Willing to believe

Life is  not fucking easy. Can  just put that out there and state the obvious. One minute you are up and on a high and then you hear a tiny whisper of news and it brings you crashing down.

Not trying to get cryptic and poetic. It’s not my style.

My thoughts are all over the place.

First day down of facilitator  support group  training. -I can tell you it is not easy to facilitate a peer led support  group.

I’m not going t give up.

six hours of intense training -what did Daisy learn ?

The only thing I can think of at this moment is what my ma has just told me My uncle has a tumour – in his colon – cancerous- 6 cm big .

Oh and I remember this quote

“In the silence of listening, you can know yourself in everyone, the unseen singing softly to itself and to you.”

Read more at: http://www.azquotes.com/quote/824105

I think it sums up what a facilitators role is and the need to be self aware all the time.

I lost an aunt to cancer last February and another uncle not many weeks after that to Cancer. My Gran’s dementia is in the final stages. I’m trying to carve out a new life for myself, my daughter. I am terrified of losing my own mother.

I’m human.

 Conflicted.

Mental illness sucks balls

. I really don’t need it to start causing shit when I have so many important things I need to get on with.

Like what ?

Well my life.

My family,

my career,

Volunteering

I’m not going to let this beat me. No matter how many panic attacks I get, how many times I weigh myself  or how complexed everything gets. I’m going to get through this. I will be there for my family.  I will succeed in my goals with volunteering.

 Went to the dentist and his  assistant says to me

“you are one tough cookie.”

 So did the tattoo dude when I got my new tattoo 2 weeks ago .

Yes, It’s a good job I have lived the life I have.

I can honestly say thank fuck for every experience that has led me up to this moment.

I am holding up pretty good.

 I’ve done a gym session, had a bath and read my daughter a story. I’m not going to go into what I learned today.

I need time to process it.

I’m not going into my uncles condition.

 I need time to process.

I am going to try and distract myself and read your lovely blogs and posts. I want to write but I feel numb. I feel like if I carry on writing like this – no emotion will come across in these words..

In a way I’m honouring what I always profess to be. I am honest to a fault. Transparent.

I am the first person to mock religion but the first thing I thought about when I heard the news about my uncle was :

I am willing to believe in a God if it makes my uncle better. I’m willing to believe that  there s still hope,the operation will be a success .I’m willing to pray to something I have never laid eyes on if it will heal the suffering of a person I love.

My heads all over the place.

 

 

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EVENTUALLY…………

“Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose’ Janis Joplin

 Today is the first anniversary  of my Aunts death.

Long  story short: Mid June 2014 She moved to Costa Rica to work. For the 5 months she was there she suddenly couldn’t breathe. The doctor said she had COPD and that she needed to carry a portable oxygen machine with her at all times.

She came back to the U.K. and was admitted into hospital. She was in hospital for nearly 2 months being poked and prodded. The doctors didn’t think it was COPD. It transpired that she had fluid in her lungs.

I don’t know if you know the procedure for draining the fluid but I want to tell you so you can understand how  brave my Aunt was.

They cut open a hole on  of  the side her body -fed a tube through the lung to drain the liquid. Yes, she was on morphine but she still  screamed out in pain. Then once the fluid is drained they need to dry out the lung. They cut another hole on the other side of her body and blasted talcum powder into her lungs. Yes, she was awake for all this.

We all knew what she had. Two months later, she was told she had Cancer and there was no more they could do. She went to stay with my Ma. I went to visit her the night she got back home.

I couldn’t stay long, I said.

I have so many things I need to do ,I said.

We must have a movie night, kissed her on the cheek.

Then went on my way attending to my busy important life.

7 a.m. 22/02/2015

RING RING

“Hello…”

“Daisy! Something is wrong with Babs she is not moving, I don’t know she won’t answer me –BABS! BABS! –   I’m calling an ambulance.”

“Ma … Ma?”  No answer. I sat up in bed and did not react and then I thought – fuck this is not good.

One call and a taxi ride later,

I get out of the taxi as the paramedics are carrying my Aunt down the stairs in a wheel chair and into the ambulance. Pulse  monitor flashing 16.

We were allowed to ride with her. Get to hospital. She is rushed in for emergency care. Doors slam in our face. A doctor comes out and leads us to a quiet room to wait. We wait.

Doctor comes back in. My aunt is stabilised but she will be on a machine support for the remainder of her days. What do we want to do?  Ma and me look at one another. Ma’s face crumbles.

“No , we let her go! she has to go no more pain” I speak up. Mom is nodding. The decision is made. No time to call other family members. We are allowed to enter the room. We pull up two chairs and watch as she dies in front of us, snowed under morphine. It takes seemingly forever for her to go.

We sing Janis Joplin’s ‘Merecedes Benz’ .

Tears

Tears

Tears.

PLEASE GO.

The death rattle finally comes and it takes forever for her to drown in her own spit.

“MOMMY” my cousin rushes into the room. We all turn back to my Aunt. She has gone. It is all over.

60 years of knowing her alive and 20 minutes knowing her on her way to death.

She didn’t want to be chained to an invisible leash- an oxygen machine.

My aunt was awesome, everyone got on with her, we were great friends -always giggling, she didn’t take shit from me. She was a true hippy and a traveller. She could read palms. She fought a good fight. Life was hers -she owned her life. Life did not own her until the end.  We used to joke that I became  a drug addict because she used to sing me ‘Puff the magic dragon’ without knowing what the other meaning of the song is.

One last song

ME AND MY BOBBY MCGEE

FUCK TATI I MISS YOU . I LOVE YOU. Wish I could hear you laugh again.

BEHIND THE MASK EXIBITION- my experience

I suppose I, as a writer  can be ignorant and forget how empowering and therapeutic being able to write is and how  creative it  is. This is is something that every women should be able to access. I saw the results of the works of creativity in every face at ‘Behind the mask’ exhibition this today

The exhibition was led by a passionate presentation by the  highly charismatic Sharon Marsden from verd de gris

I spent most of my time in tears. All masks shed to  connect with British white and British Muslim  woman through the medium of   poetry, their personal words and singing.  Yes, what a strange bonding  power it is to want to join in and sing with strangers.

All connected by our desire to be unburdened, it released even me from my cage. Today, I flew high and found my voice intermingled amongst a collective . I didn’t need to say a word. Someone already had and I identified completely.  I had a taste of the   12 week journey these highly courageous women have been through. It reminds me of my own journey in life as a woman. I’m not alone. We are not alone. As painful as some of these emotions were to  witness and experience,the exhibition left on a high – I was carried away with a powerful  gust of optimism and new found courage to carry on in my own journey in life.

All faiths, all ages, all complex woman with the desire to be free from pain and to be free to show their real face and not wait for the words of acceptance .  The message I took away is this:

This is me! take me or leave . I will not hide behind any more masks for you or anyone.

Here is my crane symbol to remind me that I too can be that bird that ‘flies to the heavens’ 20160115_130823

The crane is a popular symbol in Asian culture, and the practice of folding paper cranes for good fortune, healing, happiness, and success was popularized by Sadako Sasaki, a young victim of the radiation from the Hiroshima disaster. Chains of paper cranes, often numbering a thousand in total, are given as offerings at temples and shrines. The crane is also perceived as a bird capable of flying to the very heavens, and is said to have borne spirits of the deceased there upon its back. In ancient China, the crane was used as the symbol of highest-ranking officials.
Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/Wellness/Environment/Galleries/A-Spiritual-Field-Guide-to-Birds.aspx?p=6#JvmBs22BfFs8PL8B.99

 

 

 

Caged Bird Excerpt

BY MAYA ANGELOU

The caged bird sings

with a fearful trill

of things unknown

but longed for still

and his tune is heard

on the distant hill

for the caged bird

sings of freedom.

Female empowerment is continuing well into 2016.    NEW RECRUITS NEEDED FOR THE NEXT BEHIND THE MASK COMING SOON!

I have also been moved to boldly upload my first video blog. What better inspiration than to speak with female empowerment.  Seven minutes long but no apologies for what comes from the heart.

An empowered first video blog of Daisyinthewillows

 

A post more worthy than any title

I don’t usually like to read posts about loved ones who are dead. I guess this post and my feelings on it has changed my perspective. All those loved ones departed  and  those left behind deserve to honour their loved ones. A big life lesson learned.  It is the  9 th January and that means it is your birthday. I still miss that laugh of yours. Stupid Cancer. Do you know it has been over 10 years since you died and they still don’t have a cure for Cancer?

I know you were the type of man that would have probably healed yourself but you didn’t have time. It was too late. It had spread through out your body too much. Reflecting back, I know you knew you had it. You were in denial even when you were diagnosed twice. Three times. We moved countries to get you  the best treatment. We were all in denial. You were indestructible even staring death in the face. You brushed off cancer like an irritating wasp.

Some people I know hated you for your business ethics  but damn you were a smashing business man and you loved you family- whole heartedly. You didn’t want in -house fighting and took the blame for a lot of our mistakes. You wanted peace.

I know you were far from perfect. I mean a lot of your dealings were under handed but no more underhanded that a corrupt police officer or a government worker. Yes,  you took but you gave too. 

You were a millionaire twice over in your life.  You were one of the first people to fly all over the world in the  now defunct Concorde. Remember that time when I was in Disney world?  It was Disney worlds 50 th anniversary. It was my 5 th birthday present.

I was being a rotten spoilt child and refused to get in the bath. You were less than  a few hours away from catching the Concorde to get to  a meeting . Business suit on and brief case in the other hand. You thought you could reason with me.

You managed to be a success in that department  with most people. You sat on  the edge of the bath , pragmatical  and  cajoling me. I was so not getting in that bath – Then you slipped and fell into the bath. You were not angry but we both laughed. We were in hysterics.

You embraced every religion you could think off. You could speak over 5 languages. You would walk in to a room and all eyes were on you. Your charisma and those eyes -corn blue -mesmerised people. You were a descendant of Rasputin . You had to be!   The business deals were usually signed on the dotted line and you had only just sat down to discuss  business.

You got locked away in Vienna for a few years. Someone had to be the fall guy. Your  crime was no worse than that of another other person high up in government  and politics did. you did skin the top of the profits  but the rest went to the poor. I saw it with my own eyes.

You loved Gran with all your heart. She was not an easy woman. Stunning and charming ,yes. But things happen in life and you  were far away. Gran didn’t want to be in U.SA at that point in her life,and I guess your needs got the better than you. Like it does for millions of people over the world. Even now as I type someone is betraying another.Who am I to judge?

You were still doing business after chemotherapy. That shit wiped you out. We ended up in a villa in the South of France because of your business acumen. You were riddled with Cancer. Could hardly move. 

You never touched drugs. Never sold them or dealt in arms. The dodgy  business you did was what most western governments do. You knew the politics. you knew the game.You only drank vodka when you knew your days were numbered. 

You came  from Paris to South Africa with Gran – and extended your family from Madagascar to Zimbabwe and then settled in South Africa. 

You both made a huge family and gave them so much. Grandchildren included.  You loved the innocence of youth. You wanted children to stay children for as long as possible. You wanted to keep them safe from the harshness of our world. I remember how I used to boast to my friends you were a doctor. Well, you did say you were. Years later, you made me laugh so much when you pulled out your certificate and it was signed by some top official in post apartheid  by a man called Buthalezi. You were indeed a doctor.

A doctor  in economics. True, you didn’t need to go to college to learn that.  It still makes me smile.

Your parents came from Russia fleeing the revolution 0f 1918 to Paris . You grew up in the slums of Paris. Your brother Vladimir was ill from a young age and your sister Helene was as frivolous  and sensual. She know how to have a good time.

We used to talk so much about why I wanted to be so thin. He wanted to know why I was compelled to  use drugs. It was like a cure he couldn’t find. Rehab after rehab. No cure. He used to take me out- side onto the balcony. The sea was so close you could almost feel it. You could smell the saltiness in the air. You tried to teach me mindfulness. You were an eccentric ,well  ahead of your time. Everyone is on about mindfulness these days.

Today I feel ashamed that I made you take me to my drug dealer in a Rolls Royce, I might add.. to score.  I think the drug dealers were disgusted in me. A white girl, rich and who  had  no  visible problems or deformities to see, buying a drug on a par with Heroin.

I have got better. I have. I’m not 100% but I wish you could see me now. I know for a fact we would still be living in Miami or France. You loved with a generous heart. There was always laughter in the family.  I don’t know how  you would have handled seeing Gran the way she is. In a care home – in the last stages of dementia. Maybe it is a good thing you never got to see  her like she is now. It would have crushed you, not being able to make her better. It would have driven you mad. I know it.

You were a legend

And in my eyes and my heart you still are. 

I hope you are still making deals with your God -whoever that may be and where ever that may be. 

I love you . 

WEEK 11 WRAP– CRISIS PLAN

So, here we are, we have one week  to go. Sometimes in spite of planning to stay on top of life stresses we can and do go into crisis mode. But all is not lost. This part of WRAP -is how to re-gain control when you can’t look after yourself. The link to look at what we have covered in previous weeks and how to create your own wrap is here.

10 weeks of finding out what makes you tick, what you like and what you hate, what to do more of and who and what to avoid. You have found out so much about you, it makes sense that you should write your own crisis plan. 

What is a crisis plan? 

Simply put, it is a 9 step plan you create to put in a detailed plan of what you want other people to know about and what you want people who sign this agreement to follow. I will suggest you do this plan when you are well.

This is not something you should hurry. I have created a power point crisis plan. you can do your plan however you wish. In the UK. the NHS is turning away from Care plan approach and to incorporate a service user led plan such as WRAP. You know yourself better than anyone and therefore you know what how you want to be treated and what you want doing if you ever slip into crisis mode. Obviously this is tailor made for you. Each plan will be unique. 

The 9 parts of the crisis plan are:

  1. What you are like when you are well
  2. Indicators that other people need to take over
  3. Who takes over and who doesn’t
  4. Information on your health-care contact and medication
  5. Acceptable and unacceptable treatments
  6. Home/community care/respite plan
  7. Acceptable and unacceptable hospital facilities
  8. Things others can do that would help
  9. Things others do that don’t help
  10. A list of chores and tasks for others
  11. Indicators the the plan is no longer needed
  12. Signatures from ‘key people’

I’ve put in a lot of thought and effort into my crisis plan as  I want it to work.  This is the final product of  three months of digging deep. It is my plan to stay well and I am serious and committed to it it.

I decided to personalize mine. I have created my crisis plan with power point because I can print out however many copies I need to. There are probably more things I will add to the plan as time goes on.

 MY CRISIS PLAN

WEEK WRAP 11- ‘THE CRISIS PLAN’- CAM CLIP

It is rather a long  clip – 13 minutes.. Apologies for all my waffling.

THAT IS IT.

Be empowered. Your choices are your voice. There is nothing more empowering than your voice to be heard and for your choices/wishes to be listened and implemented

 

 

 

 

WEEK 10 When things are at breaking point

Okay , so if you have been creating your WRAP  from week one. YAY! what a journey it has been,hasn’t it? And for those who haven’t you can always CLICK ON THIS LINK and   see how you too can start  your  very own Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP).

Here is a clip describing a bit of week 10 When things are breaking down

Week 10  -down. WOW! two weeks and my three month ‘gift’ is coming to an end. I will save my personal thoughts and other group members thoughts on WRAP in week 12. I just want to point out that I did not think I would get much out of this but I can promise you I have learned so much about myself, how I tick, what helps me, what doesn’t help me and loads of empowering self-help techniques. WRAP is free. It was given to me as a ‘gift’ and I give it to you as a ‘gift’. No extras. No fuss!

This weeks session focused on when you have ignored or not seen the trigger or Early warning signs and you can feel yourself slipping into  melt down, the plan to get that job is not going as it should, their have been delays in moving to where you are moving too. Your relationship is at breaking point, you can find no relief for your chronic pain if you have MS or Cancer even, but their is still a chance that you can pull yourself back and re- own your yourself.

Here is my breakdown list of signs and symptoms I feel when I start to feel like everything has turned to jelly. The stability is just that little bit further out of reach.  My list  is very focused on Eating disorders because this is where my mind is at but I am fighting to re-gain my control. It is my responsibility to stay well. I can do this with WRAP.

WHEN THINGS ARE BREAKING DOWN

  • weigh myself obsessively
  • take more photographs of myself to compare them to what I think I see in the mirror
  • My perception of my body is split and fractured. I am unable to focus on my body as a whole entity
  • Panic attacks
  • Don’t want to or I am feel unable to communicate
  • Seriously thinking or actively starting to cut down on fluids and food intake
  • I refuse to try on clothes that I didn’t wear when I was at a body weight I deemed acceptable
  •  I will push myself to go 24 hours 7 until I collapse
  • I don’t want to g out
  • I want to or stop taking my medication to get my Bipolar highs
  • withhold love and affection -I don’t feel worthy of the two.
  • Lose my sense of humour
  • all seems doom and gloom
  • feel that everyone hates me or has a problem with me
  • Using degrading language on myself eg. I’m fat, I’m stupid. -all un helpful thoughts and mantras
  • I feel I am an empty vessel -no personality a loss of identity
  • I’m selfish and refuse or can’t look at the world around me and what is happening outside of my illness
  • I think about escaping- or over dosing on my prescription medication or act on it
  • Short tempered
  • Angry at myself
  • Depressed
  • Anxious
  • It becomes harder to look after myself. It becomes harder to look after my daughter
  • Sleep for days at a time or not sleep for days at a time
  • buy exercise energy enhanced pills on line
  •  over exercise for over three hours with no breaks
  • Indecisive- small choices are hard to make
  • feel disconnected to reality. I can reinforce this buy not wearing my glasses or contact lenses.
  • Spend less time with my daughter. I don’t want her to pick up on my emotions and for her to see me in a ‘weak’ role

That is my list. It is a tough list to do but if you are thorough and honest with yourself then we can take all these symptoms and experiences and start an Action Plan. All is not lost but it feels pretty close to lost.

You need to start brainstorming what you can or will try to do to get you back on an even keel. 

Create an Action plan 

Mine is:

call my C.P.N.  or my psychiatrist

Speak to someone I can trust- use my circle of protection. I have a select group of people I have entrusted into my personal space to help me when I I feel like things are breaking down

I can  look at my maintenance tools from week two and three and try see if I can reign things in a bit

look at the different uniqueness I have learned eg. the art of moment therapy, mindfulness, take my thoughts to caught, wise mind 

( you can always add more to your list as and when something you think will help you stay away from completely  breaking down.

 

That’s it for this week.

Be kind to yourself .Give yourself an affirmation to say for the week, do something for you. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My writing101 and now inspired list for NanoWrimo

5 am start to get shit done. Coffee is my greatest ally. Okay so for writing 101  we had to write a list of things we like, things we wish for and things we have learned. What I  intend to do with this list is use it as a prompt to create situations , develop plot and character for the NanoWrimo 50 000 word challenge for the month of November. I’m also killing the two proverbial ‘birds with one stone. Day three of NanoWrimo and I’m up to 1701 words. I do not know what the finished product will be but I’m enjoying the process. 

inspiring-quotes21Here are mine :

Things I Like:

  • I like reading

  • I like dancing

  • I like music

  • I like being fashionable

  • I like to dance

  • I like cake and  all you can eat pancakes for 5 rand -( takes me back to childhood: every beach session with my mates in South Africa we stop off and eat the thickest and biggest pancakes imaginable. We had competitions  to see who could eat the most. My record is a proud 8) 

  • I like going to  events festivals, gigs, theatres

  • I like to be accepted by my friends

  • I like to be secure in my surroundings

  • I like to look good 

  • I like to be helpful

  • I like to do good

  • I love my  bed

  • I like vaping

  • I like sunny days

  • I like to be around un pretentious people

    I like conversations with my daughter

I Wish:

  • I wish I had learned to play a musical instrument properly

  • I wish I had not wasted my time getting people to like me

  • I wish I had proper  sight vision from a young age

  • I wish my Aunt had not died from cancer

  • I wish a person close to me  would stop hearing voices and get better

  • I wish I had an engaging personality

  • I wish I had more self-belief

  • I wish I was not so self-critical

  • I wish my Grandpa had not died

  • I wish I had stayed in Miami

  • I wish I  had a closer bond with my Dad

  • I wish I could afford to go on holiday

  • I wish that I was naturally thin

  • I wish my Gran did not have Alzheimers and Dementia

  • I wish I had just enough money to do more of the things I enjoy –theatre –gigs festival travel

I’ve Learned:

I’ve learned to question my thoughts

I’ve learned to let people talk before jumping in

I’ve learned that drugs and alcohol are not my thing

I’ve learned that most people I know suffer from some form  of mental illness in their life –(this prompted me to think about a character who lashes out at people to hide a horrible secret- Her mental health issues) 

I’ve learned the value of true love and self-respect

I’ve learned not to get too upset if people don’t like me (  yet again great inspiration fro developing all round characters with shades of dark and light)

I’ve learned   how to not self-harm

I’ve learned that hard work pays off

I’ve learned about faith and spirituality and religion and  developed my own  belief  system– (devil-prompt-  aaaaaaaargh what ? The devil bit was my  teenage  obsession phase with satanic cult books. I never became a Satanic but I have always had a thirst for knowledge and I have a rather consistent habit of being drawn to ‘dark side’

I’vr learned to look people in the eyes when I speak and when they speak with me

I’ve learned that I am a compassionate person

I’ve learned about unconditional love

I’ve learned not to think that not all laughter is aimed at me

I’ve learned to fight  and stand up for myself (something I didn’t have the tools to do when I was a teenager. ( I got into one physical fight in my life and I didn’t even know it was going to happen. In my drug taking hey day I was accused of stealing friends mobile phones for drugs. The true thief was a so called drug buddy and boyfriend who used me as his unknowing decoy to steal shit for his habit. Who was the fall guy/woman?  Me. I was so addled with drugs and anorexia one punch knocked me flat out. People wanted a  fight but I don’t think physical violence is way to ‘sort things out’. Now, out witting some one with words is  powerful a message and   more my thing.