Tuesday, 23 October 2012

One step at a time


Picture-Andre Armant 

Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.
Martin Luther King, Jr. 


Growth is an erratic forward movement: two steps forward, one step back. Remember that and be very gentle with yourself.
Julia Cameron 

A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.
Lao Tzu 





Foe me the picture by Andre Armant says it all. Staring down the staircase into the hollow at the bottom, being cautious, trying not to fall.  Trying to take that first small step into recovery or into any difficult situation is scary.
Sometimes with one step we falter, we trip up and end up back where we started, but making that first small step is enough to just get a taste. A taste of the freedom, the release, the excitement of what life can be like without an eating disorder. Looking down the staircase you cant quite see what is at the bottom, it may look dark at times, you may feel alone in fear of falling but hold out your hand for support, take hold of that bannister, that railing on the stairs and let it help you down steadily and safely.
Baby steps, little steps, one at a time.....you can do this, you can reach your goal. 

Monday, 22 October 2012

Holding On


Holding on


Sinking deeper, losing air, dragged down.
Pressure, tight against my chest,
Trapped, enclosed, no way of escaping.
You are there,
When I reach the pit, the depth of despair,
You are there,
When I achieve my goal,
You are there when I feel small,
Waiting for the fall, the trip up, the relapse.
You lift me up with your actions,
you inspire me with your words,
You believe,
You trust,
You love.....
In me,
For me,
With me,
Holding on to your words,
Your actions,
Your faith in me.....
Thank you.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

The Weight of Your Words



Picture- 'The weight Of Your Words,' Julie De Waroquier
"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind." 
~ Rudyard Kipling

Ugly, Stupid, Freak, 
Wicked, Pathetic, Meek,
Bad, Unworthy, Fat,
Bad and smelly Brat.

Clever, kind, delightful,
Gorgeous, caring, not spiteful,
Confident, Smart, Pretty,
Beautiful, Talented and Witty.

Which words do you remember and carry with you each day?
Which words affect your judgements and what you do and say?

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Time standing still



The clock stops, time stands still,
Dust settling in the memories of your mind,
The silence of your past sends you a chill,
The cobwebs you can't leave behind.

Jackie

It doesn't matter where you are emotionally in your life, there are certain things which can take you right back to situations. For me this is conflict or music!!  Its a surreal experience to be in the moment, but to be cast right back to a different time. Its as if the clock has been stopped and your life has been rewound.  Sometimes I just wish I could forget and not feel.  Feeling can hurt. 
At least now I acknowledge how I am feeling and not hide it or numb it with disordered eating or alcohol. 




World Mental Health Day


Today marks World Mental Health Day. 
Drowning in Depression
Sinking deeper, stronger,
Into a black hole of despair,
The days are long, nights longer,
I cry out but there's no one there.

My senses numb, no feeling,
You can see through my eyes,
My heart is on my knees screaming,
Would anyone care If I was to die?

Jackie

This poem is feelings surrounding depression and the despair felt.  I am pleased to say that I do not feel like this anymore. :)


The facts and figures around Mental Health in the UK are alarming.

  • 1 in 4 people will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year
  • Suicides rates show that British men are three times as likely to die by suicide than British women
  • Self-harm statistics for the UK show one of the highest rates in Europe: 400 per 100,000 population
(stats from the Mental health foundation.)


Chances are then, that sometime in your life you will either have contact with a person, or yourself experience a mental health problem in some degree.  Mental illness sucks.  It cant be patched up, supported with a crutch, given a quick fix or operated on.  Its not visible and is often misunderstood or judged.  People are embarrassed to discuss it, they don't know what to say or how to help.
I first experienced mental illness in my late teens in the form of depression, though at the time I didn't recognise it. I know we all have those 'sad' moments, but this was bigger than that.
I spent most of my time in a dark cloud, feeling trapped and sucked deeper on a daily basis into a life of 'nothingness.' I had intense feelings of loss, isolation, anxiety and fear, some days I felt nothing and wanted nothing........
My anorexia has always gone side by side with depression although I'm not sure which comes first, bit of a chicken and egg situation!  Years ago there was a huge stigma surrounding mental illness, I was embarrassed to discuss it at work for fear of being labelled as 'mad'. The hospital where I was an inpatient was even worse, labelled as a 'mental,' hospital!!  I'm pleased to say things have changed although the process of referral for treatment for a mental illness is still disgraceful. 

As adults we know how we should look after ourselves. Eat a varied, balanced diet, drink sensibly, exercise regularly blah blah.... but how do we look after our mental health?


Talk about your feelings. Talking therapies or sharing your troubles with someone you trust is a positive way forward.


Relax or escape and do something you really enjoy.  Take a walk whilst listening to your ipod, have a bubble bath, write some poetry.  Do something for 'you' to get you away from the moment.


Accept yourself for who you are. We are all different and that's what makes us so damn interesting.
Focus on your positives, write some sticky notes naming all the great things about 'you.'


Ask for help.....
Don't be afraid to speak up. Asking for help is not a weakness, it only shows strength and determination.





Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Innocence


 Innocence

Trusting and believing,
Idolising and loving,
Blameless......

Stolen and violated,
hurt and shamed,
Blaming.....



Monday, 8 October 2012

Growth

This week on the blogging for well being challenge we are taking inspiration from Images. One image a day from the artist, Julie De Waroquier.
Now this was not easy for me. I have no real interest in Art, at school the only thing that interested me was Ms Hulmes 60's dress style and the Beatles tapes she used to play during lessons.
I have not been one for looking at a painting for time on end and being able to 'read' it. For me Art was a pretty picture that I put on my lounge wall which blended in with the colour scheme. But you know me, always up for a challenge, so here goes. Lets see what this says to me.


Growth.

With knowledge we gain understanding,
With understanding we become accepting,
With acceptance becomes peace,
With peace becomes balance,
With balance brings light,
With light we see clearly,
With clarity we gain life,
With life we grow.





Saturday, 6 October 2012

What defines me?



Whats defines me?

My values and beliefs.
My loves and losses.
My failures and achievements.

My insecurities and confidence,
My positivity and disappointments,
My stresses and calm.

My strength and weakness,
My experience and inexperience,
My fears and dreams.

What defines me...
My being,
My self.




Friday, 5 October 2012

Sometimes I Wish.....



Sometimes I wish....

Sometimes I wish I could have one last kiss,
one last hug, one word good or bad.
Could hear your laugh, the smell of your smoke,
Stand on your feet as I did as a child,
Pretending to dance,
But I cant......

Sometimes I wish,
I hadn't said the things I said,
Listened to their words, felt their pain.
Ignored my feelings and hurt inside,
Sometimes I wish I hadn't been born,
But I was....

Sometimes I wish,
I didn't think too much and analyse,
I could switch off my brain and move forward in life,
I didn't care about anyone else,
Life would be easier then,
But its not....

Sometimes I wish,
I could make a change, a difference,
I could understand more and be understood,
I didn't think the way I do,
I could give my thoughts away,
But I cant...

Sometimes I wish,
Somedays I cry,
Always I learn,
Often I embrace,
Never do I give up.

Jackie 2012



Thursday, 4 October 2012

Original versus Cover Version.



It doesn't matter how you dress it up, how you change the packaging or adapt the harmonies, a copy is never quite the same.
Take for example the simple but delicious 'Jaffa Cake.' There are many alternative versions or carbon copies of this tea time treat, granted cheaper but often thinner and less tangy that leave you with a feeling of dissatisfaction and urge to raid the biscuit barrel.
What about music?  The question was given to me about  cover versions versus original pieces and which are better.
From a listeners point of view, I would generally go with what I already know. Very similar to buying an album. I may listen to the few that I am familiar with and skip the rest. Music is an interactive experience, its pretty difficult to sing a long with a piece you don't know especially if you are seeing a band.  I'm talking local bands here, not massive stadium fillers that have plenty of air play! 
With established popular artists I maintain,'If its not broke don't try to fix it!' but how flattering to have someone like your style so much that they want to emulate it.
From a musicians point of view, especially small scale bands/artistes, it must be difficult if not scary to move away from covers and find their own genre. A local band, Vermin have been established in my Town for many years now.  They have a punk background and perform mostly original songs with a humorous but real edge to them, my particular favourite being 'emo jeans.'   Their originality draws on experience, emotion and passion and this shows in their performance. The only downside is their playlist doesn't change often, drawback of having a day job I presume.
So what about  ourselves and our individuality? We are constantly bombarded with messages from the media and our peers about how we should look, what we should wear, what we should be listening to.
What is stopping us from being who we are? Growing up and particularly our teenage years can be hard and painful to deal with, the slightest deviation from what society calls the 'norm' just plunges us into yet another stereotypical 'group.'
The ability to embrace oneself for the individual that you are is empowering. To feel safe and comfortable in your skin without worrying about  negative reactions or attentions from others is not something you learn overnight. Children are not born with good self esteem as if it is part of their genetic make up, they develop it.  Self esteem is influenced from nurturing, experiences, support and has a huge effect on an individuals perception of themselves.
So how do you become yourself as opposed to a 'cover version.?'
Treat yourself with kindness and forgiveness, accept your past mistakes and move on, embrace the way you look, dress, move and speak. Above all, surround yourself with positive people, friends who want to be with 'you,' because you are you.








Wednesday, 3 October 2012

I love Shoes :)



I love Shoes. This is something which my Husband has little understanding of.  His reasoning is you can only wear one pair at a time, so why do I need so many?  I could say the same for his motorbikes!!
The thing with shoes or any footwear, the more you have, the less you wear each pair therefore they last longer. Right?  You also need to consider the weather, the occasion or if you need to be able to run for a bus or run away from a situation.  I was once told by a policeman after being assaulted in the street, I had the best weapon on my feet, and I didn't use them!!!  We therefore need lots and lots.
From an early age shoes were special. You had the sensible T-Bar school shoes which were polished each Sunday evening with a tin of cherry blossom shoe polish, then left on newspaper 'til the morning.  It was always put polish on with a duster and take off with a brush.......or was it the other way round?
P.E we had sandshoes or what are now know as daps.  They were white and came in a little drawstring bag.
Our Sunday best shoes doubled for church, parties and whatever other 'posh' occasions came up.
I was never a fashionable child, we had very  little disposable cash when growing up so fancy clothes and footwear were not a priority.  In hindsight maybe that was a blessing as I did live my teens mid eighties! I heard the story many times that my Dad had to put cardboard in the soles of his shoes to cover the holes so I should think myself lucky! Probably right.

The first pair of shoes I bought for myself were bright pink jelly shoes, I adored them as they were the height of fashion.  Unfortunately Mother didn't agree and I was made to take them back to the shop along with the hair dye and 'baggy' trousers of the time.
The second pair I bought were walking boots from Milletts to complete my expedition for the Duke Of Edinburgh award.  Most people would have the sense to 'walk them in.' No, not me. I bought them the day before and set off on in virginal boots for a 30 mile trek. Actually, that may be a slight exageration, I also remembering getting the bus back as we had torrential storms. Oops!!
When I moved away from home I developed my own style, if you can call it that.  My hair was generally cropped short, bleached within an inch of its life then coloured pillar box red, flamingo pink, purple, violet, peroxide blonde or whatever I fancied that week.  My clothing generally was louder than my hair and I started an impressive collection of Dr Martin boots. I had green camoflauge, brown canvas (which were vomited on at an Irish bar in Butlins,) white with flowers, pink and my favourite purple velvet. They were lush. Teamed with my loud hair, red skinny jeans and love for chumbawambe T-Shirts I was often chatted up in bars by women.  
Just a thought, today I showered in Lynx, on the back of the shower gel bottle it said I would attract lots of attention from women, so maybe it wasn't my image!!!
 My obsession for footwear was transposed on my Son and at the age of about 18 months, he had to endure walking around wearing silver sparkly Doc martins. Well I thought they looked cute.

So how have my taste in shoes changed over the decades, and for what are their uses?
I bought my first pair of expensive shoes about 6 years ago. They were leather high heeled ankle boots by Faith. They have a statement buckle and metal heel grips which click as you walk.  I still have those boots and adore them.
I have numerous, what I would call throwaway pumps from Primark. Several colours to go with anything, and pliable enough to be folded into your bag when you can no longer walk in the previously mentioned Faith boots.
Bedroom shoes ;) You know the sort, the pair that make your legs look 6 foot tall but you actually can't stand up in never mind walk.  I heard that they elongate your back and make you pull your stomach muscles in. If I'm honest all they do for me is give me blisters, make me strut like I have sciatica, and poor Kev, I could take his eye out (or something else) wearing them in bed!!  I quite like slippers actually.
I very nearly bought a pair of Vivienne Westwood Melissa shoes which are rubber and smell of bubblegum.  I didn't want to wear them, I just wanted to sit and sniff them.
Anyway i shall leave my ramblings with photos of my favourite shoes.

Yummy.







Life Is For Embracing so just do it!!



As a good friend of mine says, 'You're here for a good time, not a long time.' Very true she is.
Its hard to give up the past but its so easy to allow it to have a negative effect on how we live our lives. It took a long time for me to realise this, but there came a point where the responsibility for my life was ultimately down to me. 
My past was not stopping me from eating, it was not making me purge or abuse laxatives, it was not isolating me from people I love, I was the only one doing that to myself.  My past would only have this effect on me if I allowed it too.
I recently read a post from an incredible Woman who wrote about her '5am bath'. It was at this point during her illness that she could practically see herself fading away. I too experienced that feeling.
It was an accumulation of incidents that set me on the road to recovery, that made me realise that life is too short, friendships are worth fighting for and people did need me around.
The acceptance of past relationships, guilt over bereavements, childhood trauma took a little while longer.  I wish I could say that it still doesn't effect me but it does occasionally. What has changed is I no longer use my eating disorder to deal with emotions. I listen to myself, allow myself to feel what I am feeling and vent it in a more positive way. So life is for embracing. lap it up, swim in it, fly in it, laugh and cry in it, take new experiences, new challenges....just do it!!!

                                       A beautiful positive way is another embrace, a Hug.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Who am I?


I'm sure we have all asked ourselves the same question. Who am I?  If we answer this ourselves which I have done previously, we end up with a list of life roles and often not so flattering adjectives to describe  ourselves.  The list would be different dependant on where we are in our life but more often than not it is easier to focus on the negative rather than the positive.
If I was to answer this question a few years ago the answers would be oceans apart from how I feel now.
Whilst in a depression and in the grips of an eating disorder good self esteem was way down there along with eating 3 squares meal a day.  I hated myself. Everything about me; what I represented; how I looked just filled me with disgust.  I felt useless, worthless, angry, bad, dirty, guilty......the list is endless. I saw traits in myself during this period that I would never have chosen in a friend so why should they have been accepting of me?  At times I didn't recognise myself.
The process from then until now was slow and  hard. It took strength and courage to revisit and accept things which had happened in the past, a willingness to change my behaviours and a decent support network to help me through the emotional and physical changes as well as any setbacks.   Every traumatic weigh-in, tears over meal plans and the nagging e.d. voice in my head has been worth the journey to recovery.

So who am I now?  I asked 2 close friends to describe me in two words.  I have been given beautiful (twice) funny and effervescent. Interesting Ladies,thank you :)

Beautiful.  What is beauty?  Again this is something I have blogged about before. If were talking aesthetic beauty then first thing in the morning I'm very dodgy' but give me a bit of make-up and I don't scrub up too badly. I see beauty as something deeper than our facial features, the love a person radiates, the selflessness of an action, the emotion between friends.

Funny. Now this could mean funny as amusing, or funny as in strange or weird!!!  I will go with the amusing.
I can get a bit carried away with myself at times and I know I can be loud.  I have tried to curb this unsuccessfully! People constantly ask me I I am OK, am I ill, Is something wrong? Obviously being loud and funny is how I should be......although at times I can be very shy.

Effervescent.  Bubbly and fizzy like a bath bomb or a bottle of bollinger.

I am a person who has hit rock bottom and come out the other side. Despite the traumas this has changed me in a positive way.  I try to see the good in people and to not judge on appearance. Everyone has a past but it does not have to define their future' it certainly shouldnt define how we respond to them.
I am happy with my life, positive about my future and accepting of my body.

What is inner beauty?
‘For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people. For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry. For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day. People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed. Never throw out anybody. The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows, and the beauty of a woman with passing years only grows.’  Audrey Hepburn









Stoptober

Its that time of year where if there's a bug to catch, chances are I will get it!!  Today I feel like poop. Hot and cold, sore throat,headache, chesty cough and a course of antibiotics. What started as a cold last week has developed into a full blown chest infection. Typical!! Just when I had plans for the weekend too.
So what can I do to help myself, a little bit of self care?  Keep warm, drink plenty of fluids, regular paracetamol and STOP smoking.
Yesterday was the start of Stoptober, a new campaign from NHS Smokefree which will encourage smokers from across the UK to stop smoking for 28 days. If smokers can stay smokefree for this time, they are five times more likely to stop for good.  Now I have been a serial stopper for many years, with and without the use of patches/gum etc so what is so different about this time?  Probably nothing, but it certainly wont hurt to try.
I was never one of those children who pinched a crafty fag from their parents. I hated smoking.  Most of my immediate family smoked, and regardless at home or at Grandparents houses there was always a fog of cigarette smoke.  In the North East it went hand in hand with  chips cooked in beef dripping and Sunday afternoons in the local pub. Mum smoked superkings and I can remember her moving onto a rather posh brand at one point which made it almost acceptable.  Dad was very much a roll your own man, we were often sent to the local newsagents for his half an ounce of baccy and rolling papers. That was of course back in the day when you could buy cigarettes as a child.  Thank goodness some things have changed for the better!!
I started smoking around the age of 19.  I can remember my first cigarette vividly.  It was a Marlboro red, one of the strongest you could get and I nearly choked as I inhaled the potent smoke.  They were left at work by a colleague and I thought they were the answer to my stress, anxieties and depression at that time.  This would be one of many 'short term fixes' I would choose in my life.
Its very surprising how little time it takes for the nicotine addiction to kick in. Before long I was like every other 'addict,' looking under sofa cushions for change for a pack of 10 before payday, having that first fix not long after getting out of bed, pretending to pack in and lying to yourself as well as others....until I became pregnant.
This was the time when I stopped completely and remained smoke free for many years after.  I cannot remember how many times I started and stopped after that. Too many to mention I should think.
When my Father became seriously ill this was when I decided my life needed to change.  Dad had suffered from cardio vascular problems since the age of 45 (my age now) Had heart attacks, angina and had numerous strokes before his death at the age of 66. I have no doubt that his illnesses were smoking related, they certainly could not have helped.  I had seen a  family lose their Father and a Wife almost start the grieving process before he died.  I was not going to go the same way.
I gave up the Cigarettes for 6 years and stupidly started again thinking I could just have one, then another, then another.
Before my operation in March this year I again gave up.  This again was triggered by my ill health and chest infections/Pleurisy.
So 7 months on here we are again. I managed fag free for 5 months, this time it needs to be forever.

Reasons For Stopping.
To be healthier.
Reduce my risk of stroke/heart disease.
To enjoy life with my family.
Increase my lung capacity and sing better :)
Not to be a slave to the fags.
No more standing in the rain smoking.

I was thinking around distraction techniques, changes of routine and identifying triggers.  It is similar to how I coped with stages of ed recovery.  If I can achieve that then I should be able to achieve this.
Keep you posted.

http://smokefree.nhs.uk/stoptober/?&gclid=CNj5ztup4rICFVMbtAodYk8ABw