Resonate

Quite often, our reactions to the atrocities that happen in the world depend on whether they strike a chord.

If we all looked at the bigger picture, there would be no commerce, country,  race, gender, religion, politics…

But we don’t. We all have agendas, we all resonate with the experiences that shape and put us into context.

That’s where I’m coming from now. My voices told me, clear as day, that ‘Bikram violates people.’

Now, don’t misunderstand me. Bikram, the man, and his 26 series of yoga postures are quite different entities. He has brought something potent, transformative and amazing to the world of yoga.

He has also been accused on several counts of sexual harassment, assault and rape.

I can put that to one side. Those yoga postures help me.

However, ‘bikram’ studios operate under a franchise model, which means they pay money to this man in order to use his name.

I’ve been told the allegations have been dropped. This means nothing. I have to trust my instincts, and they tell me from personal experience and observation of how the world works that people will look the other way if someone sells something they want to buy.

So, as my psychiatrist noted, I’m voting with my feet.

Yoga is good for me, hot yoga in particular gives me a feeling of powerful connection.

But my practice is not worth those women’s suffering.

Is this the end of yoga for me? Absolutely not. I am truly grateful to the studio that helped me discover something wonderful, and it tore me apart to stop going there. But I can go somewhere else. And so I do.

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Skittish?

I didn’t realise it really, but I am very skittish and have been this way for a long time. Sexual attention makes me nervous, and it takes me a while to get used to it from someone before I realise I’m ‘safe’.

Why?

Well, because when I was 16 I was followed home by a man who attempted to assault me. (That’s a starting point anyway…)

I remember being alone, and scared and on my own road. Nowhere felt safe.

I still don’t feel safe walking alone, even in a well lit area, even in daytime, let alone at night.

Spiritual awakening

I feel so connected right now.

I feel like I’m making the right choices.

I’m listening to my voices. And I allow them to guide me, warn me, advise me, because whatever they are, they’re a part of me I cannot ignore.

I won’t follow them blindly, and I know that they cannot hurt me.

I’ve started to realise, and really believe that I’m not ill. There are things that western medicine just can’t explain or treat. I can be overwhelmed and unbalanced, but my focus has to be balance. I’m sensitive to the world around me.

Physical exercise makes me feel at home in my body. Meditation makes me feel right in my mind.  They both make me feel like I’m doing right by myself, and giving myself what I deserve, which is love, care and nourishment.

I’m recording this feeling here, because everything seems full of promise.

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This is a rant

The key to any successful social interaction is communication.

Whether it’s getting a coffee, a one night stand, a relationship, communication is what stops us fumbling around in the dark. Without communication we’ve got as much accuracy as a piñata party.

It’s what separates us so much from other animals. All the subtleties and nuances of language make our interactions complex, multi-layered, and infinite.

So stop stalking and start talking

Unease

There’s a distinct feeling of unease today. That sense of forboding like something bad is going to happen. After the high of yesterday (I got and accepted a job offer, very pleased indeed) I came home and started getting paranoid.

It makes me wonder – would I be better off with meds?

I have this conversation with myself, and my psychiatrist on a fairly regular basis.

My problem with medication is the benefits are often convoluted, distorted and don’t seem to outweigh the cost of the side effects, at least for me. Your brain and body adapts to the medication, meaning, like with most things, you build a tolerance and have to increase the dose.

Also, I really don’t think that medication is targeting the things it needs to target.

I’ve been told many things about medication – the official lines vary from ‘preventative’ to ‘restorative’, but the science just doesn’t seem to add up. Can we coerce the brain into functioning better with the aid of medication? Is it as simple as that? Since the vast majority of people on meds either stay on them, or like myself, can’t bear to take them, how can we tell what really works for psychosis?

All these treatments are relatively new, some untested over the course of a lifetime and all come with an abundance of health problems. Apart from the immediate and common side effects such as weight gain, lethargy, restlessness, shaking, blurred vision it seems we face a plethora of trade-offs on our future physical health. Increased risk of stroke, diabetes, heart disease – even sudden adult death syndrome…

Is monitoring ‘physical’ health enough? We know that physical health is often ignored with mental illness, patients are even dismissed as paranoid when they bring things to their practitioner’s attention.

And what about clinicians – would they take these medications that are often over-prescribed? I know some people who do very well on meds, and some who decide to go med-free, but I sort of see current medication as a false panacea. It gets people stable enough to not need constant attention on an already stretched healthcare system. I think of the revolving door scandal with beds in the NHS that was in the papers a few years back, that is still a problem, and it’s the same thing.

What I’m saying is there must be a better way.

Diet, exercise, lifestyle can only take you so far. The frustration I feel at not being able to spend a moment alone without having to concentrate and push my voices away is palpable. I often try to look at where I see myself in five, ten- fifteen years ahead and the thought is, frankly, depressing. I don’t want to have to struggle everyday.

Maybe that’s just childish railing though. Maybe this is my lot in life, and I have to push that little tantrum to one side and just accept that as much as I can change my life there are things about me that I cannot change. Perhaps it’s because I have the memory of what life was like before – my life was by no means better, but the comparison of not needing to meditate, of being able to go to sleep without being shouted at, of waking up without a voice in my ear.

Some people have it so much harder. But I want better. I think we all do.

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Nudity

Without drugs and and alcohol you are laid bare.

There are no excuses for bad behaviour.
Your confidence has to be high and your conviction has to be strong.

You are naked.

(Just something I thought…)

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Push it

So, a small hernia update. I’m still in pain, and the muscle on the left side is definitely swollen.

The pain varies from not at all, to almost like getting a tattoo on the inside of my belly button to stabbing pains.

It happens more when I’ve been moving or stretching,  but also at rest.

I think it’s a case of they can’t treat what they can’t see, so I’ll have to keep going until the pain becomes unbearable or something shows up on an ultrasound.

My best guesses? The mesh put in three years ago may have popped out of place from a particularly deep backward bend, or this is like before, where I suffered pain for years before my hernia became an issue.

It makes my voices worse though,  physical pain always does.

Keep on trucking, I suppose!

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Do-over

How many times in life do we get a second chance?

This is how I need to see this, because any other way and I will go under from the misery of it all.

My hernia has reappeared. I think the worsening in symptoms is probably because of this and I think I’m going to have to have surgery again.

But it’s like a nice bookend. Well, a horrible, painful bookend. Life does have a symmetry to it sometimes, and it was around the time I had my first hernia that things started to go very wrong for me.

So here I have it – that second chance everyone dreams of to have another go at something they wish they could have done differently and to get it right.

I won’t be going alone to the hospital. I won’t be ignoring my pain and keeping myself on my feet with codeine and amphetamines. I won’t be unsupported. I can relax, without the pressure of working two jobs. I have friends around me I can talk to. I won’t, immediately after recovery, fall in love with a psychopath.

I’ll find my feet. I’ll take my time.

This is real catharsis, I’ve been crying all day. It’s like the death, perhaps. That lost, miserable girl is getting buried and once I’m stitched up again I can start my life over.

Wish me luck.

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Legacy

I’m not a violent person. In fact, I’d go as far as to say violence is wrong. But I learned quite early the most effective weapon I have is words.

My father was rarely violent during my teenage years, but the damage he inflicted with words….

Cuts and bruises heal, but words, words can cut you to your core. An errant word to the wrong person can dissolve governments, start wars, cause someone to harm themselves…

His command of language is artless, and having a predisposition towards the flow of language (a natural advantage to being a woman, certainly, but also from learning various other tongues) I sometimes feel I have surpassed him in his cruelty.

I’ve learned from example. It’s a horrible thing to realise, that you have inside of you this pattern of behaviour that you don’t want, but when someone hurts me through their actions, their thoughtlessness, carelessness, I try to hurt them back in the only way I know how. It’s vindictive, reactionary and a truly spiteful side to myself.

And his legacy. I am my fathers daughter.

 

I’m working on it.

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We are the same

Mind and body, they are both one and the same.

 

But what about the soul? What about the curious and intangible self so many of us ascribe to the human condition?

I believe that it is once again, once and the same.

I’m going to draw a comparison from Doctor Who again, this time from ‘The Shakespeare Code’.

The Carrionites, witch-like creatures from another dimension use an arrangement of words to create a portal in place of numbers – the language we have come to use in physics and the academic study of how the universe works.

So why is the mind/spirit/soul anything different? It’s a question of language, whether you use the flowery, religious, poetical, or perhaps look at the scientific – the chemical reactions that drive our bodies as humans every day.

And this does not, for example in the case of love, detract from it – in fact:

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

Does it make the intense feelings of connection with the world around us any less profound? The synchronicity we witness throughout our lives? No – we are, like everything in this universe, made of the same stuff. We are stardust.

So, bringing it all back to mental health. This is why talking therapies are important. We have our numbers, our medications (although, we know they are very clumsy tools at the moment – a rant for another blog) and we have talking and alternative therapies. Things like talking, singing, art, yoga, they all have a profound effect on mental illness because the use and stimulation of certain parts of the brain and the body can clearly be used to help heal it.

 

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