What’s​ in your recovery​ toolkit?

It is the run-up to National Recovery Month my favorite month of the year.

All-day yesterday I had the privilege of being in the company of being surrounded by some incredible people all of whom carry their own recovery toolkits, each toolkit different from the next, but all equally they have supported them on their own recovery journey and like the chef and any tradesman or women our trades are worthless without our tools.

Just being able to share and laugh even, about the insane moments in our lives that for someone who has never personally experienced addiction may never understand or relate to is priceless. To talk about what was in our own recovery toolkits, we talked about the times the days when we left home without it? or misplaced it for a while, or even losing and having to replace it with a new one and start again.

Each an everyone of us has found our own recovery, developed our own recovery toolkit, everyones toolkits will look different and contain different things these could be 

  • Conversations from the past when the penny has dropped, the Eureka moments lets say…
  • A collection of tips and tricks of the trade shared by others who have openly shared some of their own tools from their own toolkits to help us in our own recovery. 
  • New understanding and self awareness of how our own addictive behaviour worked for us
  • Memories that remind us of how far we have come 
  • Mementos or souvenirs from completed programs or groups
  • Certificates, our reward for new found knowledge 
  • New found self esteem and self worth
  • Memories of volunteering or giving back 
  • Notes to remind us to make time for ourselves 
  • After years of selfishness, a bank of appreciation for our loved ones our communities 
  • coins of compassion

I don’t know about you, but I know that there will always be some new tools that I can take and use in my own toolkit, writing is one of them.

Each and everyone one of us has our own recovery toolkit “What’s in yours?” 

Love Fordy xx

Shit won’t​ change, unless you are willing to change

We have all wondered or asked ourselves “There has got to be more to life than this?” this generally occurs following either negative or unhealthy period whether that be years of self-abuse, self-doubt, returning to unhealthy relationships, turning to substances or acting out on behaviors that push people away, whatever the reason, I would hazard a guess that you have been there too? You know like one day you can be having a great day then BAM some unexpected Shit happens which can leave us feeling lost, fed up or go into fuck it mode.

I have all run around being the fixer, trying to make everyone happy in an attempt to create some sense of happiness and satisfaction for myself but unfortunately, that instant gratification I get from making someone happy doesn’t last that long and soon fades. Thinking that by doing and giving my all to everyone else, in return for feeling valued, loved, wanted, accepted, quite frankly its just a form of denial in itself.

I believe we can either own our stories (even the messy ones), or we can stand outside of them—denying our vulnerabilities and imperfections, deleting the parts of us that don’t fit in with who/what we think we’re supposed to be, chasing other people’s approval of our worthiness. It is quite frankly fucking exhausting and can feel like its a never-ending performance.

But I can honestly say that giving myself some space and time, just an hour in the morning to download my shit in my diary, (which by the way currently contains over 106,00 words) is really helping me to be able to step back, de-construct, review, think about how that situation is making me feel, ask myself what “what can I do?” Be clear about “what I can’t do or change” but more importantly give myself a fucking break!

Any problem, issue or concern whatever it is will require some thinking, reasoning, testing your theories, but you have to make time for this to #Haveawordwiyasen. Reaching out to others can help (you don’t have to do it all alone) seeking out counselors, sponsors or support groups.

You will need to consider what steps you are going to need to take to fix the problem or issue? what action are you going to take? what resources or support will you need? Some people expect that once they have identified or diagnosed unhealthy behaviors that they will change overnight, which is an unrealistic expectation considering some of our behaviors have been manifesting and growing for years.

Working on yourself before anyone else requires you to be brave and vulnerable all at the same time, there can be darker periods of self-reflection that can create states of self-doubt. I always associate these periods as being akin to pregnancy and giving birth, as a mother you trust that all the pain and discomfort will all be worth it because you are creating something magical, creating a new life and new and happier more contented version of yourself.

A starting point can be asking yourself one or two what appear to be on the surface to be very simple questions… (But they are vital)

What do you want?

What don’t you want?

Talking through your answers with your support network can help you get through this, what can sometimes feel a dark, lonely and isolating period. But we have to remember that, that’s all it is! a period a moment in our life that will pass.

Do a gratitude list – I do this often, it helps remind me about all the things I am truly grateful for and blessed to have in my life, this can also help outweigh or fill the voids

What I am learning to value more and more about my Journey is

We all can take back some control

Shit wont change, unless you are willing to change

Even the smallest changes eventually will make a BIG difference

Dont be afraid to try something new, something different

Its ok to not be ok

Be kind to yourself, no fucker is perfect

Read more – there is a whole universe of words out there, reading can help you realise that you are not alone in your thoughts

Nurture your friendships and relationships with others, but remember the most important relationship that you will ever have is with yourself.

So on that note, i’m off to clean the downstairs of my house, cos it’s loppy and i aint going to clean itself

Love Fordy xxx

Understanding and managing shame

I only share my knowledge with the intention of helping others. I have often questioned myself “Is it narcissistic to share openly about who I am?” But what I am learning is that if anything I take a risk of being misjudged every time I press the send button and a recent misinterpretation or accusation has just confirmed this. 

The post on here is a synopsis of my daily journalling, which for me has helped me understand who I am. Writing has helped me understand myself and if my writing has helped another person, then it s a bonus. But the primary goal is my own personal development. 

Sharing about some of my most vulnerable moments have actually turned out to be some of my greatest. I have been researching, reading and reflecting on the shame of late. As a result, I have felt better equip to recognise when I am feeling shame and I have learned how shame can silence us, how it has suffocated me and prevented me from moving forward. 

I have carried a lifetime of shame, shameful thoughts and feelings that have restricted me and held me back from being my full potential. In my journaling I able to better question emotional and mental shame moments, I revisit them, dissect them then disregard them and then move on. Researchers suggest that the difference between shame and guilt is the difference between “I am bad” or “I did something bad” so for example 

Guilt = I did something bad

Shame = I am bad

Shame for me has been like an invisible disease, shame has in the past consumed my thoughts and feelings and stunted my own emotional growth. Over the past year or so, I have learned more about who I am, but also the more I seem to learn about myself the less I actually know, which can be scary in itself. BUT, I would much rather live with the fear of the unknown, knowing who I am and learning to recognise and accept that “I am good enough”. 

When I open up or share some of the invisible fears derived from shame that have consumed me, people are often amazed or confused “how can you think like that?” Or “I would have never known that about you, you always seem so confident “ and that is precisely why I am willing to share my own vulnerabilities, because we live in a society where it isn’t trendy or socially acceptable to show “what might be described as weakness”. My view is that what society labels as being a weakness is actually a strength. 

We are all victims of our own emotions, and this isn’t about blame, but if we grew up in an environment where emotions were not acknowledged or talked about? Then how are we supposed to know how or what we are feeling?

I have been through my own shit, affected by my own addiction, my father’s addiction and have worked in the addiction field long enough to know that one of the key factors that keep people locked in a cycle of addiction is using substances or behaviours in order to avoid emotional pain. In, fact physical pain and intense experiences of social rejection hurt in the same way and just as we often struggle to describe or define physical pain the same can be said for emotional pain. 

Consider two scenarios. In the first, you spill a hot cup of coffee on your forearm and experience intense pain. In the second, you look at pictures of your former romantic partner, a person with whom you recently experienced an unwanted break- up; as you view each photo you feel rejected and experience another kind of “pain.” On the surface, these two events seem quite distinct. Whereas the former involves a noxious bodily stimulus, the latter involves the termination of a social relationship. However, cultures around the world use the same language—words like “hurt” and “pain”—to describe both experiences raising the question: How similar are social re- jection and physical pain? https://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/108/15/6270.full.pdf

So if we are feeling highly emotional for what might appear for no reason? We need to learn to understand that there is always a reason. It can help to learn to question where this pain is coming from, if we don’t we will try our best to label it or push it to one side, deny the emotion, sometimes using substances to dull the emotional feeling or acting out in other distructivebehaviours.

Thats why you will see people seek out support groups or another professional, like a counsellor to help them navigate life. Many do this with the expectation that someone else can help them heal from what ever is causing the distress at that time, but the bottom line is that the only person that can heal us, is ourselves. There is no denying that we can learn from others, being able to share some of our own pain with others who have experienced similar emotions creates a safe space to explore ourselves. I haven’t got to where I am now, without the support and guidance of others who have walked a similar path and have been willing to freely share their journey with me.

Helping people understand themselves should never be about personal financial gain however I do class myself fortunate to be financially rewarded in my job, because in addition to problem solving I am also able to help people find themselves. I share what’s most personal to me because I fundamentally value the importance of being open and transparent and that’s why I love working in the recovery field, I get to work and meet some of the most vulnerable but also the most courageous people I know and I am learning as much from them, as they are from me. 

I will continue to use my position, my platform if you like to fight for the underdogs, for those who have been disregarded because of personal life choices or whose voice isn’t easily heard or ignored and if some people don’t get that, then that’s their problem, its no longer mine and I am slowly learning that it isn’t something to be ashamed about.

Love Fordy x

Overcoming Emotional Phobia

Our society is increasingly becoming emotionally phobic – everyone is running around trying to escape their uncomfortable internal feelings, trying to pretend to the outside world that everything is ok, when in fact we are not ok! Using drugs to mask the uncomfortable feelings and emotions, acting out, behaving in such ways that will change how we feel about ourselves. But this is only a temporary fix. 

Feeling unable to say how we truly feel out of fear of rejection or shame, only serves to enslave us with our own uncomfortable emotions. We run around like fucking headless chickens trying to measure our self-worth based on praise or disappointment from others, acting out accordingly rather than seeking if from ourselves. I have talked previously about getting the balance right is balancing act in itself, now I am not saying that finding the balance is easy I would go as far to say, it hasn’t, it isn’t and will probably continue to become hard at times. 

But then there are the highs, I find that in my moments of clarity, is when I realise and accept that, our feelings, including the lows, self-doubt are a perfectly normal part of being human and that’s ok! Sharing our vulnerability openly and honestly is a courageous trait to have, but to feel courageous we must be prepared to feel fear and those feelings that have been wrapped in a bubble of our perceived perfection. 

For me, writing, talking to others and listening to myself helps me to better understand and sit with those uncomfortable and painful emotions, emotions that have been developing for years, emotions that have been reinforced by societies expectations and my own, so to expect these emotions to change overnight, just because I am aware of them, is a big ask or anyone, including ourselves. 

So if you are having a sad moment, a bad day, tell yourself “it is ok” this is just part of figuring yourself out and I will get through this and YOU WILL

And to prove this point, you only have to look back at all you have already been through emotionally and physically, to know that if you are reading this, you are already a survivor. 

Try not to be afraid of who you truly are and remember, if you would like to subscribe to more post, please go to https://www.shithappens.me.uk/contact/ and sign up OR leave me your email. If you liked the post please share, if you didn’t, then do nothing and that’s ok too, Love Fordy x

Understanding my own Recovery Journey

I want to share an excert from the book with you a snippet into my time as an addict, I also wanted to share some of my thoughts on what I think recovery is….

It’s been 25+ years since I got sectioned, after weeks of denial and insistence that there was nothing wrong with me I accepted defeat. Drug-induced psychosis was my prognosis, I walked from the reception down the hospital corridor thinking “How the fuck have I ended up here?”. I was led to my bed which was set in the middle of a ward full of strangers, I knew that I wasn’t alone because I could hear noises, some snoring, some groaning, But then I think my arrival had woken one of the other patients and as I climbed under the crisp hospital sheets I could hear her shouting. Afraid to look up, I pretended to be asleep, I must have disturbed her because she was pacing back and forth past the bottom of my hospital bed, demanding to be able to sleep “just like her” referring to me. Little did she know that was all I wanted too, after two days of no sleep, feeling broken, alone, hurt, confused I just wanted to go to sleep and hope that this was just one big fucking BAD dream.

Those first few days are a blur, as I withdrew from the illicit substances, which had become my comfort blanket, my crutch, the buzz I once got was quickly replaced by a cloud of shame, confusion, but most of all fear. I had lost my ability to think, I was numb, detached, a shell of who I used to be. The realisation hit me, the humiliation that as a mother to two children “I should have known better” I had to face the harsh reality that I had not just failed and let down my family and my kids, I had let myself down.

But who was I? I had lost my identity; but then did I ever know who I really was? I questioned “what’s the point? Why am I here?” the only thing that I did feel was my maternal instinct, an ache in my gut that reminded me that I two kids who needed their mom and there was NO FUCKING WAY they would end up care, just because of their mother’s stupid mistakes. But deep down I was scared, shit scared because I didn’t have clue where to start? Accepting I had monumentally fucked up big time was the hardest part, I had been brought up to be tough, not to show weakness and now I was open, exposed and vulnerable. “Was this my rock bottom?”

Blood is Thicker than Alcohol By Tracey Ford

My time and memories from Middlewood Hospital will stay with me until my dying days, the staff at the hospital were great, and the patients even better, they didn’t push or enquire, only after my health or if I wanted a drink? They gave me the space to think, away from the external noise the pressure and pain, they gave me a space to reflect hidden from societies expectations that had just gotten too much. I learned that the patients were, in fact, a lot like me different scenarios or circumstances but the bottom line was they were there because life had become too much. Like them, I had been pushed to my limits and I knew deep down it was time to push back. But I simply didn’t have the emotional or physical strength within me. So I welcomed the sense of nothingness, none of the demands from the outside and embraced the feeling that I was safe (for now) and used the time in the hospital to rest.

When it was my time to leave, I wasn’t ready, I could have quite happily stayed in that place which had become my new comfort blanket. My head was still fucked, I still felt vulnerable and frightened about what lay ahead of me and the prospect of going back to some of the things that had contributed to my breakdown scared the shit out of me. Dealing with expectations from loved ones that everything will somehow go back to normal “whatever the fuck that means!” as in their eyes, it was the drugs that created the fucked up, crazy person I had become, they didn’t have the capacity or insight to even start to comprehend that my recovery journey was only just starting. They didn’t understand that whilst I may have been physically clean, it was going to take a lot longer to become emotionally clean, but then again at the time, I didn’t understand that neither so how could they?

Recovery is about making mistakes, but more importantly, learning from them too, but this doesn’t just mean lapsing by taking substances, the emotional part of recovery is often overlooked but it is essential. I had my complacent moment, a relapse, I recall the day well, I was offered and took what was once my usual dosage and I thought my head would explode, I immediately realised during the height of the high, that I couldn’t touch the shit again.

A large part of our recovery hinges on what we are comfortable doing & what fits with or own personal beliefs and values. The problem I found was I didn’t know what my beliefs and values were anymore; I felt like I was being reborn, and was going back to basics. I started to question everything, if it didn’t feel right, then it probably wasn’t, so much so after two months being back in the family home, I left with the kids to go it alone, I left with no material possessions but reasoned that material possessions could always be replaced and my sanity was worth more.

My personal challenge going forward is to learning to accept and embrace the good with the bad and to be fair it’s not all bad, a lot has changed in the past 25 years and a lot of it is positive, I have a degree, I am employed in a job that I love, I am in a relationship with a guy who accepts me for me and best of all, those two kids of mine have turned out ok, under the circumstances and I am very very proud of them both.

But the point I want to make and share is that I may be 25+ years into recovery from illicit drug use, but I am still learning to come to terms with unwanted & uncomfortable feelings, emotions or the limiting beliefs that can and do come back to haunt me when I least expect it. Only this time I don’t turn to drugs to mask them.

The harsh reality is without a shadow of a doubt some people do drink or take drugs to mask and deal with emotions they would much rather ignore, others don’t! I was one of those who did and despite all of this; I can honestly say I wouldn’t change a single thing because had I not gone through that very painful experience I wouldn’t be who I am today.

I have learned and am still learning just how powerful our thoughts and feelings can influence who we are, I know myself better, I know my default position will always be “I’m not good enough or feeling misunderstood” and that’s ok, I can live with that, because I now understand where they come from, which is the past. I have a lifetime of memories that haunt or even taunt me from time to time, but by knowing myself better than I ever did and I’m realising and coming to accept that I shall be forever learning about myself until I take my last breath.

So what have I learned over the past 25+ years in recovery

Recovery is about being brave, 
Even when you feel afraid 
Recovery is about learning to trust yourself 
When you doubt everyone else 
Recovery is about finding good friends
People you trust, who will defend you until the end
Recovery is about recognising our weaknesses are in fact our strengths 
And reminding ourselves “That nobody is perfect, they just pretend"

Recovery is about recognising our past’s act as our guide
We have a choice, we can either stand up or hide 
Recovery is about recognising we are all creatures of habit
But that habits can be changed 
Recovery is exploring the old beliefs and values 
And breaking those chains 
But most of all Recovery is
About being true to you

Be kind to you
Because that's all you can do 

Try not to be afraid of who you truly are and remember, if you would like to subscribe to more post, please go to https://www.shithappens.me.uk/contact/ and sign up OR leave me your email. If you liked the post please share, if you didn’t, then do nothing and that’s ok too, Love Fordy x

Life is like one big Jigsaw puzzle

The other day I sat in a room full of people who were sharing about how their emotions had taken a hold, the emotions had got the better of them and then the inevitable happened “Relapse”. I shared that even though it has been a long time since I have picked up an illicit drug, I still have days when I have what I call an “emotional relapse,” but rather than pick up drugs, I pick up the negative self talk, the negative thoughts, that like a cyclone take a hold and lift me into a depressive and dark emotional place.

There were times my early recovery where I would spend, days or even weeks wrapped up in negative mindset.  This then impacted on my behaviour, how I would react, or over reaction my case, I could sit and stew on my emotions for a while before I would realise that it is time to turn down the heat, take a step back, and make the time to reflect and get in touch with what was “really” going on for me. I find I can never move forward or past feeling shit, without addressing or getting to the bottom of what I was thinking to truly understand how this was making me feel. 

One of the biggest lessons I have learned  and learning about more recently is to embrace vulnerability, when the cloud of vulnerability eclipses me I have been wanting something or someone to remove the vulnerable feelings, I have been treating my feelings as a nuisance or an illness that needs to be cured or removed, especially those negative emotions. The vulnerability I have felt, I now realise has come from seeking validation from others, I have been measuring my self worth based on someone else’s or organisational conditioning.

I am still coming to terms with the reality that that suffering is inevitable, it is part of being human and to deny this and continuing escape it only keeps me in that hamster wheel, the inescapable cycle of suffering where nothing will change until I address who I am today, why I came to be where I am are, and learning to understand where the emotional grief comes from. 

Nobody can understand me better than myself. Being honest about the things I might do wrong, being able to admit to things I need to change, can only come from within me. Willingness to see and change, the decision to change what I don’t like about my life, can only come from me. 

Having support from trusted friends is crucial, use them as a sounding board, but to seek out people with the expectation that they can solve your emotional crisis is fruitile when they have never been through the things you’ve been through, emotionally, they may be able to relate, they may have experienced similar feelings and hurt, but that’s there own and not yours. 

I am coming to accept, and am learning to understand that my emotions are there to guide me, protect me, and in order to help myself  I need to learn to listen more to understand them. 

Getting to this place, or learning to understand myself to this degree, has taken years of practice and I will probably be still be reflecting and learning about myself until I draw on my last breath. I haven’t done this in isolation though I have listened and learned from others, taken the parts that fit me, life is like jigsaw puzzle I am slowly building a picture of who I really am.

Try not to be afraid of who you truly are and remember, if you would like to subscribe to more post, please go to https://www.shithappens.me.uk/contact/ and sign up, If you liked the post please share, if you didn’t, then do nothing and that’s ok too, Love Fordy x

Learning to accept and embrace vulnerability

Having felt emotionally and mentally vulnerable over recent weeks and despite all the positive self-talk #Havingawordwimesen, some days it works, I feel fine then boom other days I’m not so fine. You may have noticed that post on here are on the decline and so has my sense of well being.

Some mornings have literally felt like waking up with a hangover, but without the alcohol the night before, which is even worse! at least I could blame the shit feeling on alcohol! I even googled it, and guess what? There is such a thing as an emotional hangover The idea is that the effects of an emotional event can linger for a while after the event actually happens — the same way nausea lingers long after you’ve consumed one too much alcohol.  This event can be anything from an argument with your best friend to a break up with your partner, it could be anything but while the event is over, your head is still reeling and messing with your current emotions. There even been some research into it!

I could relate straight away to the article, thoughts of self-doubt fuelling the internal sense of worthlessness, have tainted me emotionally ultimately affecting how I have reacted or behaved in certain situations. I have felt unable to pinpoint any actual trigger or the source of my discomfort, but deep down know it has been work-related, this is my echelles heal, because I love my job, I love partnership working and the people I work with, and despite this, something still hasn’t been quite right.

I haven’t even been writing, not even in my personal journal, because I didn’t know where to start, but then I came across this quote in a new book I have been reading by Brene Brown, she wrote “nothing has transformed my life more than realizing that’s it’s a waste of time trying to evaluate my worthiness by weighing the reactions of the people in the stands….”

And there is was, the words laid bare, I realised that for the past few weeks I had been measuring my own self-worth, based on what other people thought, I what I assumed they were thinking.

I took the advice from the emotional hangover article and decided to write down all the incidents/scenarios’ that had left me feeling pissed off, undervalued and I started to recognise where some of the anger had stemmed from and could clearly see how I had been allowing external factors influence me internally, How much time, precious time and energy on what others thought and not saving anything back for myself and asking myself “what do I think? Or what do I know to be true?”

I had stopped reflecting, checking in with myself, stopped #havingawordwimesen, putting others before myself, going with the flow, I stopped saying NO to appease the status quo, I’d stopped putting me first.

“Vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat, it’s understanding the necessity of both; it’s engaging. It’s being all in. Vulnerability is not weakness, and the uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure we face every day are not optional. Our only choice is a question of engagement. Our willingness to own and engage with our vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and the clarity of our purpose;”

“Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead” by Brené Brown

We are unfortunately creatures of habit, and sometimes without persistence or practice, we can easily slip back into unhealthy habits, which for me is the negative narrative of self-doubt. I have spent almost three-quarters of a lifetime thinking or believing “that I wasn’t good enough”. So I am trying not to be so hard on myself because that ain’t going to help neither, i just need to remind myself of that daily…

Emotional Hangover 

You think that I strong
But boy are you wrong
I see it in their faces
They know I’m not right

I cannot deny
I’m struggling to cope
The worst part is
I don’t know why

Feel open and exposed
Conflicting emotions
Scared I’ll implode

I know you see my discomfort
Don’t ask me to explain
If I knew I would tell you
Trust me I want to know the same

I try pushing aside
The thoughts and feelings inside
But they won’t go away
They are threatening to stay

I’m sick of the feelings
They’ve outstayed their welcome
I need to be brave
And take a look inside
Because I know deep down
That’s where the answers reside

“But what if I don’t like what I find?”
The vulnerable thought hovers in my mind?
What I do then?
So I tell myself

"Take a good long look in the mirror and...

#Shithappens to the best of all of us, it is just sometimes some shit is harder to get our heads around!

I share my vulnerability not for pity, but help others understand that they are not on their own, Love Fordy

We are the superheroes of our own stories

Christ this years I going fast, I am looking at meetings in September and they don’t feel that far away, had a bit of a thick head past couple of days, it is back again? I feel tired more quickly, especially when I have to think. Yesterday the phone and emails didn’t stop, people seeking advice about work or personal issues, I go to meetings and I feel like I am giving all the time, but then every now and then, I get the opportunity to receive, I get the opportunity to take a look into someone else’s life and reminds me that courage is everywhere and it is always a humble reminder as to why I do what I do.

I love it when I get something back, listening to personal shares from individuals who describe how they have managed to pull through some personal adversaries and survived, for me they possessed the courage of lionesses. They were able to admit that they were not totally fixed and that they might never be, but both were thankful that they were breathing and were grateful for the support and guidance provided by our services which helped them to create a new version of themselves and a new life away from the abuse they had been receiving. 

They shared how even after the abuse stopped, it continued internally. How the abusers words like “you are nothing, nothing without me” had become wired into their brain and even though they looked ok on the outside, on the inside the words continued to spin like a hamster on a wheel, they shared how they were trying their best to rewire their own internal narrative and slow down their hamster cage. 

They described how after they had adapted and changed who they were to try and fit the perfect mold, the abuser wanted them to be, losing their whole identity, how they were slowly working on breaking that mold and creating a newer version of themselves. 

As I listened, they replayed the negative narrative. They shared what they thought about themselves, how this made them feel, but more importantly how they reacted, they had been preprogrammed to believe that they were nothing of any worth and how they believed it. They shared of the recovery journey about being more than just leaving the physical abuse, but more about starting to untangled the hardwired thoughts that they now knew as being lies. How they had slowly recognised how their once negative thoughts had turned into assumptions, then had been cemented into beliefs and how they were having to slowly chip away their belief system, replacing and rewiring them on their way. 

The shared how being exposed to new experiences helped them realise that they were actually worth more, that the limiting beliefs they had developed for themselves were no longer true, they were all lies and how one of the hardest parts of their recovery was about learning to accept that they had allowed another person to harm them in that way. They shared how their recovery seemed like a constant cycle of anger, frustration, hurt, shame, excitement or pride. 

But they were determined not to give up. Because they had realised that there was so much more to them that the person or society had made them believe. They were making informed decisions for themselves, based on facts and not just another person or societies word. 

Neither, one of the ladies talked about how easy their recovery had been and that’s because it wasn’t and it still wasn’t but they both shared something in common! And I think that was HOPE It was like they had woken up like a light had been switched on both realising that what was once was the truth, was a lie and they were working on creating their truth.

Hearing their stories I saw myself, their journeys took me back to a place, a time, to a person I used to be. I felt anger and hurt that i thought I had buried long ago and I realised that it would always be there, not as painful, but always be there, but now i was living my best life, despite my past. How my past had made me who I am today and how in many ways, I am now thankful for all the painful lessons I endured, whether they were inflicted by either someone else or myself.

If you are doubting yourself, seek out the stories that inspire, then remind yourself of your own story, your own story of survival and how you have evolved, changed during a time when all you felt around you was doubt and uncertainty and remind yourself that you too are a lion or lioness, that you are a survivor too and have more courage and strength than you ever knew.

So next time you are feeling low, look back and see how far you have come and remember that there is always hope and we are all trying to survive and are also survivors in our own right, we are our own superheroes in our own story.

Love Fordy x

Life can be like the weather – We can try and predict it but we cannot control it

I see people around me going through their struggles, dealing with their demons and it reassures me that I’m ok, that I’m not alone. That’s not to say I compare, couldn’t and wouldn’t do that, but it is almost comforting, reassuring that I’m not the only person around me who feels like sometimes they are losing the plot, losing the strong sense of self that can come and go, like a carless whim, like a change in the weather, one day you get sunshine and just like that! PHOOF! it’s pissing it down.

Some days can feel like I have got an overcast cloud that stalks me, shading me from the sun, threatening to rain at any given moment and then other days there are there is nothing, only clear skies of clarity or unexpected rainbows that appear after a recent downpour.

I don’t know about you? But I check the BBC weather app on my phone daily which is supposed to predict exactly what the weather is going to be doing day by day, even better it gives you an hour by hour prediction, but that can all change all because a wind from another continent has changed direction, impacting on any plans might have had for that week.

The ripple effect impacts further, even my choice of outfits that I have contemplated wearing for any given day, need to be changed, all of this dictated by the weather, the weather that I cannot control. I could say “Fuck it” ignore the predictions, take a risk? But then I also run the risk of looking a bit of a twat, going to work in summer clothes when is sailing it down with rain, whilst everyone else has umbrellas and macs because they heeded the weather prediction.

Life of late feels like that a lot, I can try and predict my week, by checking my work calendar, check where I need to be, the venue, the topic, I am prepared, I am aware of the pieces of work that need to be completed, I know exactly what to expect (just like the weather app) but then the wind can change direction, there is a new unexpected problem that needs addressing, a meeting has been canceled, or even worse an emergency meeting has been arranged, the need for urgency and pressure can sometimes make me want to run away seeking shelter until the shit storm passes.

I ask myself would I prefer to move to a sunnier climate, a place where there is guaranteed sunshine all year round, but then that would bring different challenges, being too hot! Christ, I would be screaming out for a fresh northerly wind to keep me cool. The reality is that we cannot win, but we can try to accept that change is inevitable and any plans or aspirations can be pissed on at any given time, but we can try to be prepared.

I don’t share on here, for sympathy (christ, that’s the last thing I want) I share because I want others to realise that when there is a shit storm brewing or if the heavens have opened pissing on our parade, that, it is ok, we all get caught out now and then!

Life is like the weather, we have little control over it, but we do have control of how we adapt to it. I don’t want to be that person who sits in a puddle of self-pity, blaming the weather for me looking like a drowned rat, I want to be that person who doesn’t care if I’m soaking wet, I want to be that person who has the sense of resilience that means I don’t care or it doesn’t matter what the weather is doing, because I know I’ll be ok. I might get soaked from time to time, but I can always dry off or I can replace my damp clothes.

So if we cannot predict or control the weather, what can we do?

Acceptance – we can start by accepting that we cannot control the weather, but we can try and predict (we might sometimes get it wrong) but we can only try our best to be prepared for what is coming our way.

Instead of moaning or complaining to a complete stranger at the bus stop about the weather, seek out people who get you, surround yourself with those who understand you, those who will give you the space to work through your thoughts, let you moan about the weather without judgment. Those who provide shelter from the storm and will help you dry your heavy damp clothes.

Be more prepared, carry a brolly or a Mac or even some suncream? (just in case?) check you have them on you at all times, learn to accept that sometimes you might have left them at home? (I think I have left mine at home a few times, just of late) And yes sometimes its a ball ache carrying it around, but at least you know you are ready, prepared and have the tools to protect yourself whatever the weather!

Take shelter from the storm, take a break from society, from the press, social media, negative people who rain on your parade, make time for you to collect your thoughts. #Haveawordwitheesen

Look out for rainbows or create your own – do a gratitude list, remind yourself of all the colourful and meaningful things you already have, focus on what you have got, focus less on what you have not.

But more importantly learn to recognise and accept that you are not alone, the weather affects everyone, we cannot always predict the weather. Ok, a little rain might piss on your parade from time to time, but that’s ok we all get caught out sometimes and don’t forget the rainbows…

Love Fordy x

Practicing being true to myself

Practicing being true to myself has been extra hard this week, my heads been in a mess and truly up me arse. So much so, after being awake since 4 am unable to switch off, I stepped into the trusty trainers and took me sen for a morning run. I’m glad it’s Friday, christ I am ready for a break!

I came up with the ramble below, which helped me to really recognise, but more importantly, acknowledge just how I have been feeling. Pushing shit down or holding it within, only serves to make me feel worse. It’s all too easy to lose track of who we really are and lose ourselves in other people agendas. This week for me has been a stark reminder of the importance of retaining a sense of worth and being true to ourselves as much as we can.

 Letting it out

 Frustrated and lost 
 No energy to spare 
 I’m ready for a break
 Fuck it, I wish I didn’t care

 Seeing things differantly
 The games that people play 
 In a world of Bureaucracy
 I just want to run away

 I’m sick of the promises
 That never come 
 Playing the hero for one day
 Whilst the real heroes slave away
 Walking alongside tin men 
 Without any heart
 I need a toto
 A trustworthy friend 
 Who will walk by my side 
 And defend me till the end
 I don’t want to be the witch 
 Full of anger and rage 
 I need Dorothy's shoes
 I want to be whisked away
 I’m tired, I’m disheartened 
 Of the games people play
 Maybe its time to hang up me boots
 Time to walk away
 Time to take a step back
 Get myself back on track
 Walk away from the fight 
 And let them be
 I think Its time I focused 
 On just being me 

Thanks for listening, much love, Fordy