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The person behind the blog

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I thought it would be good to share more about me and my personality so you can get to know the person behind the blog. These are words and phrases I associate with myself.

  • Total Hip Replacement/ Perthes Disease– As of August 2011 I have had a false left hip, done aged 25, made of plastic and ceramic with a metal stem. I had it done due to osteoarthritis in the hip brought on early by childhood hip issue Perrthes Disease.

  • OCD– Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, diagnosed aged twelve.

  • Autism/ Aspergers– I was diagnosed aged thirty-one, but have suspected I have it for years.

  • Disabled- I am less physically disabled now than I used to be thanks to my hip replacement, but know that it will not last for ever. Also my mental health can make me feel somewhat disabled at times. Autism is not a disability as such if you see it as just a different way of thinking, but it is often classed as one such as when applying for benefits or educational support.

  • Social Housing– I live in social housing,which is what used to be known as council housing in the UK, but now run by different housing associations. I have been living in my one bed flat since Easter 2016 and I really like it.

  • Benefits– I receive government benefits. Currently I get Employment Support Allowance as for various mental health reasons I can not work full time right now. I also get housing benefit to help with my rent. I have in the past had Disability Living Allowance, now changed to Personal Independents Payments, but I am not eligible for it at this current time.

  • Volunteer– I have been volunteering for various local charities and good causes since I was seventeen. It helps me to get out more, make friends, learn work related skills and add to my CV. I currently help a community craft shop, do administration work for my local community centre and help another charity run their Facebook page.

  • Drama Degree– I graduated the University of Lincoln with a BA (Hons) Drama degree in 2011. I really enjoyed my three years there.

  • Sister/ Aunt– I have one older brother and am an aunt to his two children, a nephew and a niece. I love being an aunt.

  • Devon– My home county where I lived all of my life, apart from time away for university.

  • Crafting– I have been making cards to send people for years. I now also make small things to sell under the name The Gothic Butterfly. I have a small shelf in a local craft shop and a Facebook page. I decorate gift boxes and bags, make gift tags, book marks and other small objects.

  • Colouring- Now it is very popular to do adult colouring, but I was doing it before it was so easy to even get adult colouring books. I find it helps me to relax and distracts me from my anxiety.

  • Theatre– A life long love of mine is going to the theatre to see many kinds of performances. I love musicals, plays, ballet and modern dance. I also enjoy some opera and stand up comedy, although I am a bit more fussy about which of these I would go to see.

  • Pub Quizzes– I enjoy going to various pub quizzes regularly with a group of my friends. Not only is it fun to take part and test out how much general knowledge I have, it is a good way to socialise.

  • Writer– I have always enjoyed writing and have had good feedback for my writing more so than anything else in my life. As well as this blog, I write a daily diary which I helpful to explore my thoughts and feelings. Writing for me can be kind of therapy. I also have pen pals around he world I write letters to.

  • Internet– I love the internet, it is somewhat of an addiction for me I admit, but it has been such a help to me during low periods of my life I do not care. Social media is for me a tool that I can use to express myself and keep in touch with friends which as an autistic person I always find quite tricky. I mainly use Facebook, but I also occasionally use Instergram for photo sharing. I obviously use the internet to share this blog and like most people use email. I also use the internet for a variety of other functions which I have written about before in a previous post.

  • Cafes/ Coffee Shops– I really like to drink coffee and hang out in coffee shops. Although I do go to pubs sometimes, I tend to spend more money and time in cafes. I often get quite tired from my mental and physical health issues, cafes are a good place to go and recharge my batteries when out. I like the relaxed, often friendly atmosphere of a cafe. I also really like coffee and cake.

  • Television– I watch a lot of TV. I find it helps with my mental health to distract me from my own anxious thoughts and not over think negativity about things in my life. I also really enjoy certain programs. I really like Call the Midwife and Doctor Who. I like some documentaries and have learnt a lot from watching many on the BBC. I also like some sitcoms and animated comedy such as American Dad.

  • Music– I enjoy listening to music a great deal. My favourite bands are The Rasmus, a Finnish rock band and Train, American soft rock. I enjoy the music of old bands such as Pink Floyd, the Kinks and the Mamas and the Papas. I like a lot of funk music from the 1970s and 80s. I like a lot of musicals show tunes. Also when in certain moods I enjoy classical music.

  • Cheese– A life long love of mine is cheese, I even ate strong blue cheese as a small child. I am yet to find a cheese I do not like (apart from goats cheese, which has an after taste I dislike).

  • Dark Purple– This has been a colour I have been drawn to all of my life. I like it in nature, in things that I wear and around my flat. I am not sure why this is, but I remember liking purple things from a very young age.

Writing this you would think would of been easy, but it was harder than I thought it would be.  I had to work out how much I wanted to reveal about myself and what things I even do associate with myself.  Other people may associate different things with me, but this is how I see myself.

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Party Season

A short mini blog, a song that I have been working on in my head this week for the Christmas season

(To the tune of O0m-pah-pah from Oliver)

‘Tis the party season
Or so they always tell us
But where are all these parties
I’m blowed if I know

I bet it’s all some media invention
Of some advertisement
To get us all to buy posh frocks
We’ll never wear
I’m not invited to Christmas parties it’s true
But so is no one else that I know

The only parties I can think of
Are the Christmas work dos
And no one really likes them
Even if they say that they do

They are social nightmares
No one knows what to say
Then things get very awkward
At work the next day

I’m not invited to Christmas parties it’s true
But so is no one else that I know

I bet there’s some in London
For the swanky people
Where the plebs are not invited
It’s out of our league

They get it all done for them
By a party planner
With fancy decorations
In some matching theme

I’m not invited to Christmas parties it’s true
But so is no one else that I know

I’ve still got presents to wrap
And cards I’ve not yet written
I’ve got to buy a turkey
And put up a tree

So you can keep your Christmas parties
With the extra hassle
Ordinary people
Just don’t have the time

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Writing lyrics for therapy

In my last blog post I wrote about the songs which have affected me and helped me in some way with my emotions and feelings. This time I decided to share some of my own lyrics that I write. I find writing lyrics sometimes gives me a somewhat cathartic feeling, helping me to release my emotions. As I can’t write music you may like to think of these more as poems, although sometimes I do have a kind of tune going on in my head. I have been thinking about sharing my lyrics for a while now, but they have some very personal thoughts and feelings in them that I was not sure I was ready to share before. However I now feel that I am able to share them as I have got used to sharing so much with people in my blog.  I am not saying they are very good lyrics, but they do show how I sometimes feel and explain my mood swings somewhat maybe.

Feeling and Thinking (I see this as a sort of Scandinavian style Emo song)
I’m feeling very, very strange
But for me this is kind of normal
I’m feeling like a part of me just died
But I don’t think I’ve been fully alive for a long, long time

I am totally crazy
Or is this just a crazy world, where everybody feels insane?
I mean what is the definition of normal?
You left without explanation
You left me once again
I only asked for a reason
But I only got silent confusion

I’m feeling very, very sad
But for me this is kind of normal
I’m feeling like I should be glad
But I don’t think I’ve been fully happy
For a long, long time

I’m way over thinking
Every little thing that I do
I even think about thinking
I wish I knew what to do
It’s driving me MAD!

I’m feeling somewhat frightened

Depression (A fairly slow song, sung to a melancholy tune that sort of plods along in a heavy way much like depression)

I only have to think of you and I know I’m going to be sad
I know the feeling is going to take over for a while
I will lie there and play out everything we did in my mind
Then imagine the scenes that never even happened, happened to us
You become my fantasy man

The light is slowly fading away
The walls of the tunnel are closing in around me
I only wanted someone to guide me through the darkness
To hold my hand and show me the way
The walks of the tunnel are closing in around me

I live in my dream of what could be
In my dream it does not hurt as you don’t leave
I become what I can’t be
However I can’t quite escape reality
I will never be free

Where Do I Go From Here (A rock song with a somewhat angry guitar sound)

Please don’t go
Say It isn’t so
Say it’s something we can work on together
Close your eyes
Imagine us without each other
I can’t, can you?

Too late, you said goodbye
Where do I go from here?
Do I pick myself up?
Dust myself down?
And wait for another you?
Or do you think I’m better off alone?

One day
I might get my forever after
But right now
I must learn to deal with this
Just me
Right here on my own

You’re Messing with My Mind (this is a kind of Imelda May rockabilly style song with a heavy double bass sound)

You’re messing with my mind
You’re messing with my brain
You’re driving me totally insane
You ‘aren’t good for me
No, no, no
You bring out my bad side

You drink and you smoke
You like a good toak
You see this all as some great big joke
You ‘aren’t good for me
No, no, no
You bring out my crazy side

You got me feeling so confused
One minute you’re as nice as pie
Then next you are a nasty guy
What am I supposed to do?
I think I am in love with you

I’m messing with my heart
I do it all the time
I fall in love so fast
There’s no way it can last
No, no, no
I bring out my dumb side

I am a Writer

Right now the only thing I feel that I am really good at is writing. I have always enjoyed writing since I was young. It is the one area in which I get consistently good comments from people. I sometimes get nice comments about other things I do, but never as regularly as I do about my writing. It has been this way ever since I started school, writing was the area in which I knew my marks would never be that bad. At university my best marks were for my written theory work. I got OK marks for most of my performance practicals, but the written side always got me my best marks.
I decided last year to start this blog as I thought it would be a good way to get back into writing. A way to express some of my thoughts and feelings about things I have been going through. I was not sure if many people would read it, but for me it was more the actual act of writing and knowing that it had the potential to be read by someone. However right from the first post I started getting good numbers reading it and some very good feedback. A lot of the first people to read it were my family and friends, but I now have total strangers signing up to follow my blog and commenting on it too! It is a brilliant feeling knowing that your writing is good enough for people to want to read more of it.
I decided to write on the topics of disability and mental health as I have a life time of experience in these areas and have opinions and ideas on these topics that I wanted to express. I also add in posts about being on benefits as that is affecting my life in a large way right now, and often it can impact on my mental health. It helps that I am a very opinionated person who not afraid to tell people exactly how I feel about things. Being very honest in my blog matters to me, as I want to use it as a way to tell the world what I am really thinking and feeling about things.
I find writing this blog, and writing in general therapeutic in some ways. I find it helps to get things off my chest and out in the open. Writing also helps me focus my mind on what is really the issue and not to worry about so many things all at once. As I write I read back what I have just written and sometimes realise what I was anxious or angry about actually sounds daft when put out in the open like that. It gives me perspective on things. It also forces me to make my thoughts more coherent so that people can understand me which in turn sometimes helps me understand myself better.
Recently I had a blog post published on a campaign website about forced ‘volunteer’ work on job seekers allowance. I emailed them about my experiences, and they said I wrote about my experience very well and would I write a short blog for them. Despite it being unpaid it felt like a kind of commission, like a real writing job. I was proud of myself that I wrote so well they were willing to put it up on their website and post it on their Facebook page. I very much enjoyed the experience of writing for someone else and would love to do it again.
In fact my dream job would be as a writer. A kind of journalist or opinion page writer, the kind of thing you might read in the Guardian in the magazine pull-out. I also think I would be good at writing for websites or as a press officer for a local government organisation and that kind of thing. I am really struggling to get regular work in retail or hospitality or any other day-to-day area, so I am wondering if my talents would be better served doing something like writing for a living. However I do not know how you go about getting into writing as a career, it is not the kind of job you often see advertised on a jobs board online. I fear it might require knowing the right people in the industry, but sadly I do not know anyone like that. If anyone has any ideas how I could get started with this please feel free to share them with me. Even if it is unpaid work, it would be great to have more experience in writing for other people.
Currently I am stuck in a seemingly endless job searching rut and need to get out of it for my own sanities sake. Having been unemployed for over two years (bar a three-month retail job over a year ago), with the job centre driving me gradually more and more insane, old mental health issues I thought I had dealt with in my early twenties are resurfacing. I am wondering if maybe, just maybe writing could be my salvation.

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