What do I see?

A poem I wrote on 22nd October 2008.

 

 

What do I see in the sun? A ball of fire

Waiting to burn the world.

What do I see in the stars?

Fire fuelled pellets ready to drop and make us dead.

What do I see in the clouds?

Deep, dark looming shapes to depress and lower the spirit.

What do I see in the trees?

Bereft of leaves, dying – waiting for death.

What do I see in the sea?

An ocean full of bodies floating, sinking

Death is everywhere.

What do I see in me?

A body still breathing, one breath at a time, soon to be no more.

What do I see in life?

Frivolity, vanity, emptiness in all around. No rest here to settle. No life ahead.

Just waiting now

For my end.

Inside a low secure mental health unit

This place brought out the anger in us all

Locked out of life

Being locked up in hospital for seven years leaves a strange feeling as I now navigate life.

The whole reason I called this blog locked out of life is because that is how it felt.

To much of a danger to myself, to be free. I wasn’t sectioned the whole time, in fact I got off a six month section in three months, just to prove I did not need to be sectioned! Such was my fight with yet another establishment damaging my trust in humanity itself. Why did it always feel like such a battle!? Just to use a washing machine during your designated slot meant queuing up at a glass office door closed to us scum that littered the corridor. No wonder Charlotte decided she would smear her own faeces across the staff office window in the hope that someone, anyone, in there might be remotely interested in who might be knocking on the office door!! Too late for your weekly wash slot now as nobody even looked up, never mind answer the door and give me my washing powder tablet… if they’d not lost it yet again in the black hole that was the office drawer! Oh my days! The things that were lost to that deep dark hell hole! Many of us lost mobile phones and chargers. We were not allowed a mobile phone, unless we had earned unescorted leave. When the staff lost my mobile, I continued the full remainder of my stay with these people, smuggling in and using an old handset, (settings on complete silence)just to stay in touch with the world outside. Facebook memes were my go to for encouragement and humour! and with a new SIM card, I could stay in touch with the people whose numbers were in that phone during the fifteen minutes we were allowed to be in our unlocked cubby hole toilets. Taller Staff were able to look over the top and I quickly learned how to check my phone for messages or update social media. I even managed to smuggle my charger in once I knew the nurses patterns. We were on 24hr watch with actual checks every 15minutes. Still, we had some fun in there. Sure we may have lived on a corridor and been witness to many traumatic events on the ward, yet we did maintain our sense of humour.

We always had ward round on a Tuesday and mug smash sounds or pip alarms on staff were pulled, rooms were flooded with staff running to a scene where some poor person is being pinned down. I ask you, if you were being held down by any amount of people, would you not struggle?? Would you not feel incensed at the lack of justice in the way we were treated. and someone would get the aquaphase jab! I recall the times I had that! Dear me, that was in Willow suite PICU, Dartford, where I was placed after being sectioned. One of those knocked me out for 2 ½ days!!!

Anyway, back to Cygnet hospital in Beckton, Elisabeth climbed the metal cage in flip flops and was just going over the top (with our encouragement of course!) when she was spotted. With the pip alarms screeching all around us, we watched in dismay as Elisabeth lost her flip flop on one foot so she had to climb back down. Needless to say we got into trouble for aiding and abetting… it was a ridiculous and overly violent ‘therapeutic environment’

What that nurse actually did.

{TRIGGER WARNING; Rape detail}

It feels as though I’ve been living with my head in a bubble. It was there before the Coronavirus lockdown, and is still there at times. This whole expecting something terrible to happen is not an uncommon feeling for me, however I’ve spent 6 weeks on edge just waiting for one of my household to go down with Covid-19. I’ve been cleaning everything in sight thoroughly and following the government guidelines to the letter and still I do not actually know of anyone with the virus! That is a good thing of course! However, it only serves to make the whole situation even more surreal, as I find my mind wondering if this is all some kind of conspiracy to control us. Ridiculous, I know, and yet quite understandable given my life’s experiences.

I didn’t realise he had raped me. It happened so fast and took me completely by surprise. After all this was John! one of the few non-judgemental and friendly nurses on that psychiatric unit. John liked to encourage thoughts of me returning to a happy family life with D and the kids, and knowing I was a christian he said that he was a christian too, and would love to stay in touch. He asked if he could have my number, and because I had no reason to not trust him, I gave him my mobile number. He said I needed to dance and I had no idea how to dance, especially with no music! John laughed and told me to stand up and then he tried to get me to dance. Talk about embarrassing! The next time he asked, I said I didn’t want to, but he reassured me that I would feel a lot better. I could feel his manhood hard against me and went to pull away when John spun me round so I was facing away from him and pushed me forwards. I stumbled and caught the chair arms with my hands and before I knew what was happening, I heard his fly zipper and he had pulled my pyjama trousers down and was attempting to enter me, but went in my anal passage, which was painful. He pulled back and rammed into my vagina so deep my tummy button hurt. John was moving so violently, I really thought I was going to die and just held onto those chair arms as tightly as I could. I was in so much shock, he told me to pull my pyjama trousers up and sit down. I did as I was told and just sat there stunned. John apologised afterwards and said there must have been something between us which confused me as he knew I was married and didn’t believe in partaking of extra marital activities with anyone other than my husband. This man didn’t just rape my body, he raped my soul, my mind and all that was me.

I honestly believed that I had just committed the sin of adultery. He told me I mustn’t tell anyone until my dying day and made me promise. I jumped as he moved swiftly forward as I thought he was going to do it again but no, he was removing evidence by clearing up my blood from the floor with a magazine page which he then scrunched up and put it in his trouser pocket. He ruined it all! I was doing okay… yes, I was depressed, and a little broken, but living life day by day as best I knew how. I’d been on that ward for ten days before this incident and was improving. This just destroyed me.

I felt deep soul destroying pain for all those years I’d spent trying just that little bit harder to be normal and not end up a cliche ‘problem child’, only to believe I had somehow committed adultery according to D. I mean, talk about screwed up thinking! I tried, and the Lord knows I really tried. It was my insistence that we had a date night once a week or fortnight. Literally to hold onto us and our relationship so that it did not just disappear under the stresses of the expectations placed upon us.

Out of the darkness, into the light

Heal for life.

Keep out!

{trigger warning; sexual assault/rape}

At the end of April 2018, I went to Essex so that I could go to Heal for Life’s 5 day residential healing retreat. I found my inner child during my time with them. I wrote to her (I call her ‘Little Julie’, as Julie was my legal name until aged 11yrs). She has been so very brave all these years, and by the end of the retreat I was listening to her wisdom far more and came away refreshed and renewed in spirit. Much of my life has been spent in institutions and so I believe a lot of my behaviours and thought processes are  as a direct result of these.

My simple understanding of what I have learned in the last year is as follows;

  • Julie was a child, and children do not have the capacity to understand adult activities. I also learned that trauma can begin as early as being a foetus inside the womb.  With repetitive trauma a child up to the age of 3-4yrs, the traumas will stunt the brain growth of this child. 
  • As a child grows, parts of the brain are still forming and growing and with repetitive trauma parts of the brain such as the hypothalamus do not grow. The hypothalamus regulates a wide range of behavioural and physiological activities. It controls many of our autonomic functions such as hunger, thirst, body temperature, and perspiration.
  • Trauma can affect the whole of the limbic system. The limbic system is a group of brain  structures including the amygdala, hippocampus, and hypothalamus that are involved in processing and regulating emotions, memory, and sexual arousal. The limbic system is an important element of the body’s response to stress and is highly connected to the endocrine and autonomic nervous systems. The limbic system is also responsible for processing the body’s response to odours.
  • A child learns ways to disappear from a situation which is not meant for children to experience. My way to cope was to dissociate, and day dream. This is what became my ‘go to’ coping mechanism, and continues to this day. Understanding what happens is so helpful to me as to why ‘things’ happen. 

For example, My understanding of the distorted memories from the end of Summer 2017, in my studio… I remember being stood in my disabled loo and trying to politely say no and doing my best to keep my clothes on. When he twisted and tore my skin, I fell forwards… then there is a blank. I must have dissociated, as I remember my head hurting as it hit the toilet stand and struggling to breathe with him doing what he needed to. He stopped after awhile as my dissociating must have been more noticeable – I remember him telling me off for freaking him out.

At first, I blamed myself completely and yet I quickly realised that I had not consented by silence. Nor would I have been reacting to his advances.

Therefore, I now know that although I have had a time of relapse, I managed to ride the waves of urges and did not give in to self harm or suicide. I feel very proud of myself for coming through this.

I hate myself

{Trigger Warning; mention of self harm}

‘witch’ ; my nickname growing up

A poem I wrote 2nd November, 2008

“I hate my life, I hate myself

There are good things that take place

But the bad outweighs the good

Far more than it should.

Be positive they say to me

You’ve got so much going for you

A wonderful husband, two beautiful kids

I know. I know. It’s just….

Just that they don’t understand

I don’t know where to start to write

About the things that have gone on

In my life, still there – not gone.

I’m blessed with a wonderful memory

That remembers the bad not the good

I cut deep – deeper into my arm

I don’t understand, I just need to harm.

Surely it’s better it’s me that bleeds

I’m poor at cutting deep enough

It must be better, it’s me not them

That hurts inside out, so when…

I cut myself it hurts no one else

Each scar is the deepest of memories

That I can’t explain to woman or man

People! Please understand

It needs to be done for my relief

My eyes are glazed all over

I reach for the blade, prepare myself

And then it flies so fast

I love to see my arm open up

With the bad bad blood coming out

Out comes the badness inside mr flowing

Yet the badness keeps on growing

It’s wrong to cut, it’s wrong I know

I have to hide the marks

Yet I do it because I am so bad, so bad

I hate myself – I feel so sad

It’s just a way of coping with the past

I know I’ll get in trouble

I should talk to someone; anyone

What should I say? I don’t know!

There’s too much to say, they don’t understand

Come and talk before you do this they say

But what can I say? My story’s too long

Again, I’ve done more wrong!

Can anyone help me stop the tide?

Or make the wind not blow?

No, nor can they take away my pain

It’ll always be the same.

If I were a butterfly

 

A poem I wrote 1/11/08

 

 

If I were a butterfly

Floating in the breeze

Would I be so anxious

To hide amongst the trees?

The beauty of a butterfly

It has no need to hide

With colours like a rainbow

It couldn’t if it tried.

But I am not a butterfly

So tense I cannot float

No beauty here to look upon

Just hiding in my coat

My colours are all mixed up

From the colours in a rainbow

A deep, dark murky colour

Too ashamed to show.

The tension mounts like eagles wings

Soaring through the sky

My head will burst with all

That’s in it – why? Oh why? Oh why?

Do I feel like this because I do

Deserve such everlasting woe

Or will it better get one day?

Will it ever go?

Can I ask?

Chained to death’s beckoning call

A poem I wrote 22/10/08

 

Oh little blackbird, can I ask

Where the silver linings gone

From every cloud across the sky

That cover up the sun?

And can I ask you little bird

Is it true what people say?

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel

Yet mine has gone away.

Oh Mother hen, wait here awhile

I see your wings are spread

O’er you little ones to protect

Them from a gloomy death.

Yet human mothers push away

Neglect; and play mind games

Allowing evil things to come

And call their offspring names!

Why is it nature is so kind

In everything that they do?

While humans waste away the time

Hurting me and you?

….2018!!?

It’s February! And the year is 2018!!! What!!? When did that happen???

I wasn’t supposed to live past the millennium… I was supposed to be in hell with all the rest of the un-normals! For all the abominable sins of speaking my truth, accepting responsibility for how much my wonderful life is panning out and I made it to here! To now?! I’m still in the here and now!!? I’m alive!! Ah! Okay… so maybe that was being a bit too optimistic!! Being alive means feelings and stuff! Granted there’s always time to mess up yet again!! If my head is free of migraines, if I actually wake up during daylight hours… and I have ventured beyond my bedroom door to the great downstairs of reality. Did I really leave all those lights on!!? The incessant talking between inner child and grown up does my head in!! Seriously!!! Of course you turned the lights out, and locked the doors and not particularly in that order coz we both know the ocd would have had to before counting the stairs up to the bathroom and bed!! I don’t do feelings… I can’t allow it. Numb is better. Sure the muscles are locking up everyday now, and the pain is so intense yet the exhaustion is overwhelming when I have to remember to RELAX! And any second now; Relax!!!! Anyone would think I have unresolved trauma!! Nice one Sherlock!!

So, it’s been a long time… years in fact. I don’t remember feeling as uptight/tense/On red alert! Perhaps that’s because I was being treated!? I can’t say for sure… my mind scrambles for focus. My eyes sting with exhaustion. What was I saying???!! I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. Nothing really matters.

You know I got on a train this morning and yes! That meant I left the actual house!! Okay so I’m walking to the bus stop (coz this is all so pathetic that I must force myself to do ‘normal’) and I can feel eyes everywhere burning into my back as I shuffle along… I don’t give it away… I don’t let anyone see I’m watching them ALL! I can see them, I can hear them – ok so maybe it’s them, or ‘Them’ from childhood… or me now… or back then or even her!! That little girl that used to scream and scream inside me… until JCW helped her to cry it all out until it was a sobbing sound then NOTHING! Nothing throughout the numb years since some wonderful moron decided to cut all ready incredibly stretched mental health budgets and I was flung out of my cocoon into a cold, echoing terrifying thing I’m supposed to call my life!!! Do what!? It’s taken almost three years to get over that shock and I’m great! I’m doing fantastic now! {insert sarcastic tone}….. yeah, I got lucky!! I actually got to see a psychologist guy for waaaay over the allocated time-slot! I mean, it’s not like I asked for this illness, and I can tell you it’s boring talking about it, but we have to keep on keeping on about it!!

Can you believe the actual words are said to my face… “you really look quite normal” – “she behaved herself very well” – “how wonderful to have you back!” ….okay! Enough already!!

Everyone step back.

Go on… move!

Get back behind the line and LISTEN up!!

The short version for now. Yes, I have a Mental illness. It has a name. It’s called Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. No it’s not funny and I’m not nuts. Nor am I crazy! Yes, I’m on medication. Because bad things happened and that messed my head up…. plus the shock of being spewed from a place of safety (who cares if I felt safer in a psychiatric hospital ?!! At least I wasn’t in this much agony trying to pretend everything is hunkydorypeachyking!!!!!!!)

I FELT SAFE – I FELT HEARD!

I felt respected. I felt human!!

Three years on and I’m far more withdrawn from society with it’s dumb rules and regulations… nope! Not interested in fakeness! Not interested in being used and abused…. er, that’s what started this all off many years ago!!!

Despair follows… numbness… dazed… dissociated, disconnected… no friends – I had to distance myself from toxic people. But there’s no manual! People don’t come with filters! They just say stuff in front of me as though I’m not visible! Er, hello?? I’m aware YOU find it awkward that I disappeared from society… but you haven’t half spoilt what was left in the world whilst I was absent.

Blehhh!! {insert frustrated sigh}

I don’t know if I will post this or not… it’s feeling like a rant… I want to be positive. I want to inspire others. But someone somewhere in the system decided I needed to be discharged from inpatient care meaning trauma therapy could not continue and even after months of weekly appointments with a psychologist I was told I had five more sessions and that no, we hadn’t managed to deal with any unresolved traumas as my life was too unstable to risk opening up the cans of worms! What a waste!

What a waste of all those years of nhs resources, therapies, learning safer coping mechanisms; doing what they wanted! All my life I’ve tried doing what ‘they’ want. Trying to keep my bloomin head down, do as I’m told – and all the while reminded I’m the biggest sinner out and will go to hell!

For what? Tell me what it’s all been for!!?

Last time I saw any psychy people was in the first week of January…. on paper I have a care coordinator in reality??? I have me, myself and I trying our best to fake it long enough to make it!

Trying my bestest to be the friend to others I yearn for.

Trying to be the Mum, Sister, Auntie, Friend that I do not have.

Here I am.

A scarred Warrior.

I will rise up (again!)

I will tell my truth.

And I will not hold back when that time comes.

I’m preparing to let it all hit the fan and if I’m really really good, God might just let me watch!

Bye for now

;

#metoo

The real reason my blog is not organised…

Okay… so truth be told, I was suicidal. I get that way in greater or lesser measures almost every day! Some days it’s a fleeting thought; other days it is so very intense that I dare not move out of my bed for fear I will act on those urges like I used to!

I was having a particularly bad time with the suicidal urges and so I deleted all the personal posts, believing that I was shutting my life down …even Facebook had a major overhaul with settings put in place to close it down the moment the Facebook hierarchy became aware of my demise.

I hate feeling that way… and when I act in what I believe is in the best interests of the world and later go to write a post… I feel like a right numbskull having deleted all those memories for now I need to write them again!

🙄