Passing it On

I’ve been thinking about babies recently.

Just thinking about them, mind, not taking steps towards having them. I have to finish the degree that I started, find out what the hell I want to do with my life, take steps towards making that a reality, come to terms with the idea of pushing a small human out of my vagina and gain some more life experience. Maybe then I’ll be ready to have a baby.

Also, I should point out that my cousin just had a baby and I went to the Christening over the weekend. That’s what prompted the whole ‘baby’ thing that’s currently happening in my brain (and spilling over onto my blog.)

It’s going to be years before I really think about having children, however for the purpose of this post I want to talk about something to do with them.

I worry that my children might have problems like I did.

I have no idea how I’d react if that happened- I don’t think any of us do. It scares me to think that I might bring a child into a world where they would be miserable. I had a textbook perfect upbringing and I still had problems.

I think it comes down to the age old question: nature or nurture?

Personally I think that it’s a combination of both, I can see areas of my upbringing that could have caused me to have mental health problems- bullying, especially the sexual bullying that I experienced as well as my lack of social skills contributed to me feeling isolated, unhappy and like an abnormal outsider.

However I also think that there is a genetic component… so I could create children with the same minds and the same hormones and the same problems as myself.

I don’t think this will stop me from wanting children of my own, or from having them. Mental illness isn’t the only thing that can run in families, many other illnesses do too and if we all cowered in fear of passing on the genes that we don’t like then this plant would be empty of our species before very long.

At the end of the day I can only hope that if/when I do have children I’ll be able to deal with whatever problems come up, whether they be serious, mundane, physical or mental.

’til next time,

Wren x

Teachers

Teachers are important, they guide us through the darkness and show us the mistakes that they’re made so that we can avoid experiencing them ourselves.

I’ve spent a lot of time without a teacher, I just could never find one. I think there’s something else as well, you need to be able to trust a teacher. It’s no good just taking what you can find. I think that you’re better off alone than with someone who you can’t trust.

I’m talking about all kinds of teacher, from academic to spiritual. I’ve never had a spiritual teacher, I moved away from that years and years ago when I moved away from Christianity. I loved the freedom that Paganism gave me, I enjoy being my own teacher and making mistakes. It helps me to feel independent and closer to my Gods.

In terms of my academic life I’ve had teachers that I hated and didn’t trust at all. I’ve always had a mistrust of teachers, it goes right back to being five or six and having them laugh at me when I told them that I was being bullied. That sort of impression when you’re young can spawn a lifetime of hurt feelings.

There are a lot of good teachers around, I’ve encountered them time and time again. I’ve had teachers who’ve positively influenced my life and who I’ll be indebted to forever.

In terms of my spirituality I never had access to a teacher. When I was starting out there just wasn’t anyone there to guide me. I think it’s very hard to find someone when you are young and don’t come from a Pagan background or live in an area with a large Pagan community. Now I’ve gotten to the stage where I feel confident enough that I don’t want to engage a teacher.

In terms of my academic development I’ve had some amazing teacher and some appalling teachers. I’ve decided to go ahead with the guidance of a teacher that I trust, but not regular lessons. I spent the last year with an appalling teacher, I don’t want to put myself back in that position again.

If you feel you need or want a teacher, take your time and find someone you can trust. I think it’s better to try things by yourself than be dependant on someone you don’t trust.

Blessings,

Wren x

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

sisterhoodoftheworldbloggersaward

The Rules:

Thank the blogger who nominated you providing links back to their website.
Display the logo on your blog.
Answer the ten questions set for you.
Make up ten questions for your nominees.
Nominate ten people.

Right, as some of you may have noticed I don’t do these things a lot, but this is one that I haven’t seen before and I was nominated by the wonderful Heidi of Geeky Scribbles, so I really couldn’t say no!

1. Favourite book of all time?

This is incredibly hard, there are so many books that have had a massive impact on me. If we’re looking at my whole life I might have to say The Secret Garden. It was my go-to book for escape when I was younger; however I do have to mention The Railway Children, the entire Famous Five serious, Anne of Green Gables, Steve Augarde’s The Various/Celandine/Winter Wood, Black Beauty, Jennifer Donnelly’s Revolution/A Gathering Light, Little Women.

Okay, so that’s more than one book…

2. Is there a book you wish you’d written?

On one hand, no, because the books that I wish I’d written I either have written, am writing or am planning to write.

On the other hand if I had to pick a book I’ve narrowed it down to: Rising ’44 by Norman Davies, The Various by Steve Augarde or The Crimson Petal and The White by Michel Faber.

3. What is the biggest achievement you’ve made this year?

Probably getting a Distinction in my ATCL with Trinity College London.

4. What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a vet, then I wanted to be a barrister, then I wanted to be a mental health nurse, then I wanted to be an actress…

5. Worst thing in the world?

Being alone and unloved.

6. Best thing in the world?

Being surrounded by people who love me.

7. What changed your life forever?

Having depression; I don’t think I’d be the person that I am today without going through that. As horrible as it was and is, it’s made me into me and weirdly I am actually grateful for that. It’s very humbling and it’s made me a better person.

8. If you could have a book character move in with you, who would it be and why?

Jo, from Little Women. I thought about this for a while, there are so many characters that I love and that I would love to spend time with, but if I had to live with one then I’d want someone with a bit of fire. I think we’d balance each other out well… and probably start a revolution.

9. If you had to either give up the internet, or books, which would you give up?

As sad as it sounds, I’d probably give up books. BUT I only say this because you can get books via the internet (Kindle etc.) Whilst it wouldn’t be ideal I feel that the internet could give me everything that books do and more.

Doesn’t mean I’m going to stop buying books though…

10. Who is your role model? Is there anything you’d like to say to them?

I don’t think I have a role model… my Gods are the closest thing to a role model that I have, and I speak to them all the time. I have an idol though; Marie-Madeleine Fourcade, I wouldn’t say anything to her if we were to meet- I strongly believe in the ‘never meet your idols’ rule of thumb.

 

My ten questions are:

1. Who had the most (positive) influence on you as you were growing up?

2. Would you rather know when or how you’re going to die?

3. If you could be remembered for just one thing, what would it be?

4. Do you have any regrets?

5. What’s the best decision you’ve ever made?

6. What one piece of advice would you give your twelve year-old self?

7. What was your favourite subject at school?

8. What was the book/film/TV show that had the most influence on you?

9. Describe your perfect night in.

10. What’s your biggest fear?

 

I nominate:

http://teezywrites.com/blog/

http://hocuspocus13.wordpress.com/

http://avalonrainsongblog.wordpress.com/

http://tlohuis.wordpress.com/

http://dysthymiabree.com/

http://stregajewellry.wordpress.com/

http://andigehlin.wordpress.com/

http://makeupandmirtazapine.com/

http://dysfunctionalteenagedirtbag.wordpress.com/

http://casuallymental.wordpress.com/

 

’til next time,

Wren x

 

Five Years

Five years and one day ago my life changed forever.

It was petty and stupid, the chain of events that lead to what happened that night. I’d been depressed for about a month, I didn’t know what was happening to me and I reached breaking point. I tried to get help, no-one knew what to do and said the worst things that they could have said. I tried to take my own life, I failed.

From that day on my life changed, I can think of other times that have changed everything for me but that’s the big one. I can’t believe that I’m sitting here, five years and one day later writing about it calmly and casually.

My life has changed completely. It wasn’t an easy journey by any stretch of the imagination, I had to do a lot of things that I didn’t want to do, I had to wait, to grit my teeth, to make some serious mistakes and then pick myself back up again time after time.

I’m not trying to say that it’s all over, that I’ve won the game, I’m just trying to say that things can get better.

Mental illness can’t be ‘cured’, but it does get better. There are periods of my life when I struggle, and periods where I feel on top of the world. That’s normal for anyone, mentally ill or not.

In the last five years I’ve come further than I ever thought I could. When you’re depressed you can’t really think about the future, so I can’t tell you how things have panned out compared to how I expected them to… to be perfectly honest I didn’t expect to be alive right now.

I couldn’t imagine surviving five years feeling how I felt, every day felt like forever. I just wanted to die, over and over again I just wanted to die.

I’ve spent five years taking baby steps, building something for myself. I think that we don’t often look back and congratulate ourselves on a job well done- I mean, what’s the point in being successful if you never enjoy it?

The first year was the hardest, I struggled for a long time with self harm and went through a lot of therapy in order to try and get a handle on my problems. I became intimately acquainted with the mental health services. I was very, very depressed.

The second year was when my depression eased off but hallucinations and delusions began to take over. I kept on with the counselling but rapidly became sceptical. I continued to self harm, we moved twice in this year (which I actually think did me good.) I finished my compulsory education and started sixth form.

The third year was a good year, I made lots of friends and began to find an identity for myself. I was a reckless teenager for a while, I struggled with low mood and a few bubbling hallucinations that leapt up from time to time but otherwise I managed to get a handle on them.

The fourth year was the most dramatic. I cut all ties with the mental health services, my friend committed suicide, I got into drama, I had an awful low, my Auntie died, I finished school and got a dead-end job, I had a crazy, rebellious summer, I started my acting course.

The fifth year was when I finally went on anti-depressants, underwent a gruelling acting course, learnt who I didn’t want to be, had a career crisis, met my amazing partner and came off anti-depressants.

Recovery is possible; a bright, happy future IS possible.

’til next time,

Wren x

 

Spirits

Do you believe in ghosts?

It’s an interesting question, I think a lot of us do, deep down, but don’t like to admit it. Ghosts are something that are so ingrained in many cultures and pop up over and over again throughout history. To my mind, there has to be something there to cause these beliefs.

I do believe in ghosts, I’ve experienced things that I can’t explain any other way. From a very young age I’ve had several experiences that I still just can’t explain. I can understand why a lot of people are sceptics, it’s perfectly normal to not believe in something until you have the evidence of it.

I believe that active haunting are caused by spirits who have unfinished business and cannot move on, a residual haunting is where a traumatic event is recorded and replayed by the surroundings. I think that there is more to the afterlife than we will ever understand, and that’s part of why I like to be open minded about spirits.

A lot of the time I think it’s best to trust your gut; as with most things hindsight can be the best judge. I grew up in a haunted house. As I was growing up I knew that there was something else there, I knew that something was watching me. However I only definitely realised that my house was haunted since I moved out. Now I live in a house that is not haunted, I can tell just from the atmosphere.

There were a lot of things that happened in my old house that I couldn’t explain; human-shaped shadows where there were no windows, the sensation of hands on my back.

I don’t think that you need to worry about ghosts unless they scare or harm you, and I think that you can deal with them by just talking and treating them as you would a living person.

I think that there’s more to the world than we will ever understand, and keeping an open mind is a wise thing to do.

Blessings,

Wren x

Feminism

I am a feminist.

I think there are a lot of misconceptions about feminism and what it is, it’s quite a powerful word with a lot of negative connotations. Essentially, you are a feminist if you believe that women should be treated as equals to men in all areas of life… it’s not about hating men, or thinking that we’re better than them. It’s about equality.

Women are bombarded with ideas of how we should look and behave. I am so sick of having to put out box after box of women’s magazines every Tuesday morning at work and seeing the ridiculous articles and insipid lifestyles promoted by them.

We are more than our weight and the number of people we have had sex with. We are more than ensnaring a man, pumping out children and looking pretty. We’re supposed to live in the twenty first century; a modern society, yet we’re still stuck in the past when it comes to how we view women.

Don’t get me wrong, men face pressure from society too; they’re supposed to sleep with lots of women, be flippant about relationships, be physically strong and not show sadness. However, I want to focus on women for the moment- I’ll get around to men sometime soon.

I recently read a list on the internet where a group of men criticised women’s ‘fashion mistakes’. I was fucking appalled. It’s not often that I really throw the f-word about on here (or maybe it is… I don’t remember) but I’m so angry about it that I might actually say it again… I was absolutely, fucking appalled.

I was appalled that in this day and age a bunch of ignorant, self obsessed, narrow minded, chauvinist pigs could sit down and have the gall to say what they said.

Now, there are probably a lot of articles on the internet where men express their opinions on what they do and don’t like to see in a woman (physically), however this one used disgusting language, insulting every common fashion or make-up choice and even going as far as to say that women who are over-weight should put their time and effort into losing weight and not dressing nicely. The author said that he found it ‘disgusting’ when he saw an over-weight woman spend a lot of time on her appearance.

This article stirred up a lot of things that I have been thinking about recently; I can’t even form an educated response to it.

All I want to say is that I am disgusted and disappointed… and, you know something, misogynist morons of the internet? If a woman wants to get a piercing, she can. If she wants to wear red lipstick, she can. If she wants to spend her entire life in a tracksuit, she can. If she wants to spend an hour putting her make-up on, she can. If you feel that it’s ‘such a loss’ to see a woman with short hair then why don’t you grow your hair long and put in the hours of maintenance that it takes to keep it looking so nice?

There is a fundamental thing that you don’t seem to understand; if a woman does a particular thing with her appearance then she’s doing it for her (or at least, if we lived in a perfect world then she would be), she’s not asking for your opinion, or permission or approval.

I’m not trying to say that you can’t have an opinion of what does and does not attract you, physically, to a woman. That’s fine and normal- but when it’s worded and presented in a negative, offensive way using vile language (example: ‘women who wear red lipstick look like fucking clowns.’) it is NOT OKAY.

So crawl back into your darkened bedrooms, shut your mouths, learn some manners and respect and get the hell off the internet.

’til next time,

Wren x

Suicide Prevention

I want to talk about suicide.

When I was sixteen I tried to kill myself, I didn’t succeed and ended up taking some time off school to try and recover; physically I was pretty much unharmed but mentally it was like my mind had been wiped clean.

I’ve tried to end my life a handful of times, some of them came closer to actually causing my death than others. Each time it was like I died and was born again; this probably sounds a little dramatic but I can’t think of a more accurate way to describe how it felt.

The attempt that happened when I was sixteen was the one that inspired me to create this blog, and the one that inspired me to live.

As I said before, after the attempt I had some time off to recover- then I went back to school. I didn’t feel any better than I had done, I still felt desperate and suicidal, I planned to take my life- this time for good. I’d tried to get better, to recover, but it wasn’t working. I realised that I’d truly reached the end of the road and I wanted to die.

I can’t describe what it’s like to get to that point, if you’ve never been there then you won’t understand, and that’s a good thing- you don’t want to. Even now, three and a half years later, I’m at the point of tears when I think about that time in my life. To think about committing suicide is to think about saying goodbye to your Mum, your brother, your best friends- even just your belongings. It’s to imagine the world turning and turning without you. It’s to imagine how your parents will live after their worst nightmare has come to life.

I sat through a physics lesson; I was completely brain-dead at this point, my mind was just going through the formalities of how I was going to end my life. It got to near the end of the lesson, I was starting to pack my bag when my physics teacher came over and lingered in front of me.

He asked me if I was okay.

I just sort of stared at him for a while and didn’t answer.

He said that he’d noticed that I hadn’t been in school for a while and wanted to check that I was alright. That he’d help me if I needed anything.

I told him that I was fine.

I didn’t kill myself that night, in fact, I haven’t tried to end my life since then.

I don’t know exactly what it was about those thirty seconds that changed my life; but whatever it was it worked.

It’s tiny little things like these that save lives; my physics teacher will probably never know the massive impact that he’s had on my life, but it just goes to show that we can all help to prevent suicide. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do for a living- you never know what’s going through the heads of the people around you.

We can all make a difference.

’til next time,

Wren x