a college

Why can’t the government leave things alone if they are working well?! They have decided to stop the funding for my college which is a Recovery College. It’s a college for 500 people like myself who are living with or recovering from (or trying to) mental health conditions. It’s a great place and has really helped me gain my confidence and learn new coping strategies. I’ve also made lots of friends of all sorts there and got to know all the tutors and other staff really well. We’ve been running for nearly four years now, learned a lot, shared a lot and had a lot of fun. Also, on a more serious note, I and we have all learned so much about coping with our lives with a mental health disorder and some of us have been able to move along to voluntary or paid avenues. I attend there 3-4 times a week and have benefitted enormously. It has given me structure to my week, a purpose and a social life, all of which have contributed to my improved mental health.  I am upstet and devastated.

The government promised that they would spend more money on mental health yet they are shutting down organizations like ours all over the country. We are campaigning and petitioning fiercely to defend our college but it is not looking promising and students are becoming very down and disheartened as a result.

The government say they want to save money yet can’t they see how bloody and stupidly short-sighted they are! As a result of the college closing, our students will need more support from NHS services such as the Acorn Centre (inpatient), the Crisis Team, our Social Workers, Psychiatrists, CPNs (Community Psychiatric Nurses) and GPs which will in the long run cost far more money.

I will be lost without my college which is set to close at the end of June this year. I have spent hours there, learning, studying, buddying, getting excellent advice and support, socializing and making good friendships and relationships with staff and managers.

So far, we have had a photo and article in the county newspaper, we have been on the radio, have been to see our local MP, have put a petition out there etc, etc, but all to no avail. We are NOT giving up and will continue to fight right up until the doors have to close. We must keep fighting!

As per my following my post, for anyone reading this would you PLEASE PLEASE sign our PETITION to keep this college open. All information is kept strictly confidential. THANK YOU SO, SO MUCH.


On discussing my relationship with my two children (yet again) with my therapist, T, yesterday, I realised that the reason they dislike/mistrust me so much is because of my past reckless behaviours during the time I was seeing the therapist, J, referred to in my last post, ‘Killing Me Softly’. They are blind to the fact that my mental health was so poor then but is now much improved and that I do not indulge or need to take up these behaviours again (those being my drinking, anorexia, all the self-harm I did to my body both by cutting and by abusing medication and all the risky overdoses I took, some of which were very nearly fatal). I do also recognize that she didn’t literally force me to drink, cut or OD, and that we all have our own free will. It was the influence she had over me when I was very vulnerable and the abusive responses during that eight-year period which made me react in such a dangerous way. Having said that, there was one occasion when she did literally say to me at the end of a session, “Why don’t you go home and kill yourself then?” Unbelievable, I know but I state that in all honesty which I then proceeded to attempt.

This, amongst other reasons such as my disability, I think may be at the core of why my children do not want anything to do with me. After all, how awful of me to put such young, vulnerable minds through such experiences of nearly losing their mother so many times etc. You see, the toxin within J was being transmitted as toxin to me which I absorbed like a sponge which then became the sting that hurt my innocent children so much (and I think still does to this day). So, basically, in summing up, J’s inner toxin was transferred to me which then acted like a cuttlefish or jellyfish sting to *Tom and *Clare, thereby poisoning their minds.

I wish I could put this past experience (along with others) in a box, leave it there and move on from it but however hard I try there are always the tentacles of the cuttlefish or the entrails of the contents of the box climbing through the gaps or hanging out of the lid that won’t quite shut. I have not, however, yet given up on hope:

I need to shut you tight into a box
with all the hatred I have for you.
It is a sturdy box, high sided,
but still the viscera ooze
through its seams and corners.

I long to seal the lid
but it is too late
for you have contaminated my world.
How on earth do I contain this filth
when you have sullied so much of my life?

The toxin within, still seeps out
like cuttlefish tentacles
that strike out upon contact.
Your viciousness intended
unlike the sea creature’s act of survival.

And will one day, the damage you have caused
be healed by some miracle or other?
Can so many negatives be transformed
into even one miniscule positive?
Well, I tell you, I will fight.

I will fight tooth and nail
to right the wrongs you created.
There is simply too much at stake
for me to allow you the victory
of trampling me to the ground.



Ellie Sofia:

I’m reblogging this post as a precursor to my following post. I am still dealing with the destruction left behind by my eight-year encounter with an emotionally abusive therapist, Ellie.

Originally posted on elliesofia:

After my earlier blog, I did go to see my new therapist but it was so harrowing, I could only write these words. They are not clever or articulate. They are basic.They are feelings which hardly touch the edge. They are the crater at the top of a volcano which may erupt and spew it’s contents at any time. They are me.


(My experience of abusive therapy)

Eight years gone; vanished from my life

Deaf ears to the pleading all around me

Every minute of my life consumed by you

You told me that you loved me

I couldn’t survive apart from you

Every time you left me, a part of me died

And I shrivelled further into my anorexia

And permanently scarred my body

“Love me, hug me, and kiss me please”

“I need to be in your arms”

“Never leave me”, I implored

“You are my favourite mum”

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Written by a very good friend of mine, Becca (I think this makes a very valid point and one with which I totally agree):

‘Your school years are the best years of your life.’ They are your childish years, the years you play and have fun and never have to worry about anything. I think this is bullshit, I can’t imagine ever wanting to go back to those days.

It probably goes without saying that I have never got along with the education system. It’s not that I have an issue with authority; ok maybe I have an issue with authority. But I was good at school, I got good grades and did really well throughout my school years. But I never really felt challenged and at the end of the day I never saw the point in most of the subjects. School for me was a place where you all learn the same things from the same curriculum in order to pass the same exams. It was boring. I grew up being told that the intelligent ones were the ones who could memorise all the right facts and regurgitate them onto an exam paper. That’s not intelligence, that’s just having a good memory. And you know what? I used to spend months revising and memorising and then after the exam I would promptly forget the majority of what I had been taught over the past few years. Isn’t that such a waste of time? Learning is precious and amazing a yet we have been raised to believe that it is a chore, because that is what it has become.

Neil Gaiman said that “well-meaning adults can easily destroy a child’s love of reading, stop them reading what they enjoy, or give them worthy but dull books that you like… and you’ll wind up with a generation convinced that reading is uncool or even worse unpleasant.” I’m quite an academic person, I love to read and write and I LOVE to analyse art, but even I can see that the education system has failed us. I don’t love to read because school taught me to, in fact my love of reading almost vanished when I was told to read the same boring books that the curriculum assigned for us. My sister is training to be a teacher, and even SHE admits that after primary school the education system has just gone downhill.

I was told that in order to be accepted for the right job I would need the right degree, in order to get the right degree I would need the right A levels and in order to do the right A levels I would need to choose the right GCSE’s. You have to choose your GCSE’s at age 14 so schools essentially telling us that at age 14 you have to decide what you want to do for the rest of your life.

We aren’t being raised to be successful adults and functioning members of society, we’re being raised to memorise facts and get good grades and then be thrown out into the world. We are put under such pressure from schools to decide on career paths from an early age that we aren’t prepared for real life situations. For example, when I was at school it was compulsory to take maths up to gcse level, and although I agree it is important to use math in everyday life, I have not once used algebra. So in theory, those two years studying algebra were completely wasted.

I left school knowing about quadratic equations and yet not having a clue how to do my own taxes or budget according to the circumstances I’m in.

At 18 years old I could tell you what happened to all 6 of Henry the 8ths wives but was lost when I was asked to vote, because I was being asked to elect a representative for a system I’m not familiar with. Just in case you wanted to know, it’s divorced beheaded died divorced beheaded survived. I’m so glad that I’ve got that ingrained in my memory instead of my basic human rights. How is it that none of us can recite that? Did you know that there are 30 human rights? I didn’t, surely that should have been one of the key things we were taught at school. I wasn’t really taught about the laws of our country or told about any current events.

I can only speak one language fluently, whereas most countries learn at least two. I can tell you all about Shakespeare’s classics but that’s no use when travelling if I can only speak English.

Here’s another example. I only learnt first aid when I had left school, but I feel like it should be one of the things we learn early on, something that we should just know.

Like if someone is unconscious more kids will be able to recite socatoa than will be able to resuscitate that person. This concerns me.

Kids should be learning about taking care of their own health, about how to recognise mental health problems. At school in sex-ed we were taught about putting on condoms, but we weren’t taught about what to do if the condom breaks, how to parent, how to maintain healthy relationships. We weren’t taught about rape, about sexuality, about discrimination.

If you can’t explain why a subject is applicable to most people’s lives, that subject should not be mandatory. Introduce the topics, but we should choose if we want to learn more.

I learnt so much more after I left school, but it was not easy.

I had to come face to face with death to learn about grief. I had go to weeks of intensive therapy to learn about distress tolerance, interpersonal relationships and how to be mindful in everyday life.

I came here to learn how to talk in front of people and I love it, but how is it that I have trouble communicating in the first place?

I learnt how to analyse art because I chose to buy books, to go to galleries, to put in the work. I did two years of art history at college and yet learnt more when I chose to go to Florence for a month and study Renaissance art for myself.

I feel that schools should be trying to inspire students, to teach them about real life and about how to survive and prosper in today’s society, maybe if we taught kids the things they needed to know, they wouldn’t feel so indifferent. What is the point in learning if we can’t apply it to our lives or use it to be creative and grow as human beings?

I’m going to leave you with a quote by Chuck Palahniuk. “All the effort in the world won’t matter if you’re not inspired. “ We should all have the chance to be inspired. Thank you.

At this point I can only add that education being a factory of absorbing pointless facts (Henry 8th didn’t even technically have 6 wives)

From speaking to my parents who were both educated in the east end of London in the 60s, home economics and domestic science were taught, albeit to girls only. My mum said they actually had a flat at their school which they would have to pair up and manage a food budget

This would be massively useful to ALL teenagers today.


This isn’t going to be a clever or intelligent or even vaguely interesting post. It will probably be full of uncorrected spelling and grammatical mistakes but right now I DON’T CARE. I CAN’T. I CAN’T EVEN THINK. This is purely a self-preservation act. I am so stressed that I could almost ask to be admitted into my local psychiatric hospital (which I hate really) but just to get some respite, get away from this world, get relief from my problems and responsibilities and most of all to get away from my feelings. I pray in desperation to my Father who is my rock in times of trouble, (Psalm 6:2  I am worn out, O Lord; have pity on me!  Give me strength; I am completely exhausted).

My Mum is very sick. She is in a hospital 45 miles from me and I have no way of getting there to see her or be able to help her. All I can do is to phone and see how she is doing every day, and wait and pray that the Lord heals her (Matthew 4:23   Jesus went all over Galilee, teaching in the synagogues, preaching the Good News about the Kingdom, and healing people who had all kinds of disease and sickness).

Mum is 85; she has double pneumonia and kidney failure and we don’t know whether she is going to make it.She has been put on a ward where there are five other elderly patients, three of whom have Alzheimers and are continually shouting and calling out. I know that they are ill too and I so feel for them but Mum is used to living quietly on her own and is so distressed by these disturbances.

I feel so powerless to be of any help to other than to be a listening ear at the end of the phone when she is well enough to speak and then it is difficult to understand her as she is so breathless when she tries to talk. Mostly, she is too poorly to chat and then I ring the nurse’s station and ask the nurse in charge of Mum’s care how she is doing. I’m finding it difficult to concentrate on anything much as Mum is constantly on my mind. I couldn’t bare to lose her. We are so close, in heart at least, not miles which means I don’t see her much.

Mum lives in an old Victorian terraced house that’s getting pretty tumbledown with age. It has four concrete steps up to the front door which I cannot access in my wheelchair which means I can no longer going into her house. If she makes it through this illness (and I pray she does), she may never be able to manage those steps again as her walking has been affected. That means she she will be unable to come out and I will be unable to go in. How will I ever see her again? Will I be able to see her again? I feel distraught.


           blackdog walked over him


I know the sun is shining and the blossom in full bloom

But an air of deepest blackness permeates this room

The ‘black dog’, Churchill called it; I can understand just why

It’s by no means unfamiliar; a common passer-by

It’s not a welcome visitor, nor did it ask permission

To come and lodge a few days so I eye it with suspicion

It has visited before, here; this dark presence in my brain

Oh, how I bid it leave me and not return again.




sail boat

When I was growing up, I had an inflatable plastic punching dummy. It was about as tall as I was and had a smiling face painted on it. My challenge was to hit it hard enough to make it stay down. But no matter how hard I tried, it always bounced right back up again. The secret? There was a lead weight in the bottom that always kept it upright. Sailboats operate by the same principle. The lead weights in their keels provide the ballast to keep them balanced and upright in strong winds.

It’s like that in the life of a believer in Christ. Our power to survive challenges resides not in us but with God, who dwells within us. We’re not exempt from the punches that life throws at us nor from the storms that inevitably threaten our stability. But with full confidence in His power to sustain us, we can say with Paul, “We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Cor. 4:8-9).
Join the many travellers through life who through deep waters of pain and suffering embrace with unshakable confidence the truth that God’s grace is sufficient and that in our weakness He is made strong (12:9). It will be the ballast to your soul. —Joe Stowell

The power of God within you is greater than the pressure of troubles around you.



Sorry friends…’s back to that boring stuff about my kids again…..

I finally drafted a letter to send to both of my children and took it to counselling with me today to discuss with my therapist before finally thinking of sending it to them. I’d made my mind up after spending days, if not weeks or months deliberating over getting this letter ‘right’. It read (respectively):

Dear *Tom/*Clare,


but I can’t take the constant pain and rejection from you anymore. I long to be in your life of course and also that of my grandchildren (*J, *B, *I and *C). Now it is time to make a decision. I need to know whether you really want me in your life at the moment.

If you decide to live your daily life without me, then I have to accept that, as I know we all have our separate paths to follow. But I do, very sincerely, ask one thing of you and that is that you don’t ever let my beautiful grandchildren forget me. Maybe, one day, when they are grown, they may want to come and get to know me better. I hope you will encourage them in this.

Of course, I will continue to send them birthday and Christmas cards (and ‘get well’ or ‘congratulations’ etc. as appropriate if I hear of any news) and also small gifts at these times although it will be difficult to to guess what sort of things they like or need as time goes on). Please keep me ‘alive’ in their hearts and minds and remind them frequently that I love them and am thinking of them very often.

I will also continue to send you both birthday and Christmas cards – whether you choose to reciprocate is up to you but I have to respect your decision whatever you decide to do.

If you make the choice to follow your path without me, I will still get on with life and make it happy. I now have college, choir once a week,and will be performing ‘live’ at the Cranstead Theatre in a few weeks’ time, church activities, my current book that I am writing, studying and my involvement with the ACR University and hopefully further opportunities there, possibly opting to do an Open University Degree in the near future. I keep in touch with your Grandma (my Mum) every day because as you know she is getting elderly now and of course frequently with my sister abroad and occasional emails and phone calls to my other two younger sisters.

My door will always be open to you so that if at any time you wish to have a fuller relationship with me, I will be there for you and you will be welcomed with open arms.

So, my darling son/daughter, think carefully and please let me know what you have decided (of course when you have had time to think about it).

With My Love Always and Forever,

Mum xoxoxoxox

My therapist thought long and hard about this and then agreed that I had to take some action to defend myself from their continuing emotional abuse (which is basically what it amounts to). Surely, I’ve had enough abuse in my life without deserving further abuse from both of my children. I cried all the way home in the car with my Support Worker, knowing I should post this letter during the afternoon.

And then out of the blue, the telephone rings. I pick it up and am astonished to hear my daughter’s voice. “Hello”, she says, like no time has elapsed and as if no hurt has occurred. I was shocked! Why is it that just when I think I am sorting my life out or at least attempting to do so, a spanner has to be thrown into the works, so to speak. Not that I refer to my daughter as a ‘spanner’ but hell, do my children know how to get to me in the most painful ways! It was a short conversation but a conversation all the same.

Now, I am in a dilemma…..what do I do about sending that letter? Do I give them a second chance, or more like third, eighth or nineteenth chance? Another chance to hurt me and play mind games with me. I don’t know if I can take any more of this family drama, ongoing as it is. And I’m not sure if I’ll ever mention the subject again here on my blog for the fear of boring the pants off the few faithful followers I have left and just because I am going round in ever decreasing circles and if I don’t watch out, I’ll be running so fast that before I know it I will have disappeared up my own ar*e.


Dysfunction in the Hundred Acre Wood

Ellie Sofia:

This was beautifully and brilliantly written by my blogging friend, Meghan. Thanks, Meghan, Ellie xxx :)

Originally posted on Finding Hope's Sunshine:


Now that I am done with my taxes (long sigh of relief) I am going to spend some quality time with my kids. It is still early in the morning and because everyone is on winter break, I am letting my kids watch a little TV while eating their breakfast. I can hear their munch, munch on cereal while I am typing this post.

From where I sit, I can hear Winnie the Pooh laughing and Tigger bouncing across the screen. Oh, it brings back wonderful childhood memories when I used to watch those loveable creatures. Back then, I counted them as my friends. Their magical forest, The Hundred Acre Wood, followed me whenever I went into my own woods that surrounded my home. I wanted to squeeze Pooh, play with Tigger, tell Rabbit to “chill out”, and just love Eeyore’s sadness away.

They seemed a happy lot, on the most part, and I wanted…

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