When the outside world all becomes too much, there is a space inside where I seem to escape to.
Very deep within.
This authentically raw place allows me time to wallow, to reconnect, to embrace myself for a while.
Yes it can be terribly painful and also, strangely enough a resting place for my soul.
Mental health wellness is such a massive subject to talk about. There are many diverse twists and turns still to be discovered about how our mind works and different depths to an individuals own experience.
A subject so close to my heart and with my own personal experience in life, something I was previously afraid to share about me, myself and my own mental health struggles.
And the depth of them.
As a tiny person, I was immersed in the whole depression experience. I literally lived and breathed a depressed existence, daily.
I believe for me, that I learn’t how to do it and it’s not a chemical imbalance-not in the slightest.
My father showed me the way.
He would withdraw from the world and lie in bed for days.
His radio would be playing at his bedside and he didn’t seem to hear the music.
My mother lived her life in denial.
She would eat too much, that was her drug of use.
Stuffing down what needed to come up and out.
I retreat when necessary, mentally going inside to that place.
I wear my large earphones and listen to evocative music, allowing my mind to wander where ever it needs to go to feel deeply connected, just for a while.
Does this mean I feel depressed?
Yes sometimes and there have been noticeably longer periods of time when I have struggled to haul my mind and my body out of that place.
It can feel much safer to withdraw, than to move to a place of purpose.
I use food as my drug of use too.
We learn from our early caregivers how to be in this world and if you look at your own struggles, addictions and emotional traits a little closer, then you may notice the significance.
You will see that their difficulties are your difficulties, quite possibly dressed up differently but there will be obvious similarities.
They didn’t know any better and now that you know, you can always do so much better.
I have never been medically treated for depression.
Many years ago I entered into a counselling relationship where my mentor suggested that I struggled with mental illness. In that very moment, my mind flipped out for a few seconds-shocked and not accepting of her words, (remembering what my job role was) she went on to explain that it’s no different to when our bodies are poorly and may need to be treated with medicine-our mind can become ill too and needs treatment to get back on track.
Simple statement and may seem obvious, but it was the way she said it that made all the difference to how I thought about mental illness.
So today, I am no longer afraid to share that I struggle at times with a poorly mind that chooses to go deep within itself, to touch base, in order to come back out again and hear the music.
It seems to deepen me in to life.
Don’t be afraid to be proud of who you are and to speak your truth because sharing your story, your vulnerability, allows others to feel free to share theirs.
And… it allows your Soul to take a rest for a moment or two.
You and I are on a journey and who knows where we are going!
Your life is always speaking to you. It speaks in whispers, guiding you to your next right step. And in many situations, the whisper is also the first warning. It’s a quiet nudge from deep within saying, Hmm, something feels off. A small voice that tells you, This is no longer your place of belonging. It’s the pit in your stomach, or the pause before you speak, the goose bumps that raise the hairs on the back of your neck. Whatever form the whisper takes, it’s not a coincidence. Your life is trying to tell you something. Heeding these signs can open the doors to your personal evolution, pushing you toward your life’s purpose. Ignoring them-sleepwalking through your life is an invitation to chaos.
What have you settled for in life?
What dreams have you let go of in order to accept mediocre?
What is life trying to tell you?
I’ve spent years living in chaosand now I’m beginning to listen.
Are you ready-ready to hear the whispers?
Bembridge Downs-Isle Of Wight 2020
May the sun rise in your heart each waking morning and you know fully, what it means, to be alive.
I feel a little detached today and I’m gently reminding myself that its okay tonotbe okay.
Another early morning visit to the hospital for more blood tests to see if the doctor can make headway with what my body is struggling with and of course… I have my own answers (remembering the mind/body connection) yet will still go down this route first to keep my husband and doctor happy.
The majority of hospital staff who passed me in the corridors were withoutgloves or masks to protect themselves (and us) so I find myself still questioning, what an earth is going on?
Whilst sat in the waiting room, I scrolled through some of the blogs that I follow and read some interesting comments on many different subjects.
Something I read caught my eye and I followed the comment to a blog that I have’t seen before and found myself feeling very sad, about what I was reading.
I am very aware that reading my writing, must have been difficult at times for some people too.
It saddens me to my absolute core when I read sentences like;
I will always have to live with this, it will always be this way, I will have to get used to living like this for the rest of my life and I can never have the things in life that I can only dream about.
I question why I was lead to this particular blog and how can I help people change their suffocating beliefs to more empowering ones-beliefs that will ignite within them, a passion to want to live free of the chains, that they have bound themselves with.
I question why a doctor will often prescribe drugs to a patient before taking the time to look further into their personal history- yes you are probably all screaming at me that doctors don’t have the time and of course I get that!
Surely the patient could be referred on to someone who is able to take a deeper look into what is happening underneath those symptoms, what’s really going on?
I am not medically trained and don’t ever claim to be either, but people need to know that there is an insurmountable amount of medical practitioners in the world that have worked tirelessly with researching this subject matter. Dr Lissa Rankin is just one of many doctors who are thinking outside of the box, so to speak.
“Spontaneous” Remission 101: 9 Fundamentals of Whole Health That Conventional Medicine Usually Ignores
Radical cures don’t usually just happen. Most patients and providers who tell awe-inspiring stories of seemingly miraculous cures have been very proactive about confronting illness not with a disease-management approach, but with the intention to restore balance, harmony, and wholeness. Let us come together as a village committed to healing ourselves and transforming how we practice medicine so we can ramp up the rates of “spontaneous” remissions from diseases we once believed were “incurable.” – Dr Lissa Rankin
My belief is that there is always another way and if you have experienced some kind of past trauma and your living with dis-ease in your body then please don’t settle for the diagnosis without at least checking out alternative routes to healing your body and your mind.
I am not suggesting in any way that you should not seek medical advice or stop taking medication at all, so let me make myself clear-ALWAYS SEEK MEDICAL ADVICE WHEN YOU NEED IT; just don’t limit yourself to one school of thought.
Research alternative viewpoints from medical doctors whom specialize in the particular illness or diagnosis that you are living with at present-doctors who are open to thinking differently about illness and the possibility that unprocessed emotional trauma may play a heavy part in preventing a body to heal.
It’s a new month and I wonder what May will bring?
Each day seems to roll into the next, not that I am complaining at all.
It’s kind of nice-learning to let go of self imposed restrictions and walk this road in new and different ways. There are still lots of twists and turns to self navigate which I now welcome, rather than attempt to walk around.
The world has changed
and its the difference, that makes the difference.
Part of me, wants this new way of living to carry on because going back to the way it was, for me, is not an option.
There were times when I felt suffocated under the weight of the pain that I was carrying and now feel different-like being very little and beginning to crawl, and taking my first steps.
The steps I quite possibly, missed out on taking a very, very long time ago.
Only, which direction shall I go in?
What if I lose my way again?
What if I get lost?
And then I remember.
So today I will choose the path of least resistance and see where it takes me.
Today I shall remain present and acknowledge my dear old familiar friend called fear, who really, has only ever had my most highest and best interests at heart, which is to keep me safe.
i thought the man was friendly
gentle smile with big bright eyes
he nodded in conversation
simple offerings to keep us keen
we found him very interesting
so many stories he had to tell
he talked for what seemed hours
one by one they said goodbye
and then it came to my turn
friends gone just him and me
don't leave me now i like you
we can always talk some more
i thanked him so politely
with urgency picked up my pace
he was unrelenting
and his tone of voice had changed
the fear took hold with filthy hands
i realized what i had done
he shouted loudly - come back bitch
now his pace changed he began to run
my lungs restricted consumed afraid
i can not stop i must not stop
he was old and i was young
and youth thank God saved my life
i made it home unscathed and safe
they did not believe my truth
the stranger hunted for his prey
and the silly girl got away (she was 12)
“Your real job is to figure out as soon as possible what that is, who you are mean’t to be and begin to honor your calling in the best possible way.” – Oprah Winfrey
Monday’s always signify to me that I can start again.
A new week, a new beginning.
So how do we know and understand what our purpose in this life is and are you really even interested in finding out?
I have asked this question to myself for many, many years and ended up sending myself around on this massive wheel of believing, I didn’t know…
“Why can’t someone just tell me?.”
“Why isn’t is obvious?”
“Why don’t I know what it is?”
Then come the should’s!
“I should know!”
“I should do better at knowing!”
“I should be better!”
I am sure you can all figure out the rest.
Often times, the very thing that you want or need to know most about yourself, is staring you in the face, you just can’t seem to see it!
Or can you?
Does fear stop you from knowing, what you already know?
Maybe, if you just sat back and stopped trying so hard, then the very question that you want to be answered, will be answered-all the wisdom, insights and inspirational message’s will come flooding through and then, you can choose to align with your purpose (or not).
‘Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet‘ – Thich Nhat Hanh
Such a beautiful quote.
I am so grateful to be able to go out and walk, which we did early this morning and at last it seems that the land has become quieter.
People are finally listening and staying at home.
No buses, cars or bicycles passed by-an eerie silence.
During a 45 minute walk around the block, we saw maybe five people and all but one of them, smiled with a simple recognition of our mutually shared and present reality.
Bless them all.
For the past few days, I have coughed on and off and yesterday my throat was sore and I had a mild headache. I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t a little anxious about the obvious and dealing with a husband that worries as a past time, added a little more unnecessary pressure to manage my feelings.
We must remember that we all do the best we can, with the skills that we have.
I retreated, listened to my body, covered up with a blanket and Netflix won the day.
It’s really okay, to not be okay and there are times when you just need to let go.
If you are trying super hard to be emotionally supportive to everyone in your family then maybe its time to STOP, BREATHE and just be…
You can not give to others what you don’t have yourself.
On waking, just for a second or two, I forgot what kind of world I was waking up to…
I live on a tiny Island that sits right at the bottom of the Uk with a last recorded population in 2018 of 141,538.
From an early age I have wanted to leave this place and move as far away as I could and now, being fully aware of my running away strategy, it’s the safest place I could possibly be.
For the first time in my life, I’ve stopped running and it’s quite remarkable. I’ve let go of all expectations and am immersed in trusting this whole magnificent process.
After all… there’s nowhere to run.
The challenge of lock down can offer you so many beautiful things if you just stop pushing yourselves to do more, be more, give more and of course, have more.
I know that I am enough.
I know that you are enough.
Everything that you have experienced within your life up until this very moment, had to happen for you. Yes, even the shittiest, most painful, destructive experiences etc… it was all mean’t to happen in order for you to grow, evolve and learn.
Life has and always will be, happening for you, not to you.
During my early morning walk, I felt such an overwhelming privilege and joy to be alive. My years of using food to numb out the unbearable pain that I was carrying, has taken its toll on my physical body and each step brings a certain amount of discomfort. I am now strong in the knowledge of knowing that I am choosing health over punishment.
I am, my own work in progress and it feels good.
When you name it… you can move through it.
You see, its much easier to stay in pain and discomfort than it is to do the necessary work and change-comfortably uncomfortable.
I’ve been in that place for many years and now I choose to make one small daily change towards healing.
I laid in the bath last night and finished off a book that I started reading about six months ago. I had about twenty pages to read in order to complete it and that which I needed to learn most, was within those last few pages.
The lessons come to you, when you least expect it.
Are you ready to commit to changing something that no longer serves you?
I can’t help but believe that this current world pandemic had to happen in order for the world collectively, to learn so many lessons.
Saying that, does not in any way dismiss the pain that hundreds and thousands offamilies are going through right now. That is never my intention.
My heart goes out to all of the victims of this terrible virus.
If I take my own personal life situation as it was two and a half weeks ago, before we went into lock down, it pretty much was a mess.
From the outside, I may have portrayed that everything was okay, planning my new life in France, seemingly getting excited at the prospect of what was to come, yet on the inside, it was all so very different. The truth of the matter is, I’ve been playing out my age old pattern of running and this time, to my brother in France.
He will always offer me a safe place.
I was completely overwhelmed.
I had pushed myself mentally to the brink of very nearly no return.
Physically, my body was in pain.
Financially, I was being squeezed in every direction.
My poor husband, bless him, was so unhappy having to go away every week to work in a physically demanding construction job, just to make ends meet.
At 54, its a young mans job.
I felt like my world was falling apart around me and I was holding on for dear life.
Today… none of that matters in fact, we are at an incredible turning point in our lives and are so very grateful for our ‘mess’ to be able to wake up to what’s important.
I couldn’t see it clearly before lock down, even though I knew it, on some deep level of my being and now, we both feel incredibly peaceful and it’s quite bizarre.
Both of us have spent years punishing ourselves for the financial situation we created and dragging our kids through it too. We bought and sold a few houses when our children were young, trying to climb the ladder of ‘you always want more’ until one day it all went bang-the recession hit and we were offered a financial way out-we took it.
It was the wrong way (or was it?). If only we’d gone in another direction, life could have been so very different!
Hindsight is a beautiful thing.
There is always choice.
There will always been lessons.
We have spent years trudging through our own self developed shit storm and lived and breathed failure.
And… I had the skills to change our situation right?
We all have the resources inside of ourselves to make the necessary changes that we desire. We really do and yet somehow we chose a difficult path for lessons that still needed to be learn’t.
I can remember times when I would empty my purse out on the table and with the meager amount of coins in front of me, I would have to make a decision whether to buy bread or milk because I didn’t have enough for both.
And yet I would see clients and charge them a small fee or nothing at all if they really couldn’t afford to pay me because they needed my help and that was the right thing to do?
I rescue people.
My close friends knew we were struggling and I’m sure became fed up with the same old excuses that I would give;
”Sorry we won’t be able make it tonight, I can’t really justify spending money when we are trying to be careful.”
”I don’t feel too great so I’m going to give it a miss tonight, maybe next time..”
”You won’t even miss me being there, have fun”
”I don’t do going out anymore, its really not my thing!”
”I can’t afford it.”
and eventually, they stopped asking us out!!
I have lived with feeling ashamed for as far back as I can remember in one way or another and I wonder now, whose shame I learn’t to carry from a very early age?
You are all capable of change.
Where ever you are in your life right now this Covid-19 experience has actually opened a space in your time, to take time to re-evaluate;
What’s really important for you?
What does life look like for you right now?
Are you living the kind of life that you want to be living?
Are you happy?
Do you feel fulfilled?
Are you healthy?
What do you desire most?
What changes can you make right now that will change the direction of your life?
I will repeat this statement again;
YOU ARE A GIFT TO THIS WORLD so stop looking on the outside for self validation.
Everything you need is already within you.
I’ve spent years waiting for that Oprah Winfrey ‘aha moment’ which is a moment of sudden inspiration, insight, recognition or comprehension. It’s when things happen to make you look at life in a completely different way.
I think I got my ‘aha‘!
I believe that Covid-19 is a world ‘aha moment’ from which we all need to make significant changes to heal our planet and ourselves.
I am truly grateful for my own life story for it happened for me to allow personal growth.
Right now today, we are worse off financially that we have ever been because we have been madeSTOP and stay home and yet we both feel so very blessed to be alive, feel peaceful and are trusting that some how… its all going to be okay.
So here I am, the other side of that painful story.
It has taken almost a year to write so very little and yet such a massive part of my personal history and now I need a break from the deep and painfully bleak writing.
IT’S NOT WHO I AM.
MY STORY DOES NOT DEFINE ME.
I AM SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT.
And, there is so much more to the story.
So who am I?
I have a name, but that’s not who I am.
I have a beating heart, but that’s not who I am either.
I wear many hats-wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, friend and so on…
I have often questioned myself about why I am here?
What is my purpose?
What is life all about?
I feel so deeply and am forever questioning the world around me. I don’t see life as black and white and I believe that we are all connected on some level.
In 1986 having just turned 18, I qualified as a Nursery Nurse (NNEB) and then travelled to Chicago to become a live in Nanny which only lasted 4 months. That’s a story for another day!
I worked as a Nanny for several different families whilst starting out on my career path and then progressed to supporting young single Mother’s with children and often times, children at risk.
Over the years, I have worked within a specific needs capacity, intensive behaviour support and learning support.
I have also run three small businesses part time whilst being a stay at home mum and not forgetting all the extra jobs to earn money whilst caring for my young family-working in a shop, taking in foreign students, cleaning, care in the community and ‘out work’ which consisted of putting screws in to tiny plastic bags.
I have certainly have had a ‘varied’ working life.
Continuous personal development has always been a fundamental part of my growing and evolving and for many year’s I have continued to attend training courses and study many different schools of thought.
In 1999, I was so blessed to have been given the opportunity to travel to the USA and complete my Practitioner training in Humanistic Neuro-Linguistic Programming (HNLP) and then the following year, my Master Practitioner.
What I learned blew my mind away and challenged my core beliefs and values.
I literally felt like I had woken up and my thinking changed phenomenally. I began to see everyone and everything around me, from a completely different view point and this led to my ability to have a greater understanding of who you are and why you do the things you do.
The difficulty for me was that I had made such a significant change and was ready to take onthe world but the world (the tiny Island I live on) wasn’t ready for me and I was often met with hostility and sometimes humour when in conversation with others about this modern and new way of thinking.
When I look back now, it was never really a modern way at all… I believe that the world just needed to catchup and wake up.
Over the past 20 year’s I have worked independently 1-1 with adults and young people in a therapeutic, support and mentoring role. Awareness about the possibilities for change for each and everyone of us is crucial if we are going to thrive and maintain a happy, healthy life.
My passion for my work is insurmountable.
My commitment to lead my client to a greater resolve has always been and will always be a humbling and profound experience.
I am full of gratitude to be able to serve.
My commitment to myself remains to be chaotic and I don’t use that word lightly. I am fully aware of the difficult path that I am choosing right now.
There are many lessons that I still have to learn…
Everyday is a new day which is met with new learning curves for me and that’s okay. I know that when I fully commit to myself, allowing my life to unfold gently without my pushing my past in front of me, then I will serve an even greater purpose to others.
For that… I am excited.
With studies of human potential and the mind body connection, we are beginning to reawaken and remember what we have always known…
My Father was born in 1934 in Malaya. He was the youngest of three children and I believe they lived a fairly wealthy life. Somewhere, in the boxes that are still piled high in my garage is a photo of the house that they lived in and I will add it here when I find it. It is an amazing property and a huge contrast to where I lived during my childhood.
There is a child missing in the family photo above. My father had another older sister who passed away from contracting TB. I was told that the house keepers, who lived in a small cottage on my grandparent’s land, had a daughter who was taken ill. My young aunt had gone to visit her and take some fresh fruit to the little girl. Sadly, she too caught the infectious disease and died soon after.
My father had already experienced an horrendous trauma at such a very young age.
As I write this now I have had the realisation that my father must have been older than 4 years old when he was detained in the POW camp because Singapore was taken in February 1942. Having a January birthday, would make him 8 years old.
He remained in the camp for 3 years.
My Grandfather was born in Scotland and was an engineer in the either the Navy or Merchant Navy and I believe his parents were tea planters. I have no idea where my Grandmother actually originated from but do know that she was a school teacher and had two brothers and two sisters whom were all very well educated. I was told that my family owned a small town in Malaya but I really don’t know how accurate this is!
They were living in Ipoh when Singapore fell.
I wonder now, if there are any descendants of my family still living in that area of the world?
I was blessed with having the chance to meet my Aunt Joan in 1996. I travelled with my husband and my 23 month old son for a four week holiday. It was an incredible journey being able to meet and spend time with my family on my father’s side. Joan was able to share some stories with me about their childhood and in particular, fragmented parts of their POW experience. I am sure that there was so much more information that my Aunt could have given me and I feel that she only scratched the surface with what she did share.
It was just too painful to revisit.
That was the only one time I met Joan and she passed away about 9 years ago.
I never met my Grandmother.
This is is Joan’s story;
My grandparents, Joan and my father were living in Malaya when the war broke and along with many other people, were evacuated by ship from Singapore. The ship came under attack and was bombed. forcing my family into life boats fighting for their survival. Joan shares in part, the scene of horror and devastation that her and my young father had witnessed. Surrounding them in the water were dead bodies, burning people, screaming cry’s for help-just utter chaos etc…
Joan recalls one memory of seeing a burning baby and how terribly that had affected my father after the event.
Some of the evacuee’s survived and made it to a near by island where they were taken care of by the local people for a few weeks. The Islanders took a huge risk in hiding my family, knowing that if they were caught harbouring them, they would be killed instantly. Eventually, they had to hand the evacuees’s over to the Japanese soldiers in order to save themselves and my grandparents, Joan and my father were taken to the prison camps.
I just can’t imagine how frightened they all must have been…
On arrival at the camps and during the separation period of men and women, my grandfather lied about my father’s age in order for him to be allowed to stay with his mother and sister.
The family were separated.
My father never saw his father again.
My Aunt didn’t really say much about the camps but what she did share, was enough for me to understand the mental and emotional damage that was inflicted on my father at such a young age.
My grandmother Alice used to grind banana skins down into powder and give it to my Father for the nutritional benefit as food was not of the plenty and he was the youngest. Joan tells of women being raped openly and that the children would watch. Men were beaten daily and left for dead, some actually not surviving the beatings. If the children disobeyed, a swift punch to the stomach was a familiar punishment, especially the boys.
These were the experiences that were shaping my father as a young boy and his view of the world and also later as he became a man.
Whilst in the camp, my father learn’t to trade items to get different things that they needed. Joan told me how at times he would take risks trading with particular guards and through doing so, he learnt to speak some Japanese.
As a child, he taught me how to say the rhyme ‘Hickory Dickory Dock’ in Japanese.
I guess you can come to your own conclusion about how a traumatic past can effect a person’s mind. I know that for my father, he went on to repeat the patterns of behaviour that he had learned from such a young age, inflicting it on his own children.
He used aggression and violence to control when he felt so out of control.
He used punching my eldest brother in the stomach as a form of punishment, seemingly for no reason but to apply force when he couldn’t contain his own demons.
He stole my Mothers jewellery and traded it for other people’s medication to feed his own habit.
He would pull my trousers down, hold my hands behind my back and slap my legs until it would sting as a reminder, not do do the very thing I was being punished for, again.
He would force us to eat every scrap on our dinner plate, telling us how lucky we were to have food because so many others didn’t.
And… my Mother told me years ago that when he wanted another child he enforced it.
Saying no to him wasn’t really an option.
The prospect of going home again scared them. They couldn’t imagine how they could ever settle to it. How they could just walk around the streets and pretend to be normal, look women in the eye again after what they had done and seen, ride on trams, sit at a table with a white cloth, and control their hands and just slowly eat. It was the little things that scared them. The big things you could hide in. It was little ones that gave a man away.” ― David Malouf
I have no recollection of what happened and it was sometime later that I found out my Father was at my Godmothers house when he made the call to us.
I wonder what they talked about?
I wonder if Aunty Barbara was able to console him?
I wonder if she held him just for a moment so that he knew he was loved?
I wonder what was going through his haggard mind?
He had lost everything, his wife, his children, his self respect-his mind…
At some stage, either that day or the next, my brothers went home to collect some belonging’s for us.
This is their account of what happened;
They awoke the sleeping Giant when going upstairs and his rage was tenfold. My father tried to stop my brother Ashley taking clothes from my bedroom and demanded to know where we were. He refused his fathers enforcing and all hell broke out.
The dog was going crazy once again, confused as to whom he should protect and somehow during the eruption, the younger of my two brothers, who was only 17, had his head jammed in-between my wardrobe sliding door by our father.
A scene of commotion.
My brothers have said that he would have killed them to get to us.
They escaped the house and took the dog with them.
Everything that he had ever loved was gone and now his home was not his home, it was his external prison too.
An unbearable prison.
During a conversation with my Mother not so long ago, she added another layer to the story that was kept from me for many years. On entering the house, my brothers were hit with the stench of gas. My father had opened the oven door, left the gas on and gone upstairs to lay down.
I have no words to describe the pain that is inside of me now that must have been inside of him at that very moment, to arrive at a place in his life where he believed he could no longer live.
I felt that feeling for a split second some time ago when driving home one day in floods of angry tears. The thought crossed my mind at how easy it would be to drive the car at speed off of the downs and end all of the overwhelming inner turmoil that had been plaguing my life for so long.
Just for a split second…
and I reached out for help.
Depression, drugs, trauma, loss, grief, devastation, abuse, loneliness, self disgust and anything else you can throw into his dark pot, had WON the emotional and personal battle that he was fighting.
It didn’t take much for my Father to find out where we were staying and I am surprised that he didn’t come to the house and smash the front door down.
He wasn’t the kind of man to follows rules and I think he had finally broken.
Going to school that Monday morning wasn’t really an option because of the severity of our situation and I remember quite distinctly, what I was given for breakfast;
Scrambled egg with ketchup.
“Go on eat it up, it’ll do you good to get something in your stomach and stop all that worrying, worrying won’t get you anywhere.”
Said the friend!
I had never tasted it before and I really didn’t like it-so I didn’t eat it.
The phone rang. It was my Father asking to speak to my Mother and that look upon her face returned… the one that she momentarily, had a reprieve from.
I can see clearly in my minds eye, her standing there holding the phone up to her ear. Words are coming out of her mouth and I can not hear what she is saying… but I do know that she denied his begging for us to go home.
He asked to speak to me and she handed the phone over and this time, was the very last time I heard his voice.
Hello darling, it’s me Dad.
Please come home I can’t live without you and Mum.
Please Shellie, please… it won’t happen again!
I’ll get help.
I don’t want to hurt you or Mum, she won’t listen to me just come home.
He was sobbing.
I was sobbing.
I didn’t know what to say, I had no words, just tears, uncontrollable tears, I could have drowned in them.
I couldn’t breathe… my father was pleading with me to come home and I could hear his desperation.
I could feel it…
His words were clear,
he was coherent,
he was present.
I told him that I was scared and sorry but I couldn’t come home.
There was silence-even though we were crying together and then he told me that he loved me and followed with, “I will always love you, you are my everything.”
I stare at this wall with crumbling stone the hard texture stares back at me I can not see a way through it seems impossible A crack appears a tiny space of light and if I pull each side the stone may fall or at least loosen It seems a mammoth task albeit the strength I think I have my arms are weak my body is tired my mind consumed I close my eyes and imagine a mighty gust a powerful force rising up from the earth and with one fair bash the wall is loosened if I dare to dream the wall may fall
I don’t recall the small moments of time that Sunday morning but I do remember that something finally snapped mentally for my Mother as she couldn’t take it anymore.
It was time to leave...
Years of her life had been spent nursing a mentally ill husband and saving him from the brink of life, time and time again.
Years of aggression, physical abuse and living in fear had ruptured her ownheart and mind and she was at the point of no return.
I can’t say exactly what happened during the course of the morning, I just remember my Mother’s friend arriving at some stage, to take us away.
I so want to tell you that I went into my sleeping father and kissed him once more, whispered I love you in his ear, told him I was sorry for leaving him like that but I don’t think I did!
I can’t remember…
I want to remember…
I just recall feeling sick and frightened, with my stomach in knots as we drove away.
She left our dog behind.
The lady that came to rescue us seemed to be quite harsh in her approach towards us fleeing without looking back. I never warmed to her coldness throughout my younger years and I remember her disliking my father. She too had broken away from an abusive marriage and her response to my mothers anxious and somewhat guilt ridden demeanour for leaving him, was both matter of fact and resolute.
She was a survivor and layer upon layer of personal pain was striving her forward to get us out whilst the sick man was drugged.
She called the police.
The safe house was about a ten minute car drive away from where we lived and I felt completely out of sorts being there. It was uncomfortable and felt awkward.
After all it was her house not mine.
I wanted to go home and sleep in my own bed.
I wanted it all to stop and not to feel afraid anymore.
I wanted my Dad to be okay and not be sick.
I wanted my brothers to come and be with me.
I felt so afraid and so alone.
The police came and my mother gave her statement, her friend, driving home the fact that my father was dangerous.
I am beginning to realise now, how angry I still feel about ‘the friend’ and the role she played. I know she came to my mother’s rescue and yes, it was the right thing to do.
Of course it was…
I am grateful even if you think I’m not, they just never protected me from hearing their cruel yet honest words.
I was taking it all in deeply and damagingly.
My father was served notice of an injunction, restraining him from coming anywhere near us.
I have been running from this sadness for so long now and have felt too paralysed to work on my writing this past week. Some days I just wander in my mind looking for a safe place to rest but seemingly, it’s proving more difficult
I have to keep writing through it.
On the anniversary of my fathers passing I desperately want to acknowledge him and give meaning to his life as no other person ever does.
Nobody… and I feel very sad about that.
Was he that insignificant? Did he really matter to anyone? Was his life that unimportant?
If you were to ask my brothers to tell you the date of their father’s death, they wouldn’t have a clue and my Mother always needs reminding.
The date goes unnoticed.
Most years I remember him in silence but this year I wrote a Facebook status which came completely out of the blue.
If there was a direct telephone line that could reach him now, I would choose to hear him speaking softly to me and listen carefully to the sound of his voice, savouring every moment. I would ask him how his day has been and tell him about mine. I would spend the time laughing with him and sharing the simple things I know he’d love to hear… and I’d love him just that little bit more.
We must never underestimate the power of un-resolved grief. Its a burden to carry for sure and one that is so heavy for me to this very day.
Even though I was very afraid of my father, my love for him is evident.
“The prisoner, having reached the depth of his depression, gradually reawakens to the life around him. He licks himself and his wounded pride, opens his eyes, and finds that far away on the horizon there is still a ray of sunlight left.” – P. H. Newman
There was no ray of sunshine left for my father, in-fact his mind was far, far away and damaged beyond all comprehensibility.
I stood staring at the door.
Fight or flight at its finest…
I looked towards my Mother for some sort of reassurance, but she had none to give. How could she? She was going out of her mind with fear. Those few seconds felt like pandemonium in my frightened little mind, not knowing what to do next. It was the ultimate of dilemas;
Open the door and she might die?
Stay where I was, relatively safe and he might die!
There was still no sound at all from the outside of our room and it was eerily quiet. With every ounce of courage I could muster up, I pulled the door open.
My father was lying naked and completely out of it, having collapsed on the bathroom floor.
I don’t know why he was naked!
I thought he was dead and my mother’s natural nursing instincts kicked in ready to save his life and she checked for his breathing.
Not this time.
He was still breathing.
It was my first experience of seeing the male anatomy and I had no time to feel shock or embarrassment.
It seemed insignificant.
And yet it was significant for the 13 year old, who was too young to witness that.
The drugs were taking there toll on my fathers body and he was an absolute mess. His head was floppy and rolling from one side to the other and his face looked blown up with being so swollen. His hair was grey and looked frantic and his belly was solid with bloated-ness.
This was my Dad.
This was the poor, fractured little boy with his ravaged mind living in the sick body of a grown up man.
All these things and yet none of them too.
He never ever left the prison camp.
His mind became his own prison.
My mother said his name loudly several times trying to rouse him into standing up and together we hauled his massive body upwards and he would slump back down again.
He was a big, heavy man.
Eventually he began muttering a slurry of nonsense words in his heavily confused state and we managed to get him up on his feet. He was able to take some of his own weight and we walked him to my bedroom.
My Father laid down on my bed and my Mother covered him up.
I kissed his cheek and left him to sleep.
That was the last time I saw him alive.
How I wish with all my heart that I held him tight that early Sunday morning and whispered ‘I love you Dad’ in his ear.
To love a person is to see all of their magic and to remind them of it when they have forgotten.
there is a space in between
a quiet place
the stillness is laden with sorrow
the sadness of
what could have been
and the reality of
who am I now
is a question that I ask
on this merry go round of
a fragmented life
am I lost in the stillness
can the sorrow be released
am I bold enough to own my beauty
and serve the sorrow
oh how my playing with words
can free this weary mind
for a while
and breathe life
on to my plain paper
A tenacious Spirit
A joyous moment
I could hear him banging around in the kitchen preparing his next available powerful supressant, those tiny little pills that took him some place else.
I don’t remember if he made his sandwich that night!
My mother was shaking, colour drained from her face, terrified he was going to come back into the room and finish what he started. She literally didn’t know what to do with herself and must have felt like a trapped animal.
I know I did.
The front door to the street was closer to us than him and we could have made a run for it but we didn’t.
I realise now how strong and brave the 13 year old part of me was.
At that point there was no question of leaving him. My mother had always taken her vows seriously;
In sickness and in health.
He was a sick man, she was a trained nurse and you never leave a sick patient.
My father took himself off up stairs and I can’t seem to recall exactly what happened next but I do remember him telling me that he would sleep in my bed and I was to sleep in with Mum. It would safer for us.
He looked directly into my eyes and said;
“Lock the door and keep it locked. Barricade it if you have to because if you don’t I will kill your Mother.”
He must have passed out because it went quiet for a short while.
My Mother and I were in seperate beds in my parents bedroom. I just remember feeling sick in my stomach absolutely terrified and I know its a word that I have used consistently throughout my writing but its true, I was terrified. We couldn’t sleep through fear of him breaking down the door to get to her and it felt like there was no way out. We were trapped and waiting once again for the onslaught.
As the night went on there was movement outside of the bedroom door, I think he was in and out of the bathroom and his drugged up condition created his drunken-like stupor.
We didn’t sleep.
I don’t remember us talking much either.
I wonder now, where my dog was?
Again, I wanted to run to get help, get out of there but I couldn’t.
I couldn’t go through that door.
Remember the door–the metaphor for my life.
I have been stuck behind that Door for 38 fucking years.
The hours seemed endless, waiting for the sun to rise and for him to be less agitated. My hope was that things would look different in the morning and that he would be different too. Maybe sorry for his actions and willing to get some help for his addiction.
We all needed so much help but no one was coming to help us.
In the early hours of the morning a mighty loud crash came from the other side of the wall where the bathroom was.
I sat bolt upright and got out of bed. Creeping quietly towards the wall, I pressed my ear gently against it fearful of him knowing that we were awake.
I couldn’t hear anything.
Neither of us knew what had happened and I remember distinctly that my bladder needed emptying.
With taking his evening medication, my father would sprinkle salt on two slices of bread and butter and then make them into a sandwich.
Who does that?
His days were spent in terrible physical pain and his night’s were plagued with horrendous nightmares – the kind that forced his body into a soaking wet sweat. That’s where the drugs came in and did their job of knocking him out into an unconcious state, often appearing dead with a cold and bluish complexion.
I wonder where he travelled in his sleep?
I wonder if he ever was able to access peace beyond the realms of being awake?
I hope so.
I have painted such a bad picture of the man I called my father and that’s not really the truth of it all. He was a good man and a very sick man, that’s the paradox. There is so much to write about him and the pain he must have endured as a child, also the rejection he sufferred from trying to tell his story and having it ignored.
Maybe that’s why it is so important for me to tell mine!
The atrocities he experienced from the age of 4 until 7 in a prisoner of war camp scarred his young mind and was enough to damage his life and the lives of the peoplehe loved. There have been many times when I have felt so desperate to see him again – to hold him close and tell him that I understand, tell him that I love him so much and tell him its okay.
I don’t know if he is resting?
He deserves to rest…
You see, we all have the power to judge another as my father was judged by his family, doctors, neighbours etc… everyone had something to say but never really gave him the time to begin to wonder why he behaved the way he did or even to try and unravel his pain.
I give people time to unravel.
I guess in that day and age it was just easier to shut him up with medication and send him on his way which ultimately, killed his body.
I can never justify his actions but I can always choose love over hate and ignorance.
The doctor that plied my father with drugs was stuck off some years later. He was well known for over prescribing medications for his patients.
I have this vivid memory of me dressed as a pirate standing outside of my parents house just in front of the cast iron black gate. Covering my head is a bright red bandana and I am wearing a little black waistcoat, black trousers tucked into my long white socks and little black school shoes. I think that I was about the age of 6 or 7 years old and it was the day of the local village carnival.
I started dancing lessons at the age of 4.
In between working three jobs at once, my mother made all of the outfits for my ballet shows. She spent hours lovingly hand sewing the little costumes and I still have three of them to this day; a blue Angel costume, a little Dutch girls outfit and a pink tutu. Over the years both of my girls have worn them when playing dressing up and as I think about it now, I’m not sure if I have ever told her how grateful I am for all of the time that she spent making things for me as a child. Dollies clothes, knitted blankets and cardigans, a soft clown with orange hair, cotton sewn purses and a bib and brace dungeree outfit all made by hand.
My mother always worked extremely hard and somehow I feel like I missed out on having her as a wholesome, healthy mum for the majority of my younger days. She lived under a cloud of my fathers depression and illness which prevented her from following her own dreams and passions. As he never worked in the latter years, my mother had to work even harder to make sure she could provide for us all. I wonder how he felt about this and what it did for his own self worth, esteem and beliefs about himself as a man, husband and father? I remember her being so exhausted at times and no matter what was thrown at her, she would soldier on, mustering up the strength, managing, coping, surviving. I think that’s a trait of hers that I’ve learn’t from a very young age; you just have to keep going no matter what… When I look back now it must have been unbearable at times for her living in such an emotionally draining situation. If ever we talk about the past now, she always states quite clearly that leaving my father was never an option and that you made your bed and you lied in it.
My eldest brother refuses to accept the fact that our mother choosing to stay was the right thing to do. He believes that she had a choice and by her staying in such a volatile relationship, my brother suffered the most horrendous abuse and in his words now;
“Because of the old man, my life is fucked.”
I don’t know if she was ever truly happy within her marriage or her life in general and wonder if she just stayed out of fear because she too was terrified of her husband.
My father had threatened suicide several times and my mother picked up the pieces of his desperation time and time again.
There doesn’t seem to be a beginning for me, just a mixture of memories, some more powerful than others and in no particular order, allowing them to rise and fall .
My Father died when I was aged of 13.
My belief is that he had to die, in order for meto live and somewhere within his soul, he knew that. Its a struggle to remember him without the overwhelming feelings of fear and pain. Everything about him seems tainted with those two powerful emotions and I feel sad that I can’t find a single memory that is full of laughter or joy. Sorry Dad… My hope is that by writing my story down, it may evoke some happy memories that are stored somewhere within me.
It wasn’t until I discovered NLP and whilst on my training in the USA, that I realised I had emotional ‘stuff’ that needed dealing with. I have to add, that a NLP practitioner training is not the place for personal therapy in any event. During learning the processes, I experienced some emotional releases that were extraordinary and quite profound and my passion for helping others to do the same began. That was over 21 years ago.
The events leading up to my father’s death were extremely traumatic.
I remember one day when he was lying in bed in a drugged up stupor, slurring his words, telling me to write down his life story. In more coherent days he would say that the world needs to know the truth about his traumatic experience of being a child prisoner of war. He suffered mentally and physically for the entire 13 years of having him in my life and as a family, my mother and two older brothers, were marred by his suffering too. Even as a little girl I could feel the intense sorrow that seeped out from him and it was confusing. I’ve in turn carried his pain deep within me maybe to acknowledge him in some way. I loved my father so much but was terrified of him too. The double edge sword.
On the night before my father was found dead, I knelt down, sobbing, resting my elbows on the bed, placed my hands together and I prayed;
Dear Lord Please forgive me for the sins that I have committed. Please make my Dad die and take him to Heaven to be with you because if you don’t he will kill my Mum. Please Lord keep us safe, I’m so scared. Please forgive me. Amen
I started writing this blog so many times over the past few years (in my head) and now I am finally getting down to putting my thoughts out there into the Universe, albeit it being much slower than I had anticipated. I have allowed FEAR to suffocate many opportunities that have been presented to me throughout my life and the sad thing for me is, that I have dedicated my entire career to helping and supporting people through their own life challenges of trauma, pain, grief etc… and didn’t feel worthy enough to heal my own immense pain that I carried.
I made a decision last year when I turned 50 that I would start living my life on purpose and do all the things that I long to do. I decided that I would live my life coming from a place of being true to myself, being more creative with my writing and poetry, begin public speaking and in general work towards a healthier mind and body.
7 months on and here I am just beginning with the writing bit…
I am writing this blog for me.
I am giving myself a space to be free of the critical restraints that I have so beautifully bound myself up with.
I am giving myself a gift, of loving myself enough, to be okay with being who I am, just as I am and being alive because I am worth it.
So my journey begins with me being as open and authentic as I can be right now. This is the start of something new for me and I am excited and a little nervous too but I know thats okay.
On a summers evening many years ago, I was standing in a queue at the local fish and chip shop waiting for my turn to be served. In front of me was a little boy who was dressed in shorts and a t-shirt that looked like it had the reminants of a weeks worth of wearing on it. He was crying and pulling at the arm of his young Mother who was talking on her mobile phone. The child appeared to be no more than 4 or 5 years old and his knee was bleeding. As he cried and tugged at her arm, she pushed him away and the blood continued to trickle down his leg. The little boy with his arms stretched up to reach his mother, pounded on her stomach trying to get her attention and the Mother pushed harder at him to stop. The smell of alcohol from the young lady was so strong and she was slurred and staggering. After several attempts to bring her attention to his knee and being met with her aggression, he finally gave up.
The boy in the chip shop stood with one side of his face buried into his Mothers thighs, staring at me and periodically looking down at his wound. Tears rolled down his filthy, beautiful little face.
In that very moment I felt a whole wave of different emotions from anger, frustration and fear, to pity and a deep sense of sadness. The Mother part of me wanted to scoop this child up and wipe away his tears. I wanted him to know that he was loved and that he would be okay. I wanted to shout at the Mother to put the phone down and acknowledge her son and his needs as she seemed oblivious to the discomfort that he was in. Instead I stood by and did nothing and felt ashamed for not intervening with at the very least a tissue for his knee and also ashamed for judging a young person who was clearly not much more than a child herself. You see, I let fear ride over me once again, because she was drunk. I was afraid of the repercussions for the child and myself. If I brought the fact that she was ignoring him, to her drunk attention, I didn’t know how she would react. I remember being frightened as a child. I remember trying to get my fathers attention when he was so drugged up. I remember…
I made a promise to myself all those years ago that I would acknowledge that little boy by dedicating my first piece of public writing to him because he touched my heart that evening and I will always remember him.