Category Archives: mental health

Ah poor , neglected blog…..

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I have been a bad blogger of late !!

My posts have been sporadic and I feel like I’ve kind of lost my voice somewhere along the way. This isn’t the first time that the dreaded bloggers block has hit so I know it’ll pass but sitting and just writing seems to have become tricky for me .

I do have a lot going on at the minute. Moving house , trying to keep my mental health in a reasonable condition whilst in a stressful situations , continuing to Grab that wheel and get stuff done! Writing just seems to have taken a back seat. Which is a shame really as blogging and those amazing folk who read and comment on my blog do wonders for the old mental health so it really shouldn’t be the first thing to drop.

I’ve mentioned before how I had some blogging unpleasantness after my blog was found by someone who didn’t like me telling my story and though that hasn’t silenced me , I am a bit more cautious . I censor myself more than usual. I read too much into my own waffle and cut and edit way more aggressively than I ever had.

That has to stop.

The reason my blog is therapeutic to write is because I never have censored myself. I tell my stories , I talk about my experiences . I sit with a notebook or a keyboard , open my mind and let the words fall out. it’s the only way I can , or know how to write. So this sanitized , over thought version of my writing is never going to work for me , or you guys either really I don’t think. When I get comments it’s usually from women telling me they feel less alone for me discussing my experiences , or that they know what I’m talking about …they’ve been there too. Whether I’m discussing mental health or parenting or domestic abuse I like that my words connect with people. They’re the kind of blogs I love reading you see. One’s that touch me , make me feel , that i can identify with.

So how do I pull myself back to the girl who writes from the heart , overshares a lot and gets way more out of writing my blog when it feels free??

I’ve some ideas…

Firstly I need to actively make time for the blog. Set aside a block of time each week to look at my blog , reply to comments , join my beloved linkys , actually write . I need to then stick to that plan. I’ve always been a bit haphazard with writing and focus generally does me the world of the good.

I’m going to worry less about negative voices and focus on the positives. You want to hush me then chances are you were never someone reading my blog just because you like reading my stuff. Some of you DO like reading my stuff though , you’ve told me and everything so I’m going to focus on that.

I’m going to write about things I feel so passionate about that getting the words from brain to screen is no real hardship. They usually do , the posts that people seem to like. They’re the ones I’ve just brain dumped in 30 mins. Those posts that feel like hard work ?That feel like wading through treacle to get down? Well maybe those stories don’t need to be told after all.

So there we have it . The plan to get my blog back to how i like it . What makes it feel like mine.

A little bit waffly ,  scattered with rogue punctuation , chatty , raw , passionate , emotive.

Wish me luck!! xxx

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“Reflections

Grabbing the wheel…with both hands

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Last week I wrote here about how I was increasing feeling like a passive person in my own life. Always reacting to events happening to me or to those around me rather than actually making things happen!

After writing it then reading it through and chatting it through with you guys who had read it I realised actually it wasn’t so much about not being in control , more to do with being unmotivated and absolutely lacking in get up and go!! Those of you who suffer with poor mental health will realise that this can be a red flag that all isn’t well in the old head! Losing interest in everything , to me certainly is a flashing red light with a siren accompanying it! Only on this occasion , thankfully, it wasn’t a signal of a mental health wobble. It was as simple as feeling uninspired and unmotivated.

So what was I doing to seek inspiration , how was I looking at getting some of that Kelly motivation going?? Well nothing actually . I was sitting around waiting for motivation to find me , for inspiration to ‘hit’ . We’re back to being a passenger in my own life again. Waiting for life to seek me out and kick me up the bum…..hmmmmm think I’ve tried that one many times and strangely enough there’s never a knock on the door to answer with motivation stood there hand outstretched hand to shake

” Hey , I’m motivation -I have been looking for you EVERYWHERE!!!”

Nope on this one Kelly , you’ve got to get off your bum and do this yourself.

The most amazing thing about this story is that I did!!

One of my worst character traits , that winds me up let alone anyone around me is that I’m very much of the mindset of why do today what you can put off until tomorrow! Therefore nothing gets done until it becomes of critical importance and that’s just a very stressful way to live. Someone once observed that I spend an awful lot of time crisis managing when it’d be completely unnecessary if I just stopped bloody procrastinating!

Definitely something in that.

Last week i began to pull it back.

I made arrangements to do things I know make me happy , make me relaxed , keep me mentally healthy. Things that have slipped by the wayside one way or another. I didn’t make excuses to myself about being restricted by time , by money, by my mental health. I just did it . I ran ,I wrote , I went back to a yoga class for the first time in years, I went to my very first art therapy sesson ( blog post on THAT revelation to come) , I’m sat here writing this post rather than draft a title and add it to the hundreds of potential outpourings currently languishing in my drafts folder.

I’m not going to say doing all these things have me on fire , super motivated and out there rocking life. In fact I don’t feel so much different to this time last week. What is different though is that I’m so looking forward to the week ahead. I’m excited to get back to yoga again , to revisit art therapy , to writing some more.

I’ve always been someone who needs to fill her time. The less i do , the less I’m motivated to do!

So here’s to a good week …and as for the world changing super motivated and inspired stuff. Well I’m sure it’s coming .

Watch this space…

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All those things you said I was – that I am not

A hard thing to get over after domestic abuse or emotional abuse or being bullied in any manner is the damage that’s left behind. Those words and names that were used to keep you in your place for me were a huge stumbling block. As always I can only speak of my experience of emotional abuse but long after the bully or the abuser has gone those words are still etched into your vulnerable brain.

The old sticks and stones rhyme has things all wrong . Words do hurt. They’re harmful and painful and last long after scratches or bruises heal.

When you’ve been called things regularly , incessantly , relentlessly they start to stick. Over time they become not just something someone spits at you but words you’ve taken on . That’s how you view yourself. Your thoughts and brain manipulated to the point that even after the bully or abuser is long gone you find yourself doing their work for them. You call yourself these names , you take them on as things that are true and part of who you are.

Over the years though I’ve kind of chosen and learnt to own and remove these words of their power. The ones that bother or get to me . I can honestly say none of these do anymore but let me tell you about them in case anyone else has struggled.

FAT

Firstly I wasn’t fat . I had 3 babies in 3 years and that will take it’s toll on a body. The way I look from 0-3 babies changed dramatically (let’s not even go with baby no 4 who left her mark majorly too ) Your body is meant to change dramatically though . It has grown and given birth to actual human beings . It has to change to accommodate this.

I used the word against myself many many times . I did the headwork myself for anyone that had ever called me that .Not anymore. How much I weigh is between me and the bathroom scales (if I had any , which I no longer do because they’re toxic in themselves in my opinion) Unless I’m asking for a piggy back my weight is not your concern.

Ugly

Another physical one. Isn’t it odd how these hurt the most. There is a rant about patriarchal society raring to go here but I’ll park that for another post.

Ugly ,to me now , makes no sense . You can be not attracted to someone that doesn’t make them ugly. This one stuck in my brain too though , compliments were tricky. If someone called me beautiful I would bat that right away with “ah I’m just plain but I’m alright with that”

You don’t find me aesthetically pleasing ? Ok let’s both get on with our days !! Really there is no brain space left for that stuff anymore.

Stupid

Ok THIS bothered me more than any other. Even when said over and over I doubted this one . My brain resisted . I’m not stupid. At all. I’m a reasonably intelligent person. Reasonably intelligent people are quite intimidating to the bully types though ,they’ve the potential to make your average bully look ridiculous using words alone. A massive threat. So stupid is thrown around in the hope that it sticks. I do have to pull myself up on this one sometimes because I will STILL use this about myself. Only I don’t mean stupid as in not clever but as in “I put my dress on inside out again ” I need to find a kinder word.

Unloveable

I’m cold , I’m emotionless , I’m averse to affection and love. This made me unloveable. If someone is abusing or bullying you it’s quite a powerful tool for them to project their views onto other people. Maybe you’ve heard “It’s not just me , everyone think ‘that’ about you ” It’s high level manipulation this because while you’re mentally fighting one person you can grasp onto the thought other people see positives in you. Ugly is most certainly objective. Unloveable feels like fact. The real masters of manipulation here will then throw your deepest insecurities at you ,that at one time you have confided in them. Maybe it’s parent issues , something you went through with your ex, an old friend but throw in well *insert name here * thought you were unloveable too didn’t they , that’s why…..

This one stuck with me the absolute longest . Do I believe myself to be unloveable now though? Absolutely not.

Rubbish in bed

*eye roll emoji*

Along with fat and ugly – well you’re not going to dare go sleep with anyone else now are you?

We do.

It’s brilliant.

I’m sure everyone can personalise this post with their own words that have lingered in their minds way too long. Whether put there by bullies , abusers , toxic family members . It can be so difficult to stop internalising these words and using them on yourself. With a bit of work and a lot of patience and surrounding yourself with positive, loving people you really can get there .

There’s nothing more empowering than when those words bounce right off your suit of armour of self belief .

That’s freedom.

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“Reflections

 

 

3 Little Buttons

A little win is a win nonetheless…

I love that word – nonetheless . It just feels quite wrong and doesn’t fit to either the pen nor the tongue does it? Arrggh already waffling on and haven’t even begun yet!

When you suffer from social anxiety it’s really tricky to explain to people how difficult it can be to do usual day to day things. How tasks and interactions that other people wouldn’t give a second thought to can be and feel impossible.

I wish this wasn’t the case. I wish I could click my fingers and make my social anxiety disappear . That I would find myself sauntering down the street with confidence , head up, shoulders back .Striding along looking people dead in the eye .

NOT attempting to take up as little space in the world as possible.

NOT choosing self service tills to avoid human interaction.

NOT struggling to express myself on subjects I know I am knowledgeable about for fear of other people thinking I’m wrong and stupid.

These are big things though , big deals . I don’t expect to wake up tomorrow and be able to suddenly be a changed woman with a changed brain that doesn’t tell her lies about what other people think of her.

I’m left then charting progress by celebrating little victories . Chalking up the small wins. The times I don’t let the voice of social anxiety that lives in my brain whispering ” everyone thinks you’re pathetic” win whenever I have to engage with fellow humans.

I thought maybe if I tell you some of my recent little wins , and some of them are really tiny , maybe some of you could relate and give yourselves a pat on the back for your recent little victories.

I ANSWERED THE PHONE (MORE THAN ONCE)

I wrote here about my phone anxiety . I bloody can’t stand phonecalls . Often because of my accent I think (that’s what i blame anyway) people don’t always understand what I’m saying and all it takes is a “pardon?” or “can you repeat that?” and that’s me done .

Anxiety voice telling me the person on the other end of the phone thinks I’m an idiot who can’t even talk properly.

NOT this week. Now this is not a courage mind over matter thing. It was a backed into a corner type thing. They were important phonecalls , I had no choice. Were they as awful as I’d feared ? Course not ! It was fine .

That’s anxiety though isn’t it , it’s power is having you worried and catastrophising (my therapist’s fave word!)

I TOOK A JUMPER BACK TO A SHOP

Again pretty easy stuff here , surely ?

Errr well no not for me !

I bought a jumper , the sleeves were so long they could have made a straitjacket (not lost on me !)

Now it wasn’t very expensive so ordinarily faced with the choice of taking it back and dealing with someone who might ask me all kind of questions or just putting on the charity shop pile – then congrats charity shop you bagged yourself a nice new jumper.

Anxiety voice would be telling me the shop assistant would be thinking I was so stupid and how could she not even be able to buy the right size jumper.

This week I did it , shop person was lovely – win for me!

I ASKED FOR SUGAR

Now this is what I meant when I said some of these wins are tiny. However as it was big enough for me to point out to the friend I was with at the time then it deserves a mention here.

We were in a cafe . I was slurping away at my tea as per. However when i went to pour my second cup – shock horror , there was only brown sugar cubes left in the bowl. Ordinarily I’d have just used them so as not to make a fuss and silently berated myself for ruining perfectly good tea because I was too lame to ask for some more white sugar (yes it DOES make a difference , I’m from Yorkshire I am picky about my tea!)

On this occasion I asked the perfectly friendly and helpful gentleman for some white sugar and guess what? He brought it . It was that simple , the earth didn’t crumble beneath my feet or anything!

Social anxiety sucks !!

Little wins though , they’ve got to be little carefully trodden stepping stones to a big one . I have faith in that!

Musings Of A Tired Mummy
Mission Mindfulness

A 35 year love affair with the library …

It’s National Library week.

I’m a library fan , but this past fortnight I realised that it’s way more than that.

I remember getting my first library card. My cousins took me to the library with them and there it was , my key to books. Loads of books . Any book I wanted I could pick up and take home for a while . I must have only been 3 or 4 but I remember getting that card , the stamp in the book.

As my sister and I got older family trips to the library were a Saturday morning staple. My parents ,my sister and I would head off to the library . We’d be in there ages. There was never any rush and pushing to pick quickly (like my kids have had from me plenty enough times) We’d all be in our separate sections of this quiet ,calm building filled with books. My dad looking for a clever spy novel , mum finding a gruesome horror , little sister finding something ghoulishly funny and me looking for the next author I could discover and binge ! Like a Netflix box set marathon , only with books !!

We’d go do a bit of family visiting then home and we’d all disperse and read . The concept seems quite funny to me now a household of 4 – no TV on , no games consoles just sat with our books and probably a cup of tea.

As years passed and that tradition of a Saturday of ours faded for one reason or another and I became a teenager the library was still a big part of my life (I wasn’t a cool teenager !!). My summer holidays were spent biking to library and back then just sitting on my bed and gorging on Paula Danziger and Judy Blume books . My mum would implore me to get outside for some ‘fresh air’ but I had all I needed. A pile of books ,my brain and my cosy bedroom.

When I had kids of my own the library becomes an exciting trip out – a free exciting trip out ! You can’t argue with that. Before small girl started school we used to go to the library so often we virtually had our own beanbag spot!!

So I’ve always loved the library ,it’s always been a staple in my life. I can almost document my life in books . I remember the books I would get out on a fortnightly basis because I loved them so much I had to read them over and over .

Then the recent dark days in my life happened . Not just a murky grey kind of time but as black as it can get. My mental health took such a crash for a couple of days I could barely speak , I couldn’t think straight certainly. I needed comfort but I didn’t want people. I definitely didn’t want people .

I walked to the library. I don’t really remember the walk for the swirling, crashing ,jumbling of thoughts going on in my head . I just felt drawn to it .

I walked in , collapsed at one of the desks and just felt calmer . I don’t know if it’s the still quiet of the library (I know you are allowed to talk now but people dont really) or if it was being surrounded by books the one thing I’ve been able to turn to given any mood . Something about sitting there though , in that building , with the smell of books and the quiet whirr of a computer printer and the chairs that have seen better days . Something grounded me a bit , calmed me a little . The whirling in my head slowed to a gentle cycle .

The library is my calm place. Any library , any building filled like that with books and people wanting to read them is good for my soul.

I’m aware that libraries are being shut , and downsized and having their opening hours cut and this angers me and upsets me but that’s a rant for another day.

I’ll just leave you with a quote I read on Twitter by the author Matt Haig

Libraries are and always have been magical to me. A gateway to creativity that doesn’t care how old you are , what race you are ,how rich you are .They just sit there full of all those glorious words , waiting for us to go and discover them.

As the young ‘uns may say . Cool af !!

DIY Daddy

Blogtober day 12 -What NOT to say to someone fresh out of an abusive relationship

I am taking part in blogtober and attempting to blog every day this month. Today’s Blogtober post is an old post I’m resharing .

I have had a little bit of help for this post by some incredibly brave and strong women so thank you to them firstly , you were a huge help.

Domestic abuse’s power lies in the secret nature of its being. This is why I harp on about it. Everytime I tell of my experiences the secret is broken. It’s not secret , my freedom brings with it my voice .

If you’ve never experienced it though , or if you don’t know anything about the subject and how subtle and insidious it is then how on earth should you know how to react if you learn someone close to you has been abused. How can you be a supporter without saying the wrong thing and freaking them out .

Well I’m not sure I have all the answers there. There are though some words and phrases after I had left that did me so much mental damage I almost felt I was back there , that set back my recovery and that made me question myself.

None of these would affect me anymore . I’d be able to explain. Back then though I was still ever so fragile .

As I always say I can only tell my story and it obviously doesn’t affect everyone the same way. Here’s the phrases that hurt me and caused me distress when I was newly out of the abusive relationship.

Why did you stay so long?

The people who asked this were well meaning. I know the question came from a good place . A worry that I’d gone through what I had so long .

To me , newly away from that though , it just showed me what I was up against . How people just wouldn’t understand. That unless you were tied up in the cellar you had the free will to leave . Your free will is often taken before any violence occurs , if it does at all. So much work goes into the perpetrator re programming your brain and convincing you that you can’t live without them. Some women suffering financial abuse cannot leave as they have no access to money . Some perpetrators physically take away shoes and keys and outdoor clothes to make leaving the house physically impossible to leave . Domestic abuse covers a huge spectrum of behaviour. Rarely is standing up and walking out a possibility.

If a guy ever hit me I’d…

Kick the shit out of him

Leave immediately

Chuck him out.

As I mentioned above , domestic rarely begins with a punch. Many of us I’m sure if we had a perfectly great partner would react differently if he just punched us in the face out of nowhere. However the headwork that is usually done previously to violence means you are filled with self doubt , you believe that you’ve done something to make him angry by the time blows are struck , again if ever .

This kind of comment to a woman who has done the most brave thing is judgy and it’s unhelpful. It insinuates that only weak women are victims of abuse , stupid women , lame women
.This could not be further from the truth domestic abuse affects every sector of society from the High Court Judge to the lollypop lady , the stay at home mum , the doctor , the checkout lady , the nursery nurse , the film star ,the teacher . It is everywhere.

You seemed such a good couple

Aaarrgghh ,do you know how much hard work is put in to ‘keeping up appearances’ to ensure no one ever knows what is going on. The shame is huge , you can’t yet acknowledge it to yourself , the rest of the world sees The Nice Guy . It’s exhausting and stressful and you are filled with fear of anyone finding out. Of course you are going to put on the show of your life !!

Well there are two sides to every story…

Ugh this one is a real gut wrencher. Yes there are 2 sides . His probably sounds way more convincing than mine too , he’s had time to perfect it and add little believable details. He’s told his so often . To his family , friends , everyone he knows . He’s told it so often he probably partially believes it himself .

Her story though . It’s fractured and it’s panicked . It doesn’t make much sense . It contradicts itself and is still vague as she can’t stand to go into detail yet. Doesn’t want to relive it and doesn’t want to upset those that love her but detailing the worst.

These were my biggest triggers to shame and trauma .

There are more though

“other people have it way worse”

“It can’t have been that bad or you’d not have stayed”

” You’re such an attention seeker /drama queen ”

“You just love playing the victim”

“Well I did warn you ,I have no sympathy”

All so many things that I’m sure mostly aren’t said with any kind of malice. Just thoughtless and said with a lack of understanding , which is easy because abuse is so complex and hard to understand!

Survivors don’t expect the rest of the world to ‘get it ‘ but just maybe to do a little reading or research if you are helping someone through it . We need our supporters , our cheerleaders . We need a hand to hold and to be allowed to tell our story. Just be patient if we are rattled or affected by something that seems silly to you.

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My Random Musings
Mission Mindfulness

A trio of tummy flutters …

It’s almost upon me !

That child free holiday with the current crush….

A few days of theatre and culture and GnTs and no one needing me for anything. A time to just be me . Kelly. The woman who adores the theatre, who loves chattering and visiting new places . I don’t get to be her very often.

Mostly I am mum. The one who nags about pots being brought out of teens rooms and spends way too long of each day deciding what we are going to eat . I love being mum I do. I haven’t always but these days I do. It’s nice to have that little break though isn’t it . *Wankery term coming up klaxon* It’s nice to have sometime to reconnect (told you) with yourself and remember who you are aside from mum .

So here I am , case almost packed . Spending way too long choosing what outfits to take and here they come . The trio of tummy flutters . All with their own individual twist.

Tummy Flutter number 1 – mum guilt

The big bad mum guilt. How bloody annoying is it ?? There’s just that unease in the pit of my stomach , telling me what kind of mum ditches her kids to go away with her fancy piece ?? That I’m not going to see the kids at all for ten whole days because of plans I’ve made.

Logical brain kind of covers for me here because small girl is away with daddy for a fortnight anyway. Whether I was here or not I’d not have seen her . As for the elder 3 well I’ve barely seen them these hols anyway as they’re all busy with friends and social lives and work.

There’s no need at all for me to feel bad but yet there it lingers … I’m not going to pay it the attention it wants though , not this time.

Tummy Flutter number 2 – anxiety

That feeling when your tummy drops because you’ve forgotten to do something really important.

My mental health these days is a pretty stable , predictable thing. Anxiety is always hovering around on the outskirts of my consciousness. Doesn’t impose too often but occasionally just knocks on the door of my brain to remind me it’s still there . Anything that needs planning and organisation is always going to roll out the red carpet for my anxiety. It’ll be stood there saying “go on then , balls this up? I’m waiting!! You know you are rubbish at plans ”

I’ve got to be on a super early train for my trip . I’m worried I’ll sleep in. I’m worried I’ll miss the bus to the train station. I’m worried I’ll forget my tickets , get the wrong train .

That I’ve messed up the dates , that anxiety will decide to show up in its strongest form whilst I’m hanging out with someone I really like.

Thing is , these are all legitimate concerns and ones I can do something about. I can cope with this kind of anxiety. The kind when all of a sudden I convince myself I’m going to faint in Sainsbury’s , triggered by nothing that’s an absolute pain. This kind though with at least a couple of toes dipped in reality I can cope with. I can set 3 alarms , double check bus times and dates and pack tickets.

I can beat this kind of anxiety.

Tummy Flutter number 3- crushing

Though the nicest of all the tummy flutters by far the most excruciatingly embarrassing and kinda pathetic.

Oh I am crushing like a teen with the anticipation of our hols. I am grinning like a loon at each message , tummy flipping reading how exciting he is too , daydreaming of all the great things we can do.

This is so unlike me. I am Kelly , Ice Queen , the girl who simply does not get giddy over boys. Never have …thank you universe for hitting me with a teenage crush at almost 40 most decent of you!!

Ah….hurry up hols , I am ready !!

Musings Of A Tired Mummy

Then I became me…

Emotional abuse is such a complex thing.

Life after emotional abuse , even more complex.

Many of us aren’t even aware we’ve been emotionally abused.

So how do you rebuild? The physical abuse , the sexual abuse well you just have to let literal wounds heal. You have to come to terms with the fact you’re a little changed. You’ll forever be a little more cautious. You know for sure it happened though. You felt physical pain.

Emotional abuse though? Well how can you recover from something you don’t even know you’ve been a victim of? Well if you’re even questioning it I would thoroughly recommend doing the Freedom Programme. I know I talk about it a lot but doing it saved me from total self destruction. I dealt with the impact of the abusive relationship , but more than that I have been able to identify emotional abuse in subsequent relationships . I don’t even mean romantic involvements but just even friendships or any situations where I have to deal with other people. I am confident that now I can pick out a twat in a crowd. They think they’re ridiculously clever but they are so similar they give themselves away very easily.

So rebuilding after abuse I found incredibly difficult. I expected once I left I could snap back into being the girl I was before him. It was naïve, but I believed I’d only be truly recovered when I was back to pre -him me. In hindsight pre-him me I was a teenager, I still had a mum, I wasn’t a mum myself. You can’t just flip back into that . So I learnt that I had to rebuild but as a new version of me. A better version of me. Ultimate Kelly if you will.

Emotional abuse is like a giant game of jenga (I’m so sorry you know me and my analogies)

The jenga tower is set up. On each brick is a character trait that makes you you. Some are little things. Maybe that you love lipstick or that you have a favourite movie. Some are huge : That you are opinionated , independent , intelligent .

At the start of the game he takes the little bricks . Tells you you don’t need to wear lipstick you’re already pretty or that that favourite movie of yours is a bit silly . Aren’t you better than that? He thought you were cleverer than that? He takes them gently and the tower doesn’t topple because these are easy bricks .

Once the easy bricks are gone things get a little more complicated . he has to go for trickier ones . He doesn’t want the tower toppling just yet , not too early he’ll give himself away. You see that brick with your best friend’s name on though? Yeah he needs rid of that and its going to be tricky because it’s one that’s helping hold the tower in place. You’ve played jenga though haven’t you? You know the key to removing the tricky bricks is confidence. Just in and taking it , you falter you’ll lose. He mentions he overheard your best friend talking about you , laughing at you , she’s only friends with you because she feels sorry for you . Just like that the brick is taken . The tower looks more vulnerable now . It could fall at any minute.

He’s not going to lose the game though , no way . Not after he’s put so much effort and time into it.

There’s one block holding things together. Keeping the tower upright that everything is resting on. It has self -belief written on. It’s the belief that you know you are strong and that you are loved and that you are worth so much more than him. He can’t let that stay. He can’t take it though either , people will realise what he is doing. So he talks you into taking that block yourself. Tells you you’re ill , you need help. You are paranoid and delusional and you need him to take care of you. With shaking hand you pull that block yourself and hand it to him.

The tower topples.

What was once a combination of all the things that make you you is now just a heap of bricks on the floor .

The bricks stay like this for a while . You accept your lot. You’re broken , defeated and there’s nothing you can do.

Then. One day. Maybe the day after you throw him out of the game for good , maybe it takes weeks or months or even years you begin to rebuild. All on your own. All the original bricks are back , stacked and stable . The tower looks strong , but you’re aware that it would only take a few lost bricks to make you vulnerable again. So you add more bricks to strengthen the structure , to make it so strong and stable it’s almost indestructible. Bricks you didn’t even have access to originally.

You add a strong support network , you add therapy and counselling and knowledge. That Freedom Programme brick makes your tower a super structure. The self worth brick , the confidence brick , the trusting yourself brick they are all pretty hefty ones too.

You see I’ll never be the pre-him me ever again.

To become the post-me him I had to take on board more character traits that I’d never needed before . I had to become brave and self secure and independent. I had to become resilient and tough and focussed.

All the bits that had previously made me me had been demolished . I had to round them all back up again , then I had to find a few more for back up.

Then I became me .

My Facebook page is here

Cup of Toast
Mission Mindfulness

Blogtober day 12 – 5 tips for dating someone with anxiety

When I’m anxious , it’s horrible for me . Noone wants to feel like their breathing is so uncontrollable they might just pass out . Noone enjoys that horrible feeling of a thousand thoughts , most of them negative whizzing around their brain at a dizzying pace. It’s a horrible debilitating condition .

Not just for me going through it either . When anxious the kids get irritable mum , the one who is so sensitive to noise sssshhh is out of her mouth way more often that it should be. Friends and people around me get distracted me , the one who is going to need telling again when she is feeling better exactly what you told me just now because I’m nodding and trying so hard to listen but I just can’t take it on board.

So then imagine dating me ?

Obviously when anxiety is nowhere to be found I am a delight!!All sparkling conversation and wit and charm……or something….

During an anxious period , not so much! I can’t be the only one , so if you’re dating someone who suffers with anxiety there might be some tips here for you. Obviously everyone is different and I can only speak for myself but here goes .

I will cancel on you

This is likely nothing to do with you.

When anxiety strikes people are tricky. Even people I really,really like are a struggle. Now if I’m dating you I really really really like you as not many get that far. So I’ll try really hard to just push through. Only added to the people phobia is that voice. The anxiety voice telling me he doesn’t want to go out with me anyway , why would he ? I’m dull I’m boring I’m just an anxious drain , in fact he’s probably only involved with me because he feels sorry for me.

Regular me knows all that to be anxiety fuelled nonsense. Anxiety ridden me knows FOR SURE that this is the truth.

So I’ll probably cancel. Get under my duvet and spend a few hours worrying about if you’ll ever want to see me again with me being such a pathetic flake.

Anxiety is exhausting.

Prepare yourself for contradiction

Again can only tell my story , but during an anxious bout I want to be left alone . I don’t want chat or touching or made to talk about how I feel. Except….ALL I want is company of someone I trust and touching and holding and reassuring words.

Goodness knows what chances another person has of getting it right when I have no clue myself.

Sometimes silence is key

When anxious I become so oversensitive to noise . People talking normally will really get to me as it feels too overwhelming. I’m already exhausted because as detailed above having 3 million thoughts a minute wears you out . So sometimes I’m going to just need to lay under a blanket with you , no words, no small talk just silence and knowing you’re there will calm me.

You may get dumped

In my case you’ll certainly get dumped. I’ll decide that there’s no point continuing with this . Tell you to go find someone ‘normal’. Even if I really like you , especially if I really like you . How on earth could I expect anyone to put up with this anxious mess on a regular basis?

Truth is , I’m just giving you an out . I know I can be hard work when anxiety strikes . Especially if I’ve not mentioned I’m feeling anxious and you just think I’m going off on one because I’ve gone off you. So I’d understand if you can’t deal. I’m really hoping you won’t take that out though , I’m hoping you’re going to ride this out with me . It takes a special kind of a person to do that though so if that’s not you best you do run for the hills.

Once you learn the cheat codes it’s so much easier

You know the old fashioned games consoles where if you knew the cheat codes you could get never ending lives or some bonus. Well it’s kind of the same with people.

My anxiety is pretty predictable , it creeps up gently , gives me a rough couple of days then fades again. My reaction to it is equally predictable. I get a bit needy , I look for constant reassurance . If you can recognise the signs that I’m having an anxious day and even better then know how to comfort me then we’ll be just fine. I was once having a particularly bad anxious day ,all self loathing and horrid so employing the ‘lets just finish this’ technique detailed above. The (correct) response from the (lucky?!) guy in question was to suggest a duvet and a nap , and if I still wanted to dump him later that’d be fine!! Mr Smarty Pants was obviously right to my surprise and when questioned how he knew I was just anxious answered “I just know your anxiety cheat codes by now”

Caring about someone with anxiety can be tough , as I for one struggle to verbalise my feelings and so therefore my behaviour can seem odd. Anxiety makes me irritable and full of doubt and self loathing . It makes me exhausted and lethargic and drains me of energy. It can make huge changes to my personality ,it makes me needy and I bloody hate feeling like that. I’m a strong independent woman not that one under a duvet asking for her hair played with.That must be a lot to deal with.

It takes someone special to be the reassuring voice without getting frustrated by the need for it .

Someone special to invest in knowing me well enough to know that stroking my hair and shhhhh ing me like a baby can help when an anxiety attack strikes.

To be patient and to care about me when I don’t much care about myself.

Anxiety is not a constant in my life though , I’m lucky these days it’s just a rare visitor. So if you can put up with the occasional rough day it’s so worth it for all the sparkling conversation and wit and charm I told you about at the beginning….and I make an awesome pie !!I’m a catch , honestly!!

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Tammymum
Mission Mindfulness


The Pramshed

Affection withdrawal as an abuse tactic… conquered

I’ve waffled and whinged and whined in this blog a lot about my aversion to hugs and tactility. I’ve bored you all with my 2017 Eureka moment where finally the Ice Queen thawed and being touched no longer makes me wants to recoil in horror and turn into a statue.

What I’ve not really dealt with though is why I’m like I am .

It’s odd; life after abuse. You have so many lingering behaviours once you’ve left , even years on some habits stick (one of these days I’ll take my phone off silent mode) Some ideas still float about your head unquestioned ,until you realise that actually those ideas are not your own ideas ,they were a seed another person planted in your head so gently that you took them and everything that grew from them on as your own but they never ever were yours. Sometimes one day , everything clicks into place and you realise that your behaviour still mirrors that of that abused woman ,and then…well then you have the power to get rid of it .

I had a bit of a Eureka moment like that over this week. I know where my hatred of affection came from , I know why I’m like I am and now I do I can banish it for good.

When I met the man who abused me I was going through a tough time , I was vulnerable . I must have been a gift to him! Now I’ve never really been a hugger ,that I can’t say is down to anything other than I’m not naturally a tactile person. He came along though and showered me with affection. At that low point in my life I soaked it up. Cuddling , touching, all the affection and compliments and kind words and gestures wrapped me up completely. I liked it , I liked being the focus of all this love and I was flattered .

Over time emotional abuse became the norm . I was manipulated and coerced into behaving a certain way. He was charming and I am a people pleaser so it probably wasn’t that much hard work to get me to do as he wished. However on one occasion I resisted . I didn’t play along with his games . I stood my ground and didn’t give in . I can’t even remember what it was that was the issue now but that day he withdrew affection and kindness and compliments and they never returned. Those strokes of the arms as he passed me , the hand squeezes that I’d relied on ,am arm around me or a peck on the cheek all disappeared immediately along with compliments and encouraging words (even only now as I write this do I realise why I hate compliments too)

As I mentioned above I am a people pleaser by nature and I’d grown to like the affection he had lavished me with. He had already done enough ground work on my head to ensure that the affection withdrawal would have the desired affect. It did. Then you see I was always striving to get that back. I was doing anything he wanted to try and pull back the affection , only now I was so very grateful for the tiniest scrap of approval he only need offer the occasional hand on the shoulder or feeble words of praise to make me feel better. I was altering my behaviour and character to get this guy to go back to his love bombing of the beginning . I was absolute putty in his hand , easily moulded to be exactly what he wanted at any given time.

I think we’re joining dots now to find out why I then became the girl that hated hugs and affection and touching. I always knew it had to be a defensive thing and it absolutely was. In my mind I could never again give anyone that kind of power ,that hold over me . I couldn’t settle in to enjoy affection because I knew how horrific it was to have it removed.

Years away from toxic relationships , therapy and this blog though have been my trio of weaponry against the damage done mentally. They’re pretty solid too these days. I talked here last week about my need for patience and yes I do absolutely need that understanding and trust if I’m going to be close to people , physically and emotionally.

You know what though ?Around someone I trust , who has proven themselves to be consistent and worth that trust and whose company I can totally relax in I DO like hugs . I like hand holding and little kisses to the face and my hair stroked. Physical contact is a primal human need and I’d deprived myself of that for way too long .

Kate on thin ice

After The Playground
JakiJellz
Me, Being Mummy
Mission Mindfulness