Food for thought

When Life gives you lemons,make lemonade

As with most people, these past couple of years have been challenging and has affected my outlook on life. This hasn’t been as straightforward as I might have expected. Once I was able to get my head around the seriousness of the worldwide situation, I vowed to use my enforced lockdown wisely. I intended to learn new skills, get fitter, become more in touch with nature and generally work towards becoming a better person. Sounds familiar? Yes, a pledge made by many and like them, I too failed.

Initially, I was relieved and delighted at how communities were rallying round, helping one another, but as time passed, so did the weird euphoria that accompanied my gut wrenching fear.

With the planet seemingly heading for disaster, Brexit making life more challenging and the world in the grip of a Pandemic, It was me I was feeling sorry for. Angels of mercy ( medical & general public) were working every available hour, checking on and helping the sick and lonely, raising funds, supporting food banks and collecting food and clothing for those in need and much, much more. Many gave their time, after a full day’s work. I felt useless. Not only did I need to rely on outsiders for help, my health was steadily worstening, life had lost it’s promise. But far worse was to come, as my mood nose-dived. Negativity began to seep into my life. Without a positive outlook, I knew I was likely to be jeopardising my mental health.

All around, volunteers worked tirelessly, but their great work was spoilt by those who were only concerned whether they could possibly manage without their holidays in the sun. Their call changed from ‘Let me help’ to ‘What about me?’ I was sickened, how could some people lose compassion so quickly? But what did I do to try to improve the situation? How did I react? Rather than try to compensate for the uncharitable comments and selfish people, I wallowed in seas of misery and gladly shut myself away.

The following months were bleak. I attempted to shroud myself in my writing, but like all other attempts at creativity, I failed spectacularly. Regardless of what was happening in the outside world, I felt I had no legitimate reason to be here any longer.

Somehow I dragged myself through the monotony of limited daily life. I returned to my voluntary work, albeit in a restricted way, but once home, the dark clouds would come rolling in. Tears came with ease, but were awash with guilt. What had I got to feel so bad about? I’d caught Covid early on, but had recovered easily. I hadn’t lost any loved ones. I had a roof over my head and money to buy food and pay my bills. For me, nothing monumental had changed. I was fortunate, but couldn’t see it, which worsened my self guilt.

At one point I dug into my limited savings, giving more than I could afford to various charities in the hope of feeling more worthwhile. Although I’d helped a bit, I convinced myself that I was attempting to buy my way out of the situation, so didn’t get any sense of achievement, instead, more guilt. Why was I alive while others died?

Then the lightbulb moment came.

A tearful appointment with a caring GP and a change of medication, to relieve my physical pain, made a lot of difference. Now more able to meditate again, at one session, I got the sense of being given a spiritual ‘kick up the bottom’ and being told to buck up my ideas. I was taken aback at first, a bit insulted really, but the feeling intensified, rather than reduced. I reluctantly forced myself to take a hard look at reality. When my eyes were free from their shields, I realised friends had been facing serious problems, illnesses and personal dilemmas. On Facebook, I’d become dependant on a feed of cute kittens and amusing cats to keep my mind away from the real world. The ‘spiritual voice’ had been right. I needed to DO something positive before I could reap the rewards of feeling it. But how? What major issue could I challenge, or good work could I do? Another meditation, another reality check. I didn’t need to do anything newsworthy. Looking in on elderly neighbours, chatting with them, returning their calls if I’d missed them, remembering to ask how they or their families were, how the operation went, did their partner get the job, was the child happy, back at school. All seemingly small and insignificant things, but the recipients always seemed grateful. I opened my heart and welcomed new friends as I would, lifelong ones. I increased my hours at the charity shop, only staying away when my health was too bad. I stopped looking at myself and began looking at others. Wearing masks had, bizarelly, made many of us feel more invisible,. Unable to see their features, I focussed on their eyes and made sure a smile could be seen through mine. Once the spotlight was taken away from my miseries, I was able to use it to brighten other’s lives. I’m no saint, or miracle worker, but for some reason, these little gestures seemed to help people, including myself.

I’m happy to report that positivity has found it’s way back into my heart and shows no sign of leaving anytime soon. Not every day is good, in fact there are times when life feels very cruel and unfair, but every evening, the sun sets and rises with each and every dawn.

I’m trying to revel in each day as if it could be my last, because one day, it will be. I’ve acknowledged, then packed away hurts from the past, now they can only cause pain if I allow it – and I don’t. My life is simple, nothing exhilarating, but enough for me to find contentment. I’m so grateful to realise how lucky I am.

I’m fortunate that I can still afford to buy lemons – Lemonade anyone?

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

I’d be happy if you’d ‘Like’ and ‘Follow’ my posts . It can feel lonely writing with no-one to read my words.

Health, Peace and love to one and all

Rosie xx

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Food for thought, General ramblings, Shared Musings.

Searching for my Muse.

For many months, I’ve been attempting to write something worthwhile.

I haven’t expected to create a masterpiece, just a little something to be proud of. Words from the heart. It isn’t much to expect, is it?

Writing has always been a huge part of my life. No matter what the situation, whether to praise, chastise, or apologise, putting words on paper has always been my favoured method of communication. At school, English was my best subject, I could be assured of getting a good grade – not top of the class, you understand, but always on, or very near the podium.

I wasn’t a natural academic, facts and figures disappeared almost as soon as I’d been taught them. It was dogged persistence that kept me in the upper realms of the top stream. Oh how I wanted to be like my best friend, Lauren. It seemed that no matter how little effort she put in, her name was always at the top. ( I’m doing her a disservice, she was extremely bright and deserved the top billing, I was just jealous!) Only once in our entire school life, did I take the crown from her, but if I’m honest, she was unwell, so I guess that doesn’t count. She was a lovely girl, but suffered dreadfully with nerves. I still miss her.

I was fortunate to be blessed with the gift of creativity, with most forms of self expression came easily. I loved to draw, sing, dance, act, cook, work with clay, but best of all, by far, was my ability to write.

Unfortunately, due to family circumstances, I was unable to go on to further education, but never let go of the dream that one day, I would go to college and get the necessary qualifications, to enable me to pursue a career in the world of words.

However, it wasn’t to be.

I was destined to become a full-time housewife and mother to a large family. It seems ludicrous now that I was unable to do both, but many decades ago, a lot of women remained chained to the kitchen sink, needing to rely on their male for permission to step away. I loved being a mother, but secretly wished for the day when I could show another side of myself.

The year’s rolled by, as they tend to do, with each one seemingly passing more quickly than the last. In time, all dreams and ambitions deserted me, I felt the well of creativity had become drained.

A saving grace was my mountain of journals, where I would pour out my innermost feelings. I would feel a rush of excitement as words came tumbling onto the page, capturing my emotions, whatever they may be.

Another avenue, way back in the mists of time, was letter writing. I loved it. I would write multiple pages, usually with a fountain pen, barely coming up for air until I had finished. I would be nervous as I addressed the envelope and trembled as I dropped into the dark realms of the post box. I would be on tenterhooks until finally, I’d hear the pleasing plop, as a reply landed on the doormat.

I miss letters. Emails and texts are useful but don’t give the same pleasure.

Throughout the decades, my Muse would appear for brief periods, but it wasn’t until after getting divorced, that I allowed myself the luxury of time for writing. Initially, it was as therapy, then, before I realised what was happening, it became an integral part of my life.  For a while, I wrote a column in the local newspaper, focussing on mental health. Soon after, I formed a community creative writing group, began writing a blog,  published a couple of (badly edited) ebooks – ( we’ve all had to start somewhere), before I moved on to novels,

I’ve dabbled with poetry, but my true love is penning short stories – flash fiction, micro fiction, I love it all, in fact, the shorter, the better.

Then it all ended!

I’ve tried to rekindle the flame, but it’s stubbornly refusing to co-operate. It hasn’t been entirely snuffed out but is smouldering, rather than burning bright. It isn’t for want of trying, but no matter what I do, for some reason, my Muse refuses to return. I’ve called, begged, pleaded, wept and wailed, but nothing is being created, except frustration.

I’ve chosen to write this blog tonight, in the hope of kicking myself up the proverbial. I hope it does the trick, It isn’t only ’writer’s block’, it’s any form of creativity. Wherever my Muse is, I believe it’s teasing me, testing me. I’m not short of ideas, putting them onto paper, that’s my problem.

Of course, If I’m honest, I know there are a few reasons for it.

The first, possibly the biggest has been the dreaded Covid19.

So many times, I’ve wanted to write a blog, but haven’t wanted to jump on the bandwagon of the media and populace, debating how, where and why is it happening? Where will it all end? etc etc. There are only so many ways that the same subject can be rehashed. It’s been such an dreadful time for many and certainly testing, even for a fatalist like myself. I didn’t feel I wanted to add to the burden.

My physical health has also been a drain on my energy, adding unwanted stress. However, the reality is that I’ve become so deeply entrenched in my inability to create, that I’ve more or less stopped trying. I’m cringing with embarrassment, as I write those words.

I’d given up!

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But that isn’t the end of the story.

My Muse isn’t far away, it’s been patiently waiting for me to accept the blatantly obvious, I need to do the hard work, no one else can do it for me. So here it is, my defiant blog. It might not be world news, but for me, it’s a true breakthrough.

Blocks of any kind, are like brick walls, designed to prevent us from moving forward. However, very little is insurmountable. We can sit and bemoan our fate, or can chip away at those walls, little by little, until finally, we breakthrough.

Giving up isn’t a long-term option. This blog is for you, my friends, supporters and followers, you all deserve better – so better you shall have.

There is a likelihood of a new lay-out for this site, but please bear with me for a bit longer, my old brain isn’t as sharp as it was. Technology and myself aren’t the closest of friends, so it will probably be a matter of trial and error, but I promise you this –

I will succeed!

Rosie x

…………………………………………………………………………………..

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

If you’d like to support me in my journey to become re-aquainted with my Muse, please ’follow’ me, perhaps share it, I’d be very grateful. I love writing for myself, but it can be a lonely existence. Knowing there are people out there, reading it, makes it all worth while.

Feel free to comment, or message, you’ll find my details in the contact section.

Until next time,

Live the best life you can. Stay safe, keep well.

Rosie xxx

Food for thought, Mental health & various addictions, Mental health awareness

Mental Health Insights

Once again, it’s many months since I kept my promise and returned to writing my blog. There are dozens of excuses I could use, but realistically, life just got in the way.

Winter is a notoriously bad time for me. If there is going to be a downturn in my mood or capabilities, the cold, dark months are guaranteed to host them. I don’t need to tell you that this year’s spring promise, faded rather dramatically, with almost the entire world affected by the dreadful Coronavirus (Covid19). Is there anyone on this planet who isn’t affected by it, in some way? I live alone, in the southwest of England, where, thankfully, we haven’t been too badly hit, never-the-less, we’ve had to completely alter our lives. Being in my late 60s, with a host of health issues, I’m one of the many, told to ‘shield’ for at least 12weeks. Thankfully, I’m used to being on my own so it hasn’t caused me too much problem. I’m fortunate to live in a wonderfully supportive area and have people to get my shopping etc, so apart from the inconvenience, I’ve managed quite well.

We’ve been blessed with amazing spring, having bright sunshine streaming through the windows, has certainly been a bonus. Like many, I vowed to use this time wisely, but reality has been very different. I’ve launched into frenzied cleaning and reorganizing, only for enthusiasm to wane, almost as quickly as it began. I’ve attempted to rekindle my passion for writing, for art and other forms of creativity, all to fall foul of apathy. With my voluntary work halted and nothing in my diary, there is very little structure to my week. Daily routines have gone, meals and sleeping are interspersed with far too much time on social media. Wanting to break the spiral, I’ve thrown myself into baking. It’s years since I’ve cooked for a family, but unfortunately, once I get my mixing bowls and recipe books out, I forget I’m not feeding the five thousand! With my freezer bulging at the seams, the only solution has been to eat the delicious offerings myself. Although enjoyable, it’s not a healthy pastime! I’ve also done more than my fair share of thinking. With no desire to sit glued to the television, I’ve spent many hours reassessing my life. It’s certainly been a roller-coaster, with extreme highs and lows. Regret has mingled with happy memories. As for my ambitions, very few materialised.

IT’s OK NOT TO BE OK

One constant throughout my life, has been a struggle with my mental health, I can’t recall a time when it wasn’t problematic. Following divorce and moving to Wells, I took the decision to be open about my mental health, in the hope that it could help reduce the stigma that is often shown to those with mental ill-health. Being so forthright hasn’t been welcomed by everyone, but for me, it has felt the right thing to do. One thing to remember though, this was my decision and isn’t right for everyone. It’s important to do what feels right for you. But whether you speak up, or stay silent, remember – mental health illness is not something you chose – it is not your fault. However you deal with it, be kind to yourself.

Until next time, take care, stay safe and remember you are loved

Rosie xxx.

Food for thought

When Apathy Rules

My life has consisted of many lengthy periods of indecision. I’ve excused myself by placing the blame on many outside factors, my health (both physical and mental,) family and general life challenges and now, more recently, it’s been easy to blame Covid.

But in reality, these aren’t always to blame.

Often it’s apathy, pure and simple.

Making excuses can easily become a way of life, It’s easier to blame anything, rather than admit we don’t want to do something. I’m happy to admit my mistakes, but don’t like the fact that apathy is one of my worst.

Elongated periods of isolation have given plenty of time for self-analysis. Like many, I vowed to use this to my advantage. I was determined to finish editing my moth-balled novels, decluttering was high on my to do list, as was getting more fit, I even chose (& bought) an instrument that I’ve been eager to learn to play.

I’ve learnt a lot about myself, much of it positive, but also more negative than I’d like. I can’t, or rather, mustn’t ignore them. One recurring issue for me is a fear of making the wrong decision. For many hours/days/weeks, I’ll ponder over the pros and cons of a situation, then, just as my decision is made, I’ll do a complete U turn. This has resulted in me making many disastrous choices.

Several years ago, when I was diagnosed with EUPD ( Emotionally unstable personality disorder,) after the initial shock, I felt vindicated. It was all my condition, I didn’t need to take responsibility for the mess I’d found myself in. My failings were the result of my mental health disorder. Although I’d been trapped by poor decisions and had no way out, it was okay, it wasn’t my fault. Poor little old me. Boo-boo.

Yes, I’m making light of a important condition, BPD and EUPD are serious, dreadful to live with and need careful treatment, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. However, I need to face reality, it hasn’t been responsible for every mistake I’ve ever made.

The world over, people are faced with life changing decisions. Many, thrive on the challenge, others struggle, yet still follow-through with their choice. Then there are those like myself, who will do all they can to put the decision off, at least for a while.

So when does indecision morph into apathy?

Who knows? Too much spare time is undeniably an enemy. It’s no fallacy that if you need something done, ask a busy person, whereas someone slumped on the sofa, is unlikely to be first in line to offer help.

I’m not proud to admit I live with apathy, so why have I made it public? Because I want other sufferers to know that you’re not alone.

So is there a way out of this. Yes.

Is it easy? Not necessarily.

Writing this blog is one step on the way to my recovery, I can’t tell you how many good ideas I’ve had, but didn’t put on paper. Consequently, the inspiration soon fades, it has to stop!

This morning, with a Zoom meeting planned, I found myself worrying how I could make the kitchen look less untidy,( knowing that other zoomers can see what’s behind you, can be a nightmare.) I struggled with how to make the biggest impact, until it hit me – stop procrastinating, just wash the dishes and clean the room! Feeling sheepish and rather ashamed, I rolled up my sleeves and began to wash the dishes. It didn’t take long to tidy up. Sipping a well earned cup of tea, I glanced over my shoulder and felt proud of my achievement, but why hadn’t I done it sooner? With renewed enthusiasm, I got the hoover out and set about doing jobs that I’d put off for so long. By the time I sat down to the Zoom meeting, my cup of tea was cold, but it was worth it. An inner sense of satisfaction was far more rewarding.

So to anyone who’s being plagued by the demon apathy, don’t sit and worry about how or when to do something, just try to tackle the task, there and then.

Like happiness, apathy is a choice.

We all, deserve kindness, including to and from ourselves. If we aren’t well enough, or are genuinely happy with how things are, that’s fine. Life shouldn’t be a continual struggle. If an opportunity for a bit of fun shows itself, take it. Play with your kids, the dishes can wait. However, if you find yourself wanting to watch a repeat of a show you’ve seen umpteen times before, perhaps try doing something more positive instead.

Depression, anxiety and fear all feed on apathy. Laughter is it’s enemy.

We all need self-care and love, to enable us to help ourselves and others.

Please take care, stay safe and be happy.

Rosie x

Food for thought

Four years later…

Hi to old friends, new friends and those not yet convinced.

Apologies for another stalled attempt at posting regularly, but perhaps this time I’ll actually succeed.

After several unsuccessful attempts at completing a new post, I’ve realised that It might be a good time to repost something that I wrote four years ago on another page. I came across it while trying to re-aquaint myself with the ins and outs of using WordPress. Seeing it took me by surprise, I’d forgotten all about it. It seems very poignant, that after the inflated high that I was experiencing at that time, I’ve hit the ground, hard, and am currently clawing my way back up.

As most people with any experience of mental health issues know, complete recovery is often little more than wishful thinking. I had convinced myself that all I needed was willpower, (which I lack at the best of times). Unfortunately, life had other ideas and saw that I needed a lesson in humility, which was then doled out in spades! However, with this lesson, there was a carrot as well as a stick. By meeting so many wonderful, genuine people. I’ve been suitably rewarded for pulling myself out of the hole and not just throwing in the towel.

Rosie x

The following post was written in 2016. That was then, this is now, yet still the words are relevant. Re-reading it has been a good reminder for me.

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When my companion was a kitten, he enjoyed contorting himself into weird & wonderful situations. However I didn’t. As far back as I can recall, I’ve felt out of place, uncomfortable. I just didn’t fit, wherever I happened to be – that is until now!   Now my life is very different. My journey has been a very long, lonely one, filled with a maze of twists, turns, dead ends & feelings of entrapment.  The fact that I have survived this long has been reason enough to want to tell more about my story.  It is one of bleakness , yet somehow I have come out of it, at the age of almost 64, smiling, filled with contentment. Unfortunately, not everyone is so lucky. Far too many people can’t admit they have a mental health problem. It’s not surprising. There is still a huge amount of stigma attached.

Living with mental health issues is the cause of huge daily stress. Finding the strength to keep going, attempting to ignore the stares, sniggers, finger pointing, nasty comments and worse. At times it feels insurmountable. They are forced to deal with their demons alone, often putting on a mask of happiness, rather than admit what they are coping with.

In the difficult world of people living with poor mental health, waiting & hoping for the time when we are no longer regarded as second-class citizens, feels little more than a utopian dream.

Although things are moving in the right direction, it is painfully slow. It seems that the only way to make change happen, is to start it for ourselves – each & everyone of us. Whatever our social standing, whether we are affected or not, we all need to chip away at the stigma that exists. We need to be offering friendship, understanding, empathy and compassion, not just to those closest to us, but to EVERYONE!

Let’s all work together to be a kinder, more understanding community.

We must all do our bit, not expect someone else to instigate those changes.

Put in a simple mantra: “LET IT BEGIN WITH ME”

Yes, I sound like one of the hippy, peace & love brigade – because that’s exactly what I am! I make no apologies for it. Kindness empowers us, spite & ignorance certainly doesn’t.

I try to practice what I preach, quite often I make a massive mess of things, but still I keep on trying.

How about you?

Rosie x

Food for thought

A Stitch in time

  • A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
  • Better late than never.
  • A picture paints a thousand words.
  • Change is as good as a rest.
  • A watched pot never boils. 
  •  Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

I’m sure that most of us have heard these and the many other proverbs. You may even say them without thinking about it, I know I do.

My Grandmother used a lot of proverbs, one of her most quoted was ‘A stitch in time, saves nine.’  As a child, I though she meant it literally, it made sense since she was teaching me to knit and sew. It’s not surprising that I took it at face value.

[ If it’s of interest, It seems the phrase originated in France, during the 1700’s, and was first recorded in English in Thomas Fuller’s book of Gnomologia (1732) ]

But I digress…

Most (if not all) proverbs were intended to teach the masses in an easily remembered format. However, I wonder if any of them thought about alternate meanings?

The subject of this blog invaded my thoughts, without any form of invite. It wasn’t one of my considered subjects, but never-the-less, it has refused to go away until I put it ‘out there’. So for the sake of my sanity, I shall attempt to quell it’s nagging.

A stitch in time, saves nine.

Scenario 1

In our hectic daily lives, how often do we put off doing things, telling ourselves we haven’t got time? Frequently, even if concerned about their health, many people will use a variety of excuses to avoid seeing their doctor. Even when the ailment becomes more worrying, they ignore it, doing anything to avoid hearing the truth. However, this can easily back-fire. The delay could mean that a simple, easy to treat niggle  has become a more serious problem, with all that entails. Without a proper diagnosis, how can any of us know? Why do we procrastinate over something as serious as our health? Use that first*stitch* when needed, there is nothing to gain by delay.

Scenario 2

Maybe you misunderstand what someone is telling you and you get angry. Your temper rockets skyward, preventing the unwitting recipient the opportunity to clarify what they were saying. The argument gets personal, with you hurling hurtful insults. Later, once the fiery rage has faded, you reflect and realise you were in the wrong. You owe the other person an apology, do you make your peace immediately or avoid it, hoping it will resolve itself? It won’t. In most cases, delayed apologies are less likely to be accepted.

Scenario 3

How many of us have bumped into an old acquaintance – you know the face but can’t recall their name? They are chatting as if you were long-lost friends, what do you do? The sensible solution would be to apologise, then explain and ask them to remind you. But courage is a strange being, it can tell you it will be easier to bluff your way through the conversation. So you smile and chat, walking on quicksand, hoping you don’t give the game away. ( I fall into this category). You might breath a sigh of relief when they leave,  but what if you meet them again? How much more difficult is it going to be then?

Scenario 4

For no specific reason, you are late for a meeting, do you make a simple apology, or concoct an elaborate web of lies? While the fanciful tales might ease your conscience, is your memory really that good? You will be walking on egg-shells, scared of being caught out. And what happens if you are?

Scenario 5

One of the most difficult and distressing situations, is meeting someone you know has been recently bereaved. You don’t want to speak to them because you’re nervous about saying the wrong thing. Few of us can instinctively find the right words, (if there is such a thing) but avoidance, perhaps by crossing the street, doesn’t help anyone, nor does it solve anything. You’ll still need to have that first conversation sometime, you can’t avoid it forever. Pushing through your discomfort by focusing on the other person’s needs is kinder and easier, even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time.

Nearly there…

Scenario 6

Relationships can be a ticking time-bomb. Even in a fairly close partnership, it’s likely that at some point the boat will be rocked and by the law of averages, at some point, the blame will be well and truly yours. You’ve hurt the person you love most, they are upset, the atmosphere is dreadful. You want things back as they were but you also want to save face, besides why you should make the first move? They were to blame as well! You realise that you need to talk through your problem but your inner coward is insisting you avoid the truth at all costs. So instead you snipe and bitch, hoping that your partner apologises first. Problems can easily escalate and there is no way of knowing how much damage is being done. While there is love between you, there is no place for pride. Put your partner first. Using the *stitch* in time, can make the difference between healing the hurt, or allowing your world to collapse around you.

““““““““““““`

The key in all of these scenarios, is one word, or rather, two – ‘I’m sorry.’ It’s a simple little phrase, but said with humility, it can be the necessary *stitch* that repairs the damage. It can hold things together, even bridging the widest chasm. It’s up to you whether you use it.

In the context of this proverb, I believe ‘one stitch’ means to face up to your problem as soon as possible. Delaying tactics might render your sewing abilities futile.

Sometimes, the remaining eight stitches won’t be enough.

““““““““““““

 

This is my interpretation but you may think differently, I’d be interested to hear other ideas.

Rosie x

 

 

Food for thought

Why me?

I began this blog, bursting with positivity. I intended to write a post, at least weekly, hoping to inspire others, but despite good intentions, I wasn’t organised enough. Posts were written sporadically, occasionally two in one day, then perhaps a month or so before another. It wasn’t what I’d intended.

I was filled with recriminations, yet no matter much I blamed myself, nothing changed. I told myself I was a failure. I considered giving up, but before I could make that decision, life set it’s own rules. A succession of personal and health difficulties took away my choice. After a period in hospital, I expected things to return to normal (or what passes for normal in my world) within a few weeks, yet somehow, it’s been almost almost 18 months.

Since that period I’ve been unable to write anything worthwhile. My books, short stories, even my newspaper column fell by the wayside. Many times I’ve tried to find my muse, yet it seemed to have deserted me.

Already in the throws of deep depression, I felt bereft. Why couldn’t I write? It had been my coping strategy, helping me make sense of the world, but for some reason, I was left stranded. My self-esteem and confidence were dragging along the floor. Life seemed pointless. Two years previously, I’d been riding high. I live with EUBPD (emotionally unstable borderline personality disorder) so life can be a rollercoaster but this felt different. A long battle with DWP over my PIP entitlement had left me frail and exhausted, a mild heart attack soon followed. There was no point in writing- I had nothing interesting to say. My depression worsened, yet I couldn’t see that it was probably the cause of my writing block.
It took anti-depressants, good friends and a lengthy period of counselling with a wonderful psychologist before I faced reality.

I’m not Super Woman.

No matter what I’d like to be, I’m a disabled woman in my late 60s, living alone, doing my best to make a good life in difficult circumstances. Once I reconciled myself to those simple facts, things began to make sense. The fog began to clear.

There is nothing to prevent me from writing. I may not be Shakespeare or Wordsworth, but I have a gift and people tell me that my words help them, furthermore, my disastrous life experiences mean I have plenty to share with the world. So here I am, back again, writing my first blog in an absolute age. I’m a little rusty and not without a bucketful of nerves, but I’m doing my best.

Once I’m back in the swing of things, I’ll attempt to post regularly, but won’t heap unnecessary pressure on myself this time.

We aren’t given a life rule book, we just make it up as we go along. No one has any other choice. A fortunate few seem to have a comparatively easy ride, sailing through life with barely a blip, while others are constantly on the verge of collapsing under the weight of responsibility. Allowing the pressure to suffocate us is futile.

As far as I know, none of us has superpowers.

In life, some have been dealt a good hand, others not, but while some thrive on stress, others can barely cope. Yet even in the hardest lives, there is something positive to grasp.

We can’t all be highly successful or wealthy, yet we can still be proud of ourselves. Almost certainly you have a special talent. Are you shaking your head?

Let me show you…

Are you reliable?

A good friend?

Perhaps you are creative?

Are you extremely patient with children or the elderly?

Do people turn to you in a crisis?

Is your shoulder always available to cry on?

Are you loving and caring?

Perhaps you gave a natural affinity with animals?

Do you volunteer to help, or raise money for charities?

Are you passionate about the environment?

The list is endless. You might not find it easy to blow your own trumpet, but that doesn’t take away from your success. If even one person truly cares about you, you are a winner.

If you believe you’re failing in some aspect of life, don’t allow it to define you. Illness or circumstance can knock any of us off balance, but it isn’t the end. Lick your wounds if you need to, then get back up and continue your fight. For you, that might mean quietly, perhaps behind the scenes. Do it your way. As long as you don’t trample on others, how you get through your life is unique to you. You might be overlooked, even loved ones may fail to recognise your positive attributes, but don’t let that throw you off course.

You are a wonderful, unique person. Even if you think no one else believes in you – believe in yourself. Stoke the fires to keep your shining light burning brightly.

You are worthy, just as I am. We deserve the best possible life. It’s there for us, we just need to grasp it.

If you want life to change, you need to change it. If you sit and feel sorry for yourself (as I did), opportunities will pass you by.

Remember, success doesn’t need to be measured by income or status.

A good, kind person us worth far, far more.

Don’t just dream it. Live it. Remember, you have the world in your hands. Cherish it.

Rosie x

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Food for thought, Mental health & various addictions

Decisions – the cycle of doubt.

With Ill health and constant pain taking it’s toll on me, I’ve been forced to rethink my life. I love where I live, however my home is a second floor flat, which is no longer practical. I made the decision to move to somwhere more suitable.

Choice made – or so I thought.

Apartment on the market, decision made, I told friends & neighbours. Bad move.  From then has followed a concentrated effort to make me change my mind. It’s wonderful to be appreciated & told how much I’m needed & will be missed but it made a difficult decision even more challenging. Eventually the pressure got to me. I gave in.

Second choice – stay where I belong.

Estate Agency duly notified about my decision to withdraw my property from sale, I felt saddened yet relieved. New plans took shape. I couldn’t afford to buy a suitable property nearby so had to consider how life could be simplified whilst still here. With careful budgeting there would be ways to make things easier for myself. I’d need to give up my voluntary job & at least one of my groups but that would allow me time to rest and relax. Yes, good decision. But on the other hand…….

Yet another rethink.

An elderly friend bluntly told me how frustrating it was to see me procrastinating so much. She was right of course. Generally when I make a decision, I see it through, so why is it so different this time?

Fear, pure and simple. Nor fear of moving but of making the wrong decision.

Friends have been giving helpful advice about being careful, apparently due to my age, relocation could be risky. I might not make new friends. I may be lonely. I’d be throwing away a good social circle. Would it be wise? Doubts began to multiply. The infernal inner dialogue got me in such a muddle that I was no longer able to focus on the best solution. New friends continued to enter my life, my groups continued to flourish. Surely everyone was right? Leaving would be foolhardy…….

Tossing the dice.

Just as I felt brow-beaten into a forced decision, I realised that there is no perfect solution. I can stay, maintain friendships but live in an unsuitable environment, or I can take the risk and move away, alone but to a more disabled friendly location. Either way there will be gains & losses. So how do I decide?

I chose to offer my dilemma up to the Universe & now await the answer.

I set a date in which to remove my property from sale if no buyer appears and will trust that whichever way it goes will be right for me. It isn’t a cop-out, I could force the decision, keep reducing my price until I eventually sell, or can put my trust in the Universe & just wait to see what happens. The coming few weeks will be frustrating, not knowing if I’m leaving or staying but I’m no longer going to be running around like a headless chicken. If I sell, I move. If I don’t, I stay.  Patience needs practice.

I’ve lived here for almost 7 years & hopefully have another 20 years on this earth, so what difference will a few weeks make? I do realise, albeit painfully, that I must do what is right for me. Friends, if they’re genuine will want what’s best for me, not themselves. Of course I will hate saying goodbye, if that’s the way the dice rolls, but there will be new friends. As the saying goes : all strangers are simply friends not yet met. I love my friends, they are very special to me but maybe our journey together has come to an end and it’s time to bid them farewell. Deep down I believe I’ll soon be moving but won’t be too disappointed if no sale ensues.

The thought of pastures new came in the wake of traumatic problems at the end of last year. Running away would have been easy. The constant indecision has forced me to take time out and rethink my reasons for relocating. I’m so thankful for that breathing space. Now, whatever happens, I’m ready to embrace my future.

Trust is a wonderful gift.

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Food for thought, General ramblings

Showing self kindness.

Many people, including myself have been brought up to put others first. My Mother was the typical Martyr, working herself into the ground, not expecting consideration or praise. Even when unwell she would keep going, no-one could run the home as she did, she made herself indespensible, but at what cost?  She was constantly drained, irritable, sleep deprived & extremely low in mood. When it was suggested that she took a break, she’d be horrified. When sitting she’d perch on the edge of the chair, just waiting to jump up & continue her work. I don’t remember ever seeing her truly relax. I can only imagine how unworthy she felt. Why else would she abuse herself in this way?

For most of my life I followed my Mothers’ ethos, although illness forced me to take a slower approach to life than I wanted. Even when really unwell, as soon as I heard someone approaching, I’d jump up & look busy. I couldn’t accept that it was alright to take time out, I felt guilty. I was a failure. Maybe if I’d really relaxed in both body & mind, I might not have suffered such ill health? Hindsight is pointless, I did what I did. I followed my Mothers example.

It has taken me to reach my 60s before I accepted that I had the right to relax, to enjoy time out &  that resting was no crime.

Currently I am coping with an horrendous flare up of my fibromyalgia symptoms. It hasn’t been a surprise as I know I’ve been pushing myself too hard. I knew that I needed to slow down, but old habits die hard; I was needed, indespensible, unwilling to accept my frailties. As expected, I’m now paying the price!

In extreme pain & feeling very unwell, I am laying on the sofa with feet raised, yet still trying to figure out how I can fulfil my commitments over the next few days. Why is it so difficult to just say “sorry, can’t make it “? Some people find it easy to pamper themselves & often make the most of sick periods, having people run around & fetch & carry for them. Not me, thanks Mum. No doubt her Mother was the same.

Isn’t it time that we were taught that self kindness is as necessary as kindness to others? None of us are indespensible. If we take time out, the world continues to turn. Life goes on & so it should. I am quite good at helping people & offering advice. It is annoying when people choose to ignore sensible, well researched advice, so why  do I ignore my own wisdom? Why do I simply refuse to accept that I’m not SuperWoman?

All over the Country & maybe the Workd, there are people like me. Sufferers who will happily encourage loved ones to take better care of themselves, to rest & relax when needed, yet who ignore their own advice. It’s no less than masochism!

As I age I am improving. I do relax more. I meditate. I feel less guilty for doing nothing. I eat more healthily, exercise more, sleep more soundly, unfortunately that is only part of the picture – the remainder of the time I run round like a headless chicken.

The moral of this story is simple. I need to take more general care of myself every day of my life, not just when time allows, or pain/ illness offers no other choice.  Hopefully people who read this may look at themselves & question their attitude to self care. If you are one of the fortunate people who find it easy, look around you, is there a harassed person enabling you to do it? If so, perhaps it’s time to offer a little more considerate care. “I’m alright, I’m happy to do it!” is often no more than the hidden message saying ” I don’t believe myself worthy of self care.” Offer to help, insist on it. Make a cuppa. Let that person realise that you love them, not just as a workhorse, but as a human being with rights, needs & frailties.

We all need & are entitled to love , care & respect. Accept it from wherever it is offered & if no-one offers, then take it for yourself. You are worthy.

Rosie Thomas

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Thankyou for taking the time to read this. Although I write irregularly, everything is from the heart & hopefully offers the reader some food for thought.

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I am happy to receive feedback or other communication, so feel free to respond.

Thank you. Namaste x

 

 

Food for thought, General ramblings, Inspirations

The importance of being popular.

The heading of this post is intended as food for thought, not a factual statement.

As children we strive for popularity, we are desperate to be well liked & be part of the ‘in’ crowd. For many of us it leads to feelings of inadequacy, as we fail miserably. We may well have friends, but for some reason we don’t quite match up to the ‘cool kids’. If we are lucky, we are accepted into the group, but are left trailing behind the popular leaders, never quite good enough to make the transition to becoming one of the central hub.  For many this is the reality of growing up, some don’t even make it to the outer edge of the group, left alone & isolated, their childhood is marked with the overwhelming feeling of being a failure.

The journey into adulthood passes through many differing stages, all marked with their own issues.  Teenagers generally adopt a pack tendency, with everyone striving to find their place in the world, hence the individual & often bizarre fashion statements. This in between stage is all about attempting to find out who you are.

Parenthood, especially the early stages can be extremely fulfilling, but can also turn into a comparison battle, with those annoyingly pushy parents who insist on flouting their childs’ genius or beauty. The majority of us, with our own cute, yet noisy, messy & let’s face it – normal children, are frequently left to question whether we’ve done our best for our offspring. Once again that familiar feeling of inadequacy.

Later years, with battles for promotion at work & the cut throat fight to climb the ladder of success can, once again cause us to question our worth. Neighbours & friends seem to have more income, better homes, faster cars, fancier holidays & often, more harmonious lives. All in all, life can feel like fighting a losing battle. We accept that we’re never going to be one of the ‘special ‘ people, we are just Mr or Mrs ordinary, plodding through life, just tying to get by. Of course this is just a generalisation, there are those who sail through life, seemingly successful in all that they attempt, but they are definitely in the minority.

This brings me to the subject for today – popularity. Throughout life we tend to go in & out of favour, but on the whole, the most confident ‘golden people’ will always be safely installed at the forefront of society, while the remainder spend a lot of time & heartache trying to reach those heady heights. Where on the popularity ladder are you? Let’s be honest, does it really matter?

What makes a person popular? Sense of humour? Kindness? Appearance? Money? Maybe a bit of all of these, but these attributes are only skin deep. Someone who is central to a group could be considered popular, but move them to a different location, where they are forced to begin again, it is unlikely that they will establish themselves so easily. This would force them to begin on the lower rungs of the popularity ladder & attempt the hard climb upwards.

The entire subject has no hard & fast rules, all we can do is try to find our way through the maze of life, hoping that we are accepted at some point.

Following a recent conversation, it made me think about the importance of popularity. Within my own life I have flowed in & out of popularity, although it has to be said that I have mainly been an ‘also – ran’, a nice enough, friendly person, but never on the top of the invite list. In my present stage of life, I know a lot of people & am comparatively well known in the area. It could be said that I am popular because I am the ‘go to’ person, the one to call on when a volunteer is needed, but then again I have only a small selection of very close friends  & am distinctly disliked by some members of society. So am I popular? No, probably not. So where do you draw the line? Is popularity about being liked by everybody? Celebrities are popular, yet apparently many of them suffer crippling depression & the happy, confident face is no more than a public mask. Robin Williams was a perfect example of this. He was much loved, always cheerful, you would imagine him to be fun to be around, yet his life was wracked with self loathing & feelings of inadequacy. He was certainly popular, yet so, so sad. So maybe that is the key – there is no real answer, it’s all subjective.

I believe if we were all able to forget about striving to be popular & instead concentrated on learning to be the kind of person that we would look for in a good friend, the world would be a lot less stressful. None of us is perfect, to some extent we all wear a mask at times, attempting to cover up our characteristic blemishes. We all have aspects of ourselves that we aren’t proud of. We all sometimes say or do things that we regret. In other words – we are all human!

If we stop worrying about what anyone else thinks & work at bringing out the best in ourselves, then the whole issue of popularity becomes unimportant. With a kind, genuine personality, friends will be drawn to you. Be spiritually generous, compassionate & caring, consider the feelings of others, while looking after your inner frailties, be honest & thoughtful. Smile often. Offer unconditional love to the world, yet treat yourself with respect & consideration. Be yourself, ensuring that the real you is a genuinely worthwhile person. If you achieve all of this, or at least make big inroads, you may not be number 1 on the popularity lists, but you will have something less fickle, you will be someone that many enjoy in their company. You will bring joy into other lives. That is worth so much more !

Until next time, stay happy,

Rosie x

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Namaste.