Pancakes with Mother

Pancake day, Shrove Tuesday is a difficult day for me. Along with Christmas, Summer Holidays spent in America and Easter Sundays. Growing up days such as these offered welcome reprieve from my mothers draconic regimes.

My family were strict Catholics and attended mass every Saturday, we lived next door to the Parish Church, my mother worked at the church and was friends with preists socially, my older brothers had all been Alter servers as boys as had I for a period of time. So it also meant extra religious rituals.

But that isn’t why even now it has bittersweet connotations. Growing up my mother only provided me with a hot meal on a Saturday and Sunday, it would be something like chicken nuggets, chips, peas or fish fingers. She did not cook a weekly roast dinner, this was reserved for Easter Sunday, New years day, Christmas day. During the week lunch and Tea would be a Sandwich, lunch a sandwich with cheese spread or ham a apple & ski yogurt, tea a butter sandwich with banana or sandwich with spread such as jam and a individual cake & mug of milk.

It has always been difficult to understand her reasoning for her rigid food regime, my older brothers were many years older but were fed well and with hot food. My younger brother was given hot food at school and snacks and also was fed after I had been sent to bed. If other people were around I seemed to be fed better, the short periods I was at school I would get a snack normally biscuit based for break time and a packet of crisps with my sandwich for lunch.

Christmas day, I was allowed chocolate coins for breakfast and was allowed a chocolate bar from my selection boxes instead of my cake for tea until they ran out. The same for Easter, half a egg for breakfast on Easter Sunday with milk…it was heavenly!! During holidays in America I was allowed Ice creams, and the Breakfasts with pancakes and the huge dinners where even the kids meals were Adult sized.

But Pancake day is Special to me because my mother would actually make me Pancakes, even toss it. Auntie Betty’s thick american pancakes, with actual maple syrup. Growing up she has never made me toast, or hot chocolate, we rarely sat together for a meal. We never baked, we didn’t have a weekly roast. Even the Roast dinners for special occasions were prepackaged from high end supermarkets.

It makes little sense, she cooked for herself and my older brothers when they were home. Financially she was well off, I seemed to be the one who suffered the most from her strict food regimes. There were sporadic periods of reprieve. But snacks or drinks between meals did not happen, i was not allowed to touch food or even water at anytime during my 13 years at home. From the age of 12 breakfast was removed from my daily life as well, although my mug of milk was still permitted.

As I sit here now, as a adult I cant say im thinking lovingly of my mother. But I feel an bewildering softening. A sense of doubt at my own memories. A tinge of regret. A desire to understand, a sense of questions unanswered.

Pancake day was probably the day my mother showed the most spontaneous act of love…She made the Pancakes with her own hand, not as part of a show, not like the Roast dinners which were run like a orchestra on special occasions in front of others. I treasure this memories even as it frustrates me.

Hear me out!

Often those with chronic Mental health issues are faced with scrutiny. Scrutiny over nearly every aspect of their lives and presentation, their appearance, their immediate environment. “How can they live like that?” “Why do they not take more pride in their appearance?”

Imagine years spent in institutions where you had no access to razors, make up. Had to ask permission or earn the right to have unsupervised access to a hairbrush, toiletries, even sanitary towels? Tampons and aerosols/ perfume were strictly banned. Had to earn the right to have a few minutes unsupervised in the shower or bath, where the water trickles in 15 second increments for a regulated allowance of repetitions and is always tepid. Yes earn the right! Because often at first you were forced to shower under supervision and even while unsupervised you are so afraid that the door will be opened by accident you wash hastily or in a swimming costume freezing and holding your breath at every noise outside the door.

Imagine your institutionalisation has commenced during adolescence: precious years of self exploration, where hormones and hair develop, when your peers in the community are discovering make up/ self grooming, learning how to shave/ put in tampons. Adapting to wearing a bra. Whilst you are rarely allowed to wear a bra, a hoodie, clothing with certain buttons/zips/laces. You are only permitted to lounge about in sweatpants, in your deepest distress you are often left on the floor of a ‘safe’ room in a dirty ligature proof blanket or ligature clothing rancid and stained with blood and other bodily fluids as they are difficult to wash and underwear is not permitted.

“How can they live like this?” Some ex psychiatric patients have been left in cells/ safe rooms days/months/years on the floor, under a blanket with a kidney bowl to toilet in, with finger food served on paper plates, many units force patients to wear minimal clothing. Rooms are often bare, mattress are thin wipe down plastic on hard bases, duvets are wipe down and duvet mattress are not always provided or allowed. The right to have personal belongings such as teddies, toilet Aries/ clothes/ books is not a right it’s a privilege which is hard earnt and is taken away as punishment. Photos/posters etc if allowed are designated to a small area of the wall. The quantity of these items is regulated and if exceeded the surplus is thrown out if no other storage is available.

Ex psychiatric patients are often used to drinks times/meal times, plastic cups, utensils, meal times are often tense affairs where the food is unsatisfactory, patients are forced together at uncomfortable seating arrangements. And staff are on high alert. Years after leaving hospital patients can find the heaviness of metal cutlery and plates unnerving and cumbersome. Hot food/drinks can be intolerable after years of lukewarm temperatures.

Personally leaving hospital at 21 years old after being institutionalised since 16 years old was a shock. I had had no access to youth culture, I had had no access to make up, underwire bras, heels, hoodies, razors. I was not on the internet, even magazines were limited. I had not had access to healthy food or chances to make my own drinks. I was deemed functional because I had earnt the privilege of being allowed my hairbrush, toothbrush, shower gel, shampoo in my room, 1 of each! I was not clued up about conditioner! I was released in sweatpants which had expanded with my weight, weight gained through anti-psychotics, lack of access to exercise and comfort eating. I was released to the first hostel that would take me, I was released to a part of the country I had never been before, with no support network with no way to contact my friends who were still in hospital. I had no social skills, I had little education. I was treated with disdain by peers, I was treated with disdain by professionals.

So when you comment how can someone live like that? Because they have a mattress on the floor, no duvet covers, only a couple of plates/cups etc. Maybe they don’t always shave, or condition, use make up, maybe they don’t wear a bra or matching socks. Maybe they eat with their fingers or their hygiene is not up to your standard. Think!

When you’ve been left on a dirty hard floor under a blanket in a tiny cell with both your toilet and paper plate inch’s from your face for hours, days etc.

When you’ve been forced to wear minimal clothing and have never learnt or had access to anything above basic hygiene necessities.

When anything and everything feels like it can be taken away.

When you still have flashbacks from institutions, when you still mourn your lost youth, when you still feel the derision and the injustice of that derision from a community who kicked you to the kerb. Who expect you for the few minutes they pay attention to you, they expect you to be perfectly groomed and environment immaculate before they leave you to your torment and isolation these things are not your priority…survival is your priority!

Instead of looking down realise your privilege! Vent over!

Solitary in Secure!

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Solitary confinement –WikipediaThe UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and other UN bodies have stated that the solitary confinement (physical and social isolation of 22–24 hours per day for 1 day or more) of young people under age 18, for any duration, constitutes cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment.

I was 17 years old when I endured a 9 month stay in a Secure Children’s Home near Southampton, I was imprisoned by the Family Court in Alton under a Welfare Order initially for 3 months, extended every 3 months for a further 3 months. A Welfare Order is imposed on Children in the Care system who have not been criminally convicted of a crime but are perceived to be unmanageable in the community due to reasons such as absconding or disruptive behaviour in their placements, engaging in self-harm, suicidal, or risk taking behaviours. Refusal to attend school or at risk of engaging in criminal activities. In some cases as a young person can be held in these units up to 72 hours without a Court Order Young people can be held for a few days purely because no other placement can be found quickly enough.

Secure Children’s homes are primarily to accommodate children aged between 10-17 sentenced through the Criminal Courts. They have higher staff to resident ratio & generally cater to younger YPs with vulnerabilities. Whilst I was there average age was 14, though there were a few 13 year olds & one 12 year old, there were sometimes 15 year old boys but they had often been identified as vulnerable and always had the threat of being transferred to a Secure Training Centre or Young Offenders institution hanging over them if they caused trouble. Girls tended to be older 15/16 even 17 year olds. Staff wore their own clothes and were described as Social workers, they had a belt with keys, walk-in talkie and alarm around their waists. The Secure Children’s home I was sent to had two beds reserved for Children on Welfare Orders. The rest were for Children sentenced through the criminal justice system and were often there for serious or repeat offences. Ironically the repeat offenders were often sentenced to less then 3 months & chance of release at halfway point. Even one of the lads with the most serious offence was out in 8 months.

I was sent by the family court in 2003 at 17 years old, It was not my first stay, I had had a previous 3 stays all less then 3 months in the previous 18 months. The previous 3 hadn’t been too bad, my behaviour had been passable, I’d attended education, the gym. The structure had helped me and I kept my head down. This time was different though, I was unwell, traumatised by exposure to severe sexual assaults, I’d experienced gang rapes, grooming, being mugged on two occasions one where sexual assault was the primary objective and stealing my phone was to prevent me calling for help. I had been beaten by a man with a crowbar and was in the process to go to court to give evidence to hopefully secure conviction for GBH with offensive weapon, my assailant was looking at 5 years (charges got dropped because I was in secure and could not attend court so was seen as unreliable witness) I was angry and suicidal. I was off medications.

I remember what I got secluded for, it was for swearing in a sentence and being told to go to my room. I refused, I couldn’t face being alone with all my thoughts, all the memories with no distractions. With my chest screaming and nothing to pacify it, our rooms were bare at best of times. I was pre-bronze so a part from my mattress and duvet, pillows and a few books I had nothing. And I wasn’t convinced they wouldn’t remove them. The Order was repeated, I refused then one of the male staff grasped my elbows in a basket hold I think it’s called from behind and restrained me to my room. The restraint is not meant to cause pain, but believe me it does, it fucking kills! I was then held facedown bent over the bed whilst my duvet, pillows and books, were removed. I was then released and they ran out. Restraint meant the start of 24hr isolation, they had left my mattress but I just used it to obscure the viewing panel so they came mob handed and removed it from the room. I spent a while banging and kicking the doors and windows but soon got bored. Traumatic memories started to overwhelm me, I can’t describe them but I just needed them to stop, I’d hit my head, punch the sides of my temples to try knock myself unconscious getting angrier and angrier at myself as my attempts failed, I’d goad myself start smashing my jaw and face, fucking coward fucking coward just like when they fucked you, didn’t fucking stop them did you! Fucking coward! Over and over again! Staff would peer in through the viewing panel , warning me I would be in longer the more I continued, a few attempts were made to engage me but they were aggressively framed: “What’s up with you? Why are you behaving like this? No need for it!”I couldn’t ever see their facial expressions, they had taken my glasses, and their voices always sounded hostile to me. Soon they gave up and I couldn’t keep punching myself….it hurt too much. I moved on to searching the room for anything that could be used to cut with…I tried the plug sockets for any loose screws, or odd bits of plastic on the floor…literally anything. Every time I injured myself, every bang, punch, cut, ligature restarted the 24hr isolation in room.

I could see no way out, my self harm became suicide attempts with ligatures, it was bleak…my matteress and bedding were taken out early morning and not returned until 9pm. I used my clothes, eventually they would leave me with minimal clothing, ugly thick shorts, muscle tops with no bra which left me self conscious as my side boobs were visible….no socks, that progressed to no clothes for hours at a time….I would huddle in a blind spot under the built in plastic desk, male staff were still being allowed to do my checks, they would bang on the viewing panel on the door, they would open the blinds in the window from the control button in the locked cupboard next to my room and a member of staff would peer in from outside, often male, sometimes the other YPs would be outside playing, I couldn’t see how much they could see of me as I huddled partially or completely unclothed. The staff would speak to each other through their radios and if I could hear them say things like: “Yeah she’s tied a ligature, yeah leave it she ll take it off when she wants to.” In a almost bored tone. And sometimes I would but not always and not before my nose bled, sometimes even my eyes, my face became mottled and purple and my nose became snuffed & bunged up and breath painful and rugged. Sometimes they would rush in & drag me out from under the desk, pin me facedown, yanking the ligature roughly and cutting off with ligature cutters, running out straight after leaving me gasping on the floor. The lack of compassion left me feeling worse. Sometimes they would leave me with a ligature until I passed out, they would actually stand at the viewing panel banging to try get a response gloatingly saying “I can hear your still breathing, we re not going to come in and cut it off, we will just wait till you pass out, it’s easier that way” a few times when I passed out the deputy manager would be there when I regained consciousness, they would sit me up on the bed base one either side of me, someone would get me a drink, and the deputy manager would speak softly to me while I cried, the scare always made me more pliable, She would promise me if I kept safe for a few hours she would let me have a book. They never took any obs or called a dr but they would talk to me a bit longer. And the near death experience always shook me up and rid me of my suicidal and self injurious urges for the rest of the day. I just felt incredibly numb and tired.

As weeks passed into months I became increasingly desperate, I ripped up the carpet, I managed to get the metal plug socket off the wall, I harmed myself with my barehands, I attempted to run out the door whenever they opened it. They would keep cold air blowing from the vents, I was always freezing, the only furniture to sit on was the solid built plastic bed base, it made my bum numb, and was cold and uncomfortable. They started to play classical music on a radio outside my room despite me telling them it triggered memories of past abuse, they laughed as I literally ran at the walls and screaming while it played. For days at a time my only interactions were restraints to remove ligatures, 3 staff coming in ordering me to face the back wall while they bought me finger food on paper plates, or came in to drag me off my mattress & bedding at 8am which they didn’t return until 9pm, or to put a squirt of my toiletries on the sink base or give clothes. I became increasingly feral. Every few days a member of staff called Maggie would come play cards with me for 20 minutes or so, I treasured those minutes, she would leave the pack of cards and had taught me how to play clockwork orange, the moment I self harmed they would be taken out again.

I wasn’t allowed out for exercise or fresh air and there was a en-suite attached to my room that could be locked back or shut. The water could be turned off from the locked cupboard outside my room and the water was tepid. I had no phone access but I had no one to phone anyway.

About 5 months in they called the duty DR for me, he came and gave me a IM of Respiridol and said I needed to be sectioned but there were no adolescent beds, The deputy manager said she had called him because I was having what appeared to be an psychotic break, it’s fuzzy something about Bob the builder but I don’t know what had got them so worried as I had been pretty fucked up for the previous 5 months. He put me on 3mg of Respirodol but I was taken off it after 6 weeks after a ECG among other dangerously adverse reactions.

Eventually 4 months after being assessed and Section 3 recommended I was transferred to a Medium secure adolescent hospital….weirdly I didn’t want to leave, there were staff who had tried to make things better for me, sneaking in a book, or snacks, Maggie had played cards, one of the male staff was quite nice and would speak to me during checks. One of the female night staff would sometimes comfort me if I had flashbacks at night.

But a lot of it was torment, I’ve wondered how they got away with it, but then I discovered restraints and seclusion’s were only reported to the Ministry of Justice and only for the YPs serving Criminal Sentences. Despite paperwork being completed it was not regulated by anyone! Those on Welfare orders did not have anyone checking that seclusion was not being overused, that restraints were not inappropriate, that medical advise was sought after suicide attempts. That we were not being subjected to punitive regimes due to our disability’s like Autism/ ADHD, or due to mental health related symptoms! Fucking ridiculous!

I’m not sure how much has changed since 2003, all I know is the memories I have from that experience still haunt me. My heart pangs when I remember being left bloodied sobbing partially clothed on the floor and the long hours left with my pain and confusion. Why me why me why me! Arghhhhhhh! I internally recoil when I think how feral I became.

Unfortunately the hospital was not any better TBC thank you for reading please leave a like or comment if you can.

Written 4/04/21

Self absorbed?

I’m sitting here on my sofa amid a Pandemic and I don’t care if catch it and die. I care about how it’s thrown my stability. I care that today I’ve woken up with a lump in my throat, with eyes already tired from unshed tears. Curled up on a stale sofa in a stale dressing gown with my stale body un groomed and clogged up with shitty food that has no nutritional value and I’m just shovelling in to try fill the emptiness but instead it’s just cementing it. I can’t go to work until Saturday, the longer I’m away from others the more I’m disappearing, I’m finding it harder each day to fight my demons. Both my internal and external world are becoming scarier and intermingled. I’m finding it difficult to find reasons to stay alive. I can’t stand the stuff in my head for much longer and now I have the added shame that my preoccupations with my own struggles are self-absorbed. Everyone’s going through anxiety at the moment I understand but that doesn’t mean people’s pre existing conditions have gone away…if anything they ve excerberated. It’s not worth struggling with the flashbacks and dissociation and traumatic scenarios that I have without human connection, without my job and the productivity, without stability. I’m floundering but I guess I’m not alone in that. But please if someone reaches out to you don’t minimise or devalue…don’t just say well everyone’s anxious at the moment…they probably been holding it in out of shame and fear of that reaction.

What I feel

What I feel:

I don’t feel it’s true you have to love yourself before you can love others:

This is because I don’t believe I deserve love, I was adopted at a young age, taken from a mother who neglected me because she prioritised alcohol over me, I was abused by others repeatedly in all ways imaginable which has reinforced my belief that I am worthless. This affects every aspect of my life even now.

But I find hope and vindication in caring for others. I sought a job in care, it’s a physically and mentally exhausting job but no other vocation is worth the pain and effort it takes me to exist.

Going to work is like a protective force field around me, it shields me from the looks and sniggers from others, it helps me believe I am worthy of the air I breathe and the space I take up on the bus….

Everyday I force myself to get up, feed my fur babies, I find it difficult to attend to my own basic needs,

I just don’t care about myself, who will notice if I’m hairy, who knows if I literally can’t remember the last time I had a meat, 2 veg hot dinner, I feel like Jabba the Hut in clothes, everything about myself disgusts me.

However, this doesn’t seem to impact on my ability to care for others…Everyone else deserves better, they are worthy. My life can be in tatters, I can return to a cold, husk of a flat, receiving a brief emotional respite as my fur babies greet me at the door,

this is my favourite part of the day: Fee fee jumps up excitedly as I enter, then jumps on Banksy as if to say: “she’s back! I told you she’d be back!” I rush to the loo and throw up, the upheaval of concentrated anxiety that has been sitting in my stomach since I left the house. Hope my cat comes in she seems to like synchronising her litter tray trips with my toilet trips, we do our business awkwardly avoiding eye contact. I feed them all, Banksy ignores the food perfecting to weave around my legs which I always misinterpetate because I still can’t accept or fully understand that he loves me over food and just wants affection.

I don’t have children or a partner, I don’t feel secure in my flat, my animals are my anchor and I often resent this, as I would have to make external arrangements for their well-being if I decide to top myself.

But I would never treat others with the lack of care I give myself….I will stand there and make the appropriate sounds as a fellow colleague thinks it’s borderline neglect if a resident has socks on that don’t match their outfit, I will stand their with no socks on, in trainers that I didn’t realise had holes in untill I walked the 20 minutes from the bus stop in the pissing rain because my washing machine has broken yet again…. or how we can’t cook them casserole today as they had it yesterday! I will stand there and agree because I do agree! My residents deserve to be well cared for, I will always strive to give them the best of me. And they give back…they give me the opportunity to be a better person, they give me time.

I will never love myself, and I truly believe my existence is a burden, my pain seeps out, knocks the equilibrium of those around me, I don’t mean to do that, but I do, it’s understandable that others even those I accept have some fondness for me retreat….it’s a gnawing regret but something I’m used to.

I know that my existence is actually quite draining for those around me, Everything about me seems to jar and attract attention, even positives, like maintaining a job, puts added pressure on my boss and colleagues. So in a way it’s quite selfish of me to even have this job, it’s quite selfish to expose others to me, the worst thing about it is what others see is the tip of the Iceberg….

There’s adverts on tv etc saying how important it is to talk about mental health! It’s all bull, they don’t have the resources. If you talk to others then your attention seeking or over sharing, if you manage to get through it, which is exhausting and torturous then you weren’t ’ serious about it in the first place. But hey no-one will hold there hands up to this at your funeral…and I honestly don’t resent this, not from my family or friends or colleagues, I know I’m difficult, I know you guys need to prioritise your own emotional well-being and I hate that I just can’t be inoffensive.

But the CMHT I do resent, I resent the slanderous reports, I resent the abuse experienced whilst under the care of St Andrews adolescent hospital and Oxleas House, I resent the lack of therapy and support. I’ve asked appropriately for support, in tears, begging for help, in mental torment and you have ignored me.

But the rest of you I don’t expect you to be able to handle my shit, I can’t handle it! I’m too exhausted and it hurts, unfortunately so do many methods of suicide….

I can’t win either way,….

But I want it known that I care….that I understand your resentment, I don’t want sympathy it’s nothing to me, it tastes stale it doesn’t stop the torment, I’d rather you didn’t care because I’m sick of putting you in emotionally draining situations.

I will always love others before myself.

Song MY Skin by Natalie Merchant




The Past bites!

This blog is a brave step for me, it may seem unnecessary, unexpected and over sharing but I feel it’s required because how I am, my past, my present are affecting those around me. people I am learning to care about. people I now interact with on a daily basis….so many people! I’m constantly out of my comfort zone…I try and keep up with all the intricacies of human communication . But it shames me, I’m in a constant state of despair at my inability to fit in, to blend in. I’m not coping with all the different aspects of Adult life. But I try sooooo hard! I try not to make excuses but I do have migrating factors which are valid.

When tired I meltdown as you would expect more from a young child. It’s a disconcerting blend of Autistic spectrum disorder a handful of complex post Traumatic stress disorder and a scoop of Attention deficiet hyperactive disorder plus large number of tablespoons of Social anxiety disorder. Mixed up this is a devilish and difficult thing to manage for both me and those around me. I have trouble with emotional regulation, time blindness, hyperfocus, I have panic and flashbacks. I have intrusive and paranoid thoughts on a loop. They tell me people are going to hurt me and repeat past traumas, I can see it in my minds eye. I then become stilted and blunt, emotionally unpredictable and hyper vigilante.

It’s not that those around me don’t try and help. And it’s not that I don’t appreciate that every person in the world has a past and struggles in life. However, not many people around me can appreciate what it feels like to be taken from your birth mum at 13 months old, or raped by two lads at 11 years old or gang raped at 15 by 8 men. They can’t appreciate time spent in children’s homes exposed to abuse or institutions for 10 years which included 9 months in solitary, left in a bare room alone, left to cry, left to hurt. In those institutions often the only physical contact I experienced was being held down painfully by several large men, injected and left naked on a bare floor while I sobbed and relived previous abuse and hurt myself just to try get all the pain inside to seep out once and for all and it never has.

I’m on medication but it doesn’t always work, I’m not very well in myself at the moment, I’m tired, I jar and am reacting to the things in my head. I’m really trying to do better, be better, be someone who isn’t so offensive and difficult to be around! I’m trying really hard but I’m sorry I can’t always control my behaviours and it shames me, I can’t always blend in and I’m sorry…I try. This post isn’t to gain sympathy maybe empathy and a bit of insight. The past isn’t in the past for me but the hope that it may one day be keeps me stumbling along.

Into the fires of Mordor

A little about my experience in a secure children’s home called Swanwick lodge, I had been a resident there for the previous 9 months. The majority of my time had been spent in isolation, intermittently earning the right to spend a hour in the evening locked alone in the bedroom corridor watching a tv placed on a small table with a hard chair in front of it but for the most time I was locked in a bare room, the furniture was hard bases moulded into the floors and walls and there was a shower room connected with a door that could be locked back or shut. So there was no need for me to even be taken for a shower and time out for fresh air or exercise was a privilege that was not even considered. My meals were finger foods served on paper plates and delivered by 3 staff while I was ordered against the wall. The plastic mattress and thin sheet was removed by 3 staff every morning at 7.45am and the air conditioning was left to blow, the windows had blinds in the plastic glass which were permanently closed and when I had clothes to wear they were ill fitting vest tops and shorts.

My crime? Being suicidal, being autistic, being traumatised, being a child unable to process her traumas, angry at her abuse, full of self hatred. I was on a Welfare order because of my self harm, sucidality and impulsive and I admit sometimes dramatic behaviours.

In this unit I was left to tie ligatures untill my nose and eyes bled and my face was mottled from burst blood vessels, staff would run in as I was about to pass out, painfully restrain me in what were apparently considered painless holds, pull, tug, cut off the ligatures and run out leaving me gasping and distressed on the floor and adding a further 24hrs to my solitude, I would punch my face, smash my head against the walls, I would gouge my skin. I would tie ligatures repeatedly with every scrap of clothing untill I was huddled under the desk in what I hoped was a blind spot as male staff peered through the hatch in the locked door. It was torture, the memories of abuse and rapes coursed through my head and my chest screamed in agitation. I would cry and scream to no avail, I would thrash and try to escape, run out the door at any opportunity with little success. I became like a animal, feral. I was not comforted, I was not treated with compassion.

I blamed my own behaviour for my treatment, I believed I deserved it, I believed I deserved to hurt, I was so ashamed of myself, I needed to die because I was such a bad person and caused the world and everyone around me harm…I still believe this even now.

It was a torturous 9 months I now wonder how it was suppressed but then I discovered that unlike children sentenced through the criminal justice system children given welfare orders do not have time spent in solitary recorded and sent to the ministry of justice in effect this allows the most vulnerable children, normally care children, normally abused children, normally children suffering from mental health issues and whose only crime as it were was to be unable to process their traumas in a ‘civilised manner’ so these children can be restrained repeatedly, and secluded indefinitely without anyone regulating or over seeing it.

Some of you may believe, as some part of me still does that it was the only way to manage my maladaptive behaviours, Maybe your right I just don’t know. All I do know is that every second was breathy agony.

DISILLUSHIONED

If you judge a Fish by its ability to climb a tree….That’s the start of a quote credited to Albert Einstein and the majority of the time I divulge great comfort from this.

But today I feel disillusioned about my future prospects, I’m overwhelmed and exhausted, I feel like I’m being swept along by tempterous currents I’m unable to control and I have no anchor. A anchor does not always feel comfortable, sometimes its stabalises and feels grounding other times it feels stifling and restrictive however both times its a necessity. I’m in full time work in the caring profession outwardly that’s pretty respectable, I live independently, I manage adulting just well enough that I slip under the radar but I often feel I’m drowning, floundering and lost.

I’m often described as high functioning, it feels like a curse sometimes, how can they think that…I sleep 4hr max a night, I Flinch at the coldness of the shower curtain, I can hardly bare brushing my teeth, finding clothes that don’t agitate me is near impossible. I procrastinate for hours before I’m even on shift at work, and Ive been to anxious to food shop in a supermarket for over a year now. My finances are in tatters, my flat is a squat house and to be honestly I’m not great at personal grooming. I’m discombobulated with the constant responsibilities of adulthood and social expections. And I just keep swimming….

The intrusive thoughts, videos and most debilitating of all the flashbacks are overwhelming and consuming me, Ive had flashbacks at work which have rendered me incapable of completing my duties. I’m not sure how long I can continue without the therapy I desperately need, but resources are none existent, I have more good then bad days which is positive and helps to keep me fighting that bit more, the desire and hope of a better life niggle every time I feel I cant go on, it sweeps me through but its exhausting because what comes around and passes comes right back again and I’m being ground down.

I just guess I needed to get this out there, combat the isolation I feel.

Recovery: The blank slate

This is my musings on what Recovery encapsulates for me:

Your born like a blank sheet of paper, sometimes the edges are already a bit frayed from being pulled out the package with undue care or the package being handled roughly in transit.

But there’s a sense of excitement, it predominantly fresh, and you get your favourite pen, and you start writing on it, at first you take time to make sure your handwriting is neat, your sentences straight and coherent.

But as time goes on you become distracted, you get bored, multiple information causes confudlement, you may have to cross out, under light bits of the story.

As you progress it starts to lose it crispness, you feel disillusioned, you start to be a bit careless or those around you see the deterioration and the gradual, they don’t realise the importance of that paper to you or they take advantage, they see it as scrap paper.

Doodles and hastily written notes corrupt your carefully written script, the paper is put here, put there, gets grimier, gets more damaged as time goes on. You start to care less and so do others so you put it in unsafe places, others pick it up and add to the scribbles

But in the back of your mind you realise there’s important information, that no matter how frayed, no matter how or why another person has added to it, either negatively or positively it still predominantly holds your script.

Then something major like liquid damage occurs, sometimes a direct result of your own or positioning or a careless mishap, or malicious act by others

For a while it seems irretrievable, and you sit for a few minutes while it disintergrates before your eyes, you only have a few moments to decide whether it’s worth saving, whether it’s strong enough to take the transit to the safety and possible revival of the radiator:

Yes you think, you peel it from the surface you handle it with utmost care, this is your script and there’s important information worth saving the ideas and morals with in can never be saved.

You drape it over the radiator, you put it where you can’t see it directly but it’s there, in the corner of your eye, you wait and wait for it to dry out, it looks imperfect, it takes longer then you expect, it takes up space and makes the place look untidy, you can’t bear to look at it and at times you want to just give up and throw it away.

Maybe you could rewrite you think, but deep down you know that script was the essence of you and a copy won’t cut it.

Eventually you get tired of seeing it draped, useless and untidy on the radiator so you prematurely take it off and try straightening it out but it wasn’t dry enough and you feel disheartened as it seems to disintegrate even more in your hands, despite the time and care you’ve committed to it

You throw it away in disgust and frustration but not somewhere it can’t be retrieved because in the back of your head you know it’s important and irreplacement and worth keeping, you know one day you will need to go back to it.

You try rewriting your script on different paper in different but all are distractions and don’t seem honest or encompass what that first script did, it’s all superficial.

So every now and again you go back to your paper, your script each time attempting to smooth it out, sometimes you go in too heavy…it’s not quite dry enough, sometimes you don’t spend enough time smoothing it out, you get called away.

Eventually it reaches the point where you can clearly see the information, the essence of your script…it’s there…the key points are there but the paper is still watermarked and frayed and imperfect

That frustrates you more the initial damage because you realise that despite your commitment and care and investment in this script it is flawed…you feel bitter because those around you didn’t respect that paper and added to the disfigurement treating it with reckless or malicious disregard, you realise that in hindsight you may of contributed at times in response.

But eventually you realise how important it is despite what you and may believe is imperfect, it was actually more resilient then expected, it still has your script on it, it still holds and can convey the information, you and those around you just have to handle it with more care, maybe peer harder to decipher.

So you put it in a clear plastic wallet, you display somewhere safe, you make sure it’s not needlessly exposed to the elements and you take your time to explain and help others decipher it, sometimes it’s feels like code. Some people write it off for its imperfections but others are impressed by the essence and celebrate it.

You yourself still look at in regret sometimes, you know that it can never fully be removed from it’s protective casing but it’s transparent and shines through.

Sometimes recovery is being strong enough to accept that you will never fully recover, that even though it’s exhausting breathing and intermittently functioning has to be good enough…hoping that others will see through your imperfections perceived or otherwise, but predominantly fighting the regret and realising your still you…there’s still space on the page, there’s still a knowledge and script that can’t be unwritten….I guess that’s hope!