Monthly Archives: November 2017

Losing It

So, I think I’m losing it. Not in a ‘go into a room and forget why you’re there’ type of thing, or ‘purse in the fridge’ way, it’s a bit more serious than that. It’s a re-evaluate and prioritise your shite type of thing…

You see, for many years I’ve experienced the above. It’s the social norm. I hear people at work often murmuring it, along with mutterings of talking to oneself – we all do it. It means we’re not perfect. Our minds are sometimes preoccupied, illness can dull the senses and they can struggle with little aspects. For example: earlier this year I had a nasty chest infection which resulted in me having to double check spellings of basic words – weird eh? But, I knew why it was occurring, it was a result of the fight my body was incurring through the nasty bug. My brain was overworking in just enabling me to stand up!!No, the thing that makes me feel on the steady decline is much worse. This week I forgot how to cook potatoes (please feel free to laugh).

Now, the less culinary of you might think this is quite natural. But not for me. I’m a cooker. It’s in t’blood. I can knock up a banquet ‘en masse’ in less than an hour, with only strobe lighting (think strip club) and a two ring electric Belling to aide and assist. (Last Christmas. No kitchen. New house. Family needing feeding). Potatoes are something I can do in my sleep. But scarily Him had to broach the question of why I was trying to steam my potatoes?

However, it hasn’t stopped there. I seem to be losing recollection of things that happen. I forget what I’m talking about half way through s sentence. Most alarmingly, I can’t always understand an instruction. Now, I could blame the above on sleep deprivation and being a busy lady, however, here’s the thing, I think it’s my body’s way of telling me it’s time to stop. Stress, anxiety and paranoia…

Now, stopping doesn’t mean living, because that would be stupid! I’m a spring chicken with loads of plans and an exciting life to yet lead. No, what I’ve got to stop doing is carrying this constant burden of worry and anxiety around like Marley’s ghost and his chains. Work seems to be a constant millstone around my neck and quite frankly that is unacceptable.

Firstly, the guilt I forever feel as a working parent needs to stop. My beauts have a good life. Love is always in abundance and fun a necessity. So what if I forget 50p for this, or I’m not even a feature at the school gates (at parents evening many had no idea who I was)? I’m a good mum. I’m here every night, they have food, they’re clean, cuddles are a must, I rarely leave them and am always on hand ‘maid style’ any time – day or night. Apart from…work days, nights I have to spend working, times I’m exhausted and Him has to do it all (my God, what would I do without Him?). And yes, I know it’s not really good enough. To be ‘that parent’ which is heralded as ‘worlds wirst’ with ‘poor neglected children’, I’m am to be frowned upon for my shoddiness but if my only crime is one of overworking to provide a wonderful life for them, if I was in charge, I’d absolve me of my sins.

Then it’s the pressure of trying to hold it all together. Sometimes it feels like I’m trying to fix an old holey water pipe with sticking plasters. Trying to placate everyone to keep the harmony. First world issues that seem so important to us but in the grand scheme of things…

It has to be noted that I never wanted to grow up; I wanted to be that free spirit, back packing around the world with a baby strapped to my back. Following the Inca trail or trekking the foothills of the Himalayas (I’ll still get there) This sentiment of escapism makes me always feel like running away and hiding. Knowing I can’t just up sticks and leave all my loved ones behind, I hide. And that’s what I think my brain is doing – it’s telling me all this has to stop by reminding me how fragile I am.  It’s hiding crucial information to make me stop and think.

Hiding/running, it’s the paranoia within me that seems to feed this feeling, if I feel out of control, out of my depth, if I feel excluded…I’m so worried about what people think of me, I’ve extracted myself from most social situations. I find it all incredibly embarrassing. It’s something which is leading me into a solitary life – like one of those reclusive writers who I always thought so cool! But what am I achieving? Being a hermit and hiding just feeds the monster and ‘the fear’. Growing like the gremlins in the dark cupboard. Like I said before, stress, anxiety and paranoia. Those three words sum me up completely. Each one a label on my Marleyesque chains. Lugging the heavy bleeders around day and night being an encumbrance. Sound familiar?

Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol to make a point. He wanted people to think about the imprint they made then left in life. Our souls burdened by choices in and beyond our control. We all have silent battles we are fighting, crushing us at times and dragging us down into the depths of despair. I see my present ‘dementia’ as a sign. It’s my body’s way of telling me, like Marley did to Scrooge, about what’s important. I need to find that euphoric zest that always got me through in the past. I need to cut through the quagmire of self loathing and begin to love myself again. I need to stop worrying about the haters and I need to channel my inner sunshine. I need to understand and feel like I’m worth it,  Marley’s sole mourner turned out to be the best friend he could ever wish for.  He gave him a gift to absolve him of ‘the fear’.  Many of us seem to need our own Marley.

So, with Christmas dinner for twelve to cook, I better get my shite together quick and fast! Otherwise the Lord himself only knows how I’ll cook the sprouts…




Sundays, what are they for? As a child I categorically hated Sundays; especially in the winter (summer Sundays are fit for picnics, playing out and are a prelude for the holidays). Dark, cold and filled with days keeping warm in a bed heated with an electric blanket (haha, as it! I wonder if people still use them?). and wrapped in what my mother coined as a ‘candle wick’ bedspread, was the only comfort to my misery.

We lived in a tiny village, no shops (not that they opened on a Sunday back then anyway), only only a few houses, church and a school. It was hardly an exciting metropolis of glamour and modernity…Our home was an old eighteenth century farmhouse with a Victorian extension. It was the epitome of living in Scrooge’s lodgings. Many a morning I’d awake with ice on the insides of the single glazed sash windows. When the wind blew it’d lift the carpet up like Jacob Marley had arrived…and whistle around the roof. This resulted in my inability to face reading Dickens for many years, as it was all too familiar and real to me. Especially the boring bits where the women would sit around fires doing nothing – that was me on a Sunday.

It wasn’t that my parents were religious, but we were surrounded by it. We had a pub next to a church (they usually are) and whenever my parents moved into a new community they’d make it their policy to get to know the local vicar. I mean who can blame them really? It brought a lot of money into the pub as they’d end up holding all kinds of church gatherings and religious shenanigans with us. The lovely old vicar used to like a pint with my dad (so much so he had his own stool and a picture hung on the wall above where he sat). Plus all the oldies would rock up after Sunday service for their three course luncheon. This lucrative move meant we had to occasionally attend important services (dressed in our best bib and tucker – usually, for me, a velvet M and S number with a bit of tartan on it) and this I didn’t mind too much as I liked the hymns (I went to a church school where we prayed twice a day and sang cracking hymns constantly – I never questioned this until later in life). However, I wasn’t so keen on all the prayers I didn’t know and the sermons. Plus if you got the stand-in vicar he always picked the rubbish songs that required no ability to sing but all the mastery of a linguist to be able to get the words to fit the music – all in a high pitched tone. But I digress, in the winter the old village church was on par with my icy bedroom. Therefore, a church Sunday could be a double whammy.

Luckily though (I say this loosely) most Sundays were spent by me being lonely and bored. Mum and Dad were so busy feeding the silver hoards, that I pretty much never got a look in. If I was good I got two dinners – a mini one at the beginning of service and then another at tea time (for those of you who have ever eaten her cooking will know this is jackpot winning gains). However, it wasn’t enough to liven up the dullest day of the week. Busy, overworked and stressed as they were, they had little sympathy. According to them, when they were kids they ‘had’ to go to church and Sunday school. They ‘had’ to wear special clothes and they weren’t allowed to play (this all used to come out in the same spiel as the one where they made their own games from sticks and tin cans, their world was all about horrible margarine and without butter, and they were forced to have baths in s sink…). Therefore, I was to think myself lucky I had a telly (one with four channels which only had Blue Peter and The Queens Nose on, on a Sunday morning), a fire (we had no heating so we developed chilblains from October to March by turning at the hearth every five minutes) and an ‘Acorn Electron’ computer which took half an hour to load, with the graphics verging on etch a sketch quality. So, in my true spirit and style, I had to reshape my Sundays into something wonderful.

So making wonderful i did. I requested a midi hi-if, blank tapes, vinyl, music mags, and created my own radio show (you see always wanted one). I’d DJ my way through the top 40, create playlists and mix tapes (way before Apple even thought it). Then I stepped it up. My ‘miserly Yorkshire’ father, ‘he who wouldn’t pay for Sky’ did buy me multipacks of blank tapes from the cash and carry. The deal was that I could have one blank tape if I spent my free time ‘taping’ (that sounds hilarious now) all the telly they missed when they’d ‘be packed downstairs’. So in return for recording ‘Cell Block H’, ‘Only Fools’ and ‘Corrie’, I was allowed to fill my tape with ‘Top of the Pops’, ‘Chart Show UK’, and other random shite that I’d spot and press record on (it was never instant because the button used to take five seconds to kick in so I’d always miss the best bit). From my producers chair, I’d create my own E4 style show and analyse the dances and clothing of various pop stars (my goodness, I’m wasted in education). I’d create dance routines and costumes to accompany them (I was so cool in my fingerless lace gloves). This all provided me with a panache for organisation, an ear for good music and an eye for a worthy trend (I tend not to try and follow flash in the pan silly ones – harem pants et al). But as time went on I needed cash to support my fledgling Vox Pop career. So I went All Sir Alan and started my own business. Sunday mornings through to lunchtimes would consist of me washing cars in the pub car park. This highly successful venture finally ended when ‘the miserly Yorkshireman’ needed his teenage daughter to serve the ‘silver hoards’ for slave wages in his restaurant.

So the wonderful Sundays turned to just another day…

Twenty five year later and I can tell you that I haven’t ‘been to work’ on a Sunday for about ten years. Since the dark days of living in Ebenezer’s Palace, the pace of life has moved on rapidly – mores the pity. Less people go to church, shops now open and no longer is it seen as a sacred day of rest (for the record it was never a day of rest in our house). And although I have what seems like a thousand channels on my telly (I can never find a thing to watch though…) strike me down now but I crave for the boredom of that seven year old sometimes. The empty day which made me creative and enabled me to discover who I was.

So I thought about this today (I was singing ‘In the Bleak Mid-winter’ to Little E) and Sunday self discovery, had today led me to:

identify with my old blusher brush – it’s hanging on in there even though it is old and has alopecia. Replaced my the middle one with a newer better looking model, I felt sorry for it and felt guilty ending its functional life. A glance in the mirror and a look back at old picture reinforced this feeling – I am definitely feeling my age and hope to God that doesn’t mean I have to stop wearing skinny jeans and start shopping at Bon Marche.

Am I replaceable by a newer and fitter model? This enlightenment has probably been triggered by my middle baby turning fifteen. The beautiful one who we all spent an uncertain half an hour today rooting for, when she decided to dye her hair silver (it was touch and go for a while but it didn’t work). All reminding me how uncertain i felt at that age, and how I was desperate to find my place in the world…And when she asks ‘can I go up town?’ I want to say ‘no because it’s Sunday’ and then I realise to a young modern ear this will sound ridiculous!

My final discovery was that as old and wise as I now am, Him deigns to treat me like a petulant and untrustworthy teen. There is no coincidence that I’ve been playing Happy Mondays very loudly whilst I cooked the habitual dinner (that they won’t come home in time for and won’t clear away) and the fact Him is refusing to buy us tickets to see them live next month because ‘it’s on a school night’. My ‘loud’ protest and my ‘silent’ dinner will provide a masterclass for the children in ‘How to Throw a Strop’ – y’ twisting ma melons msn’.

For the next two hours I will have to work (eurgh) although the bonus is that I’ve forgotten to bring some documents home – that’s given me an extra hour! I will have help Little E make a 3D model of Saturn and her rings. Then dinner will be served and Sunday night sick feeling will start to seep in. Is that where ‘no rest for the wicked’ originated from? They say careful what you wish for, but I wish for Sundays to regain their sanctity. I’d like us all to shut the world day on this old day of rest. Whatever you believe, whoever wrote the bible, they were very wise. Although creation is a fairy story, it’s worth thinking about what it’s ancient author was trying to say. Not about greed, not about temptation (they really knew what they were on with didn’t they?) but about on the seventh day he rested. Why is life so demanding now there’s no room for rest? Sundays, what are they for? They’re for doing nothing (if you want) so go and put your feet up…


When the black dog is looming on the horizon, it can take great strength to try to steer away from it. To succumb would mean accepting the darkness, wrapping yourself in it like a blanket and shrinking away from life. To fight it, to ignore the sick feeling in your stomach, to suppress the deep dread washing through you is incredibly hard. It’s like walking a tightrope between black and white.

Where does it come from? Is it something which lurks within us all? I’m wondering, no convinced, it’s to go with the modern world. So fast paced, demanding and full of expectations, that the constant pressure to live a good life can mean that it loses its lustre. This in conjunction with worries about family and friends, plus managing a busy life, is quite simply a recipe for mental health disaster. You see, quite frankly I need a break.

I’m currently teetering on a very thin line. All my self taught coping mechanisms are keeping me going but I feel like I’m heading for a fall. All the stuff I do to make myself feel better I am struggling to do. When even the thought of changing my bed sheets overwhelms me (yesterday). When I see a beautiful sunny autumn day and feel upset because I want to skulk into depression under the blanket on my sofa (this morning). And when I realise that the constant sickness and tension within my body is my default setting (all the time), I know I need to do something.

That’s what I’m now doing. My first answer is to write it down and commit it to the electronic screen. The second will to be to talk to someone. I will tell them that this has been building for about five months. I will tell them I have started to tell people bits, however, no one knows the full story. But, this is the big problem – where do you start and who would you want to dump hours of your depressing talk onto? (Even writing it bores me).

That’s the thing though: it bores me. I categorically hate the way my body and brain are currently working against the inner optimist within me. My metaphorical mantra of ‘build and they will come’ has pushed me through many a trying time. In the way that if the task ahead felt unattainable and hugely daunting, I’d push myself forward with a steely determination where I would allow anything other than a win to happen. Only now, at a time where I am searching for a new sign, one that reassures me and gives me hope, is nowhere to be seen. Instead my gut is telling me something is wrong. This I hate. Even more so my body is telling me enough is enough. I seem to be developing psoriasis on my scalp again, spots and I have a mouth full of ulcers (all signs of stress). I want out and I want to be able to sleep again.

I’m almost sure I’m not alone in any of this. One of my reasons for writing it down for others to read is because keeping stuff locked up inside can destroy the soul. By sharing it can lessen the load. Also, if you too have bouts of deep loathing, wanting to hide, feeling stressed and worry, I know it can feel very lonely. It’s like being the only person on a wild and windy precipice, with angry waves lashing against the jagged rocks; teetering only metres from death. Vulnerable and fighting for survival – the gale force winds pushing you towards the edge. All you want is someone to come along with a thick blanket, flask of tea and to whisk you away into a bear hug of safety. If that describes you then I want you to know that I want to be the flask carrying hugger in your life.

You see, I much rather fancy the role of rescuer than being the rescued. I despise the maudlin nature which lurks like a bad smell within my being at the moment. I want to be upbeat and happy. I’m sick of those black clouds hovering; threatening to spoil my life. Yes I have worries (there’s a truckload at the minute) and yes I don’t know how to fix things but I’m not going to let it beat me. I have lots to be thankful for and that’s more than some can say. So (brushing oneself down) I’m going to retrain my brain into thinking that ‘nothing bad will happen and it’s ok’ from the ‘I feel panicky, sick and tearful as I think the whole world hates me’ feeling. It’s going to be tough but with Him, them and Rosie Dog to hold my hand (with a soundtrack playing optimistically in my head). I shall aim for that sunset happily ever after I know we all actually deserve – that’s both you and I. After all, my story isn’t unique, it’s a symptom of modern life. I’m painting my smile on and working on the inner self.

Happy Sunday love to you all.