What’s been happening at suepk HQ.

It’s been a hectic couple of weeks here at suepk HQ. My 8 year old Granddaughter is staying for awhile as her Mum (my daughter) had a bad fall and has several fractures on her hip. She’s had an operation to pin it all back together, so she’s on the road to recovery.

I have been snowed under with studying; my first module for my degree is done and dusted and I passed that, yay! My second module is also coming to an end, but I have assessments coming up. I’ve also been doing an accredited course for Mental Health Awareness, and I’m about to start a Counselling Skills course.

In the UK a person cannot practice as a psychologist or counsellor unless they have certain accreditations, or a master’s degree. I don’t know if I will do a master’s degree, so that’s why I decided to take the accreditations.

A few years ago I started my own biz, Soul Love, where I offered a range of services from Tarot readings to mentoring. I’ve incorporated other aspects over the years and I offered healing and advice on a variety of subjects.

But then my illness reared it’s ugly head again and everything went on hold. I still have my biz, but I’m not working at the moment. The thing about chronic illness and being the only person who can do the work is that everything stops. It’s great news for my body as I rest and recuperate, but it’s not so great for my wallet. Believe me, I’d rather be earning, but it is what it is and it’s out of my hands.

Studying has meant I have been able to learn new skills that will help me in my biz in future. I am not able to do both, sadly. The choice is one or the other. That’s another thing that sucks about chronic illness, you have to make choices about what you can do. If I wasn’t sick I’d be able to do both, but I don’t really dwell on that anymore as it gets me nowhere.

Another spanner in the works has been the pandemic. I had wanted to get involved with organisations who help females who have suffered sexual violence, but safety had to come first and I wasn’t able to do this. It’s been quite frustrating knowing that this could be hugely helpful for my plans, but not being able to get involved because of COVID.

I’ve been busy making plans here instead. Chronic illnesses and pandemics may have prevented me from taking the path I had planned to, but they haven’t stopped me from making plans and putting those plans into action behind the scenes.

Delays may be an inevitable aspect of life, but I’ve began to accept them as pauses that allow me to tweak my plans. I’ve spent many years feeling frustrated by delays, but now I’m able to use them productively and for that I’m grateful.

Monday Musing – 05/07/21.

I wrote a few weeks back about my 50th birthday, this post is kind of a continuation from that.

Due to being stuck at a certain phase of life due to trauma I have never really celebrated life phases, becoming a mother – so moving from my maiden stage of life to the mother stage, becoming a grandmother (I was 42) and when I reached the menopausal era that just happened. No celebrations for these life phases.

Of course the healing therapies that I took part in really shifted me from victim to survivor, and then to who I am now. And who I am now is a 50 year old woman, been married for 31 years, have 3 adult kids (30, 28, 24) and 1 granddaughter (8). As I turned 50 I realised I’d reached cronehood.

And reaching this period of my life I spent time reflecting. About life. About loss. About grief. Realising life is very definitely for living. Understanding that we are steering our own lives and directing our own fate. We may not have control over everything that happens to us, but how we react is all us.

Realising I am now in my crone years I began to understand a few things about myself. A big takeaway for me is that I have allowed other people to dictate my happiness when that is mine to decide. I have allowed so called friends to use me, to abuse my generosity and willingness to help. One friend in particular whom I’ve known for over 15 years treat me appallingly. No matter what other friends and my family said I stayed loyal. But one day, when my own personal life hit a tumultuous time she turned her back on me because I dared to be friends with someone she doesn’t like.

I’m a believer in giving people chances. I probably give some people more chances than they deserve. But what really got me riled was how this so called friend was all over social media, and in real life, preaching love, light, harmony and forgiveness. Yet my own act of love and forgiveness to this other person was seen as a betrayal. I was lied about and criticised, and then blocked everywhere.

It was deja vu for me because this isn’t the first time this so called friend has done this to me. If I do something she doesn’t like this is what she does. And yet I remained loyal. Much to the chagrin of my family and other friends.

So as I have reached cronehood I have shed my skin once more. I’ve decided that my life, my rules is a good motto to follow. Who I let in is my choice and won’t be dictated to by some hypocritical liar who gets to piss all over my life and tries to dictate who I should be friends with. And yes, she gets to choose this for her own life too. I respect and honour that. If she chooses to not have me in her life, then so be it. But lies and games are not needed.

Cronehood, for me, has been quite the adventure so far. Opportunities have presented themselves to me that I’ve never even considered an option before. That sense of mothering has now taken a back seat, yes it is still present, but it watches from afar. Ready to step back in if needed, ready to guide and help. Cronehood isn’t the death sentence I once imagined it would be, it is so much more than I ever imagined it would and could be.

The crone years have brought me to a place where I can offer up my own distinctive talents and use them to help others. There are plans in the pipeline, being finalised and fine tuned. On some levels they are already in use, but hitting the going public button is taking a little longer. Chronic illness has played a part in this. But realising that I get sick when I do too much, I stepped back and let life flow with ease and grace. Younger me would’ve been chomping at the bit, pushing my body to its limits, burning the candle at both ends. This new me stepped back and rested. And watched. And learnt some valuable lessons too.

To be a crone is often to be viewed as a wise woman, a healer, a witch who is older. I believe cronehood incorporates all of those things and much, much more. It certainly isn’t anything to be afraid of or ashamed of. It’s all about embracing who I am. Who I have become and who I will become. I’m very much present in my life, conscious of who I am and who I portray to the outside world. I’m in control of my own life, my own destiny.

Cronehood is a stage of life that many women are denied, so I plan to embrace it and live life to the fullest.

This got me like…

I stumbled across this meme yesterday and it really resonated. I read it and re-read it several times and I kept thinking that this was a message I clearly needed to see.

Stress and how we react to stressful situations are obviously quite damaging to our health. The simplicity of the message, learn how to react without stressing out, is a lesson I needed to hear and learn at this time and it has shown up when I really needed to hear this.

Synchronicity.

Tuesday Thought – 06/04/21.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time nursing regret at what I should’ve done in my life. It just seeps into you at times, you don’t realise you’re holding on so tightly.

Realising that life is a gift and that the journey is also a gift made me stop and think about why I’m lugging regret around with me.

What does it serve?

Regret.

I’m talking about the regrets we have when we don’t take action in our lives, not the regrets we have when we’ve hurt someone.

There’s no reason why we can’t just aim for what we want our lives to be like, little by little. Just because we didn’t do that last week, or last year, or even five or ten years ago, that doesn’t mean we can’t still aim for that desire now.

There’s a saying that goes something like you’re a long time dead. Sobering thought. We may as well make good on what we want to do whilst we journey through this thing called life.

Monday Musing – 29/03/21.

There’s a buzz in the air. We have sprung forward – aka moving into BST. Plus, we are now moving into the start of what our Prime Minister terms his roadmap out of lockdown.

It made me sit up and think yesterday. It is the time to be seen out in the world. We cast off our winter blues, our thoughts turn to sunny days and maybe, just maybe, being allowed to meet up with family and friends we haven’t seen in however long.

And all of this requires us to be seen, obviously.

Being seen is a normal part of life. We venture out into the world and are seen by those who we pass in the street. By those who we share public transport with. By those who we work with. It’s normal and we don’t pay it much heed.

Normally.

There are those of us who have suffered terribly because of things that have happened to us. There are those of us who have anxiety disorders. Fear of going outside. Fear of being seen.

For me it is all about being seen because of a traumatic experience. I have spent over thirty years believing people were judging me because of what happened to me. They weren’t, they didn’t even know, but my hyper-vigilant mind had me believing that there were threats everywhere around me, and that everyone I saw was forming an opinion of me based on what happened.

When I finally broke free of that never ending cycle of fear I was left with a gaping big hole in my thought process. The idea was to fill that hole with positive thoughts, reinforcing what I had learnt in therapy. Only that somehow didn’t happen. I found myself gazing at what my therapist termed the wounded child. She was kind of healed, but she – me – I had no idea of who the hell I was.

The work we did when my therapy was nearing completion was geared to help me understand that for thirty odd years I had been emotionally trapped. Sixteen year old me was the forty odd year old me. Emotionally I had remained that age because I hadn’t processed one of the major parts of my trauma – the threat of being killed.

When my therapist had me reliving the attack over and over again I remembered things I hadn’t even processed. They were stuck. Inside of my head. Keeping me perpetually in fear. Always scanning for the threat. Never wanting to be seen. Needing to be invisible.

I have done the work on this issue. I have continued to do the work on this issue. It is a work in progress.

When Covid hit the UK I was just finishing my therapy, just getting started on dong the inner work that was required for me to continue to heal. I had a setback. The restrictions felt like I was being forced into doing something I didn’t want to do (please understand here that I fully understood the lockdown rules and the restrictions, I am just describing how I felt from a recovering from trauma POV). The threat of a deadly virus felt like the spectre of a ghost from my past. Enter hyper-vigilance once more.

This caused a breakdown. I was given medication and offered therapy once more. The latter I didn’t take, this time. The lockdown meant I would have to wait a considerable amount of time to see the lovely lady who has helped me so much. By the time she could see me again I didn’t even want to consider what state my mental health would have been in. So I began to work on myself using the tools she taught me.

The conclusion has been who the hell am I?

Well, in a few short weeks I will be 50 years old. A lifetime has passed between me of now and me from then. After a lot of inner work, facing my demons, and truths, realising I am not who people perceive me to be, accepting I am becoming who I want to be, and realising that I will be seen when I venture out into the world, and being absolutely OK with that.

That monster from the past has been dealt with. Yeah, he’s going to pop into my head,, probably several times a week, if not daily. But I don’t have to let his sneering face into my beautiful mind view. He didn’t conquer me. I lived. I maybe thought I hadn’t, but I did. I found love. I had a family. I have created so many beautiful moments in my life. Created stories that one day the world will see. Created a vision for women who have suffered what I have.

Springing forward this year feels so much brighter than last year. The year the was hell actually helped to heal me. I am different person. I am not who most people perceive me to be. I am not who social media portrays me to be – sometimes at the hand of others.

I am me and proud to be me.

A message of love for Valentine’s Day.

With Valentine’s just a couple of days away, today my message is one of love.

I am always talking about how love isn’t just about the romantic kind. It’s about our families. Our friends. Work or school colleagues.

People can go OTT at this time of the year. I don’t think that matters, why should it to us? We don’t always know what is going on in the personal lives of other people.

People without partners can feel down at this time of year. The displays of cards, flowers, gifts, a constant reminder of what they don’t have.

This is where self love is important.

Self love is a special kind of love. You always have yourself. I think it’s important at any time of the year to practice self love and care, soul love. Especially during these dark and uncertain times. But at this time of year it can be a wonderful way to help with any feelings of lack.

Be good to yourself. Be kind. Be loving. Remind yourself that you are not defined by having a man or a woman in your life. Your worth is all about you as a whole, not what someone else brings to your life.

Celebrate the love you have for yourself this coming weekend. Even if you are in a relationship, there’s nothing wrong with loving you too.

And if you’re not in a relationship and haven’t learnt to love yourself yet, just be gentle with yourself right now. Use this weekend as a starting point to loving you. Keep things simple to start with, learning to love yourself is difficult enough, so don’t over complicate any gestures or actions you plan on doing.

Most of all celebrate love this weekend. Any kind of love. Not just romantic love.

Tis the season….

Wow! I can hardly believe it’s December!

What a year this has been. I started it off with the intention of loving myself. Regular readers of this blog will know that I have struggled with a lack of self love for a very long time. Instead of making New Year’s resolutions – which I always break by the middle of February at the very latest – I decided to dedicate the year to loving myself. I started off great, I was able to practice self love each day; that was until we hit lockdown in March.

That was when things went downhill.

I have CPTSD – Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – and had been in a hyper vigilant state for most of my adult life. I had gone through therapy that had helped me enormously, but I lost my ability to cope once the UK went into lockdown.

I became so paranoid and stressed, I was crying most days and really couldn’t cope with the threat of being stopped by the police or some other official anytime I left the house.

By my birthday I’d had a breakdown and was in a really dark place. I felt like I had failed at the self love project and started thinking very dark and scary thoughts. I eventually went to see a Dr. and got prescribed anti-depressants.

After a few weeks I began to feel better in myself. That nearly came to an end in late summer, I needed a smear and the first attempt failed – I was really calm and positive too. The second attempt was a disaster also. Flashbacks, panic attacks, massive triggers….they also couldn’t get a sample of cells. I cried all the way home. I felt like I was 16 again.

But out of that experience I felt empowered to help other women who have suffered any form of sexual violence, and domestic abuse too. I was so determined to put my own experiences to some use that I enrolled with the OU to study Psychology with Counselling.

And as we enter the final month of what can only be termed as a horrific year, I feel empowered, well, happy, determined, and I certainly practice self love.

You see, I now know that going to the GP to get the medication was an act of self love. I know that pushing through my trauma triggers and flashbacks has catapulted me forward to a place where I can try to make a difference to women who have suffered at the hands of rapists and abusers.

2020 broke me. But I rose from the ashes and I am rebuilding my life on my own terms.

This year the holiday season feels more poignant than ever before. This year has been dominated by loss. It has driven home the message for me that life is for living.

Being the change I want to see.

If you have ever wanted to make a difference anywhere you’ll know the first step is to research the subject area.

Right?

After I had a traumatic experience early autumn it sent me down the path I’m currently on. I’m at the beginning of my Psychology degree journey. This has given me so much food for thought, particularly where I aim to take this knowledge once I complete my degree.

However, in my area support for most things is inadequate. I spent a good part of yesterday researching where I could aim to make myself useful. But I just couldn’t see the right charity, support group, etc that covered what my burning passion is driving me towards.

And then I had an idea.

I could be the change. I let the thought percolate for some time and then sent a message to a couple of trusted people. An idea was born and the stumbling block I had came upon has vanished.