Addiction

newproject_1_original-6Addiction lives everywhere, out in the open, behind closed doors, within families, between friends and between co-dependent partners. Some addictions are not immediately life threatening. Many people still smoke every day and drink every weekend. In society these are the lesser evils because they do not immediately ruin lives. They may kill you in the end but the impact on those surrounding you are, for the most part, minimal. Unless of course you’re a raging alcoholic. Most addicts are addicts in secret. They are used to operating in secret by covering up their ‘signs’ and they usually have ‘enablers’, who can be just as detrimental as the addiction itself.

Sadly, as a society we are quick to judge addicts, particularly those whose problems involve Class A drugs such as heroin and crack. ‘Bag head’, ‘tramp’, ‘druggy’, ‘user’, ‘addict’, ‘you should be ashamed of yourself’ etc. Unfortunately, addiction isn’t easy to break, hence why some people remain addicts all their life. Breaking addictions takes enormous, willpower, bags of love and in some cases absolute force. The difficulty of this is that families usually fall apart one way or another and the support isn’t there. This could be due to the addict relying on thieving, lying, scheming and manipulating, to gain whatever substance or elation they are seeking.

20170729_124355The only way to start removing addiction from someone’s life is to first stop their enabler. Enablers are the people who provide the means for addictions to continue. These people are always prevalent where addiction lives, particularly gambling addiction. The addict can spend their entire months wage on bets in a single day and the enabler will replace that for them, usually because they are terrified at what will happen if they let them sink. It is imperative though that you LET THEM SINK. Don’t be fooled by love or obligation. You are literally helping this person destroy themselves and the life they have built. In the moment you refuse to ‘enable them’ they will say absolutely anything to change your mind, ‘I will kill myself’, ‘I will tell people your secrets’, ‘I have no money for food’. This can be alarming and it takes a morally strong person to see through the deceit and say ‘HELL NO’. Nine times out of ten the addict won’t do anything, they have just hit rock bottom and will resort to any means to manipulate you. Even if they did take drastic action at your refusal, that responsibility lies with them not your conscience. The more you enable addictions to continue, the less likely they will ever end, meaning you are20170729_124419 also now in the vicious cycle. When you have nothing more to give, the addict will push for you to bring in another enabler to fund the addiction. The only light at the end of the tunnel is that the wheels will eventually drop off because there isn’t an endless supply of money. The addict will either end up homeless or facing the music of the person they were hiding their addiction from. The only way out is ultimate acknowledgement and acceptance. An addict must really feel what they have done to others and themselves and let it consume them, so they can resolve to do better and start to rebuild their own self-worth.

Self-esteem plays a major part in addiction. For instance, gambling may not be the root issue, it could just be symptom of something deeper like anxiety, depression or trying to fund substance abuse. Substance abuse can stem from manipulation, control or physical abuse at the hands of someone else, whether in childhood, adolescence or in a very present situation. Whatever the facts of the case, don’t be too quick to dismiss an addict. Of course there are those that have completely fallen off and can’t be brought back but many are crying on the inside to be saved.

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Dealing with an addict is a balancing act. You don’t want to be a hero and risk your own life being stolen to fund the vices of an addict and you don’t want to completely ignore their plight. If you are personally suffering in such a situation then you need to create and implement your own strict rules. This could be never having the addict your house, however, you will arrange to meet them elsewhere such as a café. Stop giving them money but offer emotional support and be their voice of reason. Prevent yourself being emotionally entangled by their pleas of desperation by being brutally honest. ‘I can’t eat today’ they say and you respond ‘but you could’ve if you hadn’t wasted the money you had yesterday on your addiction’. 20170729_124527This may sound cruel, although it does put the addict in a place where they have to consider and be accountable for their actions and the circumstances they have created for themselves. Remind them of their potential and how much you love them, even if it falls on deaf ears. If you have the strength to continue this mantra then it may progress to you convincing them to seek professional help once and for all. Leaving addiction behind takes baby steps so don’t get frustrated if the addict takes five steps forward and ten steps back. As long as you are protecting your own interests and wellbeing that’s all that matters. If they never change, at least you know you did everything in your power to help them in the correct way.

If the addict does not get to a point where they want to change their life for the better then it may be wise to accept this and exit their life for good.

DIFFERENT CLASS by Rebecca Gatenby

 

Well hello there sir,

Yes you, opposite me on this train

 

Suited and booted

Upper lip curled

Carrying a look of disdain

 

I am sorry dear sir

If my attire offends

Suits like yours are not often required around these ends

 

I will hazard a guess that you’re just passing through?

I can’t imagine any business here would concern one as smart as you

 

May I enquire what you’re reading?

You assume too intellectual for me?

 

Shoes polished

Cigar in mouth

One hand on your knee

 

Ah it is a Bronte novel you hold in the other hand!

A change of expression, you do not understand?

Well of course I’m well acquainted

They were women of my land

Do not presume your status sir gives you the upper hand

 

As a literate man, you should know better than to judge a book by its cover

Yet in life it appears you don’t apply this rule

You have no urge to discover?

 

We may seem like simple folk

Simply spoken, simply dressed

But there’s much more than meets the eye

With our minds, not clothing, we’re blessed.

 

We are each from a different class

Yet we are but the same

We both possess a functioning brain

And blood runs through our veins

 

We are not so different you and I

So, try not to look down your nose

You may end up in my position ONE Day sir

Depending which way the wind blows.

Bitter & Sweet

The woman was bitter,

it danced around her lips.

The girl was sweet,

she walked with swinging hips.

 

For a time they conversed,

with a hint of uncomfortable air.

Sweet kept the peace

and Bitter’s nostrils were in flare.

 

Over time it became quite clear

that they could not get along.

Bitter was full of venom

and Sweet was full of song.

 

Sweet exuded empathy

for the hate in Bitter’s heart.

Bitter exuded aggression,

tearing Sweet apart.

 

Sweet changed her name to Stress,

she could not take the pain,

that Bitter insisted giving,

leaving Sweet in the rain.

 

Just as Sweet changed to Stress,

Bitter began to change too.

Her heart was blackened beyond repair,

then Evil emerged anew.

 

Evil reduced Stress to Nothing.

At least that’s how she felt.

Evil took pleasure in knowing,

she had one more under belt.

 

Then Nothing began to realise

she could not sink further.

The only way was up.

And Evil was in for murder.

 

Nothing changed her name again,

she emerged to the sun as Hope.

As Evil saw her changing,

she knew she would not gloat.

 

For Hope is neither above or below,

she stands alone instead.

And as she grew taller,

she looked down at Evil’s head.

 

Evil changed her name again,

she became the face of Pity.

For she knew that her heart

was no longer pretty.

 

Rather than change to Remorse,

Pity wallowed in her life.

Now every day in every way

she seeks to cause some strife.

 

Whilst Hope was sad at this,

She did not dwell for long.

For Hope found the world was better

when she sang her old Sweet song.

THE TRUTH ABOUT THE CONTRACEPTIVE PILL

newproject_1_originalBefore we get into the dark ‘truth’ about these Monday to Sunday pills, we should get ourselves familiar with the back story. Basically, society want to have sex without getting pregnant and without the restriction of condoms. The condom part is largely male driven because let’s face it…. women just want to feel erm…full. Pardon my crudeness. Interestingly, the pill was only initially available to married women when it was released in 1961. God forbid we should be caught with our knickers down if we didn’t have a husband. ‘That girl ought to be ashamed of herself!’. This rule lasted all of six years because the pharmaceutical companies realised ‘Hey there is a large profit to be made here!’. Hence why your doctor prescribes meds for everything instead of encouraging natural ways of healing…but that’s clearly a blog for another day!

Now, according to this article http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-15984258 , the contraceptive pill has been called the greatest scientific invention of the 20th Century. Which it probably is…for men. This article also states that 70% of women in the UK are on the pill or have taken it at some point in their lives. Now that is scary. As you have been patient in reading this introduction, all shall now be revealed. Side note: I felt it important to share this in case other women are struggling and they can’t figure out why.

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I have been known to my family as RUTH. Short for RUTHLESS. Not a very endearing name to say the least. From the age of 14 years old I went on the pill to regulate and reduce the pain of my period. Had those side effects been the only ones I may still be on it now. For the next ten years of my life I would have a cloudy, angry mind, an extremely short fuse and endless migraines. The migraines were unbearable. The longest was 28 hours and I couldn’t leave my bed or come out from under the covers. Painkillers didn’t even dent them. I literally thought my brain was going to explode. During a shift at the bookies one day, my vision went blurry, I couldn’t speak and I couldn’t add up. I fell off my chair and pulled myself into the toilet and turned the light off until the duty manager arrived. On reflection, the symptoms suggested a minor stroke but because I was 19 and naive, I dismissed it.

It’s hard to say which was the most difficult, the migraines or the moods. If I was calling a company about a bill I would end up flipping even if the advisor I was speaking to was giving world class customer service. But to me the inconvenience of having to take 5 minutes out of my day to make a premium call to a company I don’t want to speak to was torture. Even during dialling I would hyperventilate with anger and just wait for a reason to start screaming. After these types of calls I would just sit and cry out of frustration and bae would be like ‘seriously though what did you get out of that’ and the guilt would set in.

Other instances have included calling my father derogatory names and telling him to get out of my life, ripping cables and wires out of walls, destroying my own possessions because being destructive helped rid me of the energy that took over my body. Because I had no rational thought I would spend my wages without a second thought and leave myself without basic needs such as food. Shopping also made me feel better…. which is ironic as I knew eventually I would destroy what I bought in a rage with my bare hands. The worst habit I got into, which I still do today but much more diplomatically, is tell people uncomfortable truths. If my comments upset my nearest and dearest I would just say something like ‘well the truth hurts…. bitch’. How awful! When I think back to how I felt during those years I could vomit in disgust.

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Whilst there were hundreds of occurrences like this, there was one thought I had which still makes me shiver now. The strong deep-seated feeling that I wanted to slowly tear somebody’s limbs off. I’d pray for a woman (or a man!) to start something so I could get into a scrap and rid myself of the strong feelings that were coursing through my veins like snakes. Had my love not loved me so much, I may have never recognised that I had lost my shit completely and needed to find a way back to rational thought. Neither of us considered the pill was the root cause so I tried exercising, eating healthy, getting more sleep, changing my surroundings….and alas nothing changed.

The penny dropped when I started to become conscious of what I was eating. Watching programmes like ‘The Sugar Documentary’ opened my eyes to what chemicals in foods do to the body. Consuming the parasitic chemicals in processed food could lead to serious illnesses such as cancer, as well as restricting day to day life due to the internal reactions they cause. Once I cleaned up my diet, I was devastated to find the feeling was still there lurking in the background. It was like a shadow that started at my feet, twisted up tightly around my body and finally made a permanent evil settlement in my brain, squeezing the life out of my rational thought.

So, after one particularly bad day of wanting to murder the world and smash up my house, I happened across the leaflet of the contraceptive pill I was taking. I’d never really given the side effects a thought before and my interest in how chemicals impacted on the brain and body roused my interest. In my contraceptive taking lifetime I used Microgynon, Yasmin and Cilest so I decided to look at the side effects in more detail (on an actual PC because phones didn’t have standard internet then…lol). The points below are the side effects I personally experienced from taking the contraceptive pill and these are listed in their literature-

  • Headaches/Migraines
  • a change in the pattern or severity of migraine headaches
  • Increased chance of blood clotting
  • Depression
  • Rise in blood pressure
  • Disturbance in liver function
  • Mood swings

Serious Side effects

  • sudden and severe headache, confusion, problems with vision, speech, or balance

In the case of Yasmin, 6.7% women were discontinued from the clinical trials due to an adverse reaction and yet this product is available to young girls and women around the world!

After some discussion with bae, I decided to just stop taking it. I didn’t go to my doctor as I didn’t feel they would take me seriously. Every time I discussed contraception they tried to convince me to get the implant in my arm. Having heard and seen horror stories about the implant, I told my doctor I didn’t want to be asked about this again and I asked him to make a note of this on my file.

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The Results

Well, what can I say…a week in with no pill down my neck and I felt like a phoenix rising from the flames. My mind was clearer than it had been since my school days. My brain went to the laughter function quite easily and never strayed into angry thoughts. If it tried to, I could acknowledge them and send them away. I was rational again! The heavy cloud of being misunderstood and miserable floated away to find some other poor soul. Bae said it was like he’d met me for the first time all over again. Then that got me thinking, how many relationships have fallen apart because of this? How many women were feeling worthless, misunderstood, depressed and/or suicidal? From that moment on I told myself I would never put my reproduction system in the hands of a man made chemical again. Inhibiting my eggs for years at a time was not natural to me and the thought of potential damage to my cycle consumed me. Luckily, everything settled down after around three months or so. Experiencing a proper period after 10 years was hard going but I took joy from knowing my body was functioning as nature intended, not as a man in a lab intended.

Since my experience, I have seen other women go through the same struggle. During a camping trip, my usually kind hearted and fun friend was in a foul mood. Her temper was so short she threw a bag of metal pans at her brother! Immediately after she felt so consumed with anger, regret and upset she even exclaimed ‘what’s wrong with me?!’. She too stopped taking the pill and felt rational and happy after just a week too. So, whether you agree with the pill or not, the struggle is real for many women and they are better off using the natural method. If this story sounds familiar to you, I urge you to stop taking it for just a few weeks and I guarantee you will feel a million times better!

 

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2007/sep/12/health.medicineandhealth

http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/medicines/sexual-health/a7829/cilest-ethinylestradiol-and-norgestimate/

http://www.rxlist.com/yasmin-side-effects-drug-center.htm

http://www.dokteronline.com/en/microgynon-30/package-leaflet/

Birthday Blog

newproject_1_original-7Today is my birthday. (Edit…it was two days ago)

Born 9th April 1988, on the 100th day of the year, on the 142nd Grand National Day, just after 1pm. My dad lost his bet…a great start.

Throughout my twenty-nine years on this earth I have pretty much had as much freedom as I have wanted. What a beautiful thing. Reflecting on that, I admit I did not use that freedom wisely most of the time, which is selfish when considering how much some people would simply like freedom. On turning twenty-nine I still unashamedly enjoy some of the same things as I did when I was 9 or 19. I feel I have also learned a million life lessons…but I didn’t feel like that when turning 28…

…interesting.

It is a common notion that knocking on thirty’s door is a time of growing up ‘properly’ once and for all. No more excuses for bad behaviour or for not looking after yourself. Spontaneous drinking sessions with friends fade and those annoying things start to batter at your walls…
…expectations.

As the big 3 0 looms closer, there are suddenly one hundred and one expectations placed20170411_102615 on us. ‘When are you having kids?’ and ‘When are you getting married?’ …are the most frequently asked questions if you haven’t already done those things. Of course, millions treasure the idea of domestic bliss…but not all. There are still those who are happy to embrace the opportunities that arise from simply being one with oneself. The absence of responsibility and obligation is its own fairy-tale and it’s not one that we can all give up easily. It is a little bewildering as to why some view this as unusual or horrifying; ‘time is running out if you want to settle down!’. These kinds of responses can push us in to thinking we must act to keep up with the ‘norms’ of society, instead of growing old alone in a cardboard box somewhere as our heart really desires.

Even when you do embrace a life other than the domestic one, it won’t be good enough for everyone. If you haven’t completed their imaginary list of things to do before you’re thirty then you’re a big fat failure. When our minds cloud with other people’s expectations and ideals we ultimately lose ourselves. And that is the key to happiness at any age. The relationship with Self. Living in the moment by doing what you enjoy as an individual will attract what you truly want in life. Any energy dispelled on people who can only give you negative opinions, rather than adding value to your life, will only hold you back in the long run. They will make you second guess yourself, go against your gut and before you know it you’re knocking on the door of the next decade wondering where it all went wrong.

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People with expectations about how others should live have little going on in their own life (or they’re insecure so they pull others down with them). Let them do that while you do you with a happy mind, whatever your age. The moment you allow yourself to chase life validation you begin to fight a losing battle. Only misery and disappointment will ensue, simply because you’re not living your own truth.

So, in this last year of my twenties, I solemnly swear…to be myself. Young at heart with my mind closed to the expectations of others.

Forgiveness

wp-1483898817978.jpgDivorce, break ups and frenemies are much more prominent nowadays. A quarter of the children in the UK are being raised by a lone parent, as per the Office of Statistics and Lady Leshurr tells us that some girls change their friends more than their panties! It is a little sad that so many couples and old friends could not make it out of the darkness and stay together, or at least stay amicable to keep the peace.

Friends particularly fall out much easier and individuals will  refer to their friends ‘mugging them off’, or ‘talking BS’ about them to someone else. On social media, you see people unfriending lots of people at once to have a ‘clear out’ and others comment comically saying they ‘hope they make the cut’. This can also extend to family members… ‘were only family by blood’…this one can cause a whole new set of problems for the people involved.

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But how did society end up this way? When did we start throwing people out like yesterday’s trash without a second thought? Granted, sometimes we don’t have a choice and we need to protect ourselves from toxic people. Surely there is still room for forgiveness in our lives though? Forgiveness is now seen as a weakness when it is in fact a great strength. When someone wrongs us we naturally feel hurt and betrayed and we share these feelings with those who love us. Those who love us want to protect us and they may exhibit angry opinions at our circumstances and to the person who hurt us. They may even go as far as to tell you what action to take or to cut the person off completely. This is where lines start to get blurred. Instead of leading with our own heart and head we lead with someone else’s.
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To forgive someone, you should first want to forgive them. Is their mistake bigger than the relationship you have with them? Is one mistake in 5, 10 or 15 years’ worth throwing everything away? Ultimately it comes down to trust. In the immediate aftermath of the situation when emotions are raging, it is likely you will feel that you will never trust that person again. Trust can be rebuilt though and it takes an enormous effort on both sides. If the betrayer has no remorse or isn’t showing signs of trying to make it right, then you should cut them off. If they are, or you know that they have deep rooted issues, or are going through turmoil at the time the incident happened, you should not be hasty in your decision.
The bottom line is…GOOD PEOPLE DO BAD THINGS. Forgiveness is not a weakness, it is empowering. Being able to forgive means you have empathy, compassion and most importantly, a sense of humanity. Imagine it was you who did what that person did. How would you feel? Would you want one last chance to make things right? Would you wish for just one person to understand? We are all human and we all mess up, sometimes big and sometimes small. Losing someone you love because of a mistake you made can cause years of guilt and self-loathing. Do they deserve that? You can forgive and protect yourself from future betrayal at the same time. As the saying goes, ‘fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me’. You can forgive someone twice but it may mean a relationship overhaul to protect your mental wellbeing.

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A beautiful side effect of forgiveness is a deeper love for your partner, friend or family. A good person who has done a bad thing will forever hold you dear to their heart because you found forgiveness for them in yours. Don’t let feelings like hate, anger and resentment rule you or you will never have the capacity to forgive again.

Willpower

The power I seek is one of will

I know I have that ability still

The goals in my head won’t be achieved

If I don’t ignore feeling aggrieved

 

No one will be my success for me

I separate the real from the corny

What I need is a motivator

To make me sit and write on paper

 

In the gym I feel strong

but if I stay home I feel wrong

Tiredness has taken over my being

and my goals are sat staying unseen

 

The worst thing I do is look at others

It makes me hide under covers

Self comparison cannot compare

to embracing yourself and artistic flair

 

Just for writing this poem I feel better

I’ve changed into my gym kit from my sweater

I’ll shut out the world and finish my tasks

and ignore the creepers behind the masks