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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 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

#Lloyds Bank – Warning!

Aaaaaagh, could be one way to put it, #@%$#^$! #%@^*&^% Lloyds Bank could be another. And I had been a near lifelong customer.

Not one for being diligent with money, or partners, in the past, I, like so many others with mental health problems, ended up in debt. Last month I finally managed to sort things out with the help of CAB (Citizens Advice Bureaux for those not in the UK), I would recommend enlisting their help on a range of subjects. The route I took avoided Bankruptcy, so the bank accounts I have, with little money in, were not affected.

Then along come Lloyds Bank, Without notification, they decide to close my main bank account, the one money gets deposited into and refused to let me have the funds held in it. Saying that it was the insolvency team that did it at first, they had no idea what the bank was talking about, and then saying it was standard practice. To unlock the funds I had to go back to the CAB who contacted the Insolvency team to get a letter stating they had NO interest in the account.

Then how did I find out?

My mobile provider sent a text that the Direct Debit had not come out, I went online (Lloyds Internet Bank) to find that there was the money in at that date, but no transaction was showing, I assumed that it was a problem with the DD. I needed some money out so I thought I would sort it after visiting the cashpoint.

Notice how I went onto the Online bank!

The cashpoint would not let me get cash or let me see my balance, so off to the bank to find out why my card is not working and why the DD failed. They thought it was the card at first until something was flagged on the account. Long story short – This is how I found out, No telephone call, No text, No email, No letter and, this is the best part I think, No message on the Online Banking, on that everything appeared normal, I found out standing at the counter, trying to keep calm.

The thought then was that it was an account that I could have credit with, I love how they say I could have credit with (overdraft), when in reality I could apply to have, or, be refused, without the banks approval it’s a mute point. The option to apply for one is on my other two accounts.

One is for Main DD’s plus a little floater for when they get taken out early with a standard amount going in to cover. The other was opened to control my spending whilst shopping, with a set budget. The main account (Lloyds) was to send the money to each account and build a little extra up with the leftovers.

So now I had to go into each of the other banks and ask the question…“Is my bank account being closed?”

I got strange looks until I explained what was going on, turns out, they are not, so not quite standard practice then.

Lloyds have in the past changed my address to one that I never lived at, no I was not hacked, My EX had changed her address to this one, and because in the past I once had a joint account with her, closed at this point, they changed mine to her address and sent my mail to her. She was just as confused as me. Internal error! I can honestly say I will not miss this bank.

It is their right, as it is with any bank, to close an account, I am not disputing that right at all, I just think it should be my right to be told about it, by the bank doing it, so I can alter my finances and make alternate arrangements for money going into and out of an account. I would have had to open an account with another bank if I did not already have that option in place.

So WARNING if you bank with Lloyds Bank – It appears to be STANDARD practice for this bank to CLOSE your account WITHOUT letting you KNOW about it. 

Who are my other banks?

Santander and the co-op Bank.

My complaint is in the post!

 

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/

 

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

Time to Wake…#poem#poetry

Warning this one has been classed as dark.

 

Time to Wake

Shiraz is my choice
of wine now to have,
for sleep I need some help.
My throbbing head,
my shattered soul,
I take tablets for the pain.

I failed you see,
but I tried so hard,
I even gave it my all.
My best – not enough,
twas never enough,
no matter how hard I tried.

We are told what’s expected – of life,
how to be.
but never how to get there,
A hint would be nice,
or being told a direction,
if ever they did, they never told me.

So I glance at the picture,
the one of my son.
Tell him I’m sorry and cry.
Sorry I failed him,
that I fought and I lost,
but defeat may offer an option.

I tell of a plan that is plotted,
a gift from the sidelines.
Half a bottle has gone.
With it’s vanishing comes weariness,
I need to sleep
to escape – all of this.

Ive made my bed
its time now to lie
and place my head on soft pillow.
My eyes, heavy, they shut,
the darkness it comes,
and with it goes all of the fear.

As the darknesses embraces
acceptance is found.
It offers a strange kind of calm.
My head it is swirling
from all the wine had.
The temperature drops just a little.

I pull up my cover;
the leaves they fall off,
the woodlice scatter from under my body.
When hypothermia starts,
my body to shake.
A spider – walks over my hand.

A § M
5/8/2017

The Old Room…#poem#poetry

The Old Room

I used to come here,
tis a place from the past,
the walls they store a shared memory.
Of laughter and tears,
of shedding ones fears,
and building a sense of comradely.

Supplies neatly stacked,
on shelving where stored,
groups paintings adorned all the walls.
But cluttered now is,
the stock all around,
with paint splatter marring the walls.

Where once did I sit,
could not now I fit,
the table it is overflowing.
As I looked around,
no sanctuary found,
I feel as though I’m in mourning.

A § M
5/8/2017