I CAN’T PEOPLE TODAY

My head is completely fucked up today. I wanted to be kind today because that’s how I like to treat people and have been on the whole. I left my Carer a ‘Welcome to my humble abode’ message with a smiley face drawn on the wipe-clean noticeboard in the kitchen and then when she came I could do nothing other than make small talk. I went out this morning and smiled and said “good morning” and “have a nice day” to passers-by on my way to the shops. I decided to leave two sticky-notes saying ‘Hi! Have an awesome day! Love from a stranger xx’, one stuck on the wrapper of a loaf of bread in the supermarket round the corner and the other on a packet of babies disposable nappies in the chemist. My hope was to brighten someone’s day. Then I unintentionally held up a queue of people in a shop because I couldn’t turn my wheelchair round in the small place on the way out and then felt dreadful. I tried out a new cycle path in my wheelchair on the way back from the shops and managed to lose my way (not unusual for me). I looked around and surprisingly, I spotted my neighbours two children not far off (on their bikes) who are twelve and nine. I called out to them and said how silly I was to get lost and bless their hearts, they cycled all the way home with me so I popped out again and got them a Kit-Kat chocolate bar each to say thank you. I arrived home safe and well. I did these things because I wanted to make people happy and not because I want thanks or recognition,

And now, this evening, everything in my head has gone pear-shaped. I am full of self-hatred and anger. I ignored the telephone when it rung and pretended I wasn’t in when a salesman rang the doorbell. I hid as best I could which isn’t easy when your legs don’t work. Suddenly, I don’t want to see anyone; I don’t want to speak to anyone; I don’t want to be with anyone whereas normally I would crave these things. I’m a grumpy old cow this evening. My faith seems to have gone up in smoke. I don’t know what has happened to me today….I know that my moods alter drastically from one moment to the next sometimes and I know that can be caused by my mental health condition, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). But, somehow today, it feels more than that. I don’t want to be; I don’t want to think; I don’t want to talk; I can, thankfully, write today (after a fashion). I just “CAN’T PEOPLE TODAY”. I just can’t do it, be it, see it, hear it, say it, feel it. I don’t want to be part of the world or part of our war-torn, desperately unfair existence, I don’t want to be on this planet or in this universe. I just don’t want to be! ‘STOP THE WORLD, I WANNA GET OFF’. Get me out of here……………

i can't people today

I’m sorry, people x  😦

SCRAMBLED EGGS

Well, firstly, I owe big apologies to so many of you because I have been absent from WordPress world and also my linked email account for weeks and I realize how many of your posts I have missed especially my friends, Mercy James and Meghan. Along with other friends, I think I’ve missed out on reading approximately 70 posts from you all and I know I’ll never catch up with the backlog so all I can offer at this time are my humble apologies 😦 .

As well as not being too well and therefore my mind being incapable of forming sentences long enough to write a blog, there has been so much ‘mucky’ stuff going on in my life and things have been so frenetic that I’ve hardly had time to blink, let alone string words together. Strangely enough, most of the major issues currently in my life begin with the letter ‘C‘, purely coincidentally. If this sounds like nonsense that’s because I have a brain which somewhat resembled scrambled eggs at the moment! The list goes something like this….college, Colin, church, crime, Care, children and Carole, etc, etc. and no, that’s not in alphabetical order as my brain cells aren’t quite up to that at this present moment in time. I won’t go into the details of each one for fear of boring the pants off of you but merely offer these snippets which illustrate examples of the individual issues. So here goes…

College = closing down (2 weeks), politics, mixed media, warring factions, celebration, saxophones, the press….

Colin = brother-in-law, redundancy passport, post, diabetes, aeroplane, cats, August….

Church = pastoral care (lack of), ordination, art, new pastures, brass band, friction, apartment block, cucumber….

Crime = family, trains, Marks and Spencers, blackmail, baked beans, city, money….

Care = all change, independence, scrambled eggs (again!), pyjamas, invoice, D & D….

Children = absent, car tyres, little ‘uns, grapefruit, failure, vitamin B12, heart, spots, frogspawn ……….and finally,

Carole = box of grapes, tutor, Prince Harry, music, old photographs, emails, two foot high patchwork elephant….!

patchwork elephant

So…..Interesting?…No; Relevant?…Yes; Necessary?…No; Nonsense?…Yes, certainly, but all true and all totally applicable to my life right at this moment so is it any wonder I have a ‘scrambled egg’ brain?…No, definitely and absolutely not!

Delia-scrambled-eggs-006

THE COURAGE TO BE REAL – WANTED: WOMEN (AND MEN)

This is a selection of excerpts from the book illustrated below. All credit goes to Holly Gerth. I was so encouraged by what I read, I just had to share a snippet of it here. I also have to put my hand up in the air and say, “yes, that’s me – I need to be real”. (I have no connection with the author other than respect).

you are loved no matter what

We don’t want to see the vacuum lines in your carpet. Instead we want to hear about what’s causing those worry lines to crease your forehead. We don’t want to be impressed by your cute shoes. We want a glimpse of your soul. We don’t want to read your “I’ve got it all together” blog post when we know that inside you’re falling apart.

In a classic children’s story called The Velveteen Rabbit, a toy bunny longs to become “real” too and asks another toy in the nursery about it.

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.

Becoming real is a lifelong process. But we can look for those who are actively pursuing it and invite them into our lives. That’s especially true when it comes to women who are further along in the journey than we are.

My friend and fellow writer Jennifer Watson said:

I would much rather hear from a 50-something, or older, who is killing it and more beautiful than she’s ever been because she knows what really matters in life, not some woman afraid of aging squeezing into skinny jeans who is terrified that she’s no longer relevant and useful. Every day is a battle and we are nothing without each other. Maybe it’s time to stop comparing and join forces.

Who are you letting speak into your life? We need peers, mentors, and encouragers. And in all of those roles, we need people who are willing to say, “I don’t have it all together. But I believe we’re better together.”

Look for these characteristics in “real” people:

  • Willing to share their struggles
  • Can laugh at themselves
  • Committed to facing fear and taking risks
  • Get back up when they fall
  • Pursue lifelong growth
  • Quick to encourage others
  • Celebrate the successes of those around them
  • Ask for help when they need it
  • Avoid gossip, criticism, and condemnation
  • Embrace their weaknesses as part of who they are
  • Don’t apologize for their strengths but instead use them
  • Love freely because they know how to freely be loved

Of course, we’re all works in progress. No one is going to fit this list completely. But if you find someone going in this direction, ask if you can walk beside them. Be open to what you can learn. Honor and respect those with more life experience rather than pretending you know it all. We need each other.

Also remember you can be one of those people for others. If people around you seem to constantly try to be perfect, it may be because in some way you’re giving off the impression they need to be. Or you may be modeling that behavior by expecting perfection from yourself. Sometimes we have to be the first one to say, “I’m struggling with this.” That takes courage, but when I’ve done so, the response usually has been a huge sigh of relief followed by, “Me too.”

There are no perfect people. We’re all mixed-up, in need of grace, learning every day people. You. Me. All of us. The good news is we’re also made new, deeply loved, extraordinary women who have so much to offer the world.

XOXO

Holley Gerth

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“OH, WHAT A TANGLED WEB WE WEAVE”

‘As she weaves herself tighter and tighter into the web, the hole becomes deeper and deeper and she sees no way to escape. She has become desperate to escape, desperate to not be despised but to be loved but cannot find the exit. Surely, reaching the exit is the only way out but then she knows full well that doing so would mean total destruction of her world as she has always known it. It would be complete annihilation of her life as she knows it. She is terrified of the hurt and damage she would cause, both to loved ones and friends and ultimately to herself. Oh, what a tangled web she weaves.’

How do I help her? She has confided in me. I was, and still am shocked. Tears were running down her face as she blurted it all out. I thought it would never end. She is desperate for me not to break her confidence. How do I hold on to a secret so huge? Although I don’t want to break her trust, what about all those who are being wronged and hurt by her and have been in the past. I wish she hadn’t have told me. I have enough heartache and despair going on in my own life without holding on to someone else’s guilt and shame. Or is that just selfish? In telling me, she has deeply wounded me too. I thought I could trust her – now, I can never be sure of this again. I am angry! Am I right to be angry? Although part of me feels sorry for her because she is obviously in so much agony, another part of me hates her for the damage she has done over the years, not just to me but to many others too. Nothing life-threatening I know but so awful, just the same.

They say “you can fool half the people all of the time or all of the people half the time”. Well, as far as I can see, she has been fooling all of the people all of the time. And why? Why for so long? She says that she’s never known anything different, that she just wanted people to like her, to care for her. Well, many of them already did but she says she doesn’t believe that. I did too….will she ever believe me either? Who do I now turn too? I have been holding on to so many secrets of my own for so many years and am just beginning to unravel them in therapy. I don’t want more secrets….I have had enough over the years to last a lifetime. I know she needs help but how am I supposed to help her without her helping herself. How can I be responsible for her problems too. I wish she had told someone else. Why me? Or is that selfish too?

She is a forty-four year old ‘friend’. She is married with a husband and has three teenage boys. If I say anything to her husband, I know it will blow her whole world out of the water! Oh, I do wish she hadn’t had told me. She says she is sorry but sorry hardly even touches the edge of the hurt and anger that I feel.

I always thought she was happy but obviously not; otherwise why would she behave in this way? Half of me feels sorry for her but half of me hates her too. I hate her, not only for her deception and lies but also for want of a better expression for ‘dumping her shit on me’! And yet, I still have love for her – she has been a friend for a very long time and you can’t just wipe that out, at least I can’t although I know many that would. She is hurting but now, so am I. What do I do? I can’t go on like this. There must be a reason for all of this. I feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders. Help!!

* (Some details have been changed to protect identity) 

GOD IN A STORM

sail boat

When I was growing up, I had an inflatable plastic punching dummy. It was about as tall as I was and had a smiling face painted on it. My challenge was to hit it hard enough to make it stay down. But no matter how hard I tried, it always bounced right back up again. The secret? There was a lead weight in the bottom that always kept it upright. Sailboats operate by the same principle. The lead weights in their keels provide the ballast to keep them balanced and upright in strong winds.

It’s like that in the life of a believer in Christ. Our power to survive challenges resides not in us but with God, who dwells within us. We’re not exempt from the punches that life throws at us nor from the storms that inevitably threaten our stability. But with full confidence in His power to sustain us, we can say with Paul, “We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Cor. 4:8-9).
Join the many travellers through life who through deep waters of pain and suffering embrace with unshakable confidence the truth that God’s grace is sufficient and that in our weakness He is made strong (12:9). It will be the ballast to your soul. —Joe Stowell

The power of God within you is greater than the pressure of troubles around you.

TAKEN FROM ‘OUR DAILY BREAD’

THANK GOD FOR BLESSINGS

Well, it’s nice to be back amongst my blogging friends after the Christmas and New Year break at which time I posted absolutely ‘zilch’! Christmas Day was fairly non-eventful (other than a tummy bug if you can call that a non-event….I think not actually!) and quiet as it usually is for me but I don’t mind really. At least I was fortunate to have my Carer come in the morning and the evening (which is more company than many people had). Thank God for small mercies.

Talking of God, He has really been working in a very positive way in my life especially over the last week or so. I feel so very grateful and blessed and thankful to all those friends who have been praying for me on this topic. Jesus has broken through in my life in a quite delightful and generous way and I praise Him for that and the beginnings of an answer to my prayer. I have written the following words:

“JESUS BREAKING THROUGH IN MY LIFE

Isaiah 46:16, 18-19
16 Long ago the LORD made a road through the sea,
a path through the swirling waters.
18 But the LORD says,
“Do not cling to events of the past
or dwell on what happened long ago.
19 Watch for the new thing I am going to do.
It is happening already—you can see it now!
I will make a road through the wilderness
and give you streams of water there.
A few weeks ago, my Minister talked about the Lord breaking through in our lives and I just wanted to share my experience of this:

As most of you know, there has been a considerable and serious breakdown in communication between myself and my son and daughter for some years now. I opened up my heart to our Lord God – I asked for forgiveness for the bitter and angry thoughts that I carried, and prayed hard for reconciliation as I know too that so many of you have also been praying for me and I feel blessed and very touched by that.

Now, in the last couple of weeks, Jesus has broken through into my life in the most miraculous way. I have just, over the last few days, started to have some very positive contact with both my children and I pray that we can build on this. I am so happy!

Praise God in the Highest for He is good.” 

Thank you Lord x

Not only do I feel these feelings strongly but tomorrow, I have to stand up (well, sit in my wheelchair in my case!) in church, in front of 300+ people in the congregation and read these words. I am seeing it as a personal challenge to my natural fear, inhibitions and lack of confidence as I have only once spoken publicly in front of a large number of people and that was back in 2008 when I was baptized.

photo: followpics.co.followpics - sister & baby brother - blog.

Oh! Did I forget to say that I have a new grandson who isn’t two weeks old yet. He is my son’s second child, my fourth grandchild and my first grandson. They have called him C.N.*; he is a sister for I* who will be two years old in a week’s time and a cousin for my other two granddaughters, J* and R*. I’ve yet to see him but at least, and at last, my son and my daughter-in-law are replying to my occasional emails and phone calls.

Time for celebration? Heck! Why?, Why not?! At last my relationship with my children has improved a tiny bit and the future looks paved with gold (well, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that….bronze maybe). Great news, nevertheless. 

Wish me luck or remember me in prayer for tomorrow’s service, if you would like to. Watch this space…

BITTERSWEET BABY

baby-silhouette

Well……it’s official (apparently)! I am now a Nanny for the fourth time! I heard via text message from another member of my family that my son and daughter-in-law had a baby boy yesterday (my first grandson). That’s all I know – I don’t even know his name. I long to see him but I know this is nigh on impossible given my family situation. Do I feel happy that this new little life has been given into God’s kingdom? Yes. But, how can I be happy when I know I will see as much of this little one as I do of my other grandchildren? He will not know me, just as ‘the girls’ don’t know me and that breaks my heart.

I hear other people my sort of age talking about their grandchildren and how they come and visit with the sons or daughters they have. But not me, and it’s hard to hear sometimes, hard to listen because it is so painful. So, I smile sweetly and say “how lovely for you” and I mean it genuinely – I am happy for them but the pain I feel inside is heart-wrenching and continues to gnaw away at me because I know it will never be that way for me. I am the invisible Nanny, the non-existent one, “the Nanny we don’t talk about because she is a bit funny, (she has mental health problems and has a disability – you know how it is”).

I am deemed as useless as I cannot babysit, go upstairs to admire the gerbils, get down on the floor and play, chase them round the living room etc. What use I am to them? I write in the sky amongst the clouds, “Dear Son/Daughter, I love you – I have always loved you and I want to love my grandchildren and be part of their lives. I can still cuddle them, read them stories and be a positive influence in their lives. I am not mad or stupid. I am not a danger to my grandchildren. I love them and just want the opportunity to get to know them and for them to get to know me. My heart aches with my longing to see them. Is there no hope? Why, please tell me? Why?” Unsent letters, as writing would alienate them further so they remain in the clouds.

I keep journals though; love journals, one for each child where I write what I was thinking about today to do with them. I don’t write anything negative about anyone, especially my son or daughter.

If only…..Life is full of ‘if onlys’. Not just my life but the lives of many others for different reasons. We can but dream sometimes and we have to settle for that and be content, but easy, it is not! My heart is breaking I have to hang on to hope. Hope that one day when they are grown, they will and come and search me out and discover for themselves that I’m not what my son/daughter portray me to be.

“Dear Grandchild, I love you so much. I have always loved you from the minute you were born. I will always be here for you, waiting for you, waiting for the ‘if only’ to come true”.

Make a wish…..

dandelion-wishes

CHANGES…

So much is going on in my life at the moment….so many changes, that I haven’t had time to write my blog for nearly a week which is unlike me. My world has been totally upside-down these last few days. I could sort of see it coming from a distance yet felt powerless to stop it all going on. Sometimes change is necessary, either because it’s out of our hands and something in our lives isn’t right or a change of direction, a detour down an unknown avenue etc has to happen for a reason..

Firstly, at some point, I almost lost my faith, not quite completely but near enough. It didn’t feel good – I felt like a boat drifting in a turbulent sea with no anchor to fasten me to reality. I’ve posted about my faith before. It matters to me although for a while, back there, I felt I had abandoned it or somehow it had abandoned  me. I knew there was still a small spark left but felt completely lost. I’ve spent weeks adrift from my old church and was visiting others in the area where I searching for that place of worship that fulfilled both my spiritual needs and my social ones. My search proved fruitless and I was drifting further and further away from God.

(c) Thomas (Tom) Henry Roskell; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Running concurrently alongside this was the fact that my Care Agency decided to dump me with only one week’s notice. This wasn’t because I had been rude or abusive in any way, nor because I was a nuisance but because I had a voice and spoke up for myself, assertively but politely and the Manager didn’t like hearing the truth about her failing agency (due to them not taking care of their staff thereby enabling them to do a good job….they just were not given the time and everything had to be done at break-neck speed and therefore not thoroughly). I won’t go into details about the lack of care and respect to myself and my home that I experienced….suffice it to say, it left a hell of a lot to be desired.

Meanwhile, as far as my family life was concerned….no change there! I haven’t seen my children or grandchildren for best part of a year now. Although I am trying my best to come to terms with the fact that this is going to be what my son and daughter want, it doesn’t stop it hurting like hell.

Other changes were afoot also but I won’t go into them here for fear of boring the pants off my readers.

Something needed to change but did I have the courage to deal with it all? It seemed not at the time but apparently (so i’ve been told), I am a strong person despite the fact that I feel like a mouse in a world of lions.

I decided to go back to my old church and although it is not perfect (but then is anything perfect?), I have to say walking back through those doors did feel like ‘coming home’ and I know I have made the right decision, with God’s guidance.

As for my Care Agency, I think it might be for the good after all as I have found a different agency, all be it at short notice, who seem far better and who are starting with me on Monday morning. I’ve met my new carer and we really get on well.

So, I guess it goes to show, change (all be it difficult sometimes) can be for the better. Perhaps…..just perhaps, this is the beginning of a positive upturn to my life and I now for certain that I need God by my side. 🙂

ANGRY – I’M DEAD IN THE WATER / I’M GOING SLIGHTLY MAD (VIDEOS)

Often lately, I have been thinking that for how much my children care or rather do not care about me, I may just as well be dead in the water, as the song says. Would I missed? No, I think not. At least, not by them. I know I have some good friends and I appreciate that so much but it doesn’t take the pain away. Am I angry? Yes, I am. I am angry at my children for depriving me of my grandchildren.

I’m angry with my care agency for not doing their job properly, not my carers (they are all great). It’s the bloody management who don’t bloody well look after their staff so their staff are all leaving in droves and I can’t say I blame them!

I’m angry with my church for not even noticing that I haven’t been there for the last six weeks, and now; now that I’ve let on (I thought, confidentially) to someone that I was leaving as I’ve found a much more supportive church; now, the phone rings at 7.15pm. I can see that it’s my church but I don’t pick up. The Minister has left a message saying she just wanted to talk to me about something and she wondered how I was…NOW? 

I am just so angry….I’m angry with life in general. I’m angry at the world! I’m not feeling sorry for myself…I’m just feeling utterly and thoroughly pissed off by everything in my life! I’m so angry that I’m in the state of mind that I don’t really care whether I’m here (as in alive and breathing), or not. In fact the idea of being ‘dead in the water’ quite appeals at this current moment.

I think I’m going slightly mad! I feel like an unexploded time-bomb, detonated and primed to off at any minute….any minute now. What do you do with yourself when yo feel like this? Answers on a postcard….

MOVING ON/LACKING FAITH

I’m feeling very down and dispirited today and am counting the hours till my carers come and then I can go to bed and start afresh tomorrow.

I’m not very good at dealing with change and am attempting to cope with two changing situations at the moment although I should add that they are both my choices but I still find it scary. Tomorrow, I start part-time summer college, run by our local Mental Health Trust and will be doing art, creative writing, Mindfulness (which I know little about) and studying NLP Therapy and how it works which sounds interesting. I’m very worried about being with people I don’t know, in a group setting. Also, I am the only disabled student there so feel a bit like an ‘odd man out’. Nevertheless, I think it will be a good challenge which can only be a positive thing. I just have to take a deep breath and walk (drive) in and jump in at the deep end!

Also, I’m thinking about changing my church which is a very big and important decision. I’ve been a member at my first and current church for over 7 years and was happily baptized there in 2008. However, I still have this ongoing problem with not feeling accepted as a person with a disability. Everyone is polite to me and reasonably helpful although I am very independent, friendly and ‘smiley’!. I know loads of people there but I have never made any friendships that continue outside of a Sunday morning. Also, I’m finding that my faith is waning somewhat lately and I don’t know why.

So, I’m thinking about going to a new church called ‘The Life Church’, which is still of the same faith, just with different attitudes and convictions. My current church is Baptist and this new one is Pentecostal (known as ‘happy-clappy’), which I quite like the idea of. However, the prospect of driving my wheelchair into a church full of 250 new people, is scary to me. I’m hoping that the ‘liveliness’ of this new church will ‘recharge my faith batteries’ and improve my current relationship with God which I currently find worrying.

As I said at the beginning, I feel very low today and my hypervigilance is really bad which has left me exhausted now, early in the evening. My prayers are a bit half-hearted lately which isn’t good and is something I desperately want to improve. Hopefully, I will wake up tomorrow feeling refreshed and ready to face these new challenges.

Life church