Posted in poetry

Lockdown Random

A time of reflection, for me, for many…
scattered with thoughts and memories
Triggers, and keywords to some time, somewhere, before
some good, some bad, some beguiling…
Dot to dots, piercing a dark silhouette at random
mirroring the shooter, hand-stretched, eyes shut,
ears plugged to the wire… screaming
“It’s not me, your not me, I’m not you…”
Scorched by the bullets of time passing…
I did not burn out, I survived’
Reborn like the Pheonix, to rise up and soar once more.

 

Posted in The Unconventional Thesis of a woman from Glasgow

Mental Health Awareness Week

Yesterday my eldest son asked me if I was having an episode, and I replied flippantly/ sarcastically,

“Not every period of deep thoughts and sentiment is an episode, sometimes it is just a period of deep reflection, a connecting the conscious and subconscious, to the bigger picture, so, no I wouldn’t say I was, having an episode is something very different to how I am at the moment”.

I wasn’t lying, although I realize now I wasn’t telling the truth either, I was in that place of self-denial where ego and arrogance blur the reality of mania, and I forget what being manic is. I was semi-aware I had been triggered having spent the night before without sleep, overthinking, unable to stop thoughts racing. Memories, good and bad, flooding my mind in a tsunami of sentiments. My whole body aching and drained of energy. I had only just gone to bed and fell asleep with the help of two pain killers before he called. I just hadn’t recognized what had triggered me, which in fairness to myself is unusual these days, as I normally do and as a result, can take the appropriate steps that I know will help me maintain balance and not fall towards the dark place.

During our conversation, I had made some out there comments about geometry, for what must have seemed to him no apparent reason, although in my mind at the time it made perfect sense to me because I know the sentiments and thoughts that had triggered the questions, but I couldn’t explain them in a way that might have made sense on a different day in better context, and even if I could have he didn’t have time for that, I’m not sure he ever would have time for that kind of conversation with me, I know my mental health makes him uncomfortable, I know he finds it hard to have deep and meaningful conversations about stuff with me, and I understand that I get it I really do, but it doesn’t make the difficulties in communication any easier, though I desperately wish it did.

I am aware that I can be quite arrogant and even egotistical about how well I believe I manage my mental health without anti-depressants,  anti-psychotic, or other prescribed meds used to treat mental health conditions. I am aware that sometimes I think I understand and know more about my condition than I probably do, as a result of my studies, life, and work experiences, and I have no doubt that when I am in that blurred place of self-denial, between manic high and clinging to the tightrope above the abyss of dark depression, psychosis & all else within that place, my arrogance and ego are amplified tenfold in mania, the high of self believe and invincibility, the false sense of restored confidence and ability.

Following the conversation, I spent the rest of the day with random intervals of uncontrollable tears prompted by various random thoughts still unfocused and unable to eat for the third day in a row, tired and drained to the marrow of energy and feeling anxious and guilty that I had worried or upset my son during this period of lockdown when he has enough to worry about without me adding burden.

Eventually, I decided to go on Facebook if only to divert my thoughts,  read some positive posts & listen to some tunes to help me relax, and to my surprise, it helped more than I expected and I went to bed but was again unable to sleep, my body filled with shivers and shaking, my feet freezing though my body was sweating and still aching, though the mania I suggest beginning to subside, I felt calmer and focused so got up to have a hot drink and a couple of painkillers to ease the aching muscles to hopefully help me sleep, and write something about a movie I had watched on Sunday night, that had prompted an idea for a writing piece I was pondering. Writing for me is a therapeutic exercise, it helps me focus, and more often than not prevents me from falling into the abyss of darkness and despair.

As the kettle boiled for my drink I think I worked out what the trigger was, though  I suspect that this period of lockdown and a build-up of thoughts and related worries over last few days, or probably if I’m completely honest to myself and you, the past couple of weeks subconsciously, also contributed but I was perhaps suppressing them, as even as I write this I feel myself recognizing the signs I was slipping were there in my physical sense of well being, which won’t have helped either.

If it was an episode it was briefer than most, and that I am able to write this with a sense of calm and focus then I suggest at very least the worst has past and I have managed it I hope reasonably well, and without falling to the dark place and that for me is a good result.

And if you are wondering what I think the trigger was, it was the movie I watched on Sunday night that I was going to write about when I started writing this instead, Educating Reta, but that explanation and analysis will have to wait till another day, as now finally I feel I just might be able to go to bed and successfully fall to sleep.

 

 

 

Posted in poetry

hashtag #GetTalkingPoetryChallange

I don’t do the new years’ resolution thing at Hogmany, it always seems to be a little untimely for big life-changing promises of good intentions, generally fueled by new year celebrations & alcohol-infused euphoria.
That said, and quirky as it may seem, I do have a tendency to make affirmations of intentions for my forthcoming year around the Chinese new year. Spring festival feels, at least to me, to be more in tune with the beginning of the natural year in the northern hemisphere where I live, or maybe it is just how my own biorhythms and energies begin to attune to the promise of spring and natures rebirth.

Anyway, this year my primary affirmation was to push my personal barriers & challenge my social anxiety to try and rebuild my confidence and try to get out and mix with other humans.
The first step was to go back to a writing group I’ve attended on and off over many years, I am comfortable there, familiar with the environment and the tutor is a trusted friend.
I was enjoying being back at writing group, and with a little encouragement decided to send some poems off to the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival 2020 Ayrshire Poetry Competition, and was looking forward to attending other SMHAF events with my friend in May, as step two in challenging my social anxiety.
Then as the great bard said, ” The best-laid schemes o’Mice an’ Men gang aft agley,”

Along came COVID-19, lockdown, and social distancing. Life as we knew it canceled indefinitely.

Like most people, I’ve now worked my way through most spring deep cleaning tasks.
Unarguably my mental health has yoyo’d since lockdown began, I suggest most peoples have by now, It’s ok to not be okay.
It’s a myth that having social anxiety and being used to isolation makes it easier.

Yesterday I found myself on the precipice of mind- bland, which for me is never good, as mind-bland teeters on the edge of the abyss to madness.
I shared my mindset on twitter.

Later, I got a wee motivational reply from my writing group tutor, and later still, a lightbulb moment, as I stared out the window across the waters of the Clyde when my mindset shifted from bland to plan.

Sure it’s disappointing that the SMHAF 2020, and all festivals and social gatherings are canceled, but that doesn’t have to mean we can’t still enjoy poetry, raise awareness of mental health issues, ( now more than ever our mental health is important as we all face these difficult social changes affecting life as we know it). As Ant and Dec keep telling us on the telly, it is important & good for our mental health to talk.
So, my lightbulb moment idea that took me from mindset bland to plan?! ….

Inspired by the SMHAF poetry competition theme “perspectives ” is, a get talking mental health poetry challenge.

TO GET INVOLVED ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS;

1. write a poem. (The theme is ” Perspectives” & how that relates to Mental Health, interpret as you wish)
2. Upload a recording of yourself reading/reciting/preforming poem
3. tag 5 people you invite to challenge
4. post & share with hashtag #GetTalkingPoetryChallange

To start the challenge I’ve re-edited and tweaked my canceled entry to the SMHAF Ayrshire poetry comp, which was inspired by the Get Britain Talking campaign, and my 5 nominations go to,

  1. David Mclaughlan  @davidwordworker
  2. Ruth Anderson  @RRudiB1
  3. Kate Lindsay @KatieL251
  4. Tracy Harvey @Tracyanneharvey
  5.  Mkuu Amani @tocarbne

I hope they will rise to the challenge and get involved.

Poetry has long been a great influencer of social change, RAISING AWARENESS AND HELPING break down the barriers to understanding and tackling social issues and taboos that stigmatize and prevent good mental health.

SO, let’s GET POETIC! and #GetTalkingPoetryChallenge.

https://youtu.be/4rXsV0Ap0CQ

Posted in poetry

FACING DEMONS

https://youtu.be/Y_42aHAb85U

I faced the demon, a deja vu flash

two decades back…

Two weeks of anxiety, waves

new moon phase,

two days of random vomiting.

Today comes the hour,

see the minute dawning, seize it!

Anxiety grasping my heart

a warning…

The tide has turned,

my name is called…

a whisper escapes

“Oh fuck!”

the demon tightens its grip,

Sharp intake of breath

I move to center stage,

spotlight glares

inside my head the demon sneers,

anxiety rears

I look at the microphone,

I look at the page

I speak, “Open me carefully…”

The demon, retreats,

Anxiety subsides, goal achieved.

Tidelines 19.1.18, the tide has turned.

I smile, steering from the harbor

towards new horizons…

Grenfell tower fire

It been a while since I posted anything here, and I certainly didn’t expect to be writing about such a tragic event like the Grenfell tower fire in London this week.

I had been basking in the joy and blessing of my new granddaughters birth on the 11th June, and had just returned from dropping my youngest son at Glasgow airport , he and his girlfriend had flew in to meet his elder brothers new baby and were heading back to Spain where they work after a very short and happy visit.

It was around 4.50am when I switched on the tv while having a quick cuppa before heading to bed, and saw the blazing invero of the tower block and I was brought back to earth with a thud , filling with horror , tears and emotion for all involved.

I’v experianced a house fire, twice in fact.

The first time was when my daughter was about 3 and 1/2 years old and we were living in a tenement on the Maryhill rd above the chemist where the fire started.

My daughter had got up during the night and came to my bed, the firemen told me later, it had probably saved her life as the fire had started in the back of the chemest below her bedroom , her bed was black with soot and smoke damage, and the fireman said had she been in it she would have been unlikly to have survived the smoke inhilation, the whole house was smoke damaged , that smell, it lingers and becomes a trigger.

The firemen were great , they woke me , got us out the house and also the other neighbours in the building. We were lucky and greatful not just for the job the firemen did saving our lives, and our home , but the kindness of the old couple who lived accross the street, who took us dressed in pyjamas with bare feet, in till we were checked over by paramedics , giving us blankets and phoning my dad to come get us and take us to my mums.

Years later when my eldest son was about 2 years old we were living at the high flats at Cedar st, where I grew up, and where my parents lived.

It was the fire in my home  that night, I remembered when I watched the Grenville fire unfold on tv.

The fire that night stared in my baby sons room,  a portable tv, I used to leave on for sound, which I felt kept him company, had caught fire.

It was around 11PM, I’d just got out the bath and was about to do some  ironing, & watch “Cell block H”, my dog began behaving strangly, agitated, and when I went to see what was bothering him,the fire alarm in the hall began to ring. As I reached the top of the stairs I could see the smoke coming from the babies room.

I remember running down the stairs and grabbing him out of the cot, then to my daughters room and waking her, getting them both out the flat, handing my daughter the baby, telling her to go down to there grans on the 5th floor, not to panic, to tell her gran to phone the firebrigade. I was kinda in auto pilot,  we lived on the 11th.

Neighbors came to help, they had already phoned the brigade, wee Jonny Linch , my hero, a lad of about 13 years of age. He ran in to the house , shouting

“Were’s yer cats june?”

Running up the stairs before I could stop him , in a flat black with smoke already filling the hall way , as I soaked towels to lay accross the bottom of the door of the room where the fire was, having already turned off the main power box supply.

It was terrefying, Wee Jonny Linch, came back down the stairs ,

” I open the veranda door for the cats” he said. ” we need tae get the fuck oot a here”

By then the fire brigade had arrived, and as they opened the bedroom door with big sheilds up, the window blew out, but these heros soon had the fire contain, under control and out.

No one was hurt, although there was extensive smoke damage . The children were taken Yorkhill childrens hospital to be checked for smoke inhilation. Where they were met by partner who had been working  at the time. I was taken to The Western Infirmary, accompanied by Charlie the local beat policeman, an aquaintance through the dance club I ran for local kids. He who had just finnished his shift and offered to keep me company at the hospital while I went through the blood test and waited for the all clear. I was greatful, for his comforting reasurances and kind words during those frightening , anxious , caotic initial hours after the incident.

It probably seems strange , but I don’t remember the date of either of these fires I experianced. Nor  do I remember what I had been doing early on the days they happened.

All I remember is the fear, the anxciety, the smell, and the stinging eyes from the smoke. I remeber the proffesionalism of the emergancy services and what they did , their bravery.

I remember how Charlie,  who went above and beyond the call of his duty..

I remeber the kindness and concern of neighbors who offered support and well wishes in the aftermath of my badly smoke damaged home.

I , we , were lucky, and as I watched the towering inferno that was Grenfell, I was taken back to that night at  Cedar st, and tears rolled down my face for those resident at Grenfell, those lucky enough to escape with their lives, and those who sadly didn’t.

I thought of all those people accross the UK who will be affected by what they’v seen unfold these last days , those who live in high rise building , and now think

“There but for the grace of god , go I…”

I know the flats at Cedar street are presently undergowing refurbishment, and I  think of them, because even over 20 years on Cedar st, is dear to me, it was home, where I lived on the 5th floor as a child and teenager ,where my partents lived most of their lives.

I think of all high rise  resedent accross the Uk who will be fearful of the state and risks that may be there and the effect recent events will have on their minds.

My heart bleeds for those who have lost everything in the Grenfell disaster, because let their be no doubt, this is a distaster, and I am greatful to all the heros of the frontline services ,and indeed, the ordinary people of the community who remind us of the importance of compassion and community, and compasion in the community  .

Most of all I pray that steps are taken to ensure this never happens again, in the UK or anywhere else, and as a UK Tax payer I demand a full tranparent inquiry and that those responsable for risk assesment and saftey who failed the resident of Grenfell tower are held accountable and brought to book.

 

 

Posted in The Unconventional Thesis of a woman from Glasgow

Guidance from a wise woman for a journey ahead…

When an obstetrician tells you, you must be confined to hospital for 11 weeks until the birth of your baby, who will have to be born by arranged C section at 36 weeks, as there is a risk to life for both you, and your baby if you don’t”, you don’t argue, you take heed and do as he says.

This was the scenario I found myself facing just over a week after the death of my father in 1995.

Without doubt it was a frightening and depressing time, of course I agreed, and was admitted to hospital, where I spent the next 12 & 1/2 weeks.

I wasn’t a first time mum, I had two children already, I had read books and information about pregnancy before, I had experienced of pregnancy and given birth. I knew of the various conditions and complications that can occur, there had been complications at the birth of my last child and following it,but I guess most of us think that our pregnancy will be one of those without serious complications, every pregnancy is different as my mother used to say.

I had a grade A placenta previa, and as time passed, in addition, I suffered SPD (symphysis pubis dysfunction), it was a difficult and worrying time.

I think its fair to say, generally, when we think of maternity wards, we think of them with much positivity, a place where life begins, but in 1995 I realised that the maternity ward is a place where life and death walk hand in hand.

For me, my 12 week stay was both an education and experiences.
I saw many wise, and sometimes, not so wise woman, pass through the maternity ward doors, and I was humbled by the care, compassion and support of the nurses doctors and auxiliary staff who worked there.
I had read about conditions like mine, placenta previa, and others like pre-eclampsia, to name but two, of course there are many more.

I was aware that sometimes miscarriage happened. I was aware some pregnancies were very difficult, that some babies could be still-born, or premature and very poorly, but during my 12 week confinement the reality of all the complications that may occur were hammered home as I experienced, and felt the emotional hurricane that in an instant can whirl through a maternity ward like the one I was on, leaving pain, sorrow and devastations in its wake. Such emotional hurricans touched us all on the ward, not only the parents of stillborn babies and their families, but touching the staff too, these amazing people who hold in their hands that balance between life and death. And of course, we mothers in waiting were affected when other women experianced a tragedy knowing that we too could face a tragic ending, we were all high risk.

I was also aware of and felt the joy of premature babies who struggle and fight to live and who survive against the odds and bring hope to all expectant mothers who face complications in pregnancy.

Post birth baby blues was common, almost normal on the ward, and I suggest there were also cases where signs of post natal depression that would follow were also prevalent in some cases , although its only 22 years on when I think back to some of the signs I witnessed and indeed felt, stories shared that I recognise that.

When a patient under these circumstances it’s not unusual to be told you’re in the best place, and of course you are, but that does not elevate the fear for the life you carry inside you should the worst case scenarieo occur.

During my 12 week stay the reality of my own circumstances and vunerability of my unborn child never left me as I witness both the joys and sorrows of the woman I shared time with, sometimes fleeting, sometimes prolonged time.

I saw and felt the joy of many mothers who left with healthy babies. I also saw woman leave without babies who had endured difficult pregnancies or births, and I saw fathers or grandparents leave with baby, who no longer had a mum.

During my confinment I cried a lot, not just in regard of my own fears and trepidation but for the mothers of babies I had come to know, who’s journey’s I had partially shared. Indeed, 22 years on I still think of some of these woman and their children and wonder how they are now.

I also wore my happy, I’m fine mask a lot, trying to hide my fears and worries from family in order not to worry them, and of couse, to not be a bother to the staff who had more than enough to contend with.

Fortunatly, my baby was born as arranged at 36 weeks, and although he was small and fragile, had jaundice and a heart murmur, 10 days after his birth we went home together.

Throughout my 12 week stay going home with my baby was all I could think of, all I wanted to do, but I was unprepared for how I would feel when that day came, and when it did I was overwhelmed.

Although I would like to say the state of my home when I got there was irrelevant and immaterial, as I was finally home, with my new baby and other children, it wasn’t. My home was untidy, unclean and in truth not how I expected to find it. For this particular story the details or why this was the case is by and large irrelevant, and is covered in my forthcoming book “A Girl From Glasgow” but of course finding my home thus, did not help my mood or emotional state.

I felt like a stranger in my home, everything felt surreal to me.

I had undenyably felt guilty about being away from my other 2 children during my confinement, I had felt guilty about leaving them with my poorly, grieving mother and once home I felt anxious about spreading myself emotionally, caring and giving equal time and attention to all of them, as well as getting the house back in order and returning to my caring for all of them. I felt useless, incompetent and depressed, and I felt guilty that I felt that way.

I recognised I was depressed and I saw the doctor in regard of this.

I was constantly tired, couldn’t eat and felt I got little or no support from my children’s father, who seemed never to be there and constantly on my case when he was. When I tried to discuss these feelings with him, I was told I was paranoid, stupid, and mellow dramatic.

When the health visitor came to the house to see me and he was always there, and he tended to speak over me and for me, something my health visitor told me, on one of the rare occasions when I was able to speak to her when he wasn’t present, she had noticed.

In the summer following my babies birth in May, around July, two old girlfriends from my past came to visit and stay with their children for a holiday. It had felt like a good idea at the time, but hindsight tells me that it was probably not the best time cos it added to the feeling of responsibility to be “fine” when I clearly wasn’t and my happy mask slipped on more than one occasion. After a doctors visit, during their stay, when I had been put on anti-depressant pills which I had a bad reaction to that night. I threw a wobbler, screaming and shouting at everyone out of control I guess, so the following day one of my friends returned home, the other went to stay with my mum to give me a break, she couldn’t go home, she lived abroad and her flight was still a week away.

My friends had tried to be supportive, but I felt judged and repremanded by their  opinionated words of support and felt like no one was actually listening to what I was saying when I tried to explain how I was feeling.
I felt terrible, I felt lost and I no longer recognised myself and when I next took my baby for his check up unaccompanied by my then husband, I told my health visitor, the wonderful wise woman, aka Mrs Forbs, exactly how I felt, through a deluge of tears.
In that moment it felt like a weight had been lifted, when she took my hand and gently reassured me what I was going through was not so unusual and that I was not alone.

The Royal Collage of Psychiatry states that “Postnatal Depression is a depressive illness which affects between 10 to 15 in every 100 women having a baby & the symptoms are similar to those in depression at other times.

Postpartum (puerperal) psychosis is the most severe type of mental illness that happens after having a baby. It affects around 1 in 1000 women and starts within days or weeks of childbirth. It can develop in a few hours and can be life-threatening, so needs urgent treatment.

Some 22 years on since my own experiences with post natal depression, and aditional further diagnosis of clinical depression and mental illness, I am aware there is much more information and support available to woman who experience PND , and thankfully the internet has made information and available support groups much more accessible for all of us.

Additionally I think its fair to say that PND, like any other mental illness, does not only affect woman sufferers but can also affect men.

Husbands, fathers, brothers, sons and indeed friends of those who experience post natal depression will be touched and affected, the impact is much wider than mother only. 

Now, in 2017 as many support departments and agencies see cuts to funding that helps those in distress, I feel great concern for those who suffer PND or any mental health condition as the disparity between physical and mental health funding and support continues and appears to be getting worse. 

I was very fortunate to have the wise woman Mrs Forbs to guid me, and can’t imagine what would have become of me without her advice and support, on that day when through my deluge of tears, I explained how I felt.

Mrs Forbs told me it wasn’t unusual for mum’s to feel how I did.

Mrs Forbs told me my symptoms were normal, and given all the other things I had been though during my pregnancy it was hardly surprising I felt as I did.

Mrs Forbs told me I had been though a great deal, my dads death, all that I felt, and saw on the maternity ward, and some of the other feelings I had shared with her in respect of my personal life, were bound to have an impact.

Mrs Forbs told me, all things considered I had done well to cope as I had, but that bottling up my feelings was counter productive, which of course was true.

This wonderful wise woman, said feeling I had lost myself was not something to feel guilty about, it was normal, and the solution was to find myself again.

She said she recognised that perhaps, I had lost me in the responsibility of motherhood…

I had perhaps become known as, my children’s mum…   my husbands wife… my mothers daughter… and with that, I had forgotten who June was.

Mrs Forbs told me ,that I needed to have some time that was my time, for my interests, away from being mum, daughter wife…

Not that these roles were not important, but that I mattered too, and so did  my interests and goals apart from my role and responsibilities as mother, daughter, wife.

She asked about my interests and life before and I told her of my past career, my interests and voluntary work within the arts. She suggested I get in touch with some groups and get involved in these things again, even if it was only for a few hours a week, reiterateing,  I had to find time for me, to be me , it didn’t make me a bad or neglectful mum, and that it would allow me some space, time away from all the other responsibilities that would allow me to make new friends, which since being a wife I appeared to have lost.

I truly believe that this was quite possibly the best advice I could receive at that time.

I took it, and got involved with the Harbour Art Center near where I lived, where I got involved with the writing group and drama group.

Through my involvement with these groups, and the friends I made there, I began to feel a little more like me again. I regained confidence in myself and my abilities.

Through my involvement with the wtiters group, which I am happy to report is still going strong under the managment of my dear friend David Mclaughlan, I was able to descuss various emotions & issues , but more than that it gave me a voice which allowed me to openly ask questions that were, for whatever reason, taboo. Questions that affected and troubled me.

Indeed, I think the writers group offered me a format where I could formally wear the mask of poet/writer with an air of impartiallity and anonyiminity, in which I was enabled to openly discuss and ask question I had previously been afraid, for a number of reasons, to ask.

Not only that but in this guise and areana, I was also able to get impartial feedback from other writers on many topics that had impacted on me for years , and this, was for me, theraputic.

Additionally, the writers group helped to rebuild my self esteem, and confidence in my creative skills, something that was very much a me thing, and I began to feel less lost and more like June and not just, the childrens mum, my partners wife, my mothers daughter…

During my involvement with The Harbour Art center between 1995 & 1997 I was involved with three amdram productions, A pantomime, a production of  Willy Russell’s play Educatin Rita  and a musical tributes show which I produced, directed coriographed and preformed in .

I began to feel good about myself again, I found confidence in my creative and practical abilities , I remembered the strong person I had once been and was able to express my emotions through my writing and involvement with the theatre group.

With my new found confidence I volunteered to be involved in some outreach and summer youth arts programmes which were organised by the HAC, and I was delighted that others had faith in my abilities too when I was invited to work there part time in the role of Events Co-ordinator.

For me this was not the end of my journey with depression and mental illness, but I am sure it was the guidance from the wise woman Forbs, and all I learned from heeding that advice that prepared me for the journey through the abyss of mental illness that would follow later and eventually lead to the strategy and agenda for what I now call The Hethen Project.

I shall be eternally grateful to the wise woman Mrs Forbs for her support and the advice and guidance she gave me, and to the friends I met at The Harbour Arts Center who helped and supported me though that time, that has helped mould the me I am today over twenty years on.

REFERANCES & LINKS

http://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/placenta-previa/

https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/pregnancy-complications/symphysis-pubis-dysfunction-spd-or-pelvic-gird

http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/healthadvice/problemsdisorders/postnataldepression.aspx

https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/pregnancy-complications/pre-eclampsia

https://www.uk-sands.org/why-babies-die/stillbirth

http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/postnatal-depression-and-perinatal-mental-heajWVOLR0w

 

PROLOGUE TO AN UNCONVENTIONAL THESIS by a woman from Glasgow

“A journey of a million miles begins with one tiny step…”
you took yours now its my turn…

These were the words I scrawled across the freshly decorated wall in the living room of the marital home I was about to leave & lock the door on, for the last time. It was the spring of 1997, and these words felt like a fitting epitaph to my dead marriage.
The kids were waiting in the car on the drive, half an hour earlier I had waved off the van with all our worldly goods including the kitchen furniture, fittings, fixtures and sink, which a dear friend had helped me dismantle a few days earlier. I had been organising this move secretly for weeks, its true what they say ” hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”.

I had chosen this particular quote because my soon to be ex husband had used it when he had persuaded me to give up my independent, happy life as a single mum to one, indeed, he had led me to believe it was his own!!

I was a different person then, I hadn’t heard of Lao Tzu, though I had heard of Confucius, because as a child my mum began every little quote or words of wisdom she liked to say with the words “Confucius say…”

Of course it matters little which of these wise men said it, only that one of them did, because as I stared at that wall I thought, fuck , that’s a great quote!

I felt rather smug as I surveyed my graffiti work, in bright ruby-red lipstick.

He’d called me a crazy bitch many a time, now he was about to learn the extent of what this particular crazy bitch was capable of, and indeed, so was I.
There was little regret as I walked out the house, got in the car and drove away, telling the kids to wave bye-bye to the house. No fear or trepidation, no voice in my head filling it with doubt. I guess, in the moment I embraced it, I felt strong, stronger than I had for a very long time, and of course there was an element of anger, but it could be argued that there is strength in anger.

The months, in fact, the preceding years hadn’t been easy, there had been much to contend with, many emotions to mask and hide from many people, and not just in respect of my marital relationship.

I think its fair to say I had several stressful & emotional issues to contend with and not just in relation to myself but also relating to family health, and that particular journey began in 1995, when within days of  my dad dying unexpetedly from a heart attack and cremaiting him, I went for an antinatel scan and was told I had to be confined to hospital there and then. I had a grade A placenta previa and would have to spend the next 11 weeks confined to the hospital & bed rest. They agreed to give me a day or two max, to organise the family and I was addmitted for the next 11 weeks.

I was understandable distressed. I had a poorly, disabled, frail mother who was grieving to look after and support, not to mention two other children aged 4 & 12 who had lost their grandpa who needed to be looked after and supported, and I was well aware my husband wasn’t up to takeing care of them all properly, he was too busy working unsocial hours as a DJ, and fucking about with other women under the guise of buying and selling second-hand cars, though to be fair , he did fit a bit of that in too.

Of course I had no option but to go into hospital for the safety of my unborn baby and indeed my own health risk, so I made arrangements for the kids to stay with my mum. Friends, her neighbours and relatives, rallied round to help mum, and I tried to convince myself it helped support her though the moarning period.

Sometime, later when my baby was born, in the early summer I was diagnosed with postnatal depression. I would pinpoint this as my first proper diognosis of depression, although hindsight suggests I had lived with depression for many years before.

It was then I was fortunate to be guided by a very wise woman called Mrs Forbs, who was my health visitor who told me it wasnt surprising that I was suffering depression given I hadn’t even had time to grieve my dad before the pregnancy complications set in, and there was other stuff too, but as I said that was just the beginning of the journey….

In recent weeks I have reflected on The Hethen Project trying to put together an “about” description of where it began and what it is, for the purpose of this website I realised that I’ve been doing something my dad often found me guilty of , “putting the cart before the horse” because The Hethen Project is a path on the journey of a girl from Glasgow, a path still being forged with a horizon beyond, and it is also a seed sown on the path planted by a wise woman known as Mrs Forbs, but that is another chapter, for another day ….

Posted in poetry

open me carefully

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DG9A3OxlNL4

Sitting at his desk, he stared at her blindly
hardback, she stared, tempting…
Open me carefully, read me, if you dare
but beware, of the secrets lurking there
in the corners of the pages of my cranium maze,
in a hazy array, of faraway days, and torrid affairs
and I just don’t care’s, of the happened before’s…
Come scroll the pages, bound in my mind
let’s see what you find, as the story unfolds
the stark truth, so bold
The good and the bad, the exciting the sad,
the quite, completely, mad…
Read, the absurd little story of me.
My moments of insight, my fears and my fantasies,
as we swim through the ocean of insanity,
that roars thru my veins, as volcanic emotions rain
we shall rage thru the rapids that send a tingle down my spine
trust me when I tell you the sensation is divine…
as we drown in my sorrow then rise joyously
at the bridge to my heart, where love and sorrow embrace
in my light and my dark.
you can dance with the demons of my frontal lobe
then pirouette thru my mind’s eye, to my unconscious, untold’s.
Drift thru the oasis of my dreams, and nightmares
to dance with the angels, who hold my souls’ prayers.
Dive into my consciousness, and smell my unleashed joy
then taste the fruits of passions in words, my thoughts deploy.
I’ll take you past the closet with the closed, locked, door
where pains and hurts, and other, awesome, memories are stored.
we shall go on an adventure through my soul laid stark and bare
You may linger in my memory bank and see whats hidden there
You may find some old scandals behind some forsaken prayers.
You can pause a while and look out thru the windows of my soul
and you can see what I see as the story is told…
so open me, at your leisure,
and read me, with care
and perhaps I’ll become a friend, to have and hold and share
who you can turn to anytime to find comfort for all cares.

Posted in poetry

saying goodbye to demons

I returned today to where I once enjoyed dreams,

that were shattered and killed by the sound of my screams…

I went back today to say goodbye to the ghost

that has lived in the heart of this unwilling host

I went back today, and I sat at that place

and allowed many tears to run down my face,

I sat for a while, and just let go…

and in quiet meditation  bade the monster “please go…”

and after a while, I felt filled with relief

as in quiet meditation, I let go of the grief

I said goodbye to the monstro, who has haunted me so

cos I know to go forward, you have to let go…

Posted in poetry

THE FIELDS OF PEIOMONTI

In blanket field’s of green and gold,

natures wonderous story told,

in silent splendor…

The rippling waters of the rain

sparkle and shine as they sustain

the growing corn and rice grain

hidden in blankets of corn rows

narrow streams that gently flow

from the distant mountain tops

snowdrops melt,

the gods frozen  tear drops

that gently quench the thirsty soil

where hard working farmers toil

working the land, in all its glory

an integral part of natures story

And to this wonderous paradise

give thanks to nature as it thrives

giving so freely all its beauty

sharing with us its wonderous bounty

that we may live blessed by the gifts

Nympha, Lacturna, Matura, Nodotus & Volutina

so generously give…