Podcast Ep 46 – Shout Out for Young Carers Day

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Today is Young carers day, and I wanted to give all young carers a big shout out. They do such an amazing job looking after their families, and they need to be supported as much as possible.

If you are a young carer, or you are a parent of a young carer, please ensure you are all getting the help you need. Many charities are there to offer support and advice.

Rethink

SANE

Young Minds

Santa’s Little Helper

santas little helper

I’m sure that most people have had to make up a quick excuse at some point in their lives. The reason that led me to do this recently, was not your typical scenario. You might need to think quickly when you get caught eating the last cake, or when you all those Amazon parcels arrive. However, I think even the most seasoned white lier would have trouble with my latest example.

A Good Cause

Kirstie and I have a friend that volunteer for the Red Box Project in our area. It’s an initiative that provides feminine sanitary products to women and young girls that can’t afford to get them themselves.  So, when she asked if we could help her collect some donations for the project, we were of course, more than happy to oblige.

She came out with four carrier bags full of sanitary products an put them in our car. I then dropped off the wife and our friend so I could take Bea to her tutor. I usually stay in the car outside as it is easier than driving home and back again, so I took out my laptop and started to do a little work.

Prying Eyes

I then noticed a light out of the corner of my eye and turned to see a woman looking through her kitchen window at me.  I suddenly became highly nervous, but I wasn’t sure why. I also started to think that maybe she imagined I was a prowler or that I was spying on her.

Thus began my overactive imagination, and what I was expecting to happen became more outrageous by the minute. Imagined that she was now reaching for the phone, and calling the police to report a dodgy character sitting outside her house.

With this in mind, I thought about what would happen if they turned up. How would I justify my reason for being there? Well, I was waiting for my daughter to finish with her tutor which was totally plausible and true.

I then glanced into the back seat.

The Dilemma

I saw the bags of new tampons and sanitary pads in the carrier bags, and suddenly, my plausible excuse was turned on its head. All of a sudden, my daughter going to the tutor was a clever ruse to fulfill my perverted fantasies. All I could hear was the police officers voice saying ‘why do you have these bags of sanitary products in your car, sir?’

I then began to think of perfectly logical reasons for these being here. I decided that denying all knowledge of them was fruitless, as was claiming they were on a Black Friday deal and ‘too good to pass up.’ I then thought about saying that my wife asked me to get them for her as she has a particularly bad time at this time of the month. However, four carrier bags worth would almost certainly have led to some strange looks.

Decent into Madness

I then came up with arguably the most outrageous excuse I have had to date. I figured I would say that I was helping to deliver these to disadvantaged women on behalf of my friend, akin to Sants’s little helper. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that I would drop them down their chimneys, or that I would go inside the house, only that I would drop them through the letterbox.

Thankfully, by this point, my daughter had finished, no police were called, and my elaborate story didn’t need to be told.

Dad, Can You Help Me Please? – A Worst Nightmare

It is a question that every father hears at some time in their lives. The desperate call of their child asking for help with complete confidence in their father’s ability to deal with whatever it may be. So, this is the question that echoed up from downstairs as I was on the computer. The rest of the conversation went like this.

Me: What’s the matter?

Daughter: I’ve dropped my dolls arm down the toilet!

Me: Oh dear

Daughter: I don’t know what to do?

Me: Just flush it

Daughter: I can’t do that, it’s plastic it will end up in the sea!

Me: No, it won’t, just flush it

Daughter: Can you get it out for me?

Me: Can’t you reach it?

Daughter: Yeah but there’s poo in there I don’t want to touch it!

Me: What!? Well I don’t want to touch it!

Daughter: But it’s my favourite dolls arm (sob)

Me: How can you have a favourite dolls arm!?

Daughter: Please?

Me: (sigh) Ok then……is there much poo?

Daughter: No, just a little

She lied! The was a large poo staring up at me when I looked in the bowl. And close beside it was the small arm of a doll. In a moment of genius, I thought that I would use the long tweezers that we used for the fish tank. However, the tweezers were not as long as I had remembered, I still came perilously close to the yellow water with my fingers (yes there was pee too). I managed to grab it with the very end of the tweezers and lift it into the sink. I told my daughter to wash the arm while I tried to scrub the skin off my hand. Of all the dad help requests, this will haunt me forever.

What's Important in Your Life?

Yesterday, my wife and I went to see our daughter perform with her choir. She has been a member of the choir for nearly 4 years, and she loves singing and being with her friends. Last night was made even more special as they were being accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, who are without doubt one of the best in the world.
It is occasions such as these that make me even more proud of my daughter and her amazing gift of singing. She has had a lot to go through as you might have read in my previous posts, but she has always been kind and generous to others. It is one of the qualities I love about her, as rudeness and bad behaviour are two of my pet hates. They are pet hates that have cause not just a little conflict in the past, especially in recent months.
For me, the subject of bullying and intimidation is clear, it isn’t acceptable, and I can’t see any circumstance where it would be. Whether it’s bulling at my daughters school, or somewhere I frequent, the expectations from me are the same, that I don’t like to see others being bullied or belittled. It has even led me to speak to teachers in my daughters playground when I have seen it happening.
Over the past year, my wife and I have developed many good friendships with the people that go to our church. However, some events have caused me to question the important things in my life and what I am prepared to put up with. It has also reaffirmed other things that I feel I am right to hold dear. There is no need for details, but I was both shocked and surprised to find people I thought I knew, getting involved in bullying and intimidation. Not only that, but I also felt disappointed at those whose job it was to stamp it out, not doing enough.
I has led to a friend of ours leaving their role and also feeling vulnerable and questioning their own self worth. That is the worst part of this whole episode, and it will take time for them to recover from this treatment. All we could do was support and listen to them, and try to get those that needed to know, told. It led me to rethink my values and where I think my time should be spent. Was I right to feel so upset by this treatment of our friend? Was I making too much if it? Should I volunteer my time to a cause that allows this? My answer to myself was that I was right to feel upset and that any organisation that allowed this to go on was not one I wanted to be a part of.
For me it was fundamental, no matter how good or bad someone is at their job. No matter whether you agree with their views or not, nothing can condone bullying, or the acceptance of bullying by anyone. It is also important that it is called what it is, this isn’t a difference of opinion, or a little disagreement. These are often used as a way to circumvent the messy business of admitting the truth, especially if it means having to admit it’s happening.
It is important that everyone holds their values high and puts their family and their own beliefs before those that don’t care, or choose not to.

300 Posts Later, How Has My Blogging Changed?

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It is funny that I am sitting here writing my 300th blog post on this site. I have had other sites in the past, but this one has been the one that has kept me fulfilled and also been a cathartic way of expressing my anxiety and my struggles with it.
I thought it only fitting that I use this post to reflect on my blogging life and style. It is true to say that I haven’t always been a prolific blogger, especially when I have been having bad spells. However, I have always felt at home writing about my problems, and I hoped that they might inspire others to seek help or to know that there are others out there suffering in the same way.
When I first started writing on here with my first post I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to say or how I wanted to say it. It was more a case of just posting random things about my day and my health, which was good, but not exciting I guess.
Although I have done the occasional ‘list’ blog post, I don’t usually like doing them. I know they are popular and they are informative, but I never really started this blog to make money or do what everyone else does, it was more a case of saying what I wanted to say.
I have changed styles a little I think, I have recently started a musical reflection series and an anxious mind series, and I love doing them both. I don’t have a lot of time to blog these days, but I enjoy writing them just in case anyone reads them and likes them 😉
As you might also know from my site, I don’t usually write long posts, I don’t think people want to read a long piece about me or something I’m doing, they just want the edited highlights.
So, what next? Well, I want to carry on writing and doing this blog because it has become more than just a blog for me now. I also see this as a little piece of me that my daughter can look back and read. My dad did it with cassette recordings that I still have, and I hope that this will still be around somewhere when she gets older.

Dad, Can You Help Me Please?

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It is a question that every father hears at some time in their lives. The desperate call of their child asking for help with complete confidence in their father’s ability to deal with whatever it may be. So, this is the question that echoed up from downstairs as I was on the computer. The rest of the conversation went like this.
Me: What’s the matter?
Daughter: I’ve dropped my dolls arm down the toilet!
Me: Oh dear
Daughter: I don’t know what to do?
Me: Just flush it
Daughter: I can’t do that, it’s plastic it will end up in the sea!
Me: No, it won’t, just flush it
Daughter: Can you get it out for me?
Me: Can’t you reach it?
Daughter: Yeah but there’s poo in there I don’t want to touch it!
Me: What!? Well I don’t want to touch it!
Daughter: But it’s my favourite dolls arm (sob)
Me: How can you have a favourite dolls arm!?
Daughter: Please?
Me: (sigh) Ok then……is there much poo?
Daughter: No, just a little
She lied! The was a large poo staring up at me when I looked in the bowl. And close beside it was the small arm of a doll. In a moment of genius, I thought that I would use the long tweezers that we used for the fish tank. However, the tweezers were not as long as I had remembered, I still came perilously close to the yellow water with my fingers (yes there was pee too). I managed to grab it with the very end of the tweezers and lift it into the sink. I told my daughter to wash the arm while I tried to scrub the skin off my hand. Of all the dad help requests, this will haunt me forever.

My Memory Has Just Been Sold

Memory
Yeah I know the title is a little odd, but when I was thinking about this post, the song Centerfold by J. Geils Band popped into my head. For those who may be too young to know what I’m talking about, I provide the video for you.

I was laying awake in bed the other night unable to get to sleep when I thought about how Belicia would think about my blog. She knows I have one, though she has never read it. I thought that it would be a good way for her to get an insight into her dad and his slightly odd sense of humour. I also though that it would be a good way to remember facts and events that happened to us as a family.

My dad recorded tapes of me and him for a couple of years, talking about Christmas and birthdays, and my first day at school. I like hearing them now, and listening to the things that were happening then. My memory of my childhood is patchy at best, some doctors have said is was the trauma of my dad dying that blocked out a lot of it, but I am sure some of it would have returned by now.

If I think back, I get a few images of dad and I playing football in the back garden, and of the games nights we used to have, but there is little detail about anything. I am amazed how some people can recite almost all of their teachers from when they were a kid, I have to say that I cannot remember any name at all. I remember my science and PE teacher at secondary school, but only their faces, no names.

There is actually only one teacher I remember, Miss Stop. I think the reason I remember her was because of an unfortunate event that happened in her class at junior school circa 1979. I remember sitting there in the lesson and asking her the totally honest question “Are you pregnant Miss?” I never received a reply from her, I was just told to sit in the corner. I never did find out if I had offended her because it was too personal, or if I accidentally body shamed her. However, that event has forever sealed her name into my mind. If by some remote chance, a relative of Miss Stop, who worked at Kingsley Junior School in Croydon is reading this, I am sorry for the offence caused.

A Year of Reflection and Contemplation

2017
The year 2017 has been a year of firsts in many ways, some of them good, others not quite so much. However, one thing has remained throughout, is that family and friends are a vital part of survival.
On a personal front, 2017 has been the first full year without my mum who passed away just before Christmas 2016. It has meant that we have had to deal with events such as her birthday for the first time. I am conscious of the fact that she would have been proud of Belicia and how she has done this year at school and in her concerts and that gives me comfort.
Our daughter has started her secondary school this September, which was something my wife and I have been worried about for some time. She isn’t always good with change and such as big change as this we thought would cause issues. However, with the massive help of her new school, including a number of orientation days, she has started well and is loving the new environment. She has also been allowed to do swimming with us once a fortnight, which has given me the incentive to use the gym while my wife and her swim.
From a professional point of view, I have been trying to do more on my blog site as well as do the things I love such as writing and spending time with my family. Thankfully, I have been able to do both which I never thought would be possible a few years ago. I haven’t always done great projects, but they have given me the experience and portfolio to do better work.
So, what about next year? Well, I want to be more prolific in my blogging and aim to get my desire for better knowledge of mental health to those who can do something about it. One person can make a difference, and I know that there is always the opportunity to reach people, especially in our connected world.
I also want to continue this period of relative calm that my anxiety has found. Yes it is medicated, but it is still stable and that is the best its been for some while. I have also grown increasingly inclined of late to make my life and that of my family as straightforward as possible. One thing that has been most clear to me is that I want to do things that make us happy and give us positive memories. Of course, that isn’t always possible, but it means removing those things that upset us or have a negative effect on out lives.