The Black Dog is Yapping at My Heels

The Black Dog is Yapping at My Heels

Anyone who has had Depression knows what the Black Dog is. Another bout of Depression has snuck up on me. At this point I am not suicidal but I struggle to find any good in my day. I feel teary on some days out of the blue, getting out of bed is a struggle.

When I realised what was happening I decided in that moment to do something about it. I had an online assessment done and have signed up for a Wellbeing course run by professionals. I know of online counselling available so if I feel the need to talk to someone I know where to go.

My husband’s reaction wasn’t as supportive as I had hoped, He seemed to make it all about him when we had the conversation about how I have been feeling lately. I understand and appreciate he is right in this situation with me and I know it has taken its toll on him. But when your partner comes to you and tells you they are struggling with depression again, you don’t get angry.

We are at present in a very precarious financial position with regards to his business. Every day is about wondering if we are going to meet our bills and pay the huge debt, amassed as a result of his business, not to mention the other 8 debts we currently are trying to pay off, not to mention our day-to-day living expenses.

We are not in a position to consolidate our debts and reduce the repayments, because of his self-employed status. And moving to a smaller and cheaper rental is not possible as we have no savings with which to move. Stuck between a rock and a hard place comes to mind right now.

I accept my part in our circumstances, I know what I could have done differently but hindsight is a wonderful thing. Bankruptcy is the next step if we can’t get out of this funk.

Having taken over the reins of our personal bills and rent I am hoping we will improve our situation. It will take one step at a time.

As is the case with Depression.

If you are new to mental health issues, it is difficult to recognise the signs but once you have been there, you know when you are not right.

If you have a lot of days where you feel down and sad, where you struggle to even get out of bed, you find no joy in anything in life, you go about life like you are in a fog. You need to reach out. Talk to a friend or family. Seek out your Doctor, they can refer you on for counselling. There are so many Helplines that specialise in counselling people with mental health issues. With the internet we have access to so many websites that can offer help.

We are all worthwhile, we all deserve to live. Sometimes even the strongest of us can’t cope with life and all its ups and downs. It is okay to admit when you need help. Just reach out.

If you are being bullied at school or work, talk to your parents and teachers, bosses and co workers. You are not alone. Having been a part of a number of support groups I know for a fact we are not alone. So many suffer in silence and it shouldn’t be this way. Don’t feel shame or guilt. It is perfectly natural to have moments where you find you can’t cope. We all have them.

Mental health issues are not something to be ashamed of, just because society at large still believes in the stereotypical images of a mentally ill person. We are not all straight jacket material and we don’t all go round screaming and dribbling, babbling incoherently. So many of us are high functioning. We go to work, raise families, attend school, serve you at the store, walk by you in the street, sit next to you on the train or bus.

The media and movie industries have created an image of a person with mental health issues as someone who is dangerous to the community and that is certainly not the case in about 99% of cases.

Hold your head high and tell someone what you are feeling. Ask for help, but most of all be willing to accept that help. You will be so grateful you did.

 

 

 

Moments of Regret

I don’t believe I have any real regrets. I want to be able to part from this world knowing I have completely finished with everything.

Having missed the opportunity to get to know a much older brother I didn’t know I had until recently, I discovered recently he had passed away in 1994. It breaks my heart that I never got to know him, but what I do know, he tried to reach out to me when I was a young teenager but my mother put a stop to it. I grew up thinking he was my cousin, but recent research proved otherwise. If I do regret anything, it was never knowing him.

Last night I had trouble getting to sleep, I was exhausted when I turned out the light, but sleep eluded me. I felt sad. I began imagining a scenario where I was able to reconnect with my 2 nieces and nephew, who are now grown up and the girls have children of their own.

One thing that sticks in my mind about the whole situation isn’t so much that I don’t see them and was never really allowed to be a significant part of their lives, it is knowing that they, particularly the girls and the one grand niece may have been sexually abused by my own brother as I was when I was a little girl.

It breaks my heart to know that maybe he did to them what he did to me. I pray that he learned his lesson and never did it again, as he was only 14 at the time, but the cynic in me tends to believe he offended again.

It kills me that I didn’t speak up, and this could have led him to re-offend and ruin the lives of other young girls, being his own daughters and grand-daughter. I was born in a time when children didn’t speak up, and if the abuser was caught in the act, help was never sought because of the shame associated with child molestation. It was a dirty little secret that was kept within the family and help was never sought for the victims. I was threatened to silence. I was told I would bring shame on the family if this got out. I lived with this guilt and shame for most of my life.

I have spoken out in recent years and my nephew now knows the truth, whether he believes it or not, is up to him. There will always be that question in the back of his mind, that niggling doubt. And with that, he will protect any children he has himself and will look out for the safety and well-being of his niece and possibly his nephews.

I have confronted my brother but as is to be expected he will never admit it or apologise, but that is not why I did it. I wanted to put the shame and guilt back where it belonged and now I can let it all go.

After my imagined scenario, I was able to admit to myself that I feel bad that I didn’t do more for these girls. But I can only do something about it today and tomorrow, I can’t change the past and I have done all I can to ensure the safety of future generations.

Tears were shed. It was all I can do. Cry for the innocence lost if my worst fears have been realised. I pray that my nieces and grand niece, find peace and healing if they were abused. I suppose it is something I will have to process and deal with until I find my peace.

A Narcissistic Mother

A Narcissistic Mother

In 2012 I found the many answers I searched for, for years. It took a few visits to ER with palpitations and other heart related symptoms and numerous tests later and I was advised to see a psychologist for evaluation. I am so glad I did. With the diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder (Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder) I discovered who I was and the gaping black hole inside was finally filled. My severe Anxiety and bouts of Depression were finally explained.

The best day of my life was walking into that private room to meet my psychologist Damien, he was my second saviour. My first being my Dad. We sat and talked and questions were asked, he set me homework and got me to do some tests. It was at this point I was totally stunned by the diagnosis. It never occurred to me that I could have a mental health issue.

Living with a feeling of never fitting in or belonging, a mother who could never open her heart to me, the constant criticism, never enough, the feelings of worthlessness, the constant need to please, the emptiness that plagued much of my life. I believed I was no good. Damien taught me some fantastic skills that freed me from my crippling anxiety, today I am able to go pretty much any where and have little or no anxiety.

Being diagnosed Borderline was like coming home, to me. I finally belonged, I finally felt complete. But something niggled at me. I have always been someone who must have answers, to know the why’s and wherefores of everything. I knew there was just one missing link to my life puzzle. I had to understand why I drew certain people into my life and why I chose the men I do.

The day I walked into Damien’s office I had begun a journey I knew would take me to some painful and heartbreaking times in my life. My instinct was telling me I had to do whatever it was to find the answers.

About a week ago I saw an article in my Facebook news feed that really caught my attention. I had read several articles, etc on this particular subject because I had been drawn to it at every turn.

NARCISSISTIC MOTHER – DIVIDE AND CONQUER.

I clicked on the link and found myself reading about the very person who gave birth to me and raised me, for want of a better word. In that moment I knew my mother could never have loved me, because she was incapable of love.

Narcissists are incapable of genuine unconditional love, they act and emote solely out of selfishness and self-involvement. There are the Narcissists who are arrogant and seem to succeed in life, those who have delusions of grandeur. But the worst and most insidious of the narcissists are the ones who hate themselves and inflict pain on others, deny their victims feelings and needs all to feel superior and get off on destroying another person. They have no conscience, and are incapable of any genuine kindness or love. These narcissists wear a mask of being kind and caring and humanitarian, they are hard to spot. Charm and charisma is their weapon against their victims. And they suck their victims dry of every ounce of self-esteem, independence and energy. They are the chameleons of the human world, wearing whatever mask they need in order to get their narcissistic supply. To the outside world they seem quite genuine and will fool even the most astute person into believing the lie they live.

I could write volumes about the Narcissists of the world.

What I want to say here is, once I realised the truth about my mother, I was finally free. I knew I could never be enough for my mother but that is okay with me. I never hurt my mother or judged her, I was never cruel toward her, I loved her with all my heart and I spent so much of my life punishing myself for her sins. I don’t hate my mother because the one thing I realise is she was a very damaged and broken individual. And I forgave her.

I don’t for one second, condone her treatment of me but I understand it. We all make choices about how we live our lives and treat others. Every decision we make or action we take is a choice, and we make these choices, etc based on what we know at the time. I learned as a child to cope with my childhood, in a dysfunctional way because it worked to appease my mother. But as an adult I continued to live this way, and I couldn’t understand why my life was as it was. It is because I made choices based on my set of coping skills from my child hood. I made the choice to continue as I had always done, instead of finding a different way of being.

In the last few years I have learned and had to discover new ways of coping and living, it has been extremely hard, but it has so been worth it. My father apologised for the way my mother was, he apologised for taking the easy way when it came to dealing with my mother, but the good thing about my dad, he more than made up for it after my mother died.

Some of the surprising things I have discovered about my mother, was she had four children. I had two brothers and one sister. But none of them were to my father in spite of her passing off the brother, I knew existed, as my father’s son. My eldest cousin turned out to be my eldest brother and when he reached out to get to know me, he was stopped. The one regret I have is not getting to know him, as he died in 1994.

The brother I grew up with turned out to be a child molester as I was his first victim. Recently I was able to confront him and put his abuse squarely back on his shoulders.

Letting go of the past is cathartic, it saved my life. I don’t hate anyone, I am able to look back and realise everything that happened made me who I am today. I am the strongest person I know, and I don’t give up. I know my father loved me unconditionally and I will always love him for that. I know I was loved, and I never failed anyone or let anyone down.

Healing is key.

 

Yule time

Yule time

It’s that time of year again. Trees are going up and decorations adorn. Lights sparkle and blink in the night sky. Presents are wrapped and the stores are raped and rampaged. The larder is stuffed full and the refridgerators are overflowing.

Families rush around finding the perfect gift for the right person. Every moment of Christmas Eve and Day are planned down to the tee. So many rush around from place to place on the day, most of it spent in the car.

Finally we stumble through our own door and collapse into bed, too full to sleep. So much food left over. What will be done with it. Oh well, leftovers for the next week.

But how many of us get ourselves heavily into debt to create the perfect Christmas and fill our children’s Christmas wish lists.

How many of us throw out more food than we could eat, food that has gone to waste when it could have been given to homeless shelters. And how many of us spend this most holy of days alone because we have no family or live too far from family.

How many of us go without food on that day because our luck took a down turn. How many of our elderly are left on their own, struggling to keep warm in the northern hemisphere, or cool in the southern hemisphere.

How many of us have been abandoned by our families because we don’t fit in to what is acceptable according their standards.

How many of us can no longer celebrate Christmas because we have lost too many of our loved ones.

How many of us don’t have children, so there is no point to all the fuss.

I am someone who has been abandoned by what little family I do have left and have lost so many loved ones, that Christmas has lost its meaning to me.

I have found that it has become one big commercial exercise, that has people putting themselves into debt just to make the perfect day. They spend so much and buy so much, it is just all waste to me. When I think of the people who are starving in our cities, and all the gluttonous waste that happens at this time of year.

I watch people rushing around, nerves frazzled, stressed so much. People rushing around in their cars, not paying attention to what they are doing or what is going on around them.

To me it is just another day. This year I have only put up a little tree, because each year it is just a nuisance to drag out all the decorations and unpack the tree. After the day itself, the tree stands unlit and gathering dust, because it is such a pain to pack it all away again.

I don’t begrudge anyone their Christmas day. If it a special day for you then so be it. If you have all your family around you I wish you all the best.

But to me Christmas has lost its sparkle……

 

Respect Your Children

Respect Your Children

I just listened to my neighbour and her young teenage son having a fight at the top of their voices. The son was using all the expletives known and probably others not so well-known. This is a regular occurrence. Recently he stayed at his Nanna’s place for a while, as his grandmother has no problems with him.

This is a single parent family, mother and two boys. I have never seen a father in the picture, don’t know the story behind this family. Grandma is a lovely lady, I have spoken to her briefly on a few occasions.

How this mother and son talk to each other is out right abuse. And I am told the mother has hit the boy in full view of the street. I haven’t seen this personally for myself.

Every time I hear this boy raise his voice to his mother, all I hear is pain and his cry for some connection with his mother. I have heard her call him a Fuck wit on one occasion. Excuse the language.

This boy has been acting out by throwing stones at our place, for no reason other than to show off in front of his friends. He thinks it is funny, but one time a full can of Coke came over the fence and nearly hit my husband in the head.

When a child challenges you the best way to deal is to not lower yourself to their level. They will throw tantrums and scream to get what they want. And when you choose to scream and yell at them, call them names and be negative toward them you are lowering yourself to their level. But above all you are telling them it is okay to behave that way. If mum and dad can yell and scream then why can’t I?

Children learn what they live. And if they throw a tantrum and get their way, they will continue to do what works to get them what they want.

Respect your children as human beings with feelings, every cruel word you speak to them they take on board and they feel it exponentially. A child’s brain hasn’t developed enough to differentiate between you being angry at them or their actions.

So many people have become complacent about all kinds of abuse. What can I do about it? It has nothing to do with me. You are watching another person destroying another person’s soul with their behaviour and words. Report it to the police, and child protection agencies. Contact your local member of Government. Take the parent aside and tell them what they are doing isn’t right. What ever it takes to stop this abuse.

We cannot stand idly by and let this go on. I have reported this and many incidents to the relevant authorities. And I am getting to the stage where I am going to approach the mother and tell her to get professional help. Your doctor can recommend lots of good parenting programmes that will help you to deal with behavioural issues with your children.

This boy is hurting and his mother can’t see it. She is too caught up in her own stuff to realise the damage she is doing. Children should be guided and educated and loved and accepted. If they do something wrong, talk to them about it, explain what the problem is but never at any point, denigrate them just because you are angry. Children are learning from the day they are born and we as parents and adults are their teachers. How many parents demand respect from their children, how about reciprocation of that very respect. As a human being your child deserves basic human respect and to be treated with kindness and love. Be  mindful that in order for them to do the right thing they need to be shown or encouraged to do the right thing.

Catch your son or daughter doing good, Celebrate their successes and triumphs. Ignore bad behaviour especially if it is specifically done to get a rise out of you. And if in public remove the child from the situation. Don’t say a word. If it means leaving shopping standing in the middle of the supermarket then, do it. Don’t raise your voice, don’t put them down. Be the adult and act like the adult and the one in control.

 

Family – Who’d have them?

Today I chose to message my nephew via Facebook. Having not spoken to him or seen him or his sisters in years, it was like talking to a complete stranger. A few months ago I did message him to wish him congratulations on his new house and recent engagement. I got a message back via his fiancée’s page that he wasn’t interested in contact with me as, to quote him, “I have made my choice now I have to live with it.”

The back story is I had chosen to walk away from his father and the only family I have left because I had always been confronted by judgement and ridicule. Imagine meeting your brother’s closest friends of more than 10 yrs and it was news to them that he even had a sister. And you were 40 years old.

Apart from the usual sibling arguments and petty jealousies, there is nothing really that I have ever done to my brother that could even justify his behaviour towards me. But the same could not be said for him. Truth is he molested me when I was 8, he was 14. According to the psychological field, He can’t be called a paedophile because he was under 16.

My mother caught him, so he can’t deny it happened. And as was the case back in the 60’s it was never reported. And no help was sought to deal with the emotional repercussions of this kind of abuse.

I always felt like I was not wanted in my brother’s life and he made an extra effort to keep me away from his children, his wife was the same. Any time I was in their company I felt compelled to defend myself and my behaviour, my choices in life and the men I became involved with. Or he showed intense jealousy when my life was going well. They even accused my ex-husband of being a child molester.  The only time I can think of was, when our mother was rushed to hospital and passed away and he hadn’t been notified but that was due to my father being so busy between the hospital and our family business it slipped his mind. I asked my father if he wanted me to call my brother but dad reassured me he would call. If I had suspected he would forget I would have called straight away. My mother had been fighting cancer for over 2 years.

I have never been perfect and have made my fair share of mistakes, but I have never put the responsibility of my decisions on to anyone else.

So fast forward to today.

I shared a few home truths with my nephew and gave him a piece of my mind. My choice to finally walk away was a forgone conclusion, that decision was made for me a long time ago. And he now knows that. I also told him what his father did to me. Some people might consider what I said about his father was cruel and shouldn’t have been said. But his entire life he was told lies about me. And he and his sisters made a choice never to get to know me. And all three of them know their parents have lied to them in the past.

I felt bad that I had upset him months before by contacting my nephew but realised that this whole situation has come about because of a life time of lies and dishonesty on my brother’s part. I tried to do the right thing, and all I got was ridicule and judgement.

How can someone judge you when they don’t even know you? These people are my blood but they were always strangers to me. My nephew may not believe what I told him, but he will never be able to look at his father in the same way and the doubt will always be there. If this keeps his future children from their child molester of a grandfather, then I have save some precious lives today. I was too late for my nieces and their children but I can save some of them.

On a personal note I am now able to put all this to rest. I have done everything I can to save future generations, I have finally been able to let go of all the pain, guilt and fear. Closure is a magical creature that helps you to find peace. You may hurt people along the way but sometimes it has to be done.

Some will judge my actions today, but I am at peace with what I have done. If I have done the wrong thing, a higher power will be my judge, jury and executioner.

 

 

 

Gotta…….

Gotta…….

We all have things we feel we have to do. Little tasks or responsibilities we feel we can’t avoid. Some people feel they can’t say no. Or there could be a sense of being loyal to family or friends. It could be feeling like you must have a spic and span house, or a face full of makeup when you are out in public. Fitting in with a social crowd. It could be acting in a certain way so as not to incite a negative reaction. The list of GOTTA’S can be long, and individual to each one of us.

There are, of course, certain responsibilities and tasks which are required and are not in any way compromising who we are as people. For example, raising our children, they do come first but not to the exclusion of all else. As parents we should look after them and feed them right, teach them right from wrong, ensure they get medical attention when needed, and above all respect and love them as they should be. And we do need to discipline our children, teach them to respect others and themselves. A child’s needs are extremely important. But we also need to take care of ourselves so we can be there for the next generation.

I grew up believing I had to be useful and just take care of things, fix problems. And once I outlived this I was no longer of value. But one thing I have realised what we can do and are capable of doing, changes all the time. And how we are of use can also change. There is no set way of doing, being, or of behaving.

How many times have we said to ourselves I have got to do this or I have got to do that? I know I would have said it multiple times a day. One thing for me was being loyal to family, no matter what. But that works both ways. It has to be a mutual thing otherwise you end up resentful and frustrated and most of all taken advantage of.

I have family who have lied about me and kept my existence a secret. But not because I am a bad person or that I have done something bad or wrong. In fact, the opposite is the case. My family has a dirty little secret and this would bring their world crumbling down if it was to become public knowledge. And the worst part the next two generations have been poisoned against me because of this. For so many years I felt a sense of loyalty to people who could care less about me. And all because I felt I was told this was the way it should be.

How many of us dress a certain way or act a certain way, hang out with the right people because we feel we have to. So many people buy into the whole materialistic way of life. We have to have the latest gadgets, or the right handbag, the biggest TV screen; the list goes on. It has gotten to the stage where the new mental illness is hoarding and we find we need bigger houses or storage. We live using credit just to have what everyone else supposedly has, NOW.

Women are brainwashed into believing we should be a certain size and weight. We have to present ourselves in a certain way to be desirable or accepted. And it isn’t just women, in recent years, men have bought into the idea that they have to look athletic etc.

Young men now struggle to maintain a certain image and have developed eating disorders as a way to cope. Men are taught not to be emotional creatures because men don’t show their emotions. The suicide rate in men has risen because they have little coping skills when it comes to dealing with the moments in life that test us. A lot of men don’t cope well with the break up of a long-term relationship and often turn to addictive behaviours or contemplate suicide because they can’t cope.

Children have become so spoilt and expect everything because we live in a world where kids must have everything in order to fit in or not be bullied.

We as a race follow the pack in order to feel like we belong and we fit in. But really is it worth it? We compromise who we are because of this ‘Gotta’ attitude. We fear rejection because we are social animals. How many of us judge others who don’t fit into a societal view of what is acceptable? How many of us try to be something we are not, just to fit in? I know I have.

We are all made unique and different for a reason. We are all individuals. And there is nothing wrong with that. Because if there was, then we would all have been made the same, otherwise.

Honour your family and remain loyal to them but don’t compromise who you are as an individual to do that. The same goes for everything in life. You are made the way you are for a reason. Not everyone can be an artist or a lawyer or a doctor. We all have unique talents and abilities. We all have different needs and desires. We all can’t fit into a box, this is not how the world was meant to be. No one way is right or wrong. Honour who you are and don’t live up to expectations that don’t allow you to be yourself.