Thunder Only Happens When It’s Raining..

So say the eternal wisdom of Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks. An idiom created in popular culture but rooted in real life. Like most things, it’s open to multiple interpretations but has a  message which is not entirely accurate (I’ve seen thunder and lightening without rain before) but gets the point across. There are a lot of phrases that one can use to describe the many types of mental health illnesses and the multiple states of mind that an individual can be in when experiencing ill mental health (sometimes quite literally… multiple states of mind, AKA Multiple Personality Disorder, or to give it it’s real name – Disassociative Personality Disorder – is a very real condition for some poor souls).

So hello and welcome to the ongoing project that this one-time repository for my poetic and other creative written works has become. Or welcome back if you’ve been here before, or visited my old blog (which sadly is no longer active). I realise it’s been almost three years to the day that I last posted here. I  never really had any focus or meaning in my previous blog, it was just a dumping ground for my poetry and for that reason, I guess that’s why I ended up losing interest and stopping posting here.

A lot has occurred in my life in the last three years I have exited a long-term relationship, entered into another one (with a brief fling with a same-sex friend in-between). I have got jobs and then lost or left them. I have made new friends and then lost or left them too. I have gained a cat but almost lost my home (long story involving a hypocritical arse of a neighbour). And during all this time, my inner mind was working very hard on making me seriously ill with a number of severe mental health disorders, which naturally, all seemed to hit me at once.

This only really came to light after a series of serious, drunken mistakes, for which I entirely blamed on alcohol. Now I realise, the over-consumption of alcohol is actually a side-effect of my mental health issues. Managing all these at once has been more than tricky and it’s an every-day battle for me to be normal.

As you can probably imagine, my life is not exactly a bed of roses (but then, whose is?)  My condition is being managed with Fluoxetine (Prozac) and I am on the NHS waiting list for further treatment. I am hoping for some talking therapy, CBT, DBT and whatever else they can throw at me. One of the hopes that I have for this blog is as a creative outlet for my constant racing thoughts and emotional instability. So watch this space for further developments. Posts will appear in descending order, so the newest posts will always appear first.

I will post things here that I find useful or interesting, I may post about books and TV shows – not all related to mental health but most of them will be relevant.  I hope to attract guest bloggers to write about their experiences or donate pieces of their art or photography. I hope I can entertain you. And if you suffer from a mental illness, I hope that somehow during this cathartic exercise, I can maybe help you too. See the tab above to get in touch, comments and feedback is always welcome.

Peace.

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Coping with Bereavement. Guest Article #1

The following is a guest article from one of my greatest friends from the last 15 years, and the first ever guest post on this blog.
We all have our own way of dealing with grief but it takes a lot of courage to open up and write about such raw emotions in this way, so thank you Beccy, you’re a strong and wonderful woman and I love you. 

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So where do I start, I suppose I should start with the loss that has made me understand and realise how I have dealt with all my problems all my life. I have lost many people in my life, close friends, family and I have never looked at the way I have dealt with those losses until I lost my grandma.

The moment I got that call to say my grandma had terminal cancer something in me changed. Don’t get me wrong I have lost some dear friends and family but that moment my whole world shattered because I hadn’t realised before that other than my mother, my grandmother was one of the biggest influences in my life. I didn’t know how to process what I had been told, couldn’t understand what I was feeling. I didn’t cry, I didn’t get angry, I just sat there and stared into space and my mind was actually blank, that is how I know that this was different to everyone else I have lost.

To try explain let me give an example, my other grandmother was with a man who I looked at as a granddad, I grew up not having a grandfather in my life and when he came into mine he was like a kindred spirit, he was an ex-alcoholic like myself and when I had a relapse he was the one who helped me. I later found out that all along he had been secretly drinking and that demon was what killed him, he shot himself in the head at the end of his garden and let my grandmother be the one to find him. Now with that loss I cried and screamed and was beside myself. So why I asked myself did I not do all that when my dear grandmother was diagnosed with terminal cancer?

After the diagnosis I completely shut down. I can’t remember much of what happened, the doctors told us she had a few months left but honestly she lasted 6 weeks, in those 6 weeks I shut off from reality, started drinking and taking drugs again, this is no excuse but just before my grans diagnosis I had just found out my grandad had shot himself so as you can imagine I was all over the place. I wasn’t there for my mum when she needed me, I started to resent my mum because she didn’t and doesn’t understand the dark cloud that I have had hanging over me for most of my life. I mean most people would probably be thinking “my God how selfish of you” but I couldn’t help it, this disease sometimes makes you selfish, and the only way I can describe it is it makes you shut down emotionally and all you think about is how your feeling because those feelings inside you are somehow heightened.

So halfway through my grans last weeks I had to leave and go down south to my other grandma to be there for the funeral of my grandad and I stayed with her till two days before her birthday in 2010, the day I went home I went straight to the hospice my grandma was in. Her last wish was to see me before she died and say goodbye, but when I got there the staff had to sedate her so all I saw was my poor grandma laying there unable to move, unable to feel. So I sat with her and spoke to her I held her hand and I said goodbye she squeezed my hand so in that moment I knew she was saying goodbye. After that I made my excuse and said I wanted to take my cases home and I would come back to the hospice. I didn’t. I went home called my ‘friends’ and got wasted, I did what I now know I’ve always done I ran away from it, my feelings, my emotions, my family.

I got the text the next morning at 11.11 am on the 19th may 10 days after my birthday that my gran had passed away peacefully. I didn’t cry, I didn’t feel, I just took more drugs. I had unknowingly pushed myself further away from my family by being so selfish and not facing up to my feelings and not standing by them. That’s how I now know and realise what I’ve always done when something hard hits me I run away and try to blank it all out. That was 7 years ago nearly and in those 7 years I have learnt so much about my past and how I’ve dealt with things.

I don’t know if I’m dealing with things in the right way now, I don’t think I am as I still keep all my feelings and emotions locked up inside, I am what you would call a social recluse, I don’t go out unless absolutely necessary although I am trying to push myself into social situations more. The reason I think I find it so hard is because all I’ve ever known from the age of 22 is to socialise while on drugs or drink, I put myself into a world where I could forget all about what was real life and just have fun with like minded people, I opened up whilst on drink and drugs and told people some of deepest secrets and feelings and I made myself believe that they cared but they didn’t, not really only my true friends who are still there for me now cared, but that’s what depression does to you, it makes you grab hold of things that feel good and that aren’t real but you want them to be so much.

Which brings me to a massive loss that started off my wayward behaviour, although this person is still alive it’s still a massive loss to me as you will realise when I explain, I got pregnant at 16 and had a beautiful baby boy when I was 17, he was and is an amazing child, I met his father when I was 15 and he was my first real love but it wasn’t all good. We argued, a lot, and it turned violent when when I fell pregnant, that’s when his abuse started. He would mentally break me down and physically beat me, I felt lost until I had my baby boy but it got worse when he was born, it got so bad that one day I lost it and beat him back that’s when I knew it had to end and I sent him away from me and my son. What I hadn’t realised was how he had scarred me mentally and I started going out drinking, I left my son with my brother when I went out but one night my son hurt himself and I hadn’t noticed till the next day. I can’t get into that right now but it lead to me losing him and him having to go and live with my father and step mother who he is still with now at the age of 16.

That’s when I went out of control on a downward spiral of drug and drink abuse. At first it was great met some amazing people and had some amazing times! But that’s when I lost a close friend. Her name was Lisa and we were very close but we lost contact as I was going through addiction at the time. It was one of my biggest regrets as in the time we didn’t speak she became a mother but a few months later she took her own life, her funeral was when I was half way through a rehab, I ended up being late for the funeral and unable to say my goodbyes which hurt me deeply. I didn’t end up finishing rehab as I was drinking and taking drugs while I was there so I obviously wasn’t ready to get help.

I have lost many friends before and after Lisa, and many of them were through drugs, and you would think I would learn by all this but I didn’t, although I came through all my addictions and I’m now in control. I very rarely drink but that is mainly because I have distanced myself from many people and become a kind of recluse. I have many more things that have happened in my past but I will write about them in the near future but for now thank you for reading.

About the Author

My names Beccy, I’m 34 and live in Leeds. My profession is customer service, I love to read and write. I’m currently single and I live on my own in a nice one-bedroom flat in a lovely area. I feel I’m in a good place right now but things could be better and hopefully will be in the future.

Cidade Do Kaos (At Night)

I wrote this poem whilst sitting on my windowsill in a 13th storey flat. The view is incredible and not only do I live on the edge of the city centre, it’s also next to the main city inner ring road so it’s usually so noisy that to experience the city so still and quiet like this was such a rare encounter.  The featured image above is the actual view from my living room window. 
At the window, I am still.
All around me
Far below me
Darkness Falls
The City slumbers
Rain beats a steady rhythm on the sill and
Cries in sad streams down the window.
Far below me
The roar of traffic deadens to a lazy grumble
Lights zip by
Each hurrying to leave the urban chaos.
Wisps of early hours mist steadily climbs
As the first cry of the dawn chorus is heard.
This is what they call the Witching Hour
A rare 60 minutes of peace,
For a city that never truly sleeps.
Copyright Amy Butler 2015

Sunflowers in the Rain

I wrote the following poem as an allegory for recovering from depression. At the times where I am ‘coming out the other side’ (for want of a better term) I often feel this way – inside, I feel calm and happier as I can feel myself on the mend, but my behaviour still echoes my depressive state – possibly due to habit. The final message in this poem is the maxim which I tell myself regularly, and which is why this poem is the namesake of this blog. Almost like ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ but less dramatic, ‘a little rain isn’t that bad if it makes you stronger for another day’. Peace. 

 

I’m dreaming about sunflowers in the rain,
Their drooping heads, peering down at the sodden soil.
Although they look sad, inside they are happy,
Soaking up the water, their potent elixir.
Tomorrow they will stand tall in the sunshine.
Which proves that a little rain isn’t that bad,
If it makes you stronger for another day.

 

Copyright Amy Butler 2011

Kris

This is a poem I wrote in memory of my friend Kris Aungiers, who died suddenly in the summer of 2011, due to a lifelong epileptic illness. He is sorely missed. 

You didn’t like poetry.
Or so you said, anyway.
But we could hold a conversation on
Shakespeare, Donne, Pope and Bradstreet.
You knew your stuff.
Literary, musical or technological,
The strings to your bow were numerous.

In twenty-eight short years you accomplished
More than some do in a lifetime.
Your life was immensely colourful.
No amount of philosophising can tell us why
You were taken away.
It happened when it happened.
Because, it happened.

Kris, bearer of Christ.
Your illness was the cross you bore,
Insignificant in public, you hid it away
For the benefit of the people you loved.
You suffered for the conscience of your friends.
The people who loved you, you didn’t want us to worry.
That was you, all over.

I cannot wish that away
For that would be changing the heart of you
The soul of you
And then you, wouldn’t have been you any longer.
All I can say is,
Im so glad I met you.

 

Copyright Amy Butler 2011

Sweet Fantasy

A wonderfully erotic poem composed in late 2014 when my current relationship began. As you can gather from the tone of this poem, passions were very high! I don’t think i’ve been able to compose a poem which quite matches this one for sexual tension.
This was written with the tagline:
‘Dedicated to C – the man of my dreams. From your naughty little lover girl. A’

 

Spend the night with me
I’ll wear what you want,
What I know you like.

Revealing, yet concealing
Sucked into this sweet, sweet obsession
Feelings not needed, nor wanted.

Physical gestures only,
No strings needed to unwrap this gift,
Heaven sent, from me to you.

I want your cool hands on my back,
Heating me up like a furnace.
Smouldering embers burst into fire as your hands move around my body

The secret parts of me are yours, all yours, to explore.
The feeling of your fingertips tracing my spine making me melt.
Gentle kisses, like cool flakes of snow melting on my skin

Tracing the tip of your tongue on the nape of my neck.
That delicious shiver
Leaving me wanting more of you,

All of you.
Touch me
Feel my silky soft skin
Respond to your caress

Lay me down, move me
My body is calling you
Screaming your name
Wanting more of you

All of you
You know I’m ready for you
Little by little,
Ease your way inside,

That sexual contrast,
Your hardness, my softness
Sensuality defined
Eroticism confined

To this moment,
This delicious sensation
As we move together in this sweet fantasy,
Just one night,

Together,

You and I.

 

Copyright Amy Butler 2014

Kiss

Your full lips, so soft and moist,
Massaging mine so delicately.
With the slightest flicker of your tongue
Darting in and out of my mouth.
Teasing, tasting, enticing.
The way you gently suck and nibble
On my lower lip makes me crazy.
As our lips move together in perfect harmony,
You run your hands through my hair,
Making my scalp tingle at the touch of your fingertips,
External physical gestures compliment an already building passion
Of our lips locked together, moving in synch with our heartbeats.
I get totally lost in this moment.
This crazy, sexy moment.
The sweet taste of passion stokes the beginnings of a fiery lust.
I could kiss you for eternity… but it still would not be enough.
Copyright Amy Butler 2014

What a life I don’t want

This poem was composed in late 2013 when I was going through the break-up of a 9 year relationship and I was at a particularly low point. 

 

I don’t wanna live this life any more,

My heart’s fallen hard and then hit the floor,

Most people care but cannot understand,

Why my conscience is cold, unfeeling and bland.

One thing I do wish for is to be free,

It feel like this punishment is just for being me,

He knows what he wants and it isn’t my heart,

His coldness of feeling just tears me apart.

Why is happiness so hard to find?

Who can give me my peace of mind?

Too many feelings rush through my head,

God, grant me serenity or kill me stone dead.

 

Copyright Amy Butler 2013

Today is Just Another Day

Today is just another day,
Tomorrow, we’ll all be the same,
Life in fast forward. Slow down, rewind
Let me give you a piece of my mind.
I can tell you
That this life for sure
Work, sleep and play,
That’s what we live for.
But what if tomorrow
Is somehow OK?
That everything comes right
At the end of the day?
What if tomorrow
The sun shines in the sky?
Will we still see
Through the tears in our eyes?
Copyright Amy Butler 2013

Nuclear

Lost atoms bound together by a membrane of hope;
A sliver of light in a dark, forgotten place.
Each expression a fresh catalyst,
A potent reminder
Of what may be or may not.
If we ever make it out alive.

Ambiguity, unknown territory.
Mutually unsure, mutual fear.
It’s the unclear thoughts of impure minds
That brought us to this filthy rich place.
Filthy with the passion of pain,
Rich with the pain of passion.

Nuclear, explosive tension,
Unplanned, unwanted,
Yet equally needed.
Pressure valves open,
Red hot geysers spurt out steam.
First meltdown then oblivion.

Looming on the event horizon,
Fission – the nearest exit.
Hold tight, because
Once you hit the overdrive button
There’s no going back.

Copyright Amy Butler 2013

Worry is a Waste

The following article was written by Dan Skognes whose LinkedIn bio credits him as “Paraprofessional, Educator, Teacher, Trainer, Coach, Author, Keynote Speaker Agent, Connector and Encourager”.

Dan is based in Fort Worth, Dallas, US and his website “Instilling Salt and Light”  is here http://danskognes.com/

Worry is a Waste

Are you one of those people who love to imagine the worst things when it comes to the future? Have you ever wondered why you do this? Why do you dwell on what might happen in the future to the detriment of what is happening now?

Here are a few things I know about worry:

• It robs you of the joy of the present. You will miss countless blessings going on right now if you focus on the “what ifs” of the future.
• It accomplishes nothing good. It clutters your brain with useless information. It derails you from tasks at hand. It deflates your energy. It causes health problems. It harms other people because of the negativity attached to it. Need I go on?
• Worry is rooted in fear. You have to identify that fear and confront it head on. If you are allowing worry to rule your thoughts and behavior, you will never have peace. If you don’t have peace in your life, what do you really have?
• Worry is a habit….a bad one. Most people who worry do it on a regular basis. They have become accustomed to expecting the worst in life.
• Worry can be replaced with faith. When you have faith in God and faith in yourself, it is like putting on a good pair of glasses. You just see things more clearly.

I understand that you may have things that have happened in your life that I could not possibly understand. I don’t claim to. I only know that worrying about them and what will happen tomorrow will do nothing positive for you. Don’t waste time and energy on things that may or may not happen. If you can do something to change your circumstances in a positive fashion, then by all means do it. If you can’t, let it go and move on. Life is too short to be stuck in reverse.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes
www.danskognes.com