AN INQUIRING MIND

Psychology Forensic The Justice System

I’ve discovered a new passion, proving that you’re never too ‘old’ or middle-aged in my case, to find new loves (not of the romantic variety either, at least, not in my case). Since being in college, I’ve developed a real interest in learning about new subjects. Nothing unusual about that,¬† but I was denied this opportunity when I was back in High School having been told by my teachers that I ‘wasn’t clever enough’. My current term with my present college ends late this summer, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.

I recently applied to do a new course, at the same college, in Psychology, Forensics and The Justice System, and I found out today that I’ve been accepted. I am so thrilled! It’s only part-time and at an elementary level, but it will give me the experience to decide whether I want to follow this up with a more advanced qualification. The course doesn’t start until next January, and I’m itching to get started already. I wonder whether I’ll finally develop a liking for Judge Judy or Judge Rinder, of television fame.

Not content with that, I want to fill the Autumn Term gap with learning about another interest of mine, a short evening course (now the evenings are lighter), in hearing loss and British Sign Language. Although I don’t have any hearing loss, my Mum, when she was alive, struggled with this. British Sign Language has always fascinated me, ever since I was young when I learned the deaf alphabet on my fingers. It would be good to develop that a bit more. I think I’ll enjoy that.

I do realise that I am very fortunate in having the spare time to follow some of my ‘dreams’. Dreams may seem like a big word when describing something as ordinary as education. However, I’ve never really hanckered after travelling the world, marrying a rich man or becoming Prime Minister. My dream, simply, is to fulfil my potential which was denied to me when I was growing up … so, here I am at very lively age of sixty finally achieving those dreams.

 

 

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

 

 

MY BPD – FROM THE INSIDE, OUT

 

BPD shattered glass masks

I know this image looks a bit melodramatic but for anyone who hasn’t experienced BPD – yes – it is this dramatic some of the time. I was going to write a post about BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) in more general terms but have instead decided that I would explain¬†how I feel, being open and honest about what it’s like to be me. This is how I experience¬†living with my condition; in other words – me from the inside, out as the title says. Although I may appear tough and more often than not, smiling; I am in fact emotionally very fragile and often experience severe distress.

I am an exceptionally sensitive person – it is said that an individual with borderline personality disorder is akin to an individual with third-degree burns so that means that I can feel the equivalent severity of pain, not physically but emotionally. I feel everything at a very much more intense level than most people. I get emotionally hurt, extremely quickly and the ensuing distress is almost intolerable at times. I’m not terribly good at handling it although at least I don’t replace my pain with self-harming tactics anymore. Self-harming, as you may have read elsewhere, is an attempt to distract myself from the huge amount of emotional pain I am in.

On the other hand, I also have a tremendous capacity for huge amounts of love and joy and compassion to share with the world and those around me and that is something I make the most of and feel as strongly about as I do the agony.

I am also what is sometimes known as a quiet borderline, meaning that (contrary to popular belief), I rarely have fits of rage although of course, I have anger like everyone else. I have never wanted to be the centre of attention – in fact, I wouldn’t be even remotely interested in being the life and soul of the party – I can’t think of anything I’d like less of¬†on the social scale. Give me a cosy corner, a book and a blog to write and that’s more my idea of amusing myself although of course I enjoy the company of a few good friends to share coffee or a meal with. Neither, do I like to draw attention to my inadequacies in a public way.

As those of you who know me well will recognise, I am frequently apologetic or forever saying sorry for who I am or for what I have written. (My self-esteem isn’t the greatest because of my experiences of severe childhood trauma),¬†and I’m often being ‘told off‘ for putting myself down which I find only too easy. I rarely feel ‘good‘ enough and will often need your reassurance and approval to make me feel ‘ok‘ or ‘acceptable,’ even when I think that I might just be alright. This probably explains why I often go to bed at night or wake up in the morning worrying whether anyone has read/liked/hated/ignored or commented on my blog, or why I have endlessly fretted about what my WordPress ‘stats’ are doing. This isn’t as pathetic as it may at first sound – it stems from a chronic fear of being rejected or abandoned which is classic in BPD.

I’m sorry if this sounds like a plea for more attention to my blog, (it definitely isn’t), which I feel is mediocre at best compared to most blogs I read. I feel inadequate and not good enough most of the time despite reassurances, and this isn’t particularly a nice place to be. Please, don’t believe, for one minute, that this is ‘attention-seeking‘ behaviour. I hate that phrase – it makes me feel like a spoilt child who is having a temper tantrum and stomping my feet because I can’t get my way.

I ‘mind read‘ a lot, attempting to guess what people are thinking of me because I always feel people are thinking the worse of me. I worry about what you might be thinking of me despite your reassurances. I cannot help it. It is the way my brain is wired as also goes for all my other BPD traits. I don’t choose to be this way. My physical disability is far the less debilitating than my emotional tolerances.

Impulsivity is a ‘biggy’ in my life. It gets me into endless amounts of trouble and is the thing I find most difficult to control. It can vary from something obvious like spending money I haven’t got (usually on Amazon) to saying yes or no to a demand before I’ve thought it through properly. I then worry that if I back-track, changing my mind, I am not going to be ‘liked’ very much which ties in with the fear of rejection or abandonment, as mentioned above. I have also been known to get into trouble, (usually by the poor, embarrassed friend I happen to be with) for suddenly doing something entirely unexpected, like¬†hugging that kind lady on the bus (or the waiter in a restaurant) because they were kind and I feel honoured because I don’t feel worthy of their kindness or praise.

I have to say that I am also prone to quite sudden mood changes (and I don’t mean Jekyll & Hyde style). I can be feeling as happy as a pig in clover one minute to being so low that I am down in the depths of the basement the next, often without any apparent cause. ¬†I can assure you, it is just as confusing for me as it is for you, especially when everything can be reversed and or is interchangeable within minutes and I swing from one mood to another so intensely and so quickly.

I found this great YouTube video that is very different to all the others that I have seen about BPD that make¬†me sound like some odd species or alien. It shows some of the most interesting points of living with this condition. As with everything, there are ups, and there are downs. Please take the time to watch it …

However, I have come a long way in my recovery, which is an ongoing process. I count myself as very blessed when I think of how ill I once was and the fact that I took so many chances, gambling with my life with drugs and alcohol, self-harm, and numerous severe overdoses. I’ve not had a drink for nearly four years and I’ve not self-harmed in any way other than bingeing on food occasionally, for four-and-a-half months.

I now lead a very active and busy life despite my disabilities, with college, art, drama, University speaking, coffee with friends, ¬†and getting out into town and church with Charlie (that’s my electric wheelchair, not my ballroom dancing partner for those of you who have not met me before)!

My next goal is to take a ‘do-it-yourself’ certificate in something called DBT (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy) which is a very effective method of learning to live and cope successfully with BPD. It’s usually studied, and practised in groups under the Health Authority but this has been axed because of government funding cuts. Once I’ve done that (although that is something I’ll need to practice for the rest of my life), I’d like to move on to do my Public Health degree at my local university.

So, when all is said and done, I fight a good battle against one of the most difficult to cope with mental health conditions that many psychiatrists don’t like dealing with because it can’t be treated or controlled by drugs. Yes, I still take medication, but that’s more about dealing with the often accompanying symptoms of anxiety, panic, depression, etc.

I know and am grateful that I get a lot of support from some of my family and friends, both real-life and cyber friends, from my mental health team, my GP, college and university. I do indeed, count myself as extremely blessed and very fortunate. Thank you to you, for your support and your time and patience in reading this far in what I am aware is probably one of my longest posts. I truly appreciate it. Ellie x ‚̧

LEARNING TO DANCE IN THE RAIN

Having Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder or BPD really does make me emotionally unstable which I guess goes without saying! One minute I’m in the depths of despair and the next I’m touching the moon; I go from shovelling coals in the basement to then flying a kite.

On Tuesday night, I found myself distraught and counting out sleeping pills and paracetamol which I then overdosed on hoping for permanent oblivion. Not good. Not clever. I know that. I woke sometime Wednesday evening and was promptly sick which did no good at all as my body had already absorbed the drugs into my bloodstream. I had a pounding headache, racing heart, nausea and chronic stomach ache, all of which I realize were self-inflicted. And then was angry with myself for not ‘doing the job properly’, and angry that I was still on this planet that has brought me so much pain and heartache.¬†It was raining…….’good’, I thought……at least there is no sunshine to mock my persistent emotional ¬†pain. It was nearly dark now, the sun having gone down behind the silhouette of the trees.

I slept right through that night and woke Thursday morning, actually feeling clear headed and feeling more positive about my life despite the fact that all the problems are still there…..college closes it doors for the final time on Friday afternoon; I’m still torn between the two churches I’ve attended; I haven’t seen my children or grandchildren for months now; I’m in debt; Mum is getting on a bit and not in the best of health which I constantly worry about because my fear of losing her or being ‘abandoned’ is so horrifically, truly and absolutely terrifying. ¬†I find myself thinking over my past life, full of pain and sadness, regret and sorrow, and my future which is a completely unknown entity. I wonder if there is another way out of all the chaos of my life, the past horrors, my fears and phobias. I’m daydreaming. I come to my senses. Will I be forever waiting for the storm to pass and watching the days melt into weeks, into months and into years of misery or do I begin to weather the storms and learn to dance in the rain, as the saying goes….

dancing-in-the-rain-tumblr

Perhaps a more positive mindset, if I can maintain it, will lead to more positive experiences and a more positive outcome. At this present time, I am ready to try to dance in the rain – I have my wellies and raincoat on and am out there jumping in the puddles. I know this week, in particular, will have more than its fair share of emotional challenges but I have to keep reminding myself of this:

‘Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass,

It’s about learning to dance in the rain’.

SCRAMBLED EGGS

Well, firstly, I owe big apologies to so many of you because I have been absent from WordPress world and also my linked email account for weeks and I realize how many of your posts I have missed especially my friends, Mercy James and Meghan. Along with other friends, I think I’ve missed out on reading approximately 70 posts from you all and I know I’ll never catch up with the backlog so all I can offer at this time are my humble apologies ūüė¶ .

As well as not being too well and therefore my mind being incapable of forming sentences long enough to write a blog, there has been so much ‘mucky’ stuff going on in my life and things have been so frenetic that I’ve hardly had time to blink, let alone string words together. Strangely enough, most of the major issues currently in my life begin with the letter ‘C‘, purely coincidentally. If this sounds like nonsense that’s because I have a brain which somewhat resembled scrambled eggs at the moment! The list goes something like this….college, Colin, church, crime, Care, children and¬†Carole, etc, etc. and no, that’s not in alphabetical order as my brain cells aren’t quite up to that at this present moment in time. I won’t go into the details of each one for fear of boring the pants off of you but merely offer these snippets which illustrate examples of the individual issues. So here goes…

College = closing down (2 weeks), politics, mixed media, warring factions, celebration, saxophones, the press….

Colin = brother-in-law, redundancy passport, post, diabetes, aeroplane, cats, August….

Church = pastoral care (lack of), ordination, art, new pastures, brass band, friction, apartment block, cucumber….

Crime = family, trains, Marks and Spencers, blackmail, baked beans, city, money….

Care = all change, independence, scrambled eggs (again!), pyjamas, invoice, D & D….

Children = absent, car tyres, little ‘uns, grapefruit, failure, vitamin B12, heart, spots, frogspawn ……….and finally,

Carole = box of grapes, tutor, Prince Harry, music, old photographs, emails, two foot high patchwork elephant….!

patchwork elephant

So…..Interesting?…No; Relevant?…Yes; Necessary?…No; Nonsense?…Yes, certainly, but all true and all totally applicable to my life right at this moment so is it any wonder I have a ‘scrambled egg’ brain?…No, definitely and absolutely not!

Delia-scrambled-eggs-006

RUNNING ON EMPTY (CRASHING)

Running-On-Empty-logo

SATURDAY As you may have noticed, I haven’t been ‘around’ WP in the last couple of weeks and firstly, I must apologize for not keeping up with following your blogs for that time and for not even giving so much as a ‘Like’ or ‘Comment’ either as a result. I have been run off my feet – my lifestyle has developed into something approaching manic lately. As you may have read in my last post, we are trying passionately hard to stop my college closing and I thank each one of you who has taken the time to sign my petition. Every vote is much appreciated. There has been so much going on with campaigning, petitions, protests, meetings, committees, student unions etc that I can hardly keep track of it all and feel like I am chasing my tail half of the time! In addition, I have had a lot going on in my private life which has been difficult to manage too. My stress level has gone through the roof and I am really pretty well worn down. I’m not finding time to eat properly (it’s not my old anorexic thinking but just stress and lack of time), and am not getting anywhere near enough rest or sleep. I literally feel like I am running on empty and am permanently exhausted.

SUNDAY

car crashed into brick wall

Today, I have crashed into a brick wall; not literally but metaphorically. I guess I’ve been overdoing it for a good while now which has come from running on empty for too long. Today, my spirits have sunk, my mood is low, the world is dark, my hope has gone, my drive has ceased, I’ve come to driving halt.

Tomorrow, I’m meant to be signing up for my college courses for the two short months we have left before we are closed down due to bloody government funding cuts (see last post). I don’t know whether to go or not – I’m not good with endings – I tend to pull out before the inevitable happens….it tends to hurt less, (obviously looking at the situation pessimistically today). Everything I have learned has temporarily gone out of the window….I have a W.R.A.P. programme to follow (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) which I’m not exercising. I’m meant to be going to a Student Union committee meeting tomorrow. I don’t want to take the responsibility of the role I have there which sounds so selfish. I’m meant to be taking part in a research study at my local ¬†university which I was really looking forward to and now the prospect doesn’t feel as rosy as it first was.¬†It all feels like too much.

My family are in crisis….I have to look for a new care agency due to inefficiency, my Mum (as well as having Myeloma and just recovering from pneumonia) is now having serious mobility problems; my sister, J, in Australia has just lost her job through no fault of her own; my sister, L, is fighting to get my 14 year old niece who is blind but gifted, adequate education and schooling and my sister, A, has just broken up with her boyfriend. As usual, my children don’t figure anywhere in the picture. No surprises there then!

I’m not sure where my faith has gone….it seems to have evaporated into thin air. Where is God? I didn’t go to church today, I haven’t prayed and I’ve not studied my bible reading either.

God, I’m a right old misery guts today; I’m having a real moan for no good reason. I apologize for boring the pants off you if you have read this far. I think I’d better end there before I sink further into my black hole of depression and self-pity.

[I’ll probably by fine by tomorrow/later/in an half an hour/in ten minutes…soon/maybe/perhaps/perhaps not – that’s the unpredictability of having Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)]. Oh, deep joy!!!

SHAME ON ME!

PETITION – MY RECOVERY COLLEGE IS AXED (2)

FOLLOWING MY LAST POST, I HAVE NOW BEEN GIVEN PERMISSION TO POST OUR PETITION HERE.

PLEASE, PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION TO KEEP MY RECOVERY COLLEGE FROM BEING AXED BECAUSE OF GOVERNMENT FUNDING CUTS. EVERY VOTE WILL MAKE SUCH A DIFFERENCE. THERE IS NO MONEY INVOLVED AND ALL INFORMATION IS KEPT STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR TIME – VOTES NEED TO BE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. X

https://www.change.org/p/mid-essex-clinical-commissioning-group-reinstate-funding-for-the-mid-essex-recovery-college-and-hub

MY RECOVERY COLLEGE IS AXED!

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.

https://www.change.org/p/mid-essex-clinical-commissioning-group-reinstate-funding-for-the-mid-essex-recovery-college-and-hub

8 QUESTIONS I AM ASKING MYSELF BUT AM TOO STUPID TO ANSWER!!!

It’s been a year since the ‘event’, or more correctly ‘non-event’! Yes, I’m harping on about that bloody Facebook issue with my two children!! Sorry to drag this one out from the mire again….just when I thought I’d ‘put it to bed’ too. I thought I’d come to terms with the loss of my relationship with both *Tom* and *Claire* although I hadn’t got over the loss of having no relationship with any of my four small grandchildren, one of whom I’ve never even met and he’s nearly three months now.

Over the last few months there has been some very tentative contact with *Tom and *Claire, and this time I thought I was really getting somewhere at last. After all, I am a different person now than when my daughter hacked into my FB account and found a truth she really didn’t like (that being that I had no contact with them!). Now, (I thought) I’d built my life up despite the family rift. I go to college, I attend church activities and I am doing some volunteering at my local university to further the understanding of mental health with new students training to be Social Workers and CPNs in the community mental health field. I’m working on an eight week project at college (much of which is done at home) and I am in the process of writing my fourth book to be published. So, I can’t be doing all that badly. And yet…still…they won’t ‘forgive’ my mental health conditions, nor, come to that, my physical disability meaning I use a wheelchair. I don’t let either of those conditions stop me from living a full life so why should they be so ‘anti-me’?!

facebook share

I’ve just had a halfway decent conversation with *Claire where I kept it light and didn’t make any demands that they come and see me. And then the ugly subject of FB came up. I mentioned that as things were so different with me now and my thinking clearer (up until tonight, that was), maybe she would accept my friend request so at least I could see photos of my four little ones and keep up with their news. And what did I get?…..Flat out, downright REJECTION again! And this, now, just minutes before my bedtime when I should be thinking of a peaceful repose not a night where I’m up writing my feelings till the wee small hours. I’m more angry than upset but it throws up all my issues of attachment/rejection/abandonment and chucks them in my face! Shit!!!

Why can’t I just cut myself off and disown them….yes, I could with *Tom and *Claire because of what they’ve put and are still putting me through but not my four innocent little grandchildren.

 8 questions I am asking of myself:

  1. Why don’t I stop chasing a dream?
  2. Why can’t I disown them?
  3. Why am I letting this get to me again?
  4. Why am I allowing them to do this to me?
  5. How do I get rid of this bitter taste in my mouth?
  6. Why can’t i forgive them in the name of the Lord and pray and hand it over to God to deal with? I am not strong or mighty enough to cause change to happen. Only God is and in His own time. When will I ever learn? (1 Peter 5:6-7) ~¬†Humble yourselves, then, under God’s mighty hand, so that he will lift you up in his own good time.¬†Leave all your worries with him, because he cares for you ~
  7. Why don’t I have the conviction of my faith and believe enough?
  8. WHY DON’T I STOP DIGGING UP THESE OLD BONES AND BLOODY WELL GO TO BED???

LIMPING CHARLEY

On Sunday, after church, my wheelchair started going wrong. It just about limped home as if it had lost a wheel and then conked out! “Oh, great!”, I thought – now I’m stuck indoors until I can get it repaired……..

It’s Thursday today and I haven’t been out since then and I’ve already missed the first session of a new college course and a church meeting. The wheelchair mechanic came out this morning with two new big batteries, took the old ones off and replaced them with the new shiny ones. He was here a couple of hours and tested the charger too and then said it should be fine. So, I thought I’d get out for some fresh air and to get a few bits in town so I confidently set off and trundled down the hill and then on reaching the cycle path, I bombed off at top speed as I usually do!

wheelchair_cartoon1

I got to the end of the cycle path, then halfway down the next road and past the bend when suddenly the amber flashing warning light came on! I stopped abruptly and thought to myself, “oh, ‘#$*%¬£&’. I fished into my handbag, tossing out an old house brick and the kitchen sink and delved to the bottom where I found my mobile phone. I rang the workshop and spoke to the mechanic again who said not to go any further (obviously!) and to try and make it back home to my house, (up the steep hill). I looked ahead of me and wondered if my wheelchair (named Charley, by the way, female Charley that is, not male, because women are better drivers, of course!!!), would make it. The mechanic had said if I broke down, to phone him back and he’ll come out to me.

So about turn, and this time I drove carefully around the bend in the road and took it slowly along the cycle path. Now for the hill….Charley huffed and puffed, gradually limping up the road with by now, the red warning light flashing! “C’mon Charley…you can do it”, I said out loud much to the amusement of the two teenagers walking past me at the time. I didn’t think I would make it home but I did. When I got to the door’s threshold, I thought I was home, safe and dry but no, I was wrong! I was stuck! The chair just didn’t have enough ‘oomph’ left in it to go any further. I tried again but again it was no good. Finally, I decided to give it one more final go and revved it up as high as it would go and suddenly, whoosh, we lurched forward, over the threshold at top speed, nearly knocked the front door off its hinges and hurtled down the hallway towards the cloakroom…

speed cloud

We stopped just in the nick of time! Any further and I would have been catapulted headfirst down the toilet in front of me!! Phew! That was close. I eventually got myself into my living-room, phoned the mechanic (again) who very kindly said he would come out tomorrow afternoon to collect my poor Charley and supply me with a loan wheelchair to get me to church on Sunday.

I’ll have to miss college again tomorrow but hey, I’m home in the warm and what’s more I don’t have my head stuck down the toilet thus requiring the fire brigade to attend!!

NEXT INSTALMENT – Sunday morning…..look out world, here I come…………