Pebbles – The art of friendship & support

Several years ago before I had my last (and hopefully final) breakdown I was heartbroken over the death of my grandmother. I’d spent many years at her home and she had practically brought me up as much as my own mother. Not only did I grieve for the loss of her presence but I felt like I had lost my rock. While I had friends, my grandma was the one person I felt I could tell anything, the one person keeping me sane in an otherwise chaotic life.

After saying I had lost my rock someone (sadly no longer a friend) mentioned that instead of a rock I should look to have lots of pebbles instead. That way I would no longer be reliant on just the one person. Looking back I did the same thing with friendship. I had for a long time just the one main friend. My depression and lack of self confidence so low meant I found it hard to make new ones, not believing anyone would actually want to be friends with me. I know how daft that is now but at the time I mostly hung around with the friends if this one friend having no contact with them outside of Saturday night drinks.

These days I have many friends and acquaintances. While having to start your life over is quite daunting  it also gives you the opportunity to try something new and I did this with the pebble theory. I used to think everything needed to be linked and struggles to see how having different people in my life that weren’t completely connected to each other in every way. Now I have work friends, book club friends, volunteering friends, ordinary friends and so on. I see different people for different things and while maybe only one or two people know most things about me I know that I have someone to go to no matter what the worry. Like a big box of mixed chocolates there’s something for every taste!

It’s a lovely feeling and would never have happened if life hadn’t taken such a drastic turn several years ago. So good things can definitely come from bad no matter how impossible that may seem at the time


A-Z of movies (a 2013 challenge)

One of the challenges I set myself as part of the 101 things to do in 1001 days was to watch an A to Z of movies. They had to be new films and not something I’d watched before. Sometimes we set ourselves such huge goals to achieve so it was nice to have a fun little quest to do. Some were enjoyable, some not so much.

Here’s my list, what will yours be?

A – Abe Lincoln Vampire Hunter

B- Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

C – Charlie St Cloud

D- Dark Shadow

E- Emma

F- Friends with Kids

G – Green Hornet

H – Hobbit

I – I am number 4

J – Jane Eyre

K – Killing Bono

L – Lorax

M – Muppets (the latest one)

N – New Years Eve

O – Othello

P – Paranorman

Q – Quadrophenia

R – (The) Raven

S – Snow White & the Huntsman

T – This Means War

U -Unstoppable

V – Vanishing on 7th Street

W – Wreck It Ralph

X – (the) X-Files movie

Y – Yogi Bear

Z – Zombies Hunter

2014 Positivity Works

2014 has got off to a flying start after I decided my only goal this year was to reclaim my life and start living more. The goal actually follows on from some work I did on myself last year in which I started dressing more positively, I put myself forward for a job I’ve always wanted and I took the first step in finally beating my financial demons. We’re only mid way through January and already so much has happened. Allowing positivity into your life and really believing it when you say this is going to be your year. I spoke to the bank and have consolidated all my debts into one large loan with an end date. Credit cards are cut up, overdraft is cancelled. That’s it, if it isn’t in my bank I can’t spend it. Despite reassurances from the bank adviser that the balance is lower than many he has seen the amount of debt in total was a horrid amount to me. It’s a rude awakening to see the totals in black and white but at least now I can watch the balance go down knowing that in a certain amount of time it will be gone. And he managed to save me money on a monthly basis too. So now I can ignore that and concentrate on other things. I joined a new book club, part of my goal to meet new people and get out there more. Looking at the self help books we’ve been reading for book clubs I know my fear is rejection. I spent so long pretending to like other things so that people would like me when I really didn’t like what i professed to. Then when I did start being truthful to myself I found I couldn’t tell anyone else in case they rejected me. I know this was all a problem in my head only but once there it is really hard to get rid of. So far this year I have done small things that have had a huge impact. I put my picture on my social media profiles. I created twitter and facebook pages for the radio shows that myself a friend run. For that’s a huge deal, putting myself out there and letting people seeing the real me and knowing what I am involved in. And guess what? No one ridicules, people seem to be enjoying our pages and I know the shows are well received. It gives encouragement to do more. With the new book club I’ve written before about the quest to work out my spirituality and what I want from it. This book club is a spiritual one. It’s always scary walking into the unknown to do something new but these were the most welcoming people I have met for a long time and I really enjoyed myself. I think this is the start of yet another set of great friendships. Oh and the new job started this month is shaping up to be everything I hoped it would be. Wonder what the next few weeks will bring??? My other blogs   all about the yes and being positive    Travel   family ties

Enjoy the Silence

It's all about the Yes

09.01.14 – I first posted this back in July but as we are possibly going to read The Power of Now by Ekhart Tolle I thought I’d repost. We all need a bit of stillness in our lives now and again.

I was going to start this by talking about last nights visit to my first Stillness Group but I had an epiphany on the way to work that I want to share. I was in that great centre for spirituality – Greggs the bakers – buying my morning cup of tea when I caught a glimpse of me in a mirror and thought “I quite like you”. Now I have spent years looking at myself and comparing myself to others to the extent that I have become possibly my worst critic and a negative one at that. But lately I have been experimenting with clothes and found myself a…

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Struggling to be Holy – Judy Hirst

Before Christmas I heard of a new book club, a spiritual one. Always on the look out for something new to try I decided to look them up and see what book they would be reading for this month and give it a go. The book club itself is this weekend and I’m looking forward to it.

Judy Hirst is an Anglican curate and trained counselor in Durham and this small book is really how to cope with some of the issues modern life brings. As a curate these issues can be resolved through prayer and a belief in God which is the bit I originally thought would be a bit off putting but I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it is for a non-Christian to take that part out of the equation and still get a lot from this book.

One part that stood out in the first Chapter was the ability of people to avoid saying just how bad things are for them sometimes, They don’t God to see them as “messy” and that God would only want to hear the good stuff. Isn’t the case in everyday life regardless of religion. I know in my worst depressive days I would often over use the phrase “I’m fine” when in fact I would be close to breaking point. I was convinced (and still am sometimes) that people wouldn’t want to know how bad I was as it wasn’t fun. Even this autumn during a horrific work and money mess I chose not to mention these things when people asked how I was. Who wants to know about my problems?? Well for me, my family and friends, for a Christian according to Judy the answer would be God.

Another good chapter is around forgiveness and moving on. This was quite resonant with me having just read Feel the Fear and do it Anyway as it covers the same issue but comes at it from a different angle. The advice is still the same. We have to learn to forgive ourselves, then forgive others before we can move forward and progress. And for anyone not wishing to help then you have to let those people go.

All in all I think different people will get different things from it but I’m pretty sure all those things will be positive ones

My other blogs   all about the yes and being positive    Travel   family ties

Just Say No

A couple of years ago after a breakdown I decided a good way of reclaiming my life and moving forward was to say “yes” more. It proved a very positive move and resulted in being able to move forward in my career, start volunteering, make some new friends and start a part time degree.  I even started researching the idea of self employment. Looking back a lot has happened but along the way I lost the ability to say “no”. 

Saying no can sometimes be just as valuable as saying yes but in not doing so I ended up by late 2013 I ended up exhausted yet again having taken too much on. Another side effect was the loss of creativity both with stories and ideas for my blogs. Over Christmas I took 10 days off from work and from studies to just simply relax, read for fun and watch TV. I even managed to write a couple of short stories. I loved the feeling of having the time to sit down and let the words flow again. 

The strange thing is I felt guilty for doing so. This seems to be the other side of saying no. I felt guilty for having some me time despite the fact that it was needed and the Open University had factored this time in the course. Recently I had to say no to helping a friend so that I could concentrate on a difficult part of my studies and the assignment linked to it. My reasons were solid and reasonable but I still spent the best part of two days feeling bad about it. This is despite the fact that they did nothing to make me feel this way.

Why does that happen? There are some people who are able to make a decision without guilt or who say no for purely selfish reasons but so many of us are racked with guilt for no reason at all. I think as my goal for 2014 is reclaiming my life finally that this may be an area to work on. It’s fine to be selfish now and again, it’s fine to say I can’t do this… and to make sure my time is evenly split so that I don’t end up too tired to be of use to anyone. But most of all to not feel guilty for when I do need to take time out. 

Deep down I’m sure people would actually understand

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