Home Alone


When People Stop Visiting…When I moved into my home people wanted to visit.  I think they were fascinated by the novelty factor.  I really appreciated seeing them, especially as my relapse began and continued.

But after a while people stop coming.  They aren’t mean it’s just that other priorities take over and they assume  you’re ok now. Meanwhile you’re sitting here in the same position!

My mum says this is something that has emerged in her bereavement group:  that people are all over you like a rash in the beginning but then they just stop visiting.

I’m not meaning to moan – I have been shown kindness by a lot of people.  I’m sure I’ve done the same to others.  “Let he who is without sin…” etc. 

I’ve connected with a local Life Group (very local) but can’t get to it for a couple of weeks due to previous commitments. I’m hoping that will help ‘cos despite knowing a fair few people here I can’t expect them to be on call. lancaster-from-snatchems

When You Are Not Needed


Sometimes having only yourself to think about is more a of a curse than a blessing. Even offered to take my 83 neighbour to the nursing home where here hubby is today but she was already sorted!

Offered to help young friends out with childcare on their moving day, but they don’t need me. I’ve joined a voluntary group – but nothing’s happening yet, I’ve work promised – but for the future, have a business idea – but it is still in development. Even Life Group was cancelled tonight.

At least I got out of town today for a while! Hallelujah!

Regular Self-Care As a Route to Health

This is from the TMS Wiki Structured Education Programme. It struck a chord as I can neglect myself in terms of diet and rest if under stress. http://www.tmswiki.org/ppd/Educational_Program_Day_37

Regular Self Care

The ability to care for oneself is an essential skill that that needs to be learned and practiced to prevent or relieve TMS/PPD symptoms. Most people learn this as children when they are given adequate opportunities to play. A four-year-old with paper and fingerpaints does not care how many pictures per hour they produce, or about the quality of their work or who will see it. They care only that they are having fun. If it stops being fun they move on to another activity they enjoy. This is how children, and adults, learn how to meet their need for enjoyment. Adults may not need as many hours spent in this way as a child, but the need is always there.

For some children, the opportunity for carefree self-indulgence is limited or non-existent. If children are abused or given excessive responsibilities, if among the adults in the home there is violence, drug abuse, a high need for support or erratic behavior the child may focus on the needs of others (adults or siblings) in the home. This may leave insufficient time for acquiring self-care skills. In addition, low self-esteem from a less than nurturing home may leave children feeling unworthy of taking time for themselves.

Adults lacking this ability care for everyone but themselves. If they have spare time, their thoughts turn to using it constructively for the benefit of others. On the list of those whom they support, their own name is missing. For some, the only break they get occurs when TMS/PPD symptoms become too severe for them to function.

Fortunately, self-care skill can be acquired at any age. Here are some steps that have helped others:

  1. Recognize the issues that may have deprived you of self-care skills as a child. It may help to imagine your own children (or a child you care about) growing up in the same environment you did. If those children would be missing out then so did you. This provides a solid justification for learning the skills you missed.
  2. Take 4-5 hours every week, if possible, for activity with no purpose but its own joy. Ask members of your household to support you in this effort. Trial and error are usually needed to find enjoyable activities (going to a gym to work out usually isn’t enough fun, for example). Don’t worry if you feel like a failure at this for months because that is part of the learning process. It is not easy to change a life pattern that has been successful for you up to now.
  3. Don’t worry if you feel guilty about not doing something “constructive” with this weekly self-care because that is usually how people feel at first.
  4. If there are people who created difficulties in the past who are still creating problems for you, consider ending or strictly limiting contact with them during the time you are developing self-care skills.

Once you acquire this skill you will have it for life. In the future, whenever your stress level begins to reach levels capable of causing symptoms, you will have the ability to leave the rest of your world and focus on you. This is a powerful technique that, by itself, has relieved severe and long-lasting symptoms in many people.

Scary Monsters and the Buddhist Way.


20141206sa-shepherds-hut-wagon-retreat-tiny-house-interior-example-009I’m still feeling very unsettled in my new home. I think it’s because this is the first home I have ever owned by myself, even though I am over 50.

First came my parents houses, then university halls and student houses, and then renting with my now ex-husband. We went on to buy a couple of houses. There’s always somebody by my side.  

Now I should be viewing my move with a spirit of independence but I think I’m just scared! I would also really enjoy having someone to share the renovations with. I used to love planning our houses with my ex.

A friend of mine said it took him three years to settle into his home. Everything went wrong for him until he started going to meditation classes then everything fell into place for him and he stopped running away. He’s now a practising Buddhist.

I have decided to stay here until 2018. If I still feel unsettled I will think about moving then.  

Seek Out Laughter as You Age


cat-shaming-pics-will-have-you-rolling-in-laughter-1I don’t laugh as much as I used to. We laugh and smile much less as we get older, studies reveal.

One reason  (for me) is that spending a LOT of time with the very elderly, such as my mum, is not always conducive to joy. Perhaps that’s why people love kids – they laugh such a lot and make us laugh. (I find pets do this for me.)

With this in mind I have made a conscious decision to seek out things that make me laugh every day whether that’s films, YouTube clips, radio programmes, memories. It’s gotta be worth a shot!

Marriage support – Care for the Family


“Every marriage is different, but all marriages experience ups and downs – there’s the romantic times when the sun seems to be always shining, and the tough times when winter seems to have set in for good. We want to support you in your relationship whether you are preparing to get married or have been …”

Source: Marriage support – Care for the Family

The Character of God


Going to do this study while I am not going to church. Made it to life group last week due to the amazing generosity of life group guys who gave me lifts to and from the church town, which is a 16 mile round drive. Should be easier when new road opens to motorway access.


Think: main points to get across     

  • Title | theme: The Character of God
  • Read: 2 Samuel 24 & 1 Chronicles 21
  • He Allows Temptation
    2 Samuel 24:1; 1 Chronicles 21:1; James 1:13;  1 Corinthians 10:13
  • He Considers Motives
    2 Samuel 24:3 & 10; 1 Corinthians 4:5
  • He Offers Choices
    2 Samuel 24:11-14
  • He Feels Pain
    2 Samuel 24:15-17; Hebrews 2:18 & 4:15
  • He Redeems Situations
    2 Samuel 24:18-25

Talk: questions for discussion

  • What concerns spring to mind as you read this incident in 2 Samuel 24 & 1 Chronicles 21?
  • Here are some suggestions:
  • Is it wrong to count the Congregation?
  • Read Exodus 30:11-16 The Law of Moses made provision for Census
  • How many references to the size of the congregation can you find in the early chapter of Acts?
  • Who actually incited David? 2 Samuel 24:1 or 1 Chronicles 21:1
  • Why does God allow us to be tempted?…

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QMUL RELEASES PACE DATA – Graded Exercise Therapy Bogus Treatment for CFS/ME


This is such landmark news for people with ME/CFS. This backs up what patients have known all along… militaristic Graded Exercise Therapy (GET) makes us worse not better. This doesn’t mean that we should stop moving but that pushing through the pain does not work for us. Pacing is more effective. It also partially explains my current prolonged muscle relapse as pushing is what I did through my house move – push through pain and warning symptoms. Thank God for the people out there who campaigned to get this data released.






Think: main points to get across     

  • Title | theme: Runaway
  • Read 2 Samuel 15-16
  • David experiences another conflict
  • David runs from his son Absalom
  • Absalom Sneaky Sabotage
  • David Selfless Surrender
  • Contrast Pride & Humility
  • Emphasise David’s trust in God
  • Use Jesus’ example: Philippians 2:5-11

Talk: questions for discussion

  • Have you ever been ‘stabbed in the back’ – how did you react?
  • Are there any attitudes in Absalom that we need to be aware of?
  • How can pride manifest itself in our lives?
  • Can you remember other examples of pride & humility in the Bible?
  • What are the antidotes to pride?
  • Imagine a different scenario than the one in the story…
  • Could David have done anything different in his relationships?
  • What can we see about David’s relationship with God?
  • In what situations can we experience conflict?
  • How can we support those who are experiencing conflicts right now?

Task: actions &…

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‘Bathing’ a New Home in Music


Scandi wallpaperI moved into my new flat around 4 months ago.  it is quite hard to meet somewhere as big as this feel like one’s own but I have put up my pictures and move my own things in here, obviously.

However, I don’t feel it will be quite mine until I have a bathed the space in my music – in my case mainly rock/hip hop/soul music. Maybe that sounds strangely spiritual.  I know people do perform rituals when they moving to a new place.  I was encouraged by someone at church to pray for the flat to clear it of negative energy,  or dark stuff.  I did.

Praying for Healing Isn’t Enough



Praying for our health isn’t enough. I’ve learned that we have to pray to God to be shown what we need to change –  how our thinking and behaviour need to alter, no matter how painful the execution of those things may be.  We need to meet God halfway and take responsibility for our own part. But sometimes we need God to show us what those steps are.  

Just vaguely praying for healing for ourselves and our friends, for example, in Life Group, which is what we do a lot of, isn’t enough. We need to get specific. 


Kindness of Friends Brings Startling Revelation


Had a wonderful time with friends this weekend.  One of them, P, I have known for 31 years and his partner, J, I’ve known 25 years! We went to a very posh hotel and they treated me to dinner!

They treated me brilliantly, with such care and attention,  making sure I was comfortable etc. It certainly made me realise how little my former husband valued me but, more importantly, shone a light on how poorly I valued myself. I must hold myself with little regard to have put up with much that I did. (I was no saint either, I may add.)

I have been overwhelmed with how kind people have been since I moved house. Many  of them have given me presents, for example, totally unexpectedly. S, for example, cooks for me! I don’t ask her to – she just occasionally hands me something for the freezer. 

It has to be said that old friends really do make me feel happy and secure.  There is something very powerful about having a shared history.  Also, the fact that P knew me before I became ill is very healing because his memories of me are not just of “the sick, fragile one” nut as the energetic one who was leading a fairly normal life.


Dr Sarno Makes Me Realise I’m a Bitter Hag!



I am doing a lot of mind-body therapy at the moment, following the teachings of Dr Sarno, author of The Divided Mind and inventor of the term Tension Myositis Syndrome.  It’s fascinating stuff.  Basically, the idea is that many chronic conditions are the result of holding in, or rather repressing, difficult emotions, especially rage/anger.  The process is unconscious.

You have to list all the things in your life, past and present, that make you angry or cause other negative emotions such as sadness, fear, etc.  My list is very long –and I haven’t even finished!

I have realised I am criminally envious of and bitter towards two Christians I know.  These two seem to live the perfect life and it really gets to me.  It pains me to admit it but I really do not like one of them.  It is hard to say it out loud but I think this person is spoilt and they have made me feel like some people in the past have made me feel: lesser, lowly and a bit grubby.  I appreciate that that might be more MY problem than theirs.

I am seething with vitriol right now!  It’s not a nice feeling but at least I’m being honest with myself.  This person, of course, has no idea I feel this way and, as it happens, I have not seen them in real life for months and months.  But, boy, do they like to flaunt their lives on social media! And hopefully they will never know of my dislike. These feelings may pass now I’ve acknowledged them.

Well, that’s my vitriolic posting for the evening. I think I feel better for it!

Facebook Envy Destroys the Soul



I had a quick scoot around Facebook yesterday, looking at posts by people I don’t normally see in my newsfeed. Came away feeling depressed and envious. That’s just not right even though I know that  Facebook pics often show just the ‘Kodak moments’. It’s a lie!

I hope there is a Facebook backlash in a way. I’ve been trying not to spend as much time there – but it is not always easy. I’m spending more time with Jon Kabat-Zinn, on CD, I hasten to add, and in print. He’s a lifeline at the moment. And a much healthier companion than 400 virtual friends.

Selfies, self and social media


Pertinent post about social media and selfies. A very good friend thought my horrendous muscle relapse was over ‘cos I posted up pics of my lovely friend, H and me on the beach. This is just a snapshot of a few moments! Yes, I was relaxed and happy here but it’s not the whole story. As we know, Facebook pics often show just the ‘Kodak moments’. It’s messed up! I long to write the truth… cried last night due to pain and frustration; bored out of my brains today as couldn’t get out… Felt very fearful about the day my mum won’t be around any more… but it’s just not done!

Untitled design (1)

We live in a self obsessed and over exposed culture. Social media has created a framework to support our current insatiable desire for showing off. How did the previous generations use photographs before and how we do nowadays? I always thought that they immortalised precious memories to be shared with a very close circle of intimate relatives.

Now we parade and are under an avalanche of too many pictures that are either painfully trivial or almost inappropriately public. I wonder why? Insecurity? Comparison? Thoughtlessness? I guess most people are just carried by the popular wave….

The incessant social media addiction (and the secret of the owners’ financial success) that most users struggle with, is fuelled by pride dressed as either curiosity or attention seeking insecurity. You can only tell how bad you suffer as a social media user if you try to break free. This is a very revealing battle…

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Lower Muscle Strength and the Postmenopausal Woman


Build up your muscle strength

Gosh, I just found this on The Finchley Clinic Blog. Very pertinent to me as I have lost a lot of muscle strength since my major surgery in 2013. Below is an extract from the article: 

Only a fool would suggest that the menopause isn’t a complicated and often difficult time in a woman’s life. And, with all the hormonal changes going on in the female body at this point, bone health can become an issue. Many may not be aware, though, that muscle strength – or lack of it – can also be a concern thanks to ‘the change’. Both during and after menopause, oestrogen levels decrease and this can result in sarcopenia – a gradual, ongoing drop in muscle mass.

Is this enormously serious? Well, inside muscles, Vitamin D acts on special receptors, helping to drive up the mass and strength of the muscle as well as becoming involved in protein synthesis, which enables muscle contractions; thus, it plays a critical role in healthy muscle function. All this means that, due to Vitamin D deficiency, post-menopausal women can be at risk of potential frailty (and so reduced mobility) as well as frequent falls. And it can also help drive that particularly unpopular side-effect of menopause, weight gain – because it leads to a lower metabolism.

Inevitably then, help can come from boosting Vitamin D. A recent nine-month study, conducted at Sao Paulo State University in Brazil, found that post-menopausal women who had received Vitamin D3 supplementation enjoyed a 25% increase in muscle strength, while conversely, a similar group of volunteers receiving a placebo instead actually lost muscle mass – and experienced twice as many falls as those taking Vitamin D3.

Optimisation through supplementation

The results of these studies, as well as the fact IBS and muscle softness among post-menopausal women is common, is sadly not surprising (at least in this country) when one considers that four in every 10 (39%) of UK adults experience low vitamin D levels when the sun’s at its weakest in the winter. Indeed, ageing adults (the most likely to spend a good deal of time indoors) are most vulnerable to this nutrient deficiency4.

It’s pretty clear then that most people could probably do with optimising their Vitamin D levels. The trouble is, of course, this is easier said than done, as for half the year in many parts of the world (and, again, certainly in the UK), there isn’t much in the way of sunlight from which to gain it. So the answer? Supplementation.


Letter to My Illness


ax1h5dLast night of I wrote a letter to my illness.  It was full of expletives.

Among my sentiments were the words: “You are not here to teach me a lesson or humility.  You are not my friend.  You are a ridiculous ragbag of pathetic symptoms.  Go **** yourself, you miserable, mitochondria-disrupting loser.  You think you have won.  But the person I was before you stuck your poxy neb [nose] in is still within me.”

I continued: “Yes, that child who could run like the wind, the one who could dance all night, the girl who could run from the nightclub in the dark to her home in minutes, the one who called walk miles and miles, up mountains, across moors, around London.  How dare you disrupt all of that!  You robbed me of my life with of my husband, of children, of experiences, of opportunity, of peace.”

Sometimes I just don’t know what God is playing at!

(There was more but this gives you a flavour. I found the writing therapeutic.)

I then listened to the hate-filled but cathartic ‘Sorry’ by nu-Guns n Roses on my headphones and scribbled down some pertinent lyrics. The whole song suited my mood and situation but here are the first lines:

“You like to hurt me
You know that you do
You like to think
In some way
That it’s me
And not you”