Thursday, 2 July 2020

Return of the vibe....

I have been teaching relaxation techniques and meditation since I started working in a mental health day hospital 20 years ago, day hospitals are a thing of the past, they had their place and for some patients were beneficial but could also be considered institutionalisation. 

I loved working there. I ran a group called "Learn to relax" I used to do the first part of the session about different relaxation and meditation techniques and the second part as an actual relaxation demonstration.

The patients loved it and the class was always full. I can't deny it, I found it super relaxing myself and always wanted to pursue it. The vibe amongst the patients was immense. 

Sadly back then mental health and anything remotely associated with it was dismissed regularly and we didn't have access to unlimited relaxation/meditation and mental health services that we do now.

It used to take me ages to search for resources, as the internet, smart phones and apps were either limited or didn't exist! Made my job so much harder than now!

Over the years I have had times when I have utilised the practice myself and times when I kind of lost faith in how it made me feel. 

Relaxation and the ability to meditate is a skill and like anything if you don't practice you will never excel and when you need it most, likely to fail in such a mind set.

Over the past few years, especially since mental health services have been over ran by referrals and technology has become smarter and more advanced, private companies have started to introduce relaxation and meditation programmes. 

Alternative ways of thinking have become more and more popular. Values and beliefs are changing and the world is becoming a place where people are expressing themselves far more than ever was acceptable only a few years ago.

Alternative ways of thinking, the mind, yoga, relaxation, meditation and mindfulness is everywhere now a days, if you don't here the latest buzz words on TV, pod casts or the radio you are reading them on memes and all over social media. Words like, "Manifest" "Mindfulness" "Empath" "Narcissist" "Grounding" "Gratitude"

These words have always been around but somehow suppressed into the depths of darkness and dismissed readily. Now a days everyone has jumped on the new age vocabulary band wagon and are using these words. But do they really understand the true meaning of them or is it just the latest trend? I hope this isn't the case. But sadly having worked in mental health a long time I do believe these words get banded around without people knowing the true meaning of them. A bit like if anyone likes their house immaculately clean they suddenly have OCD....ermmm sorry to say folks there is a little more to it than that.I bet some people do not even know what the letters stand for but feel confident in giving themselves a severe and enduring mental illness diagnosis! Lets hope they can become educated sooner rather than later. 

Mindful colouring books, meditation apps and books like The Secret, The Law of attraction,  yoga classes and alternative therapies are getting bigger. I am so pleased that people are finally getting the message that mental well-being is finally having a place in society and there are ways of treating some mental health symptoms and distress with such alternatives. Obviously the medical model and medication might sometimes be utilised too but it is all about personal choice, something we have not been able to provide for patients or society in the west for many years.

Since the pandemic society has been far more aware of mental well-being and phrases like "Be kind" "It is good to talk" (Although I am pretty sure that came from a Bob Hoskins BT advert from back in the early 90s) But where ever it came from the words speak volumes. 

The pandemic has been a lonely place for some, giving many people time to positively reflect or sadly negatively over think or a combination of the two.

Nations have pulled together and have attempted to promote well-being. I am pleased that alternative ways of thinking and behaving are being promoted far and wide. The vibe is getting stronger!

We have come a long way since I first started teaching relaxation and meditation 20 years ago and I am so pleased that people now have access to unlimited amounts to countless memes that promote well-being, apps that can provide knowledge and guidance about how to take part in alternative type ways of thinking and behaving. I just hope that it sticks and it isn't the latest trend.

I continue to teach my patients the benefits of relaxation and enable them to engage in relaxation techniques and assist them in guided meditation in 1:1 sessions. I yet to convince the powers that be to allow me to run a relaxation/meditation group but that's the constraints of the NHS!

I haven't practiced my meditation properly since November 2019 and it has only been recently that I have been doing it everyday. I have found my vibe again.

I guess back in November life was chaotic for me, in a good way, I was hanging out with someone special that I found solace in so neglected my practice slightly. Only dipping in and out every week or so rather than everyday and several times a day. I am now back to my old self and am practicing 3 times daily to keep my mind focused and on track. 

I am currently working on some new material that I can support my patients with, I am feeling the vibes and I hope they do to.

I want to focus mainly on non reactivity meditation which enables people to acknowledge physical sensations, sounds, thoughts and emotions in a non judgmental way. I am keen and feeling the vibes of this and looking forward to it. Do I thank the band wagon and the latest pandemic for pulling me out of my lack of faith to pursue this ..... maybe.....


Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Petrified and Grieving

So it has been a while since I last wrote a post...well actually that is a lie, I wrote one at the beginning of the week but for some reason my draft didn't save! So I thought I'd give it another bash today. 

So April was the last time I wrote a post. My reasons for not writing aren't because I haven't anything to say, believe me I have actually had quite an eventful couple of months.

I've not written for the simple fact what I am feeling inside I was really struggling trying to articulate and process myself. I am at a crucial point in my life when decisions really need to be made and the ability to make decisions over the past couple of months has been tough. 

I have realised that I am indeed grieving and the ability to cope with the emotions that come with grief have been difficult to manage. This grief has been with me for some time but I have been trying very hard to suppress it. As a mental health practitioner, I know, not exactly the finest idea I've had to suppress emotion but I suppose if I start to grieve that means with the emotions of grief finally becomes acceptance and that is a place that I am far from currently.

Over the past 2 months, I have soul searched and reflected even more than I usually do but it's like I just cant handle the emotions that are beginning to surface. 

I am officially grieving....grieving for people I've lost, grieving for people I know and care about, grieving for the life I had, grieving for the life I thought I would have, grieving for the mistakes I've made and the sheer impact and consequences that they've had upon my life, grieving for being single, and grieving for being childless......

According to The World Health Organisation (WHO) being single and childless not by choice (basically haven't met anyone suitable to have a child with) is now deemed "socially infertile", yet to be accepted by society all over the world. Leaving women like me grieving for something we will never have.

Over the years I have seemed to manage to move on from failed relationships and go on to  have new ones. But since my departure from someone who meant a lot to me in January of 2020 I now seem to be actually petrified of meeting someone new.

The ability to move on and find someone new before was ok, daunting but generally ok. Many people have some fear and doubt when moving on into the unknown yet they and I still managed to do it. But now, It is like I am absolutely petrified.

I have no idea, if it is because of my age and I am in the process of beginning my grieving journey and finally having to accept that I may not ever be a mother. 

Or whether it is because I am scared of getting hurt or whether its my hormones, maybe it is a combination. 

But what I do know is that it absolutely sucks dicks.

I decided to attempt dating again, jeez that's another story, virtual dating has been the only way of dating since Covid-19 and may I say what a experience that has been.....

I am unsure if it is my fear that is stopping me from wanting to pursue things or gut instincts, potential red flags or all of the above. 

I am 42 in September and not exactly in a rush to settle down and have kids in the next 6-12 months, for these kinds of things take time and for me relationships shouldn't be rushed but wham my biological clock says I have to rush, it is an internal battle. It is horrible situation to be in. 

Younger men want kids but then I have this fear of them dumping me once I have fallen for them as they realise it might not be so easy to have a child with me because my eggs have dried up. (yes that has happened twice now and those are the only ones who were brave enough to admit it, probably loads of other thought it) 

Then there are the men of my age but they often have children and don't really want anymore. I mean I might not even be able to have children, so should I date these men or is that a risk?....In the mean time wasting what might be precious time. 

I've been on the pill since I was 16 years old and my body needs a rest....but coming off the pill could potentially open an entire can of worms if in a relationship. 

Ideally I'd like a man to say he would be ok if it happened or ok if it didn't, That he would be ok either way whether a pregnancy happened or not.  It would certainly take the pressure off but it seems to be far harder to come across such mythical creatures with that state of mind. For it appears to be a straight yes I do and no I don't...

Is it easier to just knock it on the head and start to begin my journey of being single and childless. I had managed to come up with a sort of plan B, as I have written a post on that before but....due to my criminal record, covid- 19 and leaving the EU my plans for travelling haven't exactly had the plug completely pulled but it is far more of a challenge to try and sort out. 

Can you believe that Canada deemed me as inadmissible, well I'm not exactly shocked given the crime, (I thought all countries liked drug dealers.....yes said with dry humour as it is the only way I can look at it right now, and no I am not a drug dealer for the record, just made a mistake)  but even though my criminal record is 10 years spent (UK standards) I am still deemed a risk in not just Canada but other countries. Canada for example stated that I could then apply for independent rehabilitation, which is fine and with great references and employment support no other crimes since and prior to it could go in my favour but here it comes....I have to pay 1000 Canadian dollars for the privilege of them to tell me if I can enter or not, and if not I do not get the money refunded...

So yet again another barrier and another grief and loss of the life I would have liked as my first choice is no longer viable....well now it seems my plan b choice isn't either.

Yes, I know Canada isn't the only place in the world, but as I speak French (badly) and English, it would have been a potential place to live in the future.

But with leaving the EU my criminal record may well affect places closer to home now.

Another problem is the financial aspect of packing up and leaving. I have had lodgers for the past 8 /9 months or so to help me out financially the last one left during lock down and left me in a financial pickle as I relied heavily on his rent and because of not being able to interview potential future lodgers due to covid, I have been unable to get another in his place. It is bad enough trying to interview someone to live with in real life but having to do it by virtual thanks, they might be crazy. So for now I have my house back, which isn't actually a bad thing it just means I have to live on less. But having a lodger or at least interviewing for one is another post all together. 

Having said that about my finances, I am working a 2nd job, doing what I do in the NHS but now privately too, which hopefully will bring in a little more spare cash. This was actually part of my plan B anyway as this second job gives me the ability to do what I do remotely so I can work and travel.

As if working full time isn't enough, I love my job so much I do even more hours.... yeah right! I should be grateful really as in this current climate with covid I realise many people have lost jobs and their income has reduced significantly... but at the moment I am working my ass off when really all I would like to do is bask in the furloughed sun too...

So I am petrified of where my life is going, should I take a risk and date someone who potentially could end up wasting my time and for me or them to feel totally dissatisfied? Or just go with it? Mean while the biological clock is driving me insane.

Being petrified and grieving especially for things I have never had, is a whole new thing. I mean I have grieved due to death and grieved for the loss of relationships ending.....but this is a whole new level of grieving and like with anything, if you haven't been through it you just don't understand. I barely understand it myself.

Sadly, ( for me not them) all of my friends and family have children so no matter how hard they try they just don't understand and end up saying really unhelpful things, as I mention in my childless post. They try but sometimes I just need a hug not advice, but even that has been written off with social distancing. 

So I sit here, alone and my head is a shed if I am totally honest, the sadness, fear and grief is unbearable and I'm unsure whether to take a potential leap of faith or not. Strangely my speaker is playing my "liked" songs on Spotify (thousands of songs on my liked list, all different genres) but seriously as if just came on....D:ream....."Things can only get better" No word of a lie, as I finish my post that tune is playing??????

So what next....?

Spotify you little if...

Sunday, 5 April 2020

Loneliness....lets all unite...

As I sit here listening to my Spotify playlist I made called "Champions Mardi" the tears start to fall down my cheek as I remember that warm feeling I was having only a few months ago. I made the playlist for someone extremely special to me. The songs all relate to how our "situation" was. 

It was the summer of 2019 and I'd had a pretty tough couple of years and as if out of nowhere someone walked into my life very unexpectedly, he showed me many things and for once in my life I actually experienced a real man. The relationship counsellor I saw actually said it was probably the most adult relationship I had ever had, as she is fully aware of all the failed relationships I have had over the years. 

We were never in a conventional relationship and only saw each other a couple of times a week but somehow it was just right. He made me feel like I had never felt before. He taught me that not all men are wankas and restored my faith.

In January we decided that we had no choice really in ending what ever we had for various reasons. One factor that obviously was a problem was that he lived across the channel in Paris. He was a born and bred Parisian with Portuguese blood, so was duel nationality. 

I am not going to bore you with the entire thing that we shared. As this post isn't directly about him. 

However, once we decided to terminate what we had life became pretty difficult for me as not only was I sad that things had worked out the way they had but I had injured my arthritic knee and it was getting worse. I had to stop my hobbies of the gym, spin had become a massive part in my life. I had to stop drumming as I couldn't bend my knee enough to hold the djembe drum. I had to cancel my salsa lessons and I couldn't work due to the pain. 

As you can imagine my life went from being extremely full, doing all the things I love and seeing someone regularly that complimented my life. To suddenly extremely isolated.

I tell people my knee hurts, but people don't really appreciate how much, simply because they cant see how bad it is. My friends and family are busy with their own lives so suddenly I found myself very alone with way too much time on my hands to think. I am sure you are all aware that is when I found my love for blog writing. 

Anyhow, In March I decided that I would return to work asap and perhaps test the water in terms of meeting the opposite sex. I wanted to try and get back on track despite still being in pain, I longed for normality again and thought it would be the next stage in moving forward with my life. I had started paying for private massage for my knee with a sports therapist and had seen my consultant that had referred me for hydrotherapy. Things seemed to be improving.

This as you can all imagine has taken a back seat as sadly the Coronavirus is a global pandemic. (That's for another post)

Once again I find myself, as well as the entire world in social isolation. You would think I would be used to it as I have spent the past couple of months being exactly that. But now I am finding it even more frustrating and lonely. 

I have actually found the past few years quite isolating as my friends are all settled and on different paths, I've worked from home alone and spent most weekends and evenings alone. But for some reason it just feels worse now.

I miss my life, I was ready to get back to normal. Now I know everyone is now in the same boat and I am extremely grateful I have food, a job and shelter in these uncertain times but I am more lonelier than ever. 

At first I thought people might be more engaging as they are now isolated but in actual fact I think people are busier, well certainly my friends as they are all desperately trying to maintain normality and entertain and home school their children and partners.

I am trying to remain positive and just ride the storm, God only knows I have been through worse, I suppose the selfish me is just thinking "Hang on a minute, I've just spent months being isolated, it's not fair". I have also started to believe that the universe is trying to tell me something. Perhaps I am just destined not to meet my soul mate and be stuck in these four walls! 

At times like this we all need to stick together, Its all over the media that we should all be looking after everyone's mental health at this isolating time but part of me thinks, "Why? I have been isolated for months and hardly anyone really reached out to me", I know selfish and negative of me but I can't help the way I have felt for months and now I feel like I am going through it again.

I miss my Portuguese/Parisian "friend" and the endless chats, laughs and intimacy that we had but am trying to remind myself that it is probably for the best that things ended as at this point of the pandemic I would be concerned as to when I might see him again. Perhaps it was destiny that it ended before all of this Corona virus problem? 

So where to go from here I ask myself, as I am sure the entire world is asking themselves this very question. It is a horrific battle for humanity now and if I am honest, feel quite guilty for the thoughts that I have as I know everyone else is feeling so awful. People are dying, people are loosing their jobs and financial security is unknown, it is a scary time for everyone I am no different.  

I guess my thoughts are to concentrate on work, as my mental health patients will need me more than ever, whether I have brain capacity for it all is debatable, but I am sure I will plod through with the rest of the keyworkers in the world. 

What do I plan to do to keep my sanity? Well as my knee is still injured I do hope that I can get a bit of exercise by gently walking around the block. (Do not under any circumstances attempt to buy a folding treadmill from a social media advertisement, as I did which has cost me money and turns out they are a bogus company. I know I am an idiot for believing it but hey if they are being advertised on a a reputable site like facebook you would think it was genuine. Hey ho, my money has been lost. I have reported them!)

So I will endeavour to start my now online drumming lessons and continue to practice and have french lessons, which is actually improving quite a lot! I will try to take advantage of this time to perhaps be more creative and finally finish knitting my scarf and my painting. I will continue to read and listen to my audible books and do all the things I have learnt to do having been isolated for some time already. These are all great practical things but I guess, for me the the main thing that I am missing and have missed for a while is human touch, contact and meaningful conversation. 

I miss having someone to hug, never have I so much longed for human touch or that special person to talk to. Hence why I am sobbing to my playlist, as it reminds me of special times where I felt comfort and warmth. 

I think in these uncertain times having someone by your side must feel easier, albeit I am sure couples all over the world are feeling annoyed having everyone around them 24/7! But I would take that for someone by my side any day of the week, but grass is always greener right? As I am sure some of my friends would do anything to be isolated without the kids and partner in tow right now. But for me I have been so lonely for so long, knowing that I have no idea when I might get the opportunity to meet someone to hug is ripping me apart. I am also not taking away from people who are in relationships and feel extremely lonely, we all feel it in different ways. I am just speaking of my experience and isolation and loneliness. I guess we all have to be kind to one another.

I cant even hug my parents or my dog, who is with my parents who are still my nuclear family. I know so many other people feel the same, which is why I write these blogs really, not only does it help me to express how I feel I hope that others might read it and can relate and not feel so alone.

I know I shouldn't feel so sorry for myself but sometimes I just wish obstacles would stop coming at me. Just as things begin to go right then wham knocked back down. I understand that life is like that, I am no different from anyone else but seriously someone please just give me a damn break!

Loneliness sucks massive dicks....

Be patient little one, your time will come..... Just have faith, trust and pixie dust....

I do hope that anyone feeling isolated and lonely can reach out, you can contact me, my details are provided on my first post "About me" 

We will all get through this together....  "We will all unite" One of the best speeches ever written!

Saturday, 4 April 2020

The importance of staying private in a world of Social Media

The concept of Social Media and how it is utilised now a days is a huge topic, one that I am only going to scratch the surface with my thoughts and opinions. 

I "generally" believe anyone born as a " Millenial" or "Generation Z" certainly deems social media in a very different light to those who are older. Of course there is always the exception to the rule and not all of these people within these dates see social media in the same generalised way.

So the term "Millenial" and "Generation Z" is deemed to be anyone born between 1981 and 1996 (Millenial) and 1997 - 2012 (Generation Z)

Having just skipped falling into the Millenial category by a few years, those 3 years make a huge difference in how I view social media and technology. I hear my parents generation sighing as they didn't even have telephones or television.  

I got my very first mobile phone at the age of 21, which in this day and age is classed as extremely old to be starting up in the world of mobiles. My mobile phone was basic, in comparison to what is available nowadays. I could call a person from the black and weird green coloured screen and send a basic text message by pressing the digits on the keypad several times before you reached the desired letter or number. Picture messages didn't exist, let alone cameras. 

Now a days, I know parents that are buying new age Smart Phones for children of ages as young as 12. When I was 12 years old I had a baby boy doll and a "Head" bag, which was a sports brand back then, that all the cool kids had to take their school books and lunch to school not a mobile phone in sight.

The Millenials and Generation Z have been using new age technology most of their lives. From Smart phones then came Social Media. These Social Media programmes allow you to publicise every ounce of your life open to the world to see pictures and comments of every day activities that you do.

People use the likes of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and more recently, I have seen advertised something called Tik Tok?  

I am on both Facebook and Instagram, however my facebook account only has a handful of close friends and the rest are my family members, this is purely to see what my nieces and nephews are up too as they generally use social media (Millennial's and Generation Z)!

I think social media can have its advantages to share pictures, jokes and videos with perhaps friends or family members you don't see very often. But what I really don't understand is the use of publicising everything you are doing to the world. I am talking about those people who virtually document their entire lives on social media and have their privacy settings set to public for the entire universe to see. I do not understand this concept. 

I am unsure why people have public accounts, unless of course it is promoting a business of some sort but people showing the world what they had for dinner, videos of your children, your relationship, where you are, and  generally pictures of every ounce of your life. In my opinion is a bizarre way of thinking. Sharing those things might be nice if kept to your limited amount of close friends or family but to absolutely anyone is down right weird in my opinion.

Is it that they like to make their lives look more interesting than there are? Wanting some kind of validation? A sense of gratification? To achieve "likes" to feel special or wanted? I am not sure quite why people have public profiles. If you are in fact one of those people, please enlighten me.

For me, if I am in a relationship or if I had children, I know for a fact I would not want the general public of the world staring at my private life. I mean you never know who is looking. Innocent videos of your children could be viewed by undesirables. Ex partners or friends might feel upset by seeing their ex in a new life. To me it seems quite dishonorable, needy behaviour. No body would know if I was in a relationship or not by viewing my social media on a private level let alone if I had it public. I like to keep my private life exactly that private. Of course the only people who know who I really am writing this blog are family and friends and not all of those even know. Anonymity is important to me.

I believe people no longer really live in the moment. I mean if I am having the time of my life and the best day in the best relationship you would never know because I am enjoying it that much that I simply do not have time to take pictures, let alone publicise them online for the world to see. 

How is it that people are in the heat of the moment in a passionate kiss or playing a game can take the time to pose for a picture? Surely if it is that great why are you able to pose? I know if I have been having a passionate kiss or in the middle of something exciting to stop and grab my phone to take a picture and to upload onto a public account for the world to see would be out of the question. I simply wouldn't do it. 

Perhaps we need to ask if what we view on social media is always accurate? I frequently say to my patients, that during therapy we could sit, hug and smile and make a picture to look like we are old friends catching up and having the best day, but the reality is we are sat in a therapy room, me the practitioner them the patient. Far from what could potentially be perceived to those strangers viewing the public social media profile.

Admittedly, I do share things on social media for my friends and family to view, mainly funny dog videos to make them smile. I might share the odd personal picture of an activity I am doing or a birthday party but I generally keep my audience private to my friends and family only. 

I guess the other exception to business is anonymous accounts. I have an account for Miss Snikpoh on both facebook and Instagram but it is anonymous No one knows my true identity (other than my close family and friends) The accounts are public but my aim is the same aim of this blog to enable the reader to feel that it is ok to not feel ok all of the time. I keep my anonymity to protect myself. 

These people who publicise their entire lives to the world on social media are not protecting themselves, their families or friends.For me it takes away my respect and they loose their dignity. It oozes a self esteem crisis covered up by the nonchalant attitude of "I don't give a fuck" but deep down it appears that they really do, but that's just my opinion.

I find it a sad state of affairs that people feel the desire to over share their lives and I am sure that it is not healthy to do so. Is it attention seeking behaviour? I have no idea. What I do know is that it is can be extremely dangerous. 

We are a nation of curious souls. We are presented with news and have access to endless amounts of unnecessary information. As curious human beings if things are available to us we undoubtedly will look. 

Life somehow seemed easier when we had less information. Less is more. I am a firm believer that knowledge is useful and helpful and helps us to explore and to grow but surely not all knowledge is useful. Too much knowledge is very unhelpful, particularly information that might not be a totally accurate reflection of the truth. Perception can be dangerous and can lead to the cycle of unhelpful thoughts.

For example. If you fall out with a friend, lover or family member wouldn't it be easier to get over that person from your life if you weren't able to access what they are doing in life now? Surely it can contribute to people never getting over the loss of people in their lives?

We are all capable of looking at ex partners, friends, colleagues, family etc Why do we do it?... because we can! This is why I think it is far healthier for people's social media accounts to remain private to discourage this type of behaviour.

Working in mental health I have endless amounts of patients feeling upset and stressed because they can openly view profiles on social media that is detrimental to their wellbeing. I have men and women saying they can see what their exes are up to, what their new partners are like and for youngsters at college and school feeling sad because they can see that their friends went out but they weren't invited. People naturally compare themselves to others, which in itself is undesirable and can cause countless problems.

I suggest for them not to look, but is it really that easy? If we know information is there and that we have access to it people will do it. It is like if you know there is cake in the cupboard it will drive you insane until you eat the damn cake, afterwards feeling guilty, sad and unhappy that you gave into temptation. Of course if we are busy and getting on living our own lives we have less chance of being part of social media, but if it is available people will continue to do it at some point.

A new aged saying is "social media stalking", but actually it is human curiosity. We all know if someone says don't do something we are more tempted.

I have asked many people about this both patients and friends and all say the same, that they all look at accounts if they are public out of boredom or curiosity. It doesn't actually mean they are desperately interested in the person or their lives it is just simple because it is available.

What social media platforms ideally need to do is only enable people to have private accounts and that you can only view if you are actively following the person/or "friends" to which they have agreed. 

It would take life back to easier times with far less drama and upset in the world. It would protect our children and vulnerable people from perpetrators, well at least reduce it.

So why do people feel a great need to make their private life public? Do we really need to know everything about everyone all of the time? Perhaps the world would be a nicer, kinder and more humble place to live if this was the case?

Sadly many of the Millennial's and Generation Z, can not see the destruction it can cause simply because they don't know a world without it. I hope that this will start to change. 

Social media can be fabulous, I mean at this current time the Corona Virus is a global pandemic and the having the ability to utilise social media to allow people to keep in touch is more important than ever but remember your private life is still your private life. Choose wisely on who you want to share it with. By all means keep connected and share videos, photos, food what ever but keep it to your select friends and family not the entire world!

I certainly know that I was bought up to believe that having an air of mystery is a positive trait. But then I was bought up by the older generation who were teenagers in the 1950s!

Social media is and can be really helpful and certainly has many benefits. But I think for general people who aren't using it for business purposes, keep it private, for you never really know who is watching you.....

Monday, 30 March 2020

Cheats and Overlappers - Is there ever any justification?

Having suffered to the hands of many cheaters and overlappers I can honestly say it is probably the one thing that I really do not condone. 

It is one of the many things that I can not get my head around. For me if you are in an unhappy relationship it is better to end it than to start a relationship with someone else, whether it be a long term affair or secret rendez vous with various people. Maybe I am narrow minded and should be more accepting of this behaviour, after all I don't know the circumstances of why the cheater hasn't left and I am sure there are thousands of excuses that they come up with. 

So what is cheating? For me I believe cheating is anything that encompasses deceit in the form of having to hide any form of communication with a potential romantic interest that you feel that you need to hide from a current partner. 

This could be meeting up and being intimate with someone else or sending text messages that if your partner found would feel hurt and upset. If you have to hide this type of behaviour from your partner, unless you are organising a surprise birthday party then you are more than likely guilty of cheating. If you have to hide and delete you are likely to be behaving badly and have zero respect for any one other than yourself.

Even if you have the worst partner in the world and dislike them, what do you gain by cheating on them? Is it not better to just get out and move forward with someone else? I appreciate it can be complicated with children, debt, financial responsibilities but surely it is better to do the honorable, respectful thing to end the relationship than to be a cheat and destroy a family or the trust of others in one foul swoop?

So what is an overlapper? Well this is a new term for me but totally rings sense if you have read my post "The Practice Wife" or "Time Alone or Rebound?.. The Red Flag of Grief". Overlapping is when someone starts chatting to someone, not necessarily being intimate with, but communicates in such a way that it potentially could as soon as the relationship ends with current partner. My understanding of this is that the overlapper is wishing to end the relationship but actually doesn't want to be alone so actively looks for a replacement to engage into a relationship with as soon as they ends theirs. Very similar to cheating but not quite at the destruction level, but none the less very sneaky behaviour.

I have experienced both of this type of behaviour and what I will say is that it is pretty shit to be in that situation. I know being in a rubbish relationship is bad enough but when the person you trust most does the dirty it hurts like hell.

It makes you question everything about yourself and doubt your own sanity. One particular relationship where I was being cheated on, he use to lie about everything. It became that bad that it felt quite like the gaslighting effect, where if I dared question his behaviour or where about's he would make it out like I was going crazy. 

Hindsight is a beautiful thing and now I can see that he was a prolific offender of cheating and overlapping behaviours. At the time he made me feel horrendous. In fact he lied so much about his "activity" it became very apparent that he had got him self a sexually transmitted disease whilst we were together! I know unreal really yet he gaslighted me so much that made me think that one of us had had it 4 years prior before we met, although at that time, when we first got together we both tested negative. I should have left at that moment but continued the relationship which he continued to lie and more than likely cheat until he at the end was having an affair. I eventually found out, but I believed his lies and extraordinary stories for so long. A coward of a man, if you can call him a man. But that relationship and how it ended is for another post. I might call it "Thank god we never made it"!

Would it be safe to say that Cheaters and Overlappers are selfish? That they are not actually regarding the feelings of anyone else? Are they thinking about the person sat at home, their children or even the person they are cheating with, if of course that person doesn't know. If they do, then they are just as guilty. I wonder what justification they have? 

Surely leading a double life would be extremely exhausting trying to maintain a lie. I am unsure why they do it? Is the grass always greener? And if it is why not gate the field the current grass is in give it a good mow and move. Then and only then should they be choosing a new plot of land with fresh grass.

Breakups are difficult at the best of times but surely it saves for even more hurt in the long run if they have affairs? I would rather my exes have left me before they had affairs that's for sure.

From my experience I believe anyone is capable of having an affair and I understand accidents can happen but how is jumping into bed with someone else an accident? Surely that is a choice? It comes down to morals and respect. 

Do people who cheat or overlap continue to maintain this behaviour? The age old saying "Once a cheat, always a cheat". Well from my experience and only mine I can say I do believe it is true. If a child can get away with taking the extra cookie in the hope of not being caught, many will.

The men that have cheated on me have either cheated on previous girlfriends before or gone on to cheat after cheating on me. Perhaps it comes down to whether you've been cheated on yourself, depends on whether you carry the same behaviour out or not. But then there are people out there who have been cheated on and continue to cheat themselves. So perhaps it comes down to genetic make up? Is it nature or nurture? I would suggest nurture but then I haven't enough evidence to suggest that this is true.

I generally don't think people change their behaviours and if they have the capability to cheat or overlap are likely to repeat that behaviour. It might not be every time but I think that potentially if unhappy they will seek it else where before getting out of the current relationship. I could call them cowards, would this be a fair word to use? Nobody likes to be the bad guy and end a relationship, but it takes a far more decent human being to end it than to cheat or overlap.

Perhaps these cheaters and overlappers are so unhappy with being single that they just move from one relationship to another with out any down time. 

For me being single is really important for growth, especially between breakups. Maybe people are incapable of having single time. Perhaps they aren't happy with themselves deep down and have no idea of how to be in their own company for long periods and that they constantly need and want reassurance and attention from someone else? 

Is there ever any justification? I generally think the answer to that is "No" People who cheat and overlap need to either stay in the relationship without seeking that missing something from someone else or end it. 

Generally people always get caught and people always find out and that's when innocent people get hurt and the destruction starts.

So before you cheat or overlap, think about how you would feel if you found out someone was doing it to you. 

Wednesday, 4 March 2020

Love bombed by a functioning alcoholic

That moment in your life when you have lost all hope in finding the partner you only fantasize about when suddenly as if out of nowhere they appear. 

He appeared to me as a tall, dark, handsome and charismatic man who seemed to have his shit together. Full of fun and never stopped laughing. The first few dates were amazing and he seemed to be exactly what I had been waiting for my entire life.

You know that feeling when all of a sudden you go from single to a fully fledged relationship. It is like the world stops moving for a second and you are in some sort of dream world.

Within this dream world the first few weeks move super fast, faster than you could ever imagine, the dreams you long for are promised to you whole heartedly whilst the person stares into your eyes and say they would never hurt you and will give you everything you ever want from a relationship. 

The speed of the relationship moves rapidly and things that don't usually happen until further down the line start to be spoken about early on. Your head is on cloud nine and you really believe you've hit the relationship jack pot at last! You justify it by being a little older and that thought "No point in waiting at our age, we both know what we want, let's just go for it" is voiced.

For me the man was suggesting living together and having children and told me he loved me by about date 3-4, I had longed for this for so long that I went with it and wasn't aware at that point of any "red flags"

The weeks turn into months, and you gradually realise that this momentous whirl wind romance wasn't actually all it cracked up to be.  Only to be awoken several months later emotionally bruised and your self esteem at the lowest. Before I even knew such terminology existed I now realise I had been "Love Bombed". 

When we had first started dating he always seemed to have a drink. Dates always involved having an alcoholic drink, whether it be for a meal or a bar, the cinema. It never crossed my mind that the drink might actually be a problem. As many people drink socially especially on dates.

At first he was funny when he had a drink but I started to notice that his behaviour, words and actions all started to change somewhat the further into the relationship I went.

He started to become very erratic after having a drink until one day he broke down into tears and spoke of his past and the trauma of loosing both parents only a couple of years ago. His mother of cancer and his father of a massive stroke.

He soon disclosed that he drank to numb the pain. At one very low point he actually admitted he had an issue with drink, something he rarely admitted. He said that he couldn't handle the grief and the emotions it caused within him. At this point my heart sank for him and I felt the urge to protect this man, who seemed to be so kind and loving to me but driven to drink by grief. Perhaps we could get through this together?

Over the following and very short lived months of this turbulent relationship, I soon began to learn that it was impossible to be in a relationship with a functioning alcoholic. For the only real relationship he wanted was with a pint of lager.

What I mean by functioning alcoholic, is that he drank about 10 cans of lager once he finished work. He might finish work at 3pm and he would sink his first pint in the local pub, usually without any one actually knowing that he was there. He would skip meals and make excuses not to drive so that he could drink. Inevitably being extremely drunk and pass out by 8pm. Weekends I dread to think how much he actually drank. What I am certain of is that he would on average drink 3 pints to every usual man's 1. One saving grace is that he did attempt to only stick to lager as he and I both witnessed on a couple of occasions how mixing lager with wine or spirits turned him into an even worse abusive drunk.

His behaviour altered a lot. If we were out he would cause nothing but drama and react loudly and inappropriately and be centre of attention. It was extremely embarrassing and I frequently had stares of sympathy and "control your man" by public on lookers. If he didn't get his way, he would kick off and make a scene like a child having a tantrum in a shop when told he couldn't have any sweets or the latest toy.

He would frequently throw and slam things about sulking, blowing hot and cold and walking off. 

At one point he decided that he would reduce and stop his intake and I supported him with this, but at that point it was very early days and I don't think at that point I knew how badly not drinking would effect him. His abstinence did not last long. 

I have many examples of nights out that were ruined because of his drunken behaviour. He would verbally abuse me and one of the most common things he would shout on repeat like listening to a broken record player were the words; "F*****g boring you are, you're F*****g boring. I don't love you, you're f*****g boring".

One evening, I had misplaced his bank card, which he had given to me to put in my handbag for safe keeping, as he would loose countless wallets. I was genuinely sorry and desperately trying to look in my handbag to find it but he was shouting abuse at me, making a scene and eventually launched my handbag and contents across the floor in the street and that is the shortened edited version.The next day he couldn't remember a thing and the bank card was in a zipped compartment of my handbag, but he had flustered me so much I obviously didn't see it. I rarely got an apology, it was like I should know and accept his drunken antics. "You know what I'm like when I'm drunk" was his usual mitigating statement.

We went to restaurants but if he had to wait, he would walk out mid way through, he would leave me and get out of a taxi on the way home just to get to another pub. He was vile. Yet once he woke up he could barely remember anything that had occurred.

I celebrated New Years Eve sat alone crying in our room before midnight because he had threatened to knock an old man out following falling over a sofa and knocking glasses everywhere in a lovely country Coltswold pub. He was passed out on top of the bed  sheets horizontal, so I couldn't even get in. We had been asked to leave by the bar tender. That all too familiar look from people giving me sympathy of having to deal with an absolute dickhead.

If I wasn't available to him, like if I was at home doing something and he called and he was drunk he would blow hot and cold. He would demand I go up there, which was a 45 - 50 minute drive from my home) and say that I didn't love him if I didn't go. He would say I was boring and start to cry often. The times when I did go by the time I got up there he was even more drunk and then would pass out. He made me feel like a piece of shit. He would consistently end the relationship by text and then video call or text later on or the next day or 2 saying he loved me etc. 

He never wanted sex with me and blamed it on the booze or just not in the mood. Our relationship was no longer intimate.

I was forever in limbo. Unsure if he was going to love me or not love me that day.

So the million dollar question most people ask is why didn't I leave? Well, when he was sober or had only had a couple of drinks, he was actually a very caring thoughtful kind man. Hard to believe I know, but that is why I stayed. I could see the demon inside him that was the grief he was suffering from loosing his parents. On occasion he would say he needed help and I offered my heart and soul to him. I would listen to the sadness in his voice. I put up with the emotional abuse because I cared.

It came to a head following a weekend away when yet again he had drank way too much. What was supposed to be a romantic weekend turned out to be a living nightmare. He had drank too much and we hadn't eaten. I suggested that we get something to eat but wasn't much availability as it was getting late in a little village. We eventually found a bar that sold pizza, yet again another bar. He said I was being moody (I wonder why putting up with his alcoholic antics and comments, which he forgets about) I sat and was eating the pizza I actually didn't really want and he went on to say yet again "You're boring, I don't love you anymore" 

Now don't get me wrong I enjoy a drink from time to time and yes indeed can too get drunk but there is a time and place. I am also not a nasty drunk. This weekend was supposed to be about hiking, climbing mountains and enjoying the sea air". The night before our weekend, instead of getting the early night we had discussed because we wanted an early start, he decided we would go for a meal and a drink. But he could never just have one drink. By the time i had arrived with my weekend luggage he was drunk. Once out he kicked off being drunk and left me alone to walk home without even having a key to the house to get in. 

So that night right or wrongley of me I'd had enough. Following the last nasty comment I decided to go back to the room. He followed me calling me boring and unloveable all the way through the hotel to our room. Once in the room I retaliated and shouted back, I had suppressed this hurt and anger from the first couple of weeks into our relationship. He started to record me on his phone which just fueled my fire. Eventually I could not take any more and I knocked his phone from his hand and slapped him twice. I do not condone any form of physical abuse but I also do not condone any form of verbal and emotional abuse either. I had been subjected to verbal and emotional abuse for long enough and by slapping him it was in fact the only time he shut up. Things got considerably worse that evening and he disappeared for hours eventually coming back to the room in the early hours paralytic, he had ht the spirits as well as the lager, someone had to escort him back to the room. Prior to that he had come up and banged around shouting that yet again I was boring because I wouldn't go back down to the bar for a drink.

From that moment on I was the bad guy. He spoke to me like I had knocked the living daylights out of him every night for years. I slapped him twice. Not exactly my finest moment but I literally couldn't take anymore. It was through pure verbal and emotional abuse that I eventually snapped.

Needless to say that our relationship didn't last too much longer after that. He went on to become even more abusive and mean. He constantly blew hot and cold and made me feel like the devil for slapping him. The words that came out of his mouth were pure hatred and putting me down and destroying my self esteem inch by inch but by some how blaming me for being the unhinged person? He made me feel like I was a bad person and was mean and nasty.

Finally when we broke up after weeks of nasty messages I spoke with both his sisters who  were actually disgusted with what he had put me through. They bought me flowers and chocolates and offered me their shoulder for my tears. In fact the one sister said "I'd have given him more than a bloody slap".  Of course they are his flesh and blood and I sadly cut ties with them both following the split to enable me to move forward.

One sister sat with me for hours telling me of their childhood and how his dad was an alcoholic, (the sisters had different dads) and how badly that he treated their mum. She told me of how the parents had died and the guilt they had all felt and how my ex used to be a spoilt child. 

All of it made sense and listening to the untold story that I had never heard from my ex made me realise why I did stay and put up with his bad behaviour. He was a lost soul and deeply grieving for his parents. He had this demon inside him but the alcohol would always win. What I learnt is that you will always be second fiddle to alcohol and you can not reason with a very drunk alcoholic and I was never going to come first, not unless he sought professional help and made some changes. But I am unsure if he was ready to make those changes. 

What I did realise though was that despite the hurt and trauma he had and was suffering didn't give him the right to treat me badly. I noticed that he would blame everyone for his actions. He would blame me, his sisters, his friends (although he only had 2 friends) he would even blame his deceased parents. One thing I know is that no matter how bad you suffer, it does not give you the right to make someone else suffer too. For example, one of my closest friends mothers had passed away with cancer, but she didn't go around getting pissed and verbally and emotionally abusing me.

Should I have slapped him? Definitely not. Should he have emotionally and verbally abused me? Definitely not. This whirl wind love bomb, promised me the world and more in such a short space of time. I believed him. Did he want it? Perhaps deep inside. Was he able to do it?...Never.

Since we split he moved on to the next girl and from what I hear is now living with the one night stand he had a week after our break up. Perhaps he has now made changes and isn't drinking to excess anymore or perhaps my heart has to go out to his next love bomb victim. Functioning alcoholics don't change over night and I certainly know that he wont. I feel sorry for this new girl, or perhaps they both drink to excess and have a volatile relationship? 

I am glad that it never worked out with me and that I have well and truly moved on. God forbid if I ever find myself being love bombed again.

If a man wants to give me the world in such a short amount of time and deep inside he has issues. I am not the one to try and save him and give him the attention he wants and needs. For he needs to sort out his own loss and demons. He needs to rescue himself before promising me a thing. I am better off with out the heartache.