WATCH ME GO!

See the source image

(Image courtesy of indoortrainingbikes.com – Bing Images)

I haven’t said much about trying to improve my fitness at the gym for a good while now. The last post I wrote, WORKING OUT, about it was over a year ago and you can read it here: https://elliethompson.wordpress.com/2017/06/17/working-out/ if you want to find out where I started from. It has been up to now a very personal journey.

When I started out, I wasn’t even able to get changed without the assistance of a carer, who I didn’t have with me at the time. I was lifting pencil-like weights in an attempt to strengthen the muscles in my arms, and then recovering by downing a smoothie in the fitness centre’s cafe. That was about my limit back then.

Since then, I’ve been going a couple of times a week, fitting it in between college, my voluntary work at Uni, living my daily life, leisure times, chilling out etc. I can honestly say that I do thoroughly enjoy what I do (and I know I am lucky to be able to say that now. Those of you who know me from even a year or so back will know that it hasn’t always been like this, particularly from my mental health perspective). I’m not saying that there won’t be other difficult times ahead, but I feel more able to deal with them now.

Going back to my post … my gym training has really paid off, and I’m so pleased it has. I can now get changed by myself in the disabled shower and changing room. I’m much stronger. My arms, which were struggling with small efforts, can now take my weight and I can lift myself up out of my chair which is allowing me to stand more easily. My back and shoulders are straighter and my neck no longer needs a support. Even my legs are getting stronger (after all these years of thinking I couldn’t do it). Finally, today, I reached my first big milestone! I managed (with very little assistance) to get on an exercise bike and I was even able to push the pedals around very slowly. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am! ūüôā My next aim is to walk with the aid of crutches, and what’s more, I know I can get there.¬† You just watch me!! ūüôā

 

 

A NEW START

sideways view girl with hair in bun blog

Yesterday, I was jolted back to my neglected blog which is how come I’m here now after such a long break. I had an email from WordPress telling me that my annual payment was due on my blog plan which happened to be a ‘Premium’ plan. This had given me more options when it came to the look of my blog and the features and widgets that I could use. Unfortunately, my financial position¬†isn’t brilliant, and I’m not able to afford the fee, hence my new look. It’s much simpler which feels quite different, but I think I’ll get used to it.

I’ve also decided to update and replace my gravatar. I’ve chosen a more adult image (above) rather than a picture of a young and rather sorry-looking child (below). This previous image was suitable for my blog when I started writing four years ago.¬†Back then, I was writing mostly about my severe abuse in childhood and all the ensuing serious mental health illnesses I had. Fortunately, I’ve moved on from that period in my life – I don’t feel the need to share all those very distressing life experiences.

lantern girl 1

I want to get myself out the negative mindset I connect with this childish image. Maybe, this will give me the incentive, and added confidence I need to write more positively and frequently. To use a chlich√©d phrase, ‘watch this space’, (but don’t hold your breath either!).¬† ūüėČ

A new start?

 

MOVING FORWARD – THE PASSAGE OF TIME AND BIRTHDAY CAKE

Image result for Steampunk Clock

Why an¬†image of a clock to begin this post with? This is because it is actually a good depiction of my feelings and where I’ve been at for some time. Life has felt rather surreal during this last year. The clock face also shows the passage of time I have been through over the last few months.

At last, I’m beginning to feel like I’m getting back to normal after my Mum became ill, had a stroke, and I finally lost her only five months ago (almost to the day). There was the funeral to get through (and all that encompassed) and now, we are dealing with probate, Mum’s will and the sale of our family home after spending my first twenty years of life there.

However, as far as my psychiatric health in concerned, I’m feeling brighter which is good (and about time too). I am now on different and new medication¬†which, in the last week has begun to help improve my state of mind, and I’m sleeping so much better which makes a great difference to how I feel during the day. The severe anxiety attacks have also lessened which is a huge relief.

The many cogs in this clock also represent changes in a more positive way … slowly … as time has ticked by and the wheels have been turning, my relationship with my son has improved, and we have become closer which means I have more contact with my two beautiful grandchildren, Josh and Lily who are a delight to me. I have definitely become closer to my sisters, particularly the one who lives the furthest away from me. We may be separated by many miles but are hearts are inextricably linked and always will be.

The recent passage of time, like each cog, has been whirring, clicking and ticking by slowly but steadily. A lot else has changed in that time too. My eldest granddaughter has now turned eleven and will be going up to senior school in September, and my youngest granddaughter will be starting primary school at the age of four-and-a-half (she seems too young). Where has the time gone? Am I really old enough to have a granddaughter¬†in senior school? Goodness! I must be older than I think! I’m definitely older in years than I feel and I¬†am fortunate enough to be told by several people that I don’t look my age. However, I am reluctantly coming up to ‘a biggy’; a big ‘0’ birthday in three month’s time (which I’m trying to ignore) … ugh! How am I going to get all my candles on one cake?!

Image result for Birthday Cake with Many Candles

In addition, I would like to say thank you to my dearest friends here at WordPress who have stuck by me through thick and thin over the last year or so – it can’t have been easy at times. Their blogs have kept my head above water some of that time by distracting me with their diversity, interest, humour and compassion. So, shout out to Bun at https://bunkaryudo.wordpress.com/ and Mick at¬†https://mickcanning.co/ and Carol anne of¬†https://therapybits.com/. Also, thank you to any of you who may have called in or dropped by my blog and hung around with support and kind words too. Love to you all, Ellie xxx

CHAMELEON SKIN – TAKE 2

chameleon_2048x1152

I intended to write a post today about my son’s final court hearing regarding custody of his children which took place this week but I thought it appropriate, following on from last week’s post, to republish this poem because it explains so well how I feel so much of the time.

When I ‘depend’ on any given person, I become someone who moulds myself into whatever character¬†I think that ‘given’ person wants me to be. In other words, I have become, unwittingly and unintentionally, a chameleon to fit whatever role I think is required. This is an instant response and not something that I have control over yet (although I’m working on it in therapy), ¬†and it is actually totally exhausting as I automatically become an ‘actor’, albeit an unwilling one – it’s really hard work, mentally, pleasing and fitting in with everyone (people-pleasing in a way). This is a desperate attempt to ensure that the person on whom I depend likes/loves me enough that they won’t leave me because, without them, I don’t know how or who to be and feel helpless and abandoned. ¬†I’m aware that this all sounds somewhat pathetic but, for me, it is not only a symptom of my BPD and DPD but the only way I know to survive in my world.

The biggest problem occurs if I find myself with more than one person that I know and they know me, which obviously does happen sometimes, my mind and my body (as in body language) don’t know how or who to be and I usually either end up confused, very stressed and muddled and find an excuse to leave the situation.

 

CHAMELEON SKIN

She is what she is … or is she, indeed?

She’s perplexed, befuddled, embroiled

Lost her mind along enmeshed journeys

She belongs, does she not to this world?

~~~

Is she real or a trickster, a fraud inside?

Not knowing her mind, too caught up in lies

Or perhaps, revealing her open wounds

You win some, you lose some, just look in her eyes

~~~

She’s not without fear though she’s scared of the thrill

The rollercoaster won’t come to an end

She writes her life’s story in ink, so black

You may wonder how her thoughts are penned

~~~

Innocence seen, and innocence gone

A fight in a nightmare; she holds her breath

The howls can be heard from far away

Will she ever return from the brink of death

~~~

You know her, you don’t, you think that you may

She’s a friend, a soldier, blood-kin

She lives or she dies; knowing the shadow side

Unknown, she wears her chameleon skin.

I’ve republished this poem with its image at the top of the page, not because I can’t be bothered to write a different post (as I will write about my son next), but because, as explained last week, this subject is playing very heavily on my mind at the moment and at times, I am very trapped by my own thoughts and need to write. Therefore, please forgive me for ‘rehashing’ a previous post, especially if you read it when I published it back in February 2016, but there is a specific reason (as explained) for doing so at this time.

A final thought: Is there a bit of a chameleon in each one of us if we look carefully enough at ourselves?

Edit: Taking the form of a chameleon is a very common aspect/symptom in people who have BPD or DPD.

TRAPPED WITH BROKEN PIECES

Image result for a chameleon caught in a spider's web

I’m in an awful situation, a predicament in fact, that I cannot escape, no matter how hard I try. I am doomed to failure through my own success. Death would be a very welcome end for me. I fear the devil and going to hell, but I know that our God is a forgiving God and I know that I will surely confess my sins and will do so honestly and willingly. Apart from which, our God is an all-knowing God.

I am a chameleon … a woman of many disguises. I mould myself to be whoever you wish me to be. My being lives only in your imagination. I have no peace or harmony within my mind. I just have a very toxic brain and equally toxic thoughts. I am an imposter … Ellie, yes … but somehow, I appear to be a very skewed version of my very soul.

I am a master of disguise, a keeper of secrets, living a life of self-deception. I figured I knew my very essence, but I was just kidding myself. It would take a very experienced private investigator to fathom me out at my most raw and vulnerable, to expose the very core of me. I feel unclean and wretched … contaminated is a word I have used more times than I can count to describe myself.

I’m a shadow in a mirror. I am a stranger you may pass in the street. I am both the spider that spins the web and also the fly which is caught helplessly in the centre of it all. Jagged glass has nothing on me … come too near, and you will surely be wounded by the shards.

Therefore, approach if you wish but only with extreme caution and entirely at your own risk. I can damage hearts, not willingly or intentionally but inadvertently.

I am what I am, and I detest that fact with a passion so fierce that I could be the ignitor of the very flames of hell themselves. I am what I am … or am I??

I am broken but don't want to hurt you with my pieces

Translates as “I am broken but don’t want to hurt you with my pieces.”

 

 

THE THERAPIST (J.G.)

therapist and client

Having not having written regularly for some time due to family circumstances, I suddenly find myself writing again and recently this and the previous post (poem), both of which have a lot of meaning for me, are very serious topics.

As those of you who have known me for a while will be aware, I had, some years ago, an emotionally abusive and very damaging relationship with a therapist (who I am no longer with). This affected my mental health hugely and I was hospitalised for a while following this ending.

I still carry a lot of anger about this although I have tried to deal with it in my current counselling. I wrote this poem which I feel, is certainly ‘telling’ of what was happening during those years with her and why I am finding it hard to deal with my anger and find forgiveness as I, perhaps, as I should for my own benefit.¬†

I lie amongst the shadows

The new born of the old

Such innocence destroyed

Yet, none of this foretold

~~~

The tales we spun together

Which she led me to believe

Magnified reality

Their purpose to deceive

~~~

The I Ching books and Angel Cards

Were poetry in motion

* William Blake’s descriptions

Assured of my devotion

~~~

My identity was stolen

Soon a puppet on a string

I learned to tell more stories

And I wrote of everything

~~~

She pulled me to her bosom

She offered me affection

A love I thought forever

Then came the cruel rejection

~~~

I wonder where she came from

As she led me down the lane

Leaving me abruptly

In excruciating pain

  • The reference to William Blake refers to the fact that his book, ‘Songs of Innocence and Experience’ was the poetry book that JG gave me as the first of many gifts.¬†

It has taken me a great deal of courage to write this and I know much can be read into this poem so if you have any comments or views, I will happy to reply to them. Thank you for taking the time to read this, Ellie.

LOSING SIGNIFICANT OTHERS

abstract art holding hands attachment

More loss! How much more? It seems like an endless stream of significant other people in my life have departed or are leaving me. I am devastated and heartbroken. I don’t cope well with what feels like abandonment, especially as someone who has BPD or EID (Emotional Intensity Disorder) where this and rejection constantly loom like some ogre behind my shoulder, threatening to suffocate me.

I very recently lost my Mum (as some of you will know). This bereavement came five years after losing my Father. You could say that I should have expected these losses at some time, given that both my parents were in their eighties. However, this is always a major blow even after taking that into consideration.

Now, other important people in my life are leaving, and it’s beginning to get too much to bear. One of my two main Carers left last week, taking early retirement. Now, Helen, my P.A. and Support Worker is moving on after fifteen years with me. She is taking a different career path, and I will be acutely aware of her absence in my life.

Then, finally (at least for the time being) a very close friend announced yesterday that she was moving to the coast, eighty miles away to be nearer her daughter (we have known each other for nearly thirty years). We’ve had many happy times visiting places of interest, chatting over cups of coffee, pouring our hearts out to one another, and in general, putting the world to rights. We can phone or write, but with neither of us having transport or good health, it is unlikely that we will see each other again.

It’s all beginning to get a bit much, I’m lonely and am fighting hard not to fall into a pit of despair and depression. The friends that I do have seem to be mostly cyber-friends, either on Facebook, Twitter or WordPress. At least, in social media, I could put out some ‘friend requests’, but in real life, it’s not quite as easy as that. I guess if I reach the bottom, the only way to go is up, so I’ll try to hang on to that for the time being. Please, bear with me a little longer.

SKIN DEEP

self harm word chart

I decided to write about something quite personal and close to my heart. It is a sensitive subject for many people who suffer  or struggle with mental health issues. I realise that everyone will have different thoughts and feelings about this topic. However, I am speaking here of my own thoughts and emotions now, as a woman over forty-five years old, discovering I have very mixed feelings about this topic now, as I look back.

I’m talking about scars. A lot of people have scars – all sorts – scars from operations, from injuries, as a result of¬†criminal acts, because of¬†medical conditions and no doubt, many¬†other reasons that I haven’t mentioned here. I am talking about ‘self-inflicted’ scars caused by self-harm. Self-harm can take many forms; in my case, they took the form of cutting, burning etc, severe and chronic anorexia, many over-the-counter drug overdoses and quite a few addictions over the years I was ill.

In my¬†opinion, the public’s view of ‘self-inflicted‘ injury is often inaccurate. Yes, I¬†was in control¬†of my actions (sic)¬†but those actions were not the underlying reason for my self-injurious behaviour. I was¬†often unfairly labelled by hospitals as a self-harmer/attention seeker which wasn’t the case. In most instances (as with a huge majority of cases), I was carrying out actions which were mainly caused as the¬†result of having serious abuse inflicted on me over a long period ¬†but the person or people who ought to have been held accountable for my trauma never were, and rarely are.

I’m not going to discuss any further detail about the whys and wherefores of my self-damaging behaviours which became a way of life for very many years. I am now speaking of the present and the future. Currently, as a mature woman, I ¬†very frequently find myself feeling awkward or embarrassed because I have many old and quite unsightly scars all the way up both arms. It is summer again and we’ve had some hot, sunny days and this always creates a dilemma about whether to wear long sleeves or not.

That¬†isn’t because I carry endless shame or guilt about my scars – to me, they are evidence that I survived an extremely dysfunctional and seriously traumatic childhood which also continued into some years of my adulthood. However, I do find, as a mature woman, that it is unusual to see such scars on somebody of my age and that people often do notice this and sometimes I feel stared at for a little too long than to be comfortable. Occasionally, I have had the experience of being the subject of a shared snigger between two people who obviously have no understanding of mental health or are just appear ignorant when pointing and exclaiming. “ugh or eww – what have you done to your arms?”

I do find there are many situations where I feel I have to cover up with (simply to spare other people’s own fear and embarrassment). There are some instances where I, myself, would feel uncomfortable, misunderstood or perhaps even judged, such as in the company of some older people, going to an interview, family gatherings (such as weddings) where those gathered are fairly distant relatives who don’t know much, if anything, about the truth of my past and even in my church, strangely enough (perhaps it’s because I’ve not at this church during a summer before).

I also find that ¬†a few of my ¬†Carers, particularly when they first start working with me, don’t quite know what to say, especially if they are helping me shower and dress when my scars are painfully obvious. I usually put them out of their misery by talking about it openly rather than attempting to hide it rather uncomfortably behind the shower screen.

I’m aware that this post has ended up rather longer than I first intended it to but as you can see, it is something that I feel passionately about. I am very happy to chat with any readers who want to understand a little more, or perhaps share their own experiences with me if they have been affected in a similar way and are feeling alone or isolated. You can find my email address at the top of the page in the ‘Contact me‘ section.

Thank you to all those who are continually there for me x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LOOKING ON THE BRIGHT SIDE.

don't need to sit on a cactus

I certainly was given a cactus many years ago as is evident in my earlier writings about my very abusive childhood and not too pretty adulthood. I don’t intend to go back to that time of my life. It’s now a case of ‘been there; done that’, you’ll be pleased to hear. I’ve been sitting on the cactus for too long, and it’s getting too prickly so, now is the time to get off.

I’ve been taking life far too seriously of late so, although there may still be the odd solemn post because life isn’t always a bundle of laughs, on the whole, I want to lighten up a bit. [“Phew”] – Was that a big sigh of relief that I detected from my faithful followers? Yes? I don’t blame you – it’s as much of a relief to me as it is to you ūüôā

Yep! It’s true that I will always have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) or Emotional Intensity Disorder [as they are now beginning to refer to this condition] and this really can mess up my head at times. I’ve included an excellent link to explain what it’s like living inside the mind of some people with BPD. Please take the time to read it if you are interested – it’s not long-winded or boring, I promise: http://themighty.com/2016/07/how-to-explain-borderline-personality-disorder-to-loved-ones/

So, what of late? George (my new wheelchair, if you haven’t yet been introduced), is behaving himself brilliantly, and I love the fact that I can whizz down the path by the river at a colossal speed of 6mph. That’s 2mph faster than Charlie ever did although, fair credit to him – he did turn on a sixpence with much more finesse than George. George is nippier, although the little devil doesn’t much like getting up too close and personal with the veg section in my local Tesco’s. As for poor old Charlie, he’s sitting and looking very bored in the garage but as from today, he’s up for sale, on eBay listed as having been ‘a dear friend to one careful lady owner’ and ‘in need of a new home’. Although he’s seen better days and won’t go the distance anymore, he’ll do someone a good turn if they just want him for indoor and local use.

Oh, have I not mentioned the new addition to the family? I am now the very proud owner of a two gleaming, new, white patio doors (twins, of course). They’re sleeping soundly at present down at the dining-room end of my living-room. When they get mucky, they much prefer a duster to a wet-wipe. I’ve not named them yet; however, several names spring to mind, Tom & Jerry, Fred & Freda, Ant & Dec … I’m undecided. All suggestions are very welcome. They are looking very grand which is about the amount much they bumped up my credit card bill by. Needs must, though – with fair due, they’ve seen better days, 10,957 of them, in fact! I will bid you adieu while I leave you working out the equation of days into years.

 

THE DEVIL’S SHADOW

shadow devil

I hide between layers of darkness and grim
The soot black air rasping through my lungs
among the smoke and ash
There I find my home

If there were to be a breeze
to cleanse away the pollution of my mind
oh what relief would be had
and perhaps I would be saved

I lay my rags upon the ground
to lie by the devil
on the grit and dirt below me
and the wind howls over my bones

There is no saving, nor comfort
for the likes such as I
who perish in the storm whipping up
My shadow is all that remains of me.