Monday, 5 August 2013

Four Months Later . . .

That cursor has been flashing in the top left corner for quite some time now . . . I don't know what to say because there is so much to say . . . and I don't know what not to say.

To those who have been concerned, I feel I owe individual apologies. I want to say I'm so, so sorry, but if I write names, I will surely leave out some and that would not do. I truly am sorry. It must seem like I don't appreciate the love and care . . . to just disappear without a word. I've thought often of you all, going about your lives . . . tending your flowers, gardens, chickens and sheep . . . vegetables, dogs and cats. Befriending pigeons and parrots. Caring for your addicted children, staying strong. Staying alive. Hospitals. Caring for loved ones or unloved ones. Washing their socks. Searching for a vein. Making your music, listening to music. Writing your Blogs . . . or not. Going to your favourite beach and living life, loving life. Loving and enjoying your grandchildren. Teaching your children . . . and other people's children. Sitting by mountain streams and pools, listening to the water, painting the water. Staring out to sea from the harbour or from your boat. Sailing your boat. Building tree houses. Randomly, amongst the chaos, at the strangest of times, you have all entered my mind. I'm eager to catch up with all of your lives and I will.

I wont attempt to cover events since my last post; there has been joy and heartache. My Dad's death made me realise how numbed I was by the anti-depressants. I couldn't access my feelings . . . I know Methadone and Heroin are very effective at numbing emotions but this was on another level. I came home and stopped taking the anti-depressants . . . That was one of my better ideas.

Hamper G's Dad was released from prison in May with no warning and nowhere to stay. Three months later the social housing scheme and probation worker have done nothing to help and he's still here on my floor. This is far from ideal, yet I can't see an alternative. Its complicated. It's way too much to write about, or even think about, just now . . . Suffice to say that having my own space back is number one priority at the moment  . . . number two, would be to cut down my using. I may have to start on number two! He came out of prison clean and for the most part has stayed clean. The longer he stays here the more likely it is that he'll get a habit again.

So, I feel like screaming. I'd happily take a small tent and flee for a week or so but Hamper G and Geekster need me . . . Stropster? another long and complicated story. I'm so tired. I feel sick and tired. I look sick and tired . . . I just am sick and tired. I know that nothing will change unless I make the changes. I will try tomorrow to make one small change.

I think coming here and writing was another of my better ideas. I have to thank you for making me come back. Really, truly, I need to keep coming back and get a grip. Thanks for being here, and staying here and waiting for me. I'm back and I am sorry that I couldn't even come back and write one line to let you know that I was okay. As my therapist said; I'm an expert avoider  . . . I suppose ultimately, avoiding myself and my emotions meant that I had to totally avoid coming here.

I won't dwell on what I've said or worry about what I've not said. I'm glad I've been here and I appreciate you being here. I'm just gonna click on publish and be very grateful that you good folk out there care enough to still be here . . . Thanks. Sending much love to you all.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Daddy Bob


Daddy Bob 8th July 1926 - 22nd March 2013

Just to let you know I'm back. I've been away in Wales, sitting with my Dad in hospital, where he died on 22nd March at 2am. O Daddio. I can't find any words just now.

I'll come back soon. I  hope you're all well. With love and thanks as always x x

Monday, 25 February 2013

Stage One Exposure and Eddy Whiskers.

Firstly, let me introduce Eddy Whiskers, the latest addition to our family. Hamper G has wanted a cat/kitten for some time. I always told her; one will come along soon enough. There's no need to go and look for a cat, they come and choose you and he did. He's about 8 months old according to the vet, we took him there to be scanned to see if he was chipped or reported missing, no. He's a real softie, he'd sit all day having his chin, cheeks and ears stroked. He curls up to sleep in normal cat position then gradually rolls his top half over until he's lying on his back, stretches his paws up above his head and sticks his tongue out! . . I'll get some better photos eventually, but for now this is Eddy in full on chill mode;

Ok, you get the idea, I am a tad obsessed with his beauty at the minute . . .  The softness of his fur. The thick velvet of his paws, the silky smooth fur of his ears. The airy fine fluff on his tummy, short, flock-like stubble on his nose. Precious little creature that he is. That's Eddy.
In therapy, we've completed the preparatory work and made a start on low level exposure. Along with my weekly appointment, this takes an hour a day. An hour, at home, with no distractions, being fully focused and prepared to bring on anxiety and stay with it. Yes, stay with it. Not avoid it, not run from it. Stay there. There is a limit to how bad it can get. Most phobics, or indeed non-phobics, probably don't realise this as we're used to "avoiding" uncomfortable feelings. We might imagine what could happen, but we run away long before it can. Anything but facing the fear . . .Why? What do we believe will happen if we face the fear? Will the anxiety just continue to escalate? What will it lead to? Screaming? Crying? Palpitations? Sweats and shakes? Yes. For sure. Heart attack?  Death? No. There is a limit and when we reach this limit and stay with it, eventually it will descend, it will pass. Yes, really. And, what's more, the more we "use" this technique, guess what? the more tolerance we build up to it . . . So maybe the peak will last twenty minutes on the first "exposure" but after a week of doing this daily, for an hour, the peak will get shorter and, of course (hopefully), lower. I was utterly exhausted at the end of my first hour. I will write more about this technique and therapy as I progress. I find it fascinating and can see, in theory, how it works. In theory.
O yeah, my chest review. Being the expert avoider that I am, I managed to cancel, ignore or conveniently forget the last five or six appointments; having convinced myself that the results would not be good and that I would be referred to the hospital again. Fool that I am. It appears that walking four or five miles a day since September has improved my lung function to 70%. When I was first diagnosed with Emphysema (4 yrs ago ) my lung function was 47% . . .  I must be doing something right, as well as doing plenty "wrong".
65ttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt;llllllllllllll56 4. That's Eddy's cryptic message.
Well, as much as I would like to sit here and write all day, I have to get on with life, starting with my hour of "forced anxiety" I must be bonkers. I had to take the weekend off as there were just too any people in and out of the house . . . There's no excuse today. Damn.
Hope you're all good today.  Sending love and thanks to you lovely folk x x

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Dance me to the end of love

OK, Happy Valentine's Day.

There's so much more to say but each time I come here, I don't know what to say . . .

My therapist says I'm an expert avoider and I think that she is spot on. Avoid, avoid, avoid. A void.
I avoided opening a letter from benefits for two days. That could have been a very foolish idea. As it was, it was only to inform me of a £1 a week increase in my payments.
I avoided leaving the house, successfully, from Sunday to Wednesday. Very good, yes, well done.
I've even avoided my own Blog . . .

And the Phobia . . . Well, that represents all manner of matters . . . If I can avoid "that object" (object of my phobia), then all will be fine, which of course it won't and it's not . . . 

But that is, I'm learning, part of my reasoning. This makes sense to me

And the Addiction . . . Well, that helps me to avoid all uncomfortable, or comfortable, feelings. And if I don't "feel" then everything will be fine, which of course it won't and it's not . . .
And it's really not.

I've become a little wary of telling too much truth, which is a shame.  I don't want to have to be cryptic, but I can't be specific either. Shall we say, I'm a bit beyond fighting at present. I know you will know what I mean.

I swing between hope and despair. Hope, usually as I leave the therapist; Yes I can do this. I can beat this fear. That's all it is. Fear. Everything that is wrong with my life is born of fear. Despair; There are so many fears, so much fear, so deeply rooted. I will give up when the going gets tough, which it will.

Well, that's just some of it.

It's half-term and Hamper G is reminding me that we're cleaning the hamsters out today . . . O yeah, so we are.
Her Dad is still being held as a "Foreign National/Civil Prisoner" . . .  This is an utter nonsense. He was born in Glasgow . . . But what can one do against the powers that be?  What about the Truth? No.

So here's to Love and Truth on Valentine's Day. I am still reading your Blogs. I comment and delete, comment and delete. Thinking often of you all with love. Thanks, as always x

Tuesday, 22 January 2013


That's it, I'm officially fifty years young! And it's officially bloody freezing . . . Although, not as cold as the night of January 22nd 1963 which, apparently, was one of the coldest nights on record during the 1900's

I couldn't access my own Blog for most of the day until Geekster came in from school and fixed it for me . . . something to do with the IP address? It made no sense to me but I can, at least, sign in and write a quick post to mark my Birthday. I still can't bring my snow photos over to the Blog from my photo files . . . I have no idea where the "browse" option has disappeared to. Geekster says he will check it out when he gets back from youth club. I can, however, put a photo on here from the web cam so here we are, or here I am . . . I save the gas to have the heating on when the kids are home. When I'm alone, I'm quite happy to stay wrapped up. The price of gas has risen hideously this year.

So . . . I'm not going to look back on how much, or how little, progress I've made in the sixteen months leading up to today  . . . Instead, I'm going to look forward to the future. I'm feeling quite optimistic on the whole. I'm feeling like I might be about to tap into my creative self some time soon. Yes.

What else? Not a lot really. I'm more pleased than ever that I began and continued with this Blog and I know I've said it before but thanks for being here with me. Really.

Hey, I just checked to see if the browse option had re-appeared . . . No, it hasn't, it's been replaced with a choose files option, Way Hay!! at last. I'll go and fetch a "couple" of pictures of the river, taken on my walk back from school this morning. Love to all x x

Sunday, 20 January 2013

And then, Monday to Friday . . . and Saturday and Sunday

Saturday Night

At the end of my previous post, I think I said something like "There begins another story" regarding  Hamper G's Dad's release from prison on 17th January . . . Well the story began just before he was (due to be) released. In fact they haven't released him. They have suddenly, after 17 prison sentences and 41 years in Great Britain, decided that he is an illegal immigrant!! I had his birth certificate here which has now been sent to his solicitor along with any other paperwork I could find. He has a very strong Glaswegian accent, which is totally at odds with his appearance; both of his parents being Pakistani. But it's complicated. A life running from the law, for various reasons, means that he is listed as having 32 aliases on his criminal record . . . And it is now alleged that his passport (under his original birth name) has been used twice in the last eight years by two people trying to get into Britain from Pakistan. He hasn't been out of the country for many many years, neither is he in possession of his passport. So, now he has to try and prove that he is the person on the birth certificate . . . pretty much impossible. Deportation centres are being mentioned. This is horrific news. Hamper had counted down the last few days to his release. They let him serve the, almost three year, sentence and "gate arrested" him as he was due to leave . . . arseholes. All we can do is wait and see. I'll keep you updated.

The good news of the week is the snow and we've had heaps of it! The camera phone is charging ready for tomorrow's sledging expedition as I forgot to take it with us today and yesterday. It's been great fun for the kids and more is forecast for Sunday and Monday!

Therapy was very interesting again this week. We discussed some of my bizarre upbringing and my past; outlining some of the main events of the past 49 years . . . She seemed to think I was doing well, all things considered and agreed that having spent a few years single after so many relationships, now would be a fine time to begin to try to understand myself; to make some sense of it all, face up to the many issues I've avoided and to begin some (well overdue) self-nurturing. Yes, I like the sound of that.  I'm looking forward to it and am so pleased that I've finally got someone to help me work through this and show me some guidelines, some exercises and coping mechanisms. I've always had an interest in psychology and analysing thoughts/actions so I am eager to learn more. And definitely eager to start caring about myself, this is a brand new concept to me.

So, not much other news really. It's been a busy week. A  busy, cold week. So busy, in fact, that I haven't yet replied to comments on my last post. I do apologise for this and totally intended to write replies before writing this post. Then I realised I would, no doubt, end up writing the deportation news 13 times so I came here first.

I'm going to get an early night ready for some sledging in the morning and maybe a snowman/cat/dog/hamster in the afternoon (with photos!)

Sunday evening

It has snowed constantly today, which has lifted my mood somewhat. We've been out for most of the day; sledging and messing about in the snow and I'm presuming the schools will be closed for most of the week, giving us heaps more time for sledging and building stuff out of snow . . . I'll find time to upload the photos tomorrow. Although, having said that, if I click on "insert an image" right now, it does not give me the browse option to fetch photos from my files (?) hmmmm. Maybe Geekster will know what to do.

Love and thanks to everyone for being here x x

Monday, 14 January 2013

Friday to Monday

Friday Afternoon

Good news; Stropster has just, literally just now, passed his driving test!! Well done Stropster ;-)   First time test at seventeen. He's bought a small car and has spent hours, plus most of his wages fixing it up but, of course, the insurance will be through the roof. However small the car or however sensible he is; he's a seventeen year old lad. He's into his second year of his mechanic's apprenticeship now, up every morning at seven am for work and making the most of the weekends. I am proud of him. I know, to most, these are normal, even minor, every day achievements, but compared to how I, or my Brothers and Sister were at 17 . . . well, he is Mr Normal-head screwed on-plans in place-smiley happy-balanced-young man! and I suppose that sort of surprises me in a very nice way.

I had a second appointment with the CBT therapist yesterday. She wants to take things very slowly. Taking at least five one hour sessions to get to know some background and mental health history before we touch the phobia. She knows that it's all intertwined; the addiction, anxiety, depression. None of these issues stand alone and she intends to be careful not to go too fast; upping my anxiety and habit. Anyway yesterday, although she intended spending the hour looking at some of my past, it didn't quite work out that way. The initial ten minute pre-session assessment of how things are this week . . . ended up taking an hour. Yes, an hour. It went something like this.

Where would you rate your anxiety from 1 to 10 this week?
Erm . . . I'm not sure. I don't think I'm anxious, I don't really know anymore.
How about your worrying, do you worry?
Erm, no, I don't think I do worry really. Do I? erm . . . let me think. Maybe I do at five am . . . for five minutes.
And so on.

Now, as most of you know, since I went to the new Dr in August when this relapse, depression, anxiety etc came on and I poured out my all, only to be contacted by Social Services the next day . . . I've been very wary how much I say. This has cost me my benefits in the last two weeks but that's another story for another day.

Well after half an hour of questioning yesterday I became very emotional and could no longer hold back the tears. I began to tell the raw truth; I said I was stuck. I am stuck. I'm as stuck as the Christmas tree that's still stuck in my window. Fucking stuck. After blurting all of this out I explained to her about the Social Services call and how it had led me to distrust "professionals" . . . Now, call me paranoid, but within the next ten minutes the questions had moved on to the likes of "Where do you go to use? which room?" . . . Erm excuse me, but what has this to do with my mental health?

As I've said before, there have been enough professionals involved in my life during my 12 year habit, be it health visitors when the babies were small, or drugs workers or even the police, to have worked out that my kids are safe, well adjusted and in no way neglected. Maybe I'm paranoid or maybe it's naturally any mother's biggest fear. Maybe handing my first born over to "The authorities" for adoption when I was fifteen and knowing how badly that affected me has left me scared, scarred. I don't know . . . But I withdrew. I began to, not exactly lie, but to be very cautious. More like I was being questioned by the police rather than a therapist, who, if we are going to make any progress, needs to know the whole truth.

So, next week I will open the session with some questions of my own . . . and hope that I can regain some trust with her. I do like her and I trust her capabilities but it's imperative that I am open. 100%.
OK, I will let you know how it goes. I so want this to go well.

When I started this Blog and wrote the header, I was sixteen months away from my 50th and hoping to make some big changes before hitting the big five-O . . . It's now eleven days away (eight days by the time I'm editing).  Still time for an eye lift, jaw tightening (jowl trim), laser whisker blasting and dental implants ;-) OK, so financially that's out of the question. Fortunately it doesn't cost anything money to improve ourselves on the inside . . . so no excuses. 

I have to go and pick up Hamper G from school now. I'll come back, prepare a bolognese sauce and whilst it simmers I'll edit. I rush my typing and make heaps of errors, so I could be a while.

Saturday Night . . .

Monday Morning . . .

Seems I was too tired to write on Saturday night.
Well things have drastically improved this weekend. The Christmas tree is down, as are all the decorations. I managed to work ten hours on Saturday; mostly cleaning out the eight hamster cages and catching up on housework. Then again on Sunday; mostly packing Christmas away and moving into 2013 Yay! And double Yay! It's snowing! We all woke up early, happy, singing and dancing and were all out of the house early to enjoy the snow on the way to school and work. Hooray for the snow!

Do you know what? I might even get as far as moving those bedrooms around this week. Might.

Hamper G's Dad is due out of prison on Thursday . . . after almost three years. There begins another story. Meantime, as always, love and thanks for being here x x


Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Snapshots, Snippets and Moving On . . .

Saturday Night

Eeee, I don't know . . . Or maybe I do. O hello, here we go with that malarky; less than one sentence into the post and I can't make up my mind . . . Or maybe I can and I do know but I don't want to know.

Let's try changing the subject . . . not that you'll notice. I mean, was there even a subject to change? . . . I'll try and move on.

Yes. I need to move on. Christmas was a mighty fine, well timed distraction, but I'm a bit stuck in it now. I've had enough of sitting around eating far too many chocolates and watching way too much crap on television. I know, no one is forcing me but it's almost as if I've forgotten how to get on with anything else. I kicked myself good and proper up the arse to get on with, and into, this Christmas thing. Now it seems that I got so far into it that I'm stuck here. (?) I need to get over it. It sounds simple but it doesn't feel simple. I find it easier to imagine it not happening.

Anyway, as I've often said, I rarely watch films. I've only ever seen a handful in my life. And this film came on earlier, it's still on. I imagine that most of you will have seen it, it's called Love Actually . . . actually. Of course, I now know how the lobster found it's way into the nativity. I did wonder why so many lobster jokes.  I still don't like Hugh Grant, well, not so much dislike him, I just can't see where the appeal lies . . . Say, if he was Prime Minister and say, I was impressed  by that sort of thing, or if he were some kind of genius or artist, which would go much further towards impressing me . . . but he's not. I can only assume it's his posh talk, and flickering eyelids . . . how bizarre! Anyway, I've sat here and almost watched the whole film, so something must have caught my eye. Love maybe. Richard Nighy maybe. I did get a bit cranky with the predictability of it all . . . until it was followed by Parenthood which put it into perspective. Is it me? I suppose it must be.

I'm looking forward to my second session with new therapist on the 10th January. I get the impression that if I'm prepared to go through with some discomfort and work with her at facing a few things that I've been avoiding for decades . . . I will benefit from some positive changes.

Well, there you go, she says, reaching for another Lindor. I hope this chocolate eating isn't becoming a habit. I can quite see how it might and how it does. And how it would be no better or worse than any other habit or addiction. Yes, OK it's legal but man made laws.

Sunday Night.

Just back from Bro's house, he and his wife cooked Christmas dinner for me and the kids. It was truly perfect. It's so rare for me to sit at the table and be served on. I'm gonna try and move on tomorrow, maybe start moving the furniture around upstairs and looking for some motivation. Or something . . . Or maybe indulge one final day in televised trash, toys and chocolate and then move on, next year. I need to keep moving and not get stuck again. More than ever this month.

Tuesday Night!

I've spent the last two days sorting out and moving things around upstairs . . . No, not really. I'm still sat here eating too much and making excuses. I have, at least, uploaded some Christmas photos here. So, although it seems a tad after the event, I'll post them here, now, before they really are, even more so, after the event . And then I will move on, really. No, really.


OK, so I didn't exactly dress the table (or even decant the salt!) but hey, it's what's on the plate that counts.
Hamper G's take on Christmas . . . I knew she had taken some but I didn't expect them to be so good!

I love this one. I'm surprised at the things she notices.
This is all we've seen of Geekster since he got his I Pad. Fortunately he also got a green case for it, so we do get a variation in colour.
I'm not sure why Hamper took this particular shot but I love the words.
 . . .  And the music
And a fine Merlot with our Festive Food.
She  does seem to have a good eye for balance and composition for a five year old . . . but maybe I'm biased. Balance and composition sound like two very good words for me to take into "Next Year" with me, when I eventually find my way there. Yeah, I'll try some of that . . .
Thanks for being here with me. Let's see what this year brings then, or even this week, this night.
I'm gonna try posting this for now . . . I've been adding to it for four days .. .
It could happen again. I need to move on.  Love and Thanks, as always x x