23 November 2015
All of us will experience bullying at some time in our life. Usually, for most of us, it happens when we are young. When you mention the bully word, School immediately comes to mind and for most of us, that is the time we experience our only recollection of such traumatic abuse; that is what the statistics say. For me however I believe that bullying is rife throughout our entire life, only most of us, don't see it as bullying, or really do not understand the concept completely.
From my recent experience with bullying, I have concluded that everyone of us is at risk, but certain individuals remain exposed more than others, Lets take my example. I have Bipolar and at various different points, I am more vulnerable than I otherwise would be. I am also an empath.
10 Signs You Are an Empath
1) You feel uncomfortable in crowded settings
2) You have random unfounded mood swings
3) You burst into tears during emotionally charged movie scenes (even Disney)
4) You are able to gauge if what someone is telling you is sincere
5) You can read the emotional state of others beyond what they are revealing
6) You experience a visceral reaction to loaded words such as “hate”
7) You enjoy being out in nature, in or near water more than the company of
8) You are naturally inclined to alleviate the pain of others (physical or emotional)
9) You have a history of co-dependent relationships that likely weren’t healthy
10) Your energy frequently feels depleted after listening to the personal woes of
People like me are easy targets of bullies and worse. Sadly they fool me every time and I have fallen victim many times. I suppose from my point of view, I just want to see the good in people. For a while even a bully can be plausible and that is the issue here.
being ill for eight months has allowed me to study and read in depth the psychology behind those that seek to cause harm to others. It was the most emotional period of my life. I learned some of the most disturbing aspects of people, that I have ever read. This is the time you start to see patterns in your own life. I spoke to bullying helplines and forums and sadly began to piece together a story, that although hard to do, gave me answers to the reasons why I am where I am today. When you have that sudden realisation, you at first, reject what is as plain as day. Not believing the truth is easier, but with help of others, you gradually come to terms with the facts.
The things I know now, will remain with me forever. I can never forget what has happened in my life. I still have nightmares, about what has transpired. I was told, I always will have these dreams, but they do become easier with time. Manipulation also played its part in recent times. Sadly, I have only just learned the truth where others are concerned. Sometimes even you do not want to accept the reality, because that changes your World, as it has mine!
When you spend nearly a year, living each day, wondering why, when you reflect constantly, relive nightmares and forever endure awful memories, it will have an impact on you as a person. In my head there are words that I would rather forget, but in truth, they remain there for a reason, to make me remember and avoid this happening ever again.
I could almost give talks on the 'Bully'. When I became a trained Mentor and Advocate for Action For Children, I learned some deeply disturbing aspects of life also, coupled with what happened to us, I have once again become aware of the harm others caused. That got lost in recent times.
The new me, like the old me, would never work with a bully again. As a person I would never feel safe. My life, the love I have and the happiness I so crave does not exist surrounded by the worst people in society. I have become more emotionless, rejected people without bothering to get to know them and had to become more immune to distasteful influences, as hard as it is. I am less forgiving, more distrusting, but a lot more ready to stand up to the lowest of lives.
Me, my partner and my friends are the only important factors in my life now. I will do whatever it takes to protect us. Good people safeguard others, bad people disregard everyone. Stand up and be counted!
Reflections - 6 November 2017
Whilst reading back over this entry I am firstly struck by just how bad the grammar is. At the time I wrote Forever Enduring Cycles, I was in a terrible state mentally. I wrote words down without a second thought; often sentences made no sense at all! I understand what I was trying to convey in this entry, even if it didn't make sense at a time. My writing does reflect different periods of my life; November 2015 was a particularly challenging time.
I had suffered at the hands of a sociopath, probably more than one; this entry was about understanding that abuse, looking for answers and coming to terms with the truth. Bullying had a deeply, long lasting significance on my life then, as it does now; the one big difference is the way I cope today compared to then; I am a lot stronger, having lived through traumatic times. I know what occurred and what to expect in the future, should it happen again!
Forever Enduring Cycles was really about recovery from terrible times; a journey of self discovery and acceptance. This was the beginning of a campaign to put right the wrongdoings of those who caused so much harm. Today I still write about my experiences, reliving the final few years before leaving the UK. Reassessing and rereading older blog entries, is a great way of understanding what happened.
Thankfully my life has moved on dramatically. I am happier now, more than I have been in years. The only reason I am reading over old words, is because I am able, that's remarkable in itself!
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!
46 year old Expat, writer and columnist, living and working in Gran Alacant on the Costa Blanca.