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Reflections 2018 w11

What do you get if you put three introverts that are comfortable within each others presence in a room together? Occasional banter, a lot of silence and quality time together.

Extroverts may be trying to work out the joke, introverts know what it means.

To the outside it may look like we don’t get on with one another, unless they enter at a banter part, each doing their own thing in the quiet. But not having to fill the quiet with words whilst at the same time being part of a group is a wondrous state of being. No one jostling for attention, not having to make an effort to look interested, to be polite because it is expected, or even being the star attraction.

No, don’t look to us to be a riotous party planner – when we have to attend and take part, or to start a social group that is supposed to attract new members into it, because this quiet group  is a natural state we try to attain but is one that we don’t get to have for very long. All it takes to change the dynamic is one extrovert friend, innuendo, and the puzzlement of quiet time over five minutes for the group to be more appealing and move away from bliss.

We can mingle, we can be in a party mood, we can laugh and have a good time, we can even be shocking, but best of all we can be quiet, with friends, in a room – for a really, really long time.




Reflections 2018 w10

I did a workshop earlier in the week and one thing has played on my mind since. It revolves around writing.

Writing was one of the words that came up for ways that we communicate, and when it was being labelled as how we would use writing it was given the title of – formal. I did not agree and my examples of forms of writing that would be anything but formal created a worrying reaction.

My three forms were poetry, which had little reaction, personal letters, and love letters. Now I am not in the position of being lovey dovey, and to be honest, I view the whole love thing rather sceptically at the present, so I am not on loves ‘side’, but the reaction that love letters got was – saddening.

It was riotous laughter, laughter at the very thought of having a love letter past the age of, what was called middle school, 8-12. I don’t know whether it is my age, or the fact I am a writer that still has the personal connection to ink and paper, also, for clarification, I love my ebooks – so it’s not a bias thing either.

Love letters have been found that were sent from grandmother to grandfather after they have passed away, stored for decades, and one hopes re-read from time to time. Some have had simple things like dried flowers with them, as a prop to stimulate the memory – this sentence should clarify one has never sent nor received such a letter in adulthood  – and stories have been told how the letters used to be sent with a spray of perfume, a photograph or lock of hair, again reinforcing the memory with sensory stimuli. You just cannot get this effect with an email, gif and an emoji. Look past the history of the events in the letters you can see the love between two people blossom, a side that no-one may have seen, not even their children. There is a power in the letters, which is why I believe they are saved, and sometimes cherished, right up to deaths door.

As a non romantic I hope that the love letter prevails past the instant technology, with it also the thought process that comes with the old fashioned way of writing; The implement – should it be the more expensive pen that writes smoothly with a uniform flow of ink? Or maybe the fountain pen, a pen that requires more time, patience in the pace and more control in the letters? The paper, coming from an artist, is just as important as the words used, some paper is ‘warmer’ than others, not only in colour but also in texture, making the choice of pad and envelope vastly important to how the letter is received before even opening. The whole process is tactile.

Wow a whole paragraph on just pen and ink, geek much?

One wonders if the group had a love letter sent to them, on and in quality paper, written with ink, emotion and style – would they laugh? Or would that letter touch a place in their heart; a place that they had forgot was there?

I do however find it sad that I , loves cynic, one who ponders what it wants, what its motives are, was also the only one in the group that believes that letters are also informal.

Reflections 2018 w09

Finally it feels like Christmas; just in time for the Easter Bunny.

The whole year it feels…out of sync. Spring weather is later, Summer – we’re still waiting for 2015’s – is almost myth, Autumn (Fall) is confused and Winter seems to have been napping.

Seasonal flowers are no longer seasonal. Some in my Mum’s garden have had Two seasons for the last couple of years, if they even came out at the correct one to start with. These are joined by the wildlife, butterflies were seen in December and the ladybirds have been trying to get out of their household hibernation all last month.

The jobs up at the allotment are a “do I – don’t I?” affair, even tidying up becomes hard work as the clayish soil clings to ones boots like brick snowshoes. Planting is a do I risk it now or wait till I have a rush on at the end of March or even April? Hoping against all hope that the weather will be good for growth but not too hot so everything bolts as it tries to go to seed. One has a couple of ideas for when I get my own plot in order to extend the season, maybe even all year round.

Youtube has lots of people experimenting with different styles and ideas.

I saw a snowplough for the first time in decades last week, the last one I saw spayed snow over all on the footpath, but this had the job of gritting rather than ploughing, the snow seems to have gone around Stoke on Trent for the most part. Other parts of the country fared a lot worse. Rain is forecast for next week, so normal weather to be resumed.

Which brings me to a question…

Do other Nationalities bother with the weather? What one means by that is…How much do you talk about it? Does someone in Alaska stand outside waiting for a bus to arrive, turn to the next person and say “cold today isn’t it?”, “it’s a little warmer today don’t you think”, or even “snowing again eh!”. Or someone in Saudi entering a shop to be greeted with “can you believe how hot it is today?”.

Or is it a very British thing to do? As we don’t want to seem ignorant, and yet don’t really want to talk to each other, especially strangers at bus stops, who may have been catching the same bus as us for years – and having the same discussions about the weather for the same amount of time.

Even our Radio presenters want us to phone in and talk about it.

Think about that. We as a nation are happy to listen to a radio show where we can listen to other listeners complaining about the weather, interrupted by a couple of songs and the news and – the weather.

We even write blogs about it.

Reflections 2018 w08

This looks to be the last year for my dad’s hobby –  his allotment. He has been in and out of hospital a lot over the last three years, this and the amount of time he has been on antibiotics, has meant he has not visited his plot for a long time, he however seems to think he has when we are not around.

One is trying to gather the money together to pay the rent on my own plot, just in case I can get straight on a site, there are a couple of plots within walking distance that look like they have seen very little activity for some time. so one may be lucky.

My dad’s plot and my own will be very different in styles, both what is grown and how it is grown. This has caused a clash many times the past and it will be nice to ‘just get on with it’ without the criticism. Mine also will be grown in part for the expensive veg, luxury greens, as well as trying to over produce on purpose, one enjoyed the feeling of taking the excess apples to the food bank and would like it to continue, so long as there is the need for them.

I also enjoy trying the unusual veg and the odd colours, much to my sisters dismay.  Part of the attraction is the limited availability of such veg due to the growing season, this seems to no longer exist for the main vegetables, so it makes one look forward to the start of next years season to have them again when they no longer turn up on the shelves.

This year I am going to have a play, an experiment or two, and grow as much as I possibly can.

Reflections 2018 w07

Therapy, my very first Psychiatrist said, will be the thing that gets you better, the medication is only a bandaid, a short term help.

I did get some therapy after that, but only for my free gift of twitch and speech problem…erm…acceptance – once these were accepted I could no longer be treated by the physical health psychological team. However a recommendation for further treatment was sent to the mental health team at the time.

This was rejected due to my involvement in some group work, conflict of interest, and when finished I chased up the recommendation. This got an interview, and another rejection – due to oneself having many coping mechanisms, most of which were highlighted as negative in the group therapy, but in this setting they were seen as positive. The biggest coping mechanism that I have is avoidance, if it is unpleasant I somehow have worked out methods of avoidance for it, or for at least part of it/its stimulations.

Now here is where one has to state that I want to get better become a better person than before, major changes to how my mind works have altered ones perspective of oneself, and I wish not to ‘return’ to the person that ‘broke’. I do however wish to get rid of the dyslexic like aspect towards text (Dr quote “it will go away in time”) and the severe anxiety around people, outside, starting something new, life etc.

One has found a use for, most of, the illusions (Dr quote “it will go away in time”) through my art and writing, so one no longer finds them as disturbing. The twitching (Dr quote “it will go away in time”), that came from something but it’s hard to say what – actual Neurologists take on the twitching and the change in speech, is quite literally an anxiety/ stress indicator, the worse the anxiety/stress the worse the twitch.

If you see my right arm and hand do an invisible ranting hand puppet impression, I’m not having a good time – if I am stamping as well – stand clear of the exit.

My change in speech (Dr quote “it will go away in time”) was helped with speech therapy, who had a different view on whether it would change. Basically if it is anxiety caused, this is rare in adults over 40, common in children though, then receiving therapy to reduce/get rid of the anxiety, could, get rid of the stammer/stutter.

The magic pill it seems is therapy and hard work.

By now any free therapy was seen as a potential for healing, Anger Management (twice, with different companies), person centred therapy, this took me five weeks and a lot of psychological text books and notes for the next meeting to understand how it worked. With only three weeks to go I finally understood it was not an anger management therapy session as I was originally led to believe when one was referred. Which made me p’d off.

Each thought my diagnosis was incorrect and could not understand why therapy had been withheld.

A change of Psychiatric hospitals and another suggestion of therapy, another test and another rejection. Am I any better? NO!

Then comes the constant flow of trainee Psychologists/Psychiatrists – “you would benefit from therapy, I will suggest that that be looked into.” – NEXT – “you would benefit from therapy, I will suggest that that be looked into.” – NEXT…

There has been no problem describing drugs though. One hopes you never come across a doctor who gives you only pain killers for a broken leg, for years.

But one wishes to end with some good news…

In a roundabout way I have been referred to the original place that I received the original psychological help, this time however one is not going to just roll over and accept the diagnosis (of no diagnosis), it makes no sense to me either – but they have a drug for it.

I wanted to end with some good news.

But for some reason though I had a phone call from the G.P saying the Hospital referral has to be discussed with my G.P first??? And they are the ones that referred me to the Hospital department. WTF? It may take me a week just to get an appointment with the G.P. I’m already dragging a mountain and a black dog around – I don’t need this anchor of doubt over the therapy again!

Sod em…Some good news.

I saw the International Space Station pass overhead for the first time last week. And when I get the chance to see it with my son on one of his visits I will.

Reflections 2018 w06

The importance of a journal when your mind refuses to work.

One sits at the keyboard not being able to recall what it is that one has done over the week. Turn to my diary/journal, it was suggested that I keep one but never explained why, and it seems that there is a couple of days it has not been filled in. Honestly it is a habit that has yet to fully take hold, perhaps if an explanation as to why it is beneficial beyond appointment times (the diary aspect of it), I may be more enthusiastic about keeping it in order. Rarely is a theme for the week taken from the diary/journal, it is usually from my notebook that is always carried around with me, absolutely anything is written in that.

To me the notebook has an important role to play for me, it holds the spark of an idea for a painting, a poem, a story or even the reflection for the week, as well as appointments, if it is out when they are made. It is the physical manifestation of thought.

This week is however was a  blank on what to reflect upon and it was in desperation that the past weeks journal entries were looked upon for a glimmer of inspiration. I cannot recall for certain what has been done or where I have been this week. This is not uncommon in a depressive anxious brain, it’s so busy trying to out manoeuvre all the dangers it has invented, there is no processing power left for the non threats to be remembered. At the same time the brain does not like blanks and will fill it with vague memories of weeks gone past. Heck my brain even fills blank areas of places with shops/buildings from another area. It is really confusing on a day out shopping when it has done that.

In the end my blank memory has been matched by my blank journal entries, and in the blankness comes a reflection – keep the diary/journal in a place where I can see it.

Make it a routine to place it, along with the notebook, in one designated place.

I can see a sticky note being placed somewhere as a reminder when that place has been selected.

Reflections 2018 w05

Well another month has been and gone, not all the things I wanted to put into place have materialised and some were just late. Outside forces have played their role, and my unenthusiastic approach has been reflected by the weather conditions.

However one has managed to start on a website design, with Wix, for a friend from group, when it is completed a piece will be written on it as a kind of launch. It is a worthy cause I am glad I can help with it.

So January was not a complete bust, February it seems is wanting to start with the dentist as I sit here typing this with a quarter tooth missing. I so hope it has had a root filling in the past. There is a point of no return for teeth when the dental care has been lacking in years gone by, something I hope my son will not follow.

I finished the painting that was commissioned by the B-WELL group and when it is placed on the wall it will be placed on my website. Although I did not get paid for this commission, it is non the less my first commission, and it is my own design, heavily influenced by the Blobby Tree theoretics but far enough away from the actual picture that it has/will have its own identity, complete with my sense of humour. There may even be a cartoon on the trees growth and story of the little people and the well around it. I have seen the animated story in my head, it would not stop once it started.

The prize for the writing competition was a £10 voucher for The Works, the story will be published in Brighter Futures February newsletter along with the other entrant/winners story. Hopefully there will be enough feedback from the piece to get a more popular writing competition next time. my-first-writing-competition-entry

My goal of mapping the local parks/woods and blogging about each one did not start last month partially due to the weather and partially due to the struggle to get out doors. I know that even warmer weather will not change that struggle to get out of the doorway.

Thats the rundown for the last month.

Where has the time gone?

Why are the weeks flying by so fast?