To be beside the seaside


I'm just back from a few days away, by the sea, with my family. It's amazing how refreshing the experience can be and so clearing for the mind.

I once upon a time, found holidaying difficult and stressful as I was juggling many struggles that holidays only served to complicate, such as an eating disorder, anxiety and obsessions. Trying to have fun whilst your mind was consumed with angst was not easy, as being taken away from regular and familiar surroundings aggravated these difficulties. Routine was very much part of my life, with daily rigid rituals for meals, weigh ins, food preparation and just normal, daily tasks. It leaves little time for what holidays are supposed to stand for. I would become more uptight internally which would take it's toll in several ways, including constipating me. I would be in abdominal pain much of my holidays in years gone by as my IBS at the time would be triggered through the extra worrying I was doing. Then, as soon as I returned home, as if by magic, normal services would resume in the toilet.

On this holiday, I took the opportunity to promote my book "The invisible Girl: A Secret Life" in another area, this time in Norfolk, as seen here in the images. This is my son, Joe, whom I refer to frequently in my book. As he is now eighteen, I am making the absolute most of my time with him before he leaves in September for university. He was my reason for changing, eighteen years ago and embarking on the long journey of recovery to freedom that I took.

Nowadays, I love holidays and travel and they are not something I fear. In fact, we are about to set off again on another break to Cornwall. Time to get packing our suitcases again, bon voyage!

Facing old demons


Several months ago I went to an event at my old high school. This was the school where I experienced the beginning of the most traumatic part of my life and spent much of it truanting.

I got very emotional on the journey there and when I first got there as it triggered many old bad memories, however it was on this bus journey that I made the decision that I would stop procastinating and write my book.
And I did.

Today I went on the same journey to do another event but this time with my book! It is made me a little emotional still as not only does trauma have such a deep impact even after much healing, I am also a proud author and facing my past with my book now to help others too.
The event went very well, several books were purchased to people that I just know will benefit. There were some engaging and heartfelt conversations too. I was hearing, yet again, of how many young people, as young as eight today, are not only suffering from some form of mental health/emotional struggles, often anxiety, but to the extent that outside help from CAMHS was required. This resonates deeply with myself, having been that young person also, some thirty plus years ago now. Two teachers from the school purchased my book and were very inspired by what I was doing and expressed that they were going to attempt to get me involved with the school to inspire the students and offer support to those struggling currently, especially as I was a student at that school. That would be amazing, not only in a professional capacity but for me personally also.
What shocked me today though, was how even after so much healing and therapy, I was still affected by the old memories. I was very emotional at times. It got me thinking further and inspired me to write this blog tonight. The long reaching effects of trauma, complex PTSD, whatever label you wish to call it, are so deeply entrenched. I realise that the addictions I had for many years, which helped me to "cope" with my pain, had also prolonged my suffering and stunted the recovery. Numbing out that gut wrenching pain by means of abusing food, drink, other obsessions and of course, myself, served a purpose at the time but actually made it far worse.
Every so often, I catch myself holding myself so incredibly tense, from holding the edge of my seat tightly to turning off taps too hard. This is just normal daily activity for me and a massage therapist commented once on how tense my body was. As I get older, the effects from this I am feeling more. I don't feel as though I am stressed but my body has lived in tension for a long time. Meditation, mindfulness and other alternative therapies help, but that habit formed as a young girl seems resistant to change.
I have moved a very long way forward and I know that this is just "old stuff" but I also like to keep it real and share my truth.
This is why I feel so passionately about people getting early intervention with mental health problems, but it needs to be the RIGHT help. Dig deep to find the root cause and not treat symptoms only, as that seriously evades the truth of the matter and medications, in my experience, have masked the cause for decades and have created a substance addiction in itself.
I would not wish what I have been through on anybody but I take my personal experience now to help others as I truly understand and feel on a deep level.