The impetus for establishing this site is multi-fold:
“I think we dream so we don’t have to be apart for so long. If we’re in each other’s dreams, we can be together all the time.” —Winnie-the-Pooh
Firstly and foremost, it is hopefully to establish a means for myself to keep in touch with my daughters (L and J), friends and family on a regular basis. We are all on different continents, and although we can talk via Skype etc. the time difference and busy lives makes it difficult to achieve. It also means we do not have that everyday interaction of “What did you do today?”. “Please show me what you have done?” “You look pretty” “I’m not feeling so good”.
Secondly, I wish to create a space where everyone can post their thoughts, feelings, annoyances, successes; their work; their photographs (of people, fauna and flora); their art and craft works; and anything else that might be of interest, or even just to get something off your chest.
Thirdly, I need to share and pass on my experiences.
I want to write, but more than that, I want to bring out all kinds of things that lie buried deep in my heart.” —Anne Frank,
I think that it is time for me to be brave: brave for myself, brave for my family and brave for my friends. By this I mean that I need to do what I should have years ago. (But there is no point saying “should”. We are all only capable of doing things when the time is right.). I have been told over and over again that it would be extremely beneficial to me if I could write down the myriad of events (unfortunately most have been unpleasant, if not downright awful) that have dogged me through my life. I have started some writing (not very good), but it is very haphazard and inconsistent. It has become clear (I must admit that Brexit has made the phrase “Let me be Clear” a “very bad swear word”.) that a lot of issues I have had to deal with are part of a much larger community. A community that is struggling to find a voice in this world. A community that can do with every milliliter of help and exposure it can get.
So although I have no experience at all in writing, and even less in this Setting Up a Blog Website story, I am now determined to contribute where I can. I hope to address my experience of :
A) Mental Disorders – I have Bipolar Disorder (Manias, Depressions and Suicide attempts), stress related anxiety problems as well as alcohol abuse (related to Bipolar and Domestic Abuse).
B) Near Death Critical Illness (in China), after effects and post ICU-PSTD (Intensive Care Unit – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
C) Grim Life Losses and Events – (Divorce, Redundancy, loss of homes, places, belongings and people)
Wow. That is the first time I have said all of that aloud in one place. It is scary to see it staring up at me in black and white. Hopefully this will lead to a cathartic ability to properly grieve for my soul and to become in awe of what I have survived, rather than pretend that I have always been “fine”.
I might as well briefly (very) state some of the issues in my life. To try and do this chronologically is a nightmare, and everything has a link to everything else.,so this is basically just a list of “items”: I have been through a dreadful divorce, moved house 9 times in 8 years, moved from South Africa to Scotland, to Orkney, to Balmerino, to China and back to Balmerino. Was retrenched from work, couldn’t find another job, lost my house, lost my car, lost most of the few belongings I had left. This time two years ago, I decided to go on adventure (which I love) and so took up a job teaching English at Jishou University, Zhangiagie, China. I travelled to China middle of May. At the end of May I became critically ill with double Pneumonia. This developed (apparently….I have no recollection) into Septic Shock, Multiple Organ Failure (Heart, Lungs, Liver, Kidney), Blood clots in my right leg and other things that are not great generally, but in this context were relatively unimportant. Basically I died briefly (research suggests that the mortality rate for cases such as mine are between 85% and 100% ). My eldest daughter and father were contacted to urgently fly to China as I was not expected to live. But I did. Somehow. I do know that I refused to give in because of my daughters. I needed to be there for them. And without having my daughter and father there I would not have made it. Of course, the fact that only a couple of people could speak English, and that their procedures were somewhat unusual , made it much harder. But I had an excellent doctor and nursing team – I was in ICU for about 3 weeks, moved to common ward (that was an eye opener) and managed to fly back to Scotland at the end of July. Since then I have been slowly recovering (although I am remarkably better, even now I still have obstacles to overcome).
Although my writing will probably be in bits and pieces all over the place, at least I will be being proactive. And if just one person manages to understand me better, and if just one person with a mental disorder can manage to find solace in my rantings and vents; then I will be happy.
Another objective of mine is social. Even before Corona Virus and lock-down, I currently have no social life, (and due to my compromised health condition and lack of transportation; this is unlikely to change anytime soon). All the literature, and my own experience, shows how important friends are – especially to the bipolar and depressed. Unfortunately, we (especially me) tend to do the opposite and isolate ourselves. As time progresses it becomes harder and harder to communicate, not just with friends, but indeed anyone at all.
So to all my friends (especially in South Africa), I apologize. My self-imposed segregation has its roots from many years ago and has worsened over time. There are many reasons for this that I hope to address along the way. I have also been battling internally the vices of jealousy and envy. It has been hard to see people who have things (like somewhere to live; like a car – doesn’t matter what condition – at least they have freedom to travel; at least some money – independence; and mostly people who have “a better half”.) So I feel totally inferior. How do I explain my situation, when I know that pretty much nobody has ever had to go through what I have. How can people even vaguely begin to understand what it is really like? The real answer is that they cannot. And never will. And that is actually a good thing – it means that they are better off, as I wish them to be. So, to all of you, please bear with me as I try to have the courage to write what I wish I could have said earlier.
On the positive and exciting side: I have had the opportunity to engage with my artistic and crafty side. I have decided to try to learn and practice the techniques of origami, kumihimo, iris folding and wire work. I am starting to create unusual, unique jewellery pieces. At the moment I am going through massive learning curves resulting in some failures, but also many successes. I shall display items as I proceed.