BOWING OUT?

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It’s been a while since I posted (again). I’m finding it more and more challenging to keep up with my blog, and to read my fellow WordPress friend’s blogs too. I’ve been writing here for almost five years now and have published no less than 344 posts. I checked this fact and was quite amazed that I’d been able to write so much.

When I first started writing it was all about my mental health and my history of abuse. I don’t need to go there anymore (thank goodness), and I thankfully, don’t live in that world now either.

I’ve moved on a long, long way since then. I’m busy – a never stop kind of busy which is fine by me. I’m finally enjoying my life and doing so many things that I enjoy and that are enriching my life; expanding my thoughts and opinions; bringing peace to my soul and joy to my heart. I am fortunate enough to be able to listen to music that I like and read books that interest me. I’m finally happy.

I’m still volunteering at the university, and I’m continuing my studies. I’m going to the gym regularly, and I see significant progress in my mobility. I’m able to walk a few steps unaided now, only indoors as it’s not safe for me to walk outdoors without support because my bones are so fragile that if I fell on the concrete, I’d possibly permanently damage myself. The last thing I need is to have to go back with my progress, so I’m ultra-ultra careful.

This is all leading up to the fact that I may have to bow out of the world of WordPress. I’ve tried (and managed for a short while) to write more regularly, but seem to always fail abysmally. I often burn the midnight oil, and I am in fact burning the candle at both ends. As it is, I’m writing this at three o’clock in the morning! Not good as I’ll regret not going to bed when I see the breaking of the sun.

I still so enjoy my writing, but somehow, it doesn’t seem right to pour my thoughts out on paper (or rather, on my laptop) and expect others to be interested when I cannot reciprocate this. And so, I’m seriously thinking of bowing out. Any constructive comments, views, and advice very welcome. Thank you, friends, Ellie x

A NEW START

sideways view girl with hair in bun blog

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

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

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

A new start?

 

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

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What’s in a name? My own name is important to me but perhaps not in the sense that most people would feel that their name means much to them.  I have changed my name quite a few times during my life. I feel I have needed to do this precisely because I’ve never had a solid sense of identity to represent the person I show to the world and the individual that I feel I am at a given phase in my life. Sometimes, I have changed my name to metaphorically, run away from myself, usually for some emotional reason.

I don’t give my birth or last name here because I want to retain the anonymity of my blog. I don’t share my blog or my blog details with any of my family or friends – only my readers and followers.

When I was a teenager my life changed very radically in that the sexual abuse I had suffered since toddlerhood finally ended. As the months went by and after the initial sense of trepidation wore off, I began to feel safer in my own body, and I decided I didn’t want to be called by my birth name anymore (I didn’t want to connect with that abused child inside).

I then begged my parents to let me change my name and eventually, they agreed that I could use my middle name and so at the age of seventeen, I went by that name. However, I can’t say I was terribly happy with that either, but it was as far as my mother and father were prepared to go, so I settled with that, at least, for the time being.

After I had married, I was free to go by whatever name I wanted. I chose carefully, not rashly nor hurriedly. I changed to suit who I felt I was at that point in my life. It goes back to that fundamental core lack of identity. During my young adult years and in the short time before I became a mother myself, I was Rachel and Jacqueline. But, I think I was still running away from myself as I was never really 100% happy with either of them. Of course, when I had my children, I kept my name, Jacqueline (although often abbreviated and then the spelling altered from time to time), more for their benefit than for mine and did so until they grew up and were no longer living at home. My life altered again then as I got used to living alone without a partner (I wad divorced by then) and without my children with me.

And so, as the subsequent years followed, I changed as we all do throughout the different stages of our lives. Then, finally, in 2014, I began writing this blog, and through the course of writing, I’ve discovered who I am inside. I’m Ellie. I should have always been Ellie – I’ve never felt so comfortable in my own skin. I love my ‘WordPress blog world’. I still don’t share it with people in my outside life. This is my reality; where I can honestly express myself freely. This is where it’s safe to share my secrets. I can write about what’s in my heart and what’s in my mind, and that’s exactly what I do.

At times like this, when I feel truly free, freed up in the course of my writing – in fact, then I have wings. I have wings and can fly. Perhaps, my next name (if I were going to have one), should be Tinkerbell! x  😉

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(Photo credits – imarcade.com and cartoonbucket.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

LOSING SIGNIFICANT OTHERS

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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.

STROKE – COMPASSIONATE LEAVE

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Life has had a nasty habit of throwing us curveballs now and then. That ball has certainly knocked me down many times, but I think the important thing is that it’s not how far I fall but whether I can get up again from there. That’s true for everybody at some time, but I feel like I’ve had to do an awful lot of climbing back up over the years.

I don’t feel sorry for myself though as we all have to cope with this experience we call life. I’ve had a significant knockdown just recently which is limiting the amount of time that I have to write my blog – not that you could ever really call me a prolific writer – I’d say more a sporadic writer.

Right now, things are tough and a real challenge. My mum was sick before I wrote my last post – she was in a local hospital with pneumonia. That was bad enough. She is elderly and becoming rather frail now, and illnesses and accidents are becoming a common occurrence now, in her 87th year.

A week later while still on the ward, Mum was found collapsed in the bathroom – she’d had a stroke. The very thing she had always dreaded and said: “It’ll never happen to me”. I thought, until this event, perhaps somewhat naively she was going to be right – that she would live to an even riper old age than she was already.

An ambulance rushed her to the main City Hospital. A friend took me there later that day, and it was a real shock. There was my mum, laying almost helplessly unable to do anything. The whole of one side of her body was lifeless. She couldn’t move her arm or her leg; she couldn’t sit up – not even with support – she lurched sideways into a sad heap and had no balance. Her face had dropped so that her eyelid drooped and what was left of her smile had been taken away.

Two weeks later, she still hasn’t made much progress in her movements. Her speech is slurred, very soft and infrequent as her cognitive function has also been affected so that her brain is working much more slowly to process information. She’s unable to swallow properly so is on a diet of small portions of rather undignified, pureed food which she still manages to pull a face at in an odd way and I just know she’s thinking, “Why am I being given baby food?” I can’t begin to imagine how awful it must be for her to be trapped inside her mind without being able to express herself clearly or barely communicate.

Needless to say, her appetite is almost non-existent, and I can’t say I blame her when food has to be spoonfed into her now crooked mouth. Pureed shepherd’s pie and carrots, having been liquidised within an inch of their life, wouldn’t appeal much to me either.

I am travelling up to the City Hospital every other day (a journey by train in my wheelchair, George of two-and-a-half hours each way). I spend as long as I can with my mum but then return home along with the hoards of workers turning out from their places of work to head homeward. Travelling with an electric wheelchair is not fun when all around me are rushing, pushing and shoving to get home after a long day or a long shift.

As you will have gathered, I might not be able to make an appearance very often at the moment, so please excuse me if I have been unable to read, like or comment on your blog. I have only had the time to sort through the most important emails and phone calls, and it’s likely to be that way for some time. Thank you for your understanding, my friends 😦

‘THE BORDERLINE’ AND FACEBOOK

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BPD and Facebook! Not a good combination when I’m feeling vulnerable. I’d posted the above image on a mental health support page and 51 people ‘liked’ it but not one truly got the message – that I really wasn’t ok and was in need of a hug, all be it virtual. One ‘friend’ cut me off altogether. Such is the capricious nature of Facebook. But, when I’m feeling low, the last thing I need is what to me feels like a ‘kick in the teeth’.

BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder); sometimes referred to as EUPD (Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder) is now being referred to by my local mental health team as EID which stands for Emotional Intensity Disorder because people such as myself, feel their emotions far more deeply than the majority of the population. I speak for myself, of course.

The first paragraph, above, is just an example of how easily I get affected and upset. That meaningless, minor event has been enough to send me from feeling happy and content with my world to now, feeling alone, hurt and totally rejected, and although I know I get things ‘all out of proportion’, as some would say, I feel it … I really feel it, and it hurts. It hurts, just like if someone had punched me in the back. Emotional pain is just as great as physical pain. In fact, speaking as someone who has a great deal of both, I would say that emotional pain is harder for me to bear than physical pain.

TWO DAYS LATER – I’ve been watching some YouTube videos on all sorts of topics today including mental health issues. One or two videos were quite helpful. However, I saw one that made me angry. I don’t mean the type of ‘raging anger’ that is meant to be ‘typical’ of all people with BPD but isn’t necessarily so. I mean very justifiable anger, I think … you tell me ….

Why? Because one particular five-minute video continually referred to me and other folk with BPD as ‘The Borderline‘, as if I were an object of curiosity in a museum. If we all took that attitude, then would we call other people with illnesses such as pneumonia or cancer by their diagnosis, i.e. how is ‘The Pneumonia‘ today, or, have you spoken to ‘The Cancer‘ this morning? I think not. Am I being unreasonable in asking to be spoken of respectfully, and not just seen as my diagnosis, but, as a warm, thoughtful and reasonably intelligent human being that I try to be to the best of my ability?

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Image courtesy of ibtimes.com

Well … back to where I started – Facebook (friend or foe?). It has its problems; there’s no doubt about that – it certainly gets a mixed review from me. I have made ‘friends’, but I have also lost a few. I’ve read some good articles and posts, and some dreadful, misinformative posts too. I’ve joined and left a few groups over the time I’ve been with FB (far too long, I’m beginning to think). It can bring people together but it probably also causes more wars between them too. I’ve deleted and deactivated my account more times than I can remember and for various reasons but I’m always sucked back into its vices after a few weeks (fickle by name, fickle by nature). 

Social media, in general, has a hell of a lot to answer for; not just Facebook, but also, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus+, Instagram, YouTube, Tumblr etc (I have to say I’m not with many of them, though). What about WordPress here, and Blogger etc – do you consider them to be social media in some way too? After all, we have followers that stay, followers that go. Some participate – some sit in the back row and watch – however, both are fine with me. I write because I enjoy it – sometimes I make sense; other times, not so. I have made sense in the past, though – I have written two books a good while ago, both more serious poetry (some of which I’ve shared over the years). Finally, I’ve also been known to rant. However, just now, I think I am mortal danger of beginning to ramble so here I will stop and bid you adieu 🙂 

CONFUSED OR JUST CONFUSED?

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God … I am so confusing at times. And perhaps that statement is confusing in itself. Is this my exasperation speaking or is it my faith?

I am aware that I have written about two strongly opposing sets of feelings or opinions within two blog posts and only two weeks apart – one spoken of in ‘A Stronger Woman (I Will Rise)’, and later in ‘Forgiveness (A Different Tack)’ and this may cause you confusion and irritation. If you find it difficult, stop and imagine how difficult it is for me as the thinker of these thoughts.

I’ve mentioned previously, I have a tendency towards impulsivity, caused mainly by my BPD although I don’t entirely blame my mental health status. As my son so rightly put it, “we’re all responsible for our own actions”, whether they be wise or foolish, and mine, more often than not, when made in haste are the latter. I have a penchant for opening my big mouth, wide and then sticking my size four foot right in it.

I wrote that first post when I was extremely enraged, almost to the point of being murderous. I don’t regret anything I said: Nor do I regret anything about my second post. In fact, it did at least, give me some peace in thinking about handing it over to God.

However, I often write, late at night; publish it and then wake up in the morning thinking, “perhaps, I should have slept on that overnight”. The same thing applies when I am trawling through the Amazon website before I go to bed – (this is asking for trouble as I usually hit the ‘Buy with one-click’ button as readily as I hit the ‘Publish’ button). Not always a good idea. At least with Amazon, if I order yet another CD when my CD player no longer functions (and I’ve yet to grasp the concept of MP3 players, i-Pods etc with or without docking stations), I can send it back to Amazon whereas it’s very difficult to suck back in a post that I’ve launched into the WordPress ether.

I realise that adding this extra post may cause even more confusion and perhaps I shouldn’t have started this conversation in the first place. Oh, God … I am so confusing at times. But, am I speaking to God and expressing my concern about my behaviour or, or am I just at my wit’s end and crying out to the world in my vexation? Or, am I just whittling on about something of absolutely no interest to anyone other than myself and do I now dare press the Publish button?

On the other hand, there is that  new CD of my favourite band that I’ve been wanting, reduced from $18.99 to only $9.99 on Amazon – and it’s free delivery….

“RIGHT SAID FRED”!

This is just a very brief post to say sorry to any of my readers who are fed up with ‘watching this space’ while I’ve been faffing about (meaning messing about) over the last few days trying to find a new personality for my page.

Well, here I am, sort of established but still having ‘issues’ with my widgets!! I think it’s taken me two days of trial and error and even now, I’m not 100% satisfied with my new image so anyone with any suggestions (preferably polite and preferably helpful) will be welcomed. I’m a bit of a novice at getting blog pages just right although I have to say WordPress do try to make it fairly simple even for a simple soul such as me, to get it even halfway right! I’m still not sure I am satisfied so you will have to forgive me the possibility of a few more days ‘faffing about’!

This short, comic and very old YouTube video just about sums up my efforts!! 😀

Thank you for bearing with me to all of those who have done so. Love Ellie xxx 🙂