15 November 2015
Reflections - 31 October 2017
I have always had a keen interest in current affairs and politics, which is why I frequently include references to events of national and international importance in my blogs; I am a political animal, it is part of me, it makes me tick! Forever Enduring Cycles, like Spanish Views is a diary, referencing personal thoughts and feelings during difficult or important times in my life, as such, I include as much about me and my interests as I can. I have my own views and wish to get those across to the wider audience; it is my journalistic nature. Forever Enduring Cycles has many references to events that are shaping our World, this was the first!
Terrorism and the threat of violence has been a harsh fact of life for the year and half, since I started writing my second blog. This attack in France was the beginning of events that have included horrific assaults in Manchester, London and my adopted country of Spain. My own thoughts on these tragedies are well known; I often lay awake at night thinking about the state of the World, it has a big impact on my life!
As a blogger I understand the importance of making ones voice heard. Getting a message across can not only be rewarding, but also important, at pivotable times. Obviously no one is going to take any notice of lil ol me, but that isn't the point. Freedom of expression is necessary for my own well being and sense of character. If I didn't speak out, then I would not be the person, I believe I am. I have a set of morals, speak the truth as I see it and will always voice my opinion, as all of us should! Blogging is about talking, sparking debate and focusing on issues of personal significance. Forever Enduring Cycles documented my life, outside influences, governing my thoughts and the events that shaped who I am, Spanish Views continue that process!
13 November 2015
Just had a nice long bath. Feeling relaxed, positive and after the last few days, accomplished, I've had a lot of writing to do, but not in the 'blog' sense of the word, which has taken a back seat somewhat. To be honest with you, the amount of studying, I have done over the last eight months, has lead me to think, I should take it up for a living. Jason has given me loads to do as well. Jason hates reading and writing at the best of times, so if it helps him, that's fine. His mind has been else where anyway.
I have also done a lot of talking, not to the usual group of people, but to those I should have engaged with long ago. It is amazing, when you start to talk to honest, experienced and empathetic people, who understand you more than yourself, just how much your thoughts and judgements have been clouded for so long. Sometimes it can take a long time to evaluate and understand others motives, but when you finally realise, there is no stopping you. When situations, involving yourself and those you love, become part of the harsh reality of life, you will not stop until justice is done.
I have been doing some research for a guide I am writing to do with Bipolar and employment. It is one of those subjects that most people find difficult to talk about, but it is important, when you consider just how many people suffer with Bipolar. Mental Health seems to be a taboo subject for most, which is why there needs to be more understanding and training on the subject, especially when The Equality act of 2010, sets out details for compliance in law.
For those of you who suffer with Bipolar and are experiencing difficulties at work, read the above document, it will help you and your employers deal with the subject in the correct way. I am, as I say in the process of writing my own views on the subject and will publish those as soon as I have completed the research.
Claire and lee
positivity - friday 13 november 2015
Awoke this morning feeling as positive as ever. Popped out this morning was Jason. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining and despite the fact it's Friday 13th today, it made no difference.
Currently I am sat here watching 'The Hunger Games' with Jason and Chris, which keeps distracting me from writing. It's a great film by the way. It could even describe the story of my life at present,
Peace and love, always
Reflections 28 October 2017
The saga with Oxfam continues; even at this late stage the lack of conversation and dialogue is clear. For seven months they had ignored my plight and that of others, refusing to acknowledge there was any problem in the region we worked for. The only way I was able to get the information I needed, was through my own research, talking to various organisations and concentrating my energies on fighting the charity I once held in high regard, not because of them, but because of the person they were protecting. As I know now, the reality was, Oxfam were complicit in all the wrong doing at the time, bullying, lies and sociopathic behaviour. An organisation that had no morals left, hiding the truth from its employees and defending some wicked, wicked people!
With everything that was going on at the time, the people in my life, like Claire and Lee, were the support network I needed, without them, I am not sure whether I would have got through those months fully in tact. I had people in my life 24/7, there was never a moments peace; at the time I found that very difficult to cope with, but without that level of encouragement and friendship from others, circumstances would have been far worse. I would like to thank all those who were there for me at that time!
It's strange, I am sat here this morning, after a busy shift at LoungeD last night, living in Spain, happier than I have ever been. Myself and my partner are both working, earning a wage at the most difficult part of the year. Jobs in the winter are few and far between, so I don't think I've done too badly, since arriving in Spain. The reason I mention this today, is because of the complete turn around in our fortunes as a couple. This blog entry mentions the friends we had around us, which were many; people I miss everyday. Moving to Spain was traumatic, for reasons I have mentioned many times before. The most difficult aspect of our decision to emigrate, was leaving friends behind. Littered throughout all my blogs, there are references to many people I have had the pleasure of knowing and I do miss all of them. We do of course have many friends in Gran Alacant, but these bonds were not formed out of adversity, unlike those relationships formed during our last year in the UK.
It's Saturday afternoon now and I am laying on the sofa, writing, watching Coronation Street, reflecting over my life, two years ago. I have been through hell and back but finally I can sit, read my old blogs from very different times, remember what happened, finally accept where I am and continue to fight the injustices that will forever lay within me. They are never going away, not until those responsible are brought to justice; until then, I will just keep writing!
11 November 2015
I have had a purely selfish, me kind of day today. The weather of late has been awful, so getting out the house has been near on impossible, not that you would want to on a cold, rainy November day, when you could be tucked up under a warm duvet writing thoughts down, that at times only I can understand. Still words keep me occupied and help pass the time of day.
Currently I am listening to some uplifting music, always a good sign for me in the Bipolar stakes. It means my mind is focused on happy and uplifting thoughts. Music is a key factor to my well being as they say. The happier the music, the more positive I am in mind and spirit, In fact if I put a sad song on now, I would only continue to radiate good thoughts. The fact that I am writing at all, is a good thing of course. I do find the easier the words flow, the more at peace I am. Some days words just seem to fall out of my head. No stopping the flow of writing, even at the worst of times, when I should be doing something I had been putting off for an age, or in the early hours of the morning, when I should be sleeping. Strangely for me, these are the most inspirational times. I enjoy the silence of the early hours, often sat in the garden, in all weathers, just watching the sun come up. It really does feel like you are the only person left alive. Being alone with ones thoughts is important for me. It allows me to process the deepest dreams and write down memories, that in the past I have avoided. We all avoid facing up to stuff, that we would rather forget, but when I am in a particularly good place, it is the ideal time. Even the darkest of memories, can be seen as healing and a favourable slant can often be attributed to even the worst situation.
When I look back at the bad times, as I am beginning to now, the pain I felt then, although heart felt at the time, can only have served to teach me much, about what was going on then. The darker the period, the more I have learned. These are not always easy lessons to learn, they are the key moments, that define a period in ones life when there was no hope, little action and massive mountains to climb. It is funny to see those mountains become hills and those deep chasms become easy obstacles to over come. The fact that I am here today, writing this blog is a testimony to barriers that are either no longer there, or have become a lot less important to me in recent times.
Feeling positive, is natural for most people, as is the negative side of ourselves, but for those of us who suffer with Bipolar, the degree to which these thoughts are processed becomes the danger. Bipolar is of course about extremes, at both ends of the scale and both offer dangers, that only we can really understand. Lets take my last relapse, forgetting why it happened for a moment, at the point of physical collapse and receiving care at Her Majesties Pleasure, I was as manic and high as I could possibly be. Thinking back to how serious the situation was, for me, for Jason and us as a couple, for our future and the consequences that could have unraveled, had Jason not got me the help I needed, I am gobsmacked that I got through it in one piece.
Can you really imagine being so manic, that what ever serious situation surfaced, my sense of unreality would just deal with it, in the most ludicrous, unfathomable, way possible. I was so happy to just walk out of my front door, wearing a pair of shorts, on a cold night and head towards my destiny. Not destiny in the true sense of the word, a moment of destiny, defined by a rapidly deteriorating, manic cycle, that allowed me to find the idea of jumping off a bridge, as a happy, exhilarating and wonderful act of release, where I would survive, yes survive. Nothing was unachievable, no bridge too high, no mountain insurmountable. In all honesty, I had never contemplated taking my own life, under such skewed circumstances, certainly not during a manic episode, that I am aware of.
The level of detachment from ones self must have been overwhelming. Even my wildest imagination could not contemplate such destructive thoughts as a rule. It is these occasions, when I was at my most destructive, without concern or even a need to pull myself in, that I have to come to terms with and understand in complete non glossy terms. There really is no good side to anything like that, except the absurdity of a situation, that could have been fatal, yet a willingness to play it out to its final conclusion, without a second thought. That is quite scary, looking back. It is only now I can look back at that brief period and laugh. What the hell was I thinking?
There have been other, equally disturbing circumstances, which I can't begin to think about and analyse in their entirety. Throwing ones head into icy cold water to stop the rapid cycling and head pain, bought on by unregulated Bipolar, after the most traumatic of circumstances. I know now, this could have been changed, if only others were more aware of the changes taking place in me, as I am fully acquainted with now, through the absolutely marvelous Advocacy and advice given by 'Solent Mind', all it would have required, from day one, was just a common consensus approach to what turned into an extremely serious situation for me, because nobody would sit down and discuss my welfare. As a lay person, I had no idea any other formality or legality existed to protect me. That makes me sad, that only now am I learning the truth, after so many months.
I would like to express my thanks to Oxfam, at this point, for allowing me this period to recover. They are good people, who I have always been happy to work for. They believe in the things I do. Empowerment, Accountability and Inclusiveness. Their ethical policies are second to none. Most of the people I have worked with have been exceptional, especially my dedicated Volunteer Team. I am still unable to go into too much detail, but something happened along the way, to cause great harm to me, make me reassess my life and above all come up with some ideas for changing it for the better. So in a round about sort of way, my employer has made me contemplate the worst and the decisions I finally make are still not made, but whilst I deal with with Jason's continual decline and precarious financial situation, I am at least clearing my old home, Gay Capri, for whatever renewal process happens in due course.
It has been a strange day to be honest, This afternoon I was reading a colleagues blog, 'HR - Without ticking boxes.' I had read extracts before, but never the entire blog itself. Although her words were written 2-3 years ago, you could have equally been reading a chapter in my life now. I have much respect for this person and will include a link to her site on here. I know for sure, if she thinks it is inappropriate to include a reference to the work she has achieved, on my site, she will tell me to remove it. Much of what she expressed in her words are just so true for myself and Jason, that it is truly scary. In fact I would recommend to any one of you, who read Bipolarcoaster and Forever Enduring Cycles, to take a look for yourself.
I bet you get the feeling, I am about to end this entry with a moral, well you would be right. The moral I write now, could have only been written at this time and thank god I am writing it on a positive note!
Reflections 27 October 2017
Wow, it felt a little strange reading this entry. In fact I remember writing it well, sat outside on a cold winters morning. It had taken me seven months to actually start reflecting over what had happened to me in the April of 2015, seven months of anguish and lies. Although this entry praises Oxfam and those who worked there, I was still unaware of their complicity in what transpired in my life. Even at that late stage, after everything that had happened, I was still blind from the truth.
I was aware that my Manager, Veronica Raymond, was responsible for my current state of mind, but I wasn't enlightened as to Oxfam's role in a bullying scandal that continued to rock our region. Oxfam were there to protect themselves, not me or my colleagues, a fact I still can not understand; terrible deeds from the Worlds biggest charity.
The best aspect of my life two years ago, was the time I had to think. I am a philosopher, a bit of a dreamer if you like and I used all the hours I had, at my disposal well, well enough to write my thoughts down, on a daily basis. Today, I am actually quite appalled by some of the mistakes in this blog entry, of 11 November 2015, but it does show where my mind was on this day; often wondering, always alert and full of vision for the future. I miss the times I had to think; today I don't have such luxury!
This is an entry about coming in from the fog; the beginning of discernment and understanding; shaking away the haze of confusion; the calm before the storm!
9 November 2015
Following on from the success of Bipolarcoaster, showing the pain, mania, cycles and stumbling blocks to recovery, 'Forever Enduring Cycles', will begin where Bipolarcoaster left off. Recovery has been hard, but strength has been born from hardship. When you are diagnosed with a condition, that will last a life time, you hear the words, you understand, at its most basic level, what you have, but really, you have no idea of the consequences, that follow a diagnosis, that took years to achieve and a developing illness that changes direction all the time. You can of course make yourself aware of what to expect and have a rough idea where your life will travel, but in reality, until you truly experience the onslaught, that Manic Depression throws your way, you can never have a real concept as to the reality that is Bipolar.
Mental Illness is in itself a difficult and challenging concept to get your head around and unless you have the right Doctors and Consultants in place to help you through a process that is unpredictable and forever changing, then you really do feel alone and at the mercy of a condition, that many claim to have, few offer explanations and even fewer experience, in its pure unrelenting form. Bipolarcoaster documented a very difficult period in my life, when a life time of anguish and pain reached a head and the resulting mayhem is clearly documented for everyone to see, not in a clinical sense, but in a deeply personal blog from myself, as I tried to explore what was going on, the different cycles that rocked my world and the changes that remain stamped on my heart as a permanent reminder of some of the strangest and difficult times, that were not only destructive for me and those around me, but also a time of laughter, extremes and a longing for a new, as yet untried future.
I never realised, just how powerful the written word can be. When I started blogging, it was really a way for me to work out what was going on in my mind. Each person who suffers with Bipolar, copes in their own unique way. I believe Bipolar to be, not only a burden, but also something to cherish and explore. Like myself, those who suffer, also have some wonderfully creative, expressive and life enhancing periods in their lives. Most are highly imaginative and innovative. We can have highly intelligent minds that sometimes tend to work against us, which can of course be a challenge to overcome. Circumstances, surrounding each one of us, who suffer from Bipolar, to an extent dictate how successful or not we are in dealing with each change in cycle. The one thing I have learned from Bipolarcoaster, is really, do not become complacent and know the signs of change. It is important to be fully aware of any triggers to collapse and work with yourself and others to try and eliminate any possibility of spiraling out of control at either end of the Bipolar spectrum. Awareness of extremes is an important technique for survival and is something I teach myself to do each and everyday.
'Forever Enduring Cycles', is in itself another cycle. It is a positive sign of transferring negative energy, built up over the last eight months and channeling my thought processes and writing into what I regard as a new favourable dawn of understanding, just what my life may have install for me. Of course as an individual we are all self aware and are the architects of our own destiny, but for those of us living with a chemical imbalance, we inevitably succumb to the power of our condition. Blogging is a great way of monitoring my progress over a period of time and allows many of us the opportunity to understand what we have, what our limitations are and the journey we are currently on.
This is the first new blog entry in a new online diary, looking from a very different perspective. Yes it is more positive, but it is now far more aware of the challenges ahead and a lot more focused on the outcomes for a brighter and better future. I will still experience depressive periods, periods of inertia and instability as well as times of heightened senses, happy, funny and deeply creative cycles. This is all part of the course, part of who I am and love it or not, part of my future.
Medication is the key for most of us who suffer the extremes that Bipolar conjure up. Like all medication, for any condition, it does have its time limits and eventually effectiveness can be a problem. Regular consultations with Mental Health Practitioners and a family friendly, understanding GP is essential for stability. A network of friends and family who understand the difficulties associated with Manic Depressive illness is also a great source of help. Understanding employers and those you have a professional relationship with, is a must and most importantly, if you are in a loving relationship, an extremely understanding partner is the key to long term happiness. It is a sad fact of life, that most people with Bipolar, do not enjoy relationships in the same way as those without the condition. Many spend a lifetime alone, after going through broken relationships and find the one true love of their life can be just too hard to contemplate and even harder to sustain over a long period of time.
I married my long term partner of twenty years on 22 September 2015, twenty years to the day, we began our relationship together, under circumstances that were not the best for success, but since those early days, the battles we fought to varying degrees of success, we have shown our commitment to each other, our love for one another and our belief and trust that we do everything we can to be everything and more to each other. I am one of the rare sufferers from Bipolar, who has a successful relationship. The battles we fought along side each other at the beginning cemented our love and instilled in us a sense of moral duty to one another, to move forward together as one, even under the most difficult circumstances.
I hope this new blog will be as successful as the first, but for very different reasons. It was important to end Bipolarcoaster, in order to draw a line under that most grueling of times. I will return to it from time to time, as necessary, add to its contents and refer to its entries. Thank you to everyone for their continued support and I look forward to all of your future comments, appreciation, anger and controversial points, you have all so eloquently made in the past and I know you will make again.
Please keep reading Bipolarcoaster. Please do keep commenting, as I know you will and be assured it will remain alive and kicking for as long as I am. foreverenduringcycles, is a new chapter for me. As my life changes, together with my partner and our friends and family, I will try and document the trials and tribulations that come with any mental illness. As the Bare Naked Truth Blogger, I will always be accurate and no matter what I am blogging about, always speak the truth. The truth is part of my journey and it remains integral to my outlook on life, the people in it, the experiences we share and the path I will always follow, in order to realise my dreams, ambitions and above all contentment with my life, whatever the circumstances!
Reflections 26 October 2017
My first new blog entry on 9th November 2015, nearly two years ago. Here I am reflecting, after a relapse bought about predominantly because of a corrupt, bullying employer. I have come out the other side and survived terrible times. When I read this entry earlier, I was struck by the language used. OK, so I have Bipolar, but the reliance I had then on medication, Doctors and consultants was horrifying. Today, I have no access to medication and rely on no one; just myself. My health is so much better, without having this label above my head. I am able to finally forge a life, without the need for constant help and care.
Just before I left for Spain, I was told I could live a full life without the need for medication. A change of environment, thinking and focus could be the therapy I needed. I can confirm the person who gave me that advice was correct. I am happy, secure and living a life I always wanted. Sometimes we can get trapped in a vicious cycle because of external factors; people, circumstances and environment all contribute towards failures, failures one would have blamed on professionals in the past; today, I am the only one responsible for my direction. This was the entry that truly signified a new life ahead!
Forever Enduring Cycles was my second blog, written between November 2015 and January 2016. It documents my recovery from a Bipolar Relapse and the final few months living in Britain, before our departure for Spain. They were difficult times for me and I have only now started to reread my blog entries from this time. Looking back at a period I would rather forget is hard; as I read through the entries, I hope to assess their validity and connect the words, with my life today.
While writing this introduction, many memories have come flooding back, I am mindful of what I was going through towards the end of 2015. The writing is at times rambling; raw, written from the heart, which can reflect negatively. The honest thing for me to state now, is the severe pressure and strain I was under, exacerbated by circumstances, recovery and realisation; a frightening existence, one I never thought I would see the end of. Not only was I dealing with a breakdown, I was also trying to survive bullying in the work place, at Oxfam and the pain of leaving the Country I loved, moving to Spain. My words reflect my feelings, from an altogether different time.
In this section of my blog, 'Spanish Views' I aim to relive those moments, reproducing 'Forever Enduring Cycles' here for a new readership to enjoy. The words will be the same, untouched, the dates will mirror those when they were written, but I will add any footnotes, I consider relevant today. 'Forever Enduring Cycles' the original blog will remain published, but will also sit quite happily in this, its own section of 'Spanish Views,' as a reminder of those frantic few months, before we left for our new life in Spain!
46 year old Expat, writer and columnist, living and working in Gran Alacant on the Costa Blanca.