CATCHING UP

pexels woman at desk with laptop, diary etc for blog

(Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels)

Just a brief appearance! I haven’t had a chance to post anything for about five weeks – far too long. I’ve been away on holiday, not once, but twice! I’ll write about my adventures in my next post. Since I’ve been back and before I’ve even had an opportunity to unpack my bags, life has been completely flat-out.

All this activity has meant I’m way, way behind on reading my fellow blogger’s posts. When I looked through my email this evening, I could see I’d missed about twenty-two posts from my friends! I will try my best to catch up on as many of these as I can, so please bear with me and accept my apologies.

Thank you, my friends, for your patience – and especially …

https://deepasthoughts.wordpress.com

https://mickcanning.co

https://coherentwithcoffee.com

https://muddlingthroughmymiddleage.com

https://asmuchcake.com

https://gcdiaries.wordpress.com

https://lifeisonewodehousestory.wordpress.com/

I know I will enjoy reading all of your posts as soon as I possibly can.

 

 

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

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.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

i_will_be_back_soon

Just to let you know that due to serious personal and family problems, I am currently unable to write any posts on my blog and I’ve not been able to read the blogs and posts of my friends here. I apologise for my absence and but I will be back, hopefully, before too long and when these difficult issues are more settled. Thank you for bearing with me in the meantime. Ellie x

BOSOM PALS AND ACQUAINTANCES

girl alone black and white

Suddenly, the stark realisation that I don’t have a best friend in the world hit me like a bolt of lightning from the sky. Not only do I not have a best friend but sadder still, I don’t think I have truly ever had a real, best buddy.

I have many social relationships and acquaintances – college friends, church friends, Facebook friends, blogging friends, neighbours, work colleagues, family members, and no doubt many people who I have not mentioned here, but none of these would I class as my bosom pal.

This realisation hits hard as I can’t help but wonder why this is. Is there something about me that no-one is telling me? Perhaps, I do have green ears and a purple tail (as one of my blogs was entitled a couple of years ago). Is there is something about me that I can’t see but others can?

As far as I know, I am a nice person (whatever ‘nice’ is). I don’t deliberately lie, nor cheat or steal. I am trustworthy. I like to go out of my way to be kind to people and to try not to hurt anyone purposely – not simply because it’s the right thing to do (in my eyes), but because that is how I genuinely feel. ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’, I always say. I’m also a great believer in ‘Praise where praise is due’and ‘Kindness costs nothing’.

I was the same at both primary and grammar school. I never had friends, even then. I used to spend break-times sitting on a wall, wistfully watching while the other children playing, or when I was a bit older, I’d stand like a wallflower on the perimeter of the playground, too shy to go up to anyone in the vain hope that someone might spot me and even consider me as a friend. Maybe, it was because I was very small (and quiet) for my age so I got bullied quite a lot. I just didn’t to seem to gel with my peers.

As I grew up and when my children were little in Nursery or the early years of school, I plucked up the courage to exchange a few words to a few of the mums also waiting outside to pick their children up. However, I think I was thought of as a bit of a leper once my ex-husband left, leaving me with the children who were still young then. It just wasn’t the done thing back in the 80’s (showing my age!). I think I was, at that time, the only single-parent family in the whole of the Infants.

When my children were at secondary school, I had to work my socks off, caring and cleaning for elderly people – anything to make ends meet. Fortunately, I’ve always enjoyed the company of older people and I did like my work. Some of the clients I’d go to would let me bring the children during the holidays. Tom and Clare treated it like an outing as we’d go armed with colouring books, jigsaws and Snap or Ludo which they all enjoyed playing together and which, invariably, my clients would let the children win.

So, I think with me, and ‘friends’ or even acquaintances, it’s a case of you win some you lose some and even the ‘some’ are often like ships that pass in the night. But, am I lonely? No, actually, I’m not. I like my independence (all be it that I need Carers twice a day) and I do generally enjoy my own company and having time to read, study and write etc. I get to choose what I want to eat and what I don’t want, I get to decide whether to watch TV or listen to music. The majority of the time I get to choose when to venture into town or further afield with George (my wheelchair) and best of all, I get to hog the duvet without any arguments 🙂

 

 

 

 

HAPPY DAYS

seaside beach

Today was such a contrast to the days of the last two weeks … and thank goodness for that! I thought it was going to be a Tuesday just like any other Tuesday, but this week, my friend, Harri (short for Harriet), and I decided to take off to the beach or as us, British say, ‘the seaside.’ The weather was glorious and a perfect day for a drive down to the coast. We set off first thing in the morning and arrived at our destination by lunchtime.

As is the tradition amongst my family and friends, the first one to spot the water in the distance, declares excitedly, “I can see the s-e-a; I can see the s-e-a.” On this occasion, it happened to be me, and I was thrilled, you could easily have taken me for a five-year-old child!

We parked along the front, which isn’t easy during the school summer holidays but I am at an advantage in that I hold a Disabled Parking Badge. This enables Harri to get my manual wheelchair out of the boot of the car, and then me from the car into the chair which is an art in itself.

We’re not able to go down to the actual sand with my wheelchair as it clogs up the motor, so we decided to go to our favourite cafe which is positioned directly above the water when the tide is almost in. Surprisingly at that time of day, it wasn’t too crowded. So, we sat by the glass windows which were open with a warm breeze drifting in.

We ordered a coffee each, alongside scrambled eggs on delicious, doorstep toast finished off with a sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper. We watched a group of very absorbed photographers snapping away at a tall, slim and young male model walking along water’s edge, nonchalantly tossing pebbles into the waves.

A little more time went by and we decided to have another coffee and a small piece of cake each. I had a homemade Bakewell tart and Harri had a chocolate brownie. Delicious! We sat and chatted about this and that and life in general and at times got engrossed deeply in some quite fascinating and absorbing conversation.

Eventually, after we had almost talked ourselves out, we thought about leaving, but then at the last minute, decided it was getting late, and somehow we were peckish again (must have been the sea air). We then finished our feast off by sharing a bucket of freshly-cooked fries which were very enjoyable (and when I say bucket, I don’t mean as in the size of a child’s bucket and spade, but one of about six or seven centimetres high.)

Finally, just to finish off a lovely day, we walked along the front, which was breezy but pleasantly warm, to a small, summer hut which sold seaside rock and  cinnamon doughnuts (which we couldn’t possibly indulge in after the treats we’d had at the cafe.) However, just to remember our very much enjoyed, carefree day, we splashed out on a typical, British seaside children’s windmill each; Harri bought a classic stick of rock for her friend’s son, and I invested in summer straw hat. It had a somewhat squashed but nevertheless, beautiful peach coloured flower on the brim.

Happy days!  🙂

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 ❤

AIRING MY DIRTY LAUNDRY IN PUBLIC

ddirty laundry

Why write a blog? Why write a blog at all? Why do I feel the need to share with total strangers, my innermost thoughts, my idiosyncrasies, my Pandora’s Box of secrets that if written in a diary, would, without a doubt, be kept under lock and key?

When I write, I pour my heart out, as if I were talking back at myself, as if I were confiding in a much-trusted friend or a therapist. I write under a pseudonym to protect my anonymity and to keep the contents away from those prying eyes outside of the blogging world that would tear me to pieces in disbelief if they read the fairly shocking truth of my actual life.

One dear friend who has discovered I keep a blog and just cannot understand the logic of it, has said so many times, “what do you want to put your innermost secret of secrets out there for?” Then adding, “Why on Earth do you want to air your dirty laundry in public”?

I hesitate, giving this careful thought, cautious not to make their opinion of me worse. I fail miserably by saying things like, “I get to know other people who often feel as I do or at least are interested enough to want to read past the first few lines”. “I get support”, I say. “Who from?” is the next question and they then add one long string of complicated technical words like, “What a lot of rubbish you are mumbling. These computers are just machines that speak to each other”. They then sometimes state the obvious in that machines don’t have emotions or character, but plainly, they completely fail to understand that there are people with thoughts, worries, ideas and feelings, at the receiving end of these much-criticised machines.

I feel I have made good friends; friends who I can share humour with or occasionally share my darkest, deepest thoughts with who do not rebuke me, nor criticise my language skills. And I feel very privileged to be thought of as trustworthy enough to read of other blogger’s inner worlds.

The world of bloggers is as secret as it is public: We spill the contents of our hearts onto the paper under glass, usually under a pen-name so as not to be discovered, and before we know it, we’ve pressed the PUBLISH button, and there it all goes, spewing out into the world for all and sundry to see.

Personally, I feel it helps me. It is the time I can let go of my thoughts and inhibitions and just share what happens to be in or on my mind and that it always a relief. However, when my words go out into the universe, I am self-critical about what I have written, and find myself thinking, ‘Well, that wasn’t even worth the paper it was written on! Who on Earth seriously wants to read my thoughts?’ But occasionally, I get feedback to say I have helped someone feel less alone, or that we have shared some humour, so that makes at least two of us who have benefitted at least somewhat! Sometimes I don’t get feedback, or I have doubts about what I have written and am only too ready, and sometimes do actually hit the DELETE button, and there it all goes, gone, out into the ether, unspoken and unheard.

 

 

 

FALLING IN LOVE

first date words (George)

 

You know that feeling when you first meet someone and you’re not sure how you feel about them, but you meet up with them a second time to try to get to know them a little better? And then, the second time, you think you like them but you’re not entirely convinced yet. So, you arrange to go out again, for coffee this time and decide to try to make your mind up. You don’t want to keep messing them about. You need to make a decision as to whether you would like to get together and spend more time with each other or go your separate ways.

One week later – Decision made. Everybody says how good we look together and how well-suited we are. We’re both happy although I have to say, I am vaguely aware that it’s early days yet and there’s bound to be hiccups in any new relationship.

A week later, I’m completely convinced that I’ve done the right thing, and love is now, well and truly in the air, as they say. We have a date tonight – we’re going to the city’s main theatre to see an excellent and very gifted female comedian, live on stage. I’m so looking forward to it – I must remember to put the tickets in my purse before we leave and before I forget. We’re right in the front row so should get an excellent view.

The show was great, I had a good laugh but also learned a lot of things I didn’t know too. It finished quite late, at least late for me as someone who goes to bed early and is up as a lark in the mornings; well maybe not a lark, more like an antelope that’s been on the gin!

It’s time for bed now so I ‘elegantly’ glide up the stairs with Brian, my stairlift (so named after Brian, the slow snail in the old children’s programme ‘The Magic Roundabout’. All things considered, Brian behaves reasonably well contrary to some of the ‘funny business’ that was going on behind the scenes at that programme for those of you who might remember it!) I clean my teeth and at last, I fall happily into bed.

So, where is my partner? Oh, did I forget to mention that my new partner’s name is George and he is happily and peacefully downstairs snoozing downstairs in the hallway, and is getting his energy back, ready for tomorrow? Yes, you’ve got it … George is my new wheelchair (he’s plugged in and charging up). And yes, I know I introduced Prince George to you previously but now his shiny crown has fallen off and I’ve got to know the real George underneath, I like him much better and we’ve truly fallen in love now. Well, they say ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’.