Monday, 17 February 2020

Cyber Bullying

Well hello! Its been a wee while since I sat here typing a blog. 

I have spent two years using YouTube to say my piece, but like so many people before me, I have found the trolling and negativity very damaging to my mental health. In one way I loved it, and in another I knew that there was always anxiety in the pit of my stomach waiting for the backlash to every vlog I posted. At the beginning I was very naïve and assumed that if someone tuned in that meant they felt some warmth towards you and wanted to support your channel however I quickly learned that there are idiots out there that trawl the internet just to find people to troll, abuse and spit nastiness at. Shame on you, how small your lives must be if you need to hurt people you've never met. I'd take a wild guess you wouldn't have abused me or my daughter if stood in my presence as your backbone would be too flimsy, so instead you hide behind your phones or keyboards shooting out vile abuse at people. You are cowards or very damaged souls for sure.

Today as I shed tears for Caroline Flack I'd like to say I feel her pain but I cannot possibly know how poisoned and damaged she was by the horrendous press vilification. What has our society become when we relish 'news' no 'gossip' about innocent people in the full knowledge it will damage their careers, their souls and ultimately take their lives? Why do we read and watch this unbalanced flawed rubbish? Caroline was a beautiful and talented woman with a tumultuous love life, yes, but she was innocent until proven guilty, that's supposedly how our society works, no? Her boyfriend did not want a prosecution at all. Yet the press and online 'stoning' she received made her out to be a she devil, an evil dangerous man beater? Yes she was already a fragile butterfly but what the hell are we all becoming if we are driving people to give the ultimate sacrifice for our satisfaction, that we as a society know better, that we are somehow untouchable and sin free? I never met her but her infectious laugh and beautiful personality shone through my television screen, I am heartbroken she never got to see the outpouring of love for her. I only got a mere fraction of the online abuse she suffered but boy I know how damaging it is, it matters not that you can't see these people, it matters not that you'll probably never meet these people, somehow every online piece of verbal diarrhoea aimed your way wounds you, it might as well be a stone chipping away at whatever mental strength you can muster. Caroline lost a job she loved, a programme she shaped and steered to popularity. That must have stung, and wounded her badly. Then the press and online idiots started on her pummelling her to the floor ultimately fatally wounding her. We are all up in arms when we see other cultures literally stoning people for misdemeanours yet we are perfectly happy to do the same thing with words and insults striping people back to the point they see no other alternative than death?

Will they be held accountable? Will they heck, they'll be writing kind obituaries to Caroline and pretending they too are heartbroken. How warped is our society to let this happen? When will we wake up to the damage the cyber trolls are having on our collective mental health?

I have only ever contemplated suicide once and I'll never forget the desperate feeling in the pit of my stomach, the dragging weight that I imagined was tied to my ankle taking me down into a one way abyss. I guess you feel like your riding that plastic rodeo bull at the fair, knowing full well you'll fall off but you're clinging on for dear life as it bucks and tosses you back and forth. I planned how, I even considered making it look like an accident so my daughter didn't have to live with the knowledge I'd taken my own life. But I dragged myself to safety, I asked for help. The most difficult thing to admit to and do.

Admitting you mental health is fragile, does not mean you are weak, quite the contrary but society and the press would have you believe differently. A lot of words of support are spoken these days for mental health but somehow they're still hollow, merely politically correct banners. We need to accept that our society has changed and people need more mental health support than ever before.

My 14 year old daughter is struggling with a mixture of being a teenage girl and anxiety. School phobia seems the cause. At home she's still my bubbly, polite, considerate daughter. Yet at school she has become unstable, prone to crying and shaking. Truanting lessons and self harming herself. Mostly the school are punishing her for not complying with the rules. Yes, she has been verbally rude to staff when in a heightened state of agitation but the school seem incapable of any form of pastoral care. The local Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service saw us once. They concluded the session warning me to lock away the household drugs and knives as they could see my daughter had considered suicide. The worker told us she needed to discuss our case with the team and then she would be in touch to discuss a way forward. The phone call I received the week after blew my mind let alone my daughters! Apparently she didn't fit their criteria and they wouldn't be working with her???
At least three of my daughters friends have already attempted suicide? What the hell is happening? 

Social media has to accept some of the blame for this outbreak of mental health problems amongst our society. These girls and boys are forever attached to their phones, they slag each other off from the comfort of their bedrooms, they say such cruel heartless things to each other like a game of tennis back and forth, the dramas are constant and feel so real to these poor souls. These girls and boys who have yet to reach maturity or to have experienced much real life cannot put these mini dramas into any context within the real world. The next generation are mentally flawed before reaching adulthood and what happens next is anyone's guess. No generation has ever grown up with these pressures. They experience low self worth regularly either from each others keyboard warfare or from the constant images of false perfection from their idols on social media, What will become of them?

I am watching someone I love more than my own life struggle with all of this. Take away her phone away, I hear you cry. Lock her in the house! Keep her off school? How in this day and age do I keep her away from social media? Without her phone she uses someone else's, this is an addiction of huge proportions which in my humble opinion is headed for disaster.

Part of me feels I should return to YouTube and face down the idiots otherwise they win and I hate that. Show my daughter how it's done. But I'm too selfish, I'm protecting myself. If in any doubt about the vicious nature of the comments to which I refer have a look on Tattle Life for 'That Wilkes Woman' read the hatred, see the poison for yourselves. 

Caroline fell foul of mean spirited, money driven media madness, trolls who sense weakness and pounce upon anyone that they feel they can hound. Our society has an epidemic far more serious than the corona virus in my humble opinion. We collectively need to face this problem. 

Society needs better far more accessible mental health services, open to all. No hoops to jump through, no need to prove how weak you're feeling to be able to seek help. It's going to get worse, far worse. We'll see far more treasured celebrities commit suicide, yet more average people too. 

When will we wake up to the damage the media and trolls are doing to us? Prince Harry and Meghan walked away from royal life for this very reason. I just wish I could wave a magic wand and silence the idiots, bring decency back to the media and ensure mutual respect existed throughout our society.

Caroline Flack allegedly had been self harming, something apparently known to the Crown prosecution service yet they still forged ahead with the case regardless of the victim not wishing it to be so. I am devastated that she felt so alone and so lost that she had no option but to take her own life. Obviously these cases are not so simple as to blame one specific thing but our society is headed down a path not trodden before and I cannot help but wonder how many more lives will be lost.

Social media and such easy access to any form of media these days is in some ways a blessing BUT and it is a big but we do not have the safety measures in place to look after people, most especially our young people. The epidemic of social media amongst our children is way out of control and something needs to change. Any nasty evil comments should be accountable. I cannot remove the Tattle Life comments about me and my family so I have to know it is out there day in and day out colouring peoples opinions of me. If someone actually verbally said these things I could slap them with a defamation of character suit, but attempting to tackle the social media vomit is almost impossible. The anonymity allows these evil idiots to hide like the Wizard of Oz behind their curtains. Somehow we need to make it so that people have to give their names, addresses etc so that their is accountability on social media. Remove the veil of anonymity. If people knew they'd get a knock on the door they wouldn't abuse people online.

Mental Health problems are on the up, our whole way of life seems warped. We need to take a long hard look at our online lives. We have become so ready to 'stone' people that in our opinions have annoyed us, or upset a friend, or worn the wrong top, or gotten a disabled badge even! We consider ourselves a civilised society! Pffttt!! I disagree. 

Please love one another, think before you type. It may feel like a virtual world but trust me the people you're attacking are flesh and blood and just as vulnerable as you. I say the offenders must be vulnerable because balanced sane people don't need to send covert poison darts at strangers do they?!

Peace and love my friends

Leasa x

Thursday, 19 October 2017

#WorldMentalHealthDay2017 Video

I created this video for #WorldMentalHealthDay2017

I wanted to add it to my blog as I believe the content is relevant and belongs here too!

My daughter and I are currently vlogging daily so if you like YouTube or just want to support us our channel is

The Wilkes Family

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Permanency and ill health retirement. Or Not!!

So the time is ticking by and I am getting somewhat twitchy about a few things.

Supportive people can explain the logistics will work, federation reps can promise that things 'should' go smoothly but when it is your life, your finances, your grocery shopping in jeopardy, going onto half pay seems to be all the more daunting.

Since August I have visited our new force medical officer, the occupational health doctor and she has made it clear to me that she thinks it is highly unlikely that with my various medical complaints I will ever be fit to do my job as a police officer ever again.

I have chronic debilitating Fibromyalgia with no known cure, I have PTSD, I suffer with Depression, I struggle with Anxiety and I have two prolapsed discs, but she feels after nine months off sick that it is too early to ask any questions of my force about ill health retirement as she says the application would fail at this juncture as we have not exhausted all possible medical remedies/cures.
She says we might be ready in 6-9 months time.

They all say I have to prove 'permanency' , that my illnesses cannot be cured, that I will not be magically restored to full health to serve out my last 2 years of my 30 years service.

What a complete joke this system of ours currently is!

Show me the hoops and I will jump through them all, I will moan and groan, I will post on twitter how dissatisfied I am, but I will do whatever you ask of me to establish the facts to satisfy you, but when you do not specify the hoops, when you leave me in what has been described as a 'fluid' situation what the hell am I meant to do?
It's like playing hide and seek in the dark, whilst blindfolded, with your hands and feet tied.

It is so flipping riling!

I am suffering with an illness that induces me to suffer extreme pain when I get stressed or tired!!

I wonder what they think in their ivory admin towers, Oh I know let's take away half of her pay, tell her that in another 6 months we will stop paying her altogether and then make any escape from our employment as improbable to conquer as reaching the summit of Everest alive! GRRR

To what end? Whom does it serve? I gather the government because they fine any police force that let's an officer retire on ill health! Or should I say Theresa May? Of course it's all chuffing marvellous for a single parent, crippled with a variety of ills who simply cannot work anymore.

It seems like the only person who could start sorting the mess out is me, but I'm a shell of my former self and the mere idea of fighting my own corner seems horrifying. Should I be paying out of my half wage to visit pompous over priced 'experts' to prove my 'permanency'? I could I guess but then I wouldn't be able to pay the utilities and I'd have to rely on a food bank.

Ultimately I am told it will be just one person, an SMP, Selected Medical Practitioner, who gets to decide if my woes add up to permanency and early release! Not a panel, not a jury just one solitary  person. I'd stand more chance of release if I'd murdered someone!

There is a set order of procedure and before any decision can be made the police authority must put specific questions to this medical practitioner selected by them (the ‘selected medical practitioner’) to determine whether I am permanently disabled for ‘the performance of the ordinary duties of a member of the police force’. The selected medical practitioner will consider such issues as my ability to:

• run, walk reasonable distances, and stand for reasonable periods;
• exercise reasonable physical force in restraint and retention in custody;
• sit for reasonable periods, to write, read, use the telephone and to use (or learn to use) IT;
• make decisions and report situations to others;
• evaluate information and to record details;
• understand, retain and explain facts and procedures.

Even if I'm assessed as permanently disabled for the performance of the ordinary duties, it does not automatically mean that I will be retired on ill-health grounds.  The police authority will consider my specific disabilities and overall capabilities to see whether there are alternative duties which I could undertake whilst remaining a police officer!

If and it seems like a big IF I was found by the selected medical practitioner to be permanently disabled for ordinary duties and there were no suitable alternative duties that I could undertake the police authority 'may' decide whether to retire me or not!

At the very least it's all so frustrating, at the worst it borders on being downright inept, exceptionally stressful and seemingly unfair.

Just let me go, please. Pretty please?

I'm broken, I'm a recluse and I'm soon to be broke!

Cut me loose, I want some sort of life back that isn't governed by stress and pain.

SIGNED -  A broken. chewed up, mangled mess of a former police officer.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Fibromyalgia...a disability?

Yesterday as a partially tongue in cheek gesture I applied to the local council for a disabled parking badge. I was thinking they would turn me down as I've rarely encountered too many people that take Fibromyalgia particularly seriously.

I did explain that physical exertion has a knock on effect on my health. Too much walking, enhances the fatigue, makes my muscle spasms kick up a gear leaving my joints really painful. I become dizzy and my headache starts to turn from just that into a migraine whereby light becomes an issue as does noise. All in all too much of anything much leaves me feeling like I've been run over by a bulldozer whilst suffering from a bad bout of the flu.

In any case most of these symptoms are invisible much like the proverbial duck. So I can appear to look completely normal but my pain and anguish like the paddling ducks feet beneath the waves is invisible. Unless I decide to whinge or give voice to the variety of issues troubling me you should never know I'm poorly. I do limp from time to time, I do struggle with bending and flexibility but you'll just put that down to me being overweight.

The trouble with Fibromyalgia is the fact that it has such an impact on every part of me, if I were to answer the 'how are you?' question people would be collecting their pensions before I'd listed all my issues!!

Headaches, like actually a sore head like I've banged it somewhere! Unless I'm super stressed or very tired and then it'll turn ugly and become very migraine like. Tunnel vision, light aversion, feeling sick.

Eyes, dry and scratchy like having an eye infection.

Throat, often sore like having a throat infection but this comes and goes as it sees fit!

Ears, repetitive and/or loud noises trigger a panic type response to the point I get very agitated and need to escape.

Neck, stiff like I've cricked it badly and have lost some mobility for the time being and it's just noticeably sore and achy.

Shoulders/Knees/Hips etc. these joints seize up and therefore my mobility varies from time to time and from stress level to stress level.

Heart, have palpitations and a racing heart but this tends to be linked to my anxiety levels mostly.

Back, I also have two prolapsed discs so I already had constant back pain so this is just exacerbated by the mobility issues caused by the Fibromyalgia

Bowels, Varies between IBS type symptoms and constipation until you bleed!

Bladder, difficulty weeing, the fibrofog causes the connection between brain and bladder to be very obstructed so even when desperate it can take a while to convince my body to start a flow!

Fibrofog, people suffering with Fibromyalgia have brain fog, where cognitive ability is significantly reduced, thinking becomes hampered and it is literally like the thought processes are fogged up and unresponsive. This is definitely me, I am the shadow of my former self.

Hot flushes, I literally melt on the spot on a regular basis, clothes soaked through, sweat dripping off me like I'm a navy (yes I have had the menopause tests)

and that's all before I have a panic attack, get depressed or my PTSD has an impact!

So you can see that although I have many issues they're not instantly obvious to anyone like a broken arm would be!

Anyway back to the disabled badge. I have been struggling with too much physical exertion making me feel utterly rubbish, well more rubbish than my baseline rubbish feeling, and baby bear tongue in cheek to me said, "you should be able to park in the disabled bays!"

Whilst I was busy explaining to her that I wasn't disabled I got around to thinking..

'what is disabled?'

The definition, (I looked it up), is 'having a physical or mental condition that limits their movements, senses, or activities'

On reading that I found myself admitting that I might actually fall into this definition!

But how could I be classed as disabled? Me the police officer? Albeit only in name these days, ten months into a sickness absence.

It was whilst toying around with these thoughts that I looked up the criteria for a disabled parking badge. Initially all I could see were the requirements to be in receipt of various disability benefits and I very nearly clicked away from the web page in defeat when I saw Fibromyalgia listed under one of the qualifying disabilities! So I am disabled I thought!

I completed the on line form quite hastily before I changed my mind. Clicking the send button on completion of the form I muttered under my breath something about never seeing that again or being turned down flat and I moved on with my day.
Literally two hours later I had an email telling me I had been accepted for the scheme and asking for a photo and a registration fee! To say I was gobsmacked would be an understatement!

I'm still not sure how I feel about this revelation, I'm torn in differing directions, pleased to be acknowledged that someone actually gets how tough Fibro makes life but distaste that at 48 years of age I'm left behaving like a disabled geriatric old fogy.

Oh well, I guess I'll just pick myself up and carry on as I have done on the other thousands of occasions in my life when some pile of crap has tried to knock me out of this race we call life.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Shame on you O2...

I experienced a trauma yesterday which I want to discuss with you.

Maybe to some of you, it would be inconsequential but to a single parent, suffering with Fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety... living alone with a daughter who has an extensive social life which leaves me spending 22/24 hours alone. This was indeed a significant event.

What was it you ask?...broken bones, smashed up car, nope...

I dropped and smashed my new iPhone 7 plus!!

(PS This isn't mine, this is just off the net. I cannot take a picture as my phone is DEAD grrr!!)

It's left me fraught, stressed and feeling as if my only conduit to the outside world has been severed. Daft really as here I am communicating with you but this desktop computer is blooming heavy and inconvenient to walk around with! I cannot even begin to guess how many times I've reached for my phone in the past 24 hours since it occurred or will in the next week without it. I clearly should be surgically attached to it as I am that obsessed and dependant.

Having committed the crime I recalled having taken out the insurance that was so readily sold to me by the O2 salesman not one month previous. He'd been gushing, if not insistent on it's benefits. I had reflected on my #Fibromyalgia and how very clumsy it had made me of late before agreeing to take it out. I am also utterly convinced he said to me that if I broke it I could return it to the shop for a like for like swap or replacement within 24 hours but as things transpired I clearly dreamt that bit!

Going out is quite an event for me as I suffer badly with anxiety, the Fibromyalgia also makes activity very tiring and painful. But feeling so bereft and thinking the O2 shop would help me I had a wash and brush up, donned some make up, swallowed a propranolol anti-anxiety tablet before hitting the road.

During the upgrade process recently the local O2 shop had been very attentive, overly helpful and very eager to assist me so I felt convinced they'd help solve my crisis.

Parking up, I headed straight to the O2 shop. Reaching the shop it immediately became obvious how busy they were,  so I waited patiently for the store greeter woman to take my details before being told me there was a 25 minute queue.

"Did I want to wait?" she asked.

"No brainer" I said, "I need this sorting."

She handed me a free bottle of water and I headed for the seat she proffered.

The people swarming around the shop were already testing my veneer of control, I could feel the panic rising, so I closed my eyes and started one of my calming breathing exercises. Unfortunately the woman sitting next to me started a conversation with me, telling me she'd been there around 40 minutes, lamenting she was still no nearer to getting the help she needed. We both puzzled as to why the shop was so busy on a Friday lunchtime but neither of us could figure it out. I mused that they should have pagers or even make use of our O2 phones to make us appointments which we could then return to later leaving us free to go off shopping in the meantime.

No such common sense approach existed though and there we sat. After another five minutes my compatriot decided to abandon her mission leaving me sat alone in the window. Closing my eyes I restarted my breathing exercises.

About fifteen minutes later I became aware of the female greeter approaching me. She proceeded to almost scold me like a child,

"It's our busiest day of the year you know, the launch day for the new iPhone X,  you didn't pick a good day"

Her tone was such that I was left wanting to scream back something sarcastic yet witty about how I would try and choose a better day to have my personal disaster next time but I bit my tongue instead fixing her with my sternest glare.

It got worse...

She was holding a telephone. A landline handset. I immediately felt the panic wash over me, and my throat tighten. Sweat started to bristle on my brow, my breathing becoming shallow. I considered walking out as I have a stupid phobia of telephones, don't know why, but I tend to avoid them at all costs. Greeter woman casually explained she was going to call the insurance company for me so I could start my claim... I observed her perplexed and asked,

"Isn't that what I queuing up here for you guys to do?"

she looked at me as if I was daft and said

"well this way you'll be speeding things up"

I didn't feel able to argue or explain that I was actually scared of phones! So I took the handset from her and embarked on one of the most frustrating of conversations. Explaining to the male operator how I'd dropped my precious iPhone onto a dry gravel path which resulted in it sustaining a smashed screen rendering it dead as a door nail he then incredulously argued the toss with me on the subject. Apparently I must have also caused water damaged to it? No I said,  I definitely did not, I just dropped it onto a dry gravel path. No, he said that wouldn't stop the whole phone working!

"how much touch capability does it have?" he asked


I said, now raising my voice

"it's completely dead"

After several further exchanges about bloody water damage he finally got the message!

Some fifteen minutes later, I am now cross, flustered and desperate to escape this hell hole. The male operative asked me to get a member of staff for him. Well that was easier said than done as they were all busy. I waved my arms frantically until the greeter woman saw me, she looked frustratedly at me before walking over to me, whereby I handed her back the blasted phone.

The ensuing conversation beggared belief. She proceeded to argue with the male on the other end of the dreaded store phone that she would be prepared to accept my damaged iPhone in order to forward it to the O2 insurance company!. She point blank refused. Apparently they had lost a customers phone recently leading to them having altered store policy as a consequence, now they refused to get involved in taking in the damaged phones!!

O2, happy to flog the insurance folks but not quite as helpful when you need to make use of their products!

She then handed me back the phone with disdain whilst a haughty look graced her chops...

"You'll need to arrange a pick up from your home address"

she uttered the words triumphantly if not with a touch of spite being sprinkled on top. Trying hard not to cry as the stress and emotion brimmed over my flimsy defences, I asked

"So why did you put me in a queue for help when you had no intention of helping me at all? I could have done all this from my own home couldn't I?"

She just shrugged and walked away. Quietening an animalistic urge to follow her and ram the phone down her aloof throat I resumed my conversation.

The ordeal however wasn't over as he then instructed me to switch of the 'find my iPhone' capacity!

"How I asked? The phone is dead!"

Looking around me at all the computers within touching distance I shook my head for the umpteenth time in disbelief that I was not getting one jot of help. I arranged the collection with him but was sternly warned that unless I switched off the find my iPhone they would not take it!

I hung up, slammed the phone down on the desk nearest to me and flounced outside, tears spilling down my cheeks. I felt humiliated and really cross to have wasted the best part of an hour achieving very little.

So I now have to wait until Monday for a collection, and then a further 5-7 days for a repair or replacement. I was also told I may not get back the same colour phone??!! The replacement will be what they choose and I get no say! Not a happy bunny!

All in all I'm very sad that I've just recommitted myself to O2 because if I had not I would be out of there like a shot. Yes some of the experience was horrific because of my personal anxiety issues but even if you were to sieve out those parts from the mix I still believe they behaved appallingly. Shame on you O2.

The story isn't over yet either is it?

Will they collect the phone?

Will the insurance pay out?

Watch this space!!

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Fibromyalgia - When will I get better?

I can't believe it's been nearly two months since I wrote anything for my blog!
I found myself caught up in the summer holidays and time consuming creation of a YouTube channel with baby bear!

The Wilkes Family, our new channel, is a daily vlogging adventure which has been an exciting challenge but also a huge learning curve for me learning about creative filming, editing and trying to publicise a new YouTube channel!

Baby Bear came up with the idea as she thought it could be a new occupation for me! Bless her, but she thought if we were to grow a channel we might manage to make money from it!  I think the half pay worries were obviously getting to me and in turn her and she was trying to help.

I have for the time being gotten swept up in the dream of making it big like some of the other families on YouTube, so I'm putting my heart and soul into it for the foreseeable future. It does seem to bond us with a common interest, but it does also keep me focused on doing something positive. So if you've younger children or young adults around your houses' please could you ask them to 'sub' up to our channel (that's the in speak for please subscribe!) please, as the more views, subscribers etc. we can gain then the closer we can climb towards our dream!! Our Twitter account is @WilkesFamily if you wanted to follow us there!!

Anyway back to an update on me. I've literally not long had a letter through the door from my force agreeing to extend my full pay up until the 31st October 2017. That's an extra month and ten days. This is my second extension, my first half pay date was June 20th, then September 20th and now 31st October 2017.
I have had the PTSD diagnosis, generalised anxiety disorder, depression and fibromyalgia.

I've also recently had a very encouraging visit to the FMO where she told me outright that I'll never be fit to be a police officer again. A conversation then ensued which completely frustrated me in as much as she explained I'd have to exhaust every possible treatment suggestion to 'make me better' before the H1, ill health retirement question could be asked of the force. She said if she asked it now it would be rejected. She thought another 6-9 months may be sufficient! So for now I have to get myself onto a graded exercise plan for the fibro, and find some more mood management therapy as the charity is deemed not to be independent enough for the force as I may be exerting pressure on them to say what I think needs to be heard?! Bloody ridiculous then so much of police procedures in this sphere is, isn't it?!

I have been struggling with the 'when will I get better' concept. When you get ill, you recuperate before getting better don't you? Yet I'm stuck in a groundhog day sort of loop like some sick dream. I feel trapped by this chronic illness and worry a lot about how people must get compassion fatigue continually hearing that I'm still not well.

Nine months have passed and although psychologically I am in a better place, physically not a lot has changed. If anything the fatigue, joint pain, slow cognitive reactions etc. are unchanged and if I'm honest probably more embedded than ever. My depression/anxiety are improved because I haven't had to enter the hell hole that is my working environment for months and I do know that should I return things would quickly deteriorate again.  I'd be in a very dark, if not dangerous psychological place if I went back. I well up with tears, panic just contemplating it.
But I had hoped my Fibro would be better controlled if not entirely expelled by now. I kind of thought I could beat it, why would this happen to me? But it's definitely got me firmly in its grips. Any exertion more than normal, lets say our day trip to London on Saturday, have a very significant knock on effect. I've had a temperature and felt flu like ever since, I've ached and had muscle spasms all over my body and especially my legs as if I've run a marathon and the fatigue feels like I've worked two back to back night shifts without sleeping.

I've started another drug called Gabapentin which seems to help a bit but I'm still taking co-codamol and sertraline. When I'm in a flare up like now though nothing touches the pain and I am pretty much just a zombie.

All in all Fibromyalgia is shite, its an invasive bindweed type illness that creeps into every facet of your life. It has an impact on absolutely every part of my life leaving me wondering, 'when will I get better?' Perhaps the question should actually be 'will I ever get better?'

So I'm back to the FMO on the 11th October 2017 but the NHS wheels move slowly and I haven't even had the referral appointment date come through yet for the chronic fatigue clinic let alone seen any results from their treatment plan! The other thing the FMO wanted the GP to sort was this mood management but the only tool he has to offer me is to go back to steps2wellbeing again... and I've been through that particular hoop twice already to no avail so I'm lost as to what I am meant to be doing on that front.

I saw on the telly today This Morning did a slot on chronic illness and pain. It is good to see it main streamed, maybe people may start to understand it a little better. Sad that it takes someone like Lady GaGa to suffer with Fibromyalgia for it to hit the mainstream news media outlets but that's life.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Sunday 30th July 2017 - Panic Attacks

My daughter has been away with her Dad for the last week and during that time I've spoken to very few people face to face. Those that I have spoken with have been medics or strangers.

Aww poor you I hear you thinking, but the reality is that is the way I feel most comfortable. You see for as long as I can recall I have found people and social interaction painfully difficult, which is a tough break bearing in mind I've been a police officer for 28 years! It's probably little wonder that I've ended up the anxious mess I am, having had to interact with people all day every day!

Mind you the police side of things was never quite as bad because when you're wearing a uniform either literally or proverbially there is always a barrier between the person and yourself. A mask if you will, a suit of armour. You can adopt a professional persona and to a certain extent give as much or as little of oneself as you want to.

Socially however, I've always struggled, I feel awkward in the company of friends or strangers, I'm unsure what to say, I second guess what people are thinking about me continually and generally find myself in the corner of the room trying to hide away until a polite enough period of time has elapsed so that I can escape. The odd thing about that is that at the same time that I'm feeling desperate to get away from social events I'm also desperate to be accepted, to feel like I belong and to be cared about. It's positively ridiculous yet I can't fight the feelings of panic, the little voice telling me I'm not welcome and the even larger voice telling me that nobody would miss me anyways.

I wonder when and where this started? Was I always this way?

I think perhaps it's a product of many things. A stern unloving Mother, moving schools too often, ultimately being removed from my secondary school friends as soon as we had finished school to move away yet again?

Whatever the cause the reality of it is here to stay. I desperately crave some love and attention yet in the same breath know that I couldn't cope with the interaction that love and attention would bring. How can these two polar opposite emotions exist in tandem? That's a very cruel twist of fate isn't it?

My daughter returns from her holiday today and in much the same way as described above I'm both desperate to have her back and dreading it in the same breath.

When she's not here there's no conflict, no kids traipsing in and out of my house violating my personal sanctuary. No demands to leave the house and mingle with the rest of the world. When she's away I can merely leave the house to walk the dogs, come straight home, lock the door and be done with the world. Perfection! Yet my young and vibrant daughter wants to be a social butterfly, to do and see things, to fully immerse herself in the world. Of course this means I have to take a very deep breath and some anti-anxiety meds before dipping my toes in the world's waters too.

We've five whole weeks to fill and I know she wants to go here, there and everywhere. This is already causing the panic to rise and my heart to race, even more so I think after a week of solitude. I've to go from one extreme to the other. I reckon I'd be a hermit crab in another existence you know! At least I'd be able to carry my precious home with me!

But get out and about I will, I will not be beaten by the monsters lurking in my subconscious. She deserves to flutter about here and there and I won't have her saddled as I am needing the cloak of home. She needs and deserves people in her life.

Oh to be a social butterfly and enjoy the flitter flutter of society. To feel light and airy. To feel pretty and attractive. To enjoy flitting from one thing to another without a care in the world.

I had a very disturbing dream last night. I was in a production on the stage and it was in a massive venue, we're talking arena proportions! The audience were all arriving, famous people, everyone I knew. I was desperately trying to get to where I knew I should be ready for my cue but could I get there? It feels like I spent all night running here and there, going around and around in circles. I even got caught up in the audience on Louis Walsh's lap?! But I just could not get to where I needed to be. The panic was overwhelming, and of course the more I panicked the less able I was to think clearly and find my way to the dressing room.

I guess that's my subconscious having the same conversation with itself about the forthcoming weeks! My fear of the people, the feeling of panic if I go and make a show of myself, so my subconscious is trying to protect me by keeping me away from getting onto that stage of life!

Anyways enough rambling for now xx