More on my last step on this Odyssey

My dog proved to be my best friend when I was feeling so ill after my night of pains in my tummy.

The morning had been tolerable and we visited my Dad. But during the afternoon I felt very ill and weepy. I kept thinking about my daughter as a new born baby, wishing time could go back, thinking of all the thing I did in running a home and being a wife and mother. Now, I am breathless after two yards. And the dystonia comes in waves.

At some point,  a strangeness overwhelmed me. I began to feel a sensation take over my body. My dog jumped up beside me on my bed and put his paw on my chest. His ears were forward and a quizzical look on his face. I laid my hand on his neck, comforted by him, and he stayed until the wails that came from me disturbed him and he went to lie on some of my clothes.

As he did this, I suddenly realised I had not taken a medication the previous evening, and as I looked for it, it dawned on me I had missed a couple of doses. I was in withdrawals. No wonder I felt so utterly wretched. I took a dose, and lay weeping as my emotional state was withdrawal induced.

I thank God for my loving and beloved dog, his devotion and empathy. His unconditional love for me. Not for the first time either. Over the years, his devotion to me has been evident so many times, in so many ways.

I am now more myself. I had discovered hemp tea and had my first cup last night. Wih some honey, it is very soothing and although my ex husband, who is staying here as my daughter is away, said some thoughtless, hurtful things, causing adrenaline to flood my body, I was asleep ten minutes afterward.

I am grateful for my friends’ response to my last entry. Their love, compassion. and appreciation of my journey. That is such a gift. I have had good gifts in the last few days and I must scoop away the dross that comes from the refiner’s fire,


More Steps Along This Odyssey

It’s been a while again. Talking about the here and now is harder than telling the past. In truth, I often feel as though all that trauma happened to someone else. Or it happened to me in another dimension, when the person I am was much less sophisticated and complex in my personhood. That, at least, is true. My experience of life was so much less.

In the last few days, I have felt so tested in everything I believe. I have at times lost sight of the beauty that is formed under pressure. My eyes have been drawn only to the unbearable weight of things that I want to be better, not necessarily for me but for a beautiful, talented and wonderful person to whom I gave birth, whom I adore, worship, would die for.

I have been struggling to not focus on the difficulty I have in breathing. At times it is because I’m tired or move too quickly, but other times it is because the dystonia tightens my chest muscles. Then, it is not only difficult to breathe but also to be. I move around trying to relax, I squirm with the tension in my muscles and the discomfort, pain, it brings. It’s like that now, as I type. I had stomach pains all night that kept me awake from 11pm, having slept during the evening. All I could eat was porridge. So today my body is at sixes and sevens, feeling sleep deprived in my brain and thinking. And so much tension in my body.

This is when I sometimes need the assurance of others, as my perspective on other things that press in from life loom larger than they actually are or, in my distress, I let those things become my focal point rather than the good things, the precious gifts in my life. I reached out in the night for support knowing the person would be awake.  When a response finally came, it was ‘shit happens’.

Well, I know this to be true. I’ve had the share of several people. It was not what I needed to hear. I needed empathy. We all need empathy. Even when I need, in my profession, to remind people that shit happens, I tinge it with empathy. What I needed was an empathetic ‘Chrissie, we can all feel swamped in the middle of the night when we are in pain. That sucks, I’m sorry you’re going through this stuff but it will seem better in the morning’. You know, words to that effect.

I learned a lesson and remembered a key thing. Not everyone you reach out to or for, is the right person at the time or for what you need at the time, at any time. Different friends have different gifts for us. For me.

I have been reminded of the good in my life because my cleaner arrived. She is fantastic and my gratitude for her overflows. My daughter walked into my room. Love floods me whenever I see her. (It may not always be obvious to her, but it does.) Even when she thinks I’m having a go at her, I am filled with love for her. She is magical.  I saw my Dad this morning. I love him so much and wish he could slip away to a better place, but his body is so healthy that he will keep going even when his brain has completely died except for the pituitary gland, which will keep his heart and lungs going. I am shocked now that I have thought of him in this way, reduced him to a motor function. My Dad is warmth, affection, reason, moral strength and so undeserving of this pitiless disease.

I am grateful for the grammar corrector I use, otherwise this would make no sense at all.



Lighting London Bridges

Photo: Leo Villareal, CGIThe New York artist who lit up the San Francisco Bay Bridge, has been selected to do a £20m project illuminating London’s 17 bridges. He is Leo Villareal.He, and  British architects and urban planners Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, won from a shortlist of six for what will be one of the UK’s biggest ever public art commissions.It is a permanent scheme and will light up 17 bridges over six nautical miles from Tower Bridge in the east to Albert BridgeAlbert Bridge in the west.Villareal and his collaborators are suggesting a “sensitive” “rhythm of light” across each bridge, created using  a computer code which monitors and responds to the ebbs and flows of the river and pedestrians. In a short film on the winning project, London’s bridges are lit up with changing colours that include whites, oranges and purples.The film-maker, novelist and chair of the National Gallery, Hannah Rothschild, whose idea the project is, claimed Villareal had proven his skill to paint with light and that Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands had direct experience building bridges. The Royal Victoria Dock Bridge. Photograph: © Leo Villareal and Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands/Chris Gascoigne“Their scheme is beautiful, ambitious and realisable but always considerate to the environment, lighting levels and energy conservation,” she said.“The jury is convinced that the winning team will transform the centre of London while remaining true to the spirit and integrity of the Thames and its communities.”Villareal is best known for his fabulous lighting project on San Francisco’s “other” bridge. It ran for two years and brought back this year permanently as a part of the city due to its popularity.Leo Villareal is “delighted and humbled” that the jury chose his team’s “artistically driven” vision for the River Thames. “The whole team shares a belief in the power of large-scale public culture and art to enrich our cities,” he said.“Our aim is for a lighting master plan which reduces pollution and wasted energy, is sensitive to history and ecology and subtly rebalances the ambient lighting on the river to provide a beautiful night-time experience for residents and visitors.”Best of all, it will cost the British taxpayer nothing.

Source: Lighting London Bridges


Treatment of PTSD

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an effective treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and is as effective as cognitive behavior therapy.EMDR is designed to reduce the enduring symptoms of painful memories by utilizing the brain’s natural adaptive information processing, thus reducing and even ending the powerful effects. There are eight phases that include having the patient call to mind disturbing memories whilst undergoing one of several bilateral sensory inputs. The most common is side to side eye movements, following the finger or pen of a qualified therapist.This replicates the rapid eye movement (REM) phase of sleep, which is when our brains ‘sort’ the memories and input to our brain, ‘filing’ information into appropriate ‘places’. The patient will hear pleasant sounds or pictures, so that the memory recalled, after time, is altered. Patients say that their previous suspicious or agitated responses to situation became relaxed and flashbacks were considerably reduced. Source: BBCIPMEMDR is as efficacious as talking therapy and much more effective than medication. Patients may require more than the usual twelve sessions, although they can replicate the therapy on their own, if they can access a regularly moving object such as a pendulum. They should ask their therapist first.Source: Collaboration with my colleague, Steve Brady (no relation) and Pschology Msc

Source: Treatment of PTSD


The Shame of Sexual Abuse IS Not The Victim’s

Children are told that if they tell anyone that someone they  have trusted has touched them in a way that has made them feel uncomfortable or ‘dirty’ something bad will happen to them. This is because the abuser feels shame and knows that what they did was immoral, shameful, and illegal.The abuser breaches all trust with society, children, the children’s parents and the law.When a child is touched inappropriately or made to do things which they know are not normal, the abuser’s shame is imputed to that child. In other words, the shame is transferred to the child who has done nothing wrong. The abuser feels power, not just over the violated child, but over society in general because they have broken a trust that can never be mended, a trust that holds together our families and communities.Children who are violated in this way already feel that there must be something ‘wrong’ with them for the abuse to be happening in the first place. To be told that terrible things will happen if they tell anyone compounds this feeling, and the transference of shame takes place. They feel powerless and so the abuse is able to take place over long periods of time.Sometimes a child does have the courage to say something to a parent but they are not believed because that parent thinks they know the abuser well and cannot believe they would do such a thing. This is further shame for the child. They aren’t believed when they are telling the truth. Or that parent might know that abuse is going on, but because they cannot put their child first, they live in denial and pretend it is not happening. Often that parent is torn between their child and the abuser, but children must always be put first. A child is more important than any other relationship.If you are someone who experienced sexual or physical abuse in childhood, you are not to blame. You are innocent. You are  free from shame. It is not your fault.

Source: The Shame of Sexual Abuse IS Not The Victim’s