Thursday, 27 April 2017

Tweet Tweet

I'm late blogging today.  My computer decided it was really important to spend two hours updating Windows without a by your leave or with  your leave! In olden times I would have caused me to go into meltdown but I'm more philosophical these days  For being fretful and impatient only causes inner suffering. So I've turned my morning around instead and have already meditated and been out for a chilly run.  Weird weather we're having. It was snowing in Brixham on Monday when I arrived home.

I thought I'd give you an update of the little business, Dementia Consultant, that I'm trying to get going alongside full time NHS employment.   Of course I'd like things to move faster but  only have so many hours in the week.  It seems that I can't move quickly enough with the time I've got.  The need for patience and acceptance seem constant themes in many aspects of my life.  Best go with the flow.

I've got a little document where I jot down everything that I achieve towards building my business empire.  I review it on a week by week basis and it helps me to see how far I've moved forward.  After all a couple of months ago the website didn't exist.  This week I've already chosen an accountant, blogged ahead and declared my business interests to my employer.  That last one is important.  I'm keen for everything to be above board.  That's the boring stuff.  What I got really excited about it was that for the first time one of my blog posts that I put on Twitter got retweeted.  Not just once but fifteen times!

Even though my posts from  Lovely Grey Day go over to Twitter automatically I've never paid it much attention.  But Salty Dog, my social media guru, said that it was important to build a following and so I obeyed.  And I'm surprised how much I'm enjoying it.  I love reading what other people have posted and get quite excited every time I get a new follower.    If you're a
tweeter too, follow me.  Go on, it will make my day!  And just in case you're interested here's the link to that post that was shared multiple times in the tweetosophere.   It's about the importance of the language that we choose to use.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

A Year On

Yesterday I realised it was a year ago to the day that I returned to work after a three month bout of depression and anxiety .  It wasn't all bad.  It taught me extremely valuable lessons, most importantly around how to demonstrate greater compassion towards others. That would have been hard to learn by any other means.  As I'm a paranoid, whinny arse when I'm ill  it's easier to accept and forgive others when they are acting in ways that would not dream of doing if they were well. Sure I see extreme examples of this all the time because I work with people with the most severe mental health problems.  But maybe the penny hadn't dropped when it came to my personal life

I also discovered that I wasn't invincible.  I didn't know that.  Each human being has a limit to what they can bear.  My threshold for stress is set very high but there was still a breaking point. Consequently I'm careful of what  I take on these days and I don't beat myself up when I need to rest.

And it's important for me to do everything possible to stay well, not just for my own sake but for Louis'.   For me being ill affected him enormously.   I could barely look after myself let alone a child as well.  Thank goodness that my co-parenting arrangements meant that I was able to take time out.  It must be almost impossible if you're a single parent coping with mental illness alone. Here's a little video that I've seen a couple of times in recent months, most recently on a safeguarding course last week.   I wish I'd know about it when I was poorly as I think it would have been helpful to share with Lou.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017


Photo:  Ted-Ed
Long gone are the goth inspired days of my late teens and early twenties when I had a wardrobe full of grey and black garb.  I love using colour these days in my house and in what I wear.  It makes for a much cheerier world.

Maybe that's why I was drawn to this work by scientist Tal Danino. You can read about it here on the Ted-Ed Blog.  When he's not doing research  using bacteria to fight cancers he persuades the little critters to go forth, multiply in their petri dishes and make very intriguing art.

Monday, 24 April 2017

A Weepie

In the course of working on getting my fledging business up and running over the weekend I came across this clever little film by Ryan McCarvill .  It's only short so you can all watch it in your coffee break.  But I'll warn you.  You'll need tissues.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Loo Buddha

Louis and I spent a very traditional afternoon down Southend seafront last week.  Firstly we played crazy golf and yessssss! I got a hole in one.   Eat your heart out Tiger Woods.   'What would you like to do now?' I asked as we were returning the clubs.  'How about the amusements?' he replied.  So I treated us both to two quids worth of coins to feed into the tuppenny shover machines.

Somewhere during the forty minute proceedings Louis knocked down a book of tokens to exchange for prizes at the back of the arcade.  He's done this before and his winnings normally amount to something like a penny chew.  But this time he was able to swap  the vouchers for something substantial, some wall art stickers on the theme of Buddha.  How random is that?  He gave them to me.  I've been pondering where to put them.

Yesterday I had a flash of inspiration. The smallest room in the world is now dual purpose.  As well as being my downstairs toilet it is now the tiniest shrine dedicated to contemplation and navel gazing!

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Nee Naw and Gratefulness

Just when I thought that work couldn't get any more stupid  it did. After the bank holiday I went on a two day course and then returned to the office.  By 9:38 on Thursday I had taken and received eight phone calls.  A day of mayhem followed.  I returned home at the end of the day with a bit of a stress head on.

Realistically, in an overstretched NHS, I don't see this situation improving. It seems the only thing to do is to change my perspective whilst working on Plan B.   These days I make dammed sure that I do everything possible to keep well: eat regularly and healthily, avoid self medicating with alcohol,  hydrating myself, exercising, meditating, having fun outside work with friends and family.  You know the stuff.  It isn't rocket science.  I'm always looking for more ways of preserving sanity too.

Friday was even more barmy.  I arrived home exhausted but I'd enjoyed my day. But instead of getting embroiled in the mayhem  I decided to highlight  the good bits..  So here they are.

One of the people that I see with a significant depression said that I was like a ray of sunshine and I light up everywhere that I go.  Louis would beg to differ when I go into his bedroom in the morning to wake him but there you go.   A colleague complimented my on my resilience.  I liked that.   I'm managing to stay focused on the trees in the landscape as I drive about.  They are incredibly beautiful symbols of strength, reminding me to stay present in the moment and not to 'dwell on what has passed away and what is yet to be', good advice from my mate Leonard Cohen.

What else?  Someone who has historically run away from mental health workers when they're ill phoned me when they were in trouble.  That meant a lot.  And in the course of my work, rather than because I'd been very naughty, I got my first ever ride in a police car,  a Skoda  big brother  of Leif.   Even though it was a sedate affair, and didn't involve a blue lighted chase around the lanes catching baddies it brought on a feeling of childish excitement!

Friday, 21 April 2017


I'd never heard of  the dearly departed Wayne Dyer until recently but my American readers might be familiar with him.   When I was on leave last week I listened to all six parts of a series of talks that he gave, 'Manifesting Your Destiny and a bonus edition'.  They're on YouTube.  These contain, much food for thought, not  about filling your boots for material gain, but rather about how to reduce inner turmoil. I will be listening to them again because there is too much to take in during one sitting.

The teaching fits nicely alongside that of Eckhart Tolle, another of my online gurus.  This is a little itty-bitty clip from one of the talks.  Again I'm being compelled to observe my inner thoughts.  What I've particularly noticed is a propensity to  make judgements about other people based on the briefest of encounters, like passing them in the street.  It adds to that constant stream of unnecessary inner chit-chat that it would be good to abate.  I'd like to see this habit, that I'm newly aware of, diminish over time now it's been brought to my attention.  I expect something else for me to work on will emerge once this is no longer an issue.

For the last week or so I've been using Wayne Dyer's morning and evening meditations for twenty minutes at the start and end of each day.  Their novelty value has given me the impetus to kickstart  regular formal practice again.   As guided by the audio I recite 'ah' and 'om' sounds.
I've shared what I'm doing with Louis and, not surprisingly, he thinks that it's completely barmy and so it may be.  I'm wondering how it will go down in the motorhome where I can't shut myself away in another room and make weird noises without feeling self-conscious.  We'll have to cross that bridge when we come to it.   Which I think it will.  For I find that I'm left feeling invigorated yet with an incredible sense of peace. I'm sharing them today in the hope that someone else might find them helpful too.