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.

 

 

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

RANT – PREJUDICE AND DISCRIMINATION WITHIN THE FAMILY

Well……..This isn’t poetry or anything cleverly or attractively worded! This isn’t about my past experiences. This is a rant and about me feeling so p*ssed off!

I’ve just spoken to my sister who tells me that my daughter *Claire* doesn’t want anything to do with me because…. a) I have mental health problems, b) I am disabled, and c) because I choose to have a decorative cross on my living room wall, (pictured here), thereby ‘stating‘ I am a Christian!!

disabled people slogan             My beautiful cross from J & J            mental health

All this time, she’s been making excuses not to come and see with my two young granddaughters and now I found out it’s all about discrimination or being ‘different’! I am fuming…..I am so f#*$ing angry! (And yes, I know that’s not a very Christian word to say and that I should forgive her but at the moment I am hurting too much). She is basically ashamed of me and would rather not have anything to do with me or for me to be her Mum!! She objects because she doesn’t want her children to be aware of such differences! That’s not what I taught her when she was young so where did that come from?! Children needed to be educated about ‘differences’ in people, be it class, race, sexuality, faith, disability….whatever; not being taught how to be prejudiced and discriminatory. How would it go down, I wonder, if I purchased a copy of this book and sent it to her:

kids guide discrimation

…….Not too well, I should imagine!! And  perhaps I should send a copy to my son, *Tom*, while I’m at it as he shares exactly the same views, hence I don’t see my littlest granddaughter and I doubt I shall ever see the new baby due at Christmas :((

For goodness sake, it takes all sorts to make the world and I always say, providing nobody gets hurt, then ‘each to their own‘ and we should respect other people for who they are, not for what their label is…

don't label me

If it hadn’t been for my carers coming early and getting me into my pyjamas, I’d have gone out in my wheelchair and bought a bottle of something but I’ve been clean and sober for more than two years now, so that wouldn’t have been too clever. On the other hand, I haven’t coped with this too well as I have self-harmed, cutting my arm for the first time in nearly three years so sh*t, I’m not exactly proud of myself. And if my children knew; well, that would give them more ammunition.

And just to cap it all, it’s my birthday on Wednesday and I very much doubt I’ll get a card, let alone a phone call from either of them. Fortunately, I am meeting a new friend that day, for lunch so will have a lovely time, family or no family.

I don’t have therapy till Tuesday….how do I deal with this amount of rage and anger without doing myself any more damage?!

FIRST DAY COLLEGE TRIGGER

I have to say, having completed my first full day at college plus travelling (by wheelchair), I’d forgotten how exhausting it all is, having not done it for many years. I got caught in the rush-hour. I haven’t had the ‘pleasure’ of that for years, thankfully!

I arrived at college early so had time to have a much-needed coffee which always calms me down if I’m feeling anxious (I know that goes against all the health guidelines about caffeine but it works for me!). The course started at 10am. It was really strange being amongst other people in a learning environment. It’s been many years  since I’ve been in a classroom of any type. I took notes on my laptop because of my physical inability to write. The topic was interesting…Food and Mood of which, having been anorexic, I thought I was an expert on! But this wasn’t about calories and kilos but about the chemical changes that take place in your brain and how that ties in with nutrition. There was only five of us given that a couple of people were away sick and another couple had backed out at the last moment. I was pleased in a way as I find working in a large group too impersonal.

college

We stopped for a lunch break and I got chatting to two of the other students over coffee (and a banana, my lunch!). We got on really well and swapped phone numbers so we could stay in touch and in fact, I have already spoken to one of the girls from there this evening which was nice.

Then came the afternoon group (a totally different ‘kettle of fish’ altogether). I felt intimidated both by the size of the class and also by the tutor who seemed very unapproachable and obviously  wasn’t used to working in a mental health environment despite the fact we were studying NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) which is a type of therapy or way of managing life. Useful? Yes. Interesting? Yes. Interaction between students and rapport with tutor? No.

We were working through several leaflets, handouts and books, breaking NLP down into various sections. I found it quite fascinating and could connect with most of what was being said or studied. But suddenly i was overcome and shocked by a flood of unexpected feelings which left me completely paralyzed and locked in my own little world. Why? Because we’d turned the page and the not-so-approachable tutor announced that we were going to talk about triggers!! She was apparently referring to positive triggers like evocative memories of music, smell, feelings etc. I was ‘gone’ by then….flashbacks flooded through me, memories of abuse including smell, touch etc suffocated me. She mentioned pleasant scenes from the past being positive but all that was going through my head by then were very negative, abusive, terrifying scenes from the past. I found myself holding my breath; my eyes welling up; my body shaking and then the PTSD took over and I had a full-blown panic attack followed by uncontrollable sobbing.

post-traumatic-stress

I managed to wheel out of there into the kitchen, swiftly followed by one of the students I’d got chatting to earlier who made me a coffee and sat with me for a while, for which I was very grateful. I couldn’t go back in to rejoin the class though as I was too shaken. I really hadn’t foreseen that one coming. However, on a positive note, I’m not giving up. I’m going back on Thursday to have another go, including tackling the NLP group as this time I will be prepared, just in case, although the centre of the topic will have probably moved on by then but if not, I will stay with it and not let my abusers prevent me from furthering my education as they did as a child.

I will have a future and move on from being held back by my past. I will not let those bastards win. This time, I will beat them!