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Month: March, 2014

If roses grow in heaven (a mother’s day poem by Kirsten Preus)

If Roses grow in Heaven
Lord, please pick a bunch for me.
Place them in my Mother’s arms
and tell her they’re from me.

Tell her that I love her and miss her,
and when she turns to smile,
place a kiss upon her cheek
and hold her for awhile.

Because remembering her is easy,
I do it every day,
but there’s an ache within my heart
that will never go away.

Here we are folks, the dream we all dream of

In the immortal words of Professor James Morrison, RIP, no-one here gets out alive. Be honest with yourselves, do you fear death? There’s absolutely no reason to be afraid, live life to the full, have no regrets over things you do, only opportunities you miss and try to put them right. Death comes to us all sooner or later. The lucky ones are those who can do what they want, but don’t envy them try to emulate them and embrace life while you can. Whenever you stop living to the full, embrace death after all it’s only a long sleep. You will return to the reckoning in the spiritual life after this one, if there is such a thing.

I have probably been closer to death more often than anyone else, yet in survive. I don’t fear death, I want to know what’s on the other side of the mirror. I may not believe in one supernatural being who created all of the galaxies (personally I think he had help. Not that anyone knows for sure). There has to be a plane beyond the physical, after all this Hell can’t be all there is for us. How do we find it? I’ve tried mind expanding chemicals, meditation and prayer and I think I found an answer. I’ve had 2 or 3 out of body experiences where I have seen and heard things I shouldn’t have been privy to. Were they real? I don’t know but they felt real at the time.

Anyone who graduates from this university rarely comes back and those who do can’t tell us what lies beyond the yellow brick road. Outside the ivy covered walls of the University of Life is the unknown. That scares some people who want a reason to be here amongst us. As people keep pointing out, if you have no hope of escape then life has no meaning, you need some focus for your life. However, is there one true religion? One God above all of us? All religious preaching teach us only one thing: Love. Yet still our religious and spiritual leaders preach hatred, how often do we have to kill each other before we accept all our neighbours as equals and stop dying for this or that cause? I live my life respecting my fellow travellers on this journey. I don’t consider myself above or below anyone else on this train.

We are all the same inside, same doubts and fears, hopes and prayers, we all should embrace our uniqueness and not try to destroy the uniqueness of our neighbours. As has been stated before, but is still true, knives and guns don’t kill people, the person holding the knife, he with his finger on the trigger of the gun, that’s what kills people. I don’t carry a gun, not because it’s illegal to bear arms, I don’t have one because those who live that way will die that way. Call me a dreamer, a philosopher, a romantic if you like, those are merely labels. Call my brother a wop, a nigger, or any other derogatory term and you belittle yourself, not him. Words should not upset us, it’s only by letting them upset us we give them power. If we see them as words used by frightened little people with tiny minds then we remove their power and they return to being made up words by people trying to gain control of our lives.

I consider my words with care, after all I’m trying to understand my thought processes more than you are, possibly, doing. I don’t preach for any faith or doctrine as I don’t believe we listen to history. I would like to see my fellow travellers embrace each other and love one another. Let’s all, finally, live with our neighbours as equals, embrace our differences and diversity. Work together to end hunger, poverty and war. If we all help each other who knows what technological advances we could make?

Riding in a 3 grand motor car

Home, such a small word with numerous meanings. Home is more than an abode, a place of refuge or somewhere we feel safe. Home is all 3 at the same time. Somewhere we can go at the end of the day, lock ourselves in and relax. More and more I find myself making excuses to remain locked within my castle. Why? If anyone has the answer to why they could write their own pay check. I don’t go out because I can always find a reason not to. My scars cut deep and hard, so I stay in to keep myself safe and not gain any new scars. My chains cut me so much that I have to keep myself inside or other people will hear them rattle. My boundary is well defined and well travelled. I find myself downstairs at the front door several times a day without understanding how I came to be there. So I check the door is still locked before going back upstairs again. If I have to put rubbish in the bin I check that nobody is around to hit me, harm me or punish me in some way.

According to the British way of thinking, this behaviour is seen as eccentric but is accepted. To me, this way of behaving is irrational, but I don’t know how to change. If it is irrational then why can’t I change it, surely that must be the sign of a twisted mentality? I have never felt this bad for this long ever before. Madness takes its toll of even the strongest willed among us. I’m no saint, just another sinner trying to regain my strength of will.

Yes, I always had a smile on my face, but that was to hide my pain from the rest of the world. I had got so used to building a wall that I do find it hard to make friends easily. Even at work I will only share so much with colleagues, things that don’t cause me pain. Since the breakdown of my latest marriage I spend more and more time on my own. It’s quite surprising how easy it is to put friends off calling, after a while they stop asking if they can call round, then a little while later they stop calling.

I have no-one to talk to but find the ghosts willing conversationalists, maybe I should think about signing myself in to the nearest cuckoos nest, but if I do that how can I keep myself and my belongings safe?

I don’t have very much and every week I find more things I can’t remember why they had importance or why I didn’t throw them away the last time I moved.

Stand up and be counted

I had my son on Saturday and we were talking about school, in my day we started at 9 and finished at 4, there were no “teacher training days” (?) and no half term holidays. We finished Maundy Thursday for our 2 week Easter holidays. We finished 23rd of December (unless it fell at a weekend) for our 2 weeks at Christmas. Summer holidays ran from the first Friday in July for 7 weeks. This got me thinking about other changes I’ve seen in the last 60 years.

Not every home had a TV in 1954, telephones were in red boxes at the end of the street. Cigarette machines were outside shops. Inside you could buy 1 cigarette and a match for 3d (just over a penny today). Almost all the adults I knew smoked, now hardly anyone does. No mobile (or cell) phones. Sci-fi program’s on TV hinted at the wonders we now take for granted. No-one had a computer, only the biggest companies or government departments. All our music was on pirate radio or vinyl. If you wanted to play outside, there were hardly any cars on the roads so it was safe to play in the roads.

You still came across the odd grump who gave you a clip round the ear if he caught you, didn’t dare say anything to your parents as they’d give you another. We respected the police because if they caught anyone under 11 up to mischief they’d give you a stern talking to before giving you a clip and sending you on your way. If you got lost then you could always ask a policeman for directions. However, the last time I asked a bobby for directions he had less idea than I did. Thank goodness for the homeless man who told me the building I wanted was right behind me.

Amazing to think that I was brought up to respect everyone, as the man walking the streets could well be an angel in disguise. I have never judged anyone as less than I due to colour of skin, accent, or religion. As a catholic boy living on the mainland during the troubles in Northern Ireland I was well aware of the reason they started. Although I knew I could not approve of the religious war. Both sides were in the wrong. If the government want to incarcerate IRA members for atrocities then they should also take the same approach to the loyalists who were killing and bombing as much as the Republicans.

Funny how political debates look at the past and see only atrocities perpetrated by one side. In all conflicts the atrocities are committed by both sides. That was shown most clearly in Vietnam, I heard of atrocious acts committed by the VC, but America saw what their troops were doing first hand because the war was televised. If you knew women carried guns and children were tied down on mines, would you have done anything differently at Mai Lai? I don’t think I would have.

When is a door not a door?

That my friends is the topic for this post…

How can someone be suspended for gross misconduct to be investigated, taken back following the investigation and put back on the phone to do their job. Three months later they are told they’re dismissed for gross misconduct relating to the original investigation. You might assume, as I did, that 5 plus years would mean a tribunal hearing a case of unfair dismissal. Not so, my ex-employer changed my contract from temp to permanent six months prior to my dismissal, my role didn’t change only my employer. In the eyes of the tribunal, however, I had not worked directly for British Telecommunications plc for a period of at least 12 months.

As I was campaigning to have the law changed in favour of total service in a role this really rankled me at the time and even more so now, 5 years on, and I seem to be getting interviews but as soon as the references get submitted I am persona non grata. Is it fair that a company can railroad an employee with outdated legality and then refuse me permission to start earning again? If everyone in the UK reading this suddenly left BT to go with Sky, Virgin or Talk Talk for their services (telephone, mobile, broadband and television) then it would serve them right and hit them in their pockets as that seems to be the only thing they care about.

I really didn’t want this blog becoming a forum for political outpouring, however, I received a letter from BT yesterday pressing me for payment of a debt of £150 relating directly to them unfairly dismissing me. When I lost my job, my home was repossessed, my son was taken into care and my marriage broke up over the arguments about trivial things. That all happened in the space of 3 months which is when I became suicidal, wanted to end my life and almost succeeded by accident a few months ago. The people who should be around to take care of me and make sure I stay safe are nowhere to be found. I lost my mum in 1985 to a heart attack when she would have turned 57 a month later, I am divorced 3 times and, now that legal aid has been withdrawn, am having to remain married to someone who I have been estranged from for 4 years now. What is going on in my head? Funny you should ask that, I look forward to seeing my son every other Saturday for the day, but he is coming to the age now where he will not want to come and see his dad, what will I do then? I can barely afford to keep myself fed and watered but my GP wants me to find employment, and to be brutally honest so do I, but at my age and being so close to retirement (not to mention my physical and mental problems) I can’t really see anyone taking me on without requiring references.

Going back to my ex-paymasters, I kept being told that the length of time I was taking on every call was not right, the business wanted me off the phone as quickly as possible as “you should be escalating 75% of your calls to 2nd line, they have time to spend resolving issues.” The fact I was resolving 95% of my calls at first point of contact (and resolving them so well I received praise from my customers) leaving only 5% to be picked up by 2nd line seemed to really annoy my team leader and the centre manager. It must have been a godsend when that one obnoxious woman decided to complain about my language (she said I swore which I did not) and hanging up on me (I didn’t but my system crashed and since the computer had control of the telephone system I think that terminated the call). None of her allegations were born out by listening to the call (I had lost my temper and some others working there at the time said they had all heard the call and it was priceless for me to use an off the cuff comment while she was shouting thinking she wouldn’t hear me).

I think I’ve ranted enough, and it is getting late and I feel that I should be winding things down with caffeine and,  alcohol (lovely combination) as well as my night time anti-depressants (not to be confused with the ones I take in the morning, when I remember). I have also managed to get my hands on some top quality pain relief (thank the stars some people will sell you anything). So I shall bid you a fond farewell and publish and be damned (Rat Scabies I managed to plug your band, any donation will be gratefully received). Goodnight dear reader from my garrett somewhere in England.

Yellow matter custard

Apologies, once again dear friends, I do find it helpful sometimes to get my inner feelings into the open, hence writing on here. However, there are times when I lay my soul bare and, reading back the words makes me feel even worse so I end up not publishing and just deleting that days post. After all I’m on here to lift my mood not bring you into my pain, dear reader, I do try to balance my words somewhat.

The reason I rarely put any pictures on my post is the same as the words I use, why introduce you into my paranoia when I want to shake this off? If I can be uplifting, amusing, entertaining despite my inner pain and phobia is that not beneficial for both of us? I’m not trying to be obtuse, just my nature to keep my pain inside and hidden. After all, the people who laugh loudest, are always smiling and ready with anecdotes are the ones who explore the deep dark prehistoric places within, those who don’t want others to feel their pain or anything close to it.

When someone has a mental breakdown, it’s not an admission of weakness merely that they can’t be strong any longer. I am still recovering and I know it’s going to be a long hard slog to get my pain and feelings back in check so I can become “the life and soul of the party” once again. I have to thank all those who send me their best wishes for a speedy “recovery”. I know it’s a long shot but if anyone knows my daughter, Sara, can they please tell her I’m so sorry for all the pain I’ve caused her over her brief life? Thank you once again for staying with me.

Once more unto the breach

It’s been a while since I last came on here, not because I had nothing to say (as if I’d let that stop me) no, I’ve been way down in a deep dark place which I don’t really want to take anyone else into. The reason for this is that I’ve been applying for an average of 50 jobs a week, I either hear nothing back, other than confirmation that my application has been received. This government don’t rate mental illness as a disability so I either apply or lose my entitlement to benefit, I told my personal adviser I will not take a telesales position but he insists that I have to apply for these anyway. I used to work in an open plan office next to 30 telesales advisors. The turnover was horrendous with only 3 people who were there when I joined the company still there at the death.

Telesales chews you up, spits you out and completely ruins you mentally, no point in me doing it as I’m out of my tree already, I wouldn’t stick to a script no matter what, if someone doesn’t want what I’m selling then I think that’s their right. No way I would bully someone into taking something they didn’t want which would, presumably mean I was pushed out and back on benefits before you can say “That’s your lot Jack” if I’d wanted a sales job then I’d have gone for a permanent sales contract at BT.

Why oh why do people’s attitude’s change as soon as you tell them you’re disabled on account of having a mental illness. It seems that physical disabilities are ok, presumably because people can see them. If you lose your mind it can affect your ability to work more than losing an arm or a leg will. I’m well educated, well spoken and smile a lot, this is because of the attitudes I faced when I was depressed initially, in my teens. I don’t want others to know how low I feel, hence the smile, but there have been times recently when I crawled away and spent a lot of time with myself for company. People who, like me, are prone to depression and suicidal thoughts, are the happiest people you can ever meet, why? Because we don’t want others to know how low we are and we wouldn’t want to put anyone else through the pain and misery we know only too well.

Please, if you feel the way I do, or you know someone who is, don’t tell them to pull themselves together, or that there’s nothing wrong with them. We aren’t curtains, we have stronger feelings of self loathing and extremely low self esteem, telling us we’re healthy is likely to push us over the edge and the result of that is our own death.