Tag Archives: mental health

I Shared An Insight Into My Heart

Do you know…I am still thrilled with my poem “River”. I wrote it over twenty years ago, and it still deeply registers with me. It is one of the few times in my life when I found the right words to convey how I was feeling in a poetic style, and I did it as a teenager! Normally, poetry is not natural to me at all. So that poem means so much.

In “River”…it all came out, and it came out with such creative flare, such lyricism. I am still astonished at myself. If I never manage to write anther meaningful poem again, it matters not. “River” is my poetic statement, my message to the world.

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A Cloud Followed Me Around All Day

I do not know what happened to me yesterday (I mean Monday). I woke up feeling just fine, but some how, my spirits plummeted. I think there were a combination of factors:

  • Jack is going to be away for almost six weeks and I am already sulky without him
  • I am applying for just about any part-time job I can because I feel as if I have reached a dead-end in my current role
  • I am trying to keep the garden here alive while my landlords are away by collecting my shower water in a big plastic box (I ought to photos this) and catching all the waste water I use in my washing up bowl and lugging it up to throw on the flowerbeds – and it is exhausting in the heat
  • I miss my family
  • I am worrying about people who have to decide: eat or heat?
  • I have nowhere near enough time to do everything I need to, let alone the things I would like to do
  • Goldfinch is in my thoughts all the time

Some of it is just silliness. But by the end of the day, I just felt so tearful. I had woken up just fine, so I was not expecting all of that to effect me. But then TOM (time of the month) arrived and that sort of explained how from absolutely nowhere I went from being happy and carefree to gloomy and fretful.

I do need more early nights. I do also need to make sure that I fight for the time to do the things that make me feel alive and full of life. I simply am not getting enough of creation and adventure. I need to do something about that. I cannot just be a hamster on a wheel until Jack comes back and lifts my spirits.

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Little One Run Free

I had cause to use one of my favourite bombshell phrases at work today. I describe it as a “bombshell phrase” because when I voice it, there is always a reaction. Some people look blank at me thinking I am some kind of scary revolutionary. Others look at me as if I am some kind of inspired prophet and speak sacred truths and wise proverbs.

The “bombshell phrase” I voiced was “WE ARE NOT BATTERY CHICKENS”.

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Both the person I addressed that phrase to, and those around me all seemed to marvel and be comforted by this.

But not long afterwards I was back at my desk and receiving cold glares because I had been absent for longer than it takes to make a coffee or use the bathroom.

I arrive at my work early every single day and stay late every single day. I never take my full lunch hour. I sit at my desk and work solidly. I don’t have my personal phone with me, I just work. I know I am doing a lot of work. I have a very good reason for not being at my desk for half an hour. A very good reason. If my colleagues were interested, they could find out the full story from HR about how I just happened to be in the right place at the right time when a colleague was in need of some human kindness.

I am not going to worry. I know something that not everyone appreciates – when you do what is right, when you do what is kind, when you do what is good – it is noticed. It is always noticed, even when you don’t think anyone does see.

What kind of people do you think will live on this earth forever?

The Passage Of Time And Trauma

In my thoughts this past few days has been the events of seven years ago. I don’t want those memories in my thoughts – but they persist. Yet I have felt mostly safe this year – with family and long-time friends.

The first night I was here, some of my family ended up having a weird conversation – not about me – in which I overheard them using words that are particularly hard for me to hear right now. I heard words like “rape” and “battered” and “police” and “attacker”…and I froze.

I could not move, I could not ask who they were talking about, why they were having this conversation. I just froze. It passed. It was just a conversation they were having about someone else, perhaps something they saw in the news, and they were just forgetting I was standing there, and that the date of my attack was hovering and bringing everything back to my mind.

But on the whole, I think it has been easier this year. Partly because of my job change I think. When I was dealing with scores of patients and weary with traumatic memories gripping me like a vice – it was hard going. But this sitting and staring at a screen malarkey – it takes zero emotional effort.

The passage of time does help to a degree when it comes to trauma – it is always going to be there – but it won’t always be quite as awful. This year it is not quite as awful. I am just sleepy tired more than anything. But not quite so on edge as normal. That has to be a good sign.

The Accumulation Of Emotional Tiredness

At the end of last week, I felt that sludgy emotional tiredness that gives you a lump in your throat and brings tears to your eyes with the smallest prompt.

There has been a lot stretching me lately. A new job, lots to learn, lots of new people, I don’t know them, they don’t know me. The enormous emotional and time demands on Jack, and an increase of work for me as we communicate with volunteers who are working with all their heart right now.

I realized….that tiredness, being at the point when I feel ready to break down in tears just because I cannot figure out the coding for an invoice….it is a sign I need some extra rest.

I did try….I really did…but somehow, it has not worked. I have slept well. I think I just genuinely feel heartbroken about what is happening right now….and in some respects, it is hard to care about coding invoices when there are millions of people who are displaced, frightened, bewildered and traumatised right now.

Jack cooked for me last night….and it was actually very nice. He is going to read this and ask why I made it sound like a surprise that his cooking worked out. The truth is….I could fill an entire blog with stories of Jack’s misadventures in the kitchen.

Human Fragility And Fortitude

I have been thinking about what to write about the events of the past few days. If you are like me, you have kept an eye on the news, but have tried not to sit for hours watching every development minute by minutes – because it is truly frightful.

I spent most of the weekend with a close friend of mine who is terminally ill, and yet is showing amazing strength of heart despite her prognosis. Jack is tied up with lots of phone-calls and online meetings. He speaks Russian and Romanian fluently, and is busy in talks with all sorts of people who are making decisions.

I was able to help my friend to enjoy the snowdrops that are growing just outside her current accommodation. We talked about a famous short story called “Snowdrops”, written by Leslie Norris. Many of us studied this particular story in depth for our GCSE English coursework and exams.

The story which is told through the eyes of a young schoolboy has profound themes – death, grief, human fragility and fortitude, and other moving undercurrents – and the metaphoric allusion to snowdrops. I am not doing a great job of summing it up, but it is a story that has stayed with me for the past twenty years.

Human fragility and fortitude. I think a lot of people were shaken by the Pandemic. Facing unprecedented restrictions freedoms, anxiety over finances, social isolation, and of course for many the suffering of actually being effected severely health-wise by Covid-19, or losing a loved one to the virus. Disagreements with loved ones about vaccines. Frustration with those who seemed to be contributing to the spread of the virus by not following measures put in place to limit it. Cabin fever, leading to increased stress and irritation at home. Outrage about injustices that via social media were witnessed internationally and provoked huge outcry.

It has been a tough two years for many many people – there has been a general feeling of weariness. From around mid-January, I noticed that a lot of people seemed to relax here in the UK with regards to Covid. It may well be due to statistics showing lower numbers of cases and vaccine efficacy, but I think it also had a lot to do with people being anxious prior to Christmas because they did not want their plans to see loved ones to be cancelled, and then once the holidays were over, they seemed to not care anymore. I also noticed a lot of people seizing the opportunity to book holidays abroad as soon as travel restrictions were lifted. Perhaps they hope that two weeks on the beach in the sunshine will help them recover from a challenging two years.

But now….all of a sudden…world events have taken another turn, and I have noticed a very mixed response. Oddly, I have heard some who seem to have no interest in what is going on, and are only concerned whether their football team will win their match at the weekend. I have heard conversations about parties, holidays, shopping trips, meals out at restaurants….and all sorts of recreational events…and some have reacted to anybody mentioning the situation in Ukraine with “Oh, I am not watching any of the news, I don’t want to think about it”.

Although I can understand some of the feelings that might prompt someone to say that, it is also a little concerning that they are giving an impression of indifference to the plight of millions, yet maintaining their enthusiasm for football or Netflix. Yet, I am aware that many people are genuinely exhausted by the demands on them during the Pandemic, and cannot cope with feeling of something so awful.

There are many others of course who despite feeling rather helpless, are deeply concerned with the events in Ukraine, and many are doing what is in their power to help the many hundreds of thousands (or more) who have fled from their homes.

There are fierce winds blowing and shaking people, just the way that late winter freezing winds batter those delicate snowdrops. Humans are so beautiful, so fragile, yet have such an amazing ability to show strength in a hostile environment.

A Walk To Remember

I was so tired after a long day yesterday. I climbed into bed, set my alarm and noticed a flashing image. I don’t often read news stories that randomly appear through my search engine. But I quite liked this one – whether it is 100% reliable or not.

Travel, Destination, Peak, Adventure

It is about a gentleman from Swansea who was broken – and made what seems like a rash decision to start walking…around all the coastlines that make up the UK. Almost four years later…and he seems far from broken.

And…Breathe!

I can process a lot of secular stuff. I have to. So much work to do!!! But I also have to switch off. And I don’t just mean sleep. I need to let my heart breathe.

A Tree, Nature, Heart, Cherry, Flowers

I find work very satisfying and enjoyable. Even when it is stressful, there is also a sense of reward.

There are certain things which really lift my heart (besides Julie Andrews films) and I need to schedule more time for them. At the moment much of my truly free time is spent curling up next to Jack. It feels good, it feels wonderful.

Maybe because of the Pandemic, and maybe because of a general sense of wellbeing, I am just not making enough time to get out and do the things that refresh me.

But there is time ahead. There is. I am looking forward to spring and summer – that’s the time when my heart breathes most. Until then….curling up with Jack is very sweet.

Treasuring Gems Of Happiness

Have you ever watched one of those swashbuckling films featuring the quest for an immensely priceless treasure?

Well…have you thought about compiling a treasure chest to hoard, collect, safeguard precious memories of happy times with people who have made life wonderful?

The last suggestion on the MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID KIT post I published on Monday is to have a scrapbook or a journal containing both positive thoughts and some of the positive experiences you have enjoyed.

I have a few physical scrapbooks or journals. One is full of the life-changing experiences I had out in West Africa. It is so thrilling to read and look at all the little souvenirs I collected there. I ought to prepare a post giving you a closer look at it actually. It is quite a treasure in itself.

Something else I have (and please don’t laugh at me!!) is a book of all the text messages I sent and received to and from Goldfinch. My old phone would no longer charge, and I realized I was going to lose all those conversations. So….I wrote them all down before my phone died completely. And….I truly truly treasure them. I am so deeply grateful that Goldfinch came into my life and I put a high value on how much he helped me at such a difficult time.

I also consider my blog a little bit like a scrapbook full of happy memories. It has definitely made me smile to go back over some of my past posts, especially those sharing the people and experiences I treasure most in my life.

How about you? Do you have a treasure chest full of memories and experiences? Collecting gems of happiness may prove to be more valuable that you could ever imagine, especially during a mental health emergency.