THE EXECUTIVE

Anytime anything is published anywhere, we expose ourselves to a portion of social risk. Sometimes risks are so miniscule they are bordering on non-existent. Other times social risks are greater. Honesty is the moderating factor. The more honest and direct, the greater the social risk. The more we conceal, the less the social risk (which is why this is most people’s preferred path in life.)  Concealing ourselves is a defence minimising our chance of pain. Bloggers take on board a larger than average whack of risk. It comes with the blogging territory.

Blogging increases our public exposure to all people including people we have never met or will never meet. Blogging is freeing and liberating. The usual rules of oppression need not apply when we blog.

This is after all our blog. Our space.

We become more and more honest. We become more and more able to express our authentic feelings and thoughts, and that becomes our normal.

We all take social risks at some stage. We assess potential mini social risks with our front brain, providing the front brain is actually switched on. We experience primitive/intuitive knowing’s with our back brain. Sometimes the back brain takes the shortcut and we react from a place of emotion.

Emotionally driven pathways require no intellectual thought and little effort. We have already acted.

WHOOSH.

Our front brain does the thinking, but that is too late because our back brain has already done the feeling and the feeling has already generated a behavioural response.

People with mental health difficulties are generalising but true more likely to be back brain driven, than cerebrally driven by their pre-frontal cortex (the rational bit).

The executive in charge- the Lord Sugar of the pre-frontal cortex, is something we don’t tend to pay a flying fuckwad of attention to if we are emotionally driven creatures. Emotion heavy beings are what people like me are…

I am not mind heavy, I am emotion heavy.

I am not front brain heavy, I am back brain heavy.

My starting point in therapy was having virtually no front brain activity at all. I guess I had one, but it was only used on special occasions and bank holidays.

Therapy is the tool needed for people like me (who have trauma-histories that affected our brain circuitry) to strengthen our front brains to make those pathways more dominant. We desperately must increase the volume knob on Alan Sugar’s little southern voice in the pre-frontal cortex.

nintchdbpict000252675456

We need to listen to Lord Sugar more. [I can’t believe I just said that…but it’s a metaphor so stay with me. ]

Lord Sugar is in the boardroom, and he is our exec.

I am totes proud of my improvement in learning over time to twist that volume knob, every time I become mindful that I am not listening to Lord Sugar’s instructions. I pause, and I turn up that attentional amplifier and calm down the emotional chaos with self-soothing techniques.

Space, relaxation, calm, quiet, processing time, mindfulness. Those are my go-to strategies these days. In the past I would never even have thought to do those things. Now I know my life without them is way harder, so it is worth giving them a go. If you engage in these things you are basically giving yourself time out.

Time out is a modern parenting trick. Your kid is acting out so you put them on the naughty step, isolated, in a quiet place, to allow their emotional calming systems to kick in and down regulate the emotional fuse which has gone beserk to whatever upset them.

What we don’t always realise as adults is we also need to put ourselves on the naughty step at times…very much NOT because we’ve been naughty :P …..just for our sanity, because if we don’t allow ourselves that time out, the chances are we WILL get naughty fucking quick.

If we sit on the naughty (NOT ACTUALLY NAUGHTY) step…we are giving ourselves time to breathe. In adult terms we are taking deep breaths and engaging in mindfulness strategies to work our what we are feeling, what exactly it was that triggered us to feel shitty, and how best we can relax and return to a state of equilibrium as soon as possible. We can sit on the not-naughty step and reflect on a variety of solutions. We can think what might be an appropriate action to take. We can get our emotional systems calmed down enough for us to hear the wise words of Alan Sugar and his philosophies, then we can think how best to communicate our messages in order to achieve our intentions and not sabotage things and make them any harder than they need to be.

Swiss-Fine-Line-minimalist-workspace-with-ocean-views

Time out is NOT just for kids.

Time out is for adults too. Particularly for adults with difficulties regulating emotional reactions to things.

I have BPD. I know I struggle to hear Alan Sugar’s voice above the din of everything else going on in my amygdala when I’m upset by something. The amygdala is the smoke alarm of the brain that tells us when there is danger. You have to turn off the smoke alarm to be able to hear if there are indeed any crackles of flames that you need to run away from and shout HELP about.

Who can honestly think straight when a smoke alarm is going off? The sound is piercing and intrusive and gives you a headache.

You know you HAVE to turn off the alarm and sit on your happy perch and figure out what to do by engaging your front brain.

So what happens when you have insight into your dysfunctions and brain challenges, you understand your brain  and psychological makeup well, you understand your periodic reaction patterns, and you have also been taught by your psychologist (whose advice you trust) what to do in these exact type of scenarios…….well, if you truly want to change and get better, you realise very quickly that “this is one of those sitches where I need to do that psychological stuff I’ve been taught to do by my clever psychologist lady“….so it looks like I’m gonna have to do it!

Implement away Summer.

Insight is only useful if the insight then makes you behave in different superior ways next time you are in a similar sitch.

My ability to engage and carry through coping strategies has been tested a lot this week. On the whole though I think I’ve done a really good job. I know I have improved considerably and measurably in my ability to deal with unexpected emotional triggers. The evidence of that is I don’t call on the mental-health team anymore, I’m tons more self sufficient. I am better at being assertive with less aggression. I am better at taking deep breaths and thinking before I speak or write. I am FAR less kneejerk and far more under the watchful guidance of Lord Sugar in the cerebral boardroom. He is an executive I am learning to listen out for and trust. I am less absolute and black and white in my statements- more measured, more calm and subtle, my actions are more intentional and thought through and less flippant. I walk a more careful path. I walk a more mindful path, a more considered path. I know what helps and what hinders. I know what agitates and what soothes. I know the energetic effect on myself from actions, places, people, thoughts, decisions, feelings and impulses. I am far more tuned into the bigger picture. Actions, reactions, consequences, pitfalls, gambles….all of it.

If you do a, it is very likely what will happen is b.

I am no longer an impulsive emotional car-crash. I am no longer a kamikaze pilot who has had a shot of adrenaline and thinks they can drive this thing in the sky.

I know sometimes the best thing to do is take time out and execute a safe landing.

I don’t want the thrill of danger anymore. What I want is peace. I want to live in a world of psychological and physical safety. I am quite happy to stop snorting the drugs my brain produces and just mindfully focus on landing the plane safe to I can get grounded.

To feel safe we have to have our size 7s (european 41s, don’t know the US size) on the ground.

We cannot make impulsive decisions in the air. We will crash!

I don’t want to crash. I’m doing great and I’m determined that nothing will change that, not even tough weeks.

Every tough week is one more under my belt.

Lord sugar is my executive cerebral front-brain controller. I know I need to continue to listen out for his wise voice.

I did that this week. I listened out for the voice. I asked for time out.

I asked for what I needed and I knew to ask in the first place. That demonstrates considerable psychological progress. I cannot control everything. I controlled all I could control. I landed the plane. I’m grounded again. I’m safe. I don’t require emotional first-aid. So all in all, I am proud, and happy to live my life under the watchful guidance of lovely old Alan- my exec.

Lord Sugar

summerSHINES©

 

 

 

 

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NOT EVEN A SAND CASTLE

A friend sent me the link to this clip from Chariots of Fire this morning, and tells me the slow-mo running sequence of the men sprinting through the waves was filmed at Bamburgh :)

I can’t put a number on how many times I’ve walked along the shoreline at Bamburgh over recent years, never once realising the Chariots of Fire association. I thought this is just so perfect and meant to be, the fact I’ll be running the BAMBURGH 10k with a bunch of friends in June, for the mental health charity MIND.

Bamburgh is a beautiful place steeped in history and atmosphere, the ancient capital of Northumbria, located in the far North-East of England. Until I went to Bamburgh for the first time (when on holiday), never before had I walked along a beach dominated by the most impressive of castles. I just couldn’t get over it, how there was a HUGE real-life castle set into the cliffs just up from the sandy beach.

I had been to plenty of beaches in my time that had promenades or piers or lines of shops and beach bars and fish and chip shops dotted along the horizon. I had also been to plenty of beaches where I had ridden astride a donkey (usually a grumpy one who didn’t like being ridden or photographed), or beaches where I’d idled away a sun-drenched afternoon eating 99s drizzled in raspberry sauce, and watching a Punch and Judy show involving sausages and crocodiles and rolling pins (It’s an eccentric british sense-of-humour thing!).
That was my vision of UK seaside holidays….donkeys, ice creams, fish and chips, punch and judy-END OF.

But then (in my 30s) we came to Northumberland on holiday for the first time (up in the wastelands) and did a lot of this….

#SQUINTING #RUBBING OUR EYES IN DISBELIEF #BLINKING

…when we parked up at Bamburgh beach and saw a bloody great big CASTLE! And NOT EVEN A SAND CASTLE!!!

A bona-fide real castle- with turrets and stained glass and impressive castle walls.
When you drive into Bamburgh village and get your first glimpse of the castle beside the very English cricket green, it literally takes your breath away…..if the car was microphoned you would have heard stuff like this coming out from our Peugeot….

“WOW, LOOK AT THAT, IT’S AMAZING, I CAN’T BELIEVE HOW BIG IT IS, IT IS STUNNING!”

Locals who grew up here, born and bred, kinda take it for granted…I think they think it is NORMAL to have impressive castles dotted along a coastline! Bamburgh is not the only one in Northumberland.

There is Holy Island to the North

and Dunstanburgh to the South.

But Bamburgh is the most impressive of castles, and learning that Chariot’s of Fire was filmed here is just the icing on the cake for me.
When I finish the 10k with my chums we will be going for a collective chariots of fire slow-mo barefoot running moment in the waves, to cool down after our long run! I literally cannot wait!!! EEK

I love how exciting life is. I love how full of promise it is. I love how there are brilliant moments ahead of me when I do this run and also walk Hadrian’s Wall, (which is my other active MH charity fundraising event.)

I love how I can run to fundraise for a mental health charity who have personally helped me HEAPS. I love the buzz running gives me. I love how confident and full of life it makes me. Yeah…of course my life isn’t perfect and sometimes I feel absolutely lousy, BUT the lousy moments are just annoyances to be tolerated while I look forward to the Chariots of fire moments…..running with my friends barefoot in the ocean-satisfied with what I’ve achieved for a brilliant cause.

You need to think how you can cultivate Chariots of Fire highlight moments for yourself- great experiences don’t usually fall into your lap. You usually have to work for them. In this case I have to continue to train for this, from a baseline fitness level (according the Nintendo Wii) of a 70 YEAR OLD!!!
If you want to run with me just book a place on the RunNation website here, and send me a message, then you can join in that Chariot’s of fire life-highlight moment of achievement  yourself…..just imagine how that would feel! It’s worth sweating a bit while you train, to cultivate your own moment that you can share with me and my charity fundraising pals.

I really hope you will join us xXx

Here is me chatting about it…I introduce myself as Imani- tis my name :) Imani Summer X

summerSHINES ©

The wise Northumbrian man built his castle upon a beach,

so the floods were no issue whatsoever ;)

 

[eccentric sense of humour alert) :P

 

 

SYMBOLIC SURVIVOR POEM

It’s been a while since I shared a rhyme
Life has been full so I haven’t had time

I knew today was going to be tricky for me

I awoke with a cry at twenty past three

The dream was vivid-I cried out loud

Searching for her door but held back from the crowd

Subconscious LACKING-so in my dreams I am snacking

using high energy brain food-no time to be slacking

Searched for the door but couldn’t see through my tears

The tears had built up over fifteen long years

Panicked and desperate, I couldn’t stop crying

Need to express my feelings about all of their lying

Fucking care, PLEASE care for me

When I got back you’d gone. There’s no-one to blame but me

This dream wasn’t real-NOT describing fact

It’s all symbolic-dreams yield their REM sleep axe

The axe does damage-a dagger-a swollen heart

Couldn’t survive it again if I had to go back to the start

Infant to toddler-toddler to child

Childhood outgrown-a teenager birthed wild

I’m an adult. I’ve grieved that loss.

But my dreams are not always sparkle-streaked pink candyfloss

I sparkle, & I do that in spite of my REM sleep storms

I’m chiselled to perfection, attractive in external form

My insides believe me are special too

I’m forever”the special girl” trying my 100% best for you

Except it’s not for them that I do all this

I invest in my craft-it’s just how my life is

They don’t drive me-it’s my hands on the steering wheel

Look how she’s changed-coming up shortly, “THE BIG REVEAL”

One day I’ll have my name up in lights

But not illuminated in the neon glow of Brooklyn’s delights

Summerwillshine -quick, tweet it!-get it hashtagged!

The girl did good in spite of that twatttish papa ratbag

Excuse me vermin-scurry aside

One less funeral attendee in the days shortly after you’ve both died

You’re in my dreams-now that’s the only place left

Gave my evidence in the cell-bravely reported your theft

HEART STOLEN-plus other criminal damage was done

Couldn’t shower the pain away in the puddles of your sticky cum

It was only a dream-you’re now not real to me

From private to public I blog it out there-it’s for the therapy of me

I’m missing my psych-missing the potential to chat

Need to learn I don’t need a NHS therapist for all of that

Internalise the messages summer-then you won’t need her

Fleece yourself up tonight in a blanket of kitten soft warm fur

It’ll be ok, I know that-tomorrow is brand new

I’ll pencil in a good day-yep-good idea! that’s what I’ll do

All is not lost & there’s far more to gain

Keep on track in your survivors only lane

I’ve proven I can deal with considerable life shit

Far more shocking stuff than your usual middle-class chick lit

She shrugs-she sighs-pulls her blanket round tighter

Tomorrow she’ll stand up in the ring and prove she’s a fighter

But tonight is a night to nurture myself

A
random 

act 

of

kindness

for

my

mothering sunday mental health

summerSHINES ©

 

 

 

MUM-less

Here is my sharpie doodle for mothers day…but this is for the people who don’t have a mum in their life this mothers day-peeps just like me xxx

Mother’s day is not usually a fun day when you have complex-PTSD caused by extended and varied trauma-usually of the incest variety…but this is the happiest and most centred I’ve personally felt since I lost my mum and few years ago. I realise today how far I’ve got with processing my loss. 

Letting people go is a concept that sounds so simple when written out…it’s much harder to do than to write about doing though. 

I’ve suffered at the loss of her…the loss of what used to be…but what I actually have at this moment more than compensates. 

I have two beautiful girls…one of whom wrote me a gorgeous heartfelt poem. I won’t share it here as that is mine…for me and my very closest buddies…but it made me feel amazing and so loved.

I was suicidal and very poorly on mother’s day last year. Today I see my progression. It hits me just how well I’m doing in spite of being mum-less…I’m actually ok about it. I feel at peace. I gave moved on even since I wrote the post (To mum).

That made it onto the most loved post list. People connected with it. I don’t feel that way now though. 

Everything is in flux and we are all heading somewhere. My life moves at a fast paced but the essential thing is its usually in a forward direction. 

I may have detours and ocasionally travel down coping cul de sacs that get me know where…but then I find my true track again and move forward.

I know exactly where I’m heading, and I’m going to appreciate every moment along the way- just like today where I appreciate how well I’m doing these days at being mum-less. 

Myself and my family were born to shine…we’re possibility chasers. We dream. I think. My mind is creative and expansive but also grounded and we’ll rooted in reality. I see possibility everywhere. And I’m not going to let something like being mum-less stand in my way 💪💪💪

SummerSHINES 😘😘

MOTHER’S POISON

I type as I listen to this atmospheric song…The song is what prompted me to write this alternative mothers day post.

https://youtu.be/bV6eaF0iAxs

Just contemplating the poison of my mother’s love.

I’m a mum…my love for my children is real. My love is in their best interests. I actually act and behave in their best interests. Nothing I transfer to them is poisonous. Yeah, I’m a normal person with an abnormal amount of emotion in my heart that is felt with full force. But the energy I transmit to them is pure and caring. Sometimes I get grumpy. Sometimes I’m tired. Sometimes I’m irritable.Sometimes I’m a little impatient….but by god my kids know they are loved.

In the beautiful heart warming mothers day assembly that I went to at my youngest’s school, they sang a beautiful song along the lines of…”we know that mum is not perfect-but we know that we are loved”

I know my kids feel loved. I know there is plenty of laughter in the house. I know we tease and rib each other in very gentle ways. We also respect each other. We know when it’s best we have space for a while. We know that no means no. Boundaries are not violated. It is a home where my sensitive girls can flourish, feeling secure that they can be themselves without excessive criticism or self- consciousness or a fear of making mistakes. I teach them how best to deal with their difficult feelings when they arise. Myself and my husband model love-a loving partnership where we actually want to be together!…still after all these years.

If I sound smug please forgive me…but I actually am smug…or maybe grateful is a nicer way of putting it. 

I’m grateful for the pure nourishing energy and love that bounces off the walls in our family home. The good far outweighs the bad. Difficult moments are smoothed over quickly and we return to our happy equilibrium again without too much need to tear out hair.

Tonight I am calm because of the family myself and my husband have created. 

I am choosing not to get depressed that it’s mothers day tomorrow. I am turning my face to the sun so I can’t see the shadows.

When the final cords were cut with my mother a few years ago I grieved….of course I did.  But I don’t want that relationship back- because it is poison to me. Poisoned love that could have been beautiful but was distorted by a background of abusive evil that my mum was prepared to say never happened.

Her denial of reality was a source of acidic emotional poison…how could I ever drink out of that cup again? My mother’s love wasn’t the type of love I give my children now. Of course there were elements of pure love, and sometimes my mum was very loving indeed…but all that was smeared and sullied like a toddler had just dipped it’s hand in a mud pie and dragged the evidence across a piece of paper.

The love was paper thin, and we all know paper can be dangerous-it gives us paper cuts. Even the thinnest of paper can injure us if we’re not careful, and tracing paper is so transparent it can be easily seen through.

I saw through her.

She drew her love for me on the thinnest of tracing paper…then it got muddied and sullied. I feel barely any trace of that love now. She’s completely gone-except for a distinct energy I feel sometimes when she intrudes into my mind. 

Also random images form. I imagine what she would look like now if she were sat in front of me…. How has she aged I wonder? Has the stress of the last few years taken its toll on the ever deepening wrinkles that create contours throughout her slackening flesh. I imagine they’d visually resemble the lines on an aged ordinance survey map. I imagine her posture is not so upright…that she finds it harder and more effortful to get out of a chair; that her walks are slower and laboured with plenty of rest stops. I imagine she is needing a person to assist with cleaning the house by now. I can’t imagine she’d still be doing it alone. Have they moved house? or are they still there where they were the last time I visited? Probably. They are creatures of structure and habit. She cannot drive because of her eye problem. She relies entirely on my abuser dad. 

How can she talk to him? How can she share a home with him? How can she laugh with him or cry with him? How can she carry on the pretense of denial? What is life like for her? 

I wonder all those things sometimes- but unusually for me, not with much emotion.

I feel so calm. It’s eerie.

I imagine they will be spending tomorrow going to mass then having at least one of my siblings round for a Sunday roast. Most likely my brother and his wife and child.  I imagine lamb will be served and roast potatos. Then I imagine they are visiting a National Trust property in the afternoon where they will admire the daffodils and go for a cream tea in the stuffy tea room. I doubt they will make conversation with each other. He will talk to her. She will look uncomfortable and tense and avert her gaze to signal him to be quiet and leave her alone with her thoughts.

I am fairly sure I’ll be in there…in her head…she will be most likely forming pictures in her head of me too. I’m sure I’ll be in there somewhere.

I’ll never know…but I’m adjusting to not knowing. It is becoming normal to live an entirely seperate life from them.

Mum, if you are reading this…don’t worry about me. I’m quite alright. I’ve become my own person. I’m actually doing well…and having a lot of personal successes as I move forward in my recovery. I always thought when I was suicidal that recovery would be my best revenge- and that is exactly what is unfolding.

Recovery is progressing far quicker than I anticipated…far quicker than my mental health care team did too. 

I’m a triumph of recovery.

I feel defiantly successful. 

I’m enjoying that feeling of satisfied revenge. The revenge of a life well lived against the odds; and that tastes far better than your poison- which is why I’ll never taste it again.

I’ll get my revenge against the poisonous love you tried to force down my throat.

I won’t drink it because I don’t like the taste.

I am enjoying my children and my husband without abusing or mistreating or poisoning them. I will spend a life loving them and they will want to spend time with me. 

For me to have turned out like this, considering what I’ve been up against…it’s pretty remarkable.

You’ll never know the difference mum as you continue to live in the poison. It’s all you know…I’ve tasted something better. There’s no going back for me. 

SummerSHINES