Back In The Days (Poem and Introduction)

TRIGGER WARNING – mentions alcohol and drug abuse, suicide, eating disorder, self-harm, and emotional abuse.

My kind and excellent blogging friend and reader, Brian, published a post yesterday called ‘A Good Question‘ – it was about how other people cope with their feelings if they’re unable to write them on paper or screen. I’ve not always been able to write; I started after an awful experience working with an emotionally abusive therapist who had no boundaries. I became a wreck while I was with her, and she walked out on me the day my father died in April 2012. I thought I would never recover. From that moment, I began to write and wrote about that experience of what happened to me while I was, supposedly, having therapy with her. I wrote a poem at that time (one of my first posts on my new blog) called, ‘Killing Me Softly.‘ Please, could you take the time to read this, as it will help you make more sense of today’s poem? It’s only short (thank you).

This poem is the story of those years. I’ve never shared this part of my life, so it’s an extremely scary thing to do. I wanted to speak my truth, as I always do. I’m aware that I might be opening myself up for criticism and disgust here, but I now take responsibility and deeply regret my actions at that time and everything I put my family and friends through. Please, know that I’m not in this place anymore.


Back in the days when I couldn’t write
and the pain lived deep down in my soul
I had other methods to help me cope
to fill up that vast, gaping hole

It was when I was seeing that counsellor
when they all told me not to go
I came out of there tearful and broken
I’d never been so depressed and low

Back in the days when seeing her
I found myself drowning in sorrow
I got into debt with the landlord and more
and I needed some money to borrow

I started each day with a bottle of gin
kept it down by the side of my bed
I couldn’t face coffee or breakfast
just lay wanting death instead

Back in the days when I got into drugs
and was out of my head every day
I was literally living on benzos and weed
and had totally lost my way

I stopped eating food; became so unwell
I had anorexia; was all skin and bone
I hated everything about myself
I was down to under five stone

Back in the days, I’d knock back the pills
I’d bought from the chemist as well
and swallowed all my prescription drugs
I thought I was living in hell

I woke up one day in intensive care
all hooked up to tubes and wires
It hadn’t occurred to me before
that I was literally playing with fire

Back in the days when I started to cut
I was trying to bleed out my pain
I got treated like a timewaster
and I tried to jump under a train

Today, I’ve totally moved on from that
I’m grateful that I’m here at all
I confess I caused so much trouble
but now, I can stand straight and tall

Now, these days, I’m fit, happy and well
Have been clean and sober ten years
I’ve made my amends and changed my ways
And I’ll continue to persevere.

Thank you so much for reading. Love Ellie Xx 💓

Image by günter from Pixabay

Author: Ellie Thompson

Writing my memoirs, musings, a little fiction and a lot of poetry as a way of exploring and making the most of my life ... ... Having had a break from writing my blog for more than three years, I decided to return to write my memoirs, some day-to-day observations, views and feelings. My passion is non-fiction poetry. I have a disability and use an electric powerchair called Alfie and let nothing get in the way of living life to the full. I believe that you can never do a kindness too soon and should give credit where credit is due. A smile or a kind word could make the difference between a good or bad day for a person - we never know what's going on for another soul. Those little things, perhaps, practised daily like a mantra, could mean so much to someone else. Thank you for visiting my blog and reading a little more about me. Please, make yourself at home here. You are very welcome. Ellie x 😊

89 thoughts on “Back In The Days (Poem and Introduction)”

  1. Today, I’ve totally moved on from that
    I’m grateful that I’m here at all
    I confess I caused so much trouble
    but now, I can stand straight and tall

    These lines made me ecstatic.
    You are strong dear friend. You have endless potential and you have proved that you are a fighter.
    Keep shining bright like this. 🔆

    1. Ps- I read the poem but couldn’t comment as it’s asking me to log in.
      While I’m logged in, but the poem is opening in seperate window 😅.
      I’ll drop my thoughts tomorrow in that case.
      SHINE my dear friend ☀️

      1. Thanks for reading the poem, my friend. I don’t know why it won’t let you comment. I wrote it a very long time ago, but I can’t think of any other reason that is happening. Please, don’t worry about not commenting on it. I’m just grateful that you took the time to read it. X

          1. I’m glad you’ve managed to solve the issue. I rarely use the app as I’m always on my laptop. I’ve heard others say they have problems with the app, too. Thanks for taking the time to read and to let me know 😊.

    2. Thank you so much for your kind words, Devang. I’m glad this made you feel happy. I never will go back to that place again. I’ve come too far to mess up my life again. I want to be happy and free now. I will do my best to stay strong. Thanks again, my friend 😊.

    1. Oh, thank you so much, Vidah. That’ so kind of you to say. I was rather worried that I might be judged or criticised by people for sharing my ugly past. You are so kind. Xx 💖

  2. Good for you for having come such a long distance! The work is gut-wrenching but so necessary to be able to move forward, as you are doing! Bravo! Keep going!

    1. Thank you so much, Tamara. I did feel like I’d stamped all over my shadow when writing this, but I’m glad that I managed to write it. Thank you, as always, for your kind encouragement. Xx 💕

    1. Thank you, Penny. It was an awful experience to go through throughout the eight years she was supposed to be helping me. It’s taken me a long time to get back on my feet, but I’m so glad I don’t have those issues these days. Xx 💕

  3. This is as close to rock bottom as anyone can get, and still survive. But surviving rock bottom is a lesson in itself. It opened up an inner strength you did not know you had, an inner strength that is now stronger than you can believe. You opened up a part of your past you thought you could never face again. YOU DID IT! And as you heal more, you will probably visit it again. Because you are strong enough now to look. You know it cannot harm you anykore. AND YOH DID IT ALL BY YOURSELF! You, Ellie Thompson, facing forward…

    1. Dear J, thank you for taking the time to read my story. You always have so much to say that makes a huge amount of sense to me, and for that. I’m grateful. I certainly was at rock bottom then, and I’m so thankful I made it through. I think you are right about visiting it all again, but now I know I can cope with my feelings (greatly helped by my writing and the support I receive here on my blog.) You know, when I had to end my sessions with my recent counsellor, Chris, I honestly didn’t think I could survive without her and my therapy times. I’ve proved myself wrong. I thought I’d go to pieces and crumble into a pile of earth (and I nearly did for a while), but I’m pleased that didn’t happen. When I get offered another therapist, I will work on moving forwards more rather than totally dissolving into my past again. Thank you so much for always being so encouraging and supportive – that means an awful lot to me 💜💙💜💙💜

      1. 🤍💜🤍💜🤍 You are injured, Ellie, but no longer fatally. You have taken charge of your own healing, and as an ex-counsellor you have no idea how much that delights me to see. But my feelings are peripheral to your feelings, which are the centre of your attention.
        You are facing your past with open eyes. And a strong heart. Keep on keeping on!

  4. I think I already knew most of your story from our conversations. Seems like a pretty unenlightened hospital staff. Suicide attempts and self harm are outward expressions of inner turmoil. That needs to be healed as much or more than a broken leg. Granted, this was a few years ago, and our understanding of mental illness has grown dramatically over the past decade. Glad you were unsuccessful in all of your attempts.

    1. Yes, I think you’re right, Jeff. We have probably talked about my past during our comment exchanges. I don’t think I’ve shared it with anyone else, though. Hospitals were so critical and unaccepting of severe mental health issues back then. I like to think it’s different these days. I was very desperate at that time. I’m glad I wasn’t successful at ending my life, too. I put my family and friends through more than enough, as it was. I think they have more or less forgiven me my past, now. I’m fortunate to be here at all after all my efforts not to be.

      1. Theirs is not to forgive, but to understand. The only one who can forgive is you, and in my eyes there is no reason to forgive the people who harmed you. What they did was intentional. (Most counsellors disagree with me on this, but most counsellors have never been through what people like us were subjected to. For myself, I accept abuse was part of my past, but that was on my abusers. It’s over now, but that does not mean it was acceptable! They will never be forgiven!)

        1. Thank you for your clarification, J. It’s very helpful. I’m coming around to feeling like my abuse is in the past now, and I’m not in that place anymore. I know, too, that it wasn’t my fault. My abusers were totally responsible for their actions (or should have been.) They don’t deserve forgiveness in my eyes, either. What I find harder to forgive is myself for the hurt and pain I caused my family and friends at that time. They went through so much dealing with how I was at that time. I expect that forgiveness will come in time. I do hope so. It doesn’t help anyone if I feel eternally guilty for that. Thanks for your wise comments, J., and thank you even more for your friendship 💜💛💙.

          1. Hurting family is difficult, but it was not intentional. No, it does not help the ones who were hurt, but you were dealing with feelings beyond your capacity at the time. Pain, especially mental pain, can be overwhelming. We act in the best way we know when under duress. It does not absolve us, but neither can we be declared guilty.
            I guess what I am saying us, we must be able to forgive ourselves. We are not the criminals; we are the primary victims.

          2. Thanks, J, You speak so much sense. I realise that I wasn’t the criminal in my situation, but as you say, I was victim of my abuser(s). And when I say that I not think that only my childhood abuser was to blame, I think that counsellor had a large part to play in my trying to end my life. I wish I had reported her to the counselling federation, now, but I was in too much of a traumatised state to be able to face this. Apart from which, all my notes went missing after she left me and very soon after, she resigned from the counselling organisation she was employed by. I would have no proof of anything; no facts to be seen in a court tribunal. Now, it is too late to being a case forward in court. I’m having to slowly come to terms with the fact that she, basically, got away with it. I can’t say I’m not bitter, but am working on letting go of this as it makes no difference to her, but I recognise that by keep going over it, it’s keeping it alive, and that is harming me, and not her. When I get allocated a new counsellor, probably in a few months time, it’s one of the things I want to work on. In the meantime, I’m doing my best to leave this behind, but it’s hard work. I am prepared to do this hard work to get to a more peaceful place. I hope that makes sense. 💜

          3. What makes sense is that you are already working on it, without a counsellor. And you are already in the process of healing.
            Remember after your first fiction piece I had a challenge for you. Well, i apologize for the word challenge, but I still cannot think of a better word.
            “Suggestion,” maybe.
            What I would love to see you try is to write a piece of fiction where you are a counsellor, and a woman like you comes to you for help.
            Become the counsellor! What would she do? What would she say? How would she feel?
            Something like that, where the roles are reversed for you. In a way that might be a challenge for you, putting yourself in a counsellir’s shoes, but I really think you can do this, and it would be therapeutic just to try — whether you like the resulting fiction piece or not. Remember, sometimes a piece the author does not like can become one of their best stories as judged by their audience. I know from my own writing I can be far from accepting of my own work, but that does not mean it is bad. Personally, I think this would make a great piece of fiction for you to write.
            Would you be willing to try? For me, if not for yourself.

  5. So sorry you had to go through this, Ellie. I am so glad that this is in the past and that you are moving forward in such a positive way. Love the inspirational last two stanzas. Wonderful.💕

  6. These words show courage, Ellie. Each step has been a chapter in your journey. There are more chapters to write and, hopefully, people out there who will read your words and find some hope.

    1. Thanks so much for reading and your comment, Davy. You are right – there are many more chapters to write. When I write things like this, I always hope that my words will be an encouragement or give hope to someone else.

  7. I think everyone on here has been a worse version of themselves, I know I have and you should feel no shame for how you used to cope before. But you should feel proud of how much you have grown and helped yourself get better and feel better. We are proud of you and I appreciate your sharing your story, it helps us all in different ways!

    1. Thank you very much for your comment and especially for your kind words, Brian. I find that many people who blog have got a painful story to tell. There must be something about writers having been through a lot in their lives in one way or another. When I write about some difficult part of my life, I always hope it touches someone out there and, perhaps, brings them some comfort (in an odd way). I think the message is – never give up hope. I don’t think I could have got through the last year without all the wonderful friendship and support I’ve had from all my blogging friends and readers. I am very fortunate to have you all and never take anyone for granted. Thanks for being one of those friends, Brian. 💙.

      1. You are very welcome Ellie. We are fortunate to have you sharing your story. We learn from others mistakes and their triumphs, the good and the bad, but only when these stories are told! Thank you being one of those storytellers 💗

  8. First off, thanks for the shout out Ellie. I hope my piece helped. I hate that you had this horrible incident happen to you, but love that you turned to writing (instead of other things) to overcome and move on from it. Your writing says a lot about the person you are and the mountains you’re climbing. I love how you phrased it: “Now, these days, I’m fit, happy and well, Have been clean and sober ten years, I’ve made my amends and changed my ways, And I’ll continue to persevere.” Love the inspiration and hope that you give others. Great piece Ellie. Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. You’re so welcome, Brian. Your piece really did help me to write my post today. It definitely got me thinking, and my post today was a result of reading yours yesterday. I’m very grateful to you for that. I’ve had many awful things happen in my life (as many of us do), but at the ripe old age of 65, I’m coming to the conclusion that I don’t want to live in the past anymore. I’ve done that for far too many years. I honestly think if it hadn’t been for blogging, I would have never had got to this happier place (not that anyone is happy 100% of the time). I’ve ‘been there, done that, and worn the t-shirt’, as they say. I don’t want to wear that t-shirt anymore. Thanks so much for your support, Brian. It means a lot..

  9. Wow, Ellie. The amount of times you’ve been to the brink and back is astounding. You are a super hero. A beautiful, loving superhero. I’m proud of you for getting out of that dark place and moving through all that trauma. You are an inspiration to me. Thank you for your vulnerability.

    1. Thank you very much, Bridgette. I am very grateful to still be here when I so nearly wasn’t. Your words are so kind and so comforting to me. I don’t know what I would have done without being able to write. Although I was blogging nine years ago, it wasn’t like it is now. I also had a three-year gap from blogging and have only been back for just over a year now. Coming back was the best decision I could have made as I have had so much love and support given to me during that time and my writing has been so healing. I have so much gratitude for that. Xx 💝

    1. Thank you so much, Kate. I’m very glad I’m not in that place anymore, too. I am very fortunate to still be here at all. I never start my days without gratitude, now. Thank for your hug – it’s so much appreciated. Hugs coming back for you, too. I’m sorry I’m all behind with your posts. I will try and catch up as soon as I can. I’ve read them all and liked them, but just haven’t been able to leave you comments yet. Xx 🤗💖

  10. You write beautifully Ellie and your joy related to your growth shines through. I feel happy for you and appreciate the hard work it has entailed. Well done you! 😊
    Thank you for introducing me to Brian – I am now following him.

    1. Thank you so much. Margaret. That’s very kind of you to say. It has been hard work, but happy I got there in the end. That’s not to say there is no further work needed in the future, but growth and learning are good for all of us. I’m glad that you found Brian. He’s an excellent writer. It’s lovely that you are following him now, too. X 😊💕

    1. Oh, Andrew; what a lovely thing to say – thank you so very much. I often think, on blogs, that they’re ought to be more than a ‘like’; perhaps, a ‘love’ and an ‘I care’ as they have on Facebook, not that I use FB very much these days. I’d rather spend my days writing.

  11. This is in all likelihood going to be your most impactful poem. I am proud of you for writing this. I am 1 year sober myself. I was already a daily drinker decades ago. But went full on a bottle a day of peanut butter whiskey after my mom died. I ignored my close friends telling me I was jaundice. They knew before I did I was in trouble. It took the liquor store cutting me off and ending up in the hospital for over a month to get clean.

    I am also lucky to live outside walking distance of a liquor store, and my cab driver and my friends have all said they would kill me if they caught me drinking again, so I have some really great support.

    This is one of your best poems ever.

    1. Oh, thank you so much for your kind words, Brian. That means a lot to me, coming from someone who’s been there, too. A huge well done on your one year of sobriety, my friend. That’s a real achievement. Go you! I’m proud of you. I’ve never heard of peanut butter whiskey. I ended up like you did with the off-licence refusing me any more drink. Just as well, really, although it was still easy to get it with my online supermarket order. Gin and Bacardi were my regular drinks – expensive habit, too, and I got into debt. I, too, ended up in hospital, but because of my anorexia, self-harm and suicide attempts, I was in there for six months. I hated every day of it. I didn’t stay clean and sober when I got out, but eventually did though a alcohol and drug rehab centre in town. I will never touch a drink again. Drink and drugs ruined so many relationships with family and friends. My Mum was the only one who stuck by me in that journey. Now, I do have contact with some of my family, two of my sisters and my children and grandchildren. I count myself as very fortunate now. Keep going, Brian – you’re doing brilliantly 💙.

      1. You must know that people struggling or those now sober will read your poem and find hope and strength knowing they are not alone. If that had been the only poem you wrote, it would still be a huge contribution to society.

    1. Thanks so much, Thompson. That’s so kind of you to say. It was a tough one to write, but I’m glad I persevered. I haven’t forgotten about you, my friend. Please forgive me as I just haven’t had a moment to email you back. I’m hoping to in the next couple of days. I have two hospital appointments in the next two days, drum circle tonight and a meeting on Friday evening. Phew. I’d rather be writing, but I will catch up more at the weekend. Take good care of yourself.

    1. Thanks very much, Andy. Glad to know you’re okay now, too. I’ve been surprised how many bloggers have got back to me to say they’ve been in that dark place, too. I think us writers are deep-thinking people, on the whole. I’m glad I’m out of the worst of it. If someone had told me all those years ago, that things will get better, I doubt I would have believed them. I’m glad I was proved wrong. I like the saying, ‘this too shall pass.’ – everything does – eventually. I’m thankful for that.

      1. That last saying is a touchstone of mine too Ellie. Perhaps many bloggers know both light and dark. Not for nothing is my blog called Ebb Then Flood – an extreme low tide followed by the exact opposite, when life comes flooding back into the place of emptiness.I remain grateful that is still the case for me.

        1. Thank you for sharing that with me, Andy. I’ve always wondered why your blog was called that. Now, it makes perfect sense. I ad a tattoo on my inner arm a couple of years – it’s of a beautiful kingfisher (representing the beauty in life) and the words ‘This too shall pass.’ I’m glad you, like me, are in a better place right now. Gratitude is a big part of healing, too. Thanks again, Andy, and I wish you well.

  12. Beautiful. I’m glad you came out of this alive and stronger. Sometimes we create our own hell. Well, we think we’re coping with hell, but the coping becomes often much worse than the initial hell. At least that’s my experience.

    1. Thank you, Sam. I’m in a much better place now than I was back then. I think you could be right about the hell we get in when trying to cope. I’m just grateful to be alive. It could all have been so different. Xx 💕

  13. Sometimes, some things happen in your life to become better version of you. Hopefully you can do it. So I wish you to grow at each stage of your life.👍🏻💐

    1. Thank you so much, Thotaramani, for reading and for your kind words. I think, now that some time has passed, I am in a better place. I’m come through an awful lot, but I will never give up. Xx 🌼💕

  14. That was a horrible counselor! I’m so sorry…You are a very strong person to have gone through so much and to have come so far. I hope you realize that! You write so very eloquently that I can actually feel your pain….Sending hugs and healing thoughts to you, my friend!

    1. It was such a damaging few years with that counsellor. She was totally unethical and smashed all my boundaries to bits. One minute, I thought she ‘loved’ me, and the next, she asked why I didn’t go home and kill myself when I said I was feeling suicidal!! I haven’t shared this in this post, as it seems to be one of the things my mind blocks out much of the time. When she walked out on me on the day of my father’s death, I never thought I could survive without her. She had made me totally dependent on her. Even my support worker, GP and psychiatrist at the time tried to tell me she was making me worse, not better. She was a private counsellor so they couldn’t force the issue. Looking back now, I wish they’d had the power to stop her from causing me any more damage, but after eight years of seeing her three times a week (her suggestion), I hardly had my own mind, let alone able to make tough decisions like leaving her. She told me she loved me so often. It’s shocking and horrifying now. At least I’m well away from her now and am in a better place. Thank you so much for your kind comment and even more so for the hugs and healing thoughts. That means a lot to me. Xx

      1. Oh Ellie…that counsellor sounds like a nutcase. She made hurtful things 1000 times worse, by the sounds of her. I’m so thankful she’s not your “counsellor” any more. What a long 8 years that must have been for you 😦 heartbreaking.

        1. Thanks, Janet. I don’t know whether she was a nutcase; I think she knew exactly what she was doing because she asked me to go three times a week, which I had to pay for over the eight years. Because of my disability, I also had to pay for a taxi there and back each time. I once worked how much I spent during that time, and it was tens of thousands of pounds!! However, I can’t go back and change what happened, but I do find it incredibly difficult to forgive her. She did me as much damage as my child abuser did. I know she is still practising as she lives near me, and I wonder whether she still treats her current clients like that. Fortunately, we’ve not bumped into each other in town in the years after I stopped going, and thank goodness for that, as I wouldn’t have a clue what to say. Thanks for caring, Janet. I appreciate that so much. Xx 💜😘💙

  15. My heart breaks thinking of all the pain you were going through and that you were just doing what you could to get through it. I have nothing but love and compassion for you, Ellie. I’m so proud of you that you’re not in that place anymore and that 10 years on, you’re here – shining your bright, beautiful light for us all to see. I’m so glad you stuck around. You are so precious and so many of us love you xx

    1. It was a dreadful time in my life, Janet. You are right. Thank you for being so kind about that time in my life, as all my WP friends have been, too. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to being in that place again. That was all happening while I was seeing ‘that’ counsellor. She made things worse rather than better. Thank you for loving me just the way I am – that means an enormous amount to me. I find your words very comforting. You are truly a beautiful friend. Much love to you Xx 💙🌷💛

    1. Aww, thank you so much, Allie. That means a lot to me. I write from my heart and soul, and just hope that perhaps, by my honest writing, it might help others to feel less isolated with their feelings, and perhaps, encourage them to reach out for help and support. Thank you so much for your kind words here. X 💖

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