Mar 30, 2013

May 23, 2012

Brave to be Brave

When life seems frightening … when just being you seems fearsome, how do you manage?

I know people who wake up in the morning and see the rest of the day as something to battle their way through: Panic attacks, anxiety, depression, OCD, fear, health anxiety, phobias and the possible accompanying physical symptoms. And…these people can wrestle with the day and very often the night over and over again.

It’s not uncommon for some non sufferers to criticise the mental and even physical difficulties of others, perhaps labelling them weak. But they are not weak; they are hero’s. Despite the amount of mental anguish and pain they live with every waking moment – they fight on bravely. They tolerate the misery like valiant soldiers.

It’s often hard to face another day of dreadfulness and it takes energy to find that braveness inside and draw on it – but draw on it they do.

So, if you know someone who is struggling – recharge them with your kindness and patience and tell them how brave to be brave they are. X

Jun 12, 2011

Such Fun

We can waste a life time searching for answers ‘out there’. The further out we go in search of the truth, the more distant we become from our inner reality. Once we come home to ourselves, the search is over. JS © 1998

May 19, 2011

Words to live by

Words to live by

If I Could Live My Life Again

In the next one I would try to make more mistakes.
I would not try to be so perfect, I would relax more.
I would be sillier than I have been, in fact,
I would take very few things seriously.
I would be less hygienic.
I would take more risks, make more trips, contemplate more sunsets, climb more mountains, swim more rivers.
I would go to more places I have never been to,
I would eat more ice creams and less cereals.
I would have more real problems and less imaginary ones.
I have been one of those persons who lived each minute of his life with judgement and in a prolific way;
of course I had happy moments.
But if I could go back, I would try to only have good moments.
For if you don't know, that is what life is made of, only of moments;
do not miss the now.
I was one of those who never went anywhere without a thermometer, a bag of hot water, an umbrella and a parachute;
if I could live again,
I would travel lighter.

The late Nadine Stair
aged 86

Apr 16, 2011

Who is mad?

Anyone who has read R.D. Lang may think of madness in quite a different way than most view of it . Perhaps because he was aware that madness is a point of view and not necessarily a fact. Through some of his publications, we are shown that the mentally troubled family member is not necessarily the person with the actual problem - rather they are some kind of family scapegoat, albeit that they have sacrificed themselves in order to save other family members from themselves (their own madness).  This, I believe, can also be played out with helpers.

Having worked for many years in the realms of mental health, I feel certain that generally - the helpers and the helped are not necessarily separate. I am not saying that people with mental health problems don't really have them, nor am I proposing that the helpers do have mental health problems. What I refer to is the split between the two. Me okay, you not, kind of thing.

What is rarely looked at is how this split occurs and, how a person's mental health difficulties can be exacerbated by the projection of the helpers own difficulties. A cruder term may be "dump" - the helper can and sometimes does dump their own troubled minds into the very person they are trying to help.

The problem is that psychology and its theories, although useful and often when experienced, are correct, can become like a religion. Its as though there are a set of life truths which are not only undeniable, but are to be lived and worked by. If you have a psychological problem then, there is a religion that can not only name it, but also help it.

Of course I have seen many helped by the intervention of therapy and having worked in this field I have some idea of the outcomes. So in part, I do have "the faith" - but, it is not just the theories I refer to. I refer to the people who use them to help others. Some of those people are, in my opinion, as troubled as those they help. They walk the walk, and talk the talk but, are completely unaware of their own difficulties.

Its bizarre in a way because the focus is so much on "them" (the patient or client) that its easy to be in denial of one's own troubled mind. 

I will offer some examples at a later date but, for now I want to think only about the definition and diagnosis of troubled people. I am not thinking of a psychosis, rather I refer to depression/anxiety and so forth. I am thinking of how better some people feel about themselves if someone else is the anxious, the depressed, the unstable one easy it is to project troubles onto or into those people.

It works in a similar way as when someone is doing a huge favour for someone else. The helped person is immediately put into the vulnerable position. So, for example, if someone is collecting someone else's children from school - it may be hard to criticise the helper and it may be that you would even accept criticism without argument because the helper is helping you...its too uncomfortable to do anything else. I guess some people would rebel against that and perhaps rather not have their kids picked up than be in the helped position - I only generalize.

There are people who thrive on other's hardships or troubles - not because they are unkind or would wish troubles on people - they thrive because by comparison, they are not (as) troubled and therefore are successful at living. Of course the human condition dictates that they too will be troubled - but not to the extent of it being so apparent as the depressive or the anxious person. Of course my first point applies I believe: the troubles can be projected onto and into the person who is acting there troubles out. (the depressed or anxious etc)

Love Jen

Jan 7, 2011


Hope is the feeling we have that the feeling we have is not permanent.

Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960

Jan 6, 2011

Time n Stuff Revisisted

Happy New Year. 2011 already...where does time go? I mean you actually know where time goes, and where future time is? Is it a series of still moments; moments our consciousness passes through? According to Julian Barbour it is.

I haven't met many people who have read Julian Barbours "The End of Time"...which is sad because its the one theory of time that fits with my own way of thinking and feeling. 

I was talking with someone who suffers from a paralysing fear of death. It got me thinking about life and death.... the way you do. We all fear the unknown and therefore death. Its incredible that we KNOW we will end, and yet cant really imagine not being here. Death seems to be what happens to other people.

On the one hand that's good because we can go on day to day not worrying. On the other hand if we could really, concretely grasp the idea that nothing, even us, is forever, we would make so much more of our moments. We would take more risks, climb more mountains, swim in deeper waters. We would not waste time, we would love more, hate less and savour everything good in our lives. We'd stop complaining about the small stuff, we'd not have arguments about the little things and we would connect to nature in an entirely different way.

I am learning to let go of the things that make me sad, and to enjoy the things that make me smile. It's not easy and its a learning process. I am getting there and its easy to slip back. 

I wonder sometimes if the me of yesterday, the me of 10, 20, 30, 40 years and more ago, is still back there somewhere in time. Is it really gone, is my young self now still and inanimate in a dark place? perhaps every moment continues to happen, over and over again. Its just that they are more like cartoons...they have no real life in them. We make them come to life.

I wrote a story about all of this a few years ago...I guess its a science fiction. But then rockets going to the moon were science fiction once. 

Well we are in a New Year and perhaps the old one is continuing somewhere in time. But, I am here in this moment, trying to make sense of it and trying not to rip through into the next moment, but rather let it just let it open up to me.

Love Jen

Nov 2, 2010

Two Wolves

I love this story - no-one seems to know where it originated from; only that its been around for a long time and is part of the Cherokee folk lore

Two Wolves

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside all people. He said, “My son, the battle is between two 'wolves' inside us all. 

One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. 

The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.” 

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

                                                                             —Author unknown

Love Jen

No Blog Time?

Life happens. Plans go awry, emergencies arise and a day can get lost in the sea of time.

My past two weeks have been on hold. Week 1, my son was rushed to hospital with appendicitis. 48 hours after his appendectomy he was sent home. It should have been after 24 hours but they decided to keep him in one more day. He and his girlfriend + their dog came to stay with me for the week. I have a cat so there is a lot of work involved in keeping the dog and cat separate. 

After they left, I decided to catch up on all those things we SHOULD have done but fate had other plans for us all. My son was rushed back to hospital this week with a kidney stone. He was in such pain he had morphine. Bless him he did not complain as much as I would have...but I could see my boy was in bad pain.

He and Girlfriend once again came here...and the chaos reigns and the internet has been neglected.

Love Jen

Oct 8, 2010

Story Time

So I joined a creative writing group. Its fun and allows contact with other writers. Writing is a lonely occupation. One only has one's characters to talk to ha ha!

So we are working out how to proceed. One thing we will be doing is to be given a plot and then write for 15 minutes and read out a short story. Can you imagine all the crossing out and the mess of it without edits and time to play with it?

Anyway, at the last meeting we were given this criteria as homework:

Creative writing group:

Male name: Peter    
Female name: Mary
Setting: Café
Time of year: Winter
Time of day: 3PM
Weather: Raining:          
Words: 300

I took a shot at it and here it hard to fit all that into 300 words:

The First Meeting

    Peter felt nervous about today. Everything was about to change and he wasn’t sure if he could handle it. What if, he thought, I’m a disappointment? Or, what if I’m the one left feeling disappointed? After all, he’d only seen a very old picture of Mary and apart from the letters; he had no idea what she was really like.

    He was glad he’d purchased that Sat Nav. He didn’t like driving at the best of times, let alone all the way to Hastings. His hands shook a little as he set out on the journey. At one point he thought about cancelling the whole thing. But once on the motorway his concentration went into driving and his anxiety settled.

   He arrived in Hasting around 2.30pm. He and Mary had arranged to meet at 3pm in the Café des Arts. Mary had picked the location. She had mentioned in her letters that she’s an artist and that she frequents this quaint, little, bohemian café regularly. She thought she would feel less nervous if they met somewhere familiar to her.

   After parking the car, Peter decided to walk for a while before the meeting. He was getting on a bit and his legs stiffened up after long drives. He was nervously looking around the tables in the Café, when from behind, someone tapped him on the shoulder. It was her, it was Mary. Instinctively they hugged, both of them crying unashamedly, there in front of everyone. Ever since that first letter from Mary he’d worried but now Peter knew it would be okay. Here, in Hastings, on a grey, rainy day, the daughter he’d never met was in his arms. 


Jen S copyrights 2010