just me and cross

Home » Articles posted by justmeandcross

Author Archives: justmeandcross

Hair strand test

The Social Services make the rules up as they go along. Firsts it’s this, then it’s that, all so they control the situation as they have made their minds up about the outcome they want. It’s wrong.

Out of the blue the new social worker decides they both have to be completely drug free within six weeks. Now this is after they have declared cannabis is not the problem and if they were to insist that all their cases had to be cannabis free they would not be able to get anywhere.

The law compared to social attitudes is in a constant state of flux where very mixed messages are being given out from government and actions by the police vary at the personal desires of anyone who has a view.

Other social workers have all agreed that the circumstances of this case dictates that due to the nature of each person involved that rehabilitation is a long term exercise: so why the change – to set them up to fail.

Our sons partner had another hair strand test that still showed drugs. The time was not six months after the previous test, so we are not sure of the outcome.

Good news time … but at the cost of tears

The long awaited panel day arrived and we were as prepared as we could be. Not 100% sure what the format or style would be but we knew it was an eight person board plus three social services and two scribes.

Arrived on time and duly shown into the Board Room and formal introductions done. There followed a rundown of the agenda.

It became apparent within moments of the chairlady starting to give a precise of the good points of the report that the wrong report was being referred to. Been here before – there are still errors on all the other documents that have been produced!

I did make a comment to this effect when I had the opportunity and could hear the constant typing of the note taker, so assume my comments were recorded.

On that note all the errors must be corrected as they will only reflect the wrong facts of the case in the future which are automatically considered to be true when read in later years.

The questions asked were cross checking our attitudes to what had happened, what preparation we were doing and how we would deal with things in the future. It was traumatic for my better half.

Questions flowed from people around the table and where necessary we expanded the answers so a wider understanding was available. My partner needed a tissue when emotions got the better of here.

The pleasant aspect of the meeting was we knew we know our fate quite quickly. We left the room and waited.

The waiting room is the staff restroom so not private. My partner released her tears quietly but uncontrollably. I could only offer comfort by holding her hands. The chap who had been responsible for the creation of the report came in with a smile. Hmm! He has always been straight with us so I read good into it.

My partner entered first and the chairlady started to talk nearly straightaway. All I heard was … pleased … unanimously … and saw smiles throughout the room. The release of tension was immediate. It was explained that this is a difficult stage to get through. We both had a hard time holding back our emotions, neither of us sat down, we needed to be together to take it in.

We had passed the Fostering Board.

The facts are straightforward …

Yesterday was traumatic. We were expecting that. We are not hiding what has happened and understand, in a limited way, the implications for the future but really struggle to accept the generalisations quoted as thought they are facts and very likely to happen.

I had left the court grounds and was 15 miles away. Ten minutes after the court case had started I answered my mobile. It was from a number I did not recognise, and counter to my instinct to ignore I answered. A chap introduced him self as the manager of the two social workers involved with the safeguarding of our grandson. Both were unable to attend the court case and he was standing in. He continued to ask if I knew what was happening today – had we been told? No. We only knew what was happening as we had been shown a letter from a solicitor. A slight pause at his end and a slow statement – I need to ask a few questions.

Do you know if the proposed outcome happens today payment stops. Well … we were surprised any payments were made in the first place, but payments were never an issue, it is the wellbeing of our grandson that is critical, nothing else. That I think was enough. He said he would call later and keep me updated.

Now the killer. When the family met later we were told questions had been asked in court about why we were not present. I hit the roof. Later my wife hit the roof. We had been told by the key social worker for our grandson our presence was not required.

As it happens the cafcas social worker for our grandson had gone to the wrong family court 25 miles away so he did not have representation. Not sure where that could have been deployed as the 14 days pre-trial meeting did not happen as the letter only arrived two working days before the court case.

Our son and partner said a new social worker had being allocated to them and apologised for not being there.

The outcome is: a Supervision Order is now in place with conditions. It was stated that the next court visit , provided they keep to the plan, could be the end of the matter.

We sat in silence for the journey

Court day! Having thought it was several months away, a surprise letter drew the court case to today.

The journey time was about 40 minutes, an easy journey. We normally chat about anything really, but today nothing was uttered from the start of the journey until we parked up.

I felt tears welling while I drove. I cannot comprehend a life without my grandson. It still upsets me the moment I think he will be gone.

We all needed a comfort break and found somewhere nearby. Sitting to partly drink coffee and partly to pass the time we chatted and it soon turned to my grandson, their child, and his antics of yesterday in the garden – filling the paddling pool with the hose while our dog ran a-mock chasing the shower of water droplets. It was fun, he is fun.

I became sad as when we left I thought our relationship while talking was really a wake!

My heart is slowly slipping into deep upset, and resentment.

This place (WordPress and my iPad) is my sacred place, I have no problems with bearing all to all. The ‘all’ is just anyone who stumbles here. I don’t really mind if no one reads it, it’s my world, it’s my history, and I hope those that do have empathy, not created from traumatic circumstances, look after their loved ones and cherish every moment.

It is like dieing slowly. It like all-sorts of people, so many not known, are all making decisions about my son, his partner and our grandson that are slowing killing us.

I do not remember ever being in a state of perpetual tearfulness as I am now. Even with my parents dieing, even with other deaths we have encountered I coped with out a personal drama. We are slowly loosing him to the system and see a beautiful, polite, happy young boy become apart of behemoth service. His innocence of our plight is magical to me.

My state of mind says, at my age, I might never see him again. He will be 18 (15 years hence) before he can decide whether to make contact. Have I got 15 years? That is the first time I have thought about my mortality.

Less than honest

During the time I have been involved with the Special Guardianship process with the social services I am of the opinion that we have not been told the whole truth about what is happening, and have felt uncomfortable with this.

I appreciate confidentiality is critical and I am not questioning that. Where I have problems is: different aspects of the case, strategy say, are done behind close doors. This is okay as it is described in the information that is online and in the public domain. Where the problem lies is they all do not have the same information to base their decisions on. We get slightly different views from people who may be using different sets of data.

I am not convinced a wholly accurate picture is being delivered to the court for them to base their opinion and judgement on.

Cometh the day – round one

Next week our son and partner have their day in court. I understand the social services concerns but do think they are using a very heavy sledge hammer to crack a nut. Somewhere there must be away of working proactively together to solve this problem. After all a significant part of the problem was aggravated by the very same social services letting them down after the first occurrence of problems.

They are both weary with the stress and worry of loosing their child. We are worried that we are not seen as fit and proper people to be Special Guardians of our grandson.

Sometimes I think the outcome will be positive in the direction of the family and at other times it is doom and gloom. The experience of the process is breathtakingly difficult due to the consistent pressure to be interviewed and fill in forms.

We have gone through the process as though we will be fosterers, and have been told Special Guardianship is less onerous, but few confessions have been made.

Our son and partner thought the court case was several months away as it had been intimated it was not a serious case, and adjusted their mindset to accommodate that. But an unexpected letter arrived giving them less than three week notice. So for someone who has been diagnosed with anxiety, depression and other related issues it is difficult to cope. From a person making good process to one where every problem that was had returns with vengeance was an easy response to predict.

Our son is in intermittent pain, two or three times an hour, and often can only move around by shuffling on his backside life seems difficult. Three weeks off work and another three weeks wait until a third scan can be done is problematic.

There are times he is ‘normal’ where he is good and mobile but he knows only too well pain is just lurking to get him. His pain relief tablets do not touch the pain and his doctor has tried to get him seen sooner but a months delay is the best they can do.

Harbour Cafe

In a disheveled cafe I have sat and worked. Unflustered staff work servicing a slow trade of students and shoppers. It’s atmosphere is under appreciated and as of today no more.

I like it here. I have seen the same people slaving over their laptops working, I have seen attached couples looking and talking, planning and plotting. Seen individuals waiting expectantly for friends, partners and lovers to arrive.

Several weeks ago their sandwich bar was empty at the start of the lunchtime period. Only a few pieces of cake were to be found. The chap said the delivery had not arrived, but I suspected differently. Since then the shelves have always been under stocked.

It was not a surprise to hear they were closing. What did surprise and please me was the straightforward message giving to their customers on the front window. … had a good time here … time to move on … thank you. That, to me shows how they did value their customers.

So, thank you in return for providing me a small haven of piece and quite in a busy city centre. I wish you all the best in the future.

Last week I sat here and cried

How a week changes your life thoughts. I sat in this very cafe and cried to my self. I rested my forehead in my hands in an attempt not to be seen but really wanted someone, yes a stranger, to tap me on my shoulder and ask.

I am sitting here on a baking day, (waiting for the predicted heatwave) amongst people who appear to have no problems. There are eight of them, seven women and one chap. Could be work friends and are chatting about everything under the sun: Gentlemen Jack, it’s forth coming replacement – demanding no one gives out any spoilers.

I look and I see happy exteriors.

A women, who I suspect is a cross dresser, is ordering her meal. Her covered head could reveal more, but it matters not to me.

I look and I see happy exteriors.

The staff here are a collection of mature people all of whom have a strong purpose of service. They are busy busy people who serve their customers with dignity and pride. I don’t see this type of service in any of the chain coffee places.

I look and I see happy exteriors.

I hope they are, as I now know my shell is soft and bruises easily and I am always on guard for a glancing blow to my feelings.

I look and I see happy exteriors.

Thinking back over the last month

It’s only been five days since I was told I did not have cancer and the more I think about life now the more I appreciate how that threat had an impact on my life and was a burden.

I don’t want to sound dramatic and over state my view when I write this, as I feel I must remember the 4 in 10 men who have been through the same range of feelings as I have but with a different outcome. Although I have not got cancer I am now one of the 1 in 10 who may still be diagnosed with prostrate cancer in the future.

At the end of the three month or so process, from initial concern to conclusion my work for my employer slowly ground to a trickle where the easiest of task were enormous. I could not focus or pay attention and had lost the biting interest in work that I have always had. I worked on small snippets of work at home and did the same when there.

My thoughts consistently revolved around the other significant problems I have. The priority was my family problems then University work. The family problems are well documented here, but had to be serviced (and still doing so) the whole time. The Uni work had to be a real low priority where I did things but did not worry about the quality, in fact it was used as a diversion away from everyday affairs.

I appreciate all the people around me at work more than I can thank them form: for how they still included me as team member when I was there. It relieved the silly pressure of me being embarrassed around them as I knew I was underperforming.

My line manager was always kind, always had time for me and never worried me with the concerns he had due to being short staffed. I owe him a dept of gratitude that over time I will repay.

My family have been good and we have just got on with everything as it comes. My better half has worked her socks off supporting all the family with everything that is needed and one day normality will resume.

For anyone who is involved with prostrate cancer please think board and keep a check on reality. I was lucky and I would be writing differently if my news had been negative.

… and again … for the fourth time

I think we are not believed. For the fourth time we are being questioned as to what we knew about our son and partners drug use.

We have explained our position, understanding and knowledge of drugs – not a lot, but I think we are not believed.

We have requested training on drug awareness to help us in the future and said we would not tolerate anything if we suspected drug use and would act immediately if we suspected anything what so ever.

The full compliment

In the process of becoming Special Guardians a process has to be followed inside a framework of guidance and to a 26 week time table. It culminates with a three week period where people (the panel) read all the paperwork and prepare for a panel sitting; where we are formally interviewed to support the application to have our grandson live with us as we will be his Guardians.

It is something that cannot be fully appreciated before the start, but the time and effort is draining, both mentally and physically, particularly when you feel you have lost the plot or can’t see why they need to know a remote piece of information. But the goal has to be kept in sight all the time – Safe Guarding.

We, the family that is, have meet or been involved with:

  • 1 Social work – child and parents
  • 1 Social workers boss
  • 1 Social worker – grandparents
  • 1 therapist – mother
  • 1 day nursery manager – child
  • 3 general practitioners – mother, father and both grandparents
  • 1 Fire safety inspection (Fire Engine and crew)
  • 1 Health and safety inspection
  • 10 to 12 sets of forms to complete – 40 hours
  • 2 full medicals – grand parents
  • 1 child developmental medical
  • 2 change grow live courses – parents
  • 1 narcotic anonymous session – farther
  • 35 hours of interview for grandparents
  • 10 hours of joint interviews of grand parents
  • 4 case meetings in social services offices
  • 2 case meetings in our home
  • 10 hours of parent interviews

There is still time needed to complete the process.

The more we talk to all the people involved the greater the understanding of what safe guarding is expected to deliver at the real sharp end.

It is still a difficult time.

Results …

After a wait I have the results of the biopsy …

27 samples taken – none cancerous.

The relief is instant.

It the small things in life …

Not a big earth shattering thing but …

I have just got home and heard my wife laugh for the first time in months.

Breaking a trust can never be undone

I have been questioned why I did not intervene if I had concerns about drug taking when we visited our son and his partner while collecting and delivering our grandson.

It’s simple, lack of evidence. If anyone makes an accusation and in effect calls someone a liar without corroborated evidence then the ramifications are immense. Forget slander; it’s the end of a relationship. In our case it would have broken our family apart. Sorry’s will not cut it. Trust has gone forever. It may look fine and dandy three or four years later but the latent defect in the relationship is still there.

Please don’t think I am saying we were not concerned, but the only drug I can identify is cannabis due to its smell. We were told cannabis was not their concern. Any other drug and I am lost. It was other drugs!

When we visited, the house was often tidy, often untidy. Being untidy, particularly with an active child is not a crime. An early riser is our 3 year old grandson and a partner who has sleeping tablets means she has to go to bed early, which places addition pressure on family routine and duties.

Our son works hard and we often recognised sleep deprivation. Our sons partner often was tired and again sleep deprivation was not an unacceptable diagnoses.

Getting my point across to the social services was difficult. I pointed out that when they act without evidence, using their instinct, they walk away with impunity, and don’t have to pick up the pieces of a false allegation. We have not got their instinct!

Caution and evidence is required.

It occurs to me honesty is a fickle concept

Over the last four months my life has been dominated by a two major activities. Concentrating on the Special Guardian process for this particular blog reveals that each of the social services branches I and my family are involved with do not always understand what they have agreed with each other.

My concern is: we now find out that the process we are going through is to be used as evidence in the decision about whether our son and partner are fit and proper people to raise their son. It had been explained it was a separate process and was a backstop in case it was needed; i.e. if returning the child to home was not done.

This is not denying this has to be asked or what the outcome is to be, but how the social services are concentrating on the negative aspects of the situation in away that seems to be sacrificing two people who are desperately doing everything asked of them under the guise of child comes first.

I feel that if they had joined-up thinking and actually looked deeper than their individual responsibilities and worked collaboratively to solve the underlying issues the parents the BIG problem would be solved on route.

It appears to me they are positioning themselves on the self righteous side of life and going for a split up as it is safe. It will destroy five people in a stroke. There will be no return. Five peoples lives gone,

Yes, I hear and read all the documentation produced, which I have previously criticised for being incorrect and inaccurate, but it is when I stitch together what they say and do when presenting their own position to us, I see a trend away from there declared aim of keeping the family together.

Trust is being diminished.

Reality check – needed regularly

Over the last few weeks, possible five, my posts have ranged over associated subjects that read in isolation do not directly appear to relate to the mental health of my family and I. This is the dichotomy: mental health cannot be divorced from individuals, or families in the same way other medical conditions can – let me explain.

A broken bone can be plastered, a skin cut dressed, elective surgery has predictive objectives and outcome; all can be traumatic. Relevant to me; cancer can be cured (please don’t flame me). Those around you observe your recover as plaster is removed, dressings removed, recover takes place; crass I know; I am still alive.

For mental health sufferers only those who know your problems are in a position to detect change. It’s all hidden behind cloths and bravado. So the great public in the street, shops, busses etc. can’t detect your anguish that preoccupies your daily life. They just witness your current manner, posture, body language and facial expressions.

In my minds eye, many conditions may cause temporary depression, which in an otherwise healthy person will fade with time, the love and support of people around them.

In my opinion mental health suffers retain this load and it becomes accumulative and creates another layer of ‘hurt’ that has to be assimilated into their very isolated perspective and takes effort to manage and longer to shed.

In my situation, father, I worry deeply about my families health, physical and mental health at the moment.

This is the third cafe I have sat in today typing frantically to express my self. Absolutely no one knows what I feel and the load I carrying. Not even my family who I know unreservedly support me. I am their rock that I hope they have anchored their feelings to. I am their unquestionable support that is there for them 24/7. I am the provider of moral encouragement. I unpick and unpack what they can’t understand or comprehend and return it in bite-size portions of understanding.

Please, I am not saying I can’t cope, I have to, but I have my own mental health issues to resolve as well.

So, this is getting around to say: if you see an individual person in a busy cafe, or sitting on their own in a busy park, don’t panic. They may well be just passing the time while waiting to meet someone, but they could also be wanting to be amongst people and not sharing anything. They may be wishing someone is going to acknowledge they exist. They may be grieving for someone, (death is not the only thing people grieve for.). They could be wanting to see a change in someone in their life. They may understand exactly what they feel they need, but is out of reach. They may not be getting the level of support they have been promised.

How strange – a chap just sat opposite me and acknowledge my existence – that is a good feeling, I need no more.

Take a introspective interest in them: that’s not befriending them for the sake of it, just be compassionate in your thoughts; they could have a perfect life with no concerns, (great) but yet again they could be suffering in silence on the inside.

Getting back to my wayward blogs: all events in life register somewhere in the brain and wriggle around there to make connections.  Some remain unconnected and unresolved and create problems like PTSD – for me earlier in my life.  Those that are connected are either good, bad or indifferent and affect every connection there is – this is not scientific, just my feeling, including your mental health.

Concluded the same as the general advice

No matter what he did it was never appreciated, and always not enough. A conclusion was arrived at independently, but we agreed

Summarising our sons expressed feeling: If I can do no good and always suffer repercussions then do less and be in the same position. This removes the constant harassment and pressure to perform.

So, skilfully he is going to cut his ties with his ex-partner and maintain his relationship with his children. This will not be without trauma and tantrums from her. (Gaslighting and Boarder Line Personality Disorder.)

My forward thinking concern is future relationships for them both. The sooner she identifies there is a break in their relationship and she can no long dictate life for our son the sooner she will accept their only ‘life connection’ is their children the better.

It harsh to say this, but their children need to grow up in a safe and unbiased environment where partners are not being challenged or defending their actions morning, noon and night. A toxic life style is not even appropriate for just adult families.

This is not ideal but looking at the underlying causes and environment is necessary.

It just keeps coming

Our son has been urinating blood for over two months and not done anything about it.

He had been to the doctors in the last week and had been given a hospital appointment. During the last week he was sent home from work as he could not walk. Another visit to the doctors as the pain was unbearable and pain relief was prescribed.

A short car journey to the seaside for a visit was made on Friday. I usually park on the outskirts of the city and bus in. He could not get out of the car to make the short bus journey. He tried three separate times and could only cry in pain.

Accident and Emergency hospital was my solution. I had to get a wheelchair to transport him from the car park and still in pain we arrived.

Kidney stones were mentioned!

Inaccuracy of meeting notes

A report is being prepared on our suitability to be Special Guardians of our grandson. Information is therefore being gathered over time and we get to see a record of the meeting notes etc. I am surprised at the quality of wording and the inaccuracy of the text in the meeting notes.

The meeting notes should be unbiased and reflect the truth spoken about the facts presented by all those who have commented. They are, in effect, minutes of a meeting: which can be used as formal evidence at a future time.

I spent an evening going through the last set of minutes and annotated them with comments and questions as I felt that in many places they did not reflect the fact as they exist.

I raised this with the chairman of the meeting, who it transpires was the author of the minutes, and he was surprised about my concerns and asked me to write them down.

A bigger concern is the quality of the final report that is going to filed with the family court and used to make life changing decisions in private about all of family.

Special Guardianship

The need for our grandson to be safe and secure is what is driving us both. His needs must be met for him to flourish.

The process of becoming a Special Guardian is very detailed and stressful. It has a time constraint so a timetable is critically important. Paperwork and paperwork and just just in case you missed it, more paperwork. We have now each had 20 hours of interviews. In which we have visited our childhood through school, into work. Our relationship with our parents, family and friends. Our relationship in our marriage, our parenting skills and motivation for doing this, our financial stability and health. Hmmm! Ah! References taken up, and CRB checked done

Our grandson is not immune in this process, he has had a health and development medicals, and been assessed by the play-school and health visitors and has had work done with him by social services.

This process is based upon fostering, and is supposed to be less onerous, but rigorous all the same.

I have been surprised at how much I have done, and we have done together; and with just a few more forms and interviews left will be relieved shortly. We have about a month to wait.

Pot calling

At Christmas time a little coercive force was applied to ensure our son was always in contact with the mother of their children while they were with him and away for a break with us. Nothing wrong with that. The preliminary incommunicado was due to the constant abuse he was receiving from his partner and his phone was turned off.

Last weekend the mother went away with her father from Friday until Sunday, which became Monday. An accident happened with one of the children and immediate contact was necessary. Her phone was uncontactable. (Could be off, could be no power.)

It took contact, via FB, to get a message delivered to her. A friend collected the elder child from the hospital to allow our son to concentrate on the younger child.

Her mum managed visit on Monday and another on Tuesday just as the child was being formally discharged in the afternoon.

Strange, but motherhood means different things to different people! Yes, pots calling black comes to my Mind?

Not surprised, but pleased in a way that my suspicions, while founded, were slightly wrong

Recently, based on observations and a little research, I thought a family member had the traits of someone Gaslighting someone. It was the narcissistic traits and the relentless nature of her behaviour (two, three years) that caused, and still do cause, that underlying feeling of uneasiness about her motives and her desires for the future.

Now a diagnoses of Boarder Line Personality Disorder has been given it now becomes a reality that can formally be addressed. This will, like all the other mental health things going on in our family, take time. Whether any relationships can be salvaged is unlikely.

Mentally paralysed – all paths blocked!

I have reached a point where I am mentally num and dysfunctional. The situation of my life has six distinct activity areas. At the moment they all need to be fed, watered and tendered, but I cannot move, I cannot focus on anyone thing.

Work, University, Cancer, Special Guardianship, my son, his partner are the broad headings. Their order shifts all day long. But there is always one that is more dominant. I have great difficulty in choosing a priority for any length of time.

Yet again I am in a cafe convincing myself I am working on my final piece of work for Uni as that is the priority, but a thought crept passed my study eyes and BAM it’s gone. What is my priority?: I know, I’ll introduce a plausible diversion and still convince myself I am working. Yes it worked – I am typing this – bugger.

In thought now and I realise I have not a real moment for my own personal thoughts, and this (typing gibberish) is my only release but it’s still about the load I have with me. It’s not a true escape!

I only read this yesterday and don’t know who to give credit to, but: it’s like being on a route on a map and being halfway there only to be told you are on the wrong map.

Yes …. I am emotionally lost …. I have not even got the energy to beat my self up.

It’s fantastic it happens at all!

I expect you might already subconsciously manage your own thoughts about the world in an orderly way. I do. But I now appreciate my mood is a big controlling factor. If I am happy, my blog reflects that; if sad, melancholy; if cross I want revenge.

I now also appreciate that my feelings at the time also fall within a particular stereotypical role model(s) that I transition through all day long. I am a husband, father, grandfather, friend, teacher, an engineer, a photographer, a confidant. Ah, I almost forgot, I am in individual, me – divorced from all role models!

Add to this Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and I feel there are three level of consideration in any activity I witness and then after a passage of time want to write about. It is perhaps this passage of time that allows organisation and reconciliation of thoughts to take place to balance the contamination and introduce perspective, which then brings in life’s baggage.

So now there are five interactive processes involved in any memory activity before I start to write, which is then dependent on the command of the written language of English I have and the effort I want to expend. It’s a wonder how all this happens: not only for me but anyone.

D-Day: Operation Neptune

The day of my operation is a strange day. I sit here knowing and watching the day happen around me. My day is detached from the hospital world and the greater world outside.

The television news is reporting on the anniversary of the D-Day Landings and there is family chatter happening in patches around me, along with purposeful people organising everyone.

People who are not patients are ushered out of the waiting area while old news footage of the D-Day Landings are shown on the news reports.

I am not comparing the situation I am in with those people 75 years ago today, in fact contrasting their situation.

I am safe. I have good prospects, even considering the prospects of Cancer. The future has a plan and on the whole I have a good level of control over my life without anyone trying to kill me.

Those chaps who were boarding the landing crafts were in an inherently unsafe place, the odds of survival were low. While there was a plan, I expect they only knew from the last command they were barked at as to what to do next. Lastly they had no control over anything, apart from putting one foot in front of the other while putting themselves in harms way FOR ME.

Hindsight comes with 20/20 vision of history and is a biased view of outcomes that are designed to placate the negative feelings of what you/me or the country has done on our behalf.

Again this is speculation but I suspect the thoughts and emotions of those chaps were based upon the same level of headline details I have about current affairs and those chaps thoughts were tempered with the fact the war had been going for an appreciable time, so the spectre of the outcomes of defeat outweighed the fears. Duty to friends, family, society in general and the country was the driver.

Not many veterans are left to make the historic journey but each one did more than they can be thanked for.

Told the good folk at work

I could not justify not telling them about both situations … my performance is poor.

I have only told my line manager, a project specific manager and two very good young chaps who report to me about my plight.

As my exploratory operation is on Wednesday, and it could be good or bad I felt they should know.

My involvement with the project has dwindled and in effect I have withered on the vine. I should have challenged a lot more events that have happened, but knew I could not resolve them in a timely manner to keep things on side. Starting a challenge needs to be managed or the vacuum it leaves is more disastrous than not challenging: others feel they have succeeded over you.

Neurological tests

As it was not clear what type of neurological problem I might have so I was referred to my GP for tests. The results were a big surprise.

Full blood tests were done and I was expecting a magic arrow to hit a neurological marker. It did not! But it found an unsuspecting high PSA Level – an indicator of activity in the Prostrate glad.

Six weeks later and another PSA test revealed it was even higher result, which was a cause for concern.

So a digital inspection was done looking for problems with the Prostrate glad. Problems identified! It was swollen.

Following this was a high intensity MRI scan was done. This revealed three swollen areas. All graded at a value of two but there existence could not be understood. One area would be at grade two would not have been a problem, but three needs to be further investigated.

Two weeks, or there about, it was a biopsy operation to confirm or deny the existence of Prostrate Cancer.

Now waiting for the results.

The original cause for concern was shelved as recent scans would have revealed any significant problems. That could be for another day!

Today just got worse!

Today has been the saddest day of my life. Not for the reason of waiting for it to be confirmed that I have Prostrate Cancer, but due to the fact that our route to becoming our grandson’s Special Guardian may well blocked due to the condition I am nearly in.

My partner and I have attended a good number of meetings with the social services, completed forms, organised people to provide references, had informal chats and official interviews that have spanned several months. These are ongoing and we both have more formal interviews.

We fully accept the process and have fitted in everything around looking after our grandson, being with his parents on a daily basis and working.

Today it was confirmed that the social worker had recommended that a court case was the solution to deciding whether they could have their son back and what next must be done.

I put it that way as the ‘next’ was to be us becoming special guardians but since starting the process I have blood tests that showed the possibility of having Prostrate Cancer. I have had internal inspections, MRI scan revealing three shadows on the gland and yesterday at a pre-operation assessment given next Monday (three days time) as the date for the biopsy.

Yes, it could be fine if cancer is not present, but the fear of loosing our grandson looms heavily as it is a very heavy a price to pay for something we are not responsible for.

In bed at past midnight and crying aloud brought me to think, write it down. Set the perspective.

I cannot see an enjoyable life without our grandson in it. If he leaves this family we have lost him until he is 18 years old. 15 Birthdays, 15 Christmases, first day at school, first crush, the list goes on.

That is not considering his attitude to his parents or us for not being with him during those precious growing years. He may not want to make contact.

His parents are remorseful about the situation and have done great things to redress the situation and at present are both in shock, both tearful and both cannot comprehend life with no child.

I cannot see the logic of separating him from his family, where he is truly loved, where the situation can be repaired with effort and time. We are his second line of defence and having Cancer is not a threat to him or any relationship he has with us. Being blunt, I think having someone (me) in his life for say two years is better than living with foster parents or new parents.

Happiness quotient exceeded!

The only time I am really happy is when I am with him playing.  Other than that I want to withdraw from life.

I have a lot on my mind at the moment is an understatement. Slowly I am having to open up to a wide audience and explain the situation I am in and I am getting more supportive feelings from friends than I thought.

It is not necessarily from the words but from their hidden understanding they seem to exude: their eyes, their body posture, the fact they don’t know what to say and therefore don’t blurt things out just for the sake of it. Family feel obliged to say things.

I don’t want to be told it’s alright, it will not turnout that bad, or Mr Smith had that and he is ok. I don’t care; what is common between us I have no idea.

I am borrowed time!

My Cancer may or may not be a major problem. Loosing my grandson is more life changing to me, from which there is no recovery.

I want to go back to February 2019 and put things right. Even that is not really early enough, but … I now want to be alone in a crowd and not bothered by anyone.

There comes a time when reality hurts

He is so special that it hurts me to think I can do nothing more than I am …. the system is taking over. I should not have to protect him that’s what parents do, obviously I have screwed up as a father, and my son has failed, albeit in adulthood.

I am sitting in Costas in Portsmouth crying and crying I see no solution to our grandson being fostered or adopted. He will be gone from our life forever.

My son and his partner have apparently been unable to care for him and someone has contacted social services. It’s right and proper to protect him but it hurts and hurts – every time I stop thinking the pain returns and twists me over.

Last Friday my partner was collecting him for a stay over, very normal, could be one night, could be two nights, it matters not. The police either arrived or where there questioning his mum and dad. Social services had been informed by someone that they were not good parents. There may have been cause for concern that our son had fallen backwards down the stairs after our grandson was being cross with being taken out of the bath.

He is bright and very active and he keeps us busy. He is inquisitive, he is able to draw pieces of information together to check things with question, in much the same way he builds towers with tubes. He is able to reuse things he has been told. He understands and recognises sadness and knows he can help to make people feel better. What else is there for a boy of a month away from three years of age?

Drugs were searched for and found. Our sons partner kicked off big time and had to be restrained.

One of the policemen recognised my partner as being one of two (me the other) that collected our grandson when a similar event occurred. I imagined he checked and she and our grandson were allowed to leave.

Well, it’s like this

In a case of the tales of mystery and suspense it caught me by surprise. Sitting happily, pins and needles started in my right foot, travelled up my right leg, through my body, up to my shoulder and into my mouth where my tongue tingled and it felt like an anaesthetic and would not work.

As quick as it started it stopped. I was left wondering whether I had dreamt it or not.

I went home and at about midnight it started again. While not alone I was the only one awake. I called 111 and after a time and three telephone calls an ambulance was on its way as it was thought I could be having a heart attack.

After tests by the paramedics, no heart attack was detected, but good reasons for a trip to the hospital were the thoughts.

5:30am discharged with no diagnosis just a watch and see programme was advised and a trip to the GP.

A friend, a chat

On this occasion time was not pressing so we just I talked and talked. He did know I had been treated for PTSD and I talked about the process of EMDR and without any warning I found my self fighting back tears and not really able to continue the conversation.

I had revisited my past and those memories of the train accident returned at full blast, just full unabated blast. That shocked me greatly. I did not know where it came from and I said that I had thought I had a learnt to manage those feelings and was able to revisit the accident and walk calmly through the scene and accept I could do no more – but how wrong I was.

It was several week ago now and I think of that event with mixed emotions. I was shocked that the memory was still so vividly and emotional for me. Then, how innocent the trigger was.

Reflecting on that, I was pleased that my fear of forgetting the event had not taken place as I felt I would be disrespectful to those who were hurt in the train crash.

Blocked her number

Everything was in place for the post Christmas visit to us so an animated telephone call saying the visit would not happen if our son would not unblock her phone was a surprise.

She was insistent that no phone contact means she will not allow the visit to take place. Being able to contact him while he had the children is not unreasonable.

We made several telephone calls to both parties and agreed that he would unblock her calls for the duration of the visit and the children were with him.

It transpires that she had called him about 15 times on the trot and was abusive in all of them. Don’t know what about but not worried.

She mentioned that our son had not seen his children for 10 days. Which is wrong by the information we have.

During the call to us she declared that she knows she had pushed him to far and was very sorry and felt it was wrong.

Our son said he was really not prepared to take any more abuse and it was not his intention to permanently block her as there are valid reasons to stay accessible.

The next day the visit did not start well, but we don’t know why.

What I feel

 

It’s strange … I have written a lot describing the circumstances and plight of the two families in my daily life and not really considered my feelings and attitudes to what is happening. Well, now is the time to unload …

It does effect me. It is not a position I thought I would ever be in. I thought I would be Mr Average and match the statistics: married, 2.4 children, a pet. Blah blah blah.

I do match that description but the problems we have encountered with children are beyond my expectations. I say that as if I had considered the process and made a conscious decision and accepted the risk. No. I had no idea and I don’t think there were any real pointers out there for me to see that would have informed my decisions.

I now appreciate the significance of the saying ‘Children don’t come with a manual’: Not even a go warily. Even looking at those people around me in the formative years of parenthood did not signify real problems. Yes as time progressed sleepless nights, house smelling of nappy contents and the rooms littered with hiding Lego blocks just waiting for nightfall and bear feet did not alert me.

On the humorous side there are Lady Bird books for mum’s and dad’s now. But all in lovely drawn sweet colours and to be taken with a humorous pinch of salt.

My vision of were I am now is simple: In the wrong place! No complaints. I am not disappointed as my mantra has always been ‘don’t look back at unfulfilled wishes’

Looking at the age range the early school years were fun. Seeing growth and personality traits was interesting.

Independence and free spirited youth and the teenagers years were littered with trials and errors made by them. We have supported them all the time. We have never said ‘told you so…’ and we have never cast judgement but let them know our thoughts.

Perhaps the biggest problem is the open and unimpeded accesses to people’s unknown. Starting to loose influence here!

Young adults does mean treating them respect and certainly not creating mini-mes’.

We have had many exploratory conversation so they have understood where we stand on things and have witnessed many learning events they took themselves but never battered them at what they inwardly knew and accept were wrong decisions.

I have only stopped one lad from doing two things and both while in his 20’s. Using his mobile while in the bath while having it plugged into the mains to charge, and overloading his estate car with fence panels etc. to deliver them to me before starting a 200 mile car journey after. His car is his livelihood and I considered the benefit to me was outweighed by keeping him on the road.

All in all I am not where I though I would be, but I am also not sure where that is either.

Who should know?

I am a stickler for recording things, call it obsessional!

I mentioned to our son that he should write the facts down as he remembers them now, as they fade and get contaminated by other memories

If the children arrive at play school with bruises or cuts questions will be asked.

We know exactly how his ex-partner portrays events and will tell miss-truths to anyone who she needs to tell, and I feel he would be named as the culprit for hurting his children to shift the blame.

I am not sure whether I have written this before but in my opinion she could get an innocent man hung.

Christmas – when someone can screw you over

The decorations are up, the food brought and cats asleep. Arrangements have been made to visit the old family home and start Christmas Day in an amicable way – children, presents, mince pies. 🙂

Christmas Eve our son was told that his ex-partners’ father was coming around on Christmas morning and she did not want to rush him away so he could not come around.

So Christmas Day was cancelled at short notice so my son did Not see his children as her father had preferential claim to see them.

We were told that our son had cancelled the day because he wanted to spend Christmas Day with his new partner.

So, Christmas Day for our son and his children was morphed into Boxing Day.

A little later the duration of his absence was used against him to berate him for not coming around over Christmas to see his children.

In my opinion that’s what we are dealing with: Vindictive actions dished up with sweetness and mistruth.

Christmas delights of ESA

While the festive feelings were still in the air a letter dropped onto the floor. It turned out to be the ESA interview, not the PIP interview.

The venue was the same place as the last PIP interview, but this did not abate the anxiety.

Being nervous is normal for anyone so we sat together in light chatter to offset the anxiety. That questioning moment of – is that door opening for me came several times: and eventually it did.

45 minutes later she emerged, not smiling, no tears but pensive in expression.

The results would be made known in due course. Her doctor would be informed as she had declared the benefits of suicide. That was troubling.

Opportunity not missed

Given the chance to grandstand in front of others our son partner will not miss an opportunity.

Our sons ex-partner came home from a walk with friends. She left her confidant, who is sharing a house with our son, and took the opportunity to go into the house and publicly berate our son in front of those who was there. Complaining it was not fare of him to sleep with her friend!

News – PIP is still alive

A new date arrived in a letter. The good news the venue is much closer and accessible by public transport and two busses away.

So the anxiety can now start to weave it’s magic into a fragile persons life.

Looking at the situation dispassionately

I need to say that if someone keeps poking an open wound don’t be surprised if you are poked back. Take it as a warning – you have over stepped to mark.

The situation is not changing. Abuse is still seen as fare communication and hurt feelings are not even noticed or considered.

My son is in an abusive relationship. He is the aggrieved partner. Much has already been written here about this so …

I believe our sons verbal retaliation has been commensurate with the aggression and rudeness shown to him by his partner, partners mother and her current partner, her natural father, her grand mother and grandfather. They have all rounded on him: from telling him to leave the family home to stop trying to run his business there as it was worth nothing and man up and bugger off.

This might sound I am being impartial but he has man’d up. That is how he has coped with the vitriolic comments from them all.

Their support all adds grist to the mill and supports his partners attitude. Never, to my knowledge, have any of her relations tried to reconcile their relationship and help them in a positive manner. They tell her what she wants to hear. Our son see through this and has had to be honest and tell her and them that they have a one sided view of life. This has not been received well and they cannot really defend themselves.

So a summary: his partner and her five immediate family do not want him about.

He has moved out of the family home and has his ex-partners confidant is resident in the house he shares. She is being used to feed his ex-partner with personal information about what our son is doing and with whom he keeps company.

Now the crux of the issue: if she does not want to be with him – fare enough, life changes people; then let him go and work to be civil for the sake of everyone’s sanity. Let life takes it’s course, don’t be on at him every single time you feel the need. Don’t use the children as a tool to turn the screw on him. Don’t set the children up to resent him by subtle based leading questions, where yes is always the answer. They are programmed to say yes which is what she wants to hear only to reinforce her insecurity. Don’t lay traps for him by questioning her confidant. Last, but perhaps the biggest change: make your own mind up, without fishing for support from your own family who are of the same mind set as you.

Life is good and she can be so much better. However, reconciliation is not on the cards while there is no change or contrition.

Our son wants to be in the life of their children and support them but cost does have limits.

Physical Abuse

Parental duties are taken seriously by our son. He has their children every other week end and visits two nights a week.

He arrived and things were satisfactory. About the time she was to leave to go out a return time was discussed and she declared she expected to be much later than they had previously agreed. This was not really acceptable so he said no and an argument ensued.

An impasse was reached and he decided to simple leave. This was met with a physical assault. Gripping him forcefully around his neck and refusing to let go. He said OK he would stay to escape the situation and made his way to the back door and was followed and hit. His path was blocked so he returned to the front door and got out. He was followed into the street where shouting continued and more physical abuse ensued. He did away finally.

The disturbing thing is their children witnessed the whole event.

Fighting upstream is difficult

When disruptive and hurtful personalty traits are repeated against a partner they suffer unseen hurt. The problem eventually becomes: how long do you continue a relationship, even if there are children involved, while being an abused.

Here enters a problem: I am no expert but just a good witness, but I am very cautious to blame.

Witnessed

  • Regular belittlement, or putting their partner down in subtle ways by slight of tongue
  • Blaming their partner for the abuse or arguments
  • Often not acknowledging that abuse is happening
  • Playing abuse down as though it was just banter
  • Will not accept or unwilling to recognise the needs and feelings of others

Not witnessed – told by one side or the other

  • Reacts with rage or contempt
  • Tries to belittle the other person to make themselves appear superior
  • Willing to mislead people in by not stating the whole truth

This is not what a healthy relationship looks like or is based around – the opposite really.

These traits did not take long to be noticed in the relationship,  the thought process was simple; there is a nice person in there, a nice person that I love, and early in the relationship they were passed over as being how that person was when in certain circumstances.

Time passed, and when we met as a family the verbal abuse was more noticeable and less easy to pass off.  Why are you abusing this person?  What have they really done? Why are you continuing to dig at that person long after the event?  The cause did not warrant that level of response.  Often it was in full view of other family members, and those that had not witnessed it before did not see it for what it was – abuse.

Street angel, house devil, comes to my mind.  Behind closed doors reasonable adult judgement was not shown.  In public sweetness and light was the beacon to watch.  Arguments would start small and escalate out of control, often introducing spurious concerns unconnected and a goading process would unravel until stalemate existed and emotions were left very high.  Going to work etc. was the solution, but for only one person.

Emotionally, on both sides, there was no place to go, no unsaying something could be done to reset the status

Counselling has been tried but that has to be done as equals who both must want to explore the possibilities of recovery.  This can only be fruitful if both people accept that they bear a part of the cause.  One party does not feel there is anything wrong with their behaviour, actions or demands and will always want to win at any cost.

The response was to try and not get sucked into arguments so as to calm the situation, but this would cause the situation to get worse as claims of being unreasonable or objectionable would be made.

We are unsure of exactly how the ‘other’ family see the situation, but we do know there has been unfair pressure placed on one person to leave the family home.  So in effect a three woman attack (the aggressor, her mother and grand mother) has been made on one person.  A lesser person would have walked away months, if not longer, ago if were not for the children!

We have, and will always supported them both as we want their relationship to continue in a healthy way and fully understand this will be apart but the children must be protected and grow up with loving parents and a support network around them.

Gaslighting

I recognised a pattern of events and wondered whether there was a known condition that would explain what was driving these situations and therefore provide a solution to resolve the issues. Yes.

I was surprised, very surprised. It is a phenomena known as Gaslighting (been used in the plot of film – Gas Light 1940) that describes how a person systematically destroys the confidence of another by undermining their self esteem to a point where they sanity is also destroyed.

I researched further and read the accounts of Gaslighting and there were too many occurrences I witnessed that for me not to say there was in my opinion Gaslighting taking places. I was shocked!

Please accept I am a layperson, not a mental health professional but it left me worried.

The chilling thing is: all the advice about the outcomes were the same – leave as you have no fulfilling relationship and you stand a chance of serious mental health repercussion yourself.

Problem: there are children in the relationship.

My partner and I

We have cried together, we have laid awake and talked at three and four o’clock in the morning. We just don’t know what to do. We have two sons in difficult relationships.

We do not think we have been bad parents: there are always things that could be done differently, but nothing major.

It might sound harsh, and I want to say we fully support our sons, their partners and their children, but it is the two young ladies who have both had very difficult and different upbringings that are a cause for concern.

We can only support all of them, and not interfere.  They are our family!

The PIP process

This form is a nightmare.  It has been written in a pathetic style that is designed to fit everyone.  Bearing in mind it is to be completed by a range of people from physically disabled people to people with mental health issues it is based upon differences since the last time it was completed.  For many people remembering exactly how they were the last time the form was completed is impossible.

Life for this young lady has been dogged with past memories that cause great pain when relived, self harm has been done, abusive relationships lived through, with violent physical abuse received along with mental abuse.

Confidence is zero: self esteem is zero, self loathing is there and the vision that she has absolutely no future and is never listened to and even less understood are her daily thoughts and isolation through music blots out memories and the passage of time.

A wish not to affect her young child with negative attitudes has been the one constant wish, but, sadly is failing.

With this as the backdrop completing the form became a mountain to climb. Three or four evenings were spent with her partner trying to complete the form, but to no real avail.

I previously mentioned a one-size fits all questionnaire: the questions all read the same apart from the intent. In essence it is about the difference between two years ago and now. No real records existed for reference purposes and the pain of time means last weeks memory is a long time ago and incomplete.

I have known this lady for the last two years and I have witnessed a total decline of the persons mental health. I sat with this lady and had to search her thoughts and feelings to get the correct information – not my interpretation of her words, but her words.

Several times I would turn back to write and she would be gone to refuge. Occasionally she would return I and want to engage but with difficulty. I had to leave to return the next evening.

The allotted date arrived and it was not complete. I had arranged to visit her during the afternoon and phone the people, but much to my pleasure and surprise she had called them and an extension was offered.

SANE

I attended an introduction evening with the SANE Charity in North London. I had hoped to help them and as a spin-off understand what I could do better my family.

The evening was very well run and delivered a powerful message about what they did and how they did it.

It was only on the evening it became apparent that while a national charity they operated from one office in North London and had a minimum of three four hour shifts in a week over a year.

This was impractical for me due to commitments I already have.

Helping people in their time of crisis is a fantastic thing to do, and while I can’t help now, I may be able to do so in the future. I wish them good fortune in the future.

Going through the mill of coercive control

A family member and their partner are having a difficult time with their personal relationship and there is only so much moral support and guidance you can give them without becoming frustrated as the facts of the situation are taking them to separation and children are involved.

Their relationship is fragile.  One of them pushes the emotions of the other without understanding there are penalties and consequences of all life’s actions – with speech it is a memory.  There is an accumulation effect where previous ‘pushing’s’ are added too and a saturation point will arrive where change or break is the fork in the road: Decision time!

One person will simple talk in a passively aggressive way to the other and not listen to reasoned argument.  They have a point they want to get across at any cost and will not give in for any reason no matter how rude they are or how off topic they become. Tempers and emotions on both sides are raised.  The other person is engaged with the argument but is, due to the relentless barrage over a two year, or longer period, ow tries to become disengaged; but this aggravates the situation and that is then the new snippet argument that is taken forward.

No matter what happens it is only stopped by walking away and taking further abuse about not wanting to conclude the argument that is circular in nature and can’t be changed with out a mindset update.

It’s all about me: gas-lighting? Narcissistic attitudes?  An abusive relationship?

Joint counselling has been tried, but one side does not acknowledge there is a real problem and even if there was it’s not mine attitude is prevalent. I have not witnessed this but from conversations it is evident that one party is guarded in the conversation during counselling for fear of retribution at a later date. There was a fortuitous event that meant only one person could attend and true openness was allowed.

Footnote: separation is now happening but counselling has been agreed. I just hope the children are not held hostage!

Someone is being used!

A close friend of our sons partner happens to be a house mate of our son. She may not realise this but she is being pumped for information about our son by his ex-partner.

What is said we don’t really know, as what we hear is possible somewhere between a lie and the truth! But it always has a spin against our son – yes I would say that, but …

Their children stayed with our son overnight and a short time after we were told that the children did not want to stay with him again, as they did not like seeing our son kissing his new partner.

We have been told that previously his ex-partner had had a weekend away with a chap, but the weekend had not gone that well. We know no more.

How bitter can someone be?

During the last few months the partner of our son and the mother to two granddaughters has shown her true colours by her bitter actions.  It’s getting to an identifiable stage where the children are being used as a point of reference to bargain with.

Having moved out of the family home our son still acknowledges his duties to support his children and be a responsible father.  This includes the major responsibility such as providing the same level of support as he would do as if he was there. Namely money and contact.  This becomes a little difficult as work demands and living a short way away creates there own logistical problems.

A weekend was being planned to visit us and it was thought that the children could not travel as they would be away from her for to long a time.  However the following weekend she wanted a break with, I believe her new partner, and those rules were forgotten.

Access to the children is under stick control now, if not rationed.

More talking …

The sessions I had with the therapist were strange to start with. Never in my life had I ever spoken so openly to anyone about me.

She listened and showed only empathy.  Occasionally asking questions that took me in a parallel direction but allowed my concentration to pick up on buried experiences in depths of my mind.  I was never questioned in a way that appeared to apportion blame or cast doubt

I’ll say now, at every session I cried.  I did not feel embarrassed at all, and not any better for doing so either.  Even now the closest I can get to for trigger moments is my total disgust with myself for my inability in times of need not to be able help others.

I could not help at the train crash or the suicide, so I became a victim of circumstance; which I could not accept but also could not reduce the anguish I felt.

I fear blood. I pass out and end up having to receive help.

So a double hit for my emotions and feelings: can’t help BUT BUT BUT I must.

Our discussion first had to workout which was my biggest concern, the train crash or the suicide.

Both events were as vivid today as if it had happened yesterday.  I had had longer to stew on the train accident and it was this event that gave me the greatest torment.

During the last year – Talking Theories

Late in publishing

Roundabout this time last year (2016) I was anxious as to what to expect from counselling.  I was open minded in as much I accepted I had to have help.  But unsure as to how my mind would be prepared to give up what it was hiding from me let alone to a stranger.

I had had one session and felt very comfortable in the presence of the lady therapist.  I was given straightforward guidance:  I hold the answer, I will be lead, not pushed and on the whole I will set the pace. I was happy with this.  I should expect to dig deep into my past.  I was reassuring and said I would be open and honest.

We talked about were I was, what triggered my actions and how those actions were played out.  Even now I do not like my self for responding how I did, but …

In short and mentioned in previous pages; when purposely provoked I would have great problems containing my emotions and let rip taking no prisoners.  Afterwards I would inwardly brew and beat my self up.  The pain of this never dissipated it just accumulated with the last and I know the next.

The therapist asked about people who I admired and could draw inspiration from when needed at a time of provocation.  It took a little time (two, three weeks) and I chose Gandalf, Schindler and Banardo.

Gandalf for his ability to always have a great grasp of the issues, an answer and present his case in a calm and compassionate way while listening to others point of views.

Schindler for his true compassion and not wanting or expecting anything in return.

Banardo for his wish to help children who in their formative years need love and compassion in a safe environment and again with no personal benefit.

This idea brings forward the expectation that I can take inspiration from them and act according to good role models that come with my very own recommendations.

The problem is the short fuse I have.  I have a firework rocket in one hand and a lite match in the other … it does not take long to … it’s a shorter time than it is divert my attention with an intervention.

I am not unique

Reading other people’s blogs who were sharing their mental health issue was mind-calming to me, and I am sorry for being trite, showed me that I am not as unique as I thought I was.

I follow other people and organisation with #tags relating to mental health and such, and find them supportive in a personal way. However, I cannot, yet, declare my identity as I don’t feel safe.

This is contrary to the in vogue message of promoting mental health issues wherever in the workplace etc.

The Future is Bright, the Future is Mental Health.

This was me (below) but life has moved on. Counselling showed me I was not to blame and I can change my perspective on the past and remember it.  It is okay, safe and not disloyal to others to remember what happened without the negative effect that came to drive my life.

You don’t need me to tell you how mental health has come to the fore but this blog has evolved for me, as mental health issues are affecting every part of my family and family life.  It is as though from nowhere we are all involved at a deep routed profound level of existence.

I have now given myself a wider remit as I want to record what is happening as, to be honest, I can’t believe what we are going through. I thought we were a normal family and if everyone is as normal as we are it is a rum life we have.

This was me: A confused person suffering with PTSD.  Confused as I feel a fraud. People I know still see the old me, old because I know I have changed, and I feel cannot understand what I am going through on the inside.  I would consider myself a mild sufferer as I don’t exhibit every PTSD trait.

Why don’t I write more?

My life has drastically changed over the last two to three years, mostly for the better, but I cannot see how the grief I have has come my way.  I am not an innocent bystander, I am a bit-part player in other people’s lives, all be it sometimes unwittingly.

I have not been asleep and missed things.  I have not stumbled blindly into situations.  The signals and signs have been there but the onslaught has been relentless and in some cases simply overwhelming.

Well, why don’t I write more?  A simple question, but a complex answer is needed.

I enjoy writing; I like the discipline of being thorough, accurate and ordered. I want to be factually correct, concise, fluent and chronological.

These factors are like the sword of Damocles for me.

For me writing is painfully slow and the end result must be balanced and fully reflect my meaning and sentiment as defending self-contractions in future times is painful.  It could also generate distrust by others.

The problem I see is only I know the facts of my life and this is my perspective.  This is my bubble.  Due to my anonymity no one else can check the facts. My facts may come across as opinions, which can be questioned but are not wrong!  So on I go …

I want to write more often, but the rigorous process stifles me, and stops spontaneity; so I must change.

I plan to write non-chronologically which means I might have to use sign posts to past entries and sign post to future entries which may take a time to be written.  This may mean it looks or feels jumbled but it will aid my desire to write more.

Success will tell when I reflect, in say a years time.

… and so it ended

My time came to an end. I became aware that all the talking I had needed to do had been done, and talking anymore, and being helped, would not add to my level of understanding. I felt comfortable with my situation.

All the unpacking of stuck and un-reconciled thoughts had been sufficiently unpacked and restored suitable.  Any more talking or EMDR would not expand my knowledge or understanding of the events or sooth my feelings and emotions more.

We did a round up and a summary flowed. It’s okay to remember and not feel upset or guilty.  It’s okay to have sad memories but they should not drag me down or be allowed to act as fuse to ignite emotions.

My inherent desire to help should be limited in expectations to what I can reasonable do, and I should not feel guilty about not doing enough!

This end was, even now, unexpected on my part.  I sat down for a session and I concluded I felt things had run there course.  I had spoken enough, listened enough and cried enough.  It no longer gripped me on recall.  I was happy to recall and be in that past moment again but with a subdued emotional feeling.

Bloody PIP

 

Well, the PIP process carries on. I took time off work to take our sons partner to her PIP interview. The journey was uneventful but anxiety showed in her as we approached our destination. Cold sweet, stammers in her voice and a reluctance to want to attend took over.

Once we found the place it was off for a comfort break. Tea and coffee later we went back.

The chap on reception was very helpful and polite and we waited and waited. Our sons partner became more and more agitated and went outside and was sick.

On her return I had to break the news her paperwork was not there and they did not know where it was. I expected a full blown outburst, was pleasantly surprised at how calm we all were.

Her paper work was in a far off distant office as a home visit had been requested by the CPN and needed a Doctors approval but no one was bothered to wait until it had been agreed before making the appointment.

Controlled tears were shed and a reticence set in that acknowledge that it had all gone wrong again.

We left not really knowing when the visit would be or where.

Moving out!

Leaving relationship where children are involved is not done on a whim. The reason will become distant memories in the future, but the pain will keep you awake at night.

Environmental Psychology has explanations on what attracts people. Earning potential is just one aspect of this fatal attraction. So when one partner can’t see the benefit of earning more than just a subsistence wage but wants a higher life style it should not be rocket science to see there is a mismatch in life’s expectations.

Time came when the balance of sanity had to be addressed. A new home for a single person was found and they moved out.

Total meltdown

Starting on a new course is an exciting thing. It may come with trepidation but not with fear. That is to say a stereotypical thought and does not apply to some one with anxiety. I missed a trick in trying to deescalate a situation and paid the price.

Time had been built into the day to allow for changes and arriving relaxed. I was providing transport and child care. The car seat was moved into my car but not fitted. We had time!

Securing the car seat was a bit of a faff as my hands do not allow the clip to be passed through the seat covers with ease, but it was done as a joint effort. The next step – secure child in seat proved so difficult that it did not happen. The webbing between the child’s legs had been pulled tight, by me, that in no way could the shoulder straps be positioned over the child’s shoulders unless they were of only paper thickness.

Neither I or the parent could release the tightness of the straps. We tried every which way we could but no. We took the chair out and looked and poked it everywhere but the shoulder straps would not budge.

All this time my grandson was climbing through the gap between the front seats thinking every time we moved he was being chased. Buttons were pushed in more than one way! The parents temper broke and harsh words spoken, and not because of that his full nappy started to leak, yes out over the car seats.

The parent went passed that point where talking would help recovery. I spoke to the course organiser and explained the situation and it was my fault and this was understood and appreciated. The parent was now in shock and could not be reconciled. Thoughts of failure were spoken, thoughts of nothing every going properly were said and my suggestion of calling for a taxi was rebuffed by pointing out to me that this, say 15m, was the farthest she had been from the front door in over a week.

We returned indoors where I had to bath my grandson due to the nappy explosion.

We agreed I would visit the course venue and check what we should do as she was very worried she would be kicked off the course. They understood and it was not a problem.

For the life of PIP’s

Renewing a PIP is not for the faint heart-ted; for someone with mental health issues of PTSD, Anxiety, ERD it is a stressful process that has caused near breakdown with withdrawal from life in general and a hinted desire to end it all.

Moving house from one which was overcrowded, but had everything in its correct place, was tidy, warm and homely, to a place that was, decoration wise, bad to poor, where there was no place to put anything away, with bare floors and stairs was a step to far.

Not that it’s potential was unseen, just the background issue exasperated the situation.

Agoraphobia crept in to a point where the youngest member of the family spent a disproportionate time in a high chair in front of the television while the mother hid her self away and would not leave the house.

I might be impartial but the young member is bright, alert, happy, caring for those around him and greatly enjoys the company of others. Play School is not an option as going out only to be judged by EVERYONE for EVERYTHING was not a viable proposition. If something can go wrong it will go wrong and will be four or five times the magnitude of the EVERY-OTHER persons problems and will cause more withdrawal from life and more pressure.

It’s not only the sufferer who suffers, or the infant, but partners. No matter what the father said he was wrong, got scolded, got chastised, got pushed away and not wanted. It’s sad, very sad.

The PIP form is ‘one form’ fits all, and while to those who wrote it with clarity and brevity in mind miss the bloody point. I am not sure whether the form is designed to be intimidating, but that is what it is.

EMDR – Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy

Not surprisingly EMDR was a new thing to me.  So I instinctively researched the topic.  Like it said in the material: the actual reason it works is not fully understood but it does.

The link above is to a US site; it describes a clear procedure to follow in a numbered section.  With hindsight I was taken through the process.

My sessions were conducted using headphones and a regular click alternating between my ears to achieve by-lateral stimulation.

The premise is: there are unsaved memories stored within the mind that have not been fully assimilated to become a fully reconciled memories.  These un-reconciled memories are in an unconscious state but never the less feed and disrupt other mental activities, which manifest in different ways, for different people at various times with different trigger moments.  Needless to say the outcome is usually negative.

While this ‘left click, right click, left click’ continues I was to be engaged with questions to consider answers for which, for unknown reasons, unpacks the un-reconciled memory and gracefully slides all the anguish and hurt into new homes within the mind in an organised and non-anguished way.

So in my terms, it is de-fragmenting my mind to remove the harmful information by neutralising it.

PIP – If it can go wrong, it will, twice!

The form was sent off and shortly after a meeting arranged. Child care was arranged, transport for the return trip arranged. On the day the car broke down.

Telephone calls made and apologise made but underlying this was a feeling of failure but not of her making.

A second interview was arranged, but no transport could be provided by friends and family. At the destination station only stairs existed and when a stranger was asked about disabled access the stranger was rude and very disparaging towards her. Rather than help she left a mother and child in distress.

I have witnessed melts down of this young lady and I am very impressed how she coped.

Telephone calls were made and proof of train tickets had to be provided to satisfy the agency.

We are now waiting for the next visit to take place.

It is an onslaught on life

Yesterday I had a message from a family member who was in distress; a close friend, who we also knew, had committed suicide by hanging. This is the second close friend to be lost in 36 months.  The first, due to an overdose of drugs but at the moment it is unclear what the true motivation was.

My family member took the first death very badly as their friendship had been strong and the circumstances of the overdose were very sad.  I don’t want to write more for fear of identifying anyone.

When I was a part of someone else’s suicide I did a lot of sole searching as to why that person had that as the only option.  Had they sort help?  Why had it not worked?  Who was in their life and did they know?  Had they been rebuked?  Who had they left behind?  Why could they not speak to anyone?  I could continue but I have no greater insight.

Some people think it is a selfish act on the part of the victim, having been through PTSD I think not.  Anxiety always lived just under surface of my thoughts in a shady place, sometimes in my consciousness but mostly not.  When a trigger event happened expressive anxiety kicked in and rational thought, for me anyway, just did not exist.  My thoughts would take place at rocket speed and just be bounced around in my mind introducing stray thoughts into the balance and there was no external stimulus could penetrate my gruff exterior.  Lasting seconds only, but feeling much longer until rationality, followed by remorse and conciliation happened.

For some, suicide is a logical solution to a problem where they see no end to negative external stimulus.

A theory I have

I have a theory: As the use of drugs has become more common the norm has changed such that public seems to be complacent with defeatist acceptance that nothing can be done and it must therefore be ok.

The debate as to whether cannabis should be legalised or not is an indication, to me at least, that all is not well. It’s easy to just say it’s no more damaging than alcohol but those sentiments are expressed by those people who have not seen what damage alcohol and drugs actually causes.

Addiction is crippling, it threatens family life, children, parents and society.  It causes chaos within families where none existed. It causes … I could go on … but just rant, which is not what I want.

Any addiction needs feeding to satisfy the demand, a demand that places individuals in harms way.

Partner has a hard time

The partner in this relationship is suffering greatly.  He phones home during the working day to a non-greeting.  He arrives home from work to simple see his partners feet disappear up the stairs to leave him looking after his son.  No feelings are shown to him.

When we are altogether he just gets harsh and rude disparaging words grunted towards him.  He can do no good.

He does a very physical job and if I don’t say so my self works very hard for the money he earns.

I see the damage being caused to his feelings and it hurts me.  He is standing by his partner and child but for how long is the question.

Reflection …

Just remembered an experience – perhaps 55 years ago.  While a young child, I had what people now say are out-of-body experiences.  I would be above me while I was asleep in my bed. Looking down and around, no noise, no panic. I was aware I existed twice.

This is now a reflective comment: during the EMDR sessions I felt involved with the event in a way that my thoughts had barred me from.

In a strange and reflective way this is how I responded when under the influence of the bilateral simulation of EMDR. The emotional feelings were mine but their impact was not present.

Prior to counselling I would cry when recalling either of the two major events I had been through. I don’t now. I would describe my feelings and emotions as being mournful and respectful. However I must not forget!

I am not saying there is a meta-physical connection but a coincidence is present.

Oh! For the love of a mother …

A little history: around her birthday and Christmas anxiety builds. Tempers fray, hiding away becomes a desire that pushes everyone away; that includes me, other family members and their child. This is a pattern that was noticed over a three year period and discussed this evening – with openness and tears.

Difficult memories are revisited by her and the question that arises is ‘… why did my two parents who had me, do so much to destroy me and my childhood and not even give a —- about me then or now, and why have I been spurned when I have tried to make contact …’

Her sister is older and their aunt and grand parents are about but are distant and offer no family support and contact has been lost.

These times are difficult as she is amongst a strong family, who talk with family history at their finger tips, who have a shared past, and have love and kinship. These things have been denied her and she really craves it.

She would like to understand what a child could have done to be inflicted with this pain that is still not resolved after 30 years and has wrecked her life.

Her mother and farther, and her mother’s lover, played a disastrous role in her up-bringing that has caused grief for 30 years. Drugs and alcohol were the foundation of their life, and they got away without honouring their natural duties as parents.

We include her in our family and love her as our own child, for which we are acknowledged, but we cannot sweep away her feelings and whatever we say must sound like an apology for bad parents.

I do not know what we can do, what we can say, how we can help. It’s a huge problem, and a very fine line as to whether what we say helps or hinders recovery.

Questions – questions

Each week I had homework to do … think about this, think about that.  No problem to me as it was mostly thinking … and thinking about me.

I had a standard form to complete each week that was used to gauge my improvement, or decline in attitude to my life and anxious moments.  It stayed pretty constant.

One thing did surprise me, and it should not have done so, was a question as to whether I had contemplated suicide as a solution.  No, not at all.  I only thought about it when I read the question for the first time.

However, I did want a sanguine revenge though: I wanted a number of people to know how they had contributed to my plight and what it had done to me.

That was not going to happen as they were too well connected both within and outside the company for me to be listened to.

Friday, another Friday – panic and mayhem

For a conducive working spirit harmony has to prevail.  Harmony inculcates teams to overcome adversities. So when you are sworn at do so at your peril.

Deadlines were well described in a previous blog so another Friday’s deadline is no surprise really apart from this was the postponed deadline from last week with a twist; not resourced adequately. One young person was pulled from pillar to post and was being given instructions to do this by one,  no change that back, by another, move that here, no here by another.  No coordinating of the work between themselves.

So when sworn at in one of the many harassment and bullying telephone calls he said enough is enough and stopped work long enough to make a formal complaint. This resulted in a good number of telephone calls before his work was concluded.  Yep, deadline missed … again.

There is a moral here: if you want your team to work hard and deliver – treat them with respect. This is even more critical if there is only one person in your team!

Its Wednesday and panic day – again

Deadlines are necessary, they allow whole projects to be broken down into small sections of work and resources allocated and progress monitored. They are a good tool.  However, when one key person lets the team down by underperforming the planned outcome never happens as desired.

I had switched the phone off, turned off the email, ditched every non-essential activity, like making tea and stopping to eat, to make sure I was going to meet my deadline. So with a deadline approaching and the finishline in sight 15 minutes before is not a good time to make changes that generate four or five hours work.  I should say that this was a new deadline specifically created due to Mr Underperforming forgetting this was needed and delivering it to me late. So with expediency in mind I completed minimal changes that I considered acceptable and issued it for checking.

I was castigated over the telephone so much so that I hung up and would not take further calls from him. I dared to issue something not 100% complete.  This was forgetting that the documents issued by Mr Irrational are a pile of incomplete, dimensionally inaccutate, missrepresentations of the partial solutions. But thats ok!

Mr Irrational (not Mr Underperforming) automatically considered that I would stay and complete the work: I could not – prior commitments.  As I would could not stay I had to give everything to someone else to complete. Mr Someone-else could not. He had already spent most of the day in another panic for Mr Irrational answering telephone call after call, email after email while juggling with a keyboard and mouse and taking instruction from three other people. At one stage Mr Someone-else told Mr Irrational that as he, Mr Irrational that is, would not stop and listen to his questions there was no real way forward. Made no difference!

 

Friday and its panic day – again

This particular Friday started with the knowledge that a large issue of documents had to go out by 3:00pm.  This was only necessary as the issue was surposed to be the previous Wednesday but was changed.

Early in the day we were alerted to the problem another office had landed themselves in and we were instucted to complete their work. All resources in our office were deployed so something had to give. At first the project manager had great problems understanding we could not meet both deadlines and had a hissyfit.  Time was taken to explain the problem and it appears he made the decission for the resource to be redeployed and was asked to confirm his agreement and inform the client that the package of work we were responsible for would be delayed, and further delayed as the key person was on holiday the follwoing week – its a tough life but someone gets paid hamsonly to do it.

It then became apparent that the task was not straightforward and the skills necessary to do the job quickly, accurately and consicely were not there, but a start had to be made. More design work was required than anticipated and after lunch, could be 2:0pm it became clear the deadline could not be met.

The project manager insisted that the person who had started the work should stay well into the evening to complete the work and be thankful.  He was serverly upset when told no.

The work was then packaged up and returned to the other office to complete.  Cutting the story short they were still working on it on Monday.

This is a classic example of knee-jerk management that dispite all the effort put in both deadlines were missed.

28 Years ago today!

It seems rather fitting to return to writing today as it’s the anniversary of the train accident I was in. I had not planned this; it just came to me ten minutes ago.

I will backtrack in the near future as I was advised to stop writing at the start of my treatment which started nearly a year ago.

The ‘now’ is good, very good. Today I have remembered and unlike the 27 previous years do not feel guilty, I have no anguish and no tears.

The strange thing is and will always be I was surprised that an event so long ago was the seat of my PTSD.

I don’t know who will read this or my previous writings but if you are suffering please get help.

More very shortly …

Been advised not to write

Only a little keyboard exercise 🙂

I am undergoing counselling sessions and been advised not to write down my feelings. I fully understand the explanation but miss this outlet like hell.

I think that while writing I am incorrectly solving the problems I have and I need to be counselled with unfettered thoughts that have not been cross-influenced.

Its dawned on them … things need to be checked

A full circle has been made … and not before time …

Firstly, I have managed to move groups so I am away from the irrational people. That was the good news, the bad news is my new location is only 3m away from where I sat and I can still hear the machinations of the day.

The full circle is having frog marched people into issuing incorrect information while having the expectation of being able pull the wool over people’s eyes simply so deadline were hit, failed. They were noticed ha f ha.

So the new regime is; information can only be issued if it is correct. Well, what a surprise! Shock horror, correct information, whatever next! That is what all industries, hmm! apart from banking, are expected to do by default.

There is a nuance here that should be explained. There is a difference between being substantially correct and not misleading to being incorrect through lack of design experience and/or resources being used to solve a problem or not as the case may be. The former is controllable and will reflect the design stage at which the information is concerned. The later catches people out.

Time to Talk is talking

I had the all-important telephone call … come in it’s time to talk. But first …

It has taken a great deal of time to get this counselling; this is not the fault of the lady who I was scheduled to meet, but the system, which if you break that down further comes down to resources.

When resources are short, it is, I think, a natural instinct to try and cope. This applies to life in general not just this situation: look to reduce waste, look for better ways to process information, try and cut-out unnecessary activities, redesign activities and process etc. When these have been exhausted, future options become difficult.

All my working life (could be 40 years – can’t be bothered to calculate it) I have tolerated politicians of all persuasions saving me money on the services I have to use. Time and time again ‘… we need to reduce wastage. Yes, on the back of the last bout of waste reducing policies we just made and have not yet completed.’ Services I have paid for, services run by people who are dedicated through and through to public service with compassion and humility – good people who don’t subscribe to profit at any cost. Let’s make it clear, that is not the same as being anti-capitalist at all. We have all benefited from capitalism regardless of political persuasion and I do not want to offer this forward as for speaking for everyone else, but I am against rip-off-capitalism.

Our Government, I believe, do not have to publish accounts to prove what they are saying is true and correct. They all stumble between projections of what they want and shortfalls made by previous post holders.

Austerity is just a rouse through which the Government use to put a veneer over its hidden agenda of privatising everything through rip-off-capitalism; the great British public are not supposed to have any common sense at all, through another set of policies in education, to be able to see the bigger picture that in general is profit orientated – capitalism of the rip-off variety and not compassionate service based.

So we are in a situation where the first past-the-post system of representation allows about 25% of the populace to have their way and dismantle society without being challenged. BUT the people who are doing it don’t have the balls to tell people the truth.

I felt it necessary to say this as it is why I feel my appointment was, I would think about three months late.

There was an administrative mix-up about venue which we resolved. I felt very comfortable talking to the lady, who reassuringly was able to interject with facts that we had talk about over the telephone, possible two months previously. I felt she had taken the trouble to research my predicament and understood what I had been through.  We discussed the process I was going to go through and with a layman’s hat on it made sense. I say process as I think I have to unpack things, unlearn things and repack only what I want to move forward with. Even having gone through various things over the last three months and felt happier, note happier, not happy, I still have reservations about the ethics of letting go of the suicide victim. I am happy where I am, but I know I have to revisit that aspect.

On balance I feel this accident was the opening that exposed a vulnerability to my true feelings that had been there, possible since the previous train accident, which I had not addressed. It may sound trite but it may be a man thing. ‘It’s my duty to be a man, cope, ignore it and it will go away.’ It don’t.

I was given a form to complete that recorded my emotions to daily successes and failures. I appreciate what it is for but I don’t see my life in this way. My job involves ‘designing’ solutions to problems. I regularly go through failures as that is an intrinsic part of the process. I have my work peer reviewed and questioned daily, that is not failure or success, it is a professional way of working. Well, it was the arrogant removal and substitution with unprofessional people in this process with people who do not know the difference between hay and a bulls foot that was the trigger at work for me to stand my ground. (Read unprofessional in attitude and not professional qualified to do such work.)

My thoughts on how I handled the situation have changed since I was off work for a month: I am far less benevolent. I have witnessed many other people being treated in a similar manner to myself and have seen similar responses. Four people have left the company, I have moved to another group and two more are on the verge of leaving. In summary 280 years of experience reduced about 10 year’s. In my opinion a real masterclass in constructive dismissal.

I do think regularly about my situation and while it has been just over two weeks since my last blog entry my thoughts are about ‘where am I’ are not negatively biased but more around, ‘I can change whatever I want’ and ‘where do I go to get out of the mind set I am in’, and critically ‘where do I want to go, what do I want to be, what type of person should I be’. I an still trying to understand me and my normal.

Press here: to reset your emotions

I had recognised what was happening in my life (this blog is my history – well, its work in progress) and I knew certain aspects of it had to change for my mental health to adjust to what I want as my normal. I don’t want other people passing their crap to me as though it was a right they paid me for. I for many years considered this type of working relationship a necessary evil to make progress on both the work promotion front and to get a job finished. I had to change how I responded to external stimuli in my life.

At work I am trying to become detached from the everyday chaos that is still the modus operandi. I am now able to let things flow past me and not become inwardly angry with what is happening. This is a cultivated response which is fuelled by my desire to let those responsible for the problems they cause to remain responsible for them. Time and arrogance will be the only witness!

Due to how we are being managed at work, when something is brewing that I should have a professional interest in, I ask myself … Is what I might say going to add any information and take the debate forward; if yes consider carrying on. Next, … will what I might say be remembered for what it’s worth and taken in the spirit it is intended; if yes consider carrying on. Then, … Is this just a rehash of a previous problem being re-asked because the previous answer was not liked; if yes consider stopping. Lastly, … will I just get the bums rush and ignored regardless of my contribution; if yes don’t bother, just stop there and don’t get involved.

This again is a cultivated response that is becoming easier to use as it is stress neutral by reducing the frequency of being given the bums rush and having the personal problems and grief associated with it.

In my private life I am rearrange things to rebalance my wellbeing. I am spending more time doing less. I am not planning every minute of every day at home. I am emotionally neutral if I don’t complete something I am working on and I am happy to take a break in another room whenever I want and for however long I want. I am not worried if I don’t leave the house on time if I don’t need to.

I have pressed the reset button on my emotions.

 

Frequency and who suffers?

I appreciate there are lies, dammed lies and statistics and we only have to look at how politicians bend statistics to tell the great public things that are utterly plausible and accepted as true on face value.


Lies, damned lies, and statistics” is a phrase describing the persuasive power of numbers, particularly the use of statistics to bolster weak arguments. It is also sometimes colloquially used to doubt statistics used to prove an opponent’s point.

The term was popularised in United States by Mark Twain (among others), who attributed it to the British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” However, the phrase is not found in any of Disraeli’s works and the earliest known appearances were years after his death. Several other people have been listed as originators of the quote, and it is often erroneously attributed to Twain himself.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lies,_damned_lies,_and_statistics Accessed 26/03/2016


That is until the facts are dissected by people who know about this type of deception. Once the facts are understood in context of their source rarely do they represent their original claim.

Facts are facts so depending on many factors you may considered enlighten or duped.

So, in summary many political outpourings such as in manifesto or worse policy are unadulterated propaganda that is skillfully dressed up and presented as facts. I draw no distinction between any political party with their spin doctors or a lobbying company with their money and in some cases charities and note the more totalitarian or tyrannical the organization or country the more they believe their own stories or want us to believe them.

Long gone are evidence based policies: just another example of irrationality in life. We seem to suffer from a rash of self-serving people whose aim is to increase their personal wealth by slight-of-hand and to the detriment of anyone and everyone who is there. Statistics are a wonderful tool and when aimed at a sheep mentality audience who aspire to ape the presenters they are believed with the same fervour as an athlete gasps for air when (s)he crosses the finish line. By the time (s)he gets their breath back the damage is done!

I mention the above as trying to find sources of data for mental health issues is difficult. I can find interpretation of facts but at present not facts. I have visited the ONS (uk) and mentioned then earlier and I am sure will do so in the future.

My research will now start in earnest: I will be looking into the main political parties last manifestos and policy statements; key charities statement of intent and other policy documents, the NHS and local commissioning agencies.

If you have any suggestions I would be pleased to have them.

Passive aggression is deliberate

This research is starting to reveal hidden depths that people will step down to get either what they want or what they have been told achieve while not being discovered.


Extract:

Passive aggression is a deliberate and masked way of covert feelings of anger (Long, Long & Whitson, 2009). It involves a variety of behaviours designed to get back at another person without the other recognising the underlying anger. In the long run, passive-aggressive behaviour can be even more destructive to relationships than aggression. Over time, relationships with a person who is passive-aggressive will become confusing, discouraging, and dysfunctional.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/passive-aggressive-diaries/201601/6-steps-confronting-passive-aggressive-behavior Accessed 17/03/2016


Paraphrase of Extract:

Without intent it is not considered as aggressive.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/passive-aggressive-diaries/201601/6-steps-confronting-passive-aggressive-behavior Accessed 17/03/2016


So, my own claims of being verbally aggressive were not ‘aggressive’ at all as they were done at a time when I was responding very quickly to a situation I was manoeuvred into. There was no premediated intent. I did not want to be aggressive in fact I mentioned twice how much my action really hurt me.


Extract:

To delineate the range of behaviours that can be considered aggressive workplace behaviours, researchers have developed schemes of classification for workplace aggression. Neuman and Baron (1998) offer these three dimensions that encompass the range of workplace aggression:

  1. Expressions of hostility – behaviours that are primarily verbal or symbolic in nature
  2. Obstructionism – behaviours intended to hinder an employee from performing their job or the organization from accomplishing its objectives
  3. Overt aggression – violent acts

In an attempt to further break down the wide range of aggressive workplace behaviours, Baron and Neuman (1996) also classify workplace aggression based on these three dichotomies:

  1. Verbal–physical
  2. Direct–indirect
  3. Active–passive

Aggressive acts can take any possible combination of these three dichotomies. For example, failing to deny false rumours about a co-worker would be classified as verbal–passive–indirect. Purposely avoiding the presence of a co-worker you know is searching for your assistance could be considered physical–passive–direct.

Other researchers offer a classification system based on the aggressor’s relationship to the victim.

  1. Criminal intent (Type I) – this type of aggression occurs when the aggressor has no relationship to the victim or organization.
  2. Customer/client (Type II) – the aggressor has a relationship with the organization and aggresses while they are being served as a customer.
  3. Worker on worker (Type III) – both the aggressor and the victim are employees in the same organization. Often, the aggressor is a supervisor, and the victim is a subordinate.
  4. Personal relationship (Type IV) – the aggressor has a relationship with an employee at an organization, but not the organization itself. This category includes victims who are assaulted by a domestic partner while at work.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Workplace_aggression Accessed 17/03/2016


All this to me is starting to make me believe that while I felt wrong and inwardly hurt at work and because of my behaviour I was actually being far more rational than I had thought or even given myself credit for.

No, I am not paranoid, and I am not searching for excuses to offer on my behalf, I am trying to understand. Others are now starting to challenge the action of others as things are catching up with them as well

 

 

Today – long car journey, thinking …

I have spent nine hours today motorway driving. This included about an hour this morning in slow and sometimes stationary traffic. I enjoy driving, apart from the journey of my recent accident, which came up in thought on both the outward and homeward journey.

I nearly have the need and reason to explain why I have not been as proactive as I should have been. It’s not critical but a curtesy thing really. I started to play through what I was going to say and it naturally gravitated to explaining about my accident. At which time I welled up and wanted to cry. I don’t really know the chap although he has always been friendly and encouraging towards me I don’t know his politics. I don’t mean Politics I mean how he views things such as this: which is a barrier, he is a stranger really.

On the way home I had to drive under the bridge where I had my accident. This I have done for nearly every working day for six months, but the lighting conditions were near as they had been on the night AND a car driver used their breaks in the roughly the same spot as the accident. My memory flow stopped, my hearing stopped and my gaze froze: I just passed the scene in splendid silence.

Open Offer

As I move through this time of thinking and reflecting on what happened and how I am returning to my former self (I have an internal debate about that) I am starting to notice mental health issues everywhere.

It might sound contrived but a day does not pass without a comment on the radio or a news item on television about mental health. It may just be the typical situation that when something touches you, you become more inclined to see things associated with it: Much like why people become involved with charities.

I feel I want to comment on these things as they have had a direct impacted on me, all be it lightly in my view, but the problem is there are many better qualified people writing about current affairs and being active in this area than me. I only have one view on this and don’t want to just rant about it, or just moan because I can see injustices.

OPEN OFFER: If you are personally affected by a mental health issue or know someone who is and feel they would benefit from having a coherent article written for them please contact me. I will talk with them over an extended period of time and photograph them and write accordingly.

This is not an offer to be their champion and challenge anyone or any organisation on their behalf, but simple to portray their predicament accurately. I will publish their story.

There will be other things to setup to ensure we are working together in a professional way and only after these are in place will we start.

Isolationism

I don’t want to be an isolationist but I fear talking to people about PTSD who have not experienced it; it is difficult because I feel I don’t want to have to explain why I feel what I feel and I don’t want the knock-back because they don’t get it. I don’t always have the right words to say. Its not the same in anyway to typing this now: I am in control, I can rewrite and rewrite as many times as I like to express exactly what I want to say.

It’s a shame Mental Health is considered …

If I break a leg and people see it in a plaster cast they can qualify easily what has happened and a have a good idea of what they could reasonably expected me to do. They would also recognise I had recovered when I have my plaster cast removed.

My PTSD – my appearance has not changed. I physically look the same and on the whole I now behave the same; I might have coping strategies in place to deal with certain situations that I want to avoid but people who know me judge me based upon their hang-ups in their minds not the facts before them or an understanding of what I am thinking.

Broken bones can be fixed, mental health issues, for many onlookers, can’t be fixed – ever or at least until they forget. From my perspective, i.e. not an expert witness or mental health practitioner, I feel many things just rebalance themselves. I have stronger feelings about allsorts of things now, but balance is there.

I feel I am lucky and now appreciate there are many thousands of people who bear witness to being stigmatized because of a label that has been used to group similar attributes, in this case mental health conditions, so easy reference can be made to them: they can be counted, sorted, rearranged as statistics to either prove or disprove a theory, or be tested upon with treatments: and perhaps worse of all ignored by politicians as they consider them as a minority group who cannot organise themselves and as such will not have an impact on their political ambitions.

This is not a scientific based theory and I don’t know whether any research could actually prove, or disprove this come to that matter, but I suspect there are far far greater differences in people and people’s attitudes about life and politics in general than separate people with mental health issues from those who think they are normal – it’s that word again ‘normal’. So why the hang-ups?

Please let me know what you think normal is?

A safe place for memories

With help I packaged up many thoughts from my conscious mind and stored them in a safe place where I can choose to look at when I want. The deal is; they stay there as a complete memory; anger, unhappiness, feelings of sadness, self loathing as I could not help – to name a few, so I could move on; and remember them when I want on my terms. I was scared to just dump them as I felt it disrespectful. They are my history, they have forged a different part of me, which, like it or not, is now well embedded within me.

I have after two months of putting these thoughts aside successfully I have visited them once – just now. Why, I have no idea. I was able to remember things, replay the two separate events, see my self at the scenes – still disliking my responses of the time. I replayed the encounters with the irrational people I have the misfortune to work with and don’t feel my blood rising.

They are now back in storage and happy for being remembered and glad not to have been forgotten.

It has in someways been like rereading a paragraph of a book that I thoroughly enjoyed the first time and had great expectations of reliving my enjoyment again only to find it an anticlimax. Strange – I feel really good about that. I never thought an anticlimax could be enjoyable or even beneficial.

I am not very good at remembering birthdays and anniversaries so to ensure I do pay my respect to all people I know, whether here with me or departed I have for many years used Remembrance Sunday in November as my key date for recon-pence. That day is a ‘collective humanity day’ – for me at least.

Want to learn … Passive Aggressive behaviour

I have mentioned before that want to know more about what make me tick. Again I have mentioned a blog I have started to read in which ‘Passive Aggressive’ behaviour was mentioned, so, I followed through and a clip of a description is below.


Extract: Passive Aggression in the Workplace

In the workplace a passive-aggressive employee or employer may use these techniques as a form of control and/or intimidation. The worker might sulk, make faces, scowl inwardly when given jobs to do or may agree politely and then take ages to do them. By doing so, he they are showing annoyance in the hope they will not be asked to do those tasks again. Employers can also use passive aggression when confronted with employee problems, turning a blind eye, not facing facts or dealing with genuine cases of bullying and intimidation. This avoidant behaviour can be very damaging to individuals and teams of individuals within organisations.

Consequences of Passive Aggressive Behaviour

In being passive aggressive you are not giving yourself or others an opportunity to listen to what you think or feel

When on the receiving end of passive aggression, you can feel confused, upset, offended, guilty and frustrated. You may think you’ve done something wrong, but have no clear idea what it was

  • It avoids communication in a very negative way
  • It creates insecurity in all parties
  • It creates a bad atmosphere between people
  • It is a form of conflict where either both or one party cannot engage sensibly in the issues
  • It avoids the real issues
  • It creates negative feelings and resentments in an unassertive way

http://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/counsellor-articles/what-is-passive-aggressive-behaviour accessed 16/03/2016


It hurts me to think how ignorant of these things I am!

To cut a long story short – I have been on the receiving end of a ‘Passive Aggressive’ manager, and in combination with my PTSD suffered.

It was not a question of coping well with life post-accident as I did not appreciate there was anything untoward to cope with. It was my life and I was moving forward etc. It was only when I passed a ‘flip point’ with a manager by having to respond to him in a verbally aggressive manner did it became a problem for me. Until I read the above I categorised the encounters as just not being able to work for an irrational person, when in fact he fitted, and the situation fitted the descriptions above much better. He is still irrational though!

 

My normal … what is it?

Musings of a mad woman   Please read her blogs – I enjoy them for her honesty, I understand her.

Hi there. I have mentioned before I like your blogs. I think I enjoy the freedom you write with and how you express your normal.

I only understand a little about being bipolar as I shared a studio with a lady artist whose work was produced in low times and always in black and white. They were large paintings and showed commitment to her chosen bent. I always had to suspend belief when I looked at her work as trying to say it’s this or it’s that did not work for me. They were abstract really and the beauty I saw in them was me wondering what she was thinking and saw when painting.

I am here because I am trying to find out what normal is for me. I have/is/was/may do again suffer with PTSD and just cannot get my old mind-set back. I am not sure whether I actually want it back either. I enjoyed my life but as I said my normal isn’t no more. I don’t know whether to just drift along and over time return or whether I should say just start again and let go of my ideas of what I thought I was.

I belonged to a kite club and for many years would go out with other people and … yes fly kites. It was a good pastime and I made some good friends who I might not see for a long time but still enjoy their company when we meet.

I enjoyed the fly-ins not only because I enjoyed flying kites but also as no one spoke about what they did for a living. Yes, we would talk casually but no one declared they were a ??? or a ??? we were all equal and help was always offered and accepted openly and keenly. No one judged anyone else based upon a side of person they did not see or know; sterotypical people did not exist.

I accept many people look at me and define me by my job. I don’t like that at all, it’s a very shallow approach, not too dissimilar to how much money  you have or don’t! Over the last few months I have spent many hours thinking about me: It started by working out diversion plans on how to avoid particular people and how to draw conversations with others to a quick close. It then morphed into what qualities do I like and dislike and now is whether to make a conscious attempt to change my external appearance. It seems a crisis of my own making, perhaps a delayed mid-life crisis – I don’t know.

On a humours note, my distain for being defined by your occupation is not a new concern, as when I completed a form for one of my children while at school, I was asked ‘Occupation’ I answered ‘Trainee Astronaut’.

I attended a NPL course many years ago and liked and appreciated its purpose. A key factor for me on this course was to be able to recognise what normal is, find a base marker, so I could recognise and respond to changes in my feelings, and be in control. My efforts now are not to dissimilar to that time.

 

 

Open Offer

As I move through this time of thinking and reflecting on what happened and how I am returning to my former self (I have an internal debate about that) I am starting to notice mental health issues everywhere.

It might sound contrived but a day does not pass without a comment on the radio or a news item on television about mental health. It may just be the typical situation that when something touches you, you become more inclined to see things associated with it: Much like why people become involved with charities.

I feel I want to comment on these things as they have had a direct impacted on me, all be it lightly in my view, but the problem is there are many better qualified people writing and being active in this area than me. I only have one view on this and don’t want to just rant about it, or just moan because I can see injustices.

OPEN OFFER: If you are personally affected by a mental health issue or know someone who is and feel they would benefit from having a coherent article written for them please contact me. I will talk with them over an extended period of time and photograph them and write accordingly.

This is not an offer to be their champion and challenge anyone or any organisation on their behalf but simple portray their predicament accurately. I will publish their story.

There will be other things to setup to ensure we are working together in a professional way and only after these are in place will we start.

Is it wrong to get cross?

I’ll start at the end: No. Now I’ll qualify that.


Definitions

Cross: angry and annoyed; ill-humoured; snappish.

Happy: delighted, pleased, or glad, as over a particular thing.

Aggression: Psychiatry. overt or suppressed hostility, either innate or resulting from continued frustration and directed outward or against oneself.

Frustration: a feeling of dissatisfaction, often accompanied by anxiety or depression, resulting from unfulfilled needs or unresolved problems.

dictionary.com accessed 07/03/2016


 

I believe being cross or happy are just part of a straight line continuum, cross being near one end, say the left hand end, and happy being near the other end, say the right hand end. Normal being somewhere in the middle.  I expect that during any day we float between these two markers and don’t see any danger, neither getting cross or happy.

Apply pressure, negative or positive, and we may go past these markers and start to experience noticeable differences to our responses. Again these responses may be negative or positive. Looking past ‘cross’ we may get verbal aggression and subsequently physical aggression and looking past ‘happiness’ we may get excitement and ecstatic feelings.

I should add this is only my take on this subject and my response, and is not based upon rigorous science, but on what I think when I take a detached view on where I am now and what has caused me grief over the last six or so months. But as personal reflection is such a good tool I am finding mental gremlins in my past that have waited until now to surface. … I am really working hard at this reflection stuff and shifting my thoughts about does cause me pain.

Our propensity to do either, be cross or happy is, I would assume, based upon the baggage of life we are carrying and our state of mind at that precise moment of interaction. If we don’t resolve the feeling of crossness or happiness at the first attempt the emotion is just rolled forward to adds to the dilemma.

For me, when we engage in a discussion we all start ‘normal’ and as equals – both having something to contribute. Both possess different life experiences, facts, and supporting information, which may or may not generate personal preferences. Perhaps with more people involved more facts or knowledge are known and it could contribute more to the solution – this is good and creates situations where people learn through osmosis.

I feel getting cross is just an expression of super-sensitive feelings towards something; where I have actually run out of words to say and I feel I still have not been allowed to get my point across frustration builds and can trigger into verbal aggression directed at the person who is not listening. In my eyes the situation is still unresolved and it needs to be completed. It is not about winning, it’s about being listened to with respect and decorum while resolving a problem.

You might think I am just a sore loser, but I am not. I have learned how to enlist help from others, how to construct a case and present facts, build a defence and assess whether personal preferences are valid for inclusion and until recently what arguments to actually pick.

The point is the frustration stays with me as I have to live with the results of an inconclusive debate which often means doing a job badly as that is deemed appropriate.

I have concluded my verbal aggression is really frustration in a super-sensitive state; that manifests itself as a flash point when I have to decide whether I should fight or flee: it’s my flight. I can do no more and I now accept that. But it lingers within me as suppressed verbal hostility playing with my mind, which I know is not necessarily wrong, but detrimental to me and it keeps building and building while I am consistently being pressured, which I resisted, by irrational people who have no compassion.

As a footnote: it has taken a day or two to type this blog, in which time a good working colleague has tendered his notice and left with almost immediate effect. He had been forced to sign documents confirming he approved work which in his professional capacity he considered to be sub-standard. A sorry state of affairs in a professional organisation.

Train Crash – Purley

Today, many years ago I was in a train crash at Purley.

Anniversary of personal hurt. Not physical.

I don’t know, I am consumed.

I am not sure about this, and whether this is a natural part of recover, but I spend an incredible amount of time just thinking about my state of mind while I am doing things. I am balancing everyday occurrences for what impact they are having on me and whether I think they are right or wrong based upon the events of the last six months and a fragile mind of the moment. The thoughts and the process could just be what I did think about but was not really aware of them or their significance. My mind is doing overtime!

There have been occurrences at work where I have become very churned-up inside because someone has spoken badly to someone else, or where irrational logic, based upon ignorance or bravado is being applied and therefore the answer can only be wrong or misleading. This discredits people and causes their future conversations with people to be not trusted before they even open their mouths.

This churned-up feeling starts by me stopping listening to details of the conversation and trying to separate fact from fiction or personal preferences of one party or the other. I create my own response based upon the facts I have heard and my understanding and I get a build-up of rhetoric that wants to burst out; I then have to subdue this emotion as my aim is not to get involved. It’s difficult as I know I want to keep out.

I have been lucky, I believe the manifestation of my problems is only mild and I fear what could have been and must maintain this level of ‘normality’ and not allow anxiety to do its ugly work.

The wheels on the bus go round …

There are lots of times when I have to be amongst people to function to do my job. There are times when I am there I would rather be else where: not because I actually want to be elsewhere it’s just I rather not run the risk of confrontation so being out of it removes that incendiary moment.

The situation at work is not really different at all. Chaos upon despair coupled with anguish and anxiety for many people in the team.

I can only make an analogy with a part of the film Santa Claus in which Dudley More stars. A peasant woodcutter becomes Santa Claus and foils an evil toy manufacturer’s scheme to take over Christmas. One bright spark decides that the production line process is the best way of producing all the toys and quality control is dispensed with. The following Christmas all the toys break quickly and there is hell to pay.

This is us. Quality is being dispensed with and while it appears everyone is happy our wheels will drop off before long, and our hell will open. Retribution will follow.

The really annoying part is we are having to work harder to produce less and still we cannot maintain quality.

Still no one listens! Frustration ensues – I find it very difficult to keep quite and had to speak out today. I let my self down greatly. I must not get sucked into this quagmire, only I will fail.

Mankind – past its sell by date

It has taken me a time to appreciate how life is and works. It is only now that the bell has rung for me and put me in my place. I am not special; I am nothing. I am just a member of the animal kingdom. The two accidents and the lack of caring for my own wellbeing brought me to this state. The time off I have had has given me so much thinking time that it’s a life changer for me.

You think you and your family are special and then reality kicks in … you’re not special, your family, while precious, are just a part of the animal kingdom who have learned to speak and communicate with others, and horrible just take with no regard to other animals we live along side.

This communication stuff, between humans, has actually caused the whole of mankind more problems than we need. For many thousands of years’ animals and sea creatures have lived side by side and just eat each other where required with no malice and no wars. Some are vegetarians, some are meat eaters and each species has developed so as to balance the natural use of the environment.

This was all well and good right through pre-history and until us humans managed to utter a few sounds with regularity and others associated a fixed meaning with them. This, I suspect, used in conjunction with body language meant patterns of exchange between humans could be repeated with predictable results; much like hunting animals when operating in packs.

We then discovered deceit. Yes, say one thing and mean something else. That means we can lie to others and get what we want without fair exchange. We can justify that with the good old moral feeling that we are correct and got what we wanted and we don’t have to feel guilty – it was our right to be able to do it.

Through periods of history science has allowed us to understand far more about our environment and once writing was created we could record it for posterity. Good, yes and on the whole admirable as otherwise I would not be typing this and making it possible for people the other side of the world potentially to see it within moments of being published.

Insurance stitch up

I feel very let down by the car insurance industry in much the same was as many people feel about PPI and Banks.

On the evening of the car accident I was spoken to by the police who said in a consoling way that I should not worry about the damage to my car as I would be protected by the Non-Insured Drivers Fund. It was not something I was really worried about at the time and did not give it a second thought.

The car was repaired, but that was borderline as the repair cost was just about the same as the value of the car and with a little juggling the garage did the repairs at a satisfactory cost.

Then the bite, a very big bit. My insurance was renewed and it went from £350 to £1100 in one go. I questioned it and after discussing with them in an open and frank manner on the telephone they said take it or leave it, but we will look into it.

As the lady suicide victim was not a car drive and they had no one to claim from it is not considered as a ‘no fault accident’ and they will just stuff me by getting all their money back over a two-year period by increasing my premium.

They paid out because I was insured, but make the assumption I was in some way at fault.

How the bleeding hell am I in any way shape or form responsible for being involved in this accident? It beggars belief, and I really can only place them in the same category as politicians for their blue faced arrogance in the way in which they stitch up the general public. Somewhere amongst the semantics’ there is sharp practice going on in redefining ‘no fault accident’.

This accident was not foreseeable on my part, it was not based on negligence on my part and I could not take any evasive action. There was a party at fault: the lady that jumped off the bridge. This fact is being conveniently ignored by the insurance company.

My insurance is/was ‘fully comprehensive’ and there now seems doubt in my mind as to what ‘fully comprehensive’ means. It seems sharp practice to just say stuff you we will knock your no claims discount off.

The really niggle bit is the buggers hassled the garage to reduce the cost of the repairs knowing full well they were going to screw me over to reclaim ALL THE COST. Where is the commercial risk? They have taken my money knowing full well they had no intention of paying out.

Back to work

It had to come, that fateful day when I had to return to work. I am sure some of those who knew a little would think it was just a holiday, a break, but I know different.

I am lucky I do enjoy my work, that is the type of work, I am not saying I like the crap that surrounds it: I now despise what has happened to me and I cannot see a way of forgiving them.

Unexpectedly I was greeted when I opened the main door by a lady who has a very nice cense of humour and a whitty tounge that is not hurtful, thought provoking, and nothing else. Not much given away by me – just off sick.

The office was very quite which was good as it allowed me to get sorted without the fear of being caught by inquisitive people.

Offices coffee spots are a strange creation but are only just utilitarian in nature. Busy sometimes, quite other times: sometimes private but mostly not. While you see people regularly only sometimes do you get to know someone outside of your immediate work colleagues, so I was surprised to be asked questions about my plight by a relative stranger who appeared to know than the average person. I naturally do have things to say but at work it’s different – caution, so I resisted to elaborate to much. Yes, glad to be back, shame the group was still having problems but things will improve.

I had returned on a quite day but people in the team arrived and it became clear things had not progress as perhaps the masters had anticipated or the client had expected.

Two people are leaving the group as they are not happy with how we are being run. Other people are very reticent about how the work is being piled onto them as unrealistic deadlines are agreed with no reference to the available resources and no one seems to be getting a grip by managing the project. but it ain’t my worry.

If robing Peter to pay Paul was an Olympic sport we would have gold winners every time.

I was allocated some work and duly started. My aim was just to comply and get through the future and not take on any responsibility greater than for which I am paid. Now, this is difficult as I am a proactive person who will hunt our work and problems and get them sorted. I will look at problems and solve them with elegance and grace but for now I have to degrade my service and skills and not use my ability to the full; but it is essential that I work diligently and grow back to where I want to be.

I know there are going to be rough times in the very near future and I know I am going to be in the firing line but I fear not.

Time to Talk – session two

At the appointed time the phone rang and I was asked whether I was expecting the call. I was relaxed as this was now coming to the end of my fourth week at home, so had been able to keep away from the ignition of my problem that caused me concern.

I pointed this out as it had an impact on the scoring I had made on the standard questionnaire I had completed. I don’t compare the result myself as I, well, just as …

During the conversation I was asked about my feelings and yes I did feel better and looked back at this time as convalescing and I mentioned I had not really valued the benefit of convalescing before but it had had a recognisable benefit for me. Time to think, time to judge, time to plan and all with out the pressure of work and trying to avoid people of pressure.

We talked in general terms and while talking I expressed my real concern with having to let go of my feeling towards the people in the accidents. I dont have graphic flashbacks that stop me in my tracks or need working through at the time before I can move on, but I do have very vivid memories of the situation that I roll forward and backwards while quesioning what happened. I also have generated new images in my mind which are from different positions of the accidents that I was not physically in, but I need to see. I still don’t want to forget them but I need to move on. I am scared to just close the door on them, the events I am happy to forget but the people no.

I said I was surprised how the treatment so far had gone in as much as I had been told to expect one-to-one sessions and was told that is the next stage of the CBT action plan.  I was now sixth on the list and these telephone calls were just a way of monitoring events. A date could not be given yet but soon was as close as she could get.

So I move on.

TV drama

Last night a TV drama was on and it appeared a lady had risked her own life to save someone from a burning car accident. It transpired that the rescuer was in fact the lady who caused the accident by walking out in front of moving traffic to commit suicide and I froze, I physically had shivers from head to toe and I felt emotionally scared. I did not know what to do. The situation and circumstances were different but it had that act of suicide in where I was not able to help.

Second session with the hypnotherapist

I acknowledge I was not hypnotised during the first session and was happy with the feeling of knowing more about me. Again I went with anticipation of not being troubled where the questioning would take me as I felt safe. I knew there was a chance of more crying but that did not phase me as it was a release I had not allowed myself to explore. The crying was not the release it was the inquiring questions and reconciling them with cogent answers that was the release and good. I was given no cause not to be open and honest.

Questions were asked around what good would come from holding onto punishing myself. There is no good, but I must not let go otherwise I have failed those people again. I don’t know them but they are a part of me. They are not close friends or even acquaintances but they have still an active part in my mind. I don’t know their families, I don’t know their particular circumstances and I really don’t know how many they number; BUT they are still a part of me and my history.

It is the case that I could sit down with them now without feeling awkward or embarrassed. I would not judge them, I would not think ill of them and would understand if they did either of these things to me.

It was considered I have a strong biblical attitude towards self-punishment. Not sure whether that is good or bad.

I was asked to manage these feeling by finding somewhere I could keep these memories, as I am not prepared to forget them. I can visit them whenever I choose and get upset if I want, but on my terms. I do not want to share anymore of that as I am still scared of forgetting them entirely which will rock me.  I am scared that time will trick me into forgetting and I will become uncaring about helping people where I can.

It was pointed out that any help I give is good and I should not expect any more than good.

I was starting to think I could let go after all and not suffer any repercussions inflicted on me be me. Help is good, help is needed but it does have boundaries.  I don’t work where people are exposed every day to traumas, so I can afford to protect myself from these feelings for the need to punish myself.

I explained I had a plan set in my minds eye on how to cope with the near to middling future and I was happy to ‘park those feeling’ in a safe, secure and private place and revisit them when I want.

I had to go through the process for EMDR

Later that week I had another appointment but for the EMDR treatment. This was for assessment. The lady appeared very young and I was not sure whether her practice was underpinned and supported by her life’s experiences.  Having empathy with someone, should, I feel, be based upon mutual trust where both parties have something in common.

This happens to be why I don’t trust career politicians who come from wealthy backgrounds and who have never wanted for anything and are happy to prostitute themselves by telling people ‘… well I will move into your area if you vote for me … <GRIN> <GRIN> …’ or even worse when they have the audacity to tell voters they got it wrong …

This consultation was ok but I did not make the same connection with this lady as I had with the first.  I feel the treatment is about being able to work with someone and does not involve personalities. I had difficulty maintaining eye contact with her, not on my part, but from her good self. The process of losing eye contact was very reminiscent of the way in which I would lose eye contact with a particular person I was working with. It was as though he considered I had said enough, and the look said, I don’t believe you so you must move on as I am busy. I am 100% sure this is not the message she was trying to give out, and for that I say sorry in making this analogy but that is what my mind kicked me into thinking.

It was explained the consultations would revolve around being close to but not reliving the events while being distracted by stimulation of the eyes.  The idea is to allow the mind to revisit something and process the locked in memory. The Amygdala and the Hippocampus should play a double act in processing the information during a trauma but for unknown reason don’t always complete the process.

First session with a hypnotherapist

It was not what I thought it would be. The lady was very very searching without being pushy, we talked as though we had known each other a long time. I don’t do that! I am a private person who holds his thoughts close but not always my younger. Recent times have proved that.

When I considered this option I had to say to my self trust the lady, trust the privacy and trust the confidentiality: Without that I can’t make progress. It will not be like to talking to someone where everything you may say will be used against you and considered ammunition for future berating. It will only be put to use to help me: again this is a strange concept to me – letting people pass my guard and to think they may help without having to trade emotions – yes I have to pay, but this is due to me greatly disliking the current me. I had considered ‘…what next … ‘ and did not like the prognosis. Why should this or these events in my life give me grief when I still have a great life and enjoy what I do – except dealing with irrational people who just lie anyway.

But I was stuck just not able to move do this left on my own I was happy in my shell of contentment. I have hid this side of me well!

The customary curtesy were passed and I trusted her straightaway. Background info was captured and the event relived. I can’t, in fact don’t want to simply reprod a word by word account of the session but it transpired that it was thought I just wanted to punish my self for my failure of not helping the people in need.

I described wanting to sit with the lady and hold her hands while on the bridge. When asked about her I could not see her face but saw a whole person with no emotions or movement. I could not speak to her as I had no words that would fit the serenity of the time. I cannot leave here alone to face this future by her self. I would sit with her and just hold her hands in mine and wait for whenever she wanted to leave in a safe way.

An fare question was asked: what good does that do? Or along those lines. Who benefits from this.  I could not answer really other than to say I had failed her, just like the people in the train accident. I should have done more, should have done more – just more.

I don’t know this lady or the people in the train crash but I know the driver of the train had been drinking, he was found guilty of whatever and spent time in Ford Open Prision and died after he was released. I do not know the other people involved in the accident and I don’t know the family history of the lady suicide victim: and I cannot understand how a person can go that far done a path and not find help somewhere. I keep saying I don’t know her and want to but life has moved on and to just forget about her is, I feel, a betrayal of a person.

I said at the top it was not what I thought. I don’t believe I was hypnotised as I just sat an talked to the lady. I sat with closed eyes and cried my heart out. This was the first time I had in all that time spoken about either of the events I had been through.

It was pointed out that after both events I just went to work the next day and did not look back. Well I did make a vow to help others and when it counted I did not.

Many years later I listened to a young chap on a Radio programme describing how he felt after he was involved in a traumatic event an he summed it up far better than I could even now. He said that telling people about what he had been to was like talking to people who just did not understand but nodded at the right time. It would not matter what he said, people just did not get it. That’s me!

So … Now off for three weeks

Three weeks sick leave, after a first week sick leave seemed impossible to get through, as sometimes I feel really good and with no warning I feel lethargic and unresponsive to things around me. I was, and still am happy to be amongst people but not interact with them. Cafes are good place for me to sit and muse about what is and what’s not.

I will still be busy …

Another week another visit

I had an appointment with a different Doctor – not a problem I trust the practice I go to. My distress came through straight away and options for treatment were discussed. Medication – no. Help from the NHS (Time to Talk) – not good – takes to long to start, private EMDR from a recommended councillor – viable but at a cost to me.

I did not want medication to relieve the symptoms. I appreciate they are not addictive, but swapping my moods by the use of drugs is something that is not really me and is not what I want. Mind-drugs in our society – not medication, irrespective of whether they are recreational or not,  are wrong on so many levels that I could not accept them.

This whole area is a difficult as drug usage appears to be out of control and has affected various parts of our family and seems to be penetrating it further. Being boring and not self righteous I have got through life without every taking mind-drugs, or even drinking and it is not until you have to confront it head on in your own immediate family does the message start to appear.

%d bloggers like this: