A Thank You Note: Words From The Heart

Gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart, and not in the mind

Its almost been a year since I wrote my first thank you post, an I couldn’t be more grateful for the support I receive in writing this blog, it invites people into your life who understand, an support you, who feel your pain, but also will you on in happiness, because they’ve walked a similar path in life

We all have our ups an downs, our good days an our bad, its about having the strength to go on, taking small steps that lead to a bigger journey, learning a little more about ourselves along the way

I’ve learned a lot about myself already, yet I have a lot more to learn, we never truly stop learning new things about ourselves, its about being content with what we find when we look deeper that matters, an realising that there is a lot more to us than the hardships that come with the psychiatric labels we’ve been given

As I said in my last thank you note;

There’s nothing worse than struggling through in life an feeling so apart from the rest of the world, not knowing where to turn, or where we fit in

But…
As long as we know that there are people out there who aren’t so different than us, an who know what its like to go through the same struggles in life, it let’s us know that we aren’t so different after all, that we aren’t alone in all this, an it gives us a little hope

Thank you for following me on my journey, of not recovery, but more self discovery, i wish only for you, what I wish for myself

Everyone who follows my blog, gets followed back, because I like to be part of other life journeys besides my own, an because it means we are in this together

May you follow your dreams, an always believe in yourself, keep your eyes on the stars, an hope in your heart

New Short Story: Tell Me I’m Beautiful: Previews

My new short story is almost finished, I’ve called it Tell Me I’m Beautifulan below are a few previews

Its the story of a woman who’s mental illness, coupled with her jealousy, anger and paranoia slowly lead her to have a psychotic break in which time she tries to murder her boyfriend, the story picks up a year later, as we follow her three day rest bite release from a psychiatric hospital, which she conned her way out off, free again, and in no way recovered, we see her epic down fall again

Hope you enjoy the previews, an look forward to the full story, which I should have finished by friday :)

The previews are little snippets from through out the story, an remember I’m not the best writer…

Preview one:

‘tell me you want me’

‘I want you’

‘Tell me you need me’

‘I need you’

‘Tell me I’m beautiful’

‘You’re beautiful’

‘Liar!.. You’re still thinking of her, you don’t want me, you want her’

‘Shannon no!

The memory fades…

A pale face reflects back in the cracked mirror, the smeared lipstick and running mascara, the telling signs of a girl lost in darkness

‘I’m beautiful, I am beautiful’ the teary whimpering voice of a girl echoing through the dark hall ways

Her blonde hair moving slowly through an old brush’

One year later:

‘Mum, please stop staring at me’

‘Don’t be like that shannon, I’ve just missed you so much, I’m so proud of how far you’ve come’

Shannon moved further over on the back seat, blocking her mums view of her in the rear-view mirror

‘If you cared that much, you would have come to visit me in the hospital, you didn’t come once mum, not once, not even a phone call’

‘… You know I couldn’t, the doctors wouldn’t allow it, you know this, it was part of your recovery, no reminders of your past until you got better’

‘Better’ shannon smirked

Better, that word swirled in shannons mind as it drifted back

‘You should have more confidence in yourself shannon, you’re a really pretty, smart young woman with her whole life ahead of her’

‘Really doctor, you think I’m pretty’

‘Very much so’

Shannons mothers voice then suddenly snapped her out of her daze

Preview Two:

‘Angrily she grabbed the nearby pair of scissors, now screaming and scratching at the magazine models eyes, grabbing at the pages tearing them out, throwing the magazines off the bed hyper-ventilating in tears

Preview Three:

Reaching the club, shannon walked to the bar an ordered herself a drink, as her head began to swirl from the alcohol, a couple on the dance floor caught her eye ‘he’s cute’ she thought ‘an she’s… perfect’ her mind began to race imagining herself as the woman in pink on the dance floor ‘would he want me’ she thought

Her mind drifted back again

Shannon, do you know why you’re here’

‘I… I tried to kill my boyfriend’

‘Your jealousy and obsession drove you to murder’

Preview Four:

Looking at herself in the bathroom mirror, she could barely see her reflection as the medication and alcohol took a stronger hold

‘He doesn’t want you, he never did, he used you’ the voices in her mind, gripping the edge of the sink in so much anger she broke a nail ‘no’ she shouted back to the voices ‘he’s with her again’ the reply, in a fit of rage she grabbed the nearby waste bin, throwing it at her reflection, shattering the mirror to pieces

Grabbing a piece of glass, she squeezed it until it cut into skin, making her bleed, she now looked at her bleeding hand breathing deeply

Lifes A Funny Old Thing

Today as I was getting ready to go into town, I was looking in the mirror fixing my hair, and although I haven’t changed that much over the years, it was like looking at my younger self again, the me from about ten years ago, it must have been the face I was making without realising it

That moment was so strange, because it was like looking at someone else, someone you remember, maybe from memory, or from a photograph

I imagine sometimes if I could wake up in the body of myself say ten years from now, where would I be, what would my life be like, I used to think this way when I was younger, time never moved fast enough for me

Being silly one day I closed my eyes, when I opened them I imagined that me from ten years ago was now in the present day, I guess it helps cut through your denial, was I happy with what I saw, no, coupled with all my memories of the last ten years, I now know the answer to the question I wondered back then

I don’t really like to look back unless I have to, i like to think that each day is a new beginning, what happened yesterday was the me from that day, today is another version of myself, maybe its a coping mechanism I don’t know

I’m just in a weird head space right now, I feel like I’m moving forward while standing still, I’m trying to live, but I feel so trapped

Today I took a nice walk, by myself, I like when I get moments where I feel like I can actually breathe, time where I can actually think clearly, you can’t run from yourself, but its strange how you can walk off your problems sometimes, maybe its the extra oxygen to your brain

Anyway, enough of my rambling

Yesterday my older brother was drinking again asking me for money, but this time I said no, an stuck to it, I was actually surprised that he didn’t fight me on it

Later on, I got a phone call from my younger brother also drinking and also asking for money, he had fallen out with his girlfriend again, she recently found out she’s pregnant, so that was drama enough in itself

They always make mum put me on the phone, where they beg an beg until I eventually give in, but this time I’d had enough, since I was awarded my claim in december, I haven’t had a moments peace, for seven months now I’ve been constantly asked for money an its really beginning to stress me out, I can’t get peace to enjoy it, sometimes I wish I’d never gotten it at all

So when I took the call, my younger brother wanted me to lend him the money for a taxi, he started telling me he was suicidal an that he needed to get away, that he wanted to come here an talk to mum, I knew he just wanted to get here so he could drink with our older brother

During the call, i told him that mum was only on the other end of the phone if he wanted to talk, that he needed to grow up, that part of growing up means you have to deal with your problems instead of running from them, he wouldn’t listen, so I just told him there was no talking to him, that he was only waiting to hear the answer he wanted

When I said I wasn’t going to do it, he told me to go ‘F’ myself, I later found out he was going to phone the taxi anyway, in doing so trying to force me to pay for it, one minute my older brother was telling us not to lend him the money, then within an hour, he was ringing asking could anyone lend it

He eventually got a lift by giving some man an old phone that doesn’t even work, in exchange for a lift

This is what its like for me, I’ve done so much for them an when I say no they turn on me

As I told you before, last time I said no to my older brother, he said I wasn’t getting a penny of the money he owed me, an that there was nothing I could do about it, an that he was going to land down to our house, to do what, I don’t know, but its pretty obvious

My aunt an younger brother have also told me lies to get money from me, my aunt lied that she needed money to keep her going, but really it was to get money for my older brother, who I’d already said no to, my younger brother said he an his girlfriend needed money as they didn’t have food in the house, his girlfriend told me it was a lie, that she always puts money away for things like that

Just the other day, my younger brother said that he was having a hard time with money lately, but I’m constantly hearing he drinks an gambles it, sometimes putting on two hundred pound football bets, but yet he can’t pay me

Even my mum fell out with me once over this money, that day my aunt had asked for a loan, I told her no, my mum an step dad are always saying its not fair to me, an they know how stressful it is for me, an how its making me ill, but mum still asks me, that day I said its not fair that its one rule for one an not for the other, she got angry, was quite rude, an we didn’t talk for about two days

It takes a lot of emotional strength when you have to go through one of these phone calls, an fall outs, usually I give in, because its easier to say yes than to be put through the stress of it all, every time they use emotional blackmail to wear you down

Today my younger brother needed a way home after his night of drinking, as he always does, he comes here to town, drinks an then clears off back home to his girlfriend, his birthday is in less than two weeks, so he asked me for the money I was giving him early, I agreed because he was getting it anyway, he apologised for the way he spoke to me, I just said yeah to the next time

My mums birthday is in ten days, that’s the next time we’ll all be coming together again as a family, there’s that feeling of dread, of what might happen, because in this family, you never know

To finnish this post, I’m going to start another short story soon, I enjoyed my last one, so I thought I’d write another

This one will be a lot darker, it will be based around a woman who to look at is beautiful, but she can’t see that reflected back at her in the mirror, she slowly unravels with the pressure she feels to be perfect, she feels the need to be wanted, but never feels good enough, her jealously and delusion slowly pushing her to the edge

It will be hard for me to write, as I’m not the best writer, but its a challenge, the first teaser/preview I hope will be ready this friday, so if you enjoyed my last short story ‘legend of the waste-land witches’ and its sequel ‘the coven’ stay tuned…

Somedays, Its A Pretty Ok Life

Sometimes our feelings and emotions can take on a voice of their own, they all surround you all talking at once until you just want to curl up in a ball cover your ears an drown them out, i feel trapped inside my own head sometimes

With what’s going on with me lately, I feel like I’m slightly losing myself

I’ve been so up an down lately, I’m so up an down everyday, just yesterday I took another bad turn, I felt really strange, I quickly got dressed because I had to get out, I was panicking an my heart was beating like crazy, I went out for fresh air an I was almost crying because I kept thinking not again, whatever is happening with me is pure torment, its been day in day out for months an I can’t take it anymore

The doctors keep saying its anxiety an I guess I have to take their word for it

On a side note, have you ever told anyone you feel stressed, you use the word stressed instead of anxiety because admitting you have a mental illness to someone you don’t know that well makes them look at you in a different light, then that person says, what are you stressed about, but in a really patronising way as though they expect you to say something mundane, if only they knew, but its so annoying

Anyway, i walked into town, though I was like a zombie, I didn’t want to be around anyone, I didn’t want to talk about it, to be reminded of it, in case it triggered another episode, so i went gambling again, which I don’t even enjoy anymore, because sometimes I lose a lot of money, but its an escape

This town has nothing to do, these days its filled with cafes, bars and barbers, so if you’re hungry, wanna get drunk or get a hair cut your fine, otherwise there’s nothing

There’s a woman we see all the time, that is a regular at the casino, when we’ve been out getting a smoke, I have told her how I’m feeling, one day she cornered me, asking me do I believe in angels, she started telling me that I should come to her house, that she can heal me, that people come to her all the time, she also does psychic readings, she started telling me I’m insecure, an that there’s something in my past that I haven’t gotten over, I felt really uncomfortable

I felt pressured into agreeing to go to her house, though I never have, I think my mental health team is where I should be getting help from, they are properly trained, an they don’t charge money

But Dr C is right, people see people like me, an they try to take advantage

As you know I’ve been taking driving lessons, but lately I’m finding it really hard to concentrate, the doctor has told me that with what’s happening with me, I shouldn’t even be driving, so I have taken a week off, but I’m back out tomorrow again

I’m still trying to live my life, I’ve made so much progress lately with my social phobia, my confidence and my assertiveness, I don’t want feeling ill to hold me back

I know you love my family drama, so what would a post of mine be without a little update

Now an again I’ve been going out for lunch with my aunt, she turned up one day with a cut on her head, she was telling everyone that she was looking in a drawer lifted her head an hit it off a cupboard door, an that it also made the crown on her tooth fall off

Straight away I got suspicious, I knew she was lying, so did mum, I knew my older brother had probably done it, an she was covering it up

I was honest with her, an told her what I thought, instead of denying it, straight away she started looking at her hands, wondering how she got ink on her fingers, which is just weird, so of course I knew I was right

My brother eventually admitted it to my mum, he had been drinking an asked her for a cigarette, when she got angry, as he’d been drinking for days, keeping her up an destroying their home, he smashed a vase over her head, as for the tooth, I’m not sure, he must have hit her too

I think the fact that she lied last time something happened, we all knew, last time he had kneed her in the leg, she was showing us the bruise, saying that it had been him messing around an didn’t mean to do it so hard, but of course it turned out to be lies, an it was intentional

We are always saying to her, why do you put up with it, she has no life, she needs to tell him to move out, or she has too, but she never does, come the next day its all rosey again as though nothing has happened, it may sound cruel, but I’m starting to not have sympathy for her anymore, because this has been going on for over fifteen years, and my aunt is no pushover either

Tonight we went bowling as a family an then for a meal, everyone was on good form, it was nice doing something normal together for once, with no one drinking or fighting, its the first time we’ve all come together properly since christmas

My head was playing up a little, but I pushed it aside, I ended up winning 3 out of our 4 games, but then my aunt is rubbish, an my mum has a bad arm, but my older brother is quite competitive, but as long as we had fun that was the main thing, which we did, my younger brother wasn’t with us, which was sad, but we still had a good day

If everyday could be this way, it would be a pretty ok life

Watered Down

Some things in life, we can overcome on our own, and other times we need to ask for help

Today I saw the doctor again, this time Dr C, as some of you know I haven’t seen her in a very long time, mainly as she accused me of using my mental state as a form of blackmail to get more diazepam, back then they were the only things keeping me stable

But I thought, hey what have I got to lose, at the very least she’ll give me a second opinion, that opinion being the same as Dr H, anxiety and somatic symptoms, with cluster migraines, she did give me a tablet to help though, better than Dr H who just gave me paracetamol

She was nice to me today, more professional than Dr H, she listened, but then at the same time, she talked, a lot, I got the feeling that she needs someone to talk to, I also got the impression that she’s very paranoid and insecure, and not very trusting of other people

She opened up about her own life, complaining about other patients, an about how people use her to climb the social ladder, how people like to say they are friends with her, or can say she’s been to one of their parties, about how she’s given out her number to people an they abuse it by ringing her about medical matters

If I’m honest, after a while I began to feel a little uncomfortable, I felt like it was becoming too personal, but I guess that was her way of comparing how people take advantage of people like me, an I guess her

She did give me advice on things that might help with my anxiety, but her advice is from her own experience, like doing yoga, buying audio books, or taking an arts an crafts class like she does, she’s making a mat out of a potato sack, in case you wanted to know!

Her point was mostly to do with escapism, but with her its like a lecture on how to do it properly

On the taking advantage part, my older brother phoned last night looking me to lend him money for alcohol, when I said no, he said that I’m not getting a penny of the money he owes me, which is now £520, an that there was nothing I could do about it, he also threatened me, saying he would come to the house

I guess it didn’t help that I sent a message saying for him to pay me my money an leave me alone

Earlier yesterday, I had already given his friend money for petrol, I’m guessing it was so they could do a drug run for more meth, and a few days before I lent him £150 so he could afford to buy his son a new playstation

If you read my blog, you’ll know how ill I am lately, I don’t need the stress of my own brother turning on me, but as I said to myself, he’ll come to me long before I need him

I was glad today that I also had an appointment with the mental health team, as It was an assessment, I thought it would have been with a psychiatrist, instead it was with a social worker, I can’t lie an say I wasn’t disappointed, an I let her know it, she wasn’t happy of course an started defending herself an her credentials, which they all do

I’m not new to this, an sometimes I do play a bit of a cat an mouse game, I like to see them squirm a bit if I’m annoyed

It was funny how I found out she was a social worker, as you may know, I grew up in foster care, so I’m well used to social workers, anyway, during the assessment she said, if you could wake up tomorrow, and everything was perfect, what would things be like, I said, its funny, my social workers always used to say that, to which she laughed an said she was a social worker

They actually used to say, if you had a magic wand… But its funny how they all use that same drivel

I did open up as best I could, an she was shocked when i told her how Dr H treats me sometimes, now she has to pass all that on to ‘the team’ in their next staff meeting, that’s partly why I was disappointed, she had no power to make change like a psychiatrist can, people like her to me, are like little minions, running around gathering information, all the while watering down or diluting your words, twisting what you say, putting down negatives as positives, so by the time it reaches someone with the power to make change, you’re not really worth their time anyway, so things stay the same

An example is when we were talking about self harm, about me being at risk to myself, an how I see my future, or something like that, I said I couldn’t see myself living this way for another five maybe ten years, I just couldn’t cope, but she put it down as me saying I see myself feeling better in five years, which is true, had I used those words

She did say she thinks I could benefit from this anxiety group thing they’re doing, whether it would help me or not, I just don’t want to be around mental illness, I just don’t think its healthy for me personally, I work better one to one, an besides I get enough experience being around my family without adding anymore

For now all I can do is live my life as best I can, wait an see what the mental health team comes up with, an go from there

Making Progress

This post originally started of complaining about how I’m feeling lately, then I thought no, I don’t want every post to be me rambling on about the negatives, so instead, I’m focusing (mostly) on the positives that have come from how I’m feeling

Just before we get to that… I saw my doctor again this week, as you know every time I see the doctor, Dr H, he keeps telling me its anxiety that’s making me feel ill, that ‘we’ need to get this under control, he does do some physical tests, which to him show that I’m ok, then, apart from stupid jokes all he gives me is paracetamol, before sending me home to just get on with it

I’ve actually been feeling better mentally in some ways lately, mainly that’s down to feeling ill, I guess its a ‘what have I got to lose’ sort of confidence

I’m going out at least once a day, on my own, no taxis, at times that I wouldn’t normally have, I’m taking time to look around and go to different shops, before I would have rushed home after getting what I need

I’ve ordered an paid for meals, where as I used to get someone else to do it for me to avoid going up alone to the counter, I’m walking by certain people that I normally would have avoided, before I would have crossed the road, or went a different way

I’ve started my driving lessons, I’ve only had two so far, but I’m enjoying it, I’m also studying my theory, and trying to keep busy, I went shopping out of town in belfast, which some people will know is a big place, an I’ve arranged to go for a few drinks with an old friend next week

That’s a nice way of saying, my brothers ex girlfriend, just because they have spilt up an moved on and are seeing other people, doesn’t mean I can’t still keep in touch with someone I became friends with

For me this is the life I wanted, a normal life where I’m not afraid an finally feel like I’m part of the real world, I can’t lie and say its easy, but its not as scary as I’ve allowed myself to imagine

I’ve told the doctor this, as a way to prove it couldn’t just be anxiety that’s making me feel ill, that I feel ill an then get anxious, not the other way around, but he won’t listen, he just said that because of how I’m feeling, I shouldn’t be driving

I had to see my solicitor about another matter the other day, but I did bring up about how I’m feeling, and how my doctor won’t do anything (he did agree to send me for a brain scan, but that was just to humour me, and even then that was after many appointments and going to A&E) the solicitor told me that, if the doctor didn’t do enough to help me, and I find that by him delaying proper tests etc, it leads to more serious consequences, I have a case for a claim, and I won’t think twice about it

To be honest, the biggest stress in my life apart from feeling ill, is my family, constantly asking, or should I say hounding me for money, then not paying me for weeks at a time, I explained a bit more about this in my post ‘selfish ways’

You can never do enough, just yesterday my younger brother asked me to pay for his taxi into town, when I said no, he came anyway and told my aunt I had agreed to pay for it, believing him she paid the taxi, which cost her £35, she didn’t have much choice as the taxi man was threatening to go to the police, so then today I had to lend her money again, it was my younger brother asking me to, if he hadn’t come in the taxi there wouldn’t have been a problem

But he knew my older brother had friends over an that they were drinking, he would have done anything to come over, he’s that desperate for a drink

He said when he asks for money, an I say ‘I’ll think about it’ that always means yes, I usually do give in, but not anymore, the sad thing is, they are making me become someone I don’t want to be

They know I’m not well at the moment, but that hasn’t stopped them adding extra stress, they are so selfish sometimes, and don’t think of others

They always say you should never lend family or friends money, because when you ask for it back, you’re the bad guy

Middle Child Misfit

My brothers have only finished another drinking binge which started on friday night, they were ringing me yesterday begging for money, and it got me thinking about the relationship between us and how different I am, compared to how similar they are

Sometimes I think that my older an younger brother should have been the ones to grow up in foster care together (instead of my younger brother an I) and that I should have been the one to grow up at home, because those two are so similar, and we are nothing alike

They wear the same clothes, they get the same hair cut, they talk the same way, they both put on that strut that most men do, by doing all this they follow the trend of all boys/men around here, they are clones of each other, they all look and act alike, I don’t follow the trend, I’m happy to be an individual

They love the life style of ‘partying’, drinking at any opportunity, I can’t say I’m an angel, because I have joined in a few times, I’ll usually be in a bad place before I do though, and just do it to let loose and escape from what I’m going through

They phone, text and message each other over facebook, whereas I don’t even have their mobile numbers, mainly because I have nothing to say to them

My older brother an I have never been close, its funny that having a drink together was the thing to finally get us talking an having some kind of brotherly relationship, though mainly it was because I had become close to his girlfriend, and it was because of her that I’d join in and we’d all do things and go places together, but now that he’s split up with her, she’s not there anymore as a buffer, so I only see us growing apart again

Its hard for me, because she’s my friend, and I still want that friendship but I’m undecided and feel like I’d be betraying my brother, they only broke up, and within two weeks she was with one of my younger brothers old friends, then the calls started with her new boyfriend using private info that only she knew against my brother, thankfully things have calmed down since, an my brother has also sort of met a new girl, even though he’s told her he doesn’t want anything serious

I won’t let myself become close to her, because I don’t see her being around that long

Anyway back to my post….

My younger brother an I grew up together, we were all we really had, but since we left care and moved home, we’ve grown apart, I don’t feel I even know him anymore, he still sees me as that boy he knew back then, even though I’ve changed, he likes to think we know each other better than anyone, but again its the me from back then he sees

The only time I talk to my brothers, is when we visit them, or they phone here looking to talk to our mum an I answer the phone, when they need money or if we all go out somewhere as a family

My older brother is always either drinking, or has just finished a binge, he’s always in a mood an never seems happy, he’s always sick an spends most of his time in his room recovering or asleep, even though he’s thirty now, my aunt has no life at all, constantly running after him, doing everything for him, getting no sleep because he drinks an parties for days, inviting people over and leaving their home in a mess, which my aunt is left to clean

When we visit, he’s always calling our aunt names, either that or he’s threatening her, in the past he used to hit her and leave her face all bruised, which she’d try an hide with her hair

Just yesterday she was limping because he had kneed her in the leg, she told me he was playing and didn’t mean to do it so hard, yet she told my mum that she had been in town for quite a while, which would mean she’d been away from home for some time, an that’s why he did it

When my brother was about five, my aunt would have been about fourteen, he’s convinced that our aunt interfered with him in some sexual way, even though he can’t even remember what happened or even if anything actually did, but yet he holds that against her, and that’s why he treats her that way, or that’s the impression he gives, social services got involved, but nothing came from it, no one ever really talks about it or tries to resolve it, if it was me, I’d ask for the reports an find out once and for all what happened, wouldn’t my aunt want to clear her name (this was one of those private things my brothers ex’s new boyfriend was using against him)

Similarly, my younger brother now lives with his girlfriend, they never really do anything together because he can’t leave the house without having a drink, (saying its because he feels weird everyday) so when they do, he drinks, causes trouble and ruins their day, his girlfriend always ends up getting a bus or taxi home an leaving him behind to get on with it

He’s become like her second child, because he won’t leave the house, she has to do all his messages, then they argue all the time, she has a young baby to think off, so I’m surprised they are still together

He found out some time ago that he has hepatitis C, and hasn’t even told her yet, he got it from using a dirty needle to inject (I think heroine or meth) not to get too into detail as its my brother I’m talking about, but of course they sleep together, and that’s how its easily passed on, she may already have it and doesn’t even know

My mental illness has held me back more than I’d like, but I’m a good example that you can live the same life as everyone else without getting into trouble and ruining peoples lives, people always see me as the nice one, the quiet one, I’m always the one people like and warm to, I guess its a good reputation to have

Maybe its a middle child thing, maybe its just life, but my brothers an I are polar opposites

Inner Monologue: Summer Snapshots

Reflection in the mirror
Like someone unknown

Dizzy but happy
Clack, clack, clack, my finger hitting off the boards of a neighbours fence

Chalk drawings kids have left
Petals fall from a cherry blossom tree like confetti

The churp of a bird, the buzz of a bee
The smell of wood chips and freshly cut grass

Crisp, soft smudges under foot like walking on sand
sunlight and a breeze
Daffodils wilting in the heat

An animal runs through the bushes, heart rushes
Sky, blue like water
Freedom

Friends talking, smiles
No looking down, you’re not afraid

Before its begun, home again