“Right from the start you were a thief, you stole my heart”

TRIGGER WARNING – Please take care, some of this content may cause upset and distress. Reach out for support if needed. 💜

“And I your willing victim”

Sound familiar? Yes that is a P!nk song

I had heard of people relating this song, ‘Just give me a reason‘ to a (damaging) relationship. However, I had not really thought about it. If I’m honest I could not really relate, although I love the song!

Looking back now, the song is actually pretty relevant to me. From the start of my last relationship, my heart was stolen by a kind, attentive and charming person. I had been back in the country for just over a year after spending 6 months away volunteering and nearly 2 years post relationship with my first serious boyfriend, who I thought I would marry and spend my life with. Within two weeks of seeing this person, totally infatuated, I accepted a drunken proposal. Despite it being nothing like I imagined-after double checking they remembered actually asking I said yes!!

Two years later we married.

Again, looking back before actually marrying I can see how I was totally attracted and won over by the charm, happy moments and love I felt. Ignoring the red flags and brief explanations for situations. Hiding myself and not telling my future in laws about our engagement, even going as far as her renting another room in the house (only used for storage) “just in case” anybody asked or visited. Because they “could not know.” By the time they knew we had moved to Wales and my ex had said she had cut out her family. I was the bad person who took her away from her family. Which was far from the truth. I wish I questioned this more at the time. Another red flag missed.

During the engaged-married phase we had good times, with very few disagreements. I shared stories, history and wounds. I felt happy and comfortable. I let someone gain my trust.

I identify with these words more so with the later experiences in the relationship, but definitely at least 2.5 years of the relationship. Feelings, events, emotions and even generalised facts that turned out to be true came out during sleep. Inconsistencies appeared, but I was persuaded that anything said during sleep was “not real” or “related to previous trauma” which I was told had “nothing to do” with myself. Everything had an explanation or excuse. For some reason, I just accepted these.

A barrier began to raise. Chemistry began to reduce, feelings changing. Nothing like the early stages of the relationship. Another major Red Flag missed.

Again, looking back, I was hooked. Love made me stay. It made me ignore anything that upset me, confused me or hurt me.

Like a circle, patterns and behaviours went round and round. Pain was fixed by promises and persuasion, kinder words, acts or gestures seemed to put a plaster over the issue. Things would plateau, before beginning the cycle again.

I was hooked.

Life revolved around happiness, experiences, sex and pleasure as well as a connection. Before switching back to negativity, tension and silent treatment. Where again, one small gesture or kind word seemed to fix things. Or so I thought.

Things on several occasions got to the point where I would sit there and think of reasons to stay. Reasons to fight. Reasons to change.

And then there is gaslighting

A person I loved. A person I trusted using my own trauma, my own insecurities and my own weaknesses to their advantage. Unknowingly being insulted and manipulated into thinking my feelings did not matter, that my concerns and genuine gut feelings were wrong. Even when having justification and evidence.

I was made to feel crazy and paranoid.

At the time I thought the stresses of life, bills, work and ill health were causing tension. Things felt empty. But yet I still was being made to believe my actions led to the situation. They obviously did not help and contributed but was definitely not the major issue. I wanted to fight, blinded by love. I thought we would be together forever. Despite looking at other couples and longing for their connection with my own wife.

Fast forward and behaviours continued, false promises made – resulting in “I don’t love you anymore.” Of course I came back within 24 hours – with the hope of change, false promises and a “mistake” being made. Yet things continued and the truth came out. There was someone else who had all the love that I was no longer being given.

Walking away was hard. But it had to be done. My wife at the time was in love with someone else, portraying me to others as someone I wasn’t.

It is amazing what information people come to you with, once a relationship is over. Finding out about things that have been said and done. Money saved away and plans to move others into my home. Expecting me to leave with nothing.

I wish I noticed the Red Flags sooner. I really do. Part of me also wishes I left sooner, before the added issue of her falling completely head over heels in love with someone else – like we did with each other years ago. If I had walked away sooner, perhaps the emotional damage would have been less?

These are just some of the reasons I find myself relating to this song more now, than following the release. I may be losing a marriage, my home and the life I knew. But I no longer have to;

  • Lie,
  • Withhold information,
  • Follow others rules in my own home,
  • Be silent,
  • Push myself when in a flare,
  • Ask permission to do certain things,
  • Play happy families,
  • Hide my chronic illnesses,
  • Sit silently while others call me the “friend” or the “partner” and allow people to not call me by my correct name or write the wrong name on cards without letting them know it is not correct,
  • Be manipulated, treated like rubbish and told I am imagining things, being crazy or paranoid.

I can start trying to be me again. Find myself and heal. I can find someone who does love me for me and protect me, rather than damage me.

I hope.

What is going on in the world?

TW (Trigger Warning) Discussions of bullying and suicide.

As I have found myself with a lot of spare time this week I have been trying to keep up to date with the news and one topic seems to be coming up more often than others and it has really hit me….

BULLYING

Seriously, what is wrong with the world? Why must people hurt others so much it makes them want to be dead?

A 14-year-old boy has ended his life in Wales this week due to bullying in School. I’m sure that this is not the only death this week due to bullying, especially in younger people and children.

Other young people are reported to be afraid of returning to school following the Summer Holidays because of bullies. Schools have bullying policies but are young people really being protected.

I was bullied when I was in school, towards the end of Primary School and in Secondary School. It possibly played a part in my anorexia in Secondary School but I sought help for the bullying when things got to a certain stage (most of the time but a lot of incidents went unreported because it was just too much effort to report). It really affected me and quite often the only thing done was a discussion between bully and teacher, sometimes with me present-nothing seems to ever be taken further. Not that I am saying that every time someone is bullied it should go to the police, but when we live in a world that is seeing an increase in Mental Health difficulties and awareness, suicides and the carrying of weapons such as knives and guns, we never know when things will get really serious or how long it will take someone to be tipped over the edge. Some people will brush bullying off their shoulders and their feelings build up over time , but other times that first instance or first severe threat or comment can result in the end of a life.

I will go further into bullying in later posts but there is an increasing level of stories about bullying in schools, homes, streets and workplaces and many of us are suffering and the bullies get away with it. Often bullies get away with their actions because of their status, their family or the fact that they have been in a company for a long time and ” would never do that” – even when other staff have reported it. One situation I have experienced is being treated badly and having a witness to this, but then this person has been spoken to and denied it and they are believed, even though I had a witness to the incident. It is incidents like this that make me not like people (and I like people!) but I have been let down and treated badly so much in life, one thing I hate is if I witness a bully, bad treatment, ‘slagging off’ or gossiping and talking badly about someone, it takes a hell of a lot of persuasion for me to make a good impression in my mind about that person, if you are one of these people I often hold a grudge against the person, you won’t know it, because I remain civil (unlike a lot of people) but secretly I do not trust you and do not like or respect you as a person.

I do not respect bullies. I will be civil and treat you with general respect – because that is the type of person I am. But I will not like you and probably not change my mind.

I am glad that Heads Together have started a campaign regarding workplace bullying.

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https://www.headstogether.org.uk/2018/09/10/the-duke-of-cambridge-launches-mental-health-at-work/

I recommend a visit to this page, and encourage workplaces to use this also as the number of people who have experienced bullying in their current workplace is a huge 48%!! Here is the webpage the page also directs you to;

https://www.mentalhealthatwork.org.uk/

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Fitness Update

TRIGGER WARNING

Please be warned this post will include details about my health journey, including weight loss.

I have been trying to get out and do some exercise including walking and running to build myself up (I will do the London Marathon One Day!!)

I would also like to point out at this point I do see Medical Professionals on a regular basis and my weight loss is monitored – it is also advised by doctors due to my health conditions and in order for me to get certain hospital treatment I have to me the NHS BMI requirements ( do not get me started on my opinions on BMI!!)

But here is my progress:

The fitness scores at the bottom involve using a piece of machinery at the gym I visit to measure certain strengths, I believe the idea is to increase those scores. My goals are to reduce fat % and increase muscle % as well as lose some weight (kg).

Please don’t judge me, I know my weight is very high.

14/05/2018 05/06/2018
Body Composition
Weight (kg) 122 121.85
Fat (%) 45.22 44.04
Muscle (%) 26.6 27.42
Hydration (%) 41.89 42.67
Fitness Test Results
Overall 81 99
Lower Body Strength 1 3
Lower Body Endurance 108 200
Upper Body Strength 150 180
Upper Body Endurance 200 200
Explosive Muscle Power 41 103
Balance 70 104
Speed Ability N/A N/A
Heart Rate Recovery N/A 6

Mental Health Awareness Letters – 2nd May 2018 – TW

As May is Mental Health Awareness Month, I had an idea to write a letter each day to a person, or group of people that have had an impact on my own personal health. The first portion of the month has been delayed, however I hope that I will catch up and there will be a daily post. Thank You for taking the time to read these and I appreciate any comments or support you can provide on each post.

Please remember that if you are struggling with your health, both physical or mental, there may be some triggers in these letters-please seek support if you find these letters trigger any distress. Look after yourself!!

Letter 2 – To my old colleagues and your opinions on mental health conditions.

TW – This post discusses negative attitudes to Suicide/suicide attempts.

I have worked in several different areas but one thing stands out across all of my work places (in the UK) – is people’s attitude towards mental health.

I have heard colleagues in previous roles laugh about mental health, I have had to be present when these colleagues laugh and say that they ‘obviously hadn’t done the job properly’ and ask why “these people are ringing for help” and saying “if they want to kill themselves then just do it” or that they hadn’t “done the job properly and should do it properly next time instead of wasting time and ringing for help that, according to you is ‘not deserved’ “.

Some of these people laughing even rang in sick to work due to ‘stress and anxiety’ – then continued to ‘make fun and bully’ complete strangers.

Two colleagues in my role were supportive – I won’t put their names here but E and S were very supportive. S took time from his schedule and was so supportive, I appreciate him telling me his story and being so genuine when I asked for support. I wasn’t scared to be me and I was not made to feel like a liar, small or stupid.

S – You saved my life in a way you will never know. Thank You so much xx

  • To my other colleagues, I have sat behind you while you have talked about me.
  • I have been sat on the opposite table working whilst you have talked about me- I use to set my desk high and chair low, so to you it looked like an empty desk but I was there- whilst you mocked my colleagues and me!!
  • You have mocked my size, my mental health, my physical health and conditions, my marriage and LGBTQ issues.
  • You continue to this day to ban, block and ignore me on social media.

You are lucky!! Continuing to be lucky to this day that I did not take formal action and even criminal action against you.

I hope one day you bullies get treated as bad as the treatment you have given. Whilst I try not to ‘hate’ or treat people badly- I will not go out of my way to support bullies and hypocrites.

You contributed to me hating myself – but you will not win!!

A vague reality. TW

TW – Trigger Warning: this article could be harmful to you or your recovery . If you feel like you need help then please call 111 or 999 in an emergency. There are also other services that can support you.

Please don’t suffer in silence.

Look at me, what do you see??

Look at my arms and what do you see??

  • Tattoos?
  • Hair?
  • Dry Skin?

If you look closely you will see vague lines, luckily when I was younger I healed well.

I do not remember the first time I hurt myself.

One thing that does stick in my mind is during 2012 when one of my patients in the ward/unit I worked on noticed I had worn tape over part of my wrist for most of the week (I saw patients usually about 3 times a week) – Working there and changing the tape without wasting time or being noticed each time I washed my hands was so difficult. My hands were washed a lot in this job!!

Self Harm for me was a way of physically feeling my emotional pain. I did not really have anybody to talk to properly about my feelings so I felt the need to deal with it myself. My ways of self-harming was taking control over my food, over exercising and cutting myself. Nobody questions a teenager that does sports and a daily paper round; carrying up to 110 newspapers each day. Bruising or cuts come with sports and work, don’t they?

I am now 27 and whilst I do not shout out about my past of self-harm, I am not ashamed of it. In recent months I have found myself wanting to hurt myself, I have told my doctor and I am trying to focus on writing or art (or sleep) instead of thinking over these feelings. Maybe that isn’t tackling the problem but I am doing everything I can at the moment. The NHS is great, but the waiting lists are not so great!!

So what do you focus on when you look at people? What do you see when you look at me? I am not the only one with vague marks on their body. Why are they vague? Is it because I was uncertain why I started caused them? Or perhaps it is because they can only be seen if you really concentrate, or know they are there?

Maybe it is both.

 

If you are self harming, please be careful and seek help.



 

I have used the below information from an NHS Website.

(Click the Links for further Support)

Useful organisations

There are organisations that offer support and advice for people who self-harm, as well as their friends and families. These include:

Find more mental health helplines.