Posted in Poetry

Grievance

Grieve for my former self

No tears every day

But grieve

Yes grieving

Every day

No more early mornings

Or “Ms Noel

Holocene walks

Teaching plans

But now so much time….

Tick… tock… tick… tick…

Miss running

To Kanye’s Workout Plan

Miss running

Feel it in my gut

Wish to run away

Grieving

For my consciousness

So vivid, so lucid

Sometimes it’s mine

Sometimes it’s where? 

Posted in Blog

Parental Rejection

http://www.spring.org.uk/2016/10/rejection-parent-personality.php

I came across this article tonight after reading on Twitter that a friend of mine had finally been rejected by her father. I say finally, because it’s been a slow, drawn out process. The rest of her family have turned their backs on her following her transition (she’s transgender) and at first, her father was the bridge of support, claimed to attempt to support, to reach out to the other party, etc., etc. But then she had fears that he was pulling away – we didn’t want to believe it, especially me, having experienced it myself, but he was acting super sketchy and no longer being as supportive as he once was. 

Then tonight, he was no longer taking her calls. He’d cut her off. 

HIS OWN DAUGHTER. 

What kind of parents have children, only to reject them? Let’s forget that we’re adults, we’re still your children. Professor Ronald, co-author of the study in the article, says that it doesn’t matter what culture, race or class you come from (surprisingly, considering we’re talking about Psychology here!) rejection from a parental figure has a significant effect upon the development of your personality. Rejected children tend to be more anxious and insecure; it also makes us aggressive and angry – who do we trust? And why should we trust people? What if you let us down? 

Rohner then goes on to say:

“Unlike physical pain, however, people can psychologically re-live the emotional pain of rejection over and over for years.”

According to the article, empirical research claims that the same parts of the brain activated for physical pain, are also activated for emotional pain. 

There are still days when I can’t breathe because the pain of separation is unbearable. 

I’m also finally coming to terms with being an orphan, because I never thought of my father rejecting me before. I’ve never had to deal with him walking out because I’ve always been so consumed with my mother’s failings, which the article discusses. 

Why do people even bother to have children? 

I’m sorry that this isn’t an uplifting post; I just can’t even…

I spent three days in bed with a post-stictal migraine, feeling like I’d had a stroke and not knowing what was going on, not knowing who I am, barely able to speak and the only thing I was sure of was that my parents didn’t love me. Because I get to relive that over and over again, especially when I’m too sick to escape my insecurities.  

Posted in Blog

Bitch, I Ain’t Fat!

If you remember on Thursday, the reason why I decided to treat myself to some new make up was because I had such an awful day. It began with the trolls on Twitter, followed by a New Patient Healthcheck with the Practice Nurse at my new GP Surgery.

I hate these appointments; I hate throwing shade at Practice Nurses because I’ve worked at GP Surgeries and I’ve worked, with some highly qualified and educated Nurses. However, the ones who work in the surgeries I’m always registered, at always seem to be dumb and prejudiced towards Epilepsy and people of colour.

My appointment was at 11am – I stupidly rolled out of bed and straight into the Surgery, without having anything to eat even though the week before, my partner had told me that he had had to wait over half an hour for his own appointment because the same nurse was running late. I ended up waiting over half an hour. The receptionist apologetically informed me that the nurse had struggled with some baby immunisations earlier in the morning.

The nurse finally called me almost forty minutes after my appointment time, offering no apology for running late. Then she saw a patient she knew and left me in her room to take this other patient to another room. I could hear them chatting, she was offering him a newspaper to make him more comfortable while he waited. I even heard her offering to make him a cup of tea! All while I was standing in her doorway, waiting for her. By this point I was furious and close to passing out.

The Nurse finally returned, still didn’t apologise but came in and sat straight down. I informed her that I she was running late, she had offered no apology, that I had Epilepsy, had not eaten and was extremely upset. Instead of apologising, she replied: “oh were you told to fast? You didn’t need to”. I then informed her that my medication makes it did difficult to wake in the mornings and that it also makes me sick, however that doesn’t excuse her lateness. She then told me that I could cancel (!) At this point, I’m ready to smack her, just apologise! And get on with the appointment. I had to explain to her that this was my second attempt to see her, as the last time I booked an appointment, I had a seizure and was rudely told by the receptionist that if I miss another New Patient Healthcheck I won’t be registered with the Surgery.

She then apologised.

Now, the reason why I keep making a big deal about her failure to apologise straightaway, is because when I told my partner (who is white, and so is the Nurse) what happened , he told me that the Nurse apologised straightaway and couldn’t apologise enough.

Yet I had to beg for mine. Because I’m Black, right?

She then took my height, weight and blood pressure.

She didn’t say anything about my weight, but I knew a lecture was coming…..

She told me that my blood pressure was high – no shit. We’ve just been arguing! However, she tried to convince me that I had high blood pressure because “people like you do”. And there we go, health professionals making assumptions. Instead of taking into account the fact that she had kept me waiting for over 30 minutes for an appointment, without any food and then provoked me into an argument, she instead diagnosed me as having a high blood pressure problem. She ordered me to come back and see her in two weeks time. I immediately refused and ordered her to read through my medical file, to which she will find that I have never had a high blood pressure issue.

Lion

(Image source)

Which of course was confirmed in my records.

As for my Epilepsy, she told me that she has a patient who also has Epilepsy and can talk themselves out of their seizures. I told her that was a lie, and I am under the care of a great team. She disregarded that, and recommended that I try Tai Chi for my seizures, “just like her patient who can talk herself out of her seizures”. 

As people of colour, we need to educate ourselves. This same dumb woman who is telling me this shit about my epilepsy, was also trying to diagnose me with a blood pressure condition I know for a fact that I don’t have and also told me that I have a weight problem.

I’m not skinny, but I’m not fucking obese either. Since I had to stop working and my seizures became worse, I’m not as active as I was and I’ve noticed a little weight gain around my middle, however I’m nowhere near as heavy as I was 2 years ago.

Last year I went to see a Psychiatrist, and when I told him I was a UK size 12-14, he looked at my like I was lying, and in the clinical letter, he actually wrote that I was “clearly lying.” This was actually one of the reasons why he also believed that I was lying about having Epilepsy and therefore diagnosed me as having Borderline Personality Disorder.

Anyway, the point I’m making is  *breath* as women of colour, especially in the U.K. we need to challenge Primary Care clinicians more, because they have no idea what the fuck they are talking about, especially when it comes to our health. The BMI calculator in particularly, was not created for us! I’ve weighed my boobs and each one weighs 1.5kg! Our body fat is distributed differently in comparison to White women, which the BMI calculator doesn’t take into account. We have booty and also a higher bone density: physiologically we are completely different to the White European “ideals” that the BMI calculator was created from. When you go on the NHS Choice website to check your BMI, all you see are White women telling you how to be like them. Eurocentric standards healthcare are one of the reasons why so many women of colour have eating disorders. It was one of the reasons why I spent most of adolescent years with an undiagnosed eating disorder.

I found this great article by Linda Lowen about Black BMI, which is a great starting point. I’m definitely going to stay healthy, but I’m also going to be doing my own research.

XOXO

 

Posted in Blog

Epilepsy: Self – Disgust

Last weekend my partner and I went to Windsor and Wiltshire, where we visited Stonehenge. While the museum was a fake (I’ll leave that for another post!), the stones were incredible. Absolutely beautiful.

Since coming home, I feel energised both physically and mentally. More aware of myself. I also haven’t had any seizures for over a week now, which is great.

Yesterday, I took part in a follow up psychological questionnaire about my feelings towards my epilepsy, and I realised that although I’d taken part in the initial questionnaire during my breakdown in the summer, admitting to feelings of disgust towards my condition, I’d very much avoided the notion of feeling disgusting. I’ve come a long way from Wiltshire (I was actually born there), and being back there with my partner was an incredibly proud moment, because I was able to go back to my birth town and I’d remembered the street name through my own efforts – without the help of anybody. I’m utilising this time away from employment to retrain my brain, particularly my memory, therefore being able to remember something from thirty years ago was definitely an achievement.

You Got It Dude

Yesterday, it was incredible to be able to speak to a Clinical Psychologist who also understood Epilepsy – something I’ve never experienced before: somebody who can sympathise with the feelings of dread before a seizure, the desperation to want to be alone afterwards (including the desire to want to separate yourself from your own body, even though you’ve just “left” it and returned, the constant feeling of betrayal you feel towards your body for being so weak and for failing you. I feign confidence because in my mind I realise that I’m becoming more confident as I become more “aware”, however within my body, I feel disconnected because it’s not my own.

I find my body disgusting. I wake up each morning not knowing what state I’m going to find it in and that disgusts me.

Unfortunately this Psychologist practices in Leicester, however she recognised that patients with Epilepsy are in desperate need of Psychotherapy, particularly because of the way we perceive ourselves through the eyes our condition.

She’s going to send me her data once she completes her write up, which will be interesting to read.

I used to blame myself for seizures, which I don’t do anymore, however up until as recently as a few weeks ago I was blaming myself, because if I wasn’t disgusting then I wouldn’t be a failure, and if I wasn’t a failure then I would be like everybody else. And if I was like everybody else, then I would be happy.

However, now I am happy and beautiful. I just have Epilepsy.

I came across this quote yesterday and felt that it was so apt to how I’ve been thinking about… thinking haha:

“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” – Gautama Buddha

XOXO

Posted in Blog

A Time To Be Alive… Making It to Interpol

On Friday evening I went to see Interpol at Alexandra Palace. 

Apart from the fact that I could barely lift my arms, (I’m still suffering from muscle weakness in my upper body), you couldn’t tell that months ago I was so sick I couldn’t get out of bed. 

Interpol are one of my favourite bands of all time and back in June/ July, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be alive to see them. I’d bought the tickets to see them last year you see, before any of my major health issues had begun.

Yet on Friday, I danced like I didn’t have a care in the world 💜

Posted in Blog

When Will It End?

Sometimes, I don’t know who I am anymore.

Some days I wake up, work on MSc, do some blogging, etc etc. Yes, I’ve got it together!

T1bfikb

But then, some nights, my anxiety is through the roof and I cannot shut my brain off, while some days it’s completely silently dead and I cannot move, so I stay in bed all day – on days like today, where I slept my life away.

I’ve gained weight because I’m no longer as active as I used to be, and I’m not vocal about it bothering me, but it does bother me, especially when I used to be bulimic. I fantasise about making myself sick, but I can’t because I have to cling to to those stupid pills that stop the seizures. So I just watch the weight gain every morning in the mirror instead.

I’ve spent an entire week arguing with my employer, trying to arrange an afternoon to collect my belongings from my old desk. I have nothing that belongs to them, because when they escorted me from the premises like a criminal for standing up to racism and disability discrimination, I was instructed not to take anything with me, so they have everything of mine and I have nothing of their’s. With the dire state in which the education system is in, I had to buy my students stationery to use in my lessons, so I spent a fortune on supplies which I had to leave, and which have been sitting at my old desk since May. My employer have spent a week at first trying to convince me that I had already collected the supplies (I haven’t), and then refusing to set a date. This was supposed to be the job of my Union Representative, who was far too lazy to do his job. At four in the morning on Wednesday, I finally emailed him and told him to do his job, and now I’ll be going in on Monday to collect my things.

These people are sick. 

Oh, and my Union Representative also sent me a copy of the Settlement Agreement I was forced to sign, (legally binding me to keep schtum about the name of my employer, as well as stopping me from suing their asses) with a coffee stain on it. When I pointed this out to him, he apologised, claiming that he hadn’t noticed before he posted it to me.

The coffee stain to me, was a visual gesture of what these people think of me, of how poorly they value me as a person.

Which is fine, because I feel exactly the same.

However, I still have to live with the damage. I’ve now moved to an area in London where my two nearest tube stations have no step free access, so if I have to travel during my postictal state (post-seizure), I’m screwed. Last week, I went to The Pink Floyd Exhibition at The V&A Museum, (aaaaamazballs by the way. I cried at it’s celestial-ness!), however I had to change at Green Park station. For anybody who lives in London, and has regularly done the interchange at that station, or even encountered it a few times, you’ll know it’s a lengthy process. Even at my fittest, I’d avoid it just to save time! Last week it killed me. I had to do this journey postictal (the tickets were pre-booked and non-refundable) and I’m currently at my unfittest. It was worth it for the exhibition, however I massively paid for it, both mentally and physically for days afterwards.

I’m trying to get over the mental damage, however knowing that there may have been a different outcome if I had been white, is a bigger pill to swallow than any of my anti-depressants or AEDS.

Self-care is so important. Yesterday, while lying in bed and feeling rubbish about doing so instead of research for my latest assignment, I stumbled upon thread about self-care on Twitter. Such simple steps: 

  • Getting out of bed (always a good start!) 
  • Drinking water – it is so important to keep hydrated, not just when you have epilepsy and you’re on AEDs, but also when your mood is low
  • Doing something other than what you HAVE you do – so we’ve just moved, and I’ve been putting off unpacking for ages, because of my MSc. Yesterday I decided to just put some music on and unpack. A flat full of boxes is so unhealthy for your mental health anyway. It’s like living out of a suitcase but worse! 
  • Take a shower. So after all of that unpacking, I was pretty sweaty anyway. Again, I put some music on really loud, had the bathroom door open as I was home alone and took the longest shower I’d EVER taken. It was glorious! Back in the day, before I was ever in a relationship, I would go days in bed, without showering, never changing my underwear, festering in my darkest thoughts. Not good. If you’re too weak to stand, treat yourself to a bath – you fucking deserve it you beautiful biatch ❤️
  • Read a good book. The best thing about not being an English teacher anymore, is that I get to read whatever I want, because I’m no longer constrained to the curriculum! Glorious! At the moment I’m reading Assata Shakur’s autobiography “Assata: An Autobiography” which I highly recommend. One thing I’m also trying to do, is getting into a routine of reading in bed, in order to calm my brain down. 

Anyway, these are just my suggestions, mixed with some I’ve come across. Life is tough, but we can’t give up right? 

XOXO

Posted in Blog

The ❤️ of Strangers 

I am so overwhelmed by the love of strangers right now. I’m part of this amazing Epilepsy support group on Facebook, and one of the moderators came up with the awesome idea to do a box swap. Anybody who signed up, would receive some details about one person in the group, and would have to make up a box of “goodies” to cheer that person up. 

I received mine today:


I was so overwhelmed by the love of this stranger that I burst into tears!

It’s breathtaking what the kindness of strangers can do ❤️

Posted in Blog

Dark Shadows: New Horizons

During my suspension, I’ve been spending a lot of time on the couch re-watching Mad Men.  My least favourite character has always been Betty Draper/ Francis:

Betty Draper

(Jeff York (C) 2015)

She reminds me too much of my own mother. During this season, Betty’s also gotten fat… I’m not going to lie… the bitch in me delights in this after watching her put her skinny little arse before her children for four seasons…

Betty Draper Thanksgiving Dinner

(This Thanksgiving dinner! Hahahahahaha)

… You would think that I could at least sympathise with Betty, she clearly has mental health issues, but….. *thinks*….  nah.

However, I saw her in a new light today when she said this to her second husband Henry Francis in Episode 9 “Dark Shadows” of Season 5:

You’re always thinking about other people, and then you’re angry because no one’s thinking about you.

Leo Double Take.gif

(Hold up… that was Betty Draper??!!!?!?!?!?!??!?!)

I admire Henry Francis: he took on A LOT of shit when he took on Betty. I’m not defending Don Draper as a husband. Furthermore women as a collective, during the 1960s, faced a huge amount of torture. However, despite the masculine cacophony the majority at least attempted to make life better for themselves and their children, while Betty as a mother is just a monster who very evidently takes her own unresolved childhood issues out on her children and while Don manipulated this, Henry took this on, faced it head on and helped her. Unfortunately, he probably won’t ever alter my perceptions of Betty – as I said, she reminds me too much of my own mother, however for her to finally recognise enough how much Henry does for other people, and how little he gets in return for it and also recognise his anger for that, is pretty awesome.

 

This is something that I have been dealing with, because I’m constantly thinking of others. It’s something it seems that I was born to do. From a young age I was doing it for my family and now I do it instinctively, so much so that I forget that not everybody else does it too, and if they don’t that doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t care. However, that doesn’t invalidate my anger.

 

Betty then went on to say:

It’s so easy to blame our problems on others but really we’re in charge of ourselves.  

 

I’ve come to a massive crossroads in my life. I’ve now become too sick to work – that is very much clear, therefore I cannot look for another job. Therefore I’m going to have to claim benefits.

I’ve also decided that it’s time to find my own place. As much as I love my partner, I can’t live with him anymore because I need my own space and my independence, and the stress of living with somebody else while so ill is actually more detrimental to my health than its worth.

This doesn’t mean however, that we’re breaking up.

 

It’s incredibly scary because I’m not going to have a job, yet I’m looking for somewhere to live on my own?

Am I crazy?

Yes. Yes I am!

But it’s also the first decision I’ve been able to make in the last few months that makes me feel pretty damn good.

 

It feels bloody good to be taking charge and soon also take charge of my own happiness.

Posted in Blog

Time to Run My World

This is a very QUICK update! 

So…. My life has been spiraling; everything has been spinning out of control, which is why I’ve decided to take some back. Tomorrow I’m going to start a dairy free diet, and also try to drastically cut back on my sugar. 

Now, for those who know me well, you know that I am a cheese fiend (even though I’m both lactose intolerant AND allergic to dairy!) PLUS I also eat at least one bag of sweets a day…… 

Now, sugar (in moderation) is incredibly helpful for seizure recovery (as in, to give to somebody when they have just had a seizure) however, if you’re scoffing it by the truckload as I do on a daily basis, it is also known to be a major trigger, as is dairy. 

Stress is also a trigger, however at the moment there is not much I can do about that. I’m still having major issues with work, which is making me incredibly ill: just this week alone I’ve had two generalised seizures (grand mals) and three or four complex partial seizures, because of the torment I’m going through with work. It frustrates me even more that I cannot talk about it. 

Which is why I need to do something, instead of wishing I was dead every day. 

Therefore… The picture you see above you, might be my last EVER bag of sweets…

And now I won’t get to indulge in this ridiculously expensive cheddar I bought on Friday…. 

(WHY GAWD WHYYYYYYY???!!!!!!)

These crème brûlées could be my last……

And what shall become of these unfinished bars of chocolate..?

(DISCLAIMER: Yes at this point, I did raid my flat looking for any dairy and sugar-related items LOL)

I’ve also booked myself in for a meditation taster session in South London somewhere tomorrow afternoon….. 

… And I still have the Headspace app on my phone… 

… More on that tomorrow…. 

… Once I’ve recovered from my last dairy and sugar binge bitches!!!!!

xoxo