I’ve made a decision ….

headsandtails

Some of you will be aware that I have recently started a sister-blog, called “Like a Circle in a Spiral.” It was intended that the other blog would be solely devoted to the story about the struggles I have had/am having with my beloved son, who has been diagnosed with Conduct Disorder.

This blog, on the other hand, began as an outlet to discuss my own struggles with mental health. However, “Alice through the Macro Lens” quickly acquired a reputation for my arty side of photography (some of you may recall “Bug-a-Day/Wee Beasties?) and since I returned after a while away, I do still use photography as a fall-back when my head doesn’t want to write anything particularly pleasant.

Unfortunately, lately, trying to figure out what post involves my journey (for Alice blog) as opposed to my son’s journey (for Circles blog) is starting to get too confusing, and my brain is starting to ache.

The bottom line is that my son and I are so inextricably linked that it’s almost impossible to separate the two journeys.

So I’ve made a decision to devote all my serious writings, whether about me, or my son, or any other bits in between, to my other blog – and I will keep “Alice through the Macro Lens” for my photography and quirkier bits.

So the choice is yours – if you are interested in the deeper stuff that I write about, you’re very welcome to pop over to my other blog (here’s a link) and you’re similarly welcome to follow me over there too.

On the other hand, if you arrived at this blog because of the quirky pictures and the more upbeat stuff, then stick with Alice, and I will try to post more often now that the pressure is off.

Categories: Alice's world | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Staring into the abyss …

Staring into the abyssI’m a mess.

For the last few weeks I have been so much more down than up. It’s strange, because there are occasional days/part days when I feel OK. I can carry on easy conversations with people, perhaps jokey, and even able to laugh. During those moments, I feel like a fraud – I feel I should go back to work, I want to ignore appointments, and that I should discharge myself from mental health services.
But then, within minutes, without warning or obvious trigger, I plummet. I become some puddle in the corner. I lose comprehension, I gain white noise. I lose spirit, I gain self-loathing. Confusion sets in, along with head-noise, stammering, memory lapses, agitation, irritability, anxiety and complete inability to function.
I become that crazy hunched over old woman who wanders the streets aimlessly, muttering to herself and pulling her world in a shopping trolley.
For fear of sounding “insightful” (“insight” seems to be synonymous with “there’s nothing wrong with you” in the mental health world) I think I know the reason I’ve deteriorated so drastically. Earlier this year, the Court ordered both a Psych report and a Social Services Parental Assessment in my son’s case. I have been grilled within an inch of my life by both parties in separate, yet very similar, multiple, marathon sessions (two x 3-hour sessions with the Psych, and four 2-hour sessions with Social Workers) asking me to dig through my own childhood memories, experiences of my own parents, education, school-life, travels, sex life, relationships issues, self-image, work history, travels, life choices, dubious decision-making, medical history, mistakes, guilt, addictions, mental dissolution, life in England, life in Germany, life in America, life back in England, and an inch-by-inch account of motherhood.
Like a complete twat, I convinced myself that refusal to cooperate would be viewed far more negatively than complete transparency. After all, everyone makes mistakes … it’s recognising them and moving forward that makes us bigger people, isn’t it? And like a complete twat, I still thought there was the slimmest chance that they would offer to help me get my son back.
It was only after the sessions were over I realised that they have no vested interest in my welfare whatsoever. They never intended for my boy to be returned to my care – they just wanted a reason for him being as misguided as he is. And I gave them all the ammunition they needed.
So here sit, having revisited memories from my past that I had long put behind me, often for good reason. Old wounds have been opened by “professionals” who had no other motive than to use the information against me, and no inclination to help me patch them back up. Instead, they fester and throb and infect me until my brain hurts.
Anyone got a spare plaster?
 © Alice through the Macro Lens [2014]
Categories: Alice's world | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Daily Prompt: Why Can’t We Be Friends?

 

 

friends-tv-show

Occasionally, I read the WordPress Daily Prompt and hum and hrrr about the possibility of writing something – but my lack of motivation, or Judge Judy re-runs on the TV often dissuades me right back. Today’s prompt, however - well – prompted me to write something.

The prompt itself asks the questions: Do you find it easy to make new friends? Tell us how you’ve mastered the art of befriending a new person. “

The two sentences don’t necessarily connect. I mean, if, like me, your answer to the first question is NO, the the ensuing statement is a moot point … isn’t it?

Perhaps WordPress didn’t anticipate that anyone might answer the opening question with a negative – but surely … really? Tell me I’m not the only one … am I?

Well anyway, here I am – Nelly No-mates in all her glory.

Frankly, I’m just crap at making and/or keeping friends. I don’t really get the whole need to be friend-full thing. Facebook hasn’t helped. there are people out there who claim 5,000 “friends” and another 1,000+ “followers” who are apparently on some kind of waiting list to be a “friend” as soon as a space opens up through death, blocking, or un-friending.

So I’ve heard, anyway.

Admittedly, I do have a Facebook page. I have a grand total of 45 “friends,” all of whom I know personally, and 27 of which are schoolbuddies of my son, who had to use my Facebook page because he wasn’t allowed to have one of his own.  I suppose I should un-friend them now that he is no longer with me – if I only had a clue where to find the un-friend button.

Of the other 18 friends I have on Facebook, four are ex-professors of mine from university days of yore who I had to befriend to keep up with assignments, three are girls (well, women now, obviously) with whom I went to grammar school, one girl/woman from college, one from primary school, one person from the States when I lived there 15 years ago, and one – you’ll like this – is an ex-NFL player from a previous life as a sports videographer/back-door groupie (me, not him). Three are vendors on local recycling sites, one was my Weightwatchers leader and two are family.

I’d like to say that I’ve been a worthy Facebook friend at least to the old school friends, but I can’t. No matter that at least two of them were people I longed to reunite with over the years; I have been incapable of maintaining any level of communication beyond sending them extra lives on Candy Crush.

And lord help me in the real world!

I don’t know what it is exactly … it’s hard to describe, but apparently my inability to form and maintain consistent relationships  is one of the reasons I’ve been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. I wish I did have the ability to claim a friend. Instead I find that I go one of two ways: either I seek out a person who is unavailable to or disinterested in me; or I become uncomfortable and anxious when someone expresses interest in becoming friends with me, leading to a hasty retreat.

For the last thirteen years I have been able to conceal this “deficit” in my social vocabulary by devoting my time to other, more pressing matters. I mean, who needs friends when you have a full-time job and a full-time child?

But now, jobless and childless, the friendless part is glaring and harsh.

It’s an empty house here now. Too much space and time to think.

Makes me want to post my status on Facebook … almost.

 

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2014]

 

 

Categories: Alice's world | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Losing a limb …

SONY DSC

 

Yesterday, I let my dog go.

She was gentle and kind and comforting and warm and playful. She was patient and tactile and snuggled up close to me at night when I slept. And she is the only friend I had that gave me truly unconditional love.

But I haven’t been fair to her. My depression has been deep and my mood swings unpredictable. I would never hit her, but I am intolerant, and I could tell that sometimes she was nervous of what I might do. I do not have the energy to take her for walks and had to rely on my neighbour to take her with him when he took his own dogs out. My life has become such an incredible excuse for a car crash that I felt her life would be better off elsewhere. And, of course, there’s the probability that I will be moving home soon, probably to a place that doesn’t have room for dogs.

I did it the right way. I went through a person who runs a rehoming website for cats and dogs. The animals don’t have to spend any time in cages. My dog stayed with me until a suitable new owner had been assessed. Her new owner had travelled a long way to meet her, and I’m told he had tears in his eyes because she reminded him so much of his last dog who died.

She’ll have a good life. Her new owner is a retired man who lives in the glorious English countryside and often walks across the Peak District. So she’ll be OK.

But what of me?

Until yesterday, I only had two “protective factors” that had been keeping me from falling / leaping over the edge.

One of those was my dog.

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2014]

 

Categories: Alice's world | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Weekly Photo Challenge: Threshold

I went to Whitby last year for a day-trip on a coach. I have entered another set of photos for the weekly challenge on my sister blog here. After a day of solace looking around the more spiritual areas of the town, I wandered through the “lanes” where there were all sorts of quirky shops: sweet shops galore, charity shops, and shops selling hand-made crafts, clothes, and foodstuffs. There was even a smokehouse that sold its own kippers. But this alleyway caught my eye. You can see it leads down to the sea and the harbour/marina. But I love the name it has been given. I wonder if many people cross this threshold … Arguments Yard Threshold © Alice through the Macro Lens [2014]

Categories: Alice's world | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Another need, another poppy …

See why here

SONY DSC

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2014]

 

Categories: Alice's world, pictures by Alice | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Poppy for peace

It has been a tough week so far. My mind is not still.

Poppies help me feel peaceful.

 

Through the dancing poppies stole A breeze most softly lulling to my soul.... John Keats - Endymion

Through the dancing poppies stole A breeze most softly lulling to my soul….
John Keats – Endymion

 

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2014]

 

 

Categories: Alice's world | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Introducing my Sister Blog: Like a circle in a spiral ….

Circles in a spiral

Click on the picture for a better view

I just wanted to draw your attention to the sister blog I mentioned previously. It’s a place for me to discuss the unfortunate situation between my son and me, trying to unravel it a little, and telling our story and how we got to this point.

It won’t be the easiest of reads, but hopefully it will give a little insight about living with Conduct Disorder and open some people’s eyes to the struggles of dealing with domestic violence at the hands of your own child.

I think the title of the blog, “Like a Circle in a Spiral,” is perfect, because, as the song from which the line was plucked states, the life I’ve had with my son has been like living “on an ever-spinning reel.”

 

 

For those of you who are in the mood for a little nostalgia, here’s the original version of “Windmills of Your Mind.”

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2014]

 

 

 

 

Categories: Alice's world | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spring has sprung! WPC: Inside a snowdrop

Inside snowdrop 1

Nor will I then thy modest grace forget,    Chaste Snow-drop, venturous harbinger of Spring,      And pensive monitor of fleeting years! - William Wordsworth -

Nor will I then thy modest grace forget,
Chaste Snow-drop, venturous harbinger of Spring,
And pensive monitor of fleeting years!
- William Wordsworth -

I lived overseas for many years (a two-week trip that lasted 17 years …), and despite my love of the wanderlust life, there were a few things I missed about England throughout that time: one was Marmite, another was Woodpecker Cider … and telephone boxes, and double decker buses, and Coronation Street, and sarcasm.
But, more than sherbet fountains or teabags or the Arctic Monkeys, after living in the sweltering balminess of places such as Southwest Texas and Louisiana, I found myself longing for seasons!
Granted, upstate New York had seasonal change, but their winters were a bit extreme, unless trudging through 8-foot snowdrifts is your idea of fun.
No, I missed English seasons – unpredictable, often erratic, with mild winters, cold summers, and slushy autumns … And most of all, I missed the English spring and the flowers that come with it.

So when I returned to England with my son and we “settled” in our first real home, I made a point of filling every nook and cranny of our tiny back yard with bulbs that flower every spring and herald the new green of the year.

Snowdrops are my particular favourite. There’s not a lot to them – just a trio of white waxy petals with a dash of green inside …. but they are often the first flowers to nuzzle their way through the frost, and the sight of them always brings a smile to my face.

(As usual, click on the picture for a better look).

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2014]

Categories: Alice's world, Pictures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside … Gary Tyler’s world

Waiting here the world has turned a thousand times or more   Stranded like the man who never knew they'd stopped the war   Waiting for the pardon but the pardon never comes   I'm just waiting for the bus to take me home. - Chumbawamba -

Waiting here the world has turned a thousand times or more
Stranded like the man who never knew they’d stopped the war
Waiting for the pardon but the pardon never comes
I’m just waiting for the bus to take me home.
- Chumbawamba -

Those of you who remember my blog from the days before I went off the radar may also remember that I very rarely don my political head unless it is to talk about this guy. It would be incredibly remiss of me to ignore the opportunity to use this week’s theme of “inside” to remind you once more of the plight of Gary Tyler.

(There are lots of links in this post, so hold on to your hats! I particularly recommend the songs …).

This year is Gary’s 40th year inside the notorious Angola Prison in Louisiana, having been sentenced in 1974 for a murder he did not commit, at the tender age of just 16 years old. You can read the details of the case here, as published in the NY Times, and check out a previous post of mine here.

Two songs have been written about him by UB40 – “Tyler” appeared on their first album Signing Off, released way back in 1980 and talks of Gary having “been there five years and they won’t let him go.”  A further track called “Rainbow Nation” was recorded for their album TwentyFourSeven released in 2008. It is a sombre reminder about “the futility of writing songs (referring back to Tyler)  if you want to get something done” (Robin Campbell).

Gil Scott Heron’s “Angola, Louisiana” on his album Secrets (1978) and, more recently, Chumbawamba’s haunting “Waiting for the bus to take me home” on their album The Boy Bands have Won (2008) also tried to draw attention to the injustice of Gary’s plight, as did a young rap band with close family ties to the Neville Brothers called Deff Generation, who penned a song called “Gary Tyler” for their album Medicine in 2000. 

If this has tweaked any interest amongst you (and I hope it has…) you can watch a documentary report aired by Democracy Now! in the States about the case by clicking the link below.  Be aware, it’s a long piece – almost 45 minutes in total – but very illuminating. (It includes excerpts from an interview conducted with him way back when, beginning at around 22mins 20secs if you’re impatient).

http://www.democracynow.org/2007/3/1/the_case_of_gary_tyler_despite

If you’re wondering why I’m so strongly opinionated about this particular situation, it is because I was (am?) the graduate student who interviewed Gary in Angola many moons ago in 1997. Back then, I was just an ordinary person who had an extraordinary opportunity to interview this usually very private man for a full five-and-a-half hours in the bowels of one of the most notorious prisons.
I would normally shy away from drawing any attention to the “real” me – but as I appear to have been outed anyway (see yesterday’s brief post) then what the heck?

The excerpts you hear in the documentary were taped by me during that interview, and the majority of any photos you may find if you look up Gary Tyler images on the net were taken by me during that interview.

Sadly, Juanita Tyler, Gary’s mother and staunchest supporter, seen in the video, passed away last year. Let’s hope that the forty years she devoted to fighting for her son’s release were not in vain.

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2014]

Categories: Alice's world, Pictures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com. The Adventure Journal Theme.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 272 other followers