Sunday, December 4, 2011

Attention! Attention! Attention!

All those exclamation marks in the title make it look like I'm in a sitcom set in WW2.

It should read much more gently:- "Attention, attention, attention, dear boy." For that is the philosophy I am going to adhere to.

Despite not having an effing clue as to the language they speak in Buddhism, I continue to voyage around it. Indeed, last night I attended my first social event as a member of FP (not Fucking Prats as you may already have muttered involuntarily) but Foundation Programme.   This means, I am in the swing of meditation and want to go a bit further and learn the 8 Steps to Happiness. There may only be 8, but it takes a while to get up 'em!
I have been attending for bout 7 months now and we're only on page 86...and I go twice a week!.  It's definitely not this book! I really hope there are cats inside.

Still, it is helping to retrain the mind and I have discovered over the 7 months that many people that attend FP, struggle with depression and have found it helps enormously. There are bits of it that I simply cannot accept, but I'm learning to be more accepting of my lack of acceptance. Certainly, people who go to Buddhism classes like to laugh and on occasion, look positively radiant with it.
Last night's Winter Banquet didn't even try to disguise the fact that it was a Christmas party in all but name, and I like that! We had pretend champagne and the most gorgeous vegetarian food.
We had a raffle with (as our host said) enough prizes to take home about 6 each. Trevor won about 9, Marlene 12 and Jade 47, leaving 1 for me but as some people got nothing at all, I was happy with that :) We told jokes and pulled crackers and moaned about Ricky Gervais. We stuffed ourselves.Yes, a good night indeed. And for me, it was rather lovely to be in a room full of people on a night out where no one was drinking. It levelled the playing field a bit.
 Anyway, readers of my other blog will know that it started a train of thought in me around addictive personalities. However, the knowledge alone hasn't lowered my calorie intake and so, I am about to start with you dear Filers, to monitor my eating behaviour via the wonder of my blog and in conjunction with a text on Buddhism, which boils down the whole religion into 3 medium-sized words "Attention, attention, attention". Buddhism is all about paying attention, to your thoughts, to your breathing, to the world around you but most importantly for me, to your body.
I am going to try to pay attention to my body, how it feels, where stress is gathering, whether I need to scratch my arse. In short, I will be monitoring what is going on for me.

I will do this for a month and then analyse the results. Or possibly, you can Filers!

So, now . It is 10.50pm on sunday 4th December.
My teeth hurt because I have been grinding and pushing them and I have a lot of tension in my jaw.
I have a dry mouth. This suggests that I am anxious. When I move my head backwards, I get little spasms of pain on my shoulder blades and across the top of my back, My fingers feel stiff and bloated and the joint between my index and middle finger on the right hand hurts as though it had been bruised. Indeed, following that line a little further down my hand and there is a bruise. My shoulders are raised. Something is stuck in my throat. Not a physical thing, but have been feeling a little nauseas lately. Something needs to come out (not like Alien, but a bit like Alien) 
My stomach feels full of food but I was hungry just moments ago. I am thirsty.
My feet are uncomfortable. They feel like they need pampering with massage and oils and cream and hot towels. I have pains in my boobs and after minor panics about breast cancer, have just remembered that I probably strained myself cutting Paula's hedge yesterday.

Not hungry now, need to sleep. xxx

morning

had porridge 2.5 hours ago and am hungry again. It cannot be.

So, what's up?
1. Thinking of everything I have to do today and am a bit anxious.
2. Money concerns
3. Weight/excercise concerns
4. calls to make that I do not want to 
5. christmas to afford
6. a 2 page list of jobs
7. A friend tells me that another friend isn't happy with me but I haven't seen her for weeks (unless that's it?)
8.jaw clenched
9. the looming spectre of christmas dos that I feel uncomfy attending and have no fat clothes to wear to...ooo that has caused a pain in my head!
10. parnets/christmas scenario
11. boobs hurt still
12.clenched body, roll of fat in middle annoying me.
13.not happy with myself over this weight gain, of growing older, of wrinkles,I must have done something wrong
14.that has made me tearful, so I have reached today's truth and I feel sad that I give myself such a hard time.
Off christmas shopping, I have relaxed a little.
 Maybe because I googled old and found this :)




Friday, November 4, 2011

Sort yourself out!

Hey Tornado hunters!
Cranked this back to life because the post won't sit well in the parallel universe. So I've come back over to the dark side


Just had a weird hour with the counsellor. I don't think I handled things well.

 I ricocheted from one subject to another and bless her, she got to the bottom of it all, then I ricocheted (ricocheted is a bit like crocheted when it comes to spelling. That makes the sentence sound  much better -think I'll go with it)..then I crocheted all over again! 


Being very far up the shitty stick of poverty has prompted me to do something I have been thinking about for a while - reducing my psychotherapy sessions from 2 to 1 a week.

 I had been using P as a bit of a sounding board as much as anything else but recently realised that people who are a one half of a couple  do that over the dishes, or in the car or by throwing bags of crinkle cut carrots at each other in the frozen aisle of Morrisons.
 So, if I could find some way to get rid of all the shit that comes with daily life and focus more confidently on moving my self  forward with my life, it would suit me and my bank balance and would help me to optimise my week.

Unfortunately, although I had a sense of that when I went in and began asking for it very clearly, I soon descended into frustration, more crocheting and -of all things - a meeting between myself, my Guidance teacher and my Dad, 32 years ago. 

Then apparently, I started wiggling my foot quite ferociously and I made several origami river- based wildfowl out of tear soaked tissues.
Then I pulled myself together at the end of the session to say I was going down to once a week as I paid and left.

It all feels rather unsatisfactory. It's as though I quickly pulled a plaster off a wound that I thought had healed, but it took a bit of skin with it. I feel that I've somehow let P down. It's as though I didn't handle it well, I didn't give myself enough time to get used to it and that this constitutes a psychotherapeutic FAIL!


Have I let myself down?

 I've missed something. I know it. I can feel it. 

If I can feel it, then that's progress. What have I missed?

Well, I know it isn't P that I need to feel bad bad about -she's a big girl, it's her job. She doesn't judge or take things personally, so it's me that I haven't been true to.

I just wanted to say my bit and leave.
 Why was that?
Because I felt guilty saying that I had made progress? That she had helped me to the place in my life where I could go to the next level?  That's a compliment.

Why do I always imagine that whatever I say, good or bad, impacts negatively on others?
 Life generally, isn't all about me -but my life is and my sessions with P are, by necessity.
 It's where I am learning to ask for what I want - to get right to the heart of it and not to skirt around it.
 That's what I am going to work on, to practise getting right to the heart of what I want, for my own sake and no-one else's.

Ha!
 I wanted to say it and leave because I found it difficult to hear.
 I will find it hard even though I know it has to be done, that I want it to be done. I am like a child making those first painful first steps of independence from its parent.
 P has been so instrumental these last 3 years that it sounds ungrateful.
I am scared to change the formula but it is what I need. It is what I need to do.
I have cried now, P.



I have found the figure.




Monday, September 26, 2011

Tornado Dead in East Midlands!

Dear Tornadoers

I cannot tell you how much this blog has helped me since I have been trying to get my head round the polarities of my condition. The good news is that I have integrated myself; the two halves of my personality are now 1 and life is unfolding in an orderly and colourful fashion before me and so.....

I am now consolodating myself as 2 blogs are too much to manage.

So, Matt please switch you allegiance to www.postcardpam.blogspot.com and click the 'follow' button

Sarah, you already follow me in both my guises and for that I give lots of thanks and wonder at the serendipity of it all.

Cate, I haven't heard from you in a while but if you follow me here  www. postcardpam.blogspot.com
hopefully, we can get back to entertaining each other (oo er missus!) I miss your voice in my blog.

Lesley xxx

Tornado Dead in East Midlands!

Dear Tornadoers

I cannot tell you how much this blog has helped me since I have been trying to get my head round the polarities of my condition. The good news is that I have integrated myself; the two halves of my personality are now 1 and life is unfolding in an orderly and colourful fashion before me and so.....

I am now consolodating myself as 2 blogs are too much to manage.

So, Matt please switch you allegiance to www.postcardpam.blogspot.

Monday, September 19, 2011

What's that about?


When your mate feels it's her God given right to come into your house and tell you what's wrong with it twice a week; what's that about?

Then she gives you a voucher for free window cleaning for a year. What's that about?

When she gives you the name of her plumber and then keeps popping in when he's there. What's that about?

When she travels 3 hours each way to help you to rehouse a dog she hates and doesn't moan when you cry all afternoon then bring it back again; what's that about?

When she can't serve a compliment, without 2 criticisms for desert; What's that about?

When every time her kid misbehaves, she retells the time when your kid did; what's that about?

When she comes round in the middle of the night to calm your hysteria;what's that about?

When she cannot say a good word to her daughter;what's that about?

When she defends you even if you don't deserve it; what's that about?

When she treats you like an idiot because you don't agree with her;what's that about?

When she'll do anything to help; what's that about?

When she snaps at you because she knows she's in the wrong; what's that about?


When you blog about your friend, what's that about?





Things to do with a shower curtain


    • Things to do with shower curtains; sit, wrap,              shelter, fashion into a skirt, have a shower, pretend to be a shower, run a puppet booth, do magic tricks (the floating ball is always a winner) repair a tent, make a tent, make bandages (though they'd be a bit crap) make a flag, lie on the beach, lie in the mud, cut a hole and make a poncho, rig up a partition, provide a makeshift loo door in the middle of a field , tie yourself to your friend so you don't get lost -either pissed or in busy shopping malls, shred and use as strips for waxing (ouch!), bedding for gerbils, making steam puddings,wedding veil,turban,use for packing your toothbrush, pants and wetwipes in, tying to the end of a long stick and leaving home to seek your fortune . x

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

How to cherish a tradesman

That should read "How to cherish a tradesman?"

I do try to be accepting and nurturing and understanding of their problems. I try to respect them as individuals by supporting them in their difficulties and understanding their limitations in respect to turning up on time/turning up at all/arriving late/leaving early/fucking off to their van for a fag and a wank every time I leave the house for a pint of milk
I spend hours listening to their marital/family/bowling championship dilemmas. I show concerned interest in their many operations, the dogs they've loved, their (mis)understanding wives.
I try not to be aggrieved when, once I can get a word in edgeways, I inadvertently mention something about myself and they immediately glaze over, switch off and roll their eyes as if to say 'Bloody women, only ever think of themselves' before handing me a drained cup and reminding me that they take it with one sugar.

Yep, its been hard to cherish a tradesman this week. But then they do have more than their fair share of problems.

Take these as examples:

Won't make it today I am afraid,

Monday, September 12, 2011

Get back Boris!




We have discovered in our house, that we know when a spider has crossed a line.

We possibly could not define this moment to the satisfaction of London Zoo or the  British  Association of Spiders, Tarantulas, Arachnids and Related Diplopod Species (BASTARDS for short) but, we could definitely show them a spider who has crossed this line.
Oh yes we could.

He's in our porch.

With the door shut.

Now, I am usually a bit brave with that sort of stuff. Well, I wasn't but then I went to Australia and I was cos I had to be.

Then I came home and after a couple of years I wasn't again.

Then I got married and had a husband.
Wedding animation featuring a bride with a monster hand

But it turned out he was terrified.

So, we'd get one of the neighbours in
Or I'd suck it up using the hoover nozzle.

Then I left him and I wasn't scared again because I had no time for nonsense or fear.



6 years passed and I remained unfazed. I have an old cotton bud box that I catch them in and then release them back into the... wild? ...The hedge in any case.

Spring followed autumn and despite that being very confusing, my son was trained in the ways of the spider trapping. He learned all that I knew, at my knee. After many moons, he too could operate the box until one day, he asked for a box of his own...The following day, he came down to breakfast with a full moustache and side burns.

But, even together, we are no match for Boris, who would need a box extension with an awning to begin to contain his girth. Maybe even a tent!
He really is a huge fucker.



My son is a scholarship boy and so I knew that between us, this problem was surmountable.

So, after much stroking of the sideburns and fiddling with the Rubik's Cube, we are in complete agreement.

We hardly ever used the porch anyway.   






Saturday, September 10, 2011

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Trial By Trimphone

Never did finish all those words. Just did the 750. Ah well, the best laid plans are just a way of teasing yourself.
The bipolar rat bit me in the again last week and the week before.

I had several days of staring vacantly at the TV, thinking that the noise and sound hurt my head but somehow remaining magnetised to it and constantly eating junk food. I did not even contemplate my Comfort Box (new readers can catch up from the archives, this is NOT a Deep Throat situation)

Let's see! From now on, I think we can accept that 'Going a bit Funny' follows triggers and I like to think of these triggers as  allergies. F'r instance, I am often allergic to alcohol and so can go a bit funny with unsuitable young servicemen  or other folks' husbands.

Hence, I am now teetotal. I'm not sure exactly how long I have been teetotal but I think it's in the region of 5 weeks, 31 hours and 47 minutes, broadly speaking. I do not think I feel any different at all and am not craving alcohol, although I seem to be eating an awful lot of grapes!

Anyway, I have recently rediscovered that I am currently allergic to my friend and neighbour. She knows something is up and so keeps turning up with all sorts of excuses; I assume it's (a) to catch the allergy unawares by sneaking up behind it, or (b) to try to issue a vaccine surreptitiously.........  Dream sequence follows this image accompanied by harp music


 " What would that shell suit look like with the sleeve rolled up to where your tattoo of the barbed wire starts?" 


"It looks like this, Dear Friend and Neighbour"

Then thwack! It would be in with the hypodermic and we would be back singing 'The Road to Amarillo'  before you can order half a cider and Babycham.

Or (3)  it's to get to the bottom of stuff without asking or saying anything relevant.

I'll hazard a guess she's plumped for option 3. You don't have to be Poirot.

Unfortunately, despite my intention to explain - without causing offence - that the allergy is caused by a similarity in my child hood experiences and her current situation, the moment  that I see her, all the energy drains out through my feet and I feel exhausted, confused and panicky and just cannot wait for her to leave. I am down like a skittle.
I then have to spend the rest of the day comatose and pray that the next day is better.

Fortunately, it usually is. Unfortunately, she invariably pops round again with some flimsy excuse from her Getting-to-the-bottom-of-things-without-conversation Battle Plan, and we all go round the merry-go-round once more.
I would write her a letter to explain but letters bring her out in hives - that's something to do with her own childhood. I s'pose I could call, but I am 98% sure that the allergy has no respect for telephonic boundaries, and if there's anything worse than a face to face meeting without saying anything, it's not saying anything by telephone.
My Grandad used to do that (before he died, obviously)

Brrp, brrrp!  ( It's a trim phone)

"Ahhhh!" I'd hear him state

" Grandad?"

 silence.............

"Grandad?...... Are you there?"

silence ...... then..............a bit more silence....................

"Grandad, you phoned me!"

How much worse would it have been if I hadn't answered him!
Any ideas, received with gratitude.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Gok-ing my blog.

(I have another competition deadline to meet. 5000 words for the Bridport Prize and so rather than a new entry, I thought I'd finally get around to calling a spade a spade and not be precious about it)

My beloved Tornado Files has given way to Bipolar Alley. It's the same blog with a different title but makes it easier for search engines.
To mark the occasion, I am reposting my first ever post in case anyone new should wander by and stop to rest awhile with me. Welcome, and please stay. x


FROM CATHERINE WHEELS TO TORNADOES 

I used to liken my Cyclothymia to a catherine wheel.
I was once invited to a Guy Fawkes party in a lovely garden that led down to a river. The chap who was hosting it, nailed the catherine wheel to a tree then watched in horror as it jumped off its perch, whizzing and fizzing and firing its violent colours like a six shooter backing out of a saloon . Mien host chased after it, along the riverbank, in safety goggles and a V-neck sweater - attempting to bring it to justice with the aid of a long stick. I have rarely laughed so loudly and so long and when the suggestion that I might be bipolar arose, in my intial relief at an explanation of my life, I saw myself romantically as a catherine wheel. I was a gentle maverick, a children's entertainer, a rogue firework-sometimes getting out of hand and briefly dangerous but always entertaining and wonderful to look at.
In the months that followed though, as I hit my ups and downs with a new awareness that I found frankly quite terrifying, it struck me that unchecked, a catherine wheel could cause much damage and that I could cause more. 

I have always loved extreme weather; growing up on a very severe coast line, fun for me was walking along the seafront when the waves were so vast as to overpower the sea wall by several feet and crash over the recently abandoned car park on the other side. I adored the drama of it-the power of nature; the feeling that it could snuff me out any minute, but that it wouldn't bloody dare.



As a result, I love the sea although, at the same time, I am more terrified of its vast power than of anything else. Thundestorms are another favourite; always torn between common sense and exhilaration when thunderbolts are thrown through the air and that delicious grumble of the gods invites you to party. How I long to go outdoors.... and so often, I do.
In retrospect then, it doesn't seem such a surprise that I ricochet constantly between the horror of fear and the freedom to be out of control. When did it all begin I wonder?
Now of course I realise that I am a tornado, not a catherine wheel at all. I sometimes -but not always- get a bit of a weather warning and ooooohhhh the excitement! I soar on anticipation. I see the tornado start to build and I feed it with glee, whipping and whipping it round like a spinning top until it has such a momentum that there's no stopping it. I am an awesome sight-mighty,powerful, intelligent and I do not suffer fools gladly-all are ripped from their place of safety and tossed aside. I am bright and witty and everyone is drawn into my atmosphere. I do not rest, nor sleep but go along my clever, clever way, taking all that I want and showing the world how it's done. I draw admirers from everywhere, everyone wants a piece of this phenomena. I can spin forever!



 Yet in the back of my mind I know that this isn't how it ends, that the spinning will stop even when I don't want it to. I panic and struggle but sure enough, the cows and double decker buses get harder to lift and the debris starts to slow me down. I look for a man with a stick to help, but he has got bored now and wandered home for his dinner and after all, people have jobs to go to. I try only choosing light things to fling about me, but all the time the energy is being discharged ; something has popped the tornado like a balloon but it is me who deflates slowly until finally there is nothing by quiet and calm immobility and a sense of disorientation.
But the worst is yet to come, once the tornado of my soul has been snuffed out altogether and I look around, the horror of the decimation is revealed; the carcasses of friendships and reputations and time with children are strewn everywhere and I am completely spent and exhausted with a need to sleep and an inability to think. But even this is manageable, because I realise that when I do start to think, it won't be pretty. I am my own newscaster reporting on untold damage. I do not pull any punches. Apocalyptic is my style -I am a sensationalist after all.
But I have been thinking...thinking that if I were constantly a gentle breeze-neither a hurricane nor stagnant water- I think I'd find that less tiring.
So, welcome to Bipolar Alley: One woman's observations on how it feels to accept herself and the strategies she's experimenting with to pace herself.'... it's a working title :)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Normality to Vertigo!

You have to take pot luck with me dontcha? Either, thoughtful observation, humorous aside or online diary . Today it's the latter, so you might like to reassess your position 

Today
on my agenda was getting the online diary up to date (here we are), doing the business/tax paperwork and calling a few tradesmen. Instead, I have done some gardening (useful but not today's priority, same goes for the 3 4 loads of washing I have hung out), read over the competition entries I have submitted this month (gawd knows why as I have read them a dozen times a day since I wrote them and it's not as if the errors will have suddenly dissolved overnight)
I have had a shower and taken delivery of 10 substandard and overpriced shower curtains. not this one!

I have had my lunch and caught up with the blogs that I follow which is a treat I rarely allow myself. I have realised that the nick on my arm is not skin cancer as previously thought (again) but in fact a nettle rash. I have cleaned the laptop monitor, positioned my recliner chair so that the sun doesn't glare on the screen, read over old blog posts, checked my STATS for both blogs and they are woeful! I fetched a drink. Then I nodded off and so decided to use this rare piece of warm sunshine to do an outdoor meditation. So-obviously- I had to fetch some incense and 2 cushions. I didn't get off the recliner, just made myself comfier and more upright on it. I did my meditation breathing then imagined myself filled with light . This was easier than yesterday where I tried but could not shake of the feeling that I was filled with a hippopotamus.
I imagine that the recliner is evenly distributing the weight today. In an effort to be a good Buddhist, I will admit that I am not being kind to myself there, but I will be kind to those thoughts and to the thought that I wasn't being kind.
I know this is all putting off what I do not want to write, lest saying stuff aloud somehow makes it scarier.But now I think of it, I might have been coping quite well.

So, progress.  Friday was a good day-bloody brilliant actually. I didn't win the lottery or get that much anticipated dinner invitation from Jeffrey Dean Morgan .


No, rather it was that I felt normal.  You my friends, might take normal for granted, but let me tell you what a wondrous thing it is.
First of all, you have enough energy to both begin and end the day. Brilliant! You can see that something needs doing and so you do it. There's none of this adding it to the bottom of a soul-destroying list to do the day after hell freezes over and spending the next days, months and years feeling crap about it. No, not at all. You know you can't do everything in a day but can do some things and you quite look forward to getting them done and the resulting....result! There is a clarity in the air and in mind, body and spirit ; you wonder that things could ever have been otherwise and are hopeful but doubtful that they'll never be otherwise.
Decisions are easy "This is what I need to help myself in the future...this is what I will do about it " And for me, on Friday, it went hand in hand with "I have been off work for 8 months, I was going to read sunday papers, do the decorating, do the garden and make things. I have done none of those things which suggests that I am not the type of person who does. But, I love my work and so it's time to return to it and to use my wages to pay people who are good at the garden, the decorating and the housework and not feel guilty about it. (who gets the reference?Let me know)

And so, I e-mailed work that very day and I start back this week.

My job involves me working with children who are in distress, and so it seems sensible only to take on the less troubling cases for the time being. It feels right, it feels good. On Friday, my heart was going neither too fast nor too slow . It was a good place to be. P tells me that I was so grounded on friday that my voice was deep and velvety. Apparently, anxiousness raises the timbre of your voice.I want to get back to velvety. I think Friday arrived because I got some good news on Thursday, when I had been feeling overwhelmed. The shock of unexpected good news just jolted everything into place. relief obviously realigns my equilibrium but if I am not careful, it will send me ricocheting off in one direction or another. It's a jumping off point.
Saturday wasn't a bad day, especially the first half. There were lots and lots of laughs as my son told me he needed to stop off at the shops for a new PE kit before his sports day started which was in 10 mins time.. This was funny because he thought that possible and it was hugely entertaining watching him try to even walk in a pair of shorts at least 3 sizes too small and wearing odd socks. .
 By the time I went out with the girls in the evening, I felt a bit annoyed and self conscious. Annoyance is ALWAYS an indicator that things are about to change and I was very tired when we got home at 11.

The next morning I was due to run a stall and got up at 5.45 as planned. I felt very sluggish and completely devoid of enthusiasm. It was quite difficult to think ahead and so I didn't go because I couldn't go. I went back to bed for an hour at about 9 and woke up with everything racing whilst simultaneously feeling exhausted. It's a horrible feeling. I dropped my daughter off and did a little shopping but was disorientated and had some vertigo
. I went home for another hour's sleep and a little meditation but I could still feel everything racing, muscles twitching in my face, blood pounding, entire body in tiny tremors and I know that I have had that feeling, very often in my life.
Trying to look after myself, I used the massage chair and had 2 baths, which helped. My anxiety levels were going through the roof until the meditation . It was an awful day and I feel bad for the kids, who see me this way too often. My daughter developed a headache and I can't help but wonder if it was linked.
I try to be a good Buddhist and try to feel how I feel instead of trying to fight the feeling. It helps a little. I then tried to recall how I had felt on Friday when I had lots to do but it was all doable, and that helped too. I think I realised that this state of mind was not helpful and I want to aim to return to Friday's state as often as possible. I want that to be my normal. My '0'. So, I slept like a top and got up better, less anxious but still racing. That's where I am now. I have lots of things to do, know I can do them but have to concentrate very hard on priorities. I still have vertigo but it should go in a day or so. I am used to it. The pattern is emerging. Maybe I need to be prepared after my next 'normal' day. Lots of meditation on the day itself may be required and to look after myself the following day. Whatever I did, I am on the mend and so it worked.
Thank you for walking beside me through my thoughts x

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink!

Well, I have so much to do today that I don't know where to start, and so I have started with you :) It feels right.



I sometimes think that if I just started with you every day, then life would be clearer. Maybe I should try it.
When do you blog? Is there a routine? When do you read blogs?

I have been well recently and hope to stay that way. I have also been very busy.
Apart from writing (I am trying my hand at competitions) I have been away for the weekend on a retreat. Retraining your mind isn't as easy as it looks and this experience was a bit of a mixed bag whilst I was there, but the overall effect was incredibly useful and my meditation has really turned a corner.
Let me set the scene for you. I arrived first at a beautiful big farmhouse in Suffolk although the others (mostly arriving by minibus) followed shortly afterwards. I was wearing high wedges -nervousness always panders to me shoe fetish- and had brought an large canary yellow suitcase for 2 days, containing amongst other things, my laptop. I had a deadline due and wanted to make the most of no family responsibilities. Apparently, I had been told to bring a small back pack?!
I have the same level of obsession for luggage as I do for shoes. The yellow one is a CHUBB. Who knew they made suitcases? The lady in the shop said when they received staff training they were told to jump on the Chubbs to prove their indestructibility , since being makers of locks, they have a reputation to uphold. I can't help wondering though, what's to stop the thief just opening the zip like I do, but maybe, being professionals, they like to do things in a  manner that demonstrates their level of expertise. Anyway, yellow Chubb has a purple Chubb big brother and a pink Dunlop little sister. Pink Dunlop had a big sister too but she's now disabled with a prosthetic wheel. We keep her in the attic for sentimental reasons.  Anyway, my reckoning is that someone cannot hot foot it down the platform at Waverley station with an enormous acid-Purple case that didn't belong to them, it'd draw attention. Heck, I'm embarrassed to be seen with it!
Everyone else was in sweat bottoms or PJ's. In my defence, I was entirely unable to get into any of my old sporty clothes because of the weight gain and so dresses were my only comfy option, though I had stopped off on the way to buy myself leggings as the view of my sitting cross legged or some-such in a frock without the legging safety-harness is not the view one expects to see at a lotus-flowered shrine.
So, I was in peacock-coloured dresses all weekend, with leggings and when I needed to walk anywhere, resorted to the shoes that reminded me of my grandad, and that am sure I have seen Foggy wear on Last Of The Summer Wine.
Then I learned I had to share a room with 3 other women. I was mortified. I racked my brain to see if I had ticked the wrong box on the form. I had imagined a single suite, not a dorm with a dodgy shower. I decided to be a trooper and bear it. Straight into meditations.
These were hard. I really found the next 24 hours agony until the evening. I felt sick and headachey and I resented every moment that they left me alone with my thoughts. 6 hours meditation in 1 day really is too much if you're constantly rerunning a scary movie in your head; terrifying. By the Sunday though, I was able to tell them that and they told me three very important things:
1. NEVER forget your body whilst you are meditating. Now, this came as a huge surprise because I thought the point was to forget your body. Thinking this had generated confusion and fear in itself as I was simultaneously being told that meditation was good for me in order to keep me calm and relaxed, and that I shouldn't meditate because it took me out of myself and I already spend enough time in my head. So, knowing that I could meditate and constantly check out my body was a revelation and it made perfect sense. I would be constantly grounded by thinking how my body was feeling in that posture, how the carpet felt on my knees, how my body felt with each change of meditative focus, the emotions it brought up and so on. After that, the constant pain at the base of my skull and in my neck disappeared along with all the fear I was generating, because I was constantly checking out with myself if I was OK.
2. The second thing they said was that if you persisted in generating negative thoughts, then be kind to them and to yourself . !!!!!!!!! What? No self flagellation required? No kicking myself up the arse for not being able to do it right? Not imagining that my brain is 1 big area of terrifying quicksand? No? Oh, Ok then I'll give that a go............sigh...........breathe...............sigh................comfy............sleepy...............hmmmmm :)
3. The third thing, was that when practising Loving Kindness, you always start with yourself.
(Now, just to interrupt, for those of you worried that I have joined a cult, I need to point out that almost all of the 31 participants were not Buddhists, just people curious for a better way of life and who wanted some intensive meditation practise.)
 Loving Kindness makes perfect sense to me because it gets rid of negative emotions. Anger, frustration, dislike all peter out and calm takes their place. I am someone who doesn't normally suffer fools gladly, and indeed I met a right cow on this retreat and had to focus on her very strongly for the 'Loving Kindness to someone you find very difficult' meditation. I am not saying that I was about to add her to my Christmas card list, but I did manage a forced smile a bit later. It'll probably take months if not years, before I am able to prevent rather than fire-fight in the suffering fools department. But, as Tom Hanks said in that deeply philosophical movie Sleepless in Seattle, 'These are things that I am willing to get to the bottom of'.
Once home, my Facebook status read  "Thank Goodness I have been on a weekend retreat for now I can emanate loving kindness to the bastard that sent me a nasty message on eBay"
 That about sums up where I am at the moment. But being kind to myself, loving myself?  I found that incredibly difficult and it will take practise. But the idea that I can, that I should and that it will make me happier is like someone filling me a warm bath and putting a milky cup of sweet chai on the side. I will practise that, because I know it's the one thing that will improve my life. And, now that I can meditate in comfort and without nausea for as long as it takes, there's nothing denying me that lovely, calm, quietude that meditation brings- all day long if I need it.

Oh, and I didn't use my computer at all.



Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Help! Not Just Anybody.

Today, I feel .......not sure...about anything, about everything.
That's not true, I feel sure about not drinking. I am resolute about it and it feels right. I simply don't want to. I think through the process right to the end and the outcome is one I simply do not want to have so I do not embark upon the process. What I do miss, is the taste of beer and wine and so I find myself buying sparkling presse and 0.00% beer. They taste fine. They give a placebo unwinding effect after a long day and I am happy with that.
I am also eating better. No bread or potatoes and my body is sighing with relief. It is not something I intentionally did, just something I fell into when I began to value myself , over a week ago now. I have known for about 9 years that carbs make me feel sluggish, bloated and lethargic and yet I did nothing about it. Seeing that I deserved better, with such clarity was shocking to me and as I write this now, I wonder if that's what has brought me to this place of today, feeling angry and petulant, childlike and fearful; confused.
I set off on the walk to the therapist yesterday morning and felt confusion bubbling, a cauldron of emotion simmering gently. Quite suddenly, 2 corners before her street, I heard myself growl. I often hear myself do things that I have no intention of doing; like screaming in the car on the way to work that stopped the moment that I got out of the car for a meeting and started again once I got back in, whereupon I wailed all the way home and had to call a friend who took me to hospital.  They said I was depressed. No shit!? I  knew that something was very wrong. They and I, thought -quite rightly-that I wanted to leave my husband but obviously the bipolar would have been toying with me too.
 A time that I will definitely tell you about in detail in the near future, was when I found myself weeping like a sponge that had too much asked of it (again, I was driving) but I enjoyed sobbing so much, that I felt that it had to be cathartic and so I actively fostered it for the whole of the 4 hour drive. It's still one of my happiest memories. I found myself hollow and cleansed simultaneously and a teensy bit inappropriately in love. I was completely spent when I arrived home and had to go and stay with a friend to be looked after like a toddler afterwards, instead of going home.
Anyway, it turned yesterday that the growl was a precursor to a tantrum. If I could have had my fingers in my ears, lalalaa-ing for the hour when P was trying to talk, then I would have.  I actually said (and I meant it) that I wanted to leave because I was being told off and I didn't like it.  When I think of the conversation now, there was probably a hint of anxiousness in her voice and she spotted signs and signals that I should go no further down the path I was on, but that was all. She said I seemed to be stuck in my 'child mode' yesterday and for whatever reason, I was refusing to come out of it. She also said very astutely that nothing that she said that day could possibly be right or helpful. I was refusing to access my adult.
 As she said it, I knew that it was true, I felt like a furious teenager -lost and angry and misunderstood. She wasn't supporting me at all was she? She wasn't allowing me to be fulfilled and happy, I had to bow to drudgery and boredom. I felt as though she was telling me that I wasn't good enough for a fulfilling life -as though she had no faith in my ability to earn a crust  -not good enough, not talented. Wasn't that what I railed against that saturday evening when I told myself that I deserved more than this treatment I was giving myself. I deserved more than this teensy bit of worth I begrudgingly allowed myself to squeeze out the bottom of a tube... of a bottle.  When I saw it, it was simultaneously great and terrible.
Terrible that I should have felt that way about myself all my life and terrible that my life had been full of experiences that had made me think about myself thus. This teenage fury, sitting opposite that therapist was so very present. She has never been so clear and sharp to me, at least not since I actually was a teenager. I cried in terror sitting in that calm,warm room, with the nice lady who took all the rebellious sarcasm and petulance that could be thrown at her from a 45 year old body that was afraid of the future. Like my teenage self (....as her) I was shrieking at the injustice of it-standing up for myself; saying it wasn't so, that I was worth something.

I had an article printed in the paper recently, and rather than be thrilled, I was absolutely mortified, I felt completely invaded and it took me by surprise. I wanted to squirrel away my privacy, to close the curtains and hug my knees; for no-one to know that I was at home. It wasn't even a personal article, just an informative one on a asinine subject. Sitting in the therapist's front room, spitting out my venom on the matter, P said that perhaps invaded was how I was feeling now. And I think she was right, at least I recognise that I had put up all of my defences and that they would be breached over my dead body. Why though? What is this girl doing here now? So strongly making herself identifiable?

 I like this hissing ball of anger. She has guts, she won't take shit. She stands up for herself. But, she cannot recognise love when it is offered. She cannot trust it. It's part of what she had to do to survive, not trust. And so her life began in a superficial way, a life lived on the surface of the cauldron. She was her own heroine in 'The Trueman Show' and she played all of the lead characters, desperately weaving a world that cocooned her raw self, naked and soft and vulnerable in the centre - untouchable. Every now and then demons would arrive and she fended them off her raw self by leaving the light on, focussing on a book, watching the TV, writing all her fears down in an attempt to expose them to the air and have them shrivel before her eyes. It was a constant battle and one that she very often thought that she wouldn't win.

Help! Not Just Anybody.

Today, I feel .......not sure...about anything, about everything.
That's not true, I feel sure about not drinking. I am resolute about it and it feels right. I simply don't want to. I think through the process right to the end and the outcome is one I simply do not want to have so I do not embark upon the process. What I do miss, is the taste of beer and wine and so I find myself buying sparkling presse and 0.00% beer. They taste fine. They give a placebo unwinding effect after a long day and I am happy with that.
I am also eating better. No bread, no potatoes and my body is sighing with relief. It is not something I intentionally did, just something I fell into when I began to value myself , over a week ago now. I have known for about 9 years that they make me feel sluggish, bloated and lethargic and yet I did nothing about it.Seeing that I deserved better, with such clarity was shocking to me and as I write this now, I wonder if that's what has brought me to this place of today, feeling angry and petulant, childlike and fearful; confused.
I set off on the walk to the therapist this morning and felt all of this all bubbling, although it was just a confusing mix of emotions at the time. 2 corners before her street, I heard myself growl. I often hear myself do things that I had no intention of doing; like screaming in the car on the way to work - that looked like it would go on  forever but stopped the moment that I got out of the car for a meeting ; then started again once I got back in and then I wailed all the way home. I definitely knew that something was very wrong on that occasion. I thought it was that I wanted to leave my husband - and I was right - but obviously the bipolar would have been at play too. Another time, that I will definitely tell you about in detail in the near future, was when I found myself weeping as though my dam had burst (again, I was driving) . But I enjoyed sobbing so much, that I felt it must be cathartic and so I actively fostered it for the whole of the 4 hour drive. It's still one of my happiest memories. I found myself horrified and cleansed simultaneously. I was completely spent when I arrived home and had to go and stay with a friend to be looked after like a toddler afterwards, instead of going home.
Anyway,back to today,  it turned out that the growl was a precursor to a tantrum. If I could have had my fingers in my ears, lalalaa-ing for the hour when she was trying to talk, then I would have.  I actually said (and I meant it) that I wanted to leave because I was being told off and I didn't like it.  When I think now of the things she was saying to me, I don't feel angry or that I was being told off. There was probably a hint of anxiousness in her voice and she spotted signs and signals that I should go no further down the path I was on, but that was all. She said I seemed to be stuck in my 'child mode' today and for whatever reason, I was refusing to come out of it. She also said -quite rightly- that nothing that she said today could possibly be right or helpful. I was refusing to access my adult. As she said it, I knew that it was true, I felt like a furious teenager -lost and angry and misunderstood. She wasn't supporting me at all, wasn't allowing me to be fulfilled and happy, I had to bow to drudgery and boredom. I felt not good enough -like she had no faith in my ability to earn through being good at something-not good enough, not talented. And isn't that what happened to me that saturday evening when I told myself that I deserved more than this treatment I was giving myself. I deserved more than to lose precious hours and smiles because of a couple of glasses of wine; more than overeating and not addressing the problem; more than thinking that no wonder I don't have a partner, more than all that. I was a good person, I was not unworthy of my own love. When I saw it, it was simultaneously great and terrible.
terrible that I should have felt that way about myself all my life and terrible that my life had been one that had made me think about myself thus. This teenage fury, sitting opposite that therapist was so very clear to me today. It has never ever been so clear and sharp before. She cried in terror sitting in that warm room, with a nice lady who took all the teenage sarcasm and petulance that she/I threw at her from a 45 year old body through her/my fear of the future.
I think that I went right back to a time that I was completely unsupported, berated, put down (and worse) and lost and was railing at the injustice of it-standing up for myself; saying it wasn't so, that I was worth something.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Gazebos! (oo that was a big one)

It's summer time and I thought the title of today's blog might help me to get a few hits! I do have a gazebo anecdote but it is a very small one. I'll put it in somewhere without warning, so that those of you who googled 'gazebos' with a view to researching and perhaps buying one will have to read on to discover when it appears.The same goes for those of you who were searching for  hayfever remedies (I've gazebo'd several times during the course of this blog already) and if you were looking for something saucier altogether, there's something for you later too; see if you can spot it.
 I am warning you that I am alerted when anyone visits my page and the visitor is clearly identifiable. So, if you find yourself here and don't subscribe, I will hunt you down like a dog.
That said, Welcome to The Tornado Files.
I have been highlighted as the winner of the top

Sunday, May 29, 2011

My name is Spikey, I'm a blogaholic!

Oh hello, hello, hello!!!!

I have been blogged off for some time, there was a squirrel (or some-such) in the doobries.  At least that's what Blogger Help tells me. I paraphrased obviously.
I have just this minute finished telling someone that I was going to concentrate my efforts on writing for cash and that I'd finished with the blog! Then abracadabra, I was back on line, looking at The Tornado Files once more and feeling enormous waves of relief pulsating through my body (no batteries involved) I had forgotten what a lifeline it is to me, since I had been forced to be without it. No wonder my mood slipped and I have been unable to sleep (honestly!)

I did a stupid thing yesterday T- Filers - I was enjoying a rare day without my children and had a celebratory bottle of beer in the afternoon, just because I could. Unfortunately (and I should have seen this coming) after one, I decided to have another and four beers later I was asleep. 
I woke up feeling shit, having done nothing that I had planned or been looking forward to and then once that had gone , I felt really odd.
So, I am making you a pledge Filers. I am done with alcohol. It robs me of time and my life gets shorter every day. It also plays silly buggers with my moods. Please support me in kicking it into touch for I am resolute and resolution tends to waiver when I am thirsty. Every shitty, stupid, ridiculous thing that I have done in my life, I have done with alcohol as my partner.
Get fit, stop drinking, be a good pretend buddhist -these are my goals x
Is anyone else aboard the wagon?

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