My name is Tracey and I was an enabler

Enabling is therapeutic jargon or tough love which is often heard in support groups is a way of describing some forms of helping as being destructive, for example, some might say that any act that helps an alcoholic continue to drink prevents the alcoholic from suffering the true consequences of their actions, or make it easier for an alcoholic to continue drinking.

I was advised that I shouldn’t enable, because by enabling dad I wasn’t allowing him to face the full-blown consequence of his actions.

Yeh, I could have said, “I love you dad, but you are on your own?” Or “When you are ready to see the errors of your ways, I’ll be there”

But Surely there are varying differing degrees of enabling?

Trust me dad suffered many consequences as a result of drinking and there were some consequences I simply couldn’t ignore or walk away from, for example

Relationships – Loss of relationships and friendships, because of dads drinking, he had lost many – had we walked away he would have had no-one, well, anyone who genuinely cared about his own best interest.

Physical health – Dad had many injures resulting from a fall where he fractured his shoulder, it was a very nasty condition he didn’t have the capacity and the pain gave him more reason to drink.

Advocating  – Now one else would! I understood him, he was unable to articulate what he wanted, well not without offending or swearing at someone – a blind, deaf person is entitled to have assistance in communicating, how was dad different

I have often questions if we prolonged the inevitable? He could have died sooner, had we not intervened? I guess I will never know?

As humans it is our instinct to want to help others, we don’t do well-seeing anyone in pain, that is of course if you are a psychopath. We are all players in a game of relational transactions – hundreds of them a day. Either initiating or engaging in transactions for which there is always a payoff or loss. There were many times I questioned myself, christ I didn’t need someone else questioning me I needed someone to hear me

Advising someone to walk away is counter-intuitive and not always helpful. I do get it, it is vital that the person caring gets support for themselves, but sometimes advising them to walk away is impossible, so surely there is a compromise to be had?

I can look back on my addiction and god forbid if my mother, loved ones had turned their back on me. Even when I was acting like the devil incarnate one minute and walking around thinking I was John the Baptist the next. They didn’t walk, they didn’t know what they were doing, whether or not it was for the best, but thank goodness they never gave up hope and never gave up trying.

I would often wonder, had dad had cancer would the words of advice had been the same? Addiction in the eye of so many is seen as something self-inflicted, a selfish condition that cares about the one person, the user. But when I reflect on my addiction I didn’t set out to become addicted – no addict does!

I was fortunate to recognise that my recovery had to come from me and me alone, so with this personal knowledge and understand reasoned that I needed to afford dad the same. I knew no amount of coercion, manipulation, shame or blame would help dad, it would’ve been all wasted energy… and my words would have fallen on deaf ears.

Now I am not denying that there were many times that I felt like walking away, there were limits to what I would, could do in terms of support, but I always lived with a glimmer of hope, that maybe, just maybe that combined they might have some sort of impact.

Some would have said, my helping/enabling was filling a void within myself, to make myself feel better – I would argue, so what?

In my case enabler or not, I was able to negotiate some boundaries that helped us both. It wasn’t easy, it never is, watching someone you love commit slow suicide is heartbreaking, its frustrating, cancer, addiction there is no difference everyone has a right to decide what not just what’s best for the addict, but what’s best for themselves.

In the end, the biggest consequence as a result of his addiction was death. But I can live with myself knowing that I did what was right for ME

If you are affected by a loved one’s addiction, regardless of the substance or relationship, please know this.

You are not alone

There is no right or wrong

Caring for someone addicted is all trial and error

Negotiate boundaries that work for you and your family

Make time for you

And remember there are 1000’s just like you questioning themselves

You are not alone

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

Love Fordy x

 

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Yeah I’m clean but my poetry’s not!

 

Emj is a talented artist and has come a long way from the very first time I met her at one of our recovery months, ride for recovery events, she was halfway through her detox and staying at Phoenix House.

The other day I caught up with her, she has been living independently now for nearly a year, has returned to college, chairs one of the local NA meetings and has just returned from a holiday of a lifetime in Lapland with her partner.

She has come along way from self-harming, prison and substance abuse and is slowly learning to live life on life’s terms. We talked about our love of swearing, inspired she wrote this

Dirty words. 

Yeah I’m clean but my poetry’s fucking not

I’m still cursing like I’m being chased by a cop

I have the right to remain obscene

Your nightmare was my fucking dream

Smiling on the outside

Inside I scream

I don’t swear for the hell of it

I swear to highlight this shit

I didn’t mess things up

I completely fucked things up

So why pretend

I’m sorry if I offend

But I refuse to minimise

My poems are my way to analyse

All my faults and lies 

My way of counting all the tears I’ve cried

My way of pointing out the fact 

I’ve been to hell and made it back

That’s where the fucking miracle is at

So can I get a fucking amen on that. 

 

 

Copyright2020emjmorris

 

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Learning to live with fear

 

Fear it is the instinct that protects us from real dangers, fear activates our fight-or-flight responses but a lot of the time our fear can be a response to imaginary dangers too, be fearful of dangers that don’t exist only in our minds.

I wanted to share my recent episode of fear with you…

I came away from a meeting with a writing coach the other day, I was buzzing, on cloud nine I even went and booked myself on a weekend writing retreat, this was it I thought, “I am finally going in the right direction, I WILL finish this book”. The feeling of contentment, reassured of my self-worth, was undeniable, I felt great about life, life was good. 

2 days late following a meeting at work, fear kicked in, It was just a few exchanged words but that was it, that was all it took! Time spent rolling over the words and implications sent me spiraling into self-doubt, questioning myself, my job, my worthiness, trust me it doesn’t take much! Fear of failure, fear of not being good enough, fear of talking about shit but never delivering on it! It wasn’t long before the imposter syndrome soon took hold. 

When the deep-rooted fear of failure takes over, its invisible to others, no one knows the self-doubt that I carry around, the only indication that something is wrong is my attitude. In one fail swoop it changes from being positive to pessimistic, I struggle to apply myself with basic tasks, just responding to emails feels like a chore. I see the negative in everything any optimism I had previously has disappeared.

I constantly go through cycles of fear – I can be like a fucking Cathryn wheel on steroids, fear can take me from feeling content one minute to worthless in a fucking nanosecond.  

The self-doubt, self-worth, kicks in, I can feel paralysed, feeling fearful, unsure about myself and who I am, my passion has gone, I can’t think straight, I feel like I have lost my purpose, its a shitty dark place. I hate being in this dark place, I don’t like the thoughts, the lack of energy, feeling flat, purposeless, sometimes it feels like it won’t ever pass.

But I know it will, you see this isn’t the first time, and it won’t certainly be the last.

Working through FEAR

I will allow myself time to wallow for so long, but I know that at some point I’m going to have to #Haveawordwimesen sort the facts from imaginary fiction, reassure myself that the fear of the unknown is normal and that whatever happens “I’ll be ok”. I always am!  Re-affirming who I am, what I have achieved but more importantly acknowledge remind myself that fear isn’t always a negative.

Judy Lief points out that fear restricts our lives, can imprison us, or be used as a tool of oppression. But unlike our fellow creatures, humans can reflect on our fear, and this gives us the capacity to counter the overwhelming sense of anxiety and the dread that infiltrates modern life. 

“The essential cause of our suffering and anxiety is ignorance of the nature of reality.” The movement toward fearlessness is in accepting whatever is happening at the moment and looking deeply into what is feared. In this way, we can begin to develop self-awareness of the patterns that inflame our fear and self-acceptance of the nature of who we are. 

So rather than see fear as a negative, I study it, dive into it, try and work out where it is coming from, become familiar with it and understand it better. Diving into fear can feel counter-intuitive as our habitual reaction is to push away or deny what frightens us, but getting to know our fears can help us to soften or even eradicate them. 

I have learned that if nothing changes then nothing will ever change, and when I am in this dark place sufficed by fear, I know there is one thing or person that can give me a hand back out and that’s me! 

And so what if I fail? I’m not even sure what failure will look like? But I know for sure that if I don’t take a risk and break through my fear, I will never know… 

Fear is an instinct it is within us whether we like it or not! It how we manage the fear within us that counts.

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

Love Fordy x

 

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Looking back on your life ask yourself If you didn’t know any different, how are you supposed to know?

Over recent weeks I have met a number of people who are still suffering from issues, things in their past (particularly from childhood) that still affects them in the present day…

  • Angry with themselves for choices they made in the past
  • Carrying blame and shame from the choices they made in the past 
  • Angry at choices other people made that impacted on them from the past
  • Angry at how they were treated in the past

The list goes on

If I was to allow myself to  be scrutinised by some parts of society some might say that I have made a lot of mistakes in the past, many bad life choices, and I would totally agree. But I would always argue that many of my decision I made in life, (Informed or ill-informed)  had been based on what I knew, at that time, based my environment, my understanding of the environment.

We can only make informed decisions with the knowledge, understanding that we have at any given time! 

I witnessed the fall out from complex relationships seen love and abuse used at the same time, it didn’t make sense. As a kid I would act up, lash out, hurting those close to me, it was never my intention to hurt anyone if I did it was because I was hurting and confused myself. 

But I can look back now and see it for what it was, I was just a kid, confused, unsure, I saw life through many lenses, I saw injustice, experienced stigma, even imposed shame based on others moral code, There was a time where I blamed almost all the adults and everyone around me for my unhappiness, I never once questioned theirs, or what circumstances, information, choices or options that they had at that time. 

How long do you hold onto sad memories, resentments? What purpose does it serve you now, where you are today? I reasoned if I am going to afford myself some slack, why shouldn’t I afford them the same? 

There have been times as a parent, I have often questioned how my life choices may have impacted on my children, after all, I made some ill-informed life choices, and It can sometimes hurt if I dwell on it too much to know that my choices had an impact on them further in life, but I cannot change the decisions/life choices I made at that time, because at that time, I didn’t know any different, I did what I thought was best, at that time. 

In our society sensitivity is frequently seen as a detriment rather than a strength, BULLSHIT, we are all complex beings and Its ok to be passionate, upset or angry, hurt, that’s the sensitive side of us, its normal to experience these emotions. The key is what we do with them that counts.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, we can look back and see things for what they were, but we do have a choices, we can either repeat the same mistakes drag our resentments around with us for a lifetime or we can try to make sense of our past, learn from them, now that’s where the magic of discovery in recovery takes place.

For years I would carry these resentments around like a dark cloud, I had the biggest chip on my shoulder, I didn’t realise that I could actually let go of a lot of them? 

One of the saddest parts was when I came to realise that the very same people I held resentment or hatred towards, were mostly oblivious  about my resentments towards them, it didn’t affect them as they did me, I wasn’t hurting them, the only person I was hurting was myself. 

Holding onto the past isn’t healthy for your future, I found that by holding on and blaming others kept me paralysed and any decision I made was stained with resentments. 

If there is one thing I am certain of, is that we are all always learning, 

I realise that the older I get, the less I know. I am always learning, learning about myself, learning and understanding my past, learning from others. 

My recovery has been an insightful discovery being able to untangle unresolved issues from the past. Understanding my own learning about my own past, also played a big part in affording those I held resentments against the same understanding? Now I am not suggesting that we forgive everything or everyone but being able to understand, acknowledge and accept – The best part is you have a choice to let it go… 

Be mindful of what you are thinking, how we talk to ourselves and our thoughts can have a  big impact on how we see a situation. Not every thought you think is a fact, and you have a choice to challenge or understand what, why and how you think. – more often than not if you rationally work through your thinking you will undoubtedly find a limiting belief formed from an unresolved past experience, that has probably been lying dormant in your unconscious for years. 

My advice to anyone who is still hurting from issues from the past, carrying resentments or carrying guilt is to try and understand your past, look at it from other angles perhaps, see it for what it was and LET GO after all the only person that you are hurting is you, and potentially others around you. 

Ask yourself is it time to break the cycle, is it time to stop blaming others for who you are and start working on you because after all, that’s the only person who does count.

I say #FUCKTHEPAST it’s gone, you can’t bring it back, you cannot go back and change it, but you can look forward, forgive yourself and those ill-informed decisions you made in the past and leave them there where they belong.

Make peace with your past and live for the future, after all, you only get one shot at this thing we call life – go fucking live it

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

Love Fordy x

 

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The insomnia witch, bitch paid a visit last night

But it’s not all bad, I woke early this morning inspired to write, a new spring in my step, a new theme for the book…

To say the past few weeks have been pretty hectic would be an understatement,  with so much going on with work, family, life… I have found it difficult to find not only the urge but also the inspiration, confidence to write.

The writing comes in waves and I never know what direction the next wave will take me in, but I am learning to ride whatever wave hits me and go with the flow and more importantly “trust the process”, it can be hard, but I reason with myself that not everything in life is easy and most of what happens is out of our control, the only control we do have is how we deal with those crashing waves when they arrive.

Constantly coming into contact with other people. other human beings who have and still are coming to terms or who are still riding the wave of this thing we call “life” can be both draining but inspiring all at the same time. the worst part is despite all this personal insight, I still struggle, I am human just like the next person.

And despite all the misery, doom, and fucking gloom, I find myself constantly inspired and amazed by the resilience of the people who I have the pleasure of coming into contact with in my day to day life…

The women who have lost their sense of identity, who have lost themselves in unhealthy relationships, but yet are still sitting around a table sharing their stories in order to help the next woman OR man.

The people who have been entrenched in addiction, who have lost everything, their possessions, their health, relationships, who have found themselves on the streets, with only the pitiful stares or glares from strangers, passers-by who are now reclaiming their lives and taking back control.

To all the people who work selflessly to help others, without recognition because it is the right thing to do, who don’t crave adulation or praise to feed their starving egos.

I am reminded that I want to surround myself with people and have relationships and friendships that are collaborative opposed to being competitive. I haven’t got the time, energy or will to engage with people riddled with their own insecurity who are prone to making frequent lies and exaggerations (about themselves and others), in order to elevate their own egos by putting others down.

As I get older and perhaps a little wiser I am forever learning and reminding myself, that with all the worldly distractions that bombard us in our daily lives we must always remember to make time for ourselves…

Learning to love ourselves
Before anyone else
Learning to laugh at our imperfections
Or laugh at past mistakes
Taking on new challenges
Raising the stakes
Embracing change
Using our intuition as our compass
Or a map as our guide
Leaving the past behind us
Where we no longer need to hide
As we navigate new terrain
Accepting we count
We do have a voice
We can have a say
And a chance to make new friendships along the way

If you are reading this, thank you for your friendship and companionship on this journey we call life

Much love Fordy xxx

 

 

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To give or not to give – A twentieth-century moral dilemma

 

 

Unless you shop in an indoor shopping center or physically blind it is near impossible to go about your daily business without seeing evidence of deprivation, the vulnerability that exists in today’s society. Individuals sat passively begging, sat with a cup in front of them, wrapped in a sleeping bag, small groups gathering up to no good, people openly under the influence no longer concerned about trying to disguise their drug use. SPICE also is known as the poor man’s drug is available on most street corners for as little as a quid a spliff. 

Seeing people beg who appear vulnerable makes us question and test our moral obligation to help that person in need and with more people sat or approaching people for money and with so much advice about what the right thing to do It has become even harder to decide which side of the fence you are going to sit on?

Recently after looking at my monthly bank statement online. There were rows and rows of charges to Greggs, I totted it up and I had spent shy of £60 in Greggs in the previous month and the only thing I ever buy for myself is a black tea. So I made a pact with myself, I wasn’t going to buy any more food or drinks for a month. (particularly when I also know that Greggs daily donate leftover food to all the local charities) I continued to buy a weekly copy of The Big Issue, I continued to sit and have a chat with the folks on the street and when I explained to one of the guys about my self-imposed pact, he agreed with me, “I mean where do you draw the line?” he said? just before I left him another member of the public came around the corner with his usual bacon and tom dip and a coffee from the local cafe. 

I work in the city center, I simply cannot afford to give to everyone who asks? I get angry at the thought of an unsuspecting shopper who has just come from the local food bank to feed her family or the guy who is barely surviving on his pension, who would love to help but are barely making ends meet themselves. Most will willingly accept your offer of food or a drink, whilst others will refuse preferring cash instead. 

What we are seeing is an increase of people hustling hiding behind the guise of being homeless, however, their actions serve only take advantage of the already disadvantaged and socially excluded using that other person’s homeless status to extort change from well-meaning members of the public. These are often the very same ones who will have access to a roof over their heads, access to benefits, their actions only serve to contribute to blurring the lines. 

The hustle has been going on for generations but it was mainly behind the scenes and hidden in close-knit communities, in local pubs, and between trusted neighbours, however, over the years, the hustle has started to flood into more public spaces. Once reserved for street homeless begging has become the new street hustle, this is evident in with the increase in people begging. There is no denying that homelessness is on the rise, but you cannot compare this figure based on people begging in the street. We live in a compassionate society it is human nature to want to help another human being in need, but how do you tell who is desperate and in most need – put quite simply you don’t.

My friend recently shared her experience going home on the bus 

“Three of Sheffield’s finest homeless sharing my bus ride home, counting out the days’ earnings. Interesting conversation about the general public taking the piss and they’ve earned £89 each. 2 pizzas for £10 and their suppers sorted.”

The majority that I know are people who are dealing with addiction and/or mental health problems are often connected with having had traumatizing upbringings that make them unable to face being alone with themselves without intoxication and whilst intoxication helps in the short term it is not sustainable in the longer term without causing irreversible emotional and physical damage. 

All people begging have a story to tell and how your cash donation will help towards supporting them, if you ask about the support they need they will tell you that there isn’t anything available, even though they may have been visited by outreach teams, PCSO’s or ambassadors before you arrived. 

The reality is that there are services who are out on the streets trying to befriend and offer support and lure people off the streets on a daily basis, because they all know that sitting or living outdoors in all weathers is not going to help or improve or help support their physical or mental wellbeing, or who know that begging mainly serves to fund their already unhealthy addictive and potentially deathly habits. 

There is an array or groups/agencies who go out onto the street to provide interim resources such as sleeping bags, hats gloves warm food/refreshments, dress open wounds or tend to pets veterinary needs because their owners are either not ready, able or willing to accept the support on offer.

Some may argue that the support that is on offer isn’t adequate or agencies aren’t doing enough and I might agree to a certain degree, but I would also argue that all the groups and agencies are doing the very best with what they have got but at least they are focusing and prioritising their efforts on the ones they know are in desperate need. Which is why public support for these local charities is needed more than ever. 

Whilst the signs of poverty are visible, what isn’t as visible are untold stories about how someone who has successfully transitioned from the streets with the right support from local services, that’s where awareness campaigns such as Help us Help help, sharing #Storiesfromthestreet trying to demonstrate that at the right time, with the right support people can live a life off the streets, stories such as Stuart who took part on the first Help us Help film Since being involved in the filming, Stuart has now stopped selling the Big Issue and is focusing on his own Recovery and was one of the Key volunteers who help to shape this years Recovery Months activities.

The Big Issue magazine was launched in 1991 in response to the growing number of rough sleepers on the streets of London, by offering people the opportunity to earn a legitimate income through selling a magazine to the public, this worked well for years but did you know that The Big Issue sales are on the decline?

Vendors on your local high street are not earning an hourly wage while they’re standing out there in all weathers. operating on a self-employed basis meaning they have outgoings and have to turn a profit just like any other enterprise out there.

Vendors buy their magazines from The Big Issue for £1.25 each and sell them to their customers for £2.50 a time. So it is heartbreaking to hear from a big issue seller that they sold 2 mags during the day, making a £2.50 profit only to see someone yards away, wrapped up in a sleeping bag being given fivers or twenties even.

The style of begging is changing, people are getting bolder and will now approach people walking in the streets for spare change “is it right or acceptable to approach and intimidate unsuspecting members of the public for spare change?” The increase of hustlers on the streets is only making it worse for the minority of those who are legitimately vulnerable. 

The act of giving money to people on the streets only serves to reinforce the rationale and justification for those who are hustling that it is ok to beg. Now i am not encouraging people to be less charitable far from it, after all, we need as many people possible in our society to do their bit, but know this there are services, charities doing all they can to help those you see on the streets. If you want to practically help people on the streets, why not get involved with the charities, volunteer your time, work alongside those trying to help, if you haven’t got the time, then donate your cash to a local big issue vendor or a local charity. 

If you were after an answer, then I am sorry to disappoint as there is no right answer, the only person that can answer that million-dollar question “Should I give money to people who beg” is YOU nobody can tell you what to do, but before you hand over your spare change please base your decision on an informed one, go out, do your research ask your questions, then decide…

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

 

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A Thank you letter

So this week has been a busy one 

After a weekend of catching up and reminiscing about the good old days and the not so good old days with family from dad’s side. On Tuesday I attended my first Novel Slam! Call it a sort of X factor for budding writers a chance to pitch their novel in progress against some of Sheffield’s writing talent for the chance to read an extract to an audience and receive feedback from esteemed judges (all of whom I have never heard of before). Feeling like a fish out of water, I purposely made sure I was one of the last to arrive, only to find that I was half an hour early, people were mingling talking in pairs or small groups, welcoming each other they all seemed relaxed and reading for the slam, I wasn’t up for talking or really meeting people per say, I mean I had nothing to say I was there to take it all in, I knew only one person in the room a lady called Anne Grange  local writer from Sheffield who provides support around editing, proofreading I had met her the week before to discuss my book, she also offers a ghostwriting service which is very tempting I’ll tell thee, but I am determined to do this! 

This writing malarky is a personal challenge AND trust me! it fucking challenges me. I have no ambitions to become the best selling author, I am not looking for an agent I just want to write this friggin book, its like an itch that won’t go away, my confidence and resolution swings like a pendulum, one minute it comes easy the words flow easily the writing feels like it has a purpose but then it can switch in a nanosecond to an unrealistic burden I have placed on myself, where I question and doubt myself frequently – but being me  I am determined not to give up. 

I have worked late most nights chasing funding trying to justify the return on the measly offerings of investment to run this year help us Help Christmas Cabin campaign, so this week has certainly had its challenges.  

Last night I was well and truly spent! 5 O’clock came and I could have quite easily gone home, but I didn’t because I had committed to attend a charity event celebrating the 20th anniversary of a project that supports and advocates for young people in the LGBT+ community after the event I felt compelled to write a thank you letter to the Say It organization. 

So here is my thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you letter to Say it

To Steven and all the staff, volunteers, trustees and more importantly the young precipitants of the services provided by Say it charity I would just like to say a very very BIG thank you for last night’s event. Being a passionate advocator for societies judged, misjudged and misunderstood tonight, can I just say you were all truly inspirational and I feel compelled to explain why…

I nearly didn’t come tonight, I was tired, mentally drained, hormonal and quite frankly knackered I could have quite easily given tonights event a miss… 

“This isn’t political” But I work for Sheffield Drugs, Alcohol and Domestic Abuse team (DACT), who have the heavy burden of commissioning much needed, and high demand support services for people affected by substance misuse, domestic and sexual abuse. I say it’s a heavy burden because whilst budgets are being cut year in, year out, the demand for these invaluable services continues to rise. I have the utmost respect for my managers who have the responsibility for making sure that the less than adequate budgets are spent in the places where they are most needed when we all know that all services are needed and deserve investment. 

I am the user involvement lead for the DACT team and my role is essentially is to engage, consult and empower people who have either used or are currently using our commissioned services, this is the best part of my job, its the part I love the most, its what gets me out of bed every morning. Connecting and seeing people who have experienced sometimes, most times horrific forms of trauma and but have somehow found the courage and strength and the resilience to kick back never ceases to amaze me, working alongside them is an honor. – So thank you

For me user Involvement is all about coproduction, it is about people coming together to come up with fresh ideas and solutions, it’s about bringing people together who all have something in common, its about empowering those who have previously been disempowered, it is about finding a space where they have a voice, its about empowering them to find themselves, learn about who they really are, its about empowering them to overcome the limiting beliefs that have often held them back from achieving and being the best they can – Tonight I witnessed what true co-production looks like – Thank you

Being the Domestic abuse user involvement lead I have recently been involved with one of Say it’s projects, Call it out, which received funding from the DACT working with people from the LGBT+ community who have been affected by domestic abuse. I recall the first user involvement event I came along to, feeling nervous, frightened that I might offend someone inadvertently because of my lack of knowledge about the “right” language that should be used (and for those that know me I am renown for saying the wrong thing from time to time) within the LGBT+ community. I laid my cards out at the beginning of the session and shared that I am not an expert about issues within the LGBT+ community and acknowledge that I have still got a lot to learn, so it was reassuring when everyone in that room said that they felt the same too. -So thank you

A few months after this meeting I was privileged and humbled to see one of our service users go to speak at conference organised by Say it talking about their experience of domestic abuse and being part of the LGBT+ community, not normally one lost for words, the same as I was last night and that’s is why I am so thankful that I came along – Thank you 

I came away having learned a lot last night and from everyone involved with Say it

  • I heard about a lady called Sheena Amos who I have never heard or met before the speech written about her, brought tears to my eyes and goosebumps to my arms.
  • Again I heard about Noah Lomax, someone who I had never met or heard of, Noah committed suicide at just aged 15 and since his death his family have been fundraising to provide counseling for teens using SAYiTs services whilst listening to Noahs story I felt compelled and committed to doing some fundraising to keep his spirit alive (first though I have to try and keep the forget me not seeds alive in 2020)
  • I saw some amazing spoken word and performances by some very brave and inspiring individual’s 
  • You all reminded me that it is ok if you don’t understand everything as long as you are willing to listen and learn 
  • You all reminded me what real genuine compassion looks like 

I also learned that I think I am a straight version of Steve, But seriously steve last night you reminded me to never shy away from who I really am, even if that means offending some people along the way, because they might not agree with what I say, but under all the bravado and smiles what most people don’t see is that this can be hard at times. 

And I have to be honest it has been tough of late, fighting, kicking back at negativity, stigma, shame, injustice in today’s society sometimes feel like I have been surrounded by mob of negativity vampires sucking the life and fight out of me, but tonight you helped me find my garlic, you armed me with an invisible stake to help warn and keep at bay the negative blood-sucking vampire mob at bay, the mob commonly refer to as today’s toxic society. Today you helped build and restore my sense of worth – Thank you 

Most of all you reminded me, you all inspired me to continue fighting the good fight…

So once again – Thank you

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Peri meni & me

I have always kinda looked forward to the menopause, the final change that my body will go through. Looking forward to the day when the endless cycles of monthly periods fuck off, meaning in my head…

  • No more Tampax
  • No more worrying about pregnancy 
  • No more flooding 
  • No more carrying spare pants during the time of the month
  • No more planning holidays around my “time of the month” 
  • No more mood swings
  • No more PMT = no more prozac 
  • No more cramps 
  • No more “sorry I can’t I’m on” excuses – (I’m going to have to think of something else)

I mean which women in her right mind wouldn’t heh ? for years I had been biding my time waiting for the 12 consecutive months without the dreaded period which would tell me I have reached menopause, 

My mother hadn’t really experienced many of the hot flushes or dreaded sweats associated with it so I was hoping that I might be one of the lucky ones. I mean some women have even described going through the menopause as being the best thing that has happened to them, so I was more than ready for the change!

I’ll take you back when it all started (A year ago) – I hadn’t been myself mentally or physically for a while. Now I consider myself to be a pretty insightful person, I have my own understanding of my own spiritually, how to manage my self-esteem I have a deep understanding of what makes me tick! How to manage my emotions, my thoughts managing my own mental health has always been a priority for me since overcoming a dependency many years ago. It was about the same time that I started journalling and thank god I did because without the journalling I might have been suffering in silence for a lot longer and unnecessarily! 

Last year desperate I went to my doctors I explained all the symptoms I was experiencing, low mood, episodes of lethargy and fatigue, I was thinking I had ME or Chronic Fatigue, but he suggested that I might be Perimenopausal? Now don’t get me wrong I had heard of this before, but what I now realise is that I didn’t know or understand enough! So for those who are not in the know 

“Perimenopause refers to the time before menopause when the ovaries begin to decline in function and continues until menopause.” 

My three options at the time were I could

  • Go down the herbal route, but knew nothing about being peri, I wouldn’t know where to start and to be honest I didn’t have the patience to go down the trial and error route, hoping I find a miracle herbal cure. 
  • I could take HRT, that was a no goer, I had heard about the cancer scare associated with that. 
  • I could up my current dose of Prozac from 20 – 40 ml, 

I opted for the latter and for over a year it worked. I had been taking the increased dose of prozac and it appeared to be doing the trick, well it was until about 6-9 months ago (to be honest it could have been longer as the changes are often subtle) 

Nah neither did I? Well, all I can say is “I don’t know what I did in a past life to deserve this fucking penance!”

The silence angers me – Since my diagnosis, I cannot tell you how many women I have spoken in private or on a one to one who have or who are experiencing similar symptoms. I feel like I have stumbled on a new phenomenon and the more I learn about it, the more I read the stories on the closed private forums the more I am consumed with a mixture of shock and amazement that nobody talks about it and the silence angers me!

I have suffered from dark bouts of depression brought on by varying symptoms including, brain fog, Alcohol free hangovers, waking up swimming in sweat, feeling constantly knackered, despite trying my best to look after myself, swollen tits, swollen waistline one minute I feel like kate moss the next if feel like Jabba the Hutt, (I swear someone is inflating and deflating me just for the laguh) you name it I think I have gone through it over the past few months!

I have struggled to get my head around this peri shit, I am slowly learning and understanding that everyone is different and the symptoms will vary from woman to woman, which makes diagnosing, treating and managing the symptoms difficult or in my case very fucking challenging. It has taken a while and it is still sinking in that my body is going through some complex changes but knowing and understanding more about it, has helped a lot. 

So I wanted to share some of the things that I have done that have helped – I have talked about it, in fact, I think I have done a lot of peoples fucking head in, but to be perfectly honest it isn’t in my nature to keep my gob shut! 

I write I keep a journal, as well as being private and a chance to offload my shit? it has become invaluable in terms of understanding my symptoms and more importantly recording them, which is essential for me because i am all over the shop!

I am now learning to accept and validate my symptoms instead of hiding behind them, out of fear that no one will understand! becuase all the really matters is that “I know and I understand”

Go see your doctor!!!!!

I was invited to a closed Facebook group called Totes Merry Peri – this has been a lifeline, a chance to talk to over 122,000 other women all of whom appear to be going through similar experiences –

There is loads of information online – here are a few links I have found helpful 

https://www.menopauseandme.co.uk/en-gb/menopause-and-me/stages-and-symptoms-of-menopause/peri-menopause

https://www.medicinenet.com/perimenopause/article.htm

I am passionate about more people understanding addiction, I always have been and always will, I will openly talk about my own and fathers addiction, in the hope that it will help remind others that they are not alone and help shake the stigma and shame that clouds what is a serious issue in our society. And for those who know me, they know that it is hard to silence me, after all, it has taken years to “find my voice” and have the courage to speak up when others won’t or find they can’t.

Hence why I am sharing this post – It’s tough being a woman, let’s face it #shithappens and I firmly believe that by simply making and taking some time back to reflect #haveawordwiyasen or talk and confide with friends, family, connecting with people in a similar situation as yourself is a stark reminder that you are not alone…

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

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#Shithappens – Then more shit happens…

I wanted to share openly about my own experience of coming to terms and living with being peri-menopausal, I have written this and I am sharing this because this weeks experience is still raw and I am still coming to terms with the fact that as well as impacting on my personal life, that this condition will at some points impact of my working life and this week it did. 

My personal development, growth and self-esteem is a priority for me, particularly in the line of work I do, I know the value and importance of self-care, particularly when you are caring for others. I have worked in the addiction field for over 20+ years, I know first hand how much the stigma, shame and limiting beliefs can keep people trapped in a vicious cycle where they believe they should settle for less. 

Normally a confident, tenacious, pragmatic and outgoing person, I’m a doer I rarely stop, I am passionate and love my job, but for three days this week, I was transformed into quite the opposite, I was a shadow of my former self. I don’t want sympathy, I don’t do that well, but what I hope to achieve by sharing this post is some understanding and greater awareness about what some (not all women) may be experiencing, suffering even in silence, whether that be out of fear of being judged, or accused of being an hypochondriac, being overlooked for that promotion because of a condition that no one in the work pace rarely talks about… The fucking menopause, or in my case peri-menopause.

Now before I start, I am not blaming everything in my life over the past year on hormones! But I cannot simply ignore the changes that are taking place in my body neither. 

Monday 30th September 

Today is a good day, todays make the end of national recovery month, its time to start planning the Christmas cabin in November, BBN assessments are nearly completed, works gone well. I’ve got loads done and I’m looking forward to going out with two mates after work for a good old catch up, and we did. I cannot recall the last time I had laughed so much. I go to bed with a smile on my face. 

Tuesday 1st October 

I woke up feeling groggy, it felt like a hangover, but I hadn’t touched a drop of alcohol, I couldn’t be sure, I had been sniffling over the weekend, perhaps it was a little bit of cold coming on. Today was going to be a long day, I had a 6 pm meeting which worked well for me as today was a 5:2 day so the busier I am the less I think about food and the easier it is to fast. I can normally go no problem through until 4 pm without even thinking about food, surviving on caffeine and water and keeping busy with work. 

I have already had my coffee this morning before leaving the house, but this morning I don’t finish it, I can’t stomach the taste. I arrive at work and don’t finish that coffee either. Its 10.30 am and I am craving food, any food will do, but as its a fast day my options for eating something under 100 calories are slim, and I sense deep down that once I start I won’t be able to stop. I take to making another black coffee to quench my hunger but it tastes like metal, I’m craving a cup of tea, I only drink tea on an evening or a weekend

By noon I have caved in, I find a bag of crisp and a tomato cuppa soup, 200 calories down, that should sort me until 4ish. 

Wrong, once I started I couldn’t stop, I could feel myself going downhill, feeling mardy and sorry for mesen I could physically feel, dark cloud descend over me, it started to feel heavier, I was looking at the computer screen but couldn’t take in any emails, I decided to take myself outside for a break, some fresh air, give myself some time to have a word wi mesen. 

I bumped into my daughter who was on her way back to work after her lunch break, she asked me what I was up to and all I could say was “ feeling shit, just needed to get out of the office for a bit” I glance further up the street to see Sarah* (name changed), shes street homeless and addicted to heroin she is sat in the pissing rain begging, normally I would spend 10 minutes chatting to her, or making a call to probation for her, but today I wasn’t ready to hear the bullshit excuses that would come flowing from out of her mouth. 

Under normal circumstances, I have the patience of a saint with her but as soon as I saw her bloke trotting over to her, recently released from jail, I knew she was back to square one. Now don’t get me wrong, I get the excuses, I understand the fear of failure that comes from years and years of not just letting her family, her kids down, I know she’s given up on herself, I am a realist, I know that change has got to come from her and I will always listen. But not today – she looks up, shes embarrassed when she sees me, she knows I am going to ask after her leg, which should have been treated over two weeks ago, she attended hospital, and should have stayed, but discharged herself early. She comes out with feeble excuses for missing her script, not going to housing, she’s got an appointment at the local drugs service later and is going to ask them to increase her script so she doesn’t have to beg! and all I can say is “tha not letting me down, it only takes me two minutes to make a call, its up to you if the turns up and lets face it, its not me sat out here in pissing rain, begging for cash so numpty over there can score some more SPICE and you and I both know why you are asking for an increase in meth? Its to share it with him! She knows I know, there is an unspoken understanding between us, but today I don’t give a fuck! She knows the score (literally) and she knows what she needs to do when she’s ready. 

I am just about to leave her when a woman I have never seen before stands at the side of us, she looks me up and down, there was an awkward silence, and I’m not sure why? Sarah senses it and explains that it is her bloke’s support worker, but all that is running through my mind and is just about to roll off my tongue is “who the fuck do you think you are looking at”. 

I take a deep breath, say my goodbyes and head into Sainsbury’s, I still haven’t got a clue what I’m going to get with only 300cals left! I walk up and down all the isles and come across some items on sale, grooming kits half price, I purchase two. (That’s two early Christmas presents out of the way) and leave buying nothing to eat. 

I head back into the office and I am still ranging over the way that support worker looked me up and down “Shes lucky I didn’t smash her fucking teeth in” and I gasp at what I have just said out aloud across the office floor (christ I haven’t used language like that since I was 15 and at school. and the cloud just feels darker and darker my mood is slipping, to the point, I don’t give a fuck about only having 300cals left, I’m going in for the leftover kids birthday chocolate cake that was brought in the week before by a colleague! But I don’t stop there, I ask my gaffer if she’s got any nibbles in her locker, she never fails to disappoint and before I know it I have munched my way through another two snack bars. My energy levels are dropping, I could just lay down there and then on the floor and sleep! I can feel myself snapping and with practically no tolerance left in the bank, I send my apologies for the evening meeting and leave work early. 

I get home and there’s a loaf with my name written all over it and a tub of cold Lurpack fresh from the fridge and before I know it I have scoffed two slices! Now the 5;2 is well and truly outta the window. I am no company, the telly is shit and all I want to do is be alone, mainly so I don’t offend anyone else. I go to bed early, I just want to forget about my day, the overeating, being a bitch and fingers crossed wake up tomorrow in a better mood.

Wednesday 2nd October

I was so sleepy after pressing snooze for what seemed the hundredth time, I crawled out of bed, I head downstairs to make a coffee, perk me up. But I simply have no energy, I cannot think straight, the thought of actually going through the rest of my morning routine and getting ready for work seems impossible and soon I am having an internal argument in my head, which brings me close to tears!

I head upstairs and I cannot even think about what to wear for work let alone get dressed for work! I give in, I cannot go into work like this, I simply don’t have the energy to walk let alone work. I call my gaffer and explain, going through the menopause herself I know she understands, but deep down I am still paranoid that she is thinking “come on trace is it really that bad”. I finish the call and head back to bed. I am woken about 11 am, the phones ringing, it is our old man. He knows something is wrong, I tell him I’ve not gone into work and explain. I feel like a fraud, how do I explain that two days earlier I was laughing and joking but today I cannot move?

  • I spend the whole day in my PJs, some recently washed clothes need putting in the drier – but I don’t have the energy, I cannot be arsed.
  • I could spend the whole day writing – but I cannot think straight let alone write
  • I switch tv channels to find something that will help pass the day – I search for the Jeremy Kyle show I mean at least that might cheer me up, remind me I ain’t got it all that bad, but then I remember that’s been cancelled!
  • I take some comfort from some of the posts in the closed menopause FB group, I see post about different tablets people are taking with claims that they have worked wonders and I am tempted to get online to order everyone on amazon prime, but deep down I know that everyone is different, this is trial and error for everyone and fuck me, if I took everything, how the hell would I know which one was working? Or what was not, I mean some tablets counteract each other and others take months to work? 
  • I’m a month in on the Estrogel and progesterone, apparently, it takes 3 months to kick in, but then I think, but what if it doesn’t work? What a fucking waste of time? 
  • I want a solution NOW, I want to go back to the old me, positive, optimistic Tracey, the one who would do anything for anyone, but who at the moment can’t do fuck all for herself! 
  • I wonder is it the menopause? I mean it could be ME or chronic fatigue, what if I have been misdiagnosed? But then I remember the sweats and swollen tits, that always take me back to the days when I was lactating, sensitive tits, weighing me down like cannonballs. 
  • I consider calling the doctors and insisting that they give me EVERY blood test going, to help determine what the fuck is going on with my body
  • I look online to consider going private, but they can fuck off robbing bastards, earning money off women misery, I mean £250 for an hour consultation, other women taking advantage of a sister – it is fucking wrong! 
  • I don’t want to eat, I fucked up yesterday, I can feel myself getting fatter, but I am craving carbs, shit food, anything to help sooth these feeling of self-pity, nothing is working.
  • I have had a fun day of self-loathing, I fucking HATE feeling shit, I HATE feeling powerless, I HATE it when I act out as a sad victim, this is not ME! 
  • I try to remind myself that this will pass, I mean this time last week I had organised and was hosting a conference for over 100+ people in recovery from substance abuse, I had a lovely email from one of the attendees letting me how much my kind words meant to her, Now I have none for anyone, not even myself! 
  • This time last week I was juggling managing three different projects, I was on fire! Today I could even piss on myself if I was on fire!

I head to bed early again, hoping and praying that this will have passed by the morning, its got too, I cannot go on like this. 

Thursday 3rd  – I open my eyes and feel ok! I allow myself some time to come around before getting into the morning routine, but as soon as I stand I know straight away, this heavy dark fog is still clinging onto me. I know there is no way I’ll be going into work, I am more accepting this morning, I mean what’s the point in beating myself up, I mean I did enough of that yesterday, I make a couple of calls, rearrange some meetings, then head back to bed. 

I wake up a couple of hours later, I remember the washing going stale downstairs and remind myself that despite feeling like shit, there is no excuse for being a tramp! 

I manage to tidy the kitchen, potter around and I wonder, is the fog lifting? I decided I ought to have a shower, change out of the PJs and put on some clean clothes. By late afternoon, I still feel groggy but I also feel a lot better? 

I spent the afternoon reflecting, trying to make sense of how I was feeling. My mom phones me, expecting me to be at work, she’s off today so pops around for a coffee. We have an offload about how shit it is being a woman. oh and fucking bunions, another ailment that I have developed! I’m glad that mom was off work and called around and I realise I should spend more time with my mom. 

Back to thinking – Everyone talks about what to expect when you start your periods but no-one mentions what it’s going to be like when you come off! There was no mention of how you periods change across your life course how they are affected by contraception, pregnancy, childbirth and perimenopause, the menopause?

Well, I think I know why! It’s because it’s fucking worse than starting!! 

Coping with two sprouts and hairy armpits was bad enough but when the time came I went straight to my mom, who gave me a box of Tampax and was told to go to the toilet and read through the instructions. I remember it was pretty dam daunting considering I had never inserted anything inside myself before! The first failed attempt resulted with me dropping the mouse down the basin, I watched it expand to twice its size, wondering if that happens once it is inside how the xxck I was supposed to pull it our afterwards!! After failing on numerous attempts, before finally, successfully inserting a Tampax, I found it a breeze, well apart from the thought of walking around with a piece of string hanging out of me totally which freaked me out.

I was ok with the mood swings because I was permanently in a bad mood anyway which, I could validate as a reason for being a bitch every month! apart for the monthly cramps and indignity of shoving something alien inside me every month, it just became a part of being a teenager, it became the norm!

It wasn’t until after the birth of both my kids that I started to notice PMT, I was like the Incredible Hulk on steroids for a week into the lead up to my period, as soon I started the monthly bleed I could feel my whole mind and body transform from being angry and tense to being relaxed, or normal whatever the fuck that means. I have been managing the PMT symptoms with a daily dose of Prozac for the past 20+ years, with little or no problems! 

Well, that was until Last year when I went to the doctors, I explained my symptoms, he suggested that I might be peri-menopausal, he explained that my moods may be due to a fluctuation, lack of serotonin, due to going through the change, my options were, go down the herbal route (i was like Nah, too much time and trial and error required), take HRT, (Nah, that will give me cancer) or up my current dose of Prozac from 20 – 40 ml, I opted for the latter and it worked for a while. But over the past 6 months, my symptoms had gotten worse, a month ago i agreed on the HRT, after 4 weeks of feeling better I am now sat here feeling like I am back at square one! but today I am being a little easier on myself, I know that pulling myself down isn’t going to help, I know this feeling will pass, I reason that I will just have to ride it out. I go to bed early again and pray for a miracle 

Friday 4th October – I wake, I feel ok, I could write this week off, but I know that I couldn’t spend another day sat staring at the four walls so here I am I’m back at work, firing on full cylinders, the dark mist has lifted, I feel back to being myself, I can drink my black coffee without baulking, I am feeling assertive, its lunchtime and I have already achieved loads. I met with a friend, a published author for some tips about my book, and she too shares some of her experainces with “Going through the change” 

And whilst I feel a 1000% better, I am still slightly pissed off and angry, I am angry because if according to the research over 70% of women will go through some sort of biological hormonal changes, then I question why isn’t this spoken about more? 

I always thought I understood what the change or menopause meant I have sat in meetings with women suffering from impromptu hot flushes, wafting fans, or even using cloths to clear their brows. These are all typical symptoms I always associated with the menopause. I hadn’t been suffering from either of these symptoms and genuinely thought I would be one of the lucky ones! It wasn’t until earlier on this year that I had even heard the phrase peri-menopause!

But hey how would I know? Because no fucker talks about it! I now know that there are plenty of online secret forums, where women openly share about their different symptoms and for me, this has been a lifesaver, reassurance that I am not alone. 

I am slowly coming to terms that this isn’t going away so for now, I need to find some new coping strategies, I will have to adapt some of the old coping strategies I adopted during my recovery from drug-induced psychosis 20+ years ago, I know I have been through worse and even though I don’t want to have to deal with another challenge, I know and accept that I cannot avoid it, all I can do is manage it the best way oI can.

I am learning to accept that 

  • I am going through some hormonal changes
  • Managing the change will be a process of illumination 
  • There will be times when I’m not at my best
  • That there will be times when I will feel physically, emotionally and spiritually drained is part of the process 
  • It may take longer than I would like for the symptoms to pass
  • There are no real quick fixes

Well, that has been my personal experience and I’m only just starting on the final cycle of what has been a lifetime of monthly cycles, in fact, 24,072 to be precise. 

The conversation about what it’s like being a woman shouldn’t stop when school stops, learning and sharing about periods continues – supporting women throughout their lives, from menarche to menopause and beyond. So in the meantime, I need to work on practicing more self-care and self-compassion and ride the menopausal wave until it finishes and if that means it affects my performance at work occasionally then so be it, after all

#Shithappens

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I am normal just a little hormonal

How come I can talk about my personal experience of addiction, but cannot talk about my personal experience of going through menopause? I suppose that they are both complex and unique subjects to each one of us. I have overcome the shame associated with my brush with addiction and now wear my past with a badge of pride, yayyy I survived.

Going through the change has felt a little like when I was going through my own addiction, like a shameful drug, you try and hide and pretend that everything is normal when it is quite the opposite. I can recall the day after being sectioned and being diagnosed with drug-induced psychosis, starting my period and wondering if my recent mental state was down to “the time of the month” and not down to the copious amount of drugs I was taking (trust me it was the drugs)

I have always struggled with PMS for years I have been prescribed 20mls of Prozac to help manage the monthly hormonal rages and it has worked for years. But then last year, it felt that the Prozac had been swapped for a placebo because it felt that they were no longer working. I was really struggling and it didn’t feel right, I was doing all the right things, the self-care, the stuff that made me feel good about myself, writing, mindfulness, practising saying no to things I didn’t want to do, sometimes I felt on top of the world, then other times I thought I was going fucking insane, I have more than once actually considered if I was bipolar. It’s a standing joke in our house “is it David Banner time?” I laugh it off, but it is true, I do feel like I’m ripping out of my clothes every month, going from happy to bloated and angry, I do all of it every month, I have all the incredible hulk symptoms apart from turning green! 

Last year I went to the doctors, I explained my symptoms, he suggested that I might be peri-menopausal, he explained that my moods may be due to a fluctuation, lack of serotonin, due to going through the change, my options were, go down the herbal route (i was like Nah, too much time and trial and error required), take HRT, (Nah, that will give me cancer) or up my current dose of Prozac from 20 – 40 ml, I opted for the latter and for over a year it worked. 

I had a year of normality (whatever the fuck that means) but then a few months ago, I realised that I have felt more and more washed out, feelings of a hangover without the alcohol, night sweets, and feeling physically incomplete, going from feeling emotionally intolerant to feeling emotionally numb, constantly lethargic. My bullshit antenna has been working overdrive, I simply have had zero tolerance for fuckwits! But deep down I have felt and known something wasn’t right for some time. It was only after looking l back over my journal and started to realise and recognise that this just wasn’t a one-off, that I had been experiencing these feelings for a while but hadn’t connected the dots, or I had been brushing off the symptoms and just getting on with life. I think I have been in denial about the whole paus stuff, mainly because I always want or expect a clear diagnosis, but with the change its not always clear, the changes my body have gone through have been subtle, gradual. Thank god for journalling I know for a fact that without sitting down and #havingawordwimesen every morning I would probably be running around pretending that everything is normal when it is not, just like when I was turning to drugs. 

Journalling helps me see things differently, it helps my personal development penny to drop, I have been able to look back and can now see clearly how the symptoms have been there creeping and building over time. I genuinely thought I was going insane sometimes, preferring to isolate myself and hide away from the world, constantly questioning “what the fuck is wrong with me”. I am starting to realise the reason why I cannot drink as I used to, after all, it makes sense, I mean I wake up most mornings feeling hungover without a drink, its no fucking wonder I feel worse after actually having a drink. 

My emotions have quite literally been all over the place, you have probably recognised this in my writing, consumed with feelings of self-doubt, when I for the most I try to be optimistic, apparently one of the side effects of going through the change, is heightened emotions, this might also explain a lot too. I have often had maudlin thoughts about being the wrong side of life, this is probably the final physical change that as a woman I have to go through. After years of monthly mood swings, rages, stomach cramps, stained pants and thousands spent on Tampax (which should be free by the way) am I finally making out the other end? Will all this physical and emotional shit stop? 

I suppose this change malarkey is just that, its change (which I know I don’t like much) but even though I have had my low points, I have also learned a lot about myself, so it is not all bad. So now I have started with HRT, I’m four days in, I don’t if its the acceptance that I needed help that has made me feel better or if the gel is actually working its magic, either way I’m still here, I am feeling a lot better, I am still writing, I am still dealing with life on life terms, or should I say more on my terms. 

A large part of my recovery from addiction has been founded on coming to terms with myself, learning self-compassion and being honest with myself and not shying away from who I am. 

So I suppose with this Menopause malarky, just like my recovery from addiction, I am going to have to do the same again, by starting to practice self-compassion, learning to listen to the changes my body is going through instead of trying to reject and fight the emotions and feelings that are perfectly natural, normal and part of being a woman.

I have been asked to go on BBC Radio Sheffield next week and do an interview about me, the show is called “Laid Bare, with Tony Robinson” do you think he’ll be ready for me laying all out there and baring the real Tracey?

And remember to try not to be afraid of who you truly are 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

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