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Reflections…Week Forty Eight

canstockphoto8630797Have I watched that many ‘girly’ flicks and programs that I am, by doing this, copying the very format that the writers have used?

From Carrie (Sex in the City) to Erica (Being Erica) and Marin (Men in Trees) I too seem to be ending an episode (my week) with a monologue. True my very existence may not be the most interesting at this moment of time, but I do feel that the very people that I am meeting on my recovery are.

Sometimes I do not even know if the very people I meet are actually here (supermarket-meeting-poetry/poem), or my mind has created a person to teach me something. But for that moment in time IT IS important and interesting.

As an artist one spends time observing, even here my mind now sees things a little differently now, and then in whatever style chosen, places either a ‘true representation of the scene, OR the heart of it, the emotion, the feeling, the movement, the sound or the serenity. All with the flow of the paint and the movement of the brush, to no longer see what is being created but to just let it flow out onto the canvas.

As a wordsmith in training, one spends time observing, reflecting and creating an artwork of language. To simply place a series of words down for a poem is not simple at all, each word is lovingly placed, replaced or simply repositioned. All I write is done this way. A beat or rhythm of a journey taken with the words lays beyond the shape and form of the very words themselves. A wrongly placed pause can disrupt or even alter the flow, sometimes to the detriment of the wording used, dulling its edge.

A reflective diary is used in some therapies, a way to explore our existence, look for the ‘faults’ and find a better way in dealing with the situation, how then did this therapy get entwined into our TV? Was it intentional to pass on the lesson of reflection to improve our life, or was it just placed there by accident? A concept that outgrew the original pitch once the ratings came in? Or was it just a writer being honest about not having the perfect life and trying to work things out?

And thus the question leads back to me. Am I just doing what I am told, or am I part of a solution by doing the reflective monologue of my life?

And will you someday, in some form, be the ‘interest’, the focus, of my artwork?

 

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/reflections-2017

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Reflections…Week Forty seven

Sometimes life is like a river, you can dip your toe in and get wet, or even enjoy the sensation of the water as it passes your legs as you paddle. It seems pleasant enough and the temptation is to go further in, to have a splash about, all great fun. And for many this is the experience of the river. A joyous experience of happy memories and tales to tell around a warm campfire.

But for some the river shows it’s darker side and the slow moving water on the surface hides the strong current of the water below. Each step becomes a fight not to get swept away, the once cool water is now cold and sapping our strength along with our resolve, all it takes is one small slip to be carried away. Each draining, cold step on the slippery rocks below, can be one step too far. Away we are carried – downstream.

Go with the flow, save your strength until the water once more calms down so you can swim to the safety of the shore. That is the thought we are told in one form or another – better the devil you know – but this can and does lead some to the rapids. A place so unforgiving that even the strongest of us will be broken against the rocks, too slippy and smooth to cling to, the very rocks themselves changed by the waters touch.

Though the water still flows fast, the end of the rapids, if we have survived, seems to offer a bitter relief. But the rapids are rarely just one set; just around the corner hides another trial.

Luck plays it’s part, or fate, or destiny, call it what you will, I have even heard it be called a ‘life lesson’, when after giving up,  we are washed to the shore, battered, bruised, defeated. But alive.

We dry ourselves in the sunlight, maybe even manage to light a small fire to push the cold embrace of the river from our body. In time we make a shelter that protects us from the elements, catch fish, and forage from the land around us. We survive.

For some inexplicable reason we stay, by the river, where we washed up.

Our surroundings don’t always reflect the weather that effects the river. It can be lovely and sunny where we are, but upstream there has been a storm, an outside force, the effects of which may not be felt for some time. One day we will swing our legs over the side of the bed in the morning only to be ankle deep in water, but to fearful of moving.

It is beginning to feel like that moment where I need wellies.

And it doesn’t help with it being the time of the year it is.

‘Tis the season to be jolly, tra la la la laaa – la la  –  F*$@ off! Go passive aggressively bother someone else.

 

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/reflections-2017

Reflections…Week Forty Six

canstockphoto8630797This week has been a blur, a blur of waiting to be exact. The two things don’t go together in a normal sense, one being movement and one being the absence of it, but the mind likes to play these silly little games.

Routine is key to knowing what day of the week it is most of the time, spread throughout the week are group sessions, shopping runs, and if we, myself and Spot, can afford to go out, whether that just entails time to do the longer walks, physical problems make what used to be an hour and a half walk an afternoon now, or petrol money to get to a woodland area. And routine is what sets the pace, or the apparent pace, of time.

Rearrange one aspect of this schedule and the pace of the week can drastically be altered. And this week has been a doozy of rearrange and additions. The Thursday shop was on Tuesday, the Friday shopping place is was on Tuesday in addition to Friday. My uncle gets driven around to shopping and hospitals, usually Thursdays and at the end of the month, but had an extra appointment on Tuesday for his hearing aids as well as the end of the month one on Thursday. The Monday group was somewhere new, the Thursday daytime, prior going to my uncle, was shared between a cuppa with group friends at a church cafe, nipping round to another group to drop some things off and the American for the writing competition winner announcement. Well thats the blur covered

The waiting…Thats easy, as the Thursday shopping was on the Tuesday I didn’t require anything yet, so not in the mood for people, I waited in the car. At the hospital – both times – in the car, and the Friday shop – moneys a bit tight so I only got a couple of things and sat in the store waiting for my Mother and neighbour to do their shopping. To be honest I nearly went and sat in the car for the Friday shop, I have really been struggling to go out these past couple of weeks.

Today, Saturday, was different. Today I spent a day at the university open day throwing pots, something that has a major embarrassment memory from a school parents open day, way back then it was my first time I had been on a potters wheel and I may as well been trying to catch greased up eels coming from the centre. So today was to rid myself of that connection of embarrassment to the potters wheel. It was also a day to reconnect with distant souls, faces with whom paths have not crossed for a very long time. Also with it being an open day, our little group, and therefore myself on a potters wheel, was on display, again.

The groups run by Z are ace, there is an atmosphere of wonderment and humour, it matters not whether you are sitting on your own, spinning clay, or sitting in a group, sculpting clay, you are a part of it. Banter is varied to the clean and the shocking, well you have left me with no moral compass, Too shocking Too soon for the person the last line was for, welcome back.

Some could say I show off with the creative crafts, but I don’t do what I do to impress, not consciously anyway, but I do try to push my boundaries, in some cases I skip the basic stuff and go straight to the interesting. Today was just to play. I had no interest in bringing anything back home, everything was to be binned, emotion, shame, and whatever disaster was created.

I have, however, started a bit of — it’s not rivalry or oneupmanship, but it is – he’s done that I’m doing this kinda thing. I don’t think copper bowls will be satisfactory next metalworking class and the potters wheel is going to get a lot more advanced next clay workshop.

Did my creations end up in the bin? Only one out of the three, and the clay is reformed into a ball and used again, so not really binned as such. I have not taken any pictures yet as I am waiting until they have been fired, one has very delicate walls and my vase has a long thin neck but the clay didn’t feel right at the base of the neck once I stretched the clay upwards and has a high chance of it being an air bubble, thus blowing apart when fired. They are cockeyed but they did a great job of chasing away ghosts.

Oh I almost forgot, the writing competition winner announcement…

Is now going to take place at Christmas, I could have stayed at the cafe.

The reason — there were only two entries. The closing date was October 14th and they wait till the winner announcement day, and place, to let us know they new winner announcement time. But by telling me that there was only two entries they have tarnished the whole winning of it for me. Something that had a sense of achievement has now become a game of odds, good odds of winning. Creative skills have now been covered under a blanket of depression, to be dropped and forgotten about. I had been looking forward to being told I’d won, a rare self belief in what I had done, I don’t even know if I will bother turning up to the next winner announcement, the interest in it has gone.

Sometimes I feel the pinatas’ pain.

 

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/reflections-2017

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…

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk

Reflections…Week Forty Five

canstockphoto8630797This was the week that Echo closed its doors, and although it was a service that had recognition for it’s good work, it was a service that the government failed to see.

But it is not yet dead!

Brighter Futures have taken it under their wing until next April/March, which is when their funding comes under review from the same government branch that has pulled funding from Echo and NSV (North Staffs Voice), so for a time there is hope

(The term ‘human’ from this point on could refer to any person who has the working knowledge of patients in a time spent capacity. I.e counsellor, Psychotherapist, Psychologist, Therapist etc.) 

The service will be the same but less than, in the sense the space will be shared. However the Swan Bank Church (I believe I have that right) has done the group a massive favour by waiving the fee for the room that gets used by the Art Group until March.

As for the group sessions, well their lies an interesting path that could be taken. No longer is it a CBT session created by a – lets say a ‘human’ – but it is at the moment being taken from those clinical self help books, that I personally find patronising at times. And in this transformation the sessions are getting a little more – generic.

BOOOOOO!

Or is it?

If it was possible to get someone to put the ‘human’ back into the sessions, and still have it slanted towards self harm, after all it could be said all negative behaviours that limit our growth and recovery could come under this banner, but at the same time have a platform that could be taken out under a wider range of banners, with slight tweaking, then the opportunities to fund the ‘human’ to write the sessions is greatly expanded.

This person could also, and it seems like they want more of an active participation from group members to run groups, do, what it seems like my fast becoming standard reply to this suggestion –  Training.

This is also where the evolution of ECHO could come.

What IF…

ECHO became less of a thing, and more of a package. As it stood it was the only one of its kind in the UK, so I have been told, and as it stands now, it is part of something else. As an idea, concept, movement, whatever you want to call it it could be shared. Shared between different charities, and therefore the cost for the ‘human’ could be shared as well. But it also holds that if active participation of the running of the groups is by members, and I am talking about trained/vetted/coached members here, then that could extend the reach to places outside of what is currently available.

This has the possibility of having a snowball effect and reaching many, many more people.

And unlike the clinical CBT training, ECHO membership is life long, for as long as you need it, NOT 12 weeks and your done.

It could even evolve far beyond this vision in time.

So yes, there is hope.

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/reflections-2017

Reflections…Week Forty Four

canstockphoto8630797Some weeks you just want a focal point, something routine so you know where your at, this was one of those weeks.

A lot of running around was done by members of the family, emergency trips to and from hospital followed by an emergency op, my little cousin goes through a hell of a lot, we know this because my sister does, and that’s just looking after her.

This threw out the week due to having to have ‘Monster’, her brother, getting up early was extra, plus the journey(s) to drop him off/get him, shopping was later , so on and so forth. What has thrown it all whack though is the uncertainty of one of my groups, it’s lost its funding, or at least a big chunk of it. This is on top of a drastic restructuring of that service due to a person leaving.

Drastic would be overstating it for some as the time table has remained unaltered,  but the staffing change has shifted dramatically. The person who has taken over the ‘group’ tries hard, she really gives it her all, however she has not the same level of counselling skills as the previous person, skills that we became dependant upon as part of out non-clinical clinical help. If that didn’t make sense, neither does it to us, and we have had to find the clinical therapy help in a format that came from our non-clinical support. Even if she was to be trained in counselling, the time it would take for her to complete the course would render the skills mute for us now.

And those skills are what are needed in times of great change like these.

Part of me hopes that the Psychiatrist does not find out about the funding before the next meeting in December, otherwise I fear he will try to place me back onto antidepressants, and I do not want that.

Without a focal point in the week though, I’m muddled.

 

It’s Easy to Speak… #poem #poetry

 

Words,
that was what failed me,
at my breakdown.
My mind it did care not,
for adverb nor noun.

Twisted, contorted,
my body did bend.
Painful the motion,
for word it to send.

Of fear and of panic,
I – was to feel.
Blow from the madness,
I – was to reel.

That it was my speech,
would fail me so.
Pain felt with each word,
a sentence to sow.

Questions were asked,
and answers were pained.
Though for the DR’s,
no answers were gained.

Why did my speech change,
I still do not know.
Just came and then stayed,
will it not go?

Thankful my body,
no longer writhe.
Though when I’m speaking,
still it’s not lithe.

Stiffly it does move,
whilst limping on.
On words it will stick,
n stumble upon.

So not always easy,
then just to speak.
For me, was a big change,
one day, of one week.

A § M
15/10/2017

 

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/writing