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Reflections…Week Twenty Three

When you know you have caught a bug.

Not the insect kind, though I do with my son, nor the germ kind, this be the new ‘habit’ kind.

One started the blogging just to write something, Miss Ross’s words have echoed around my mind since High School like a squeaky fan in an air conditioning duct. She said I could, and should write a story as she enjoyed reading mine, she also said I failed to write a beginning and an end, it felt like I had just jumped to the action in the middle and I should put them in. Unfortunately copies have not been kept.

To start, writing was a chore, it was hard work, especially when people started to follow me and like the blogs, this added pressure to write well. Writing well is not something I feel I can do naturally, the structure and form of writing is lost on me, and don’t even ask what a simile, metaphor, adjective or pronoun is. These were never explained to me in a learning style I could follow.

I know oxymoron; somehow one feels like this is saying something about oneself.

Now one looks forward to writing, it’s even become a pleasure. My little note book is carried around and ideas are written down in it, often. But now I know one has caught the writing bug. More specifically the Poetry writing bug.

It is still done within the confines of therapy, but I have just finished my third in as many weeks, tweaking will follow of course. Two of the subjects were set as ‘themes’, and in the little notebook are ideas for more. One knows that the quality will not be of the highest standard, but I don’t care, I want to write another, and that is how one knows one has caught a bug.

As bugs go this has the chance of metamorphosing into something much different than what it is now.

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Reflections…Week Twenty two

canstockphoto8630797A week of uncertainty, a week of determination.

For nearly three weeks part of my medication has been unavailable, completely ending my dose just shy of a fortnight ago. No weening off, just a sudden stop, ended, and as it is the only one in its class, no alternative.

Luckily, I have had no side effects, BUT, and it is a big but – after multiple failures to obtain the medication it took a week , due to one thing and another, to find out if I was at risk of harm from the sudden stop and what my options were.

Not the risk of harm as in suicidal thoughts, depression, anxiety, the usual bag of side effects. No the question was more of physical, I have been on this medication for years and my body chemistry would have adapted, to a degree, at receiving it daily.

The staff at the groups I use have been kept aware of what has been happening and helping where they can, so I have good, knowledgeable, organisations as backup should things start going wrong. Family are also available, so two safety nets as it were. But it is the group staff that have had the most concern, they have seen people ‘go off’ their meds, and the results are not usually pretty.

If I was at the stage that my belief in the medication is the source of my healing, I would have been worried, but since being on the medications my health as a whole has decreased, co-incidental?

When you go onto medication and you show side effects that the doctors doctors don’t see as problematic, weight gain, brain fog, heck, even my illusions were classed as a side effect by one doc, the usual “it’ll go away in time” becomes the standard reply. This is, I believe, because you cannot test for side effects, so how do you prove/disprove they exist in a patient? My sudden development of a twitch and stammer could not be found in a book, not in patients over the age of 16ish, so that too got the “it’ll go away eventually” line.

Add in the factor of ones improvement due to therapies, that also has no test for it, you have two variables of ones health that do not fit into the equation. The drugs get all the praise and none of the blame, does this really help the patient?

There are reports by some doctors in America, including at least one Psychiatrist, that say the drugs are not the answer, and a homeopathic approach is better for the patient long term. Now I don’t know if that is true or not, since there is no profitability by the drug companies, there have been limited studies on it, but I don’t know why it isn’t available alongside as part of the treatment, possible side effects – better health, better diet, shorter amount of time on the medication, therefore less exposure to the common side effects of suicide, suicidal thoughts, depression, anxiety…

One goes to a weekly group that, for want of a better term, does life learning. Which is to say ones life choices, usually influenced at an early age, are questioned and alternative thought patterns are offered. The idea is simple, identify negative traits, identify why they are there, explore alternatives, implement small changes, find oneself and become oneself. Sometimes we are shaped, including our reactions, from outside sources, to a point we become less us and more what is expected to ‘be’.

Yes I am aware I speak as one and as multiple, this can also be a side effect of the shaping, segments of ones personality can get segregated.

Side note  pomegranate/pear/raspberry juice with spirulina and green superblend powders…yuck…eugh…nasty!

I believe I have been lucky in experiencing no side effects (to present), and I would not recommend stopping medication to anyone, but I would recommend you going to as many free therapies/groups/courses as you possibly can that are available in your area. The amount of courses/groups I have gone to is the reason I don’t fear coming off the medication, even as a trail, how else can it be proven if it was the  drug or whether it was changes made during my stay at the mental hospital responsible for the improvement of my mental state and whether the drug has been ‘working’ these past years?

In the West Midlands there are groups like Brighter futures, Echo, Mind, Healthy Minds and Changes, these are the ones I know about but not all of them, they are free and recognised Mental Health groups.

If a series of events and responses in the past are responsible for present, then is it not a good thing to learn to change the responses in order for the future be different than the present?

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Reflections…Week Twenty One

canstockphoto8630797Burnt noggin day down by the canal.

It was the Etruria canal festival this weekend and as we had a good time last year we went again today. The weather started as a usual child typical Saturday, overcast and looking like rain later, but the sun came out just after we had lunch, and promptly cooked us. I usually wear a hat when out but forgot today for some unknown reason, and the sun cream was left on the side. Well prepared we were not.

I took the camera with me but I knew from last year it would really get used tomorrow on the return trip with Spot, specifically to take the photos; and hopefully some usable video. As usual my notebook will be travelling with me for blog inspirations as they happen, and a shirt, and a big hat, maybe some suncream to scare it away, the sun that is, it works in the back garden at home. I am hoping to get some ideas or at least notes for the poetry class here as well.

The creative writing/poetry class was a bust this week, even the lady who runs it failed to show. I did not write a poem,  however  a shopping list of words connected to my theme has been created, I will continue to work on the construction of a poem from this list as I go on. But not wanting to show up ’empty handed’, as it were, a poem by Wilfred Owen was printed off and take along.

The theme for this week was – a loss of a person, the poem was told to me, and my class, at school by a substitute teacher we had for two weeks. He also told us how clever Hitler was on his use of language and its manipulation of it in his speeches, a theme that seems to be reoccurring these days too.

This is a moving poem, that still has a pattern of rhyming my brain can follow, so here it is – one for every 14 year old…

Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.

Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.—
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

You see in a way this has been locked into my long term memory,  a poem that follows a format I can follow, it is about horrific subject matter, but still it follows a known format of rhyming the end words.

The  skill of wordsmithing he possessed is awe-inspiring, and although I forgot the poem itself, I never forgot the subject matter and the search for it online was easy. The words may have become distant, but the power of the words have remained with me till this day.

One day I will write a poem or a written piece that will have a lasting effect such as this one, yes the bar is set high; but nobody has said one cannot use a pair of ladders to get over it.

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/reflections-2017

 

Reflections…Week Nineteen

canstockphoto8630797As usual my brothers birthday is fast approaching and until today I have had no idea of what to get him, to be honest it usually applies to all birthdays, or I have an idea but the cost is too high. If it works it will be a hit I am sure, if not he will have the cop-out cash in card.

I have been sitting on a colouring in picture for Leo, my son, for over a week now and it was in showing it to him this afternoon the idea came to me. The picture is on glossy paper and I needed to take a photo of it to print it out onto normal paper for him, if he wanted to do it.

The picture – two carp in simple Chinese style.

It was being pushed as a kiddies colour in picture but I recon it would easily pass as an adult one. A bit of jiggling around and drawing the fish myself, the 914 x 356mm (or 36 x 14inch) canvas I have in the wardrobe would be the perfect size to be able to set the fish off and not crowd the detail of the scales. As I sit writing this the fish has been 2/3rds completed. I am chuffed too bits that the drawing has gone so smoothly, I have tried to do fish before but they always look terrible, even the outline looks oddly shaped normally, but this one looks good.

This weeks reflection is early and it is short, but I need to get back to this drawing now the little fella has gone to bed, and before my meds kick in and skew anything I draw away from what it is I am trying to do.

As it is a new project, it will be broken down as photos for each stage and placed onto my website at a date post birthday.

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/reflections-2017

Reflections…Week Eighteen

canstockphoto8630797I once had to dump my motorbike and jump into the side of an Artic Lorry Cab, leaving a dent in the cab door and wrapping my tobacco tin around my thigh where it hit the cab wheel. I was bruised and I ached the next day but I went back to my very manual job. Just another day, just another bruise. It was a walk away, though for the motorbike it was the end, that went under the wheel – and then under it a second time as he reversed back over it to see what he had hit.

I’m older now, not so able to just shake off the knocks, but I manage. What I find difficult is the days I wake up with every muscle aching for no reason, my head swimming like it is the morning after the night before, including the hissss – sunlight – shut the curtains and block it out, and the brain fog.  Yesterday was bad, I hardly moved out of my darkened room, my head in limbo from one thought to the next, even prompting by spot didn’t get me out of the house.  It took most of today to work up the momentum to do it, sometimes going outside is like walking against a strong wind, but only you feel it, and until you do, you don’t really understand how difficult it is.

Spot has been a godsend in my recovery, she knows when I am dipping, she plays the fool more elaborately to cheer me up, in her mind it works because I take steps to divert it when I can, she is my early warning system when I don’t wake with it in place. She will prompt me for going out, to the point of anoyance, and a simple day out for a walk with her is something to aim for .

And she gives good cuddles without asking.

But even with Spot in place the constant pain is starting to wear me down, I have support in place, but I just want to know what is happening and why my feet feel like someone is trying to rip them apart. These are the worst parts and at the same time these are the ‘worst’ parts.

They hurt the most and they hinder the most, I cannot remember a time without some sort of pain in them now. I hate being given ‘advice’, the meaning well’ness is there, but if it aggravates whatever it is, I suffer the next day maybe two. An exercise for one complaint can be torture for another. That is why I am waiting for an answer from the doctors before I start anything new, heck even they have offered no exercises to do that I am not already doing.

Its been two and a half years now and though I have a few “it’s not” statements the path has run its course and i am being signed off, so I have to start right back at the beginning because I was sent the wrong way. Not that I was expecting much from Neuro, they admitted that my stammer/stutter and twitch, which appeared out of the blue five years ago, was neurological but they did not know why, off I was sent to ‘receive help’ to accept this new feature, job done. But never have I been treated like I was dog  dirt on a shoe for being there, on another doctors referral, and wasting his time before.

All I want is an answer to the question….”Whats up doc?”

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Reflections…Week Seventeen

canstockphoto8630797

Today we, myself, my son and his Nan plus Spot, tried to get his easter present, an alternative to chocolate, into the air. The day has been dry and the wind gusty in the back yard, it held all the potential to get his 3D fish kite into the air, basically a winged box kite.

Where we go to fly his kites is a small park just a few streets away, ideal as his attention span can be quite short if things are not going the right way,  but credit to him, even if his patience is lacking, his perseverance is great.

We get to the park, let Spot off the lead as no other dogs were there, and get the kite ready to fly. I could see that if we can just get the kite up on one of the gusts to the tree top level the wind would be constant. The location is not ideal for kites but once they are up to that height they usually stay up.

Kite at the ready, the wind drops down. My brother says that whenever we go fishing, and the forecast is for wind, I should take my kites. This is due to the numerous times a kite has been taken for a walk, it gets walked to a spot for flying, it scares the wind away, it gets walked back. The same is true with leo.

It becomes clear after a few attempts that this kite is not going to lift, so out comes a backup, a really cheap duel lined parachute kite, he has a single line version and it is basically a carrier bag on string. With virtually no weight to lift this just needed a slight gust to soar away, we lost this as well.

Meanwhile Spot had noticed the lack of attention towards what she was doing, she stays as my shadow even off lead, and decided to go hippy dog. This year has been a great year for the dandelions, and dandelions are apparently the new doggy fashion. I came back with a yellow tie-dyed dog with bits of dandelion and daisy in her hair.

We had dinner and came up with a plan. We would take the kite in the car with us and see if there was anywhere it could be flown at Westport lake as a bonus to feeding the ducks.

There was not. But we had a good time feeding the birds and the ducks, we even got to see a couple of new arrivals.

 

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The Notebook

canstockphoto8630797It felt strange carrying it around at first, then I made a change, which felt random, but now I feel much more comfortable about it.

It is not a notebook for shopping items, nor appointments, it was, at the start, a reflective diary, but now it’s mainly for ideas that seem to get lost from the moment I have them – to when I reach a place to write them down. Those brilliant, wonderful, exciting, fantastic ideas that would propell a story line or enchant a blog reader.

Alas those ideas have gone, the notebook had them running for the hills, running so not to be captured. They run well! But one is persistent

I saw things at the supermarket, perceptions of reality or glimpses of alternate states,when on my exposure therapy, sitting waiting for the others to finish shopping, I grabbed my notebook and put pen to paper, to capture the moment. Suddenly and without warning people looked my way, I could feel my face warming as the blood began to add scarlet blusher to my cheeks. More looked on, more blood pumped to the cheeks, like a child caught with his hand in the cookie jar I sheepishly closed the notepad and placed it into my bag.  My shamefull glow took a long time to dissipate, even with eyes cast down to the ground.

A different supermarket, a different response, although the other chap sitting on the bench with me kept looking over at my spiders scrawl. One has different writing styles – dependant on the situation, from scrawl to calligraphy. When embarrassed…my writing could rival that of a Doctors scrawl.

There is no way he could read what was being written, but try he did, his attempts were not even that subtle. Almost as though giving up, he picked up his persciption bag, leaned onto his wooden stick and joined his wife as she trundled away from the checkout. I watched as my inquisitive stranger left the store before returning to my notepad once more.

With nobody paying attention an idea formed in my head of ‘could I?’

Could I?

  • Pick an idea from what I see to write a blog?
  • Pick any idea?
  • Any subject?
  • What about…

I picked that subject and started writing, I wrote a couple of pages, then on the next trip at the other supermarket I wrote some more, next trip was the same. At six pages I thought – there is enough here to easily write a blog, a long one at that, but is there enough to be the backbone for a short story? I haven’t written a short story since school, even then they were more the middle of a longer one; according to Miss Ross. I have had no desire to write a short story, so have no idea as to why that thought came to be. Is there a writing infection one can catch?

That is why I have left the ‘subject’ a mystery.  If the story does not work out at least I will have a blog post without announcing the story was a bust at my fingertips, only to see the idea materialise on someone else’s post.

The notebook now also contains an idea for a children’s book, Park notes and blog ideas.

I now miss it when it is not in my bag, my phone has ideas for blogposts on it, but it is not the same as pen on paper; and one loves ones tech,

Now when an idea pops in for a visit I have no care as to what it is I am doing, or where it is been done. Out comes the pad and pen to capture the moment for later apraisle.

One has found a way to practice mindfulness in places that cause most anxiety to such a point my surroundings become only the story one writes.

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