Free time – all of a sudden!

After years of being treated as a slave by my ex-wife, I now find myself in a trance r partnership with Lisa where we divide responsibilities fairly and love looking after  each other. 

This means that I am very happy, not permanently exhausted and actually have time to do things I want to do. If only I knew what those things were!

I have plans to join a gym soon. I loved it when I used to go and I definitely find that better physical health leads to better mental health, for me at least. 

And I think I am going to try and do some more writing. I have mentioned here before that I love to write and now seems to be the time. I may post some of my creations here or start another occasional blog for my fiction to see what people think. 

Aside from that, I’m not sure. I want to read more, and really the world is my lobster. It’s a very fortunate position to be in. Any suggestions?!

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Pardon the interruption

As you may or may not have noticed, I’ve not posted here for a while. Life got rather complicated and intense, and for a few weeks it has taken every bit of energy I have to just keep going with the absolute essentials of everyday life and the changes I have been dealing with. 

In short, when I last posted I was working towards moving out from living with my ex and children and moving in with my wonderful Lisa. 

The already highly strained relationship with my ex took a major downward turn when I told her I was about to move out and she demanded to know how much money I intended to pay her and the children each month. Having taken legal advice, I told her a figure 3 times what she would get from any court and that I only wanted my share of the assets to pass to the children in the end. Suffice to say she was not happy with this and the texts I got back led me to decide there and then that I could not go back, even for a few days. 

So I am now living with Lisa while my solicitor negotiates the financial settlement and a time for me to collect the rest of my things. I have not heard from my children in over 3 weeks since I left but I hope that they will come round in time. 

Living with Lisa is wonderful. I am more rested and relaxed than I have been for years, and already my performance at work has improved greatly.  

I had not planned to leave like this but at least it is now done.  Though there are still things to work out with seeing my children and there will undoubtedly be ups and downs, life is getting much better. 

So I hope to be back blogging regularly again, if not every day. I am happy. 

Ploughing through the paper mountain

My home filing system leaves a lot to be desired. Like having a filing system, for a start. I don’t think cramming every piece of paper that looks important into a couple of drawers really counts. I have often dreamed of neat folders for different subjects, but it never really happens.

Given that I am moving out very soon, the need to address my heap of papers has been weighing on my mind. I have to sort through it before I go as there are papers I will need to hand over to my ex, private papers I need to take and papers I will need to show my solicitor.

I have been dreading it, but this morning I plucked up the courage to sit down with a black bag and make a start. As ever, once I got going it was not too bad at all. As I thought, 95% went straight in the bin, and I have also found the key divorce papers for my solicitor. Even better, they put me in a much better position in terms of a financial settlement and access to my children than I thought.

So all in all a good job started and a weight off my mind. It won’t be so hard to go back to it now. Slowly but surely, in my own muddled way, I am getting there.

There’s always another day

So I was pretty low yesterday. You may have picked that up from my blog! I’m not great today but I am better than yesterday. I have to travel for work and then see Lisa tonight which will be wonderful. 

Although it’s so hard to see at the time, everything passes. There is always another day. Sometimes we have to write today off as a bad job and try and do better tomorrow. Time resolves so many things. 

So the sun is shining and I’m about to get on a train. I am going to get through this. There will be plenty more downs and lots of tears and hurt, but one day at a time I will get there. 

Run out of words

I simply don’t know what to say any more. In a few short weeks I shall escape from the abuse of my ex to be with Lisa. But there is so much I need to resolve by then and my depression is at its blackest for a very long time. 

I will get there little by little. But I am drained. Tearful. Angry. Frustrated. The nonsense I am getting from my ex is beyond belief. After paying the mortgage and all the bills for over 25 years I was told yesterday that I have never maintained her in any way. Then she goes back to laughing with the children leaving me wounded yet again. Words really can cut like knives. How did I ever love this person? 

I’m so tired. Work is full of nonsense. I don’t know what to do with myself a lot of the time anymore. Only Lisa keeps me going. Thank you. I love you. 

My break up and my children

In a few weeks time, I will be leaving the house where I currently live with my ex-wife and 5 children to move in with my beloved Lisa. I cannot wait. Staying here is having a huge negative affect on my health and I am under constant stress.

My children, understandably, range from upset to angry about me leaving. The difficulty is, I cannot explain to them exactly why I am leaving without telling them a lot of negative things about their mother. As they will be continuing to live with her  I simply cannot do that. Even if this were not the case, for me it would be wrong to disrespect the children’s other parent to them.

Unfortunately, this feeling is not mutual. My ex-wife has for many  years denigrated me to my children, blamed me for anything and everything that goes wrong in front of them and dragged up every single mistake I have ever made repeatedly. I have made many mistakes and done many wrong things, but I have always tried my best.

We got divorced several years ago at the request and instigation of my ex-wife. I did not want to get divorced even though, in retrospect, the marriage was a disaster. It was not in my nature to give up.

My ex wanted a divorce so that she could, in her words, spend her down time with somebody else. When I asked if there was already somebody else, she said that there was. So she instigated the divorce as she had alread found someone else while we were still married.

Once we were divorced I began to look for new friendship and after a while found my wonderful Lisa. But I have continued to live with the children for their sake, despite being only allowed to have literally a tiny corner of an enormouse house for myself while I pay all the bills. I am berated and admonished frequently. None of this helps my already dubious mental health, as you can imagine.

But how can I tell my children that I am leaving because their mother found someone else and has made my life a misery ever since? I simply cannot do that to them. They have to have their own relationship with their mother, and it is simply wrong to talk down a parent to their children. The truth about their mother right now would damage them hugely. Perhaps things will be different when they are older and there has been some space.

It seems so unfair. We are definitely playing by different rules. But what else can I do apart from count the days and hope that time heals my relationships with my children? They have been hurt enough. All I can do is to let them know that my door is always open and hope for the best.

More dreams

More strange dreams and waking up exhausted last night. Why doesn’t my brain have an off switch? Even when I’m incredibly tired it won’t let go and let me just chill. 

Is this normal, or is this depression, or is it autism, or is it something else to add to my list?! 

I know I have a lot on my mind and lots of quite tricky things to deal will soon, but I really would be much better equipped to do all that if I could rest properly! 

Ah well. Sure it will pass. But I really could do with a bit of hibernation right now. Is it too late to become a tortoise? 

You are the expert on you

Started reading this fascinating article yesterday about what scientists know about how the brain developed and functions. It’s a long article and I still have some way to go, but what struck me most so far is this. An expert in neurology asked his students to imagine that everything we need to know about the brain is a journey of 1 mile. Given that, how far along that journey have we come. The students gave various answers – half a mile, three-quarters of a mile and so on. The expert’s answer? About 3 inches.

The brain is still very little understood. Science can tell you what functions different parts of the brain perform, how nerves send signals and so on. But how it all comes together to form consciousness and thought is still pretty much a mystery.

This lack of understanding and knowledge of course has huge implications for the treatment and comprehension of mental illness and neuro-diversity. it is not like having a broken leg where doctors have an excellent understanding of how the bones, muscles, ligaments etc work and fit together. Mental illness is still very much a mystery because the brain is such a mystery.

What this means is that the person who knows the most about your brain, mental health and thoughts is you. You are the expert and in the best place to help yourself. You can get advice from doctors, read up, hear the experiences of others, all of which help. Support from family and friends is absolutely vital. But I absolutely guarantee that nobody has anything like the understanding of what goes on inside your head that you do.

This has several important implications. Firstly, we all need to take more responsibility for our own mental health. In the same way that we cannot complain if we know we are allergic to nuts and get sick after choosing to eat them anyway, we have to take responsiblity for finding out what makes our mental health worse and avoiding that wherever possible.

We need to take time for self-examination and self-understanding. If you cut or bruise yourself it is second nature to spend some time examining the injury, cleaning it and working out the best way to treat it. But we generally don’t do that with mental illness. It’s tricky – for me one of the most frustrating things about my depression is that I often cannot identify triggers to avoid. But I can and should spend more time getting to know myself, how I respond to certain things and strategies that work to help.

And we need to be prepared to stand up for ourselves robustly. We do not have to listen to others telling us what is best for our mental health or how to live with our neuro-diversity. We can take advice and hear what has helped others, but ultimately what is best for us is for us to determine for ourselves. How can anyone else make that decision when they have no idea what it is like to be you?

You don’t even have to be able to explain it coherently. I cannot abide the taste of brussels sprouts but I cannot put into words why, other than that they taste foul to me. But that is up to me and others need to accept that I don’t like sprouts. In the same way, if I say that find certain types of noise difficult, I shouldn’t have to explain or justify that, it is just how I am.

This realisation that we are each the leading experts on our own mental health is both liberating and a bit scary. In itself it is difficult to get our heads around. But it is the truth. You have every right to be you whatever other think or say.

One thing most experts have in common is great confidence when talking about their specialism. You have the same right to that confidence when talking about what goes on inside your head, and many more of us need to show that more.

The best people to take forward the acceptance of mental health and neuro-diversity issues are those of us who know about them first hand. It’s time to speak up.

 

 

We are all important 

Like many, I only learned that the worker bee is the symbol of Manchester after the terrorist attack in May. It does seem a very apt symbol for such a busy and industrious city. 

One important thing about bees is that they seem to recognise that the work they do is part of a bigger picture, the success of the hive. I think that we humans sometimes struggle to see ourselves as part of a bigger picture. 

Of course we value our individuality and uniqueness and rightly so. But we also need to recognise that much is achieved only through the ongoing contributions of man different people over time. Many of these making contributions to a greater work may not even realise the significance of their actions at the time, and many do not see the end result or get a share in the glory, but without them all the end result would not happen. 

The story is told of an American President touring one of the hangers used by NASA. There was a man sweeping the floor who was asked by the President what he was doing. He replied that he was helping to put a man on the moon. 

Each one of us has an important role to play in the world. The role of being ourselves and using the talents and abilities we have to help others and to improve our world and our lives. This where our uniqueness comes in. There is nobody else that can make the contribution that you can. 

We have to keep aware that while we may sometimes feel we are not achieving very much, there is a bigger picture. When we all do our little bit, great things can and will happen even if we don’t immediately see them ourselves. 

So keep on being you and doing what you are good at. That’s how palaces are built, one brick at a time. 

Being yourself

All of us are criticised sometimes. We all get told we are too much of one thing or not enough of another. We are compared unfavourably with others (usually comparing our weaknesses or failings with someone else’s strengths or successes). 

I’m not sure why people feel the need to criticise so much, though I am sure I do it just as much as others. Sometimes we do it to feel better about ourselves, which is selfish and unpleasant but happens nevertheless. But sometimes people seem to criticise just for the sake of bringing you down. 

The thing is, we are all different and wonderfully so. Unless you are doing something that is dangerous, damaging or obviously offensive (and I realise that is subjective), no one has the right to tell you to stop being you. 

There is no blueprint for the perfect person that we all need to work towards despite what the media might have us believe. We are all perfect versions of us. 

We can all improve of course. That is part of being human too. But improving ourselves is completely different from trying to be somebody else. 

So today and every day just be you, a unique person that will never be replicated.  There is nothing wrong with being you. Accept yourself as the wonderful person that you are and remember that you have every right to be accepted as you by everyone else too.