself.

As I write I see so many different elements.

I have started attending a Christianity Explored group. A 7 week course studying Mark’s Gospel and funny enough Exploring Christianity. I can’t make next Thursday evening. I always knew I couldn’t make Feb 12th. Historically, I would have either, gone to quite a lot of bother and re-arranged 12 other people’s lives so that I wouldn’t miss it or in my more extreme moments, I just wouldn’t have started the course. This time, even though I find it quite tricky missing one of the sessions- I have done neither of my previous behaviours. I will miss a session and the world will not cave in because of it. I know that, but it doesn’t stop the anxiety. It doesn’t stop that pit in my stomach that makes me think I will miss out if I’m not there. Slightly weird I know, but thats me! So I have been trying to do things differently but the poorly leg has really thrown me!

As I’ve always done with any physical issues I’ve experienced, I have the push through mentality. Just ignore it and it will go away (no). If you just do it, it might actually make it better (usually not). Don’t give in to it, you are stronger than whatever affliction it might currently be (absolutely definitely not).

And this raises another issue (gosh, all of this is tumbling out of me- I’ve had a lot going on in my mind!)… the other issue is that I am still so disconnected from myself and my body. The disassociation has been very noticeable to me in the last few weeks. I was part of a children’s event at the O2 which should have been amazing- it took every inch of elastic band pinging to keep bringing me back to reality. Others were moved, excited, thrilled. I was absolutely nothing. No matter how much I was trying, I just couldn’t get myself in the room. The whole thing was a test of endurance in the face of non-being- which I can assure you is absolutely exhausting!

In my session with Penelope yesterday, we did an exercise in response to me telling her this. I was soooo furious with myself for not being able to feel my body and emotions that was when I started hitting my head. (Of course, I realise I was experiencing anger in that moment!) I feel so discouraged that I can’t seem to join myself up. The mountain seems totally un-reachable at this point. Spectating life and not participating in it, is such a lonely lonely place.

Wow, this post didn’t quite turn out as I expected. I was only going to report my strained calf muscle! The power of writing!

Thanks for listening


The longest week…


Without a doubt that has felt like one of the longest weeks of my life… we got the OFSTED call on Monday to say they were arriving the next day. It has been absolutely gruelling, discouraging, but possibly empowering¬†experience of my professional career and I haven’t experienced that level of intense unrelenting stress in a while.

The challenge now is for me to manage my recovery. I’ve not run. I’ve hardly slept. I’ve eaten takeaways at best, not eaten at worse. I’ve had no clean underwear, run out of medication, upset my neighbour as I haven’t been able to visit her like I normally do… and now I’ve got to get back on track.

Friday evening I slept really well, last night I did not ūüė¶ I need to get back to a rhythm.

I ordered a Tesco online shop yesterday- that comes today and then I will cook up some food for the freezer.

I will go for a run today and take it back a few days.

I put on a wash yesterday but today I need to get it out of the washing machine.

I have ordered new medication and will be able to pick up tomorrow.

I have apologised to Joan.

I need to keep balanced. Just because I’ve gotten out of sorts, doesn’t mean it has to stay like that- but equally I need to be gentle with myself and not expect everything to get back on track straight away.

OFSTED is an unusual beast and now things are out of my hands. However, my recovery will outlast the OFSTED report and I need to remember what is truly important.