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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 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 w01


I have just watched a film about a man that got cryogenically frozen and reanimated, well, about 25%, the rest was grown from DNA samples and mechanical adaptions. At one point they brought in a machine that recorded memories, overall the film has been interesting, and the growing of a new body that works symbiotically with a machine does seem realistic, it is half available now. But I have an issue with the cryogenics. That issue is all about memory.

Whenever the subject is approached upon the screen the struggleis all about the reanimation of flesh. Growing a new body covers that subject, except for the brain. This is most commonly just implanted, and away the person goes, memories and all.

This, in my mind, then places the brain as a organic hard drive, in as such the memories are just stored in a segment to be accessed when needed. In principle that is acceptable, when the brain is alive, and I have yet to hear about how it does the storing. I have heard how this memory gets this part of the brain working and that memory the other, but the actual storage and the management of that ‘data’, I don’t think we know yet.

If we don’t know how it is stored whilst the brain is working, how then do we get it to work after the electrical impulses have stopped? Can a persons memories be stimulated after death now, whilst experiments on the brain are being done?

On a side note, could your memories be used as evidence in court after death if the process to read these memories is ever found?

Also, the brain is organic and as such their is, even in cryogenic status, a decay of the matter. Effectively creating bad sectors on the ‘hard drive’, and with the lights turned off, there is no disc management available. One bit of damage, in the wrong place, and the disc drive won’t work, you don’t know until the booting up sequence.

So then, the recording of the memories will be the answer for immortality – grow a new body, transfer the memories over.

Lets say that the essence of a person is the unique data processing and logical algorithms for a particular outcome. And our emotions are just a chemical response to that processing conclusion. Both of which could be replicated. 

Could you then be completely be replaced by a fresh new you?

But if a person is just what is in their head, a steady stream of data. Why do we need to bother within the body?

And could multiple copies of a single identity be made?

And what would it be truly be like waking up in a new body? Or even one that may not even be your own, even if it is the one you asked for?

I don’t believe in a soul. But I do believe that person is more than just memories and chemicals, and when we die ‘we’ die. Even if physically the person is brought back to life with all memories intact. The spark that made us – us is too unique to be replicated. Would you have then condemned yourself to an eternal prison upon being awakened?

I don’t think cryogenics is for me!

Go with the flow. Echo Update.

IMG_1618ECHO had its first group session at the new place of The American, more turned up than most of us expected, this was a welcome sight as many were wondering if now was the time to stop coming.

Thats not to say we have given up on ECHO, far from it, but the serenity that Brunswick House offered contrasts greatly to the atmosphere of The American, this does not help to ‘settle in’. I am lucky in this respect as I am familiar with the American, many are not, and the process of going somewhere new can be overwhelming, but I too was hesitant as to whether the group would work here.

Chaos was expected as no routines have been set up yet, and chaos was the format for the beginning.  This will improve as time goes by with more input from us to make it work.

Emotions were being suppressed by everyone to differing levels – anger, confusion, dejection where common but most present is probably uncertainty. We have had a letter explaining what has gone on with the funding cut and how we have been given this reprieve by Brighter Futures and the generosity of Swan Bank Methodist Church in order to keep the group going , though not the same, until the end of March.

It also tells us how they are pursuing different avenues toward funding but basically it is looking like ECHO requires a night in shining armour to save the day. Understandably this alters how one approaches the group as a whole – it now has a guillotine at the end of march.

The worksheets, have become more clinical, as I call them, or educational as another does. What we got used to was a more caring way of them being worded. For example:-

You have to take four tablets a day… A Clinical response would be something like…Take two twice a day on a full stomach. A caring approach would be more…Take two tablets at dinner time and two at tea. Both say the same thing but the styling is completely different and I believe the latter helps the info to be absorbed better.

We definitely need to get the CBT papers less clinical.

(Disclaimer).  Now the term CBT has never been used in conjunction with these sessions, but I have found no difference in these and the CBT courses I have been on and the key principles in which they both work are the same.

And in this line of thought I am sending an email to the B.F boss with an idea how we may get some written for us by a University student or two. I don’t think the person who runs the group will have enough time to do the re-writes, unless she takes them home, and none of us want her to become burnt out.

As for me, I have been keeping myself busy, avoiding dealing with it, I am currently looking a a dragons tail that needs scales painting. I know it is the wrong way to do it, especially now I have nearly read a book on mindfulness that was clear on what it means to be ‘present’, and locking myself away from the outside world only makes it worse, but the habit is a lifelong one.  I’m working on replacing it with a more healthy approach.

On the plus side however, I have discovered that writing these blogs has been part of my mindfulness journey, without me even knowing about it, and it is also one way of allowing myself to process the information of the current situation and the Poetry/Prose(new chapter) has been called a cathartic release; this stage has yet to happen, I doubt it will be pretty when it gets here.

On we plod…



Rebloged, could you please do the same for this one. These are both services that should be available throughout the UK.


Tomorrow is World Mental Health Day and as readers will know the theme this year is mental health in the workplace. Workplace bullying is on the rise and the third/charity sector seems to be a hotbed of bad practice here in Wales.


Take a look at the blog site of John Gilheaney, a former employee of Welsh mental health charity Hafal. Bullying in the workplace has been reported by many staff.


The First Minister Carwyn Jones and other key Ministers have been made aware of the serious allegations against this organisation and yet Hafal still receive considerable Welsh Government funding with no apparent move to investigate these serious complaints. This appears to be the same for other charities.

With extreme pressure on an ever diminishing pot of public money surely the people of Wales should…

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Cut, Cut, Cut…Part One #echo #brighterfutures

It’s that time of the year again, Budgets cut and services under threat.

Hi, I would like to tell you of a service that, due to it’s not being ‘clinical’, is viewed as surplus to requirements, well actually it is not just one.

The services are called ECHO (Brighter Futures) and
NSV (North staffs Voice)

First ECHO…

Echo is a self harm group (no that is not ‘just cutting’). It can cover a multitude of different ways one places themselves in harms way. Some are more socially acceptable, some less obvious, but all are a way of coping, a way to control something in an uncontrollable life, a way to ‘feel’ something that deadens the pain of something else so that the ‘healing’ process can begin. It is not a cry for attention and ECHO is not a place to swap ideas.

What it is, and probably most importantly, is a place where you will not be judged. You will however receive support and advice on how to break the cycle of self harm. This can come from one-to-one support, complimentary therapies, art groups and workshops that look at the emotions and feelings that can trigger a self harm response.

This group works! It is why if you are over 18 and in North Staffs you have a good chance of being referred to it by the doctor/psychiatrist.

However I have heard that if you self harm and have the support of this NON CLINICAL group, it has been deemed sufficient enough to STOP access to clinical support in some areas.
Just think about that for a minute, it would not be allowed to happen with a physical diagnosis, Oh you are being a sports therapist, well you don’t need the GP then.


But that is off topic. This service IS recognised for the work it does. It can
get someone off meds (saving, in my case I was told £500 a month, for one med, unbelievable)
stop visits to the accident unit, and before you judge think how drink related cases are just classed as a ‘weekend thing’,
stop admittance in the mental hospitals
and get people living their life free of self harm

As a side note, it can also improve their life in general, get someone through the educational system and improve their chances to landing a job, then being able to keep it.

If the system is relying more and more on the support that these groups offer as they cut NHS services and the support that they can offer, then where is the logic on putting all the work the NON clinical services have done at risk?

Personally it has been the support of these groups NOT the support of the NHS that have managed to keep me off the prescribed medication that has been dropped off.

I am not dismissing the work of the psychiatrist or psychologists nor the counsellors, but the waiting lists can be long and I currently have four hours a YEAR in appointments and support from the NHS compared to five days a week access to Brighter futures, with appointments not usually required, depends on what I want to talk about.

This is under threat and studies have shown an increase in self harm and it is not a teen thing, far from it.

Echo can help, for now, but it requires support to be there for the next generation coming through and to be there for the generations just starting to ask for help now.



To contact either charity follow these links

To donate to either of these charities please follow the links bellow.

Brighter Futures Donations



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Reflections…Week Thirty Two

canstockphoto8630797I feel tired, not only physically and mentally, but spiritually, for want of a better word. Some times you can get good news, sometimes not so good, and sometimes the good just gets lost in the humdrum of the not so good. The latter is the last couple of months.

A trying time when you have just come of one of your medications.

Life at times feels like trudging up a really steep dry sand dune that keeps growing. Each step is a trudge and you can slide back down if the footing becomes unstable. It can be tempting to sit down for a spell, but then you remember the feeling of sand in your pants, and think better of it.

But like the dunes of Wales it can be possible for things to set root, therefore giving stability and a platform to rest up. Now the grass on the welsh dunes is sharp on the tip, so not the most comfortable place to place ones buttocks, however, when you can sit just out of the wind for a cup of tea – sand free – whilst overlooking the sea, the pin cushion bum is worth it.

So onward I plod, not looking to clutch at straws but rather, trying to reach the strength of the green grass that has planted roots, helped shape the dune and called this place home.

I shall have to sit a while when I get there.