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.

 

 

MAKING TIME

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Spare time is something I used to have lots of, but never made the most of, mostly because I was depressed to go out, or just couldn’t summon up the energy or enthusiasm. Now, it’s a very different situation, I’m pleased to say. In fact, I barely have a minute to spare … I fly from one task, activity, meeting or outing like a demented wasp! It’s a good thing George (my wheelchair) travels at 8mph (not sure what that is in km), or I’d never get to all these appointments and arrangements.

I’m very fortunate in that, although I live in a town, there is a lot of countryside around me, especially where I am near the river. There’s a footpath and cycle track that follow the river’s route into town. It’s a lovely drive, albeit I’m driving fast and concentrating so hard so that I don’t cross paths with an irate cyclist, or a wandering pedestrian come to that. This fast-paced drive allows me to get everywhere I need to be on time. One thing I hate is being late.

However, I’ve realised of late, that I keep myself so busy that I rarely make time to relax or to chill out with my friends. So, today, having made an arrangement yesterday, I spent the best part of the day with a new but close friend. We just sat in a lovely restaurant for hours and hours. We had a coffee earlier on in the morning, and then sat and had a delicious lunch, beautifully cooked and presented. My friend drank wine and I, being a non-drinker, had an amazing strawberry, elderflower and mint cocktail, all followed by more coffee. We talked and talked, we shared secrets, stories of our lives, current times and our early years, sometimes accompanied by a few tears, but always followed by peals of laughter and giggles. We told each other about past relationships, some great and some disastrous. We took photos and sent them to each other, and generally got very silly, but not embarrassingly so, thankfully.

Eventually, we parted company at 4.30pm, having paid rather a large bill, and a generous tip because the waitress was brilliant and the food first-class. We just had the most wonderful day. I came home feeling all happy, relaxed and loved. Today really made me realise the value of making time for the truly enjoyable occasions. It’s just as important to make time to relax, chill and enjoy myself as it is to rush around to all those appointments and events that tend to fill the calendar. We’ll definitely be doing it all again soon.

Strawberry, elderflower & mint cocktail at The Bootmaker

My delicious cocktail.

 

[Top image courtesy of Stock-clip.com]

MOVING FORWARD – THE PASSAGE OF TIME AND BIRTHDAY CAKE

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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?!

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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

SHINE ON

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Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)

I was given a card with this quote on it this morning and it had a strong impact on me. It made me think about light and about how one candle can spread light to another and what effect that can have.

We can all spread a little light – we don’t necessarily have to be believers of faith to do so. The above verse inspired me so much that I decided to go out and spread a little light myself.

As usual, when I came from town, I said my usual ‘good morning’ to strangers passing by and smiled a genuine smile at the faces coming toward me on the path. Some people smiled back or nodded. Others didn’t but that’s ok too. Of course, that’s lovely if they do, that’s a bonus, but the important thing for me was to give out the light that was given to me this morning.

I don’t have a lot of money to spare (If there was some to be had, I could help so many). However, in the absence of gold coins, I decided that I could still give … giving could come in the shape of a kind word; a good deed; a gentle touch on the arm to a troubled man or woman; a tissue to wipe away his or her tears; a chat to a lonely soul … and so much more.

I stopped in the street and spent some time in conversation with an elderly man who was playing accordion in the street. He was playing his heart out but we could just hear one another above the music he was so obviously familiar with.

Then, I passed a tired-looking guy on the street who was obviously homeless. He had a hat in front of him, collecting money. All I could offer was to spend a little time talking to him. He turned out to be a fascinating man – he’d been a driver of a London bus for nearly twenty years. He had some tales to tell that beat any comic-strip you could find in a newspaper!

Just as I was walking toward the bridge, I saw a rough-looking, young man offering hand-made bracelets made from cotton thread. He was sitting making them as people walked by. Some folk stopped and looked; some glanced across at the placard propped up next to him. It read ‘I am no longer homeless. A local man gave me a room in his house but I have nothing to put in it.’ I stood for a few minutes and watched him crafting them and decided to make a small donation in exchange for a beautiful blue and lilac bracelet. He said thank you and I smiled at him and said thank you too.

I decided it was time I started heading home but just had to call in at Tesco’s for some milk. In front of me were bunches of fresh flowers in buckets which were too expensive for me but made me smile, just the same. I headed toward the milk aisle and just happened to come across the ‘bracelet man.’ He had a bottle of cider in his hand and was just picking up a second. I went up to him. We spoke. He looked surprised. I think he expected me to have a go at him for taking money off passers-by and then buying alcohol with it but I’d said, “nice to see you again; hope you have a good rest of the day.”

Why? Because I knew that, I was no-one to judge. I only said, “I understand. I’ve been there – done that – and worn the t-shirt.” I had been in a similar place myself, many years ago. I had my reasons as this man may have also. We should never judge someone until we have walked a mile in their shoes. Whoever you are, wherever you have been, whatever you’ve been through, it’s still possible to spread a little light (and a little love) – you never know where it might travel and who it might touch.

HOW TO SURVIVE A POWER CUT IN THE AGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA

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We had a power cut today – only for an hour and a half, but apart from getting cold because the central heating had gone off (bearing in mind it was only 1-degree Celsius outside), I found the greatest inconvenience was not being able to get on the internet. I instantly felt lost and out of touch with the world without it, and given the choice between having my access to the web or having the heating back; I think I would have willingly pulled on an extra layer or two and opted for my laptop.

This incident reminded me of a time, three or so years ago when we experienced a violent storm that brought down the power lines, consequentially blowing up the local electricity substation. Fortunately, the weather wasn’t quite as cold as it was today. But, amazingly, (in this day and age), we had no power for nearly three days! Extra jumpers, thick socks, wooly hats, warm gloves, blankets and such were all dug out of the depths of wardrobes and were the order of the day (or three days in this instance).

I live in a cul-de-sac and all the houses there were affected. After the initial panic, the ritual of striking matches smelling of sulphur, to light the candles took place.  A variety of wax pillars were found with difficulty, bearing in mind, we were searching at the back of dusty cupboards by torchlight. I then thought to Google the Electricity Company’s telephone number to ask when the power would be back on. I won’t say ‘a light went on in my head’ as there weren’t any lights but it then dawned on me that no electricity equals no technology, therefore, no Google. There we were, back in the dark ages (pardon the pun) and I started to rummage for the telephone directory, not realising then that the phone lines were down too.

It was then apparent that social media had come to an abrupt halt which was a shock to the system at first. Gradually Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr all became redundant. If we wanted some company, instead of Facebook, we had to go and knock on a neighbour’s door and talk to them face to face. The term ‘Like’ meant the appreciation of a kindness done or fondness of someone. ‘Friending’ and ‘Unfriending’ became hanging out with our mates (or not). If someone had ‘Blocked’ you, they had, perhaps, parked their car at the bottom of your driveway, and the term ‘Sharing’ no longer referred to reposting an article from one FB page to another; sharing returned to meaning to have a cup of tea with a neighbour; lending your last box of matches out; distributing a pot of tea around the family, made from boiling water on a gas hob (at least, we had gas), .

Twitter had been replaced by the chatter of children and adults alike and gossip that was only heard on the grapevine. Instagram and Pinterest were impossible – if we wanted to look at pictures we had a resort to a book, magazine or get a bus to the art gallery on the far side of town. I missed emailing. Somehow, writing a letter, sticking a stamp on the envelope to post it in the mailbox and then waiting two days for it to arrive at its destination lacked the spontaneity of reeling off a quick email.

Computer games were naturally out of the question and we resorted to either playing Gin Rummy or Bridge with a pack of cards or digging out the old, well-worn Snakes and Ladders board and a dice. In my case, I managed to find the family Ludo board which was my mother’s before it was mine! But, I never was much good at card games but I could play a mean game of Monopoly. Just as I’d passed Mayfair and Park Lane and was about to collect £200 for passing go … the power came back on only to be greeted by a mixture of delighted “hoorays” and equally rather sad “awws”. All the nostalgia flew out of the window almost as fast as we all flew off back to our own little spaces to get a fix of Facebook or Twitter having suffered severe withdrawal symptoms over the past three days. I have to say, it left me wondering whether I would turn back the hands of time if I could.

reading by candlelight

 

AS NICE AS PIE…

I’m as nice as pie to those around me, caring, lovingly so, genuinely. But me? Me? Right now, I couldn’t give a toss. I feel like shit and am full of self hatred and anger and don’t know why. Perhaps jut a phase of the Borderline Personality Disorder which is of no consolation whatsoever.

This isn’t a clever piece of writing….neither beautifully worded or artistic….just a scream from deep within, silenced before it hits the surface and not dissimilar to the silent screams of my childhood. Flooded with flashbacks and sudden vicious body memories…ugh….argh….get me out of here! I don’t want to be in my body. It’s ugly, it’s damaged, it’s scarred for all to see…I hate it….I want to cut, cut out the bad. I hurt. I am hurting inside and out….the pain becoming intolerable. Panic setting in now as if enough isn’t enough.

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(Edvard Munch – The Scream)

The clock is ticking, tick-tock, tic-tock…ticking the hours of my life away. I urge it to tick faster to stop it all…stop the pain. I long for slumber but this evades me too. I’m drowsy now but fighting off the sleep I so desperately need; head nodding slowly only to be suddenly shaken back into the reality I don’t want to see, hear or live. My head is muddled. I need help. I don’t know where to turn…. I search, I rummage, I hunt, but cannot even muster up the energy to ask for help

“Go to bed, for f*ck’s sake, go to bed. Stop expressing how you feel and boring the pants off the world“, my mind speaks to my head. I make no sense. This is literately nonsense, no sense….madness….confusion….total and utter confusion.

Chloe cries, my little one. My precious child within screams out in pain….and I can do nothing to comfort or console her….she suffers as we all do.  

I need to get out of my head….I need to get out of my life…..no longer wanted, needed or desired. So why should I remain here to suffer for the sake of those supposed to be close to me yet full of venom and hatred towards me? 

What am I dong here? Empty, devoid of love, worthless, pointless, aimlessly wandering to and fro and yet trapped within this head of mine….desperately fighting to escape from what is supposed to suffice as a brain..

“GET ME OUT OF HERE! PLEASE, GOD, GET ME OUT OF HERE!”

 

SHINE ON

people who choose to shine

THIS IS FOR ALL OF US HERE XXX

I am so honoured and privileged to be part of the blogging community I ‘belong’ to here.

I know blogging is worldwide and covers a multitude of people’s views. But I feel that once you start blogging, and following blogs you choose, you ‘meet’ so many people and make so many very valuable friends, most of whom have something in common. In the case of my blogging friends and myself, we have all been through hard/rough/awful/abusive times. Also, many of us experience some sort of mental health problem as a result of the huge trauma that we have had to endure or are still enduring.

And yet each one of us expresses lighter moments, joy, humour etc at times. We still shine despite all that we have been through. I think that is so courageous and admirable. Even if it’s only a millionth or a split second of our lives, we are all still able to shine despite the darkest, deepest thoughts, experiences and memories. Most importantly, we are all ‘here’, living and breathing even though many us, myself included, have tried so hard not to be. We are fighting our own individual battles, each different yet each similar. Yet, we are all fighting the same war; we are all batting for the same team, that of recovery or in essence, survival, and on the whole, we are winning, all be it a second at a time, a minute, an hour, day, week, month, year etc. Time is infinite.

I am so grateful for my friends amongst my ‘community’ and followers, who understand me, support me and care about me. You are unique, you are special, you are ‘real’ (all be it that we are virtual), you are all who you are, you are all…..you.

This is a message the world needs to hear: 

judgements

Hugs, Ellie xxx

LEAVING ON A JET PLANE

Well….today is the last day that my sister will be here with us in England. She leaves my mum’s house at 1.30pm today, which is just over an hour from while I am writing this (although by the time I’ve finished this post, she will have gone). Her 28 hour flight takes off at 5.50pm, after which I shan’t see her for another 3-4 years :(( She phoned me this morning to say goodbye which is always hard. I so wish I could go to the airport with her and wave her off properly but I couldn’t manage the journey. Fortunately, my younger sister is going with her so she won’t be on her own. It’s always hard to let her go – we are such close sisters and I find missing her hard. Nevertheless, her life is out there in Australia and her husband and two almost grown-up children have missed her a lot while she’s been here so will be glad to have her home again.

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As we were growing up, we had our fair share of squabbles and ‘cat fights’ but never really fell out seriously nor hurt each other. She wasn’t abused by my father and finds it difficult to accept what I have said as being the truth. So, we’ve agreed to disagree on that one although it does hurt me to know that I don’t have her support. She got on with my dad really quite well and definitely without being abused. In fact, we ended up calling her “Daddy’s blue-eyed little girl”, which she was literally with her straight blond hair and beautiful blue eyes (taking after him), whereas I took after my mum with my common brown hair and brown eyes. But there was never any competition between us and I bore and bear no grudge that it was me who was the only child in our family who was abused.

Now she lives literally on the other side of the planet, the main differences between us are the obvious huge number of miles of land and sea between us and totally opposite time clocks and of course weather. Also she has two well-behaved teenagers who I hope to meet one day. I chat to them on the phone once in a while. My children are a ‘different kettle of fish’ altogether and hardly bear even mentioning, I am so angry with them because of how they treat me.

Well….it’s now 6.30pm, my time and she will be up in the air among the white and fluffy clouds and will soon be watching the sun go down, becoming just and orange glow.

The flight is with a ‘decent’ airline so the long journey (with two stopovers) shouldn’t be too unbearable although of course she will arrive home totally exhausted and it takes her days to recover from the jet-lag. Her family will be at the other end to greet as she gets off the plane and she will be happy to see them.

Farewell, my beloved sister. It was wonderful to be with you again and share an enormous hug. I’ll miss you so much but know that very soon we will be chatting on the phone as if we lived in the same street as the other! I love you so very much.

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DAD DIED TONIGHT, TWO YEARS AGO – WHY DO I CARE SO MUCH?

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It’s 9.30pm here in my part of the world. I’m confused by my own feelings. I feel anxiety, a sense of trepidation and a tummy full of ‘butterflies’. I am so tired – it’s been a long day and now i can’t decide whether to go to bed or not. My dad who abused me in every way possible, died two years ago at exactly 3am and somehow it seems disrespectful to go to bed. Apart from which, the last thing i want to be doing is laying in bed with memories and flashbacks of what he did to me going round in my head.

I was at the hospital with him till 1.15am, not knowing he only had two hours to live. And anyway! Why do i give a damn??! I wonder what having a ‘real’ dad would have been like?

I feel i should stay up. I’m thinking of my brother in New Zealand and working out the time over there which would be about 6.45am now, so morning there which means to him, my dad has already died. How strange. I promised my brother to phone him as soon as i get in from church tomorrow at about 1pm my time and 10pm his time.

What the hell am i going on about? The bastard died two years ago, not literally tonight although somehow it feels different. My sense of time and reality have become distorted. I’m feeling sick and d’you know what we’re doing right now? Baby Emily is sucking furiously on her dummy. We are all wide awake now, even Chloe (although she’s really so sleepy). Liz is listening to music and has the tv on and is making the most of our late night while Caroline is trying to get some order in this place and getting nowhere! Gut is killing himself laughing at all our confusion. God! We’re in a right state! We don’t know what to do. Maybe we’re typing this as a diversionary tactic to stop us from going to bed.

We’re going to sign off now and will let you know, my friends, in our next blog what we decided to do. We must be stark raving mad, at least it feels that way! We all ought to be in bed by now! Huh! Fat chance! Oh heck! we need a hug so much right now…don’t know what to do. Chloe and Emily are now both crying. We want this madness to stop. Please make it stop.

SUSHILA – MY LATE FRIEND

I feel i want to express a short tribute to my dear friend, Sushila, who we sadly lost this week. This is with express permission of her family.

 

Sushila was 42 and lived in the UK, some way from me but we spoke on the phone often and met up when we could. She was a very compassionate Social Worker, working with disabled young adults and she loved her work. She never married, nor had children – i think she put everything she had emotionally, into her work. However, she did have a lovely, big softy of a dog called Tizzy. (Her family obviously don’t want me to publish Sushila’s photo but here is a photo of Tizzy when she was a pup). She is so cute and much loved by all and is now being looked after and re-homed with friends close to where she lived.

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Most of her family lived in Rajasthan, India and were Hindus, as was she and Hindus believe that after you die, you are reincarnated according to how you behaved in your previous life (as in the following excerpt):

‘There is one thing that is certain in this lifetime: eventually we all must die. A belief in the cyclical reincarnation of the soul is one of the foundations of the Hindu religion. Death is viewed as a natural aspect of life, and there are numerous epic tales, sacred scriptures, and vedic guidance that describe the reason for death’s existence, the rituals that should be performed surrounding it, and the many possible destinations of the soul after departure from its earthly existence. While the ultimate goal is to transcend the need to return to life on earth, all Hindus believe they will be reborn into a future that is based primarily on their past thoughts and actions’.

 

Sushila was travelling back from visiting friends in Leeds when she was involved in a fatal road accident. She was travelling alone and both cars involved were a write-off. The police and ambulance crew said she was killed outright and wouldn’t have suffered which i thank God for. The other driver and passenger are in hospital, one in critical condition, the other, stable.

 

Her family are obviously devastated and a service will be held for her in the UK in two weeks time, after which, her body (that term makes it sound so impersonal), will be flown back to her family in Rajasthan for a traditional Hindu funeral. I will be unable to attend that service but will be going to the service here in two weeks time. I miss her so much already and can’t yet believe that she is no longer with us. They say ‘time is a great healer’ but that is of no comfort right now.

 

Sushila’s name actually means ‘a good charactered woman’…..how apt, how fitting, how appropriate for someone who devoted their short life to caring for others less fortunate than herself.

 

SUSHILA, MY DEAR FRIEND….REST IN PEACE XXX.

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