Category Archives: Mental Health

Old and new views

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last week this was my view from the bar where I was drinking hot chocolate… Beautiful  

 

On Tuesday this was my view of the local daffodils… Amazing…

   

     

Very different- equally beautiful. 

Thanks for listening

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Books, glorious books! 

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As a child and teenager, books were my salvation. I was a constant reader, devouring pages like a hungry woman. Mainly novels- but not exclusively. I liked ‘reading round’ subjects… While studying Bach for my A level Music I remember reading a wonderful book on Baroque architecture. 

My family were not very book orientated. My dad was unable to read or write until the day he died. My mum and brother could read (albeit non fluently) but never did for enjoyment. My sister can read and will still read when on holiday. 

This holiday I’ve remembered again that reading is one of the few things that requires me to do it one-mindfully. I cannot read and do anything else at the same time (apart from drinking tea). When I crochet or knit I can still chat or be aware of the tele. When I bake I can listen to the archers! When I write I can still have a vague conversation with someone. But when I read it demands all of me. Which is possibly why I don’t do it as much as I should. I can’t read with music or tele on, it is far too distracting. It is one activity that demands me to be as DBT describes- one-mindful. 

What a gift. I need to move from reading being a treat (normally reserved for holidays) to reading being part of keeping sane regime. It’s one of the few medicines that really is quite pleasant! 

Thanks for listening. Enjoy doing something one-mindfully, it’s good for the soul! 

Doing it differently

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‘Don’t expect a different outcome if you carry on doing things the same way’.
This is a poor paraphrase of a quote by Joyce Meyer, but I know what I mean!!!

Someone else also said that a sign madness was to carry on doing the same thing and expecting the result to be different.

I remember this quote was the basis of one of my first ever blogs on this site. I was so challenged by the concept that if I wanted things to be different , either I had to be different, or act differently… Doing the same old thing was going to produce the same old results.

Obvious? …Well, yes…
Easy? … Well, no…
Possible?… Definitely…
Challenging?… Yes…
Worth it… YES, YES, YES…

I spent a long time yesterday chatting to a precious friend- and I could hear myself saying often, I need to do this holiday differently. I need to respond differently, I need to be prepared for it to be different… Florence asked me what this looked like… Exactly the question I needed. More of that in a future post!

Historically, school holidays have been difficult for me. This started when I was at school myself and as a teacher, the pattern has continued. I always think I must be one of the few teachers who don’t like the long holidays! I now work in an independent school and they are even longer!!!!

Previously, I have often been physically poorly in the holidays. My body holds on until the first day of the holiday and then wham bam my body protests violently at the stress I’ve put it under. Last Christmas was particularly difficult with my eye sight. It wasn’t great.

I broke up from work on Friday. I was out in the evening and went to bed relatively late for me. I then did something I haven’t done for a while. I was too frightened to go to sleep. I kept myself awake. I know, a bit bizarre- but I used to do that when I was very depressed. I used to find waking up to the black cloud suffocating me so awful, I preferred to keep awake so I didn’t have to wake up.

I knew if I was going to have eye problems, Saturday morning was likely. Of course, I eventually fell asleep with lights and tele on! And amazingly, my eyes are ok. I have got a fair chance of trying to do this holiday differently. And I am. End of. I am changing. Full stop.

I hope to blog a lot this holiday, I hope we can encourage each other to do it differently.

Thanks for listening.

2014 I am blessed.

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Last year I remember clearly writing a blog post / thank you letter during a New Year break in the French Alps. This year it will be shorter but equally full of gratitude.

I am so blessed. I am breathing, able to walk, have food to eat and I am loved and am growing in my capacity to love others. But over the last few days I have been bursting with thankfulness for the most precious gift. The gift of change. I have changed, I am changing and I will continue to change. And that excites me more than anything. The potential to change. That for me sums up the essence of being alive. I can change the things that are changeable and I can accept the things that aren’t.

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I have posted before about my difficulties getting in the London Underground tube. This year I have begun to take small steps in this process. Yesterday I was able to get myself to Waterloo and then onto Surrey. A year ago I wouldn’t have even given it a go. That’s exciting for me.

None of us know what 2014 will bring. But I hold closely on to the truth that things and I can change.

Happy New Year.

Thanks for listening.

Chronic emptiness

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I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder at the beginning of 2012, by a consultant psychiatrist who I hadn’t met before this time of hospitalisation. My relationship with him was not easy.

My regular psychiatrist who has known me for many years has never been totally convinced about this diagnosis and this week when I saw him again we discussed it further. We looked together at the symptoms of BPD. Like every other human being in the entire universe I am unable to be boxed and many of my behaviours (or absence of certain behaviours) are not typical of BPD. However we both agreed that one of the BPD symptoms I do suffer from is the one of chronic emptiness.

For those that know what I mean, you would know that chronic emptiness can be one of the most painful and debilitating ways of suffering. For me, it is the most distressing of all my symptoms, and the one I try and medicate most with my behaviour. It is also the one that I feel I am making the least progress in my recovery.

But I write this post because I need to validate that I am trying. I have physically thrown myself off my sofa and moved away from the tele. I have got my skills checklist out and decided to make some christmas presents and blog. I am choosing to fight the choking abyss that threatens to extinguish life from me. At the risk of being criticised for my use of superlatives- my only defence is that there are no words that adequately describe the experience of chronic emptiness.

Marshall Linehan likens BPD sufferers with having 3rd degree emotional burns. Whether I have BPD or not is slightly irrelevant, unfortunately I can relate that level of pain.

I continue.

Thanks for listening.

Checking in

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It is a month since my last post… Time flies. I was so touched when one of my followers commented saying she/he missed my posts. I found that really humbling. As I go through my days I often think of things i would like to blog about and i add them to my list on my phone- future blog posts. Then when a suitable time evolves I write them up. I had hoped this holiday would afford those moments. They still might but I have got issues with one of my eyes again and I find the screen quite painful. Actually, I find lots of things painful! We shall see how that develops.

I want to write. I want to create. I want to dream and I want to rest. Some of these I find easier than others- but I want to do them.

Since my last post I have been for my assessment at Changing Faces, I’ve nearly resigned from my job (!), I’ve attempted to make my first ever Christmas cake, visited a casino and bought my most expensive (for me) pair of shoes ever… (Feeling the need to justify this by saying I used my birthday money!)

I find myself experiencing new things most days- and I am so grateful for feeling alive. In the past there have been times where I have been unable to even feel pain… So partaking and participating in life- in both its up and downs is a welcome development in my journey.

I really hope to be able to blog this holiday- lots to tell!

I hope that this season brings each one of us what we need. Whatever that may be.

I leave you with a picture of my shoes- random I know!

Thanks for listening.

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Buildings, buildings everywhere

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I mentioned in my previous post my interest in architecture and buildings. This interest was first ignited during a GCSE History Visit to Hatfield House in Hertfordshire. I had never seen anything like it all, I was mesmerised. I remember paying extra to have my photo film developed faster and they arrived on a Saturday and I loved looking at my photos of window frames and brick work!

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I studied Music at A level- but one of the things I enjoyed most was in the history of Music module where I could relate music to the architecture of the time. I had a teacher who lent me his history of architecture book and I loved making connections and looking at the images.

DBT has caused me to look in detail at some of the things that motivate me and make me tick as a person. It has been moving me from survival mentality to participating. I remember with shock (only 8 years ago) going out for a meal with a friend- who didn’t eat her meat as she didn’t like the taste of it. I didn’t have an issue with the ‘protest’ but I clearly remember thinking that I wouldn’t know whether I liked the way it was cooked or not… I had absolutely no concept of my own tastes or preferences.

As my sense of self has developed. I am making conscious decisions for me. I’ve always wanted to go to Russia- could never really find an available friend who wanted to do the same. But being prepared to go by myself- I’ve booked… I’m going. As it happens two others are coming with me… But I would have gone by myself if necessary.

One of my principal interests in Moscow and St Petersburg are the buildings… I’m really looking forward to seeing St Basil’s cathedral, the palaces, Kremlin and such like. Fortuitously, I happened to hear a programme on Radio 4 that mentioned you can get arrested for taking photos of buildings in Russia!!!!! I am looking forward to my trip, but I am managing my expectations- if I can come back home without being either hospitalised or arrested, I will class it as a success!

So back to buildings… I don’t need to go to Russia to explore amazing buildings. They are on my doorstep. I’m really excited at getting back in touch with this interest. It’s a shame that lots of my interests have been dormant for so many years- never mind. It’s never too late.

Thanks for listening.

As an aside… I’ve just had the Belarussian consulate on the phone! Getting visas for Russia… And transit visas to travel through Belarus are a complete palava… At this rate the visa is ‘due’ the day before I travel… If its delayed, I’m stuffed! Deep breaths!