Friday, 8 April 2011


Yes I'm still here, alive and kicking. What follows is following due to having a break; time to reflect, time to review all that has been happening in my life recently. It follows because I sought support, medication and all the rest. It follows because I have learnt the warning signs; the triggers, the symptoms and have acting on them early.

I've discovered I am a positive person fighting to get out.
I've discovered I've been hampered in that ambition by circumstance, situations and events but also by my own failure to communicate clearly about what it is I need at times.

I've discovered that I've already learnt many things from the counselling I've had thus far and that all those soul-searching sessions over the decades had added up and are making sense. I've learnt that I can be in control of my own illness even though it will probably throw up set backs, slip ups and glitches. But they are just that.

I've discovered that I'm right not to assume anything (one of the very first lessons I took from counselling); that I can gain and maintain control of my moods if I take the right precautions (like getting medication if they drop for more than 3 days at a time for no reason).

I've discovered I really can choose how I react to others and that relationships that seemed to be broken can be mended; those that seemed hard work can be improved upon and those that are damaging can be ditched and moved on from.

I've discovered that people do sometimes take note, notice and care about me more than I realized or have given them credit for. I've learnt those who care will accept when I need to stop, do nothing, hibernate, go soul-searching and that if I explain to them those needs they reach a better level of understanding of me (albeit eventually in some cases). I've learnt that those who are not interested in accepting me as I am should not be afforded the honour of being accepted or time to be understood themselves.

I've learnt that even loss is not the end of things. One of my followers on here is now no longer with us (I'll not say who), but their picture remains for all time unless relatives change it. That picture is, like they are - ever with me at their best for whenever I need them. None of us wish to be remembered, perceived, judge or defined for our worst moments (times of illness, selfishness, inconsideration or bad temper), so it would be unfair to only remember their struggles when they were not at their best. Instead I've stored up and concentrated on their good moments, their strengths, the things that made them happy.

I've learnt that even the threat of death need not be a precursor to the end of hope. A relative of mine remains seriously ill, but they too have done the wise thing and sought help and have set about making the most of what is possible. Initially they avoided seeking medical help because they were frightened of what the diagnosis would be (denial they call it in counselling terms) - that's no way to go when by seeking the right form of help you can turn things around and still have the chance to cram in pleasurable things to do and see before you go. Isn't that what life should always be about? We will all die at some point, so it makes sense to focus and aim for as much enjoyment as possible beforehand doesn't it?

For a long time now, I've known that work has not been the be all and end all of what life's about. Not working though can lead to a miserable existence of anxiety and stress about how to pay bills, keep a roof over your head and eat, let alone spend money on things you enjoy doing. But, I've learnt that the best things in life really are free - a sunny day always lifts my moods, as does a walk or watching and playing with my cat or having a lovely conversation with anyone. Joking with a stranger in a shop is something that doesn't have a price.

And even when things have seemed incredibly bleak, for it seemed that nothing but trouble and misery was heading my way in every form, from every direction I've discovered that just by holding on things can change for the better.

When I started this blog I did it primarily to put down all I'd learnt that has helped me, so that in times of trouble I had something to cling onto that would always to be there by way of support. I did it publicly because I knew there are millions of people who have had similar problems and I thought it might help them too. There have been times when I've felt so defeated I didn't want to write another word; times when I felt that half the world has been abandoned and forgotten just because they happen to get ill in a particular way; times of rage over the unfairness and cruelty that still exist regardless. But folks, it's no good noticing and wallowing. It is a battleground both internally and externally but that doesn't mean we can't or won't win so long as we keep fighting.

I've also felt (as close friends will testify) a hypocrite and a fraud at times. How easy it is to spout fine words but not live by them yourself. Examples include not having eaten or slept regularly aside from many other signs of self-neglect. I'm still not out of the woods yet on many of them, but at least I'm aware of them and trying to do something about them. I am still fighting.

What I need to do now is go back over everything I've written so far on here and use this blog site as the tool I had originally intended it to be... to help me. I hope it helps others too but as I've realized I need to look after me first and not be a hypocrite.

I've discovered I've learned to recognise when and what help I need and in what form I need it. I've grown and am no longer afraid of admitting to my weaknesses, bad habits and illness which actually makes me a stronger person.

Most of all I've discovered that it's ok to need help as all people do at times and rarely does anyone need help at all times or with all things so there's no need to feel ashamed or guilty anymore. I've learned too that sometimes I am lazy and full of self-pity and that I can respond to people challenging and pushing me to do better when it's in the right form. I'm far more receptive to that one than ever before. And finally I've learned I don't and shouldn't feel guilty or as if I am a traitor on those days (like this one) when I am feeling good and enjoying life. I do still care and always will for those who are suffering, but merit a break from it as much as anyone else. I've put in the work to be able to enjoy days like this too.

When and what I will post next I have no idea. I set out at the start to include fun things to do, so maybe I'll go back to that but only after I've re-read all I've written so far. I used to be afraid of the unknown, now I'm like an explorer - curious and fascinated.

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