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Reflections…Week Forty

This week I have written and submitted a poem Man…#poetry#poem to Restoke’s – ManUp, they replied, very kindly offering to let me read my poem out loud at one of their events. To which I quickly turned them down. I am not at the point of being in the public light that much yet.

Never being the one for performing spoken word, I still feel the knots in my stomach from when I had to at High School in the English lessons, it was always something that one shied away from. Whilst this is the case, the inner person who has written the poem does not want to see someone else read it also. Oh the horror of it being read incorrectly.

I have a strange relationship with speech, with the ‘breakdown’ came a new way of speaking. Although the Dr’s have never worked out what caused the change or why, it does have links to Anxiety. The higher the Anxiety the more pronounced the problem. At one point it took my body painful contortions to get my words out, that leaves a mark on your memory. One I don’t wish to repeat.

One day my self esteem and self belief will be at a point that not only will I do spoken poetry, My poetry, but I will also be looking forward to it.

Maybe it will be the incorrect reading of my poetry by someone else that will break that barrier down.

We shall see.

 

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/reflections-2017

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Reflections…Week Thirty Nine

canstockphoto8630797This is a reflection of remembrance.

I found out on Thursday that a person whom I shared time with at art class passed away last week.

I did not know him well  but he, and his artistic style, will be remembered for some time.

He had earned himself the nickname of grumpy Pete, but I think it was, once you got to know him better, a tool for his own entertainment. Many a time I saw that whilst he was grumping away, he was also suppressing a smile, I have never seen a truly grumpy person do that.  And after he had said what he wanted to say, he would inevitably look around the room for takers. If none took a bite he would then direct the grump towards an individual. You could even say it was his way to start a conversation.

His artistic style was nearly polar opposite to mine, and in one conversation he also had an effect in the way I tried to approach my work. His painting were splodge’s, dabs, an almost haphazard placement of paint on canvas, layers upon layers of paint. I do not recall ever seeing a smooth painting of his. Nor did I ever see him worrying about blending colours on the canvas to create tone or shadow. Shadows themselves were created by the texture of the pain put onto canvas. Light, and the different angles of it, had a direct effect on his work. This meant that at different times of the day the same picture could have a slightly different look about it, just from the shadows cast.

His passing was of a surprise, he was of about the same age as me, however he suffered from epilepsy and it was one of these fits that ultimately put him in a coma to which he was never to wake from.

The words that he said that altered my perspective on my art could also be applied to life as well. I may not have them as a direct quote but I will do my best.

Here’s to you Pete

You know, people often think that creating art is all about drawing the outline. That they have to draw it as one line. But I found that if you draw lot of little lines, and not worry about where you put them so much, the outline just appears.”

 

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/reflections-2017

Reflections…Week Thirty Eight

Again no poem this week, to be honest I miss working one out, but one has been busy writing.

One would like to say on a book, or something positive. Alas it has been more sombre than that. A couple of services that I use have, under the guise of being — Non Clinical — lost or in the process of loosing funding.

I have written a Blog on the subject (1345 words) , but since it links with both of the charities, I have asked that the donating information be approved by head office. The others are statements from myself on the use of the services and the benefits one has received (3526 words and 1016 words).

I don’t think I wrote that much on my wind generator project  paper at college, and that was worth 40% of the final exam score.

Fed up of quietly complaining, one will endeavour to pick out the positives that have come from the reading of my work, by support workers and head office. In a swamp of bleh, One will try to be a firefly (the little insect not the spacecraft, although that would be cool).

All have said I am talented, writing this still does not make that statement feel about me, yet.

I have been asked if my work can be used by fundraising manager and the chief exec .

That’s my work, being sent to the big boss, and not to get me into trouble.

I have to admit it did feel like one was being reported to the Head master a wee bit more than one would have liked, thank you Mr Street, the fear of being sent to you in infant school has stuck with me, the reason why I was in trouble has not, but now I know this is part of my inferiority complex with authority figures. Knowing this connection is a positive insofar as it can now be worked on.

And, I accepted the compliments, with the grace of a new born foal, but I accepted them. This is on the back of words from the poetry group organiser, because one went, “hmmm”, as thanks for a compliment. I nearly got told off for saying “sorry” as my response to those ‘words.’

So in effect one has written something that could, in its own way, make a difference, a positive difference, to someone else life.

Thats a long way from when I wrote my first blog.

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/reflections-2017

Side note to self- will start work on a new poem Monday.

Reflections…Week Thirty Seven

canstockphoto8630797No poetry again this week. Instead one went the route of writing a short story for a competition, the entry date has long since gone past, but I had the idea for it and therefore it needed to be written. I always have it for another competition that matches the criteria.

At first I thought that writing a short story at 500 words, the last one entered, would be challenging, not that the word count would be too much, rather that since some blogs have gone well past that number, one expected to struggle to keep it from going past. This one, and the reason it was put off so long, was 250 words, to put that in perspective this reflection has reached half that number now.

There is a knack to writing these stories and to those that do it for magazines on a regular basis have tremendous skill to not have each one repeating the descriptive paragraphs used. There is very little room for manoeuvrability in the story line. No time really to lead one down a false path in order to throw in that red herring. It seems to rely heavily on the pace to throw in a quick diversion in order to get away with it. There is no time to be detailed at the description, no Tolkien valley paragraphs, no, this is more a describe the mugger affair.

Even with my limited knowledge and writing skill, I have to say I am quite chuffed with the result!

250 words

Footnote…

Yes I know that getting the word count was anal, but that is how my dysfunctional mind works, at times it can help, at others it’s a prison cell. However it it bothers you or elicited a reaction then you have to ask yourself the question…”WHY”.

 

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/reflections-2017

Reflections…Week Thirty Six

canstockphoto8630797I love squirrels. No matter how bad the week, I can plonk down on a seat or wall with Spot and be entertained. Everything they do seems to be playfully done, whether it be escaping a potential predator, a quick run to the nearest tree then lets play peek-a-boo, or just looking for something to eat, why walk when you can hop, jump and a skip.

They don’t even care that you are watching them, once they reckon you are safe, or do they play the fools more? I haven’t quite worked that out yet.

This year they seem to be fervently eating and collecting nuts, a sign of a long winter? I would have said cold years ago but it seems more soggy than snowy over the past couple of years, I have yet to build a snowman with my son, it never seems to last that long, nowadays our winters seem more like a colder version of our summers.

So on the walk with Spot this afternoon, I sat a little while and just watched the squirrels doing what squirrels do whilst gorging on conkers, some were running around almost appearing drunk in the aimless directions they were taking, all the time holding a conker, that was nearly the size of their heads, in their mouths.

Occasionally they would turn and look our way, either to keep an eye on the thing over there, or was I and my chuckling, their entertainment?

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/reflections-2017

Reflections…Week Thirty Five

canstockphoto8630797At times one feels as though life expects one to be permanently medicated, but I don’t.

The fat assed black dog has been doing its best to weigh me down, and to be honest, with how the last couple of months have gone, I have noticed him there.

Apart from the personal situations that have changed, an influential figure on my recovery has left, and with her leaving comes uncertainty on the groups future. Luckily this leaving does not have the almost violent sense of loss as a former influential figure, retirement is far calmer than redundancy, but the loss is felt.

Now here is where the black dog works his poison. Uncertainty leads to the fear of the unknown. When something is unknown all manner of horrors are true, happy thoughts whilst being under the shadow of this dirty, stinking, slobbering beast are not a many. So inwards I go, like a tortoise into its shell, and like the tortoise I find protection within.

And like the tortoise one will starve if one never comes out again.

However, retreating inwards for an introvert offers a sanctuary. A place to think, contemplate and work out a response, but it only works if the dog is kept outside behind a door. That is the difference this time, I have locked him out!

Sure I can hear him howling outside the door, I have to invest in double glazing, but this time he is outside. He is outside – without the use of medication.

One step at a time.

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/reflections-2017

Reflections…Week Thirty Four

canstockphoto8630797Easy one this week…Voice is loosing its funding.

Never heard of it? Until a month ago never had I. Now I have a chance to let people know what it is and what they do.

First the official aims of the group:-

  • To improve mental health services
  • To bring together people who use mental health services, in order to increase their influence on services and to strengthen their voice
  • To inform people of their rights, about local services and any planned changes
  • To empower and protect the rights, needs and interests of people who use mental health services in North Staffordshire
  • To influence the way those services are planned and delivered
  • To reduce stigma towards people who have mental health problems

Now my personal, albeit short, experience.

I have an issue with my mental health, and I have an issue with my treatment. I am not saying the service is bad, however I have an issue with the treatment.

At the diagnosis some six+ years ago, I was told that drugs were only a band aid, the therapies were the solution to healing. That person passed me over to another and my relationship with the medication, unknown to me, began. I say unknown because at the start I was given the idea that a couple of years should do it with treatment.

The treatment has been withheld due to my ability at finding coping mechanisms, mostly with the price tag of avoidance, not a healthy habit to have. But this deemed me as coping and left to a drug only treatment. The drugs come with known side effects that have been ignored in the past, and for a long time the effectiveness of the medication has been questioned by me and a couple of therapists, Psychology consultants don’t seem to like having their diagnosis’s questioned by these people though. And so the cycle has continued.

What would I know?

Firstly the magic mood change, allegedly by the drug regime, came at my six week stay at the mental hospital. Here though was huge change to my life…I was effectively kicked out of my home by my ex, a blessing, though at the time it did not seem that way. So this meant my home-life completely changed, it was never taken into account that it could be positive – no longer being in that relationship.

Secondly, this is where my adaptations to my routine came into play, well even the routines became my coping mechanism. I had to come up with something, out of know-where came a twitch and a bloody speech problem (officially known as “from Unknown Source”), that could not be fixed. It got better with the help from Speech Therapy, also started whilst in the hospital, but never gone. So routines were developed and rituals were born.

Thirdly, this is the bit that bugs me the most…I am classed, by some, as being a higher functioning personality. Basically I can read geeky stuff and post graduate study notes and follow along for quite a bit on some subjects. Ask me to do the sports pages on a paper and I’m lost, basic instructions can have me flummoxed if the terminology is not in a format I understand. This has lead to problems of communication. I felt what I was saying at the beginning was being ignored, due to my limited knowledge of the terminology being used. So I did what I do, I learnt the correct terms, I did the research.

Hallucinations became Illusions, “they will go away in time”, High anxiety in crowds, to the point of passing out, “will go away in time”, side effects of the medication, “will go away in time”. On and on it went, my using the correct terminology actually made it worse, go figure!

This is where Voice comes in, they are a mediator, a ref of sorts. They can use the correct terminology and get heard, even if the client does not know the words. They can deal with the doctors if the patient questioned the treatment, and work for an alternative approach.

One phone call and my next appointment was a thorough review. Not only is my therapy treatment being looked at and I am being referred to an Eating Therapist for a possible eating disorder (sorry sis for finding out this way) and one of my medications was not increased due to it being an appetite stimulant and known for weight gain, also I was not put back onto a medication, but, and this is a credit to the Doc I saw, he is chasing my GP about getting physiotherapy for my back. Not put forward by the spinal team or the Neurologist, even when they found out I have three disc bulges and that these are/are not the cause of my nerve pain in my legs and feet, or the depression is to blame, dependant upon which consultant you speak to, but my Mental Health doctor. Something is not right there.

One phone call.

I had a Voice. And so do all who use the service and those like it around the country. But they are loosing funds, because they don’t meet targets or deal directly in the treatment of patients.

No they don’t. They should be seen as possibly saving the system money in the long run, even just reducing medications would be a big saving. Normal Hospital treatment has PALS, this is a mental health version. 

I want to be better, not “coping”, I want to be independent of drugs, not dependant on, I want the work that the therapies will require, to fix what can be fixed, replace what cannot. Most of all I don’t want to have to rely on the likes of wikipedia and youtube to do it or the thousands of self help books that all have the best way to do it.

Anyone, from depression to Alzheimer’s, anxiety to dementia should have a voice. Including the families of those affected who see the effects of treatment on loved ones.

If you wish to find out more, or make a donation , please follow this link: http://nsvoice.org.uk

I am not sponsored by or work for Voice, nor do I represent the company in any way. I am a service user and this is my opinion.

 

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/reflections-2017