The Eye — Misery Contest

For the last year or more my little made-up eye has been staring out at you from behind a ripped piece of paper. The response to my avatar is always mixed; sometimes it makes people feel uncomfortable, sometimes it generates questions (the latest one being “Who did your make up?”) and others still greet it […]

The Eye — Misery Contest

I loved this post so wanted to share it – really inspiring! Dgs xx

A good place

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I’ve not blogged for a while and I’ve missed you all! Life has been busier with work, family and horses and I’ve not been able to find the time though ideas have been swirling round my head not making it onto the screen. I’d written about feeling as if I’ve retreated into a cave and a sense I need to be preparing for whatever lies ahead but right now life feels good and I’m learning to appreciate the small things more in the moment and at times feel a deep sense of contentment. I’ve always lived life fast and been onto the next thing before the dust settles so I reckon this slower simpler living experience is good for me. I am where I am and change will come – I don’t need to force anything or make it happen. C says you need to blossom where you are planted so I’m thinking that being content here now rather than planning for the future is a good way to be.

I’m still smoking but I have a plan to stop in September when I reduce my hours at work. I’m in conversation with the smoke devil most days and although he’s not as insufferable as the wine witch was I’d like him gone! I’m also recognising that his ongoing presence enables the wine witch to pop her head up more often. I haven’t drank but I’m wistful at times with a small sense of missing out so I need to watch that.

I’ve been getting plenty of work and I’m enjoying working for myself and I’m ready to drop the day job albeit slowly. I struggle with private healthcare being a socialist so I’m letting people pay what they can afford within a range and that feels right. The emphasis on processes rather than content in mainstream services stifles the creativity and flexibility needed to do really good work in mental health and it’s liberating to be able to focus on the patient and your intervention rather than the forms and recording!

I’m reading a great book about ageing by Parker J. Palmer- on the brink of everything that I discovered from Boozebrain’s blog https://boozebrain.wordpress.com/2020/07/04/road-to-nowhere/. I was interested as I know I struggle with the idea of ageing and in particular with C being older than me. It got me thinking about love and appearances and how the two are really not connected at all. I love the essence of C’s being – his spirit if you like so the body that holds that will always be beautiful to me.

I did have a few days when I felt low and was worried my depression was sneaking back. Having both my girls home at the moment has sorted that thankfully. E is a teacher and I’d not seen her since March. She’s been baking sourdough bread, pizzas and pancakes for us and is easy company. I’ve spoken to both my girls to say sorry for the impact of my drinking on their childhoods. E didn’t really want to hear it stressing the happy memories so I did the same. J told me if I started feeling guilty then I’d probably go moody on her again and she’s ok now so leave it be so I did! It needed to be said though and I feel lighter for it even if they are both too kind to me to say anything! E still struggles with C as she’s spent the least time with him but it’s getting better and I can let them be without an urge to try and fix it.

I’ve saved the best until last – the riding competitions were brilliant fun! I’ve not competed for 3 years and didn’t think I’d ever be able to on this horse and we did a decent dressage and then came 4th in the cross country! The feeling of riding round a course on a willing horse is better than anything else in the world and I had a huge grin all the way! I realised how much I’ve missed it and how much horses are part of my soul. There’s more at the end of the month and I can’t wait! When I did it before I was drinking for fun too and that fun comes nowhere near this, and I’m better at this without the booze so it’s very affirming of my other choices too.

Of course being personally in a good place whilst the world is in turmoil and others are suffering in so many ways means I do feel my privilege and feel guilty that I’m not giving more back or doing something. I can understand the behaviour of ordinary Germans in the build up to the Holocaust now whereas my younger self couldn’t comprehend it. I wonder if the Syrian people were just carrying on before their country tore itself apart? It’s a mixture of helplessness, paralysis and turning inward to protect yourself and yours. I hope that things start to change for the better on the back of this wake up call from nature and that when the time comes I am able to be part of that change. I hope you are all in a good place too.

Dog days

Image from Shutterstock

There are two thought processes going on in my head at the moment – a little bit similar to the dialogue I used to have with the wine witch but softer. Two posts I read from fellow travellers on here this week really resonated with this conversation https://100daystosparkle.wordpress.com/2020/07/08/a-breakthrough-of-sorts/ and https://wine2water.blog/ – do check them out.

The first relates to using alcohol as a way to avoid doing all the things you should be doing – circumventing your inner perfectionist critic or rather anaesthetising her. The second is about living on autopilot rather than challenging ourselves to leave our comfort zone and be who we are meant to be.

I no longer drink but I do use cannabis in this way – once I have smoked I have permission to do nothing of consequence, do a jigsaw, read, play scrabble – usually for the rest of the day. Lockdown is perfect for stoners and I’m more comfortable with it since there is no pressure to socialise but I’m more aware of the things that don’t get done as a consequence. Mainly writing and yoga. I am busier by far than I was at the beginning of lockdown – mostly with work and the horse. I’m really loving riding and after nearly 3 years of trying to ride her I’ve entered a dressage and a cross country competition later this month! That’s definitely out of my comfort zone but it’s still purely for pleasure. Shows are back on and I’ve had fun days out with my daughter and friends competing. My work is building steadily but…….

Saturdays typically turn into ‘dog days’ whereby I go ride in the morning then have a spliff when I get home and hang out with C and the dogs and sack off more productive activity. The dogs do this every day and they love it when we do it with them, the 4 of us lounging around. I don’t get my blogs written, the food shop done or much else. Similarly in the evening after a day’s work. I am in my comfort zone on autopilot. However it’s time we spend together when a lot of the week we are busy separately and we like it. When drink was involved with this it stopped being fun and the argument with myself became intolerable. I don’t think I would have stopped if it hadn’t.

I think of the path we are all on as The Hero’s Journey – I’ve had my awakening and I’m in the cave where I should be learning the skills I need for the troubles ahead except instead I’m bunking off. I’m Luke Skywalker not turning up for Jedi classes – missing the nuggets of wisdom from Obi and thinking he can just wing it when the battle starts. I’ve lived a lot of my life like this and I’ve usually got away with it but my fear is this time I won’t know how to use my light sabre when the time comes and I’ll let myself and everyone else down. On the other hand maybe this is exactly where I’m meant to be at this time – trust the process and allow it.

Writing, yoga and meditation are the tools I know I need to invest in for whatever is ahead. When I do them I feel more at ease with myself. My head is writing stuff all the time but I don’t get it out of there. ‘Inspiration will come but it has to find you working’ – I read that in a Carol Ann Duffy interview quoting Picasso. Discipline is as important as talent whatever we want to do and I don’t have much of it!

So I am enjoying my dog days but also anxious that I’m stuck on autopilot. Can I be lazy without being stoned? Can I be productive when I am stoned or with cannabis in my life? Will I withstand the battles ahead or fall at the first hurdle? Help me Obi one!

Smoking and Me

Image from Shutterstock

I noticed today it’s around a year since I started this blog. I’m not great at staying the course with things – I’m your ideas woman not the completer finisher so I’m proud I’ve kept this up. I’m also aware that a year on I’m not so proud that I’ve not done much about the next stage of ‘getting sober’ – the cannabis. I had a thought a while ago that perhaps I would have to reach the point I had with alcohol to stop – the one where you hate yourself and just can’t carry on and just need to end the constant battle in your head. The trouble is smoking doesn’t make me feel like that in quite the same way. It’s not so obviously taking from me. ‘Except for your breath right?’ the sarcastic part of my mind just chipped in. Having just done a week of morning pranayama classes I’m in touch with the idea of breath as the conduit of our life force. It’s literally zapping my life force so why do I seemingly not even want to stop? Maybe I need to look more closely at my history with smoke?

I had my first puff on a cigarette when I was 4 or 5 years old. My brother, just 18 months older persuaded me to steal one from the packet with the lighter that belonged to the teenager who helped look after us. I knew it was wrong and I was nervous but I ran in and did it. We took our booty and ran out the house and into one of the barns. It was an old wooden barn full of straw bales at that time of year. There was a narrow wooden staircase up one level and you could just squeeze in with the bales right in front of you and the open space of a window behind. My brother lit the cigarette and took a few puffs and handed it to me. I don’t actually recall the smoking part. The next thing I remember is my brother saying ‘I wonder what would happen if I …..’ as he lit a piece of straw inches from our faces. It went up instantly and flames and smoke were everywhere. We got out quickly enough down the stairs though the smoke choked our throats and we were scared. Outside my brother (always good at getting out of trouble) quickly came up with a plan. We ran inside yelling ‘mummy mummy we were playing in the garden and saw the barn on fire’. The fire engines came and went, the barn was a blackened shell and I overheard adult conversations that expressed relief we had seen it or the house could have gone up too and what if the children had been in bed? I was consumed with guilt and shame. Over time the memory faded then one evening I was being put to bed early – I can’t remember why and as she swept out the room my mum said ‘and you burnt down the barn!’. ‘How did she know?’ It was never spoken of again until it was joked about in adulthood.

Fast forward and I’m 11 years old roaming the countryside with my friend and we start smoking. The pub sells us them as we chirp ‘10 No 6 for my mum please’ at the hatch at the back. We wanted to be naughty and it felt exciting. The last year of primary school and I was trying on being a bad girl. I didn’t fully commit and in the next year or so I distanced myself from that friend without explanation to her, behaved myself and stopped smoking. I started again when I was 14 and depressed. Wanting to be cool, image and being bad was part of it but looking back it was probably the start of self medicating. The first time I took anti depressants I remember thinking I didn’t feel a need to smoke. I still did though.

There was always a part of me that was ashamed of smoking though. The smoking part of me held the shame and the badness but I turned being bad into a success. I was the rebel who got away with it. I could laugh off those shameful feelings whilst living up to them simultaneously.

My first cannabis experience was visiting my sister at college. We got stoned with a friend of hers and I loved it. Laughed for hours. I didn’t smoke it regularly until well into my university years but it was always associated with fun, friendship, relaxing and not caring about the consequences. Just like alcohol. Slowly it became a necessary part of my day. Like alcohol it came to mark the transition from being a responsible adult all day to switching off, relaxing and taking time for myself. Whenever I stopped smoking cigarettes I kept up the spliff. If I stopped I would get so low and so wound up I would cave in. I stopped smoking completely for 6 months but a spliff at a party got me back just like that. Eventually I gave up giving up and began to accept the smoking part of myself as just who I am. This good girl by day, devil at night dichotomy is how I’ve lived for years.

So in the last few years I’ve not been ashamed of my smoking self and I’ve not really tried to stop. Giving up drinking triggered the internal conflict but I’ve sat with it for over a year now. As I wrote this I became irritable (a sure sign of cognitive dissonance) so I had a cigarette!

So here I am still smoking. I’m fairly sure it’s not adding much to life but I’m not sure I can let it go yet. I don’t want to get in a fight with a part of me it took me a long time to accept, but I’m not sure how to politely say goodbye to her either.

Image from Shutterstock

The Leibster Award

Like Anne who nominated me to do this I’ve been putting this off but it’s just for fun so here goes. Here are the rules if anyone doesn’t know them already!

Rules

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you, and provide a link to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions given to you.
  • Share 11 facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 5-11 other bloggers.
  • Ask your nominees 11 questions.
  • Notify your nominees one you have uploaded your post.

Firstly thank you to Anne ( Nomorebeer2019) https://canireallybesober.home.blog/2020/05/23/day-261-hit-hard-by-reality/ for nominating me. I love Anne’s blog – she’s honest and real and I feel very connected to her – I think we are probably very alike and I really admire her for getting sober at a much younger age than I have! Same goes for all you young uns actually! Getting your shit together before 50 – I’m in awe!

Answers to Anne’s questions:

  1. If you could have had any job/career what would it have been? I love doing therapeutic work as in essence it’s helping people tell their stories and make sense of them – it’s all the stuff around it I don’t enjoy so much. I would love to earn a living from writing too and I’d love to hang out with horses all day but it doesn’t pay too well!
  2. If you were stranded on a desert island what three items would you choose to have with you? This is hard! Am I allowed people? If so I’d have C my husband and soulmate but also because he’s far more practical than me and would build a shelter, make fire etc. Secondly I’d have my dogs and maybe my horse which takes me over I know. If it’s things not living beings I’d have pen and paper, some way to listen to music and a lighter and something to smoke (sorry – bad but true!)
  3. What’s the thing you like most about yourself? That’s hard – I like my face when I’m in a good mood, and I like that I have a quick mind and get most things easily (as long as the thing don’t require spatial awareness!) though this also makes me impatient!
  4. If you could relive one day again, exactly as it was before, what day would it be and why? Apologies to C but my 1st wedding day, it was a wonderful 24 hours and everyone I cared about was there. It was a wonderful moment in time. My 2nd was also wonderful but my daughters weren’t there nor a lot of family so I felt that.
  5. If you could only see one more band/singer live, who would it be? I love live music so hard to pick one. Probably an intimate small gig with Paul Weller – ideally in my garden playing requests! In many ways he’s provided a lot of the soundtrack to my life.
  6. What is your biggest achievement in life so far? This one is easier! My daughters – they are both beautiful inside and out, wise and kind and it amazes me that I gave birth to and raised them! They are also the reason I stopped drinking so they gave me back my health and self respect.
  7. What’s your favourite way to relax (keep it clean please!) Again being honest smoking a spliff, but I’m working on substituting that with more yoga! Also love walking the dogs, riding, Scrabble a good film and I’ll say it – sex! (With C of course!)
  8. You can have a superpower for a year. Which one would you choose? The ability to make people love and be kind to everyone – as a highly infectious virus that once infected never wore off then I’d make sure the whole world caught it in the year!
  9. What’s your favourite time of day and why? It depends on where I am and what I’m doing – they can all be good in different ways.
  10. What are you most afraid of? Something bad happening to my daughters
  11. What are your ‘words to live by?’ Name the three most important for you. Love, understanding, friendship.

11 Facts about me

  1. I grew up on a farm
  2. I have 4 brothers, a sister and a step brother and sister
  3. I was a punk as a teenager
  4. I’ve been in love 3 times – infatuated many more
  5. I burnt down a barn with my brother when I was 5 – (I’ll tell that story in a blog one day)
  6. I was raised a Catholic but I’m not now
  7. I lived in Dublin Ireland for a few years, otherwise always UK.
  8. I rescued a dog and her pups from Greece with C
  9. My closest group of friends call ourselves the Mad Cows
  10. We have a dance routine to Bat out of Hell – all started on holiday in the BSE crisis 30 years ago
  11. Simon Cowell is my guilty pleasure and I used to love X Factor (I’m getting over it now!)

My nominees

This bit is hard too as there’s a lot of blogs I like and quite a few of them have done this already so apologies if you have and I haven’t realised!

  1. https://nickreeves.blog/ – Nick writes evocative short fiction and poetry that leaves you wondering with vivid images in your mind. He’s also very supportive to us folk dealing with our demons and I’d love to know more about him especially as he also likes The Clash!
  2. https://sobrietytree.com/ – When I tentatively published my 1st post Nadine of sobrietytree pinged it and has offered words of support and encouragement ever since. She strikes me as a woman with a beautiful soul and a big heart and I’d love to meet her one day.
  3. https://100daystosparkle.wordpress.com/ This is a new blogger challenging herself to have 100 days AF. She writes insightfully and could do with more support to help her do this!
  4. https://mentalhealthathome.org/ Ashley is a mental health nurse who writes about mental health both professionally and personally. She helps other sufferers with good quality knowledge and insights as well as supporting new bloggers by publishing their posts as she did for me. I really admire her.
  5. https://ainsobriety.wordpress.com/ Anne has been sober over 6 years and still writes and comments sharing words of wisdom, kindness and love in this community. I think of her as a big sister who understands exactly where you’re at and what to say.

There are lots of other blogs I would like to nominate but I’ll stick at 5 as I’m finding it technically challenging to copy the links (impatience again!). Here are my questions for them – some borrowed from above!

  1. Who is your biggest hero/heroine and why?
  2. Where and when were you most happy so far in your life?
  3. If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?
  4. What 3 words describe you the best?
  5. What’s your greatest achievement so far in life?
  6. What’s your favourite film and why?
  7. If you could be any age you wanted for a year what age would you pick and why?
  8. What are you most afraid of?
  9. What’s a perfect day for you?
  10. Excluding people what is your biggest love/passion in life?
  11. What’s your favourite genre of music and why?

I’m looking forward to reading your answers – hope I can figure out how to notify you all! 💞💞

Exploring White Privilege

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It’s hard to write a post updating on the trivia of my life when such momentous things are happening in the world. The death of George Floyd has sparked protests in the USA and around the world and the images of ongoing police brutality in the USA against protesters is further confirmation of the death of democracy there with the UK seemingly not far behind. The commissioned report from a leading black doctor into why BAME people are more likely to die of Covid wasn’t published by our government last week. It highlighted things like inequality, disproportionate lack of access to PPE – institutional racism basically which they further confirmed by withholding the evidence. We have a known racist prime minister and the highest death rate from Covid in the world. Perhaps Covid has brought home to white people what the BAME communities have known for a long time – they don’t give a shit about us. Unfortunately not to everyone though. People still challenge the idea of Black Lives Matter stating all lives matter. Of course they do but in our current world system clearly some lives matter more than others and that is what has to change. When our culture and institutions were built on the appropriation of others property and lives, and the system depends on exploitation to maintain the God of profit this isn’t going to change without a struggle. Part of that struggle is for anyone with privilege to really try to understand what that means in reality.

I’ve been reading individual accounts and paying more attention to the news this week. I realised that switching off from the world to protect myself from the anxiety it provokes is part of my privilege too. Reading about the black college professor who was stopped by the police and his emotional reactions; the white woman who is fearful when she jogs with her black husband – he runs in front so no one thinks he’s chasing her and she watches the cars slow and eye him with suspicion; the parents who have to try to ensure their children don’t make mistakes because the consequences will be harder and longer lasting than they ever would for their white counterparts has given me a glimpse of something I won’t experience because of the colour of my skin. I worry about something bad happening to my daughters like any parent but I don’t expect it to. If they or myself were in trouble I would expect the police to help me, not harm me. I expect that I’ll be treated respectfully and left to go about my business – to not be seen as suspicious. I don’t anticipate abuse or mistreatment. I expect to be treated fairly at work, in public places, everywhere. I expect reasonable assumptions to be made about me by others, that are close to the reality of who I actually am. It’s hard to imagine living with perpetual identification as threatening, other, less worthy or deserving in everything you do. That is white privilege – we don’t have to imagine it and we can choose to ignore it. Our silence is complicit.

I’m encouraged that my apolitical daughter asked me what she should read this week as she wants to understand racism better. I’m encouraged by the protests but my hope is fragile. If we want a better world we are going to have to fight for it. I hope the human race is up to the challenge.

Feeling the Fear

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This has been a rollercoaster of a week emotionally. My old dog had a stroke last weekend. She couldn’t walk straight, stand up to eat and was really miserable. I waited til after the weekend to call the vets fully expecting to have her put to sleep. Due to Covid they aren’t able to let owners in to the building. I wasn’t going to leave her to die scared and alone so the deal was that one of the vets would come out to the car instead but I had to wait until Wed morning. We sat in the sunshine in the busy car park together and I sang to her and cried. The vet came out and the outcome was to give her a bit longer as she may recover enough to enjoy life again. Apparently dogs often do. A lot of her distress was from nystagmus (rapid eye flicking that makes you dizzy and unable to focus and feel sick) but he had a tablet for that. We went home and she’s still with us. A little brighter but it’s still hanging in the balance. She won’t eat for herself but she’s moving around more. Death is hovering in the wings again, casting a shadow. I can’t help thinking of all the families who have been unable to be with their human loved ones who are sick and have died and I really can’t imagine the pain of that other than to know how unbearable it would be.

Thursday I had a call scheduled with my boss to discuss future plans. I had said I was leaving to work for myself end of August but they persuaded me to stay on some hours to do training, supervision etc. Then my young patient killed herself and Covid happened so I asked if I could defer which we agreed. Things have been ok and mostly I’ve been enjoying work through lockdown. Turns out that’s not possible as the company is looking at a large deficit forecast this year. They can’t afford to replace me now and need me to go when I said I would though I can reduce slowly over a few months. I stayed calm and grown up and got on with my day. I told C and he just said “we’ll be ok” and went back to work. I went grocery shopping after work and ruminated on his unemotional reaction along with the situation. By the time I got home I was tired, hungry and angry with him. I ramped up my emotions and we argued. I got the wine bottle out and poured a glass and took a swig then spat it out. I felt stupid but also a desperate need to go back to not knowing, oblivion, fuck it mode. I wanted him to appreciate how shaken I felt, how anxious I was and to help me find solutions. He pointed out that I’d been wanting to leave my job so struggled to understand my upset. I knew that but now things had been taken out of my control and I was scared.

Later that evening when we’d made up I realised that fear has held me back a lot and fear is the wine witches friend. I was scared to leave my first marriage for a long time until C came along and provided a catalyst. I’m scared to be fully sober and I’m scared to work completely for myself. Fear keeps me stuck in the forest wandering around not sure which way to go. I don’t want to go back to drinking or to working for the NHS but I make half baked choices to hedge my bets. Floating in this limbo makes it more likely I’ll go backwards not forwards. I also realised I don’t like putting the effort in. I’m not very disciplined. I’ve gotten away with that all my life – winging my way along. To make this work I’m going to have to work harder than I’m used to off my own steam. There won’t be anyone else to blame if things go wrong. I’ll have to manage my money more carefully than I ever have. I know what it’s like to not have money from my childhood and student days. Since then I’ve had a well paid job for over 30 years but I’ve not saved or managed it, I’ve just done as I pleased and my current situation is in part a result of that careless attitude. That is going to have to change. To be disciplined I’m going to have to let go of my crutches that ease the fear but keep me stood still. I’ll have to make choices instead of having it all my way. This may turn out to be the best thing that’s happened or it may go wrong. Loss and change are the only certainties in life really. It’s what we do when faced with them that makes the difference. I need to face this, work out what I want to do, feel the fear and get past it through planned sustained effort.

I wrote that Saturday as it is now but I wasn’t happy with it and didn’t want to publish. I thought it sounded preachy and I wasn’t feeling it. I was meeting a few friends for a socially distanced birthday picnic in the park. It was lovely to see them – really special after over 2 months. I didn’t want to drink but I did have a little bit of E. I had a nice time, both before and after the E and if I’m honest it didn’t add a lot to the experience other than I didn’t feel left out. I came home in time to enjoy the rest of the evening with C. I could tell myself that it’s fine – I get to define the limits of my sobriety; but I know that’s not true given the incident with the wine and what I’ve written above. It’s me being scared and retreating back to the familiar and that’s not the direction I’m travelling. The Paul Weller song below has been in my consciousness and on my playlist for many years now – a tune calling me to make changes. I know what I need to do – I just have to get on and do it. It’s the 1st June today – 3 months to get my shit together. When I’ve posted this I’m going to make a start.

“Brand New Start”Paul Weller

I’m gonna clear out my head
I’m gonna get myself straight
I know it’s never too late
To make a brand new start

I’m gonna kick down the door
I’m gonna get myself in
I’m gonna fix up the yard
And not fall back again

I’m gonna clean up my earth
And build a heaven on the ground
Not something distant or unfound
But something real to me
But something real to me

All that I can I can be
All that I am I can see
All that is mine is in my hands
So to myself I call

There’s somewhere else I should be
There’s someone else I can see
There’s something more I can find

It’s only up to me …..

Pandemic life

Last weekend I wasn’t in a good mood. I’ve realised that on here I do what I do in real life – when I’m feeling bad I don’t talk to anyone until after the fact so I can present it as a wrapped up dealt with scenario with myself as a far more balanced reasonable human being than I actually am! The only people who really get to see my dark side are my family and a few close friends. Part of last Saturday was running out of weed and the old addiction conflict coming up. Having resupplied a little bit for C’s birthday on Monday we have now actually ran out and I feel differently. More positive that I can actually do all the things I want to today and won’t be derailed by a sneaky spliff and the ‘put it off til tomorrow’ effect it has. I don’t actually want to give it up but I do want to exercise more choice over when I smoke and how often. A break will help with that I hope. Last Sat I nearly drank. I got the open bottle of red wine I’d used in cooking and sniffed it but then I went and did yet another jigsaw instead! Played the movie forward. As we took our evening bath and C gently tried to point out what I was doing with my thinking I snapped ‘so I’m supposed to be present and fucking grateful all the time am I?’ The sensible part of my brain was saying quietly – ‘actually you are!’ C had the good sense not to reply! By Sunday I was able to do those things more and balance was restored.

I’ve had 2 Covid tests this week. The first as work have asked us all to get tested then a few days later I had a cough and felt feverish so had to have another. Both were negative but it got me thinking about how we accommodate to risk and threat when it’s presence is continuous. I’ve been pretty careful but I’d seen a lot of people out on a long walk, been to the stables and visited my mum and gone through her flat to her patio to chat instead of standing in the corridor in the few days since the 1st test. We are all used to it now and the longer it goes on the harder it is to remember to be careful. Our bodies and minds don’t want to be in perpetual threat mode, it’s not good for them, so we adapt and carry on. I understand a bit more why people appear to tolerate awful situations – we can normalise anything if it goes on long enough and in one way that’s adaptive. It also explains why governments can get away with so much. Our outrage naturally wanes over time and our tolerance increases. The ordinary stuff of life and love continues and humans adapt to their circumstances. I’ve often wondered how ordinary Germans stood by as the Holocaust happened. We can see the same thing at work in the USA and here right now – I don’t mean those who believe the lies they spout, but the rest of us, busy making sure our loved ones are safe and well, no energy left to be outraged. It doesn’t bode well for our collective futures.

On a lighter note as I scrolled through the pictures on my phone I realised all the WhatsApp messages and pictures were a visual lockdown diary. Here’s a few of my favourites (the ones without family on – those are my real favourites of course!) Stay safe and sane everybody!

Lockdown diaries

I wrote this on my calendar earlier on in lockdown during a moment of frustration and although it’s true we did fuck all in April (in terms of what might need writing on a calendar) there is definitely something happening as we adjust to our stripped back lives. Other bloggers have articulated this so beautifully -Collette http://wine2water.blog/ and Jim http://formerdrinker.wordpress.com/ to mention a couple, that I almost feel I’ve nothing to add. Almost – ha ha! Collette frames it as authentic living instead of ‘doing’ and Jim talks about the effect of facing our mortality on how we face living. There’s no doubt this is a profound moment for us all to re-evaluate our lives and our inter-dependency with the whole of nature whilst sitting at home drinking tea doing jigsaws! Those of us who have quit drinking were already grappling with these questions so perhaps this has been less of a shock for us.

I’ve found we’ve slipped into a routine like humans do whatever the situation. I was alternating anxious days with more peaceful ones but the anxious days have lessened, mainly through not engaging too much with the bigger picture. My most anxious day has been Saturdays until today. Without the distraction of work I’ve woken up and immediately felt the absence of my girls and got myself in a doom and gloom mindset. I even text my Ex in search of E last Sat am, considering a one woman rave in the kitchen to pass the time. There were none forthcoming and later that day as I danced around making a pecan pie I was glad. I got the feeling all by myself! Later that afternoon I found some ecstasy with C and was even happier!

This week I thought about what I wanted to do today in advance and the anxst has stayed away. Focusing on simple pleasures and taking each day at a time is proving the best approach to all this uncertainty. I don’t want to drink though in the early days of lockdown it was suggesting itself as an option. C accidentally bought normal Becks instead of Becks Blue the other day. I had a sip and immediately said ‘there’s something wrong with that – it tastes horrible!’ It tasted like the poison it actually is. I’d have to try really hard to pour that stuff down my neck again! I am still smoking though we are likely to run out soon and I’m ok with that idea. I’ve lost the sense of having to manage things, force them or make them happen. I’ll just take it as it comes.

I feel the same about work. I spent last year raging at my job and trying to build a private practice so I could leave. I’ve realised now that I don’t want to do the same thing in a different setting, so rather than focusing on how I can make the same money elsewhere I’m just going to stay put and focus on the things I do want to do the rest of the time and see what comes of it. Writing, training and sharing ideas and private therapy clients rather than psychiatry ones. Maybe train in Equine Therapy. Trust the process rather than trying to force it or control it. The result of this is I’m enjoying my job more than I have in a long time.

My old dog is deteriorating before our eyes. Having never thought I’d be the sort of person who put nappies on a dog I am now doing just that at night. I don’t want to put her down without my girls being able to say goodbye and I’m grateful for this time with her. Pets are definitely Covid-19 winners, ours are loving our constant presence.

I’m very disillusioned politically and have left the Labour Party so I’m more in a place of resigned disappointment than righteous anger at the failings of our leaders. Instead I watch birds bathing in the waterfall C built in our backyard and wonder at nature as the seeds I planted push their way into the sunlight.

As others have said the task for us all individually and collectively is to figure out what we want to bring back from our old lives and what we want to preserve from this time. Like Collette I don’t want to go back to all that doing, but I do want to see my family and friends and to ride. I want to keep a slower pace though so I have time to stop and notice the world around me. Keep the simple stripped back feeling whereby the important stuff can be seen clearly, not obscured by a myriad of distractions.

So the rest of the day is cooking (rhubarb tarte tatin is today’s attempt), more writing, yoga, group call with my mum and girls and maybe some Killing Eve and Scrabble later. Simple pleasures to enjoy. Hope you all have a lovely day!

P.S. I’m going to post the follow up attachment articles on my other blog as I want to keep this one more for musings. If anyone is interested let me know how to contact you and I’ll send you the links. I tried to set up an email attached to this blog but failed – too impatient! I’m not anonymous on that one but I’m cool with you guys knowing who I am as I think of you as friends.

Eating Disorders — Violet Tempest

My family and I are too close to this mental disorder. Too close to write about it without heart-wrenching emotion. Why? My adult daughter suffers with an E.D. has since she was eleven years old; she will turn twenty-five this year. We did not discover what was wrong, what was actually going on with her […]

Eating Disorders — Violet Tempest

I found this blog via Violet’s daughter’s tweet and as I commented it’s close to me too. I know eating disorders and addictions do have a lot in common, and many families have both to deal with, so I for one am really looking forward to reading their story 💞💞