the mental health plague

Do you want to know why we don’t tell a soul?

Do you want to know why it is kept under lock?

Do you want to know why we scuttle through shadows,

Licking our wounds and patching up gashes,

With dirty, torn rags and useless, worn plasters?

It’s because we’re ashamed and it’s all down to you,

Making us feel like we’re meant for the corner

With the rats and the vermin,

The creatures that nobody wishes to see.

Because you are worried that we may infect,

That our weakness will claw at your shell that is cracking.

And once the disease is inside the body,

There’s no fighting the symptoms with rainbows and smiles

And all of the things you suggest all day long.

Better to turn a blind eye to the darkness,

Or maybe just shout at it, bully it out?

Because you are respectable and can’t have our kind

Clouding your doorways and draining your bank.

You are rich and above all this death and disease,

But herbs and spices stuffed in your nose cone

Will do nothing to help when the fear comes a-knocking.

It knows not the difference between master and slave.

So you’d better be kind while you still have the chance.

To take part in this deathly and gruesome last dance.

There is a lot of shame involve in telling your boss that you have a mental illness and many people choose to not divulge that information. Unfortunately a lot of people have had bad experiences and it is really sad that this means that they are then scared to get the support they need in the future.

I’m guessing that the reason some bosses are so unsupportive is because they don’t understand mental illness. They think that because somebody has anxiety or depression, they may be taking time off constantly and costing the business as a result. But many people who suffer are really hard and conscientious workers and it’s just cruel to treat them in a way that’s so disrespectful.

When I see managers treating their staff poorly because they have a mental illness, it makes me think of the illness as being a bit like the black death. I imagine these people being frightened of getting infected themselves and shunning the sufferers. I imagine them tucked away in their ivory towers thinking that they’re safe because they have money and power and status.

But the truth is that we are all vulnerable and it only takes one traumatic experience or a bad run of luck for a few weeks and we can all find ourselves on that slippery slope downwards. So if you are in a management position, show some compassion. Don’t just try and bully out the weakest link, because sometimes that ‘weakest link’ can be the one that is brimming with the best ideas if you just give them a chance and a bit of support when times are hard.

And if you are struggling at the hands of someone who is bullying you at work because they know you are weak, stay strong. You have nothing to be ashamed of and you never deserve to be put in the corner if you are feeling sad or anxious. I’ll say a little prayer for you today and I hope that some of that positivity reaches you in some way, shape or form.

Much Love,

Rachel xx

the incoming storm

I watched intently, as the storm rolled in,

I wished that you were there to hold my hand.

The clouds had gathered rather slowly

But still I knew that it would decimate the land.

I wish that there was someone there to comfort me

When this beast comes charging for the kill.

I have a knife that’s often brandished

When I know the blood’s about to spill.

But any attempt to stop the storm

Is just as pointless as before,

There’s no one there to offer shelter

From this sad internal war.

The dreaded fear, it must roll in,

And fill my veins with searing pain.

I wish that I could hold your hand,

Until this weather starts to wane.

Feelings are a bitch. They can be so painful and there is nothing you can do to stop them (unless you turn to wine and that didn’t work out very well for me last time!). They are kind of like a storm. You can watch it brewing but there’s no point in trying to stop it.

I wrote this poem with anxiety in mind but I guess it applies to any of the negative emotions. It’s so nice to have someone to hold your hand through the hard bits. I am lucky in that I still have at least two members of my family who are there no matter what.

I hope that if you ever feel waves of panic or depression, that you have at least one person out there to lean on. And if you think that you don’t, try reaching out to someone you know. You would be surprised how happy people are to be there for you in a time of need.

Much Love,

Rachel xx

chess, love and woodwork

I can’t make you love me,

I can’t reach across the table,

I can’t shake the hatred from you.

I’d love to be a bit like God

And be the one who’s able

To push around the people in my life,

Like little pieces in a game of chess.

I’d find a way to drill inside that fucking queen

And find a heart, deep within the wood.

I’d win the game and make you love

In just the way I think you should.

I have such a problem with acceptance and it’s taken three years of recovery and working on myself to realise this. While I was drinking I struggled to come to terms with the fact that I can’t make people like me. I can’t make them be nice. People are who they are and I may just have to disagree with them. And quietly, without an argument.

It’s still something that is hard because I am going through a difficult time with my mum and all I want to do is force her to like me. But I can’t and that really hurts in a deep way. But I will sit on my hands and keep my mouth shut. All I can do is be ready for her if she changes her mind, be ready to accept her and love her.

I hope that if you are struggling in a relationship that you can find the strength to be accepting and loving and patient. Just let go and Let God, because everything happens in his perfect timing.

Much Love

Rachel xx

Stepford Wives

I wish that I had once been told

That every person has their flaws.

They may tilt a head and smile

But pain exists behind closed doors.

If I had known what lay beyond

Those polished doors of red and blue

I would not have spent this life

Trying to be someone new.

Stepford wives are never real

Inside their homes they’re known to cry,

Before they even step outside

Their plastic faces are wiped dry.

God forbid, we ever knew

That circuit boards could sometimes spark

And angry words between two lovers

Come to pass while it is dark.

I spent the entirety of my twenties worrying that everyone was perfect and I was the only one with any flaws. I saw the other school mums who had loving husbands and beautiful houses and I had none of that. It was hard to bear witness to, but it was all a lie.

It took a lot of therapy but I soon realised that we all have problems and a lot of it goes on behind closed doors. Those Stepford Wives that I wanted to be just like, they have arguments with their husbands and their kids sometimes misbehave. It’s human to have ups and downs and none of these people are robots.

We all struggle and it’s especially the case at this time of the year. Even the most put together person is probably going to have a cry at some point this week, so don’t worry about it. Just get your turkey in the oven and enjoy some good food. If you get through it without killing anyone you’ve probably done quite well.

Much Love

Rachel xx

every little thing is gonna be ok

I’m worrying far too much. About people, about money, about health, about the world. Sometimes it hurts to even turn the TV on. After turning off the news I sit staring at the black screen for several minutes, just taking in deep lungfuls of air. The pictures are enough to terrify even the most hardened of people.

Perhaps I should just stop watching altogether. All I want to do is curl up under my blankets and close my eyes because tomorrow can only be worse. But who am I to make that judgement? I have no idea what is around the corner, so for now I will put on my running shoes and get out into the rain. I’ll feel the wind on my face and I’ll feel truly alive. Because the weight of the world is heavy and I can’t possibly take it on all by myself. For now I will just take it one day at a time and enjoy the fact that I’m OK today.

Repeat that again: I am OK today. I have so much to celebrate and be thankful for. Let the burdens of tomorrow stay where they belong.

Sweet Dreams

Rachel xx

just sit still.

i know it hurts and words cannot

express the million different ways

that every muscle, every bone,

is creaking underneath the strain

of what you have been through.

but now it really is the time

to stop, to breathe, to just sit still.

I know it feels a little like a crash.

the impact plays on loop.

the splintering and fracturing

of all we loved and knew.

it all went up in flames that day,

but still we need to sit with it.

we need to let the body heal,

the heart, the soul, the mind.

no more medicating

with the pills or booze.

just sit there with that pain you feel,

it is the only way to heal.

i know how hard it is to fill

the silence when you’re sitting still.

but just sit still, i tell you that you must.

i know it hurts but this will help

and in my words i hope you trust.

Just sitting with pain has been one of the hardest things to do n recovery. I would always have vodka on hand to anaesthetise the feelings that gripped me and frightened me. Now, I have to sit here, feeling the pain and the darkness and it’s really hard. It seems counter intuitive to sit still when you’re scared; why not run?

However, I do it because I know I have to and each day I see that I’ve made it through and it’s a cause for celebration. I won’t say it gets easier because that’s a lie. It never does. It’s always hard. But as yet I haven’t died and you won’t either.

Much Love

Rachel xx

chocolate brownie

the doctor said to try

a little bit of mindfulness.

he said i need to live

in the moment.

right here.

not past, nor future, but the present.

i was struggling with that.

my mind would find itself

latching onto memories

and tumbling down into the past.

or pulling on some hiking boots

and climbing up ahead.

so much to think about

in each of these directions.

but hanging from the hillside

in this exact location

was proving rather difficult.

until i ate the chocolate brownie

left inside the fridge at work.

it was not mine to take,

but as i took a tiny bite

i felt my senses slip and slide.

the velvet cocoa was my nook

that kept me sheltered from the storm

that i’d sensed was blowing in.

it gave me strength to hold on tight

and for just a little while

i found myself taking time

to enjoy the view.

I have struggled with the practice of mindfulness even though I know how good it is for us as humans. We live in a fast paced world that could cause even the most stable of people to feel a little wobbly every now and then. So taking some time to live in the moment and forget what has been and what is to come really makes sense to me.

However, this is so much easier said than done. I am such a worrier and sometimes I really just need to remember that at this time I have my health and I have a roof over my head and food in my cupboards. If it all falls to pieces tomorrow, I can worry about it then, but it’s not worth spoiling some really beautiful moments because there’s a possibility something bad might happen in the future. Likewise, I can’t change the past, so why waste energy worrying about what’s happened?

I have found that for me the best way to live in the moment is to really ground myself in experiences using the senses. Recently, I ate a chocolate brownie and it did just the trick. For the few minutes that I was eating it, I thought of nothing else because I just enjoyed the taste. I don’t recommend bingeing on brownies all day but if you can find something to give you a few moments then go for it. Perhaps it is putting some headphones on and listening to ASMR, or getting a massage or going for a run. Whatever it is make sure that you look after yourself and just bring it back to the moment when you are going into panic mode.

Much Love

Rachel xx

resolutions.

this coming year i promise that

i’ll eat less chocolate, get more sleep,

i’ll be a lot less moody and

these promises i’ll keep.

Just a short one as I think about the end of the year and what next year might bring. I don’t know about you but I’m a tiny bit shit at keeping my New Year’s Resolutions. The amount of times I did Dry January with the intention of carrying on in the rest of the year is astounding. Of course, I did crack the drink problem eventually, but it took a lot more than a half arsed promise that I was making myself at midnight on 31 December.

Resolutions are so hard to keep and yet we beat ourselves up when we fail at them. I think that this year we need to promise to be a little kinder to ourselves. We over eat and over drink because we are stressed out and hating life. It is the immediate gratification that we are after and if we were a little nicer to ourselves we wouldn’t need it half as much.

This year, take a step back from the root cause. You may have an alcohol problem, in which case, go and get the appropriate help. But it may just be that you are pushing yourself a little too hard. Take your foot of the gas and you may find that you are only craving the drink at the end of the week rather than at the end of every day!

You can achieve so much in 2020 if you put your mind to it. But don’t stress yourself out by making some arbitrary goals at the end of this month. Follow your heart as the year progresses and see where it leads you. That marathon that you’ve always wanted to do might get done this coming year or it might not happen until 2025. Whatever the case, you will achieve SOMETHING this year and you should celebrate that as and when it comes.

Much Love,

Rachel xx

pills and stuff

does anyone else take pills and stuff

to get them through the day?

to help them through the bits so rough

they can hardly lift their head

from the pillow where they lie?

let’s face it, so that they don’t die.

but really all those pills will do

is be the very end of you.