Time to Talk

Whether you’re on a bus or in the car,

In the cafe or at the bar,

By the school gates,

Or chilling with your mates –

It’s a good Time to Talk.

 

When you’re in the office or at the gym,

Dropping the kids at their Saturday Swim,

Down the shops or at the book club,

At a football match or walking the dog –

It’s a good Time to Talk.

 

When you’re visiting loved ones,

Having your hair done,

Waiting for a train that may or may not come,

When you’re having a bad day, or even a good one –

It’s a good Time to Talk.

 

 

Thursday 1st February 2018 is Time to Change | Time to Talk Day.  Their website has lots of ways to get involved, and great ideas about how to start conversations about mental health.

Let’s keep working to end the stigma, shame and isolation that so many people with mental health problems feel. There is no right or wrong place to talk about mental health, so break the ice – tell someone it’s Time to Talk Day, and together we can work to end mental health discrimination.

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We need to be brave and keep talking until it isn’t a matter of being brave anymore, and it is simply a matter of talking. 

(The Tracy Barker Blogs, May 8 2017)

 

Being enough

The Wall of Silence

No news or reviews,

Likes or retweets:

Refresh is getting weary –

It’s the only one that gets the hits.

Silence, where once I hid,

Now enslaves me;

I used to like to keep it,

Now I’m trying to break free.

Get off the phone

I tell myself,

Be in your beautiful home.

The love is real,

The likes here are the type

you can actually feel.

It’s hard to believe that little over a year ago I was worrying about reading negative reviews for my newly published book.  Would people like it? Would they think it was well written, well constructed, informative and helpful? Little did I know then about the publishing world.

The truth is, I have barely had a single review since my book was published. Apart from a few friends and family members (thanks guys!) and, I think, one ‘stranger’ who have reviewed my book on Amazon, I have heard absolutely nothing. As far as I know, all the review copies that were sent out by the publishers have borne no fruit whatsoever, and the recipients are all delivering a resounding silence that is almost harder to bear than a ‘bad’ review. I have no idea whether my book was well received or not, and that is hard.

And so as I am finally settled into our new home – with an office for writing (rather than the dining table in the lounge), I am feeling somewhat despondent and greatly lacking in confidence as I am now beginning to focus on my second book.

At my book launch my sister-in-law talked to me about writing for the sake of writing – she asked: did I write any of my poems with the intent of them being published? Absolutely not! I always hoped that one day some of them might be published, but that was not why I wrote them.  I wrote them because I love to write, to play with words, and to express my thoughts and feelings.

My poems are not polished, or perfect, but they are genuine expressions of myself and that is enough. I am trying to write in the same vein – writing for the sake of writing, but also with the hope that I can inform, encourage and inspire. But that is proving difficult.

You may well ask whether it really matters what other people think – of course it does – I have BPD! People with borderline personality disorder notoriously desire acceptance and affirmation from others, and I am no exception to this rule. Without the validation of others it is all to easy to feel worthless, unimportant and less-than. It is an easy trap to fall back into, and I have fallen hard when it comes to writing another book. Will I even find a publisher, given that my first book has hit brick walls at every turn?

A good friend of mine has a saying: the opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference. I don’t feel hated – there is nothing so far to suggest that my book is hated, but I feel it has met indifference and that, to me, feels worse.

I am doing my best to fight the feelings of needing to be validated by someone outside of myself. I am not worthless or less-than. I need to be kind to myself while I battle the waves of despondency and low confidence, and I need to find ways – healthy ways – to validate myself.

I am enough, and it is enough for me to be reminded of this. For now!

Un/reasonable expectations: New Year

Well, here we are; a New Year! Christmas has been and gone, along with all the good and bad of 2017.

I feel like I missed the Christmas boat, in terms of blogging – I was busy moving house. I think I’m just about in the nick of time for a New Year Blog however, so here are my thoughts about the year ahead.

For many, the New Year holds a lot of promise: it symbolizes hope; a fresh page lies before us – a blank canvas to do with what we will; all the successes and failures, the highs and lows, the sorrows and the joys of the past year are behind us; a new chapter has begun. It seems to have a lot of expectations to live up to – and from where I’m sitting these don’t seem entirely reasonable.

As someone who lives with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), I don’t cope well with disappointment. The higher the expectation, the greater the sense of being let down is, and this is true also (maybe more so) when it comes to my own expectations of myself. The fear of letting myself down is at least as real as the fear of somebody – or something – else letting me down.

I don’t make New Years resolutions anymore. I used to, because it’s what people do – ‘New Year, New Me’ and all that. But no matter how realistic I felt my resolutions were, I could not stick to them, and the sense of failure I felt with each doomed resolve far outweighed any potential good had I been able to see a single goal through.

As I begin to embrace 2018, settling into a new home in an unfamiliar area, I am somewhat reluctant to draw a definitive line under 2017. I am all in favour of a new chapter but, for me, a blank canvas is not how this year starts – certainly, it is not how I want it to start. I have no qualms with focussing on the future but the tapestry of life is made up from exactly that – life.

I am bringing with me, into the new year, all I have learned from 2017. I am not lugging baggage, but I am bringing newfound knowledge and wisdom from the experiences (both positive and negative) of last year.

2017, just as every year preceding it, has shaped me. It has knocked some edges off me, taught me things about myself and others. It has tested me, strengthened me, battered me and bruised me, but it has not beaten me. It has also blessed me, healed me, and pleasantly surprised me. It has not been a perfect year, but it has been a good one – one in which good things have happened.

I find it almost impossible to have no expectations (in an attempt to eliminate potential disappointment), and I find it equally difficult to temper the expectations I cannot help but foster. What I am learning to do, and will continue to do this coming year, is to be kind to myself (when I fail, or disappoint), and to learn something from every experience.

I don’t honestly know what to expect from 2018. I have hopes – high ones naturally!, possibly unrealistic goals and far-too-great expectations, and no doubt at least fifty percent of these are doomed to disappoint. I will win some battles and lose others. I will laugh, cry, shout, despair, rejoice, fail and succeed and fail and succeed again.

I will be bruised and battered, blessed and healed, surprised and strengthened and I will probably be largely unaware of the great (and sometimes terrible) process as it is underway.

I have no resolutions, as such, other than to be the best me that I can be, and to make the most of the new year and whatever is thrown at me in 2018. And when, at some point (usually late January/early February) it becomes apparent that the whole of 2018 is too much to tackle head-on, I will revert to facing one day, one step at a time.

For now, here’s to 2018, and all that we can make of whatever it brings us!

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