Tuesday 20 October 2020

Adrenaline junkie.....Providing me with peace

When I finally said goodbye to my long term boyfriend at the beginning of 2017. I decided to make some changes in my life. The relationship had gone sour and I feel I had lost myself for the latter part of the relationship. 

Going through a horrendous split, after realising he was going to pursue the relationship he had cheated on me with I knew I had to make some changes.

I had fallen into a densely depressed trap of boredom in the relationship, well we both had. There was no excitement left and his lies became so difficult to swallow that he made me feel like I was going insane when I questioned him. 

I had always had a zest for life before meeting him and for the early stages of the relationship but somehow being swamped down by a variety of factors I seemed to lose that aspect of me. Perhaps it stems from being born on TV!!!

I have always been a bit of an adrenaline junkie, stemmed from my dad, I think, as we were always the ones to explore and do some crazy things whilst I was growing up, we used to hike for hours, climb mountains, we went in a 4 seater aeroplane, helicopters and snorkeled. My dad was a scuba diver so I guess it all came from his attitude in doing exciting things. 

Prior to meeting my ex boyfriend I had bungee jumped, quad biked, jet skied, and been skiing. Whilst I was with my ex we experienced a microlight and para gliding, we were also offered to learn to paddle board but my ex didn't really like the water and so we never pursued the offer.

Since splitting with him. I have travelled alone, learnt to salsa dance, learnt to snowboard, learnt to indoor and outdoor climb. I have skinny dipped and bathed on nudist beaches. Zip wired. I have sky dived, I have learnt to play the djembe drum. Learning French. I am currently having those paddle board lessons...finally! I have become better at yoga and have my very own aerial yoga swing. I continue to keep fit by attending regular gym classes.

I have done many other things since we split up and I finally feel like I have my spontaneous side back, or as my mum describes ...Impulsive!

So the paddle boarding is going well and I am looking forward to travelling once the pandemic is over to experience it in warmer climates as wet-suits don't quite cut the British autumnal weather!

I have many other things I am going to try. After all life is for living.

Recently I met someone of great kind character who I felt a real instant bond with. Sadly his mother passed away suddenly and unexpectantly, I cant even imagine what he is going through. His loss has put things into perspective for me and I've been reflecting on how the pandemic has effected thousands of lives and families. 

It is ok to be an adrenaline junkie and try new things because life is certainly for seizing the day, we aren't on this earth long and really should embrace every opportunity.

For some, being a spontaneous adrenaline junkie isn't for every one and can be deemed as irresponsible, but for me....why not? I get a sense of fun and generally my sense of feeling lost suddenly disappears and I start to feel found..... 

Being on that paddle board in the middle of a lake looking at the beautiful scenery with no body around, being half way up the climbing wall contemplating my next move, free falling from the sky, feeling on top of the world at the top of a mountain. Exploring countries alone, with no one to turn to and only have your own thoughts and terrible sense of direction to get you back. The warmth of the sunshine and touch of the sea on my naked body. I finally feel peace. 

I know that I would rather have new experiences than to live in the mundane world of never trying anything new or being out of the comfort zone.

I thank my dad for providing me with this gene of wanting to explore the world.

It is a big world out there and so many things to do and see. 

I have felt so lost for so long, I still have a long way to go but being able to explore and be spontaneous or impulsive or whatever it is certainly makes life more exciting and I feel more content. Yes I make crazy decisions and sometimes they aren't the right ones but if I am honest I had hell of a journey making the wrong decision! As someone I know once said about making the wrong decision..."Oh...just...so...many..."

One life; live it in every best possible way that you can. Whether that be....going to work and providing for your family and seeing their faces light up on the Friday film night or whether it is at the top of a mountain ...enjoy life, enjoy the ride because you never quite know when your time is up. 

All I would say is this....just try that one thing you've always wanted to do, for tomorrow is not guaranteed.

Friday 18 September 2020

Curiosity killed the catfish....who were you Fred?

For approximately 18 months, I was chatting to a man on Instagram. Lets refer to him as "Fred"....

So Fred, requested me as a friend on Instagram, which initially I rejected as I had no idea who he was. He later re requested me and I thought ok, why not, one life and all that and it kind of seems the way of the world now.

He introduced himself as "Fred" and stated that he was trying to get followers as had set up a new interior design business. We got to know each other fairly well and strangely started to consider him as a friend, which in heinsight is pretty crazy as I never once met him in real life, never spoke to him on the phone and in fact I never even had his telephone number as he always made excuses that, at the time, felt reasonable that his phone was broken. 

We messaged each other frequently. there was nothing romantic about it, just someone to chat to. He spoke to me about his business, his sisters, friends and his ex. In return I opened up and told him about certain relationships and my work etc. We both offered a listening ear when life got tough or had times of joy.

On a couple of occasions we were very close to meeting, but with one thing or another it never happened.  

This "friendship" went on for a long time, until one day he disclosed that he had been lying to me about the fact he was still with his ex. I felt quite betrayed and annoyed by this as I had spent endless messages chatting to him about how he had been affected by her and the "toxic" relationship that he had been in.

It was at this point when the penny started to drop and I questioned if he actually was who he said he was. At the time I had a lodger, who was more into technology and social media than myself. We decided to try and find out a little more about Fred.

After my lodger searched the net for his pictures and his company name and me going through Fred's friends/ followers it became apparent that all was not as it seemed. 

My lodger noticed that Fred's business was not a registered company, the logo and some of the interior design work professed to have been done by Fred's company was that of an American company. Fred's followers and friends list was limited but I did notice something quite bizarre. He was following one of my ex boyfriends ex girlfriends who didn't even live in the UK, he was also following some of my friends and even one of my nieces. 

He had a partner for his business, but it appeared to be set up by Fred and neither account had many followers. There were conversations between the two accounts which almost seemed like the same person talking to themselves. Also both accounts were "private" and for me if you are trying to advertise a new business why would your account be private?

I started to think back about conversations that we'd had over the 18 months and he had questioned me about an ex and who the girl he'd had an affair with was. It all became a little too much and I was indeed feeling quite foolish into who the hell I had been talking with for the last 18 months.

Following on from this I messaged him and stated that I didn't believe he was who Fred said he was and questioned in fact if he was an interior designer. I then went on to block him. I felt quite sick and violated that I could have potentially been catfished and wanted to know and find out who the hell the real Fred was.

So with the help of my lodger we set up a fake interior designer account and logo. We knew that this wasn't a job to be rushed as I needed Fred to take the bait so I could find out who he really was.

I started to request/follow people that were on his account so it would look like we had mutual interests. I set myself up as an interior designer. It was hard graft and too be honest one that I couldn't really be bothered with but I felt quite annoyed that I had been lied to for so long and the fact that his account didn't appear authentic also blew my mind and so I persisted. 

It became very boring having to make myself look interested in interior design and at times I would veer off and look at other accounts and other things for nothing more than entertainment as I was so bored. It also fell at a time when I think now I probably had mild covid -19 symptoms so was just sat with nothing else to do than to go on Instagram.

Eventually Fred took the bait and messaged me, I stated that I was a new business and hoped to make connections. I asked him about his business but he was a bit vague just saying starting a new business was difficult.

My plan to ask more about where he actually lived, his name and basic identity was on the way and I would hopefully start to find peace safe in the knowledge of who Fred actually was and who I had invested 18 months of my energy towards.

Whilst this process was very dull I will admit I used to look up people I once knew. If they had open accounts it passed the time being curious into how they lived their lives now. In fact it was like almost watching tv, like some form of reality show/entertainment, but I guess that is what social media is. Some people literally documented their lives it was like reading a story book! It did pass the time whilst biding my time to find out who the hell Fred was.

I am not one for social media and in fact barely understand how it works, I didn't realise that people were notified if you looked at certain parts of their public accounts on Instagram.

Unfortunately due to this fact I received a rather unexpected message from someone who's account I had been looking at in my state of boredom, I felt immediate panic and ended up responding to the message, coming out with some bollocks of actually having similar interests. This of course was complete tripe as my objective of having this account was actually to find out who the hell Fred was and I was just passing the time looking at their and other public accounts.

This stressed me out rather a lot and I decided to deactivate this Instagram account to stop any more crap from escalating, as my objective was not to be a catfish myself but to find out who my catfish was. I would have to swallow the hard pill of never finding out who my catfish Fred was and throw in the towel to finding out his true identity due to unforeseen circumstances of being questioned at looking at certain public profiles. 

The repercussions of looking at public profiles of people I once knew also made me feel pretty shit as my reasons for looking were out of curiosity and boredom whilst actually trying to find out who the hell I had spent 18 months chatting to, nothing more and not what it appeared like to others, despite what they thought.

So indeed curiosity killed the catfish and I have never found out who the hell Fred was.

Morals of he story:

1) If you suspect you are being Catfished, do not try to investigate yourself....ask the professionals (The programme Catfish)

2) If bored don't be curious about other people's public profiles, it is deemed as being obsessed not bored and curious. Although I do question why social media and public accounts do exist if not for looking at?

3) Don't except friend requests from strangers and do not respond to or message people you do not want to engage in conversation with.

But none of this actually matters now, as I have decided that I really don't need to find out who the real Fred is. It was an experience and one that I have learnt from. Fred knew I wrote a blog, so if you are reading this Fred, I wish you well who ever you are!

I always knew social media was dangerous and causes so much trouble, maybe that is why I have never really learnt how to use it correctly. I am no longer on social media, not even to promote my blog anymore because do we really know who the hell is the other side of the screen??? Welcome to the twilight zone of social media ..... 

Who wears the trousers?

I have spent a lot of time reflecting upon what and why it hasn't worked out with the majority of my exes and having spoken to my mum and read god knows how many books and articles on relationships. I finally feel like I know the answer. People have always said it must be a certain type that I go for, which I have always replied "no" as they have all been very different. 

After years of attempting to find the answer and years falling for the same type of men I now feel total comfort knowing I have my answer. 

Now this theory, I would say applies to all exes minus 3. It comes down to the way I have been bought up and view men and what type of role they have in a relationship.

I have grown up with older generation parents, having been the youngest of 5 children and there being quite an age gap between me and the next sibling in age. 

My parents are what I would describe as quite "traditional" to the western family. My dad worked 2 jobs, whilst my mum stayed at home and looked after the children and had a part time job as I got older. My dad took care of the finances whilst my mum cooked and cleaned. It is what I knew to be the norm of how relationships were. This is neither a right or wrong way to live in a relationship but it is what I have been used to. My dad was the dominant male and although my mum wasn't needy, as was quite independent in certain aspects. It seemed to work well. They have been married since 1959, so they have obviously been doing something right. One way of looking at it is that my dad certainly wore the trousers in the relationship. 

They are from a generation that fixed things and didn't have the attitude we consume now of the throw away society. Back then things were made and built to last far longer than things are now. That goes for not only relationships but electrical goods, furniture, clothes amongst other things! 

All but a few relationships I have had the majority of the men I have dated/been in long term relationships with have been bought up in a very different environment to myself. 

Often it appears from the outside, as no one really knows what goes on behind closed doors, it appears that the mothers in the relationship seem to "wear the trousers". It appears that the dads of the family have taken the back seat and it seems that the mothers have ruled the roost. They seem to be the ones who take control of the finances, book the holidays and organise the family and make most of the decisions.

Is this a generational thing? Perhaps. But another contributing factor is that the parents have split up, been single mum's for a while, on their second or even third marriage. So the mother has had no choice to become independent and rule her own roost, so the dads then potentially just let the women get on with it for an easy life? I don't know I am just speculating.

For there is no right or wrong way to be bought up and certainly no rule to who wears the trousers so to speak.

I know now a days that the role of the woman in the family has changed dramatically, is this down to society influence? or personal preference? or both?

For me, I seem to have ended up in relationships with men that have grown up where the mother wears the trousers and is in control I guess. They appear to have learnt that it is easier to take the back seat, albeit not all the time but for the best part of making decisions, organising things etc. 

For me, I am quite happy to organise holidays, days out, nights out, phone restaurants etc but because it almost became expected that I would do it I think deep within me I started to feel resentment as I grew up with a man doing most if these things and when the past relationships didn't do this it caused problems. 

I am not saying that they never organised things, far from it. I have had a few surprises but generally speaking it landed in my lap. For many women this is great and they cant see a problem with this, maybe because they have been bought up by a different generation or their nuclear family has broken down enabling the woman to become the dominant? Like I said there is no right or wrong way but what I do know is that I do not ever want to be a with a man who has been bought up this way as it isn't what I want.

I have a very close male friend and people ask all the time why we aren't together. Despite the fact I see him as a brother, he is certainly a man that enables the women to wear the trousers for an easy life. If we make plans it is usually down to me. He will say things like "You book it and I will give you the money". "You decide". I have spoken to him about this and he thinks i could be on to something. His mother was the dominant as his father sadly ended his life when he was a child. He disclosed that his past relationships were usually driven by the female.  He stated that although he loved them at the time, they were quite bossy (in the nicest way) which might go with the fact that they were more in control and wore the trousers!

I see these differences in relationships all the time, I observe who wears the trousers and see how being bought up a certain way can impact upon future building blocks and "unwritten rules" in relationships. 

In a relationship I require a man to be wearing the trousers most of the time, not for me to do it for them. If it takes someone to be of autocractic character to wear the trousers then that isn't for me.

Obviously there is give and take but I know for a fact that I don't want to wear the trousers, it is not for me. Been there and been forced to take that role and it causes a massive rift. If I had realised this years ago I think it might have saved an awful lot of heartache. 

Some men like to be dominant some men prefer the woman to take control and vise versa for women. There is no right or wrong. 

Can both wear the trousers?...Not really, in most relationships whether friendships or romantic relationships, humans or even animals there is usually one more dominant one of the family/group/partnership.

Establishing which role you are early on in a relationship could certainly make life more relaxed.

After thinking about it long and hard I believe I have experienced 3 relationships where the men wore the trousers and were the dominant in the relationship. I felt zero resentment in these relationships, over organising and decision making and they worked well. The reasons why they didn't work were not down to who wore the trousers that's for sure.

Maybe I am old fashioned like my parents......or .... maybe I am just looking for my very own Mr Grey! 

The good, the bad and the "you don't look like your profile"

Internet dating is by far the strangest concept nowadays, as you can read in my post "Dating in the 21st Century" and I am really not a huge fan of it, however, sadly in this day and age it seems like the only way to meet someone.

I have been on many 1st dates that have derived from internet dating, some have led to second dates, some have led to a few weeks of dating, some months of dating, a couple of relationships and others well lets just say I am glad that I never had to see them ever again!

Dating is an absolute mind field and you never really know what the hell to expect. I know that I would rather meet early on instead of sending and receiving messages of aimless chit chat for weeks, you know how I feel about that... see chit chat post! I would rather just get on with meeting up to fathom if indeed there is a spark in real life. 

I have had some absolute fantastic first dates with some genuinely nice guys, but soon realised that they are more friend material than partner materiel.

I have had some fabulous weekends away, days out, lovely meals, laughs, dancing, walks and drinks.

Some of the nicest first dates were a picnic in a field, a trip to wales and of course a good old fashioned pub for a few drinks. I have been to the Sealife Centre, dog walking, Crazy Golf, Safari Park and even to Tenerife and Lanzarote on first dates!

But some of the most memorable ones are the ones that didn't quite turn out to plan...

I have had men turn up that are very angry and actually disclose they require anger management, women haters, loud/shouty men, too shy to talk men, men that do not eat after 2pm in the afternoon - not so great when you are starving on a date and it is 4pm! 

I have had a man drip with excessive sweat from anxiety, stolen sweets, showed up with food debris in their teeth. Smelly men, rude men, men who hate animals - yes that ones says a lot. Drunk men, men that don't drink, men who have never seen a toothbrush, men that turn up in flash cars and men that show up on skateboards. Men who look like they have been homeless for a month and never seen a washing machine, off their head men (on amphetamines) and the worst of all men that do not look anything like their pictures in every way....lied about their height/weight, the pictures were filtered, the pictures are 15 years old, lied about their age. 

One man turned up to my house so drunk he could barely stand up, I ushered him off to the local pub and left. Another man sat swiping on Tinder whilst I was sat with him! One dates teeth were so splattered with what looked like the remains of bread and mayo combo, it was so vile to look at I decided to get drunk so I no longer could focus on his dirty teeth.

Teeth are a huge factor for me and I know that not everyone in life is lucky enough to have a straight, white set of pearls but it can be a game changer for me. I no longer swipe on people who never smile without teeth on show in at least one picture, because from experience if you cant see their pearly whites in any pictures the chances are that they either have no, brown or just terrible teeth. I no I shouldn't judge on oral hygiene and we all have standards, but that is one standard I refuse to lower! One guy turned up and he had teeth like he had been addicted to crystal meth for at least 4 years....he never smiled showing teeth in any pictures. 

It was just before lockdown and toilet rolls were like gold dust and so the date who was travelling to see me quite a distance to my house asked if he could get me anything from the services on the way.... due to the crazy pandemic I asked for a packet of toilet roll as I had been unable to get any from my local shop, so I was expecting a 4 pack and instead I received what only looked like a dirty, minging stained half used roll stolen from the service station toilet, now I am not a toilet roll snob by all means and I know that beggars cant be choosers in a pandemic but I am sure that that toilet roll actually gave me covid - 19 ...needless to say it went in the bin as looked contaminated (shudders).

I have indeed walked out on dates, ran away from dates, hidden from dates and made THAT emergency phone call. I have done the unforgivable thing of ghosting and blocking certain men....although I learnt that actually it is better and far nicer to send a quick message to say thanks but no thanks.  

Is it easier to be sober or merry or drunk? to have dinner? to starve? to do an activity? On a personal level I prefer to have a couple of drinks, but not to have any more, as the seemingly unhandsome, boring man sat before me can start to become desirable...which inevitably ends in disaster and an uncomfortable snog at the end. It can be fun to engage in activity and I must admit I prefer to eat on a first date as if nothing else to talk about you can discuss the menu!

I feel that I should be an expert at the dating scene, but each first date is an entirely new experience from the last. I rarely worry about what I am going to wear anymore and have certain clothes in my wardrobe set aside for first dates depending on where the date takes place. More often than not comfortable, as I have learnt that the "sexy" flashing too much skin only gives one impression! I like to leave some things to their imagination!

I really have no idea as to why people think that it is ok to not look like their profile pictures, why would you want to give a false impression of yourself? 

My online profile pictures are up to date and a combination of full length, head and shoulders and are unfiltered. I can not see the point in filtering for the person I am meeting to be disappointed that I am not flawless! 

In fact I am the worlds worst at selfies and have no idea what angle, lighting etc I should be taking these pictures. I have had the same comment from many men that I actually look better in real life than my pictures! Now, this is nice as obviously great to feel that way on a date, but not so great trying to get a date based on my not so great pictures in the first place!

So what do these men hope to achieve from not looking like their pictures? Are they hoping that I am partially sighted or that I will ignore that they are a foot shorter/taller and have different hair and 20lbs different in weight to the person I swiped on in the picture? Are they hoping that I will fall in love with their lying personalities?! I personally prefer the "verified" profiles now a days, at least that way you know that you aren't going to be meeting someone totally different! But do all people verify....I think not. It is a battlefield.

So before you set up a profile, please people make sure the pictures are at least true to life as you can get them....

Sunday 23 August 2020

The End.....?

I've been writing my blog since early January 2020. The purpose of it is to share events in my life that might not always be positive but to share my experiences and hopefully provide a hope to people if they have felt in similar situations that its ok to just be ok or even feel terrible for a while. 

I want to say that no matter how bad it gets and even when you feel that the worst things are happening or that you've suffered and the feeling of being lost in life for the millionth time that actually it will be ok and it is alright to feel this way sometimes.  

I'm not promising you'll feel a zillion dollars but you're surviving each and everyday and that is enough. I'm still surviving. My blog isn't about being positive or to aim so high its unrealistic. I'm promoting survival. Acknowledging and exploring the journey of acceptance. 

Life doesn't always pan out the way you had hoped. People, places, death and your own mind can be big enough barriers to prevent some of your dreams happening, staying exactly that....dreams. Sure some dreams you'll conquer but others.... maybe delayed or never will. I am neither a negative or positive person I'm a balanced realist.
I'm not saying don't aim high or set standards for yourself but having an unrealistic set of expectations of having a semi perfect life is likely to end in poor self esteem, as we will never achieve perfection, for perfection does not exist. No sooner you reach the top if you constantly crave more you will feel a life time of frustration because you'll never reach the top. 

Be content with being ok. For happiness is momentary, happiness is the little things....someone holds the door open for you, or thanks you when you hold it open for someone else. Its laughing at your dogs or cats when they do daft crazy acrobats. Its the smell of rain on warm concrete. The smile from the elderly lady selling flowers on the market. The laugh out loud moments in your favorite novel.  Of course moments of happiness are different for everyone....

There is no rule "to be happy" or "to be positive" all you have to do is just "be"

Too many people nowadays attempt to convert people into this myth of a positive state of mind when actually feeling "balanced" is far healthier. 

I always say to my patients it's about challenging the negative to become alternative and balanced never positive. 
There is a huge grey area between positive and negative, things are never black and white. 

I have recently reduced my level of writing for several reasons. In fact at one point I thought I might call it a day and end my blog altogether. 

A big factor is simply wanting to disconnect from a screen, after having spending hours looking at one for work, the last thing I wanted to do is look at my phone, TV or laptop. In fact the TV is rarely on in my house and once I finish work I rarely look at my phone. 

Another part is that I question who actually reads this bollocks that I often churn out.... 

I write because I love to write, for myself and my well being and for those who understand and have compassion for the the topics I write about. 

However, it wasn't until I realised that perhaps some of my audience were reading my blog for judgment which is far from the concept of why I write. My blog isn't about being judgmental it is speaking the truth and not this airy fairy bollocks that is all over the internet about positivity. It is about real life experiences that you learn from. Being in prison, loosing people you love, being childless and everything in between...The rawness of life.

I have spoken to many people, friends, acquaintances, professionals and they have all said the same thing...to continue with my blog and write like I always have and not let judgmental people stop me. So here I am once again....

I have a few titles in my draft box, just waiting for the right moment to publish my posts. My patience has grown significantly, I like to bide my time, for there is no rush to belt out my musings consistently.

So is this the end for Miss Snikpoh?......Not yet....

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 video....no 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 weirdo....as 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....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8HdOHrc3OQ  "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.....