The Red Skittle

Today was a great day. My 14 year old daughter has suffered with depression & anxiety for a long time , on and off now for 2 years. I have learnt to deal with my own sadness with her struggle – if I let it get me down then we both lose . I just have to be there for her when she wants me which isn’t often . Yesterday she tidied her room, today she tidied it again and said that she felt her depression had lifted. .

She sat outside and we looked through jewellery and chatted about stuff in the sunshine. This may seem average , but my girl hasn’t been out her room or the house for months . I asked her what had happened , if there was a trigger , a moment where she felt different and she proceeded to tell me this wonderful tale of a teenage moment of clarity. That early morning , she had woken at 4am. She was laying there and she couldn’t move very well on the floor – ( she sleeps against the door to isolate herself ) –

She then says …. “ I had my suitcase from the holiday a month ago still on the floor , then I looked around and saw all the bowls and cups under my bed , then I found a red skittle in my hair and as I was trying to get it out I realised how greasy my hair was and I just thought to myself , what am I doing? I might be depressed but I ain’t gonna feel any better laying here in a pile of shit “. Oh my , how I laughed . She is a natural comedian and we couldn’t stop laughing at this Red Skittle , which changed the world. She then spent 3 hours cleaning up all her room , she deleted apps on her phone , she said she was horrified to discover how much time she was spending on it . She changed all her depressing music on Spotify to uplifting stuff !

Then tonight , we went out on a bike ride. She said YES , to an outing. Well blow me down with a feather . “ I feel Free “ she screeched as we pedalled along.

So this simple day as been so special . It might be a one off , it might be a turning point , who knows . But it’s a taste of change and hope. I have always thought that my intuition is right with my daughter , that I shouldn’t be pushing her to do what she can’t. Professionals will say otherwise . But today , I saw what she can become , a woman with drive and passion for life , which can take time to harvest . Her time. No one else’s . As long as I can be there in those moments then that’s all that matters .

Continue reading “The Red Skittle”

It’s all about the circumstance.

Circumstance :   It’s all about the circumstance,   how one individual or family is affected by the Corona Virus and subsequent lockdown is often  down to  small ,  insignificant life details.    So  ,   my son for example,   he is loving lockdown,  he had a job in a pub , where he just pipped the post to qualify for furlough.   He has a home,  parents ,  a garden ,  a bike & lots of love.    My husband is loving it even more,    his tough physical job has been put on hold,  with 2 hour drive there and back each day ,   he’s been given furlough now with full pay ,   he’s literally a new man ,  he’s tanned,  he’s grown a beard, he’s renovating our home with delight!    The effect that his job had on him was insidious.   Yet there are those in the world who are having real struggles as a direct result.     Those who can’t get home ,  stuck thousands of miles away on another continent,   those who’s violent partners are now at home with them 24 hours a day,   those who’s jobs have been lost with no income .

Yesterday ,  as we sat in our garden ,   enjoying the beautiful gift of the magic of British weather;  which is bestowing unusual heat and sunshine since Lockdown began –   the first BBQ of the year,  supping icy tinto veranos ,  I seriously thanked life for my blessings.   I got in my gorgeous comfortable bed last night and wondered about all those who have it really hard and I can only be grateful for what I have.    That’s all I can do ,    there’s no point feeling guilty,    I just have to love life and respect it’s cards.

Stolen grief.

Tonight , following the day spent with my dear friend who lost her father this day ,   I am listening to Dire Straits.    It was my father’s favourite.    I am bowled over by a desire to write about him,  to bring him alive again.    He died in 2009 ,   he had dementia ,   as with most of these kind of cases he didn’t specifically die of that,  but essentially it caused his death.      Tonight I looked at the stars littering the night sky in my moonless back garden,  I saw his smiling face in my mind and I rejoice now at the freedom I have retrieved  back  from contrived religion ,  to reclaim my father back from the dead.    When he died , I was a new Christian,    I came to the church in a bad way , as many do,   with a broken marriage and an unhappy heart.     My father died amongst the wreckage of my life at this time.    For the following years ,   I was taught,   inadvertently ,   that he was not just gone,   but gone to hell.     No one actually had the tenacity to  say it so blatantly ,  but it was there,   unsaid.      At his bedside I remember trying to read the bible to him ,  with my new found faith and fervency ,   he practically pushed the bible away from me in anger,  he was never a religious man.     But even in his demented state   he knew what he believed and now   I am able to admire that.   Nevertheless,    I still have anger toward the ‘  church ‘   for taking away my years of mourning.     I pushed him out of mind,    he was gone,  he was lost ,   he would’t be there on the other side.

Tonight , as I listen to the music he loved,   which I love because of him,  I am able  sense his presence in the Universe,    sense his spirit ,   his character  ,   see his big round face,   reddened from alcohol ,   with   his big hands and quiet , deep demeanour   and once again enjoy his memory with freedom and grace ,   set free from the constrains of the patriarchy .      I always feel grief that my dad never saw me attain anything ,    I went back to University after his death ,  I got my degree ,  my career and my self together long after he left this earth.      I wish he had seen me succeed .    He did however  meet his two Grandchildren.  His first Grandchild was  born before he succumbed to the ravages of dementia.     He adored the bones of  my child and I am so damn grateful that I was able to give him something good,   something worthy ,   something for him to take away on his journey ,   a gorgeous curly haired rambunctious toddler all of his own ,    a precious gift .     Maybe that was more exquisite  to him than anything academic that I could achieve .

If My dad was here ,  he would be raging against the machine.     Quietly but stoically.   When he was literally dying of a stroke ,    he steadfastly refused to go with the paramedic.    He wanted to sit in his favourite chair and smoke his roll up and drink his beer.    When he was in hospital (finally once we got him there) ,  he left in the middle of the night in his pyjamas because he wanted to go home  and he wouldn’t be told what to do .    Obviously ,    at the time ,   these situations were very distressing.    But now,     I remember them with admiration and love.     My dad ,    he was from a poor back ground,    a farmers child,   he was evacuated  in the war to live in the country for 4 years!    I wish I knew what that time was like for him,     I  yearn to hear ,   I regret so many conversations that never happened ,  so many things I don’t know ,   that I never will.       Death ,    is all around us at the moment.     Death is life.    It’s the anchor which grounds us to the earth.   It’s always there,    yet we ignore it until it is thrust upon us and we often aren’t ready or prepared to process it.



My thighs rub together.

I feel a bit defeated.   I struggle with food , I  always have .  We have a love  – hate relationship and  rarely manage to create a harmonious balance.   5 years ago this week,   I embarked on yet another  ‘  diet ‘  –   ‘  new start ‘ –   ‘  regime ‘ ,   whatever you like to call it .    It felt different to other times , it had an energy and vigour behind it which I rarely managed to summon.     It took me on a roller coaster journey for the last 5 years.  I lost all my weight in the first year;   6 stone.  I kept if off for 2 years but in the last 2 years I have slowly but steadily put around 3 stone of it back on.   Still 3 stone down from my initial beginning ,   but it is the depressing merry go round of my life,   I thought at 40 –  I had actually managed to nail the whole yo-yo’ing , overeating , restricting thing to a structured and healthy place.      I journeyed through devout religious devotion incorporating the Overeaters Anonymous ‘  higher power ‘    and have been back in and out of that & sugar abstinence.

 I gave up my religion and experienced a catastrophic faith shift ,  of which I am still picking up the pieces .        But now,    sitting in this global pandemic ,   of which fear and anxiety are rife ,   I am a food catastrophe.    I feel calm ,   contained and riding the storm of these times yet I am out of control in the one thing in my life that need reins.

I literally can feel the weight creeping round my bones,    softening my ribs and shoulders ,    cushioning my stomach ,  my thighs rub together,  yet still ,   I eat.

I know that the whole Overeaters anonymous thing works for me,    I know that yes I am rather insane around food ,    that I  seem powerless to halt the crashing tide,    But something prevents me from being able to commit with my whole heart to the program.     I think it reminds me too much of religion,     the same core rule books,  learning the same things over again and repeating them to others and in your mind ,     I listen to others and hear the buzz words of ‘  truth ‘   , ‘ in the food’    &. ‘ acceptance ‘  and I just feel irritated,     I think perhaps I am irritated with myself that I can’t just be allowed to do this on my own.     And yet ,    I still have the optimism to believe that I can .

I know one thing,    I don’t want to eat sugar.  It’ s really bad for you and it causes cancer. But If I eat sugar ,   then I just want to eat more,  so the only way is abstinence from sugar.       I did that for many months alone but something always breaks me , normally a holiday ,   a break from the norm ,   an ice cream on a hot day ,    a desire to bake.  The whole tantalising sensory experience of baking is something I have never been able to   step away from .

I feel defeated .  I struggle with food.   We all have our battles I guess.

Cherry Blossoms are my treasure.

AS we approach the 4th week of lockdown ,   I have realised that actually ,  life is better,   things are moving more fluidly in life.    The only thing I am missing is seeing our friends , who we regularly see for fellowship.   I actually don’t miss much else,    there is peace in the slower solitary pace of life.    No commitments,  no need to check yourself on whether you should be attending a social event,   no pressure to commit to anything.   I think my introverted self has tentatively come out to play.    She is unsure of how to proceed as she has never been placed in a position of such freedom!   Life,  I have come to realise is just too fucking hectic ,  too much pressure,  too many expectations ,   it’s not good for the soul!     Normally my home life is a bit toxic,   people are irritated with one another,    there is lots of currents of aggression ,  the whirlwind of life that follows us  all from external sources creates tension,   projections & trauma.    But that whirlwind has ceased.   You would think from our usual state of family life that it would be made much worse by imposed confinement !   But amazingly and surprisingly it’s quite the opposite.     And this further strengthens my beliefs that Brooks (Shawshank Redemption)  was right when he came out of his confinement and realised that    “the world went and got itself in a big damn  hurry “.   We however are seeing it from the other side,   we have been living in it and this has made us see our chaos ,    how we have been going catastrophically wrong.

I used to ‘ housekeep  ‘   now I create.   I create clean , uncluttered space.  I create lovely meals,    muffins & brownies,  I create long salt soaked baths.  I create fresh ground on my allotment , I create words on a page which capture the moments of my life that would be forever eradicated to the sands of time ,  I create gratitude for my life which provides me with money , food , shelter & safety.     I create a more loving relationship with my family .         And this is due to space ,  time &  freedom which this lockdown has created.

Today is Easter Sunday ,      for many years I was a devoted Christian but in recent times, I have created a freedom for myself ,    I no longer succumb to man made religion,    my spirituality is of my own  creation , it is all mine,    it is unique , fluid and ever changing.      Cherry blossoms are the light in my life at the moment.   They line the streets of my hometown and the cemeteries where I walk with my adored mutt.   They are heavy and laden with blossom ,  they look like they will collapse under the pressure of their bounty –  they whisper such greatness ,  I honestly think if I could only ever see one thing in nature again ,  I would choose the cherry blossom.

One day ,     when I move house,   which I eventually will probably do ,  I want my own tree.

The Beautiful Moon.

As we move like the ocean through these tides of strange times , things start to become the norm. Queuing to get into the supermarket , not hugging friends , being together with family at home all the time , yoga on zoom , not making any plans to do anything or go anywhere .. The furore of the initial weeks has now dissipated into an uneasy milieu . Tentatively ; people , businesses , cultures , test a toe in the water to check out the temperature .

Last night , the full pink moon was out in her full glory, a perfectly still , cloudless night to showcase her beauty. We arranged to meet friends up the common , we took some Prosecco and drank out of plastic cups , on blankets , 2 metres apart and looked at the moon. The night was so still , the sky devoid of jet streams , instead , mallards flying overhead quacking their way home. It was quite beautiful.

Week 2 : Uk Lockdown

So , my husband agreed to do our ground floors while he is off from work. It’s something we have been planning to do and it seemed an opportune time. I have learned over the years to live with the upheaval of home renovations. But something about order , calm and tidiness just fills me with delight & and I still suffer an inability to relax until the norm is restored .

But my new grey floors are looking lovely and I am ever grateful to have such a clever husband . We got our 18 year old son to help (!) – bribery basically. They couldn’t be more different . My son lopes around like a stoned giraffe while my husband runs around like a headless chicken. Things haven’t been tranquil in my house this week !

Anyway , I start on my new unit on Monday. I had to make some choices about it all in the week and I feel like I made good , sound decisions , based on integrity and growth. I realised that I was leaning in to the fear and it’s always the best bet . I understood that I have always have a longing to be part of something & perhaps I didn’t quite feel like that in the team I was in. I sense the winds of change in my life far quicker than I ever expected them to blow in . But I embrace them and welcome their fragrance.

Corona Virus continues to dominate everything. We are now upto around 600 dead in one day. Yesterday I cried reading about 2 young nurses who died. Both leaving 3 children each. Such tragedy. I oscillate between two worlds of nonchalance and zeal In my thinking – some days I struggle to see the big picture . Others I jump on the band wagon and chat Boris mantras like a campaigner .

Week 2 :UK lockdown

photo of burger beside fries
Photo by Sebastian Coman Photography on

I  now feel far removed from the mania around Corona Virus,   initially I was obsessed ,   anxious,   constantly watching the news,    but now ,  due to my already disclosed extremely short attention span ,   I am already over it.    I guess if it hit me hard by taking a member of my family then it would become something again,  but I have lost all interest in the whole debacle.   I think perhaps due to the fact that I believe that I have already had it,   I feel untouchable.   I hear about all the issues with PPE and the fact that I will be going to work on a ward where  I will be expected to use it and I just feel irritated ,    it suddenly feels like a great big deal made out of nothing.   Now I know it’s not,    but what felt ominous , important  , vital , encompassing  a week ago ,  has completely dropped off my radar.

SO ,  what do I do with this new found detachment ,  when everyone around me is acting like cats on hot tin rooves ?    Paradoxically ,  my dog has a virus ,   and I am more worried about him than the world.        I don’t have capacity for world pain ; world crisis ,    I can only be with what is in front of me.    And I ain’t gonna apologise for it.

Tonight we had a serious first world issue with our Uber Eats takeaway ,   burgers were missing ,  the chips were cold and there was a household meltdown.