My Family, My Rocks.

 

As you travel though life, there is little as important as your family. Family doesn’t always mean genetically related, but whether you are lucky enough to have your own genes supporting you, or you are lucky enough to be able to have picked your own family (or variations thereof)… life would be almost impossible without them.

I have touched upon the support I get from my family quite a lot on this blog. That is for two reasons. Firstly to show how much I appreciate them and the love they show, but secondly and perhaps most importantly because I would never have been in a position to share my story without them.

My mental health issues can make me feel alone sometimes… and since I live on my own I do get lonely from time to time. But I am fortunate enough never to have been in a position where there was truly no one I could call for help, no matter how alone I felt. My crisis box has a big list of numbers of people who I can call on in a crisis. Family doesn’t mean never feeling alone, or never being lonely. Family means never *being* alone. Family is the people who support you no matter what, that offer their hands to help you get back up when you fall (even if they laugh first!) and who love you for who you are.

My family has been through a lot with me. They have seen me fall pretty hard. They have been frustrated beyond words with me, spent sleepless nights worrying about me, wasted petrol and time coming to help me out, or take me to appointments, or take me shopping. They have been genuinely scared by my actions, worried I wouldn’t be there the next morning. They have had to clean up my messes. They have had to offer me a shoulder to cry on even when they were angry with me. They have stood by me even when walking away would have been easier. And they love me despite knowing I will hurt them again. They have had to re-evaluate all their priorities and put their own lives on hold, at great personal cost. It certainly hasn’t been easy. But that is what true love is…. it is weathering the storms the best you can, because the rainbows and sunshine after it are worth it.

I have never been a perfect daughter, sister, mother, friend, niece or cousin. I never will be. And that is okay. Because the reward for dealing with me at my worst is seeing me at my best. I know my strength has carried people through difficult times. I know that I am 100% there for my family too. I know that the bad times are gradually becoming further apart and less severe. And that means the good times are coming. And most importantly I know I am capable of doing great things.

I have been feeling quite down recently. I have been having issues with my neighbours (I will post about that soon), my mental health hasn’t been great, and finding the right medication and therapy combination is proving particularly difficult right now. And then out of the blue a couple of weeks ago my dad asked me to go on a mini-holiday with him (and my daughter <3). He decided to take the time out and spend it with me. We are only going for a long weekend (in the week lol) because that is all the time he had spare. And despite that he chose to spend it with me. If that isn’t love, I am not sure what is. More than that, I was supposed to be doing something with my best friend on one of those days. When I talked to her about it she didn’t even hesitate for a second before telling me to go and have fun. That is despite the fact she could have used me there. Again, that is love.

Families don’t keep score. Don’t get me wrong, they will bring stuff up at the worst possible moments, they will laugh at you as well as cry with you and they don’t always make the right move… and they will bring up your past without question… but they don’t hold it against you.

You… you reading this. You have family. Probably a lot more family than you know really. Make sure you appreciate them, and thank them for being your Number 1 fans. They are special, and a little recognition is never a bad thing. Having family also means the tables are turned and you are their family too. So everything they do for you, you do for them.

They say love makes the world go round. Well of course it does! People stomping away after arguments with their loved ones make the Earth spin and so do all those doors that are slamming shut!

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Coffee Lady Strikes Again!!!

A little while ago, I mentioned Coffee Lady, (thus called because when I tried to introduce myself and say hello, the first  words she said to me were ‘I put my coffee away this morning, and from that second on I knew MHS e block!) are deliberately filling this block with nut nuts.That also means I was the first in than her strange antics. She is rather strange, and spends most of her day making so much noise I worry she is an axe-murderer, because I am not sure what else would cause the constant slamming and banging I hear daily.

Anyway, rewind back to yesterday. I was (am) not very well with a severe headache that even my morphine patches aren’t touching. I was just arriving back home when I saw coffee lady just in front of me. She walked past the gate that leads to our block, so I decided to take a chance and try to get in before her, mainly because I was feeling. awful and didn’t want to talk to anyone. But, because of my chronic pain, snails would not have much trouble catching up with me. Therefore, when she had gone past two other gates are realised she needed our one, she turned round and we arrived at the gate at a very similar time. She was about 3 feet in front of me.

As we were walking up the stairs, I said hello, and for once she was lucid enough to say hello back. I continue my slow ascent to the top floor. No sooner had I made it up the first set of stairs (she waited for me!)  she said that her daughter was in university, and that she had sent some lovely photo’s. She fished the photo’s out of the bag, and passes me a picture. I think my confused look must have given me away, as she then said ‘Isn’t it lovely, she says this is the best bit about university. What was on that photo? Her dirty, scummy shower. Lovely. The next picture was of the toilet, because she can now do a little and a big flush depending on the service required… *Ahem*.

I  excused myself then, terrified of what picture would come out if I stayed!

So, why am I up so early? Apparently coffee lady likes to vacuum at 5.30 in the morning. I tried to jump up and down on the floor, but I shook my head whilst jumping and only succeeded  in making myself sick again. Humph!!

 

 

Memory Foam, Neighbours and EDF- Thoughts and Rants!

a little bit

I have a few bits I wanted to write about today, as I am taking a little break from the heavy stuff.

MEMORY FOAM MATTRESS

I was lucky enough to come into a little money recently, enabling me to purchase a new mattress that was desperately needed. I suffer with chronic pain, particularly in my back. I have arthritis in both me knees and my hip (potentially my other hip too now) and I seem to fall over a lot. As yet, I do not have a proper diagnosis. We don’t know what it is. I also want to remind you that I am 22… very young to be having such troubles. I am on morphine patches, amongst other meds, for the pain. So I had to think long and hard about what sort of mattress would provide the right support.

As some of you may know, I have cirrhosis of the liver due to a decade of overdosing. Because of that, I have cut back on my meds to just the essentials. That means that I have come off my sleep meds. The result? I have been averaging 2 hours a night (broken up, not continuous) for the past month. It has been driving me absolutely insane.

I am, however, lucky enough to have an amazing hairdresser, who gave me some lavender based products to help me sleep. I had managed to get 5 hours a night with that, which is brilliant. But yesterday, my new memory foam mattress arrived. I got 9 hours sleep. And the best bit? I woke up pain free for the first time in years. Admittedly,  the pain has come back since waking and moving around, but I am thrilled with my purchase. There are a couple of bad points, of course it gets very warm (which will be a plus in winter) and I can’t ‘rock’ very easily. That last one sounds weird, I know. But I rock from side to side to get to sleep. They call it ‘self soothing’, but I have been doing it since I was a child. But all in all, I am very impressed indeed.

CRAZY NEIGHBOURS

I was housebound yesterday. Of course, I was waiting in for the mattress too, but crazy coffee lady (see previous blogs about my neighbours)  is doing some weird stuff! In the morning, she was walking up and down the path (leading up to my block of flats) in very short shorts about 10 sizes too small (I should elaborate that she is a woman in her 40’s/ 50’s, probably a size 16 in clothes? Maybe an 18. She is somewhat mentally challenged too) and a boob tube about 2 sizes to big! She was just walking up and down the path for about 15 minutes before she went inside. Later that day, she was wielding a drill. I had to sit on the sofa with my feet up because I think she was drilling into the ceiling and I was convinced she was coming through my floor!! Who knows what she was doing, she was drilling for over 2 hours!

This is after she spent the day hammering a few days ago. I am convinced she has decorated all her walls and the floor with nails placed at 1cm intervals. I cannot think of what could possibly need that much hammering. I have pictures on most of my walls, and I have changed the round loads. In the 4 years I have been here, I don’t think I have used a quarter of the amount of nails she must have used in a day

I should not complain too much, I was trying to install a bathroom cabinet which needed a drill. But I don’t have one (thank goodness) so I decided to use a nail to create the hole, then screws to enlarge in, and everything was fine, until I hung the cabinet up. Unfortunately, it turns out the wall plug thingies are important. So, I tried to hammer one in. I broke it. Soooo, I am going to attempt to screw them in instead today. I will let you know when I succeed. Perhaps I should take some sort of DIY course so I don’t look like complete fool all the time. This is the downside to living alone.

EDF ENERGY

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. I am having problems with EDF. Because of my mental health problems, I have impulse control issues that mainly manifest in my spending money on the wrong things. Because of that, last year I got into some significant debt with EDF (around £550). In January, I set up a payment plan which I stuck to religiously for 7 months. But I still kept getting bills saying I was in debt with my ‘current usage’ which is separate from the initial debt. This is despite the fact that I was told what I was paying would not only pay off my debt but also cover my current usage.

Since then, there have been no less than 16 phone calls and around 20 emails sent back and forth. Every person I have spoken too has given me a different explanation, even the same people spoken to more than once have changed the story. I have stopped paying them, as I don’t know what they are doing. And the worst bit? They are trying to make ME feel stupid for not understanding what they are saying! Every person I have spoken to declares they are right and I should listen just to them, and then tell me polar opposites of what everyone else has said.

Example:

Phone call in August, the man said that the £100 a month was  not covering my current usage which is why the debt was not going down. He then proceeded to check the account and said we could set up another payment plan for the same amount that would cover the debt and current usage because I was only using £35 a month in energy. Try to figure that one out.

Phone call in late August, spoke to a woman who declared £100 was not enough each month to pay for my current usage. She kept on repeating (she must have said it 11 times) that this was because of the particularly cold winter. I explained that my bills had been around £40 a month for four years, you can’t say one cold winter jumped my bill up to £100 a month for 12 months!!!! I live on my own, I am out a lot, I honestly don’t use that much in the way of energy.

I have had emails saying I didn’t pay half of it, emails saying the money was all coming off my previous debt and not my current usage, emails saying that I still owe £500 on the previous debt and letter saying I owe £447 in total.

I have had to move it on to the financial ombudsman. The worst bit? EDF Can’t even see what they have done wrong. Not only am I going for compensation from the ombudsman, I may even consider a lawsuit as I made it clear time and time and time again that I have severe mental health problems and I can’t cope with things like this. It really is infuriating.

Meet the neighbours- Part 2

homer

Yesterday I spoke about two of my neighbours, now it is time for the rest!

Drug Dealers:

The neighbours two floors below me sell drugs, which is made worse my their marijuana habits. The smell wafts in through the windows and the bathroom cupboard (There is a cupboard above my toilet with all the pipes, it has no floor, so it is just a straight down column, unfortunately giving a free passage to, well, everything).

Also, they have the most interesting arguments, which get very loud and has resulted in over 34 inside door replacements in the past year.

Cut-throat:

A certain man in the block has severe mental health problems and anger problems. When he kicks off, he is liable to come at your door with a fire extinguisher trying to get in, (not my door yet, but still) and slit his throat on your doorstep. Which needs special cleaners to come and clear it up because he has AIDS. Lovely. He also drinks whisky all day, decides to eat, puts food in the oven, and falls asleep. Well I say asleep. I mean unconscious. He has had firemen try to bash the door down, drill the lock, blast sirens outside, shout, take an axe to the door etc and he has not waken up. And one time, he fell unconscious to the floor whilst unlocking his door, after  an ambulance crew came they managed to rouse him, but with great difficulty and plenty of poking him in the eyes. Still, having a tirade of firemen and police coming in the block constantly means I get lots of eye candy to look at 🙂

So, you have met the neighbours. In the block next to me last winter, there was an interesting party, that ended in arguments, and as I was sitting on my balcony, I was eavesdropping. A drunk young lad in his teens/ early 20’s, came up to the block and shouted up to his friend that he thought he had been stabbed. When his friend asked who did it,  he replied ‘I think I stabbed myself blood (or is it ‘blud’ these days?). I laughed so hard I nearly wet myself. Only on my road!!

Now, as someone who has mental health problems, I can understand them perhaps more than others who don’t have them. However, I do think that some behaviours are unacceptable no matter what condition you have. I truly believe we have to help ourselves, and if that involves  therapy, medication or anything,  you do it. There are ways to manage mental health and there have been many advances over the last couple of decades. I get low and really struggle, I was also admitted to a secure ward earlier this year. So I do understand how bad things get. But I truly believe you have to try. Even the most seriously ill have days when they feel ok, and it should be occurring to them on those days that they don’t  want to be like that forever.

Tomorrow, I will be writing about a crisis box, an invaluable tool for those that self harm. So if you, or someone you know, has self harmed in the past, pop back tomorrow!

Meet the neighbours!

I mentioned in my first post about the insane (literally) people in my block. After a slightly creepy experience the other night during the thunderstorm, I thought I would fill you guys in so you would know what I was talking about when I mentioned it. I wont use their names for obvious reasons.

I am right at the top, on the third floor, so there is a good place to start.

The man opposite, Crazy dude.

He believes he is possessed by the devil. He is usually very quiet, if not creepy, but occasionally he flips out. Picture the scene. I am chillaxing in bed, it is about 9am and I am waiting for Jeremy to come on. And I hear a ‘baa baa’. Whilst I knew what I heard, I dismissed it as my over-medicated state. But then I heard it again. But louder. So being the nosy person I am, I am glued to the peep-hole in my door, and low and behold he had a sheep. A fully grown sheep.

Whilst that is extremely odd on its own, the fact that he doesn’t drive and we live in the middle of a town that is not brimming over with sheep makes it even weirder.

After making the usual calls to my mum, (she is lucky enough to get called all the time when things like this happen as it helps me show her I could be worse!) I phoned the landlords. I am not entirely sure she believed me at first, put me on hold and spoke to her manager, before returning to the phone to tell me they don’t have a procedure policy for this sort of thing.

It was a similar experience when phoning the RSPCA. After a couple of hours, the police showed up with the RSPCA and had to damn near knock the door down before he opened the door. At this point, my curiosity won, and I opened the door to watch properly. They got the sheep out live and well, but he was planning on sacrificing it to get rid of the devil. He gave me an evil look, and said he was going to kill me (whilst cuffed with the police) and I threw this great toy I have on the floor which does a hysterical, prolonged, hearty laugh. He was clearly cross but the police thought it was funny.

The one directly below me. Crazy woman/ coffee lady.

This lady, who I imagine is in her 40’s (at least) only moved in a couple of months ago. When I first met her we were in the hall. Being polite (as you should try to be with your neighbours), I said hello. Without missing a beat, she replied ‘I put my coffee away this morning’. You know when people talk to slowly it is painful? This was worse than that. I bid her farewell with a cheery ‘Well, that’s good then!’.

Later the same day, I was going out, and was waiting outside the main entrance when the door opens behind me, I walk forward a couple of steps to allow the door to open. After a few seconds, I wondered why no one had passed me, and I turn round to see my lovely neighbour behind me. I asked her if she was ok, and she said that she was fine, just waiting in the queue to get out.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, I am fat. However, I am not so fat that I block the whole path. I said she was welcome to go in front of me and she waddled off.

But that is not all! About a week later, she knocked on my door, asking what she should do with the Avon catalogues that had been delivered each day. She knows an Avon lady in Leeds, and asked if I wanted her to take my catalogue with her when she dropped it off. In Leeds.

And there is still more. We had a power cut on Monday shortly before the storm hit. And she showed up at my door with a cup, asking if I could give her some of my electric. A cup. Because the noise from the thunder was so loud, I was up a lot of the night talking to a friend, when I heard a knock at the door. This must have been about 4am. After looking through the peep hole, I could see she was standing there, with that cup again.

I hid under the duvet.

So as not to shock your system too much, I will leave it there for now. The rest of the neighbours will be coming up soon.

The plus side, of course, is that I always have something interesting to say!