POP A PILL OR GROW A POTATO?

Posted in emotional health, mental health, recovery with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2014 by thoroughbred24

food_pills_finlay

Ever see those sci fi movies where no one eats food anymore –

they all pop pills instead?

Its sort of happened already

dont you think?

I mean

WHEN DID YOU LAST GROW A POTATO?

We all eat crisps and french fries

but I have never planted a potato

or dug one out of the soil.

Are you kidding?

Why would I?

sounds far too much like hard work!

Someone else does that for me!

potato-picker-ngv

As a result –

The source of my nutrition

is as far removed from my everyday experience

as Jupiter!

It may be easier but it sure aint healthier!

 

We do the same when it comes to feeding our souls.

We may lack nutrients

from emotional malnutrition

in our childhoods,

or because of toxic relationships later on.

So what do we do?

Go organic?

Get our hands dirty in the hard work of growing our own?

NO

We go to our local pharmaceutical supermarket –

the doctor –

and try to get our emotional nutrition in a pill.

hirst_pharmaceuticals

PLEASE DON’T MISUNDERSTAND ME –

I am an advocate

of anti-depressants and mood stabilisers –

when they are needed.

I have used them myself

and I still take Prozac today.

 

What I’m talking about here is

stuff like –

silencing

the critical voice in our head

borne out of abusive

or unhealthy

relationships.

And

replacing it

with a

Barry White

type

voice of loving encouragement

and affirmation.

barry white

Breaking habitual negative and anxious thought patterns

and learning

to make

more positive,

confident

habitual thought patterns

that enable you

to live a life without fear.

A life you love living.

Unknown

Yes it’s hard work!

Learning to live free from anxiety

by re-sculpting my plastic brain –

re-shaping my neural pathways,

has been one of the hardest things I have ever done.

And it took time.

But let me tell you –

IT HAS CHANGED MY LIFE !

 

So get out your gardening gloves!

Over the next few posts

I’m going to teach you

how to grow a potato!

SIGN POTATOES

PLASTIC FANTASTIC

Posted in our thought lives with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2014 by thoroughbred24

drawings_and_paintings-brains-brains01

I thought my brain was a stone,

set hard.

I thought I was stuck with it

just the way it is.

But hey –

guess what?

Its plastic,

malleable,

and I can,

with time

and patience

make it a shape

that serves me better.

I can streamline it,

make it aerodynamic

so it flies

faster,

safer,

to destinations of my choosing.

Jet-plane-in-flight231

I’m not stuck with it

just the way it is.

Ok!

What am I talking about?

Well,

Our thought lives

determine our behaviour.

Right?

It is our

habitual

negative,

thought patterns

that make our lives

anxious

and scary.

self-portrait-or-desperate-man-gustave-courbet

It was always assumed

that

we are hardwired

from birth.

But now,

neuroscience tells us

we are not

and that we can

Sculpt

our neural pathways,

our thought lives,

into shapes

and patterns

that serve us better

that make life

more enjoyable.

Malvina Hoffman 1885-1966 - American sculptor - Tutt'Art@ (24)

“THIS IS JUST THE WAY I AM!”

is not a painful

frustrating,

truth

you have to live with anymore.

you can change who you are

by changing how you think!!

You are not just human beings –

you are human becomings!!

You can become who you want to be.

This is not a glib “power of positive thinking” motivational speech.

This is science

and psychology

and it can change your life –

It changed mine.

In my next post I’ll talk about how how to start this process, and how to keep going until your life is less anxious and negative, better, easier, and happier.

I am talking from personal experience here

and

It can be done!!!!

hope

Invictus

Posted in Uncategorized on January 16, 2014 by thoroughbred24

This piece so speaks to me that I thought it would also speak to those who follow my blog – read and be inspired!

HUNGRY ?

Posted in feeding the hungry child, learning to love yourself again with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2014 by thoroughbred24

sap_605x300_baby_012

Parents are supposed to feed their children.

Did yours?

Parents are supposed to make sure their children eat healthy food.

Did yours?

If they didn’t

then you are malnourished.

It’s a fact.

This creates a physical effect.

It impacts how healthy you are

as an adult.

This is isn’t rocket science.

It’s common sense.

You will have vitamin deficiencies,

an underdeveloped immune system,

fatigue,

and other assorted issues.

If you have any sense at all

you will address this

absence of nourishment

in your early years.

You will visit a nutritionist

and

discuss the matter.

You will

take her advice,

take her supplements,

and

learn how to feed yourself

now

with what you lacked

as a child.

There is no stigma attached to this –

You are simply hungry!

gustav klimmt

gustav klimmt

Parents are supposed to love their children.

Did yours?

Parents are supposed to make sure their children are nurtured and validated.

Did yours?

If they didn’t

then you are malnourished.

It’s a fact.

This creates emotional effects.

It impacts how whole you are

as an adult.

This isn’t rocket science.

It’s common sense.

You will have emotional deficiencies,

an underdeveloped sense of self,

insecurities,

and other assorted issues.

If you have any sense at all

you will address this

absence of nourishment

in your early years.

You will visit a therapist

and

discuss the matter.

You will

take her advice,

take her prescription,

and

learn how to feed yourself

now

with what you lacked

as a child.

There should be no stigma attached to this –

You are simply hungry.

 

A therapist is really just an emotional nutritionist !!!!!

It is only ignorance in our society that tells us there is any stigma attached to addressing the mental/emotional needs that arise out of lack in our childhoods.

DONT BUY INTO THAT LIE !

FIND OUT HOW TO FEED YOURSELF NOW !

food

Are you aware of any consequences in your adult life of a lack of validation or nurturing in your early years?

Please share the ways you have discovered to feed and nurture yourself now – it will help others in the same boat.

SORRY I’VE NOT BEEN OUT TO PLAY LATELY

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on November 7, 2013 by thoroughbred24

 

Image

 

I have not posted recently.

Its not because I have lost interest

or don’t want to come out to play with all of you.

I have been having horrendous withdrawal symptoms

since I have come off the benzodiazepan I was prescribed 

and became addicted to three years ago.

I miss being part of the wordpress community

and will be back.

In the meantime I will post when I can 

and continue to read what the rest of you are up to.

Karen

 

 

 

 

BITE THE SNAKE

Posted in bite the snake with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2013 by thoroughbred24

EXCITING NEWS!!

I have written a book!

BITE_THE_SNAKE

“How to extract the poison from your past and enjoy playing in the present”

Click here to sign up for updates about Bite the Snake

It is my passion in life
to work with people
that life has trampled on.
Whatever big boot
it was that
squashed the self-belief out of them –
damaged childhood,
domestic abuse,
bullying –
I consider it a privilege
when I can help them
understand,
through the work I do,
that they did not deserve
the treatment they received,
and show them how
to regain
their self-worth
and learn to
love themselves again.

loving herself 2

I speak out of my own experience.
After a “big boot”
crushed me underfoot
I had to learn
to live again,
believe again –
that I was worth loving.
Trust again –
that I had value.

I wish I had had a book
like this to read
when I was
trying
to figure it all out.
I am so happy
that I have been able
to write this
and help others on their way.

smiling hand

THE SURPRISE PARTY

Posted in THE SURPRISE OF RECOVERY with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2013 by thoroughbred24
painting by Fahad Hassain

painting by Fahad Hossain

Have you ever had a birthday
when no one remembered ?
A birthday when no one rang
to wish you “Happy Birthday”,
no one at work brought in a card,
and only acquaintances,
and your boss said anything at all?

It sucks right !?
It makes you feel
alone,
unloved,
unhappy,
it can even make you wonder
what life is all about.
Make you
doubt yourself,
doubt your self-worth,
doubt the people you thought were friends,
doubt your judgement.
At its worst
it can even make you feel
depressed,
despairing.

BUT THEN

You arrive home,
the windows are dark,
the house is silent.
You put your key in the front door –
and the moment you walk in
the house lights up like a firework!
A crowd of people
are cheering
and shouting out
“SURPRISE!!!”
as they
jump up and down,
throw streamers
and set off party poppers,
and then they –
run at you,
hug you,
kiss you
with big smiles on their faces.

surprise party 1

Suddenly the sadness is gone.
You know you are
loved,
valued,
cared about.
Loneliness leaves,
self doubt is dispelled,
despair dissipates.
The present,
and the future, look
BRIGHT.

HEALING
is often like this too!

It can seem far away,
even impossible.
We can be filled
with the feeling
that we will never recover.
Pain,
depression,
despair,
self-doubt,
self-loathing,
loneliness,
seem to be our only companions.

depression

I have been there.
I know that feeling.
I wanted to –
give up,
let go,
stop fighting for survival.
stop hoping for a better day to come.
I even contemplated
suicide
at times.

BUT THEN – out of the blue –

RECOVERY SURPRISED ME!!!

Hope lit up the room
and threw party poppers.
Joy ran at me and held me
in a welcoming embrace.
The present
was not so scary,
and the future not so dark.

drawing by holymoocow

drawing by holymoocow

Here’s the thing!!
If I had given in
to the feelings of despair –
NOT kept hoping
for a better day,
If I had given up
and checked out –
even just the day before –

I WOULD HAVE MISSED THE PARTY!

I met a young woman,
in the clinic in Cape Town,
who is 29 years old.
She became a heroin addict
at a very young age
during a time of trauma and abandonment.
She is beautiful,
both inside and out.
When I met her
it was her 21st time in a rehab clinic!!!
SHE REFUSES TO GIVE UP!!
She believes that one day
she will get clean
and stay clean.
And do you know what?
I believe she will too!
I believe she will one day soon
attend her own
SURPRISE PARTY!

drug-rehab-center

The damage
done to me by my loving
but unwitting parents
during my childhood.
The damage
done to me
by an abusive husband
over 10 years
during my twenties.
It has taken until
the age of 54
for me to be really free of it.

THAT’S A LONG TIME!

That’s 24 years!

But if I had given up,
checked out,
at the times I was tempted to
during those years
I would have missed
THE SURPRISE PARTY
of recovery
that eventually came.

So I urge anyone reading this –
If you are tempted
to give in
or
give up.
DON’T !
Keep on keeping on.
Look for people to –
support you,
walk with you,
give you hope,
pick you up when you fall down –
but
KEEP GOING!

Your SURPRISE PARTY
Could be just around the corner!!!

hope

Please know that you can chat to me about any aspect of recovery you like – if I don’t know the answer I will find out for you
DON’T WALK ALONE!

————————————————————————————–

TALKING OF WALKING – IT WOULD BE WONDERFUL IF YOU COULD CHECK OUT THE DONATE PAGE BELOW AND SPONSOR ME IN A WALK I AM DOING FOR THE MENTAL HEALTH CHARITY I WORK FOR – THANKS

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MAN ON THE MOON

Posted in MAN ON THE MOON with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 28, 2013 by thoroughbred24

the moon

5.30 this morning.
I go downstairs to the car park
of my apartment building,
(we have no balcony!)
for a cigarette.
I look up
and I see the moon
in all her glory.
I am awe-struck –
as if its the first time I’ve seen it.
I think to myself
that not all that long ago
the moon was a mystery.
Scientists
had not invented a telescope
big enough
to see it properly.
NO ONE
had stood on the moon
and taken pictures
of what we,
the earth,
look like from there.
We had no idea
of what we looked like
in the grand scale of things.
We had no way
of putting ourselves
into perspective
on a universal scale.
NOW WE CAN!!!
earh from the moon
This is important to me
because
I have just returned
from a private clinic
in Cape Town,
South Africa,
where I underwent
a medical detox
for a benzodiazapene,
(tranquilizor)
that my doctor
prescribed
when I experienced
a period of anxiety
3 years ago.
She did NOT make it clear
it was addictive.
The anxiety passed.
The addiction did not!
Turns out that
The National Health Service,
here in Britain,
will give out this shit
like candy
but does not provide an exit strategy.
For the last 3 years
I have been trying to come off it –
without success –
because the side effects are
HORRENDOUS!!
My life was being torn apart.

torn clothing

In the end
I had no choice
but to go private.
I am blessed
that I received a compensation
pay-out at this time,
for something,
that enabled me to afford it.
There are MANY others
who are not so fortunate.

I am home now,
back in London,
CLEAN!

BUT

the on-going side effects
of withdrawal
from a benzodiazapene
are also
HORRENDOUS!!
no one prepared me for this!!
Yesterday
I spent hours
at the emergency room
of a local hospital
having chest x-rays,
and EGC’s
because I thought
I was having
a heart attack.
I passed out for 2 hours
while writing an email to my boss.
Even when sitting still
it feels like a steam train is running through me!!

steam train

Of course
all my tests came back healthy.
This was a relief
BUT
what the F***K
was wrong with me?
I went on a website
http://www.benzobuddies.com
and all was revealed.
It turns out that
that being on a benzo
causes such trauma
to the brain
and central nervous system,
that once a person
has come off of it –
they have to work really really
hard to heal.
Neurotransmitters
are struggling to reconnect –
the brain and the body
are desperately trying to
put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

humpty dumpty

So I looked at the moon
this morning
and thought to myself –
THANK GOD
there has been a man on my moon!
THANK GOD
there are people out there
who have seen the view from up there
and can give me perspective.
THANK GOD
there are those
who have experienced this
and can support
and encourage me.

It can take up to a year
for these side effects
to abate.
But I am not alone!!!!
There are other astronauts with me!

I will be ok!!!

man on the moon

To all of you who have supported me and prayed for me during this time – thank you so much
To anybody who is going through this themselves – don’t give up – stay strong – go to http://www.benzobuddies.com
Contact me if you like – I am happy to answer any questions you may have.

GOD BLESS

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BEDTIME FOR BENZO

Posted in Tranquillizers with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 22, 2013 by thoroughbred24

bedtime for bonzo

While I lived in the US
Ronald Reagan,
somehow, managed to become
The President of the United States of America.
I say “somehow” because
in his preceding
career he was
best known
for playing side-kick
to a chimp
in some forgettable films,
which included
“BEDTIME FOR BONZO”.
It interested me
that this same Mr Reagan,
who later rose to
such dizzy heights,
was
while associated
with Bonzo,
ADDICTED TO MEDIOCRITY.
And that putting
“Bonzo to bed”
was key to him
reaching his
potential.

ronald reagan

WHY DO I MENTION THIS?

Well,
I’m not saying
I aspire
to be President.
but I am sick
to death
of the mediocrity
in my life.
I wish to leave
it behind,
to get on
and reach
my potential –
whatever that might be.
I WANT TO PUT MY BENZO TO BED
But I am stuck,
and I can’t.

question

LET ME EXPLAIN.

Just over 2 years ago I was seeing a therapist who for several years listened, and talked me through the “why’s” of the debilitating “anxiety” that I experienced at times since ending my abusive marriage. She also taught me the “how’s” of managing these times until they buggered off completely. She was terrific and I worked hard.
I have not needed to see her for 2 years now which is wonderful.

HOWEVER

During the time that I was seeing this therapist my well-meaning doctor put me on lorazepam to help ease the anxiety. She did not tell me it was addictive. Lorazepam is a benzodiazepine. It is called Ativan in the US. Benzo is a shortened name for benzodiazepine.

I have, for the last 2 years, been attempting to come off Lorazepam – my benzo.
I HAVE FAILED.
Here is why –

“It is more difficult to withdraw people from benzodiazepines than it is from heroin. It just seems that the dependency is so ingrained and the withdrawal symptoms you get are so intolerable that people have a great deal of problem coming off……..” Professor Malcolm H Lader, Royal Maudesley Hospital

Here is a photo I took that, for me, captures how it feels to be addicted to a benzo

IMG_1687

YOU FEEL HUMAN BUT NOT QUITE HUMAN

There is a strong feeling of disassociation, like living in a fuzzy mental bubble.
communication is difficult because short term memory fails you and words are hard to recall.
Also it sometimes just feels like too much effort to hold a conversation.
It is impossible to concentrate for long periods of time.
Fatigue is all consuming.
Muscle aches and cramps, joint pain and swelling are SO painful.
Occasional numbness and tremor in the hands.
Walking is difficult sometimes.
Coordination is off.
Vision is impaired.
Bloating and nausea.
Irritability.
Over reaction to small things.
The need to withdraw, be alone, or sleep is often overwhelming.
All sorts of problems with digestive system.
Bouts of insomnia
etc etc etc etc etc

lorazepam

For the last 2 and 1/2 years I have taken 1 mg of lorazapem 4 times a day because it’s so hard to come off.
I now know that this dose means that I am taking the equivalent to 40 grams of valium each day!

THAT IS A HEFTY DOSE OF TRANQUILLIZER

I asked my GP to see if the NHS provided medically assisted withdrawal.
She looked but could find NOTHING.
I searched the web for charities, support groups etc that would assist me to come off my benzo.
I found ONE and this turned out to be so utterly useless it made you want to take more drugs!!!!!
I TRIED TO COME OFF ON MY OWN –
I followed on-line advice to reduce the dose by shaving minute bits off one pill over several weeks.
I got down to 3 pills a day but the side effects were so awful I had to return to 4 a day.
I then tried another on-line method.
My doctor gave me the equivalent dose of valium for the lorazepam I would shave off. The plan being to eventually transfer to valium altogether which is easier to withdraw from.
Again I got down to 3 pills a day but the side effects knocked me for six and I had to go back up to 4 a day.

I WAS AT MY WIT’S END

BECAUSE

The symptoms described above were taking their toll on my:-

Ability to reliably turn up to my job and be able to do it when I was there.
Ability to connect effectively with my partner of 12 years.
Ability to turn up to planned events with friends and family.

I eventually had to quit my job.
My partner, understandably, experienced a lot of stress and resentment owing to my behaviour.
It has put a lot of stress on our relationship – and this is not yet resolved.
That is worrying.

another-anime-theories-blog-eyepatch-girl-deaths-parakeet-final-destination

WHY AM I TELLING YOU ALL THIS?

There are several reasons

This last month I have reached crisis point and have been so unwell that My partner has graciously paid for me to go to a private clinic to withdraw from lorazepam.

Crescent+Clinic+Cape+Town+-76233_l_6fc5a6aec6df1e85a74427e2196f505f

I leave on Saturday 24th August for Cape Town, South Africa for 3 weeks.
It is cheaper than to go to any private clinic of similar quality in the UK.
I am NOT looking forward to it – I understand it is a very unpleasant experience

BUT I LONG to be free of this toxic substance that has me addicted to mediocrity, it is:-
ruining my health
ruining my working life
ruining my ability to be independent financially.
ruining my creativity and ability to fulfil plans
and most of all – potentially ruining my relationship with my wonderful girlfriend.

I could have quietly skulked off and pretended I was going on holiday,
BUT I wanted to be honest and transparent on this blog
BECAUSE
there are loads of people going through this.
It SO important to know that we are not alone.
IF my being open helps someone then that is great.

hug 1

So – I will not be blogging for 3 weeks as I undergo treatment.

But please if you have read this and you too are suffering on a benzo
do get in touch,
share your experience if you want to
and I will reply on my return.
I am not wise
I do not have the answers
but I have been there,
I do understand
and would love to have a chat.

so it’s

“BEDTIME FOR BENZO”

and remember

DONT GIVE UP!

hope

LEMONADE FOR THE SOUL

Posted in dry days. with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 14, 2013 by thoroughbred24

IMG_2701

During these hot summer months
It’s important
to keep hydrated.
When you travel
on the London underground
you hear regularly
over the platform
loudspeakers –

“IN THIS HOT WEATHER PASSENGERS ARE ADVISED TO CARRY A BOTTLE OF WATER WITH THEM.”

Its good advice.

Do you know what else is
good advice?
Always carry with you
something you can read,
listen to,
or just glance at,
to remind yourself that you’re going to be ok!
That you are strong even though you feel weak.
That you are acceptable,
good enough,
someone of value,
and lovable.
That there is
HOPE,
and to not give up
or hang your head.
That in this moment you are in –
YOU ARE SAFE
and even if it feels like a storm is raging
KNOW
it will grow calm –
over time –
and you will find –
A QUIET PLACE AGAIN.

THIS IS HYDRATION FOR YOUR SPIRIT –

This is –

LEMONADE FOR THE SOUL!!!!!!!

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