Thursday, 30 April 2015

Election Time

Hello stationery lovers,

I know this seems like a strange direction for my blog to go considering my previous posts. However I’m hoping that indulging my previous joys might ignite a tiny flame of hope. So my blog shall be eclectic, serious and on occasion I shall try to amuse you. “Do I amuse you?”

With the election just a few days away I thought it would be interesting to talk about the different flyers which have made their onto my doormat. In my constituency there are 5 candidates vying for my vote.

Now Bean has received all of the 5 flyers from the Labour, UKIP, Green, Liberal Democrat and Conservative camps. However I fear a little racial profiling has affected my personally addressed flyers. It appears my rather Polish surname means that I am not courted by UKIP. Oh the sadness!

Alas the flyers are just rubbish. 

Empty promises which aren’t worth the paper they are printed on. They bang on about their accountability, what utter dross. I’m not sure why they even bother canvassing, it’s like they think we live in a democracy! Our political parties (save the racist ones) are all incredibly middle of the road, they morph into one entity, coalition or not. The new government will try to do their best and the shadow cabinet will simply take over the role of the critic. I never understand why they can’t just work towards a common good.

Nothing they say pre-election means anything save an attempt to win votes. It’s meaningless. I don’t understand why people are surprised when they renege on their “promises.” 

I do, to some extent, understand voter apathy, especially if you live in a safe seat. Perhaps our votes don’t matter at all. We can’t choose our Prime Minister, PMQs appear to be the only place where we can raise important issues via our MPs and we are not consulted when major changes are at stake. The humble proletariat sits in silence. Oh yes we try to change things with our petitions, I can imagine how they chortle at those!

I digress, I don’t really understand the current attempts at wooing the voters (oh lordy that pink bus!). I don’t actually care whether my Prime Minister is married or not. Whether his (or her) skin is blemish free or he eats a bacon sandwich with gusto. I want dull government ministers. I don’t want them to be “cool.” I want them to sit at their desk, acknowledge they don’t know everything, listen to their, supposedly impartial, advisors and work bloody hard to try and do something about the aching social inequality in this country. No-one is asking the rich to fall; we are asking that the poor rise.

So with a week to go in perhaps the most noisy election build-up in the UK’s history will you be marking a cross or will you be staying at home?

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Dear Diary

When I think of a future I can’t see very far, perhaps not even into tomorrow. I find myself leading this dichotomous life. One which is trying to perceive a future with moments the old me would have loved. The other, perhaps stronger, part wishes for a quick and easy death. I’m not sure which I’m afraid of more. The living or the dying. It was suggested that starting a diary might be helpful.

I’ve tried to start a diary many times. My first was when I was 13 years old, it was a Forever Friends diary. I started each entry with “Dear Tori,” for no apparent reason, perhaps it stemmed from my social awkwardness. I don’t think I was friendless but I certainly wasn’t drowning either. If my biographer is reading, I can send it to you so you can accurately document my youth, however if I remember correctly it mainly detailed my class schedule, so if you want to know whether French was before Geography, it will be perfect. Emotional insights were largely lacking! (I can’t actually send it to you, I’m pretty sure it perished in the house fire)

Obviously, I can’t just write in a normal diary, I need to find a beautiful one. So say hello to my rather tenuous link to National Stationery Week . I’ve tried to write in a one line a day diary, with enough space to write in for 5 years but it seems a bit too much. I’m not even sure I have enough words for every day.

A couple of years ago I purchased a deliciously beautiful leather diary with gold edging. I had it blind embossed with a rather twee saying.. Oh it’s so pretty. I do rather love Noble Macmillan’s leatherness it feels so right in my hands. Oh to have volumes and volumes of their albums on m bookcase. The words started to flow last year yet it felt still as if I were that angsty 13 year old all over again. Whilst my calligraphy is hideous, in certain pens I do enjoy my handwriting. 

I need to decide whether I am actually helping or hindering myself by attempting to make sense of my situation. Does it just intensify my emotions rather than weaken them? Is there a simple value in writing the words in the moment and allowing them to be discarded on the page, never to be read again.

Oh I know I overanalyse, but what else is there to do when confined to a hospital? Are you an avid diarist? Would it help to read the words of a great diarist to know whether it is a helpful outlet. To be clear I’m obviously not thinking my diary will contain the words of my generation. (My generation has been and gone, we only have youth to save us). What inspires you to make a active choice in documenting your life?

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Stationery Inertia

Hello stationery lovers,

I know this seems like a strange direction for my blog to go considering my previous posts. However I’m hoping that indulging my previous joys might ignite a tiny flame of hope. So my blog shall be eclectic, serious and on occasion I shall try to amuse you. “Do I amuse you?”

So what to talk about today?

I’m in the midst of trying write thank you letters to all the people who have been so kind over the past few months. I’m incredibly lucky that the kindness I’ve been shown will bump up Royal Mail’s share price. Yet, however hard it is to write the words I want to say, I have another slight problem which I hope I share with you all.

Stationery is just too pretty to be soiled by my scratchy hand. I try to practise my calligraphy but I fear I’m no further than when I was but 7 years old. I’m sure my handwriting was a cause for concern from a young age because I didn’t migrate to a fountain pen very quickly. The mark of someone who’s mastered their handwriting. See exhibit A

Although I do love that I start the letter to Santa with Dear Sir/Madam!

I adore beautiful handwriting and over the years I’ve tried to improve mine. Indeed I can “embroider” (I’m not really sure what I did was embroidery but I did enjoy making the little bits for my bridesmaids). I’ve also tried my hand at using lights to make the pretties but my hand seems unable to stay in the correct plane or flow with any theatricality. The best advice I’ve been given is to not think of it as handwriting. It is an art, each letter a masterpiece which happens to connect to another. I guess I’m just that impatient in-patient still!

This weekend I’m (hopefully) attending a brush calligraphy workshop with Quill London. Trying to find the bravery (that’s the wrong word I’m not brave in the slightest), hmm the vitality (that seems a better choice it truly is the opposite of depression) to expend the energy of appearing “normal” and trying to learn a new skill in a group of seemingly rather together women is a little scary for me right now. 

I understand that these other women have their own story to tell and perhaps I shall meet someone who might help with my calligraphy or perhaps with my hope. I know I need to stop hiding away from my friends, perhaps this will give me the right energy to say thank you and put pen to beautiful paper.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Merry National Stationery Week

So perhaps I should try and write something happier today. Perhaps I should set myself the target of writing every day, well it is National Stationery Week. I don’t know where the deep seated desire of most women to covet and own all the pretty stationery arises from. Is it a throwback to a time where writing letters and diaries were our sole means of expressing ourselves both publically and privately? Is it beauty of a handwritten letter which seems to fall far more gracefully through the letterbox? Or perhaps it’s because stationery of this lifetime is so damn beautiful.

I thought I would share a few of my favourites and why they are so wonderful.

Firstly Papermash, if you haven’t perused their wonderful wares you are missing out. For years I have been buying supplies from this site. It is curated by the incredibly talented Lynne and she combines beauty with a certain playfulness which doesn’t feel childish. It’s great for cute party accessories and every time I have a sneaky peek I yearn for something new, usually Rifle Paper Co related. *sigh*

Moving onto Meri Meri, you’ll have seen their pretty perfect Christmas decorations and if you visited me over Christmas you will have seen the pretties hanging from every available space. I love their unashamed silliness and don’t tell Bean but a few little surprises will hopefully arrive before his birthday next week.

My latest swoon is Quill London, hello beautiful Kate Spade goodies. Seriously, I wish I didn’t like Kate Spade so very much. She is going to bankrupt me. Indeed Quill London has a far better selection than the Kate Spade website and the shops in London (trust me, I’ve looked!) The other wonderful bonus is that they run calligraphy workshops. I’ve been to the beginner’s workshop which proved I am dreadful at calligraphy but that I still love to try. Maybe I’ll see you at a session in the near future?

When I sit and try to think of the right words to describe Cutture, I write a sentence and realise it’s just not enough. I can’t seem to avoid clichés. Their work is phenomenal. They make my eyes happy. To be given their work is close to holding the Holy Grail whilst in Shangri-La sipping vintage champagne. See, all of the clichés.

Yet I must mention there beautiful wares. The beautiful papercuts make me want to get married again, turn 40 in fabulous style and have all the babies.

Just look!

So to sleep for me. More stationery fun tomorrow! Would love to hear about your favourite places.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Postcards from the psych ward

So hello, time for a (hopefully not permanent spot), a postcard from the psych ward.

The ward right now is particularly volatile there are 5 patients who I find a little scary because they are so unpredictable. One moment they are flirting with the nurses (oh in psych there are far more male nurses) and the next they are screaming as if they were begging for their lives. Oh and the swearing is class A, epic. I’ve never heard an old lady use the c-word so much and I’m very use to having patients swear at me.

The on-call doctor has almost been camping on our ward over the weekend. Usually you wouldn’t see the doctor, they’re far too busy in A&E but these past few days it’s been so out of control there have been more staff on the ward than ever. (In my limited-ish experience).

The screams continue, the manipulative demands persist. There is no rest for even the non-wicked. I feel for the nursing team, they really are trying and I understand mental illness is incredibly difficult to control especially on an acute ward where patients are suffering from psychosis.

It’s just it's very hard to be a patient too. If you’re not screaming or trying to harm yourself, it’s likely that you can hide away and not talk to anyone. It’s very easy to be forgotten and when you know one patient has to watched by three staff at any one time, it does make you feel as if you invisible and voiceless. It often feels as if the needs of the few very much outweigh the many. Nevertheless I’m in this locked ward for a reason but the therapeutic atmosphere is somewhat lacking.

So I guess you look toward other patients for support. Supporting each other seems like a good premise. Yet you really know nothing about the other patients. You assume that they aren’t mass murderers and thus I presume they are the same as me. Broken but trying to look for some hope.

However, I never know if on the ward you’re meant to form alliances or acquaintances. Always. there are the odd surreptitious eyebrow movement or the sly half smile which signifies the unspoken, “yeah we have issues but man that lady is proper insane and I really wish she wasn’t on my ward because I want to sleep.” Yet I find it difficult to talk completely candidly about myself and my life. 

I find it invasive when people just come up to me and ask for my life story. I politely move them on. It’s bad enough I’m in here I don’t want to drag my poor family in here too. I’m as nosy as the next person but I tend to wait for someone to start talking about themselves before I launch into a torrent of questions.

So I shall sit in my room this evening, I’m snobbish enough not to want to sit and watch Britain’s Got Talent which is blaring from the tv, perhaps I shall watch the last Poirot. Although I’m not sure my heart is strong enough just yet. I always envisioned I would be in a boutique hotel next to a roaring fire in a club chair with a non-lit pipe when I watched Curtain. It’s not quite like that here. 

I'm not sure why I am writing about being on the ward, perhaps it is simply cathartic for me? Or perhaps I want to share my experiences for those in a similar position. Perhaps I just want to write something? I'm not sure.

So I shall take my leave and wish you a goodnight. I can only hope the alarms do not ring all night long. 

Thursday, 23 April 2015

A happy ending?

Previously I spoke about how I was about to say goodbye to my psychotherapist for the last time.
A month later I still find myself wishing his contract could have been renewed. I'm sure he's moved into an exciting new role but I miss him. I miss his quiet kindness and the way he reflected and helped ease my distress.

I bought him a little present to say thank you and I googled the words I wanted to write, (I wanted to check I wasn't quoting a hideous song or book). Thankfully I found I wasn't spouting anything too ugly but one of the search results asked if patients received false hope from their therapists. It's nice to be tickled by google.

And so the morning arrived. I said hello for the last time. In many ways it was a normal session albeit with a desperate elephant in the room (aka me).

Then the goodbye came, It felt as if the oxygen in the room had vanished, (The beginnings of a panic attack, I assume). I ran away trying to gulp in air, I wanted to disappear, I wanted to be anywhere but in this room but at the same time I felt as I hadn't said enough. I told him I sometimes wished I hadn't opened Pandora's box but I fear he felt as if our time had been wasted. I know it matters not what he thinks, I'm just another patient but I felt as if I'd let him down. He tried so hard and I was still this broken women.

I collected myself. I managed to breathe but our time was over. It wasn't a perfect ending but I never imagined it would be. I hid in the loo, the tears that stated I wasn’t sure would ever stop. Finally my sobbing came to a close. I felt so ashamed that I didn’t have the capacity to believe the placating words of his or my care co-ordinator. It simply felt like I was bereft. I wanted to jump in front of the tube (I pretended I was a tourist earlier in the week and got some stranger to talk to me as the tube was rolling in to stop me from jumping), I want to swallow all the tablets (I had them all hoarded, all the codeine and paracetamol), I wanted to cut my wrists (and I had the means).

Surprisingly, I made the short journey to my psychiatrist’s appointment. Unsurprisingly, she insisted on me being admitted.

And I guess that’s all she wrote.

A month later I am still an in-patient, save a brief interlude where I lied through my teeth, “oh no, I feel okay,” and discharged myself. I’m still sure that my future is short. My capacity for hope is non-existent but I realise there are others holding on to that hope for me. It seems pointless. I feel like I’ve chosen my choice and my sudden death is inevitable.

I know I have to try and trust the process but when the intrusive thoughts are pervasive, it’s hard to think about anything else. There are moments, like now, where I remember how much I used to love blogging and being part of a kind and inspiring community. I’m so sad that I’ve lost that connection and I don’t think I’ll ever be interesting enough (or pretty enough – let’s face it, bloggers are all babes now!).

So perhaps I can hang onto the fact I’m still trying? Or am I just being duplicitous? Trying to pretend to have a life, whilst suicidal ideation lurks close by. I guess, I’ve no idea who I am anymore. One imagines that would be exciting to most, the ability reinvent yourself, but I fear I am no-one. Am I only the broken wife of a great man? How I wish I could reinvent this whiny woman into something worth fighting for.

4 weeks is a long time in politics, sadly in mental health it is but a second.