Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The rabpig and the mouse

Once I was a rabbit.

Well, a rabbit pig, to be more precise.
I combined a scary mix of snuffling and truffling and chewing whatever I could find with a frightened outlook on life.

Other rabbits scared me. They’d gather in groups and whisper and point at my strange attire and dress, at my un-rabbit like ways and my attention to detail, such as where the best lettuce could be found. I’d freeze as they turned their headlights of scorn at me in school, in work and where ever groups of rabbits gathered.

But now I am a mouse.
Still an eccentric mouse, many of my habits and attitudes are distinctly at odds with what other mice possess.

But I am happy being a mouse, scampering instead of snuffling, giggling at absurdities and sometimes joining in.
I am content exploring wickedly and freely, curiously capturing each and every moment.
I relish grazing on little bits and bobs and tasting every luscious mouthful instead of munching mindlessly on every piece of rubbish that came my way.

I sometimes still feel the echoes of past thoughts and feelings.
A chance remark meant sincerely to praise sparks a reflex.
Memory pain floods in unwilled and unwanted.
Tears may flow, but I know what to do and soon those distorted memories are removed from their crooked frames and re-sited where they belong; in the past.

Those days where things were not in balance.
Where life was seen through self loathing glasses. Glasses that touches of praise and affection could not penetrate while smallest slights were magnified multitudes of times.

So today I will scamper and seek out that which excites and scintillates and soothes as needed. And if today memory pain returns, I may shed a tear or two.
I may laugh in its face and jump on those old frames.
I will not let it drive me, as it did all those years, back to being an unhappy rabpig.
The wheel has turned and now I am here, and here I mean to stay.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Over the last year or so, I have been exploring, with the aid of Cognitive behaviour therapy, psychologist and a wonderful friend, my "core beliefs"; things that for years have coloured the way I perceive the world. Some of them came as no surprise- I discovered that the belief that I am a "quitter" was at the heart of a lot of my difficulties and successfully challenging that belief and its meaning has enabled me to see things more clearly and more importantly, have a closer relationship with the person who first uttered those words to me: "You're nothing but a quitter!"

My Mother

Probably now she doesn't even remember them or their significance. I too have forgotten all those positive messages and hugs she must have given me over the years, with my distorted way of thinking, only the negatives were heard and attended to and remembered and seared deep into the soul.

Now I see that she too is like me, fully human, fully alive, struggling, doing the best she can.

And this morning another core belief suddenly floated to the surface. A chance remark on the radio about someone who had died who had been in the nightmare concentration camps. After he "made good choices" and lived fully, and the speaker went on to say that he lived believing in the importance of not being "chosen" but being a "chooser"; making the best choices he could at the time it came to make them.

One of those little bells rang inside me and the creaking of cogs turning in my head drove me to a conscious place.

Another core belief.
I am never chosen. This matters, it means I am not valued, loved, cherished. I am worthless, useless. Those sharp and stunningly quick thoughts that fly through the mind. The images of not being chosen for teams, parties, dances (oh those humiliating discos where no one asked me to dance,) being the odd one out in a pair. being afraid, even as an adult to apply for a job in case I was not chosen, to submit my name for a task in case I am overlooked, to push myself forward.


Those without such a negative cognitive set will by now be laughing out loud, not realising the power of the unconscious thought, hardwired into the brain. The protective evolutionary device that ensured choices in the jungle were made wisely and rapidly, before the time spent contemplating whether to fight or flee gave an opportunity to the sabre tooth tiger to get out the pepper and salt....

Because hardwired in my brain was the assumption that to be chosen was to be valued, to be loved and lovable. To be chosen is a marker of worth, of quality.
Which my non hardwired brain would feebly try and call out that it wasn't and secondly, it didn't matter.
Did it matter that I wasn't picked for the team? I hated sport anyway and would only get shouted at by the hard girls! Did it matter that no spotty adolescent asked me to dance? I hated their sweaty touch anyway. I missed for so long the point that being chosen wasn't important, choosing well was. And sadly, for so long, I let my hardwired brain do my choosing for me.

Then I lost my faith. I lost the ultimate element of being "chosen." If all else failed me, if all else rejected me, God had still chosen me, died for me.

Suddenly, no one had chosen me.

It has taken a long time to realise how important deep down this was to me and why I nearly fell apart at the seams. But thanks to many, some especially, I am now approaching 50 this week; fully human, fully alive and trying to be a chooser and worry less about being chosen.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Story from the start of the finish

It was probably a bit premature to call a post some time back the "Story from start to finish." So I guess the title here is a bit more appropriate. If the finish was the point at which I realised all I treasured and valued was lost, what I have come to realise in the last few years of dealing with this, is that there is seems to be no finish, rather a series of perpetual starts. I have been wandering round in circles, bumbling and staggering (especially since my foot drop- though that is another story) and occasionally dropping to the floor with a thunderous crash. But each time I have dragged myself up and start again, sometimes battered and bruised but always reflective, always ready to try again.

A few years on and I seem to be getting used to it, even relishing it as a challenge. As I said to son1 yesterday when in his best "drama queen" voice he asked me if I found him difficult, after 3 hours of prolonged nagging and pestering. "No, challenging!" and he laughed, as he had just started to recover his sense of proportion. Being able to see life as a series of challenges, some more fun than others, some painful and distressing, is helping me through life more than I would have thought possible. It is hard sometimes not to be like son1 and adopt the drama queen stance, in fact, sometimes it looks a welcome path, but the rocky, steep inclines and facing the spiders and dragons along the way is infinitely more rewarding and enjoyable in the end. And as a result, I no longer fear the spider!

So as once more I face September and the month it all began in many ways, I smile ruefully and wistfully for innocence lost and friendships gone, but know I hold now in my hands the answer.

If I could remember which hand I put it in....

And could find my glasses to locate it....

Answers on a postcard please!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

Once such a special day
Waking up not to thoughts of a day off spent cheerily with the family
But a day, sombre, to remember how deep the love was
Now, vague echo only, wistful thoughts
Of what I might be doing today instead
But other stronger thoughts tell me
That all is well
And that today, like all my days, is another one for living
And loving
And that the message I thought I heard
From that day so long ago
Still lives in me
Life is for living and loving and dancing
Through the sombre difficult moments, through the painful times
And through the joy and the peace I now so often find.

Have a good Easter season
Living and loving and dancing
And may the joy it brings to you
Dance with you through the year

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Time moves on...

It is amazing how much can happen in a couple of months
I saw a psychologist (finally) starting in November and following that, have gone up a gear in managing my life!
I'm now in a new full time job and am back doing on call
I am also due to start a diet group on Tuesday (lighter life- no food for 3 months eek)
Which will be interesting- will keep some notes here perhaps. Will need to do something to stop me craving food!

Son1 remains delightful- told me the other day very grumpily that his pyjama trousers didn't work.
(They had a hole in them...)
I love how he sees the world.

Son2 did not so well in his exams but is reflecting on this and is at least happy in himself
Hubbie is hubbie and as wonderful as ever...

I'm as mad as ever, but still trying to dance my way through the madness!

Friday, January 02, 2009

The best laid plans.....

"Christmas this year brings a nice break"

Um, well, no it didn't. It brought illness, firstly son1, who spent most of Xmas eve with a high fever throwing up (so I never got to go to church) then I was laid low by the lurgy. Today is the first day my brain has functioned on anything like the appropriate level! So we plan to have another Xmas celebration in January sometime to make up for it- after son2's exams finish....

But apart from being sore from coughing and tired from lack of sleep, I am ok, and will survive to fight another day.
I hope.
And as Son1 has today suddenly perked up and started being himself again, I only hope that I will do so too again tomorrow!
Happy New Year....