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Saturday, 31 March 2012

Why self harming is still taboo and so misunderstood.......

I’ve written already about depression and how it makes you feel; but today I’m writing about what I was told was an “inappropriate coping mechanism” for it – self harming.

It’s a great shame that the subject is still so taboo; even today in our supposed 'enlightened society', for most people the very idea that an individual, for whatever reason, would self harm or even mutilate fills them with horror and disgust.

Others don’t want to address a subject they think is about suicide or what they see as the "lead up to it" (as I was once told it's often seen by non sufferers).  It’s a classic case of what I like to call ‘Head in the Sand Syndrome’ – if non sufferers can’t see it and won’t discuss it, then it’s not happening.  Of course most of us know that this theory never works and isn’t true; it's still going on, only in secret.

The first thing to note, especially if you’re a friend or a loved one of a self harmer, is that suicidal tendencies and self harming are not the same.  You can be suicidal and not self harm, and you can self harm and not be suicidal.  It can happen, but not often - usually a self harmer doesn't want to die, and a suicidal person would never dream of cutting themselves.

Self harming is brought on by many reasons; I’ve heard someone say it’s because they felt so ugly inside, that they wanted to show the world what they thought they should look like on the outside.

Others might do it as a way of physically expressing deep emotional rage, frustration or despair.  Sufferers do not have to be depressed; for some – I am one – it’s a control issue.  By cutting themselves they (I) feel they have some small amount of control over their lives.

Of course the tragic irony, as I learnt to my cost, is that ultimately the need to self harm controls you.  Even the smallest, slightest upset triggers a need to cut to be able to cope with the situation.   

You realise, with growing horror, that you’re addicted to the feeling of release of the emotions you think are 'trapped' in you – that, however it works and for whatever reason, harming your own body makes you feel better, calmer and more able to cope with the world around you.

In my case the knowledge that this was just another thing controlling me, when I felt my life was spiralling out of my control, was a total nightmare.  But I still couldn’t stop; for four years each and every time I swore it was the last, especially when my family found out - but still it continued.

The reactions varied; my husband was completely shocked and horrified, but very supportive.  My late mum, God rest her, went mental at me (this never helps and can actually make the sufferer worse; as their belief that they’re nothing, a waste of human DNA, is usually reinforced by this reaction). 

My own father acted as if it wasn’t happening and refused to discuss it, even with my mum – a classic example of HitSS; my inlaws told me to pull myself together and stop making my husband’s and daughter’s lives ‘awkward and unpleasant’. 

I also need to point out here that my daughter was much younger then and, as I’m so very accident prone, it was easy to tell white lies – I did hurt myself, but it was an accident.  Not a lie exactly, but not the whole truth either.

However, now she’s a very mature fourteen year old and she knows the truth – I’ve said before, over and over, I really hate lying – and so I’ve explained that it’s not the right way to deal with the terrible issues that life often throws at you.  There are other ways to handle it, and it’s best to do that before this sort of thing has a grip on you; but I didn't realise that at the time.  

I've tried to explain that talking about any problems always helps; that if there's something wrong I will do my best to help her, even if it's just listening to her and nothing more.  I suppose I want to ensure that she doesn't follow in my footsteps; this is something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.

The thing is that self harming is about addiction; the drive to do it is no less – in my opinion at least – than what I think the need for an alcoholic to obtain drink, a drug addict to get narcotics, or even a smoker to puff on a cigarette would be.

Most of us don’t enjoy it; but the pain and, in the case of a few of us, the running blood, frees us from the demons that constantly haunt us day and night.  The easing of the pressure we feel; that often makes many of us feel like we're about to explode into a trillion pieces, that suddenly dissipates the moment we cut, is the reason we do it.  

However, there are so many reasons people do this that I can’t honestly list them all here.  In fact I’m sure there’s even more I just haven’t found out about – the few I have mentioned are really just the tip of the iceberg.

The one thing to remember the most is that this is an affliction in the same way any addiction is.  The first time is a choice – there after it’s a need and ultimately it becomes a necessity.

It’s been four years since I regularly self harmed; and I was one of the lucky ones, my husband got me help as the first time I had self harmed it lasted over a year and my stopping it only lasted eighteen months.  When I started again, the whole thing escalated much quicker and the cutting became much more severe and lasted four years - before I finally made the decision to stop and accepted the aid I knew I needed.  

Sufferers really can't master this alone; self harming itself might be a solitary addiction, overcoming it definitely isn't.

But, as I said, I finally decided to seek help with my husband's support and went into counselling.  I do know that, in my case, my need to self harm, though constant does tend to worsen when I’m depressed.  And, although I’ve not regularly hurt myself for the last four years, I do still occasionally fall off the wagon when things get particularly difficult in my life and I feel my existence isn't mine to control once again.

I wouldn’t call myself a ‘control freak’, but I certainly don’t like – or respond well to – having absolutely no control over my own life.  However, other sufferers, because that’s what they are - suffering; aren’t as fortunate as I was and still am.  Though I haven't been in counselling for two years now, I still have the total and utter support of my husband and daughter.

But other sufferers of this taboo addiction, might well have families who scream at them about their selfishness, about their lack of care for them, and a myriad of other hurtful things that just makes the self harmer hack at themselves even more as they reel from such accusations.

It’s also not always teenagers who do it; some sufferers are even younger and others are pensioners.  One lady I heard about had been self harming for around sixty years – since the day after her wedding, when her husband beat her up for the first time, because she felt she was trapped in a violent marriage; it was her only escape, the only thing that made her feel better.  Perhaps in her own mind, wounds that she’d inflicted on herself were her own little bit of control wrestled from her abusive husband.

Another thing I’ve learnt over the years is that even the wounds differ from sufferer to sufferer – some, like me, make wounds that are easily dealt with themselves (even if they bleed).  But others will, quite literally, hack at themselves to the point where they need emergency medical help – much like a drug addict that has overdosed; only the self harmer in this case will do it every single time.

Why are we so different, even amongst ourselves?  I don’t know; I think, in this one case of addiction, that it varies person to person because the triggers for it do too.

Honestly,I can’t really tell you what drives us to do it; no more than a drug addict could really explain their driving need to get high.  I just hope I’ve given the tiniest window into our world so that you can see, even a little, that we’re not weirdos – we’re just desperate.  Some of us have been lucky enough to gain control over it; but even more haven't.

But if you know someone who is a self harmer, or you suspect they might be; please don’t confront them angrily, scream or hurl abuse.  Please don’t accuse them of being selfish, unfeeling or uncaring.  They’re not, they do and they are; it’s just that sometimes our view of ourselves and the world around us are skewed compared to yours.  This sort of reaction from those around a self harmer, whilst completely understandable, is not going to help and it might even make the issue worse.

Calm discussion helps; encouraging them to find out why they’re doing it helps.  Or, if they already know, how to address the underlying problem; working with them to find ‘appropriate coping mechanisms’ instead helps. Finding a professional doctor or counsellor more able to understand and deal with this, and thereby help them deal with it, helps.

But, they need to want to do it for themselves; not for you, or anyone else.  If they stop for others, they will only start again and that usually leads to even more self harming than before.  It’s just like any addict really.

Ultimately every day we don’t cut or hurt ourselves is a good day; every day we do we have to accept our failing, dust ourselves down and climb back on the wagon.   

Whilst I have every hope that one day I will finally stop self harming altogether; I also know, and accept, the need to do it - that nagging urge to do it will haunt me every day for the rest of my life.

So please, don’t condemn those who are self harmers – we’re no different to any other addict.  It’s just that, unlike them, our addiction is still taboo and so many sufferers don't think there's any help for them.   

The sad thing is, there is advice, support and guidance out there; but because no one talks about self harming, there's no real way to make all sufferers aware they're not alone and they can save themselves from the nightmare world they're stuck in.  I think for many, that loneliness and sense of isolation can just make an already grim situation worse............

This Simi, thanks for reading.......

Friday, 30 March 2012

Why losing weight costs you in more ways than one.....

I think what I hate most about losing weight is when you’re in-between sizes; it’s only then that your realise your current clothes are so big they’re now falling off you – which can lead to very embarrassing situations if jeans decide to go with gravity (and defy a belt too).

However, the next size down is so small that you realise the ‘burst sausage’ look is not good on any level. I know this because I had a similar......situation with vey baggy jeans; deeply embarrassing and we will never speak of it again.

So, what to do?  Well, I’ve taken the drastic step of altering a lot of my clothes; as I'm now broke, DIYing is the only option – but it does mean that, should I ever balloon again, then I am basically doing a Lady Godiva as I won’t have any clothes that fit.

On the plus side, at least I now have a few clothes that do fit me; though some need altering again already, as the more weight I lose then obviously they get big again.  But I won’t be changing them any more as even a slight weight increase would leave me up the creek, without the proverbial paddle.

It’s a real shame shops don’t do half or mid sizes – like a 12½ or a 13 rather than just a 12 or a 14.  But I can’t see that ever happening; the only thing changing these days is that models are getting so skinny now that clothing sizes are past zero and heading into minus numbers.

My other bug bear about clothes these days is how to measure myself for a bra.  I’ve tried looking online for a bra size calculator – but there are 11,400 hits and I've tried over twenty of them and every single one arrives at a different answer. I don't even know how that's possible, as the measurements don't change......

I know I should go to one of those proper underwear shops where no nonsense school matron types of women in thick tweed skirts, twin set and pearls, support tights (even in a heatwave) measure you up as if you’re going to need scaffolding and a crane.  

However, you might as well have those; as the bras are built almost the same way, cost the same as the Greek deficit and you feel duty bound to buy one of the horrors as the ladies are so helpful (if a bit bossy).

I know these sorts of bras are the best – completely supportive, boned, robust and fully in control; but it looks like it’s been resurrected from Queen Victoria’s wardrobe, is so restrictive I worry I might forget to breathe (assuming it even let’s me), and I don’t really want to have to go and rob a bank to pay for it (assuming there’s even that much money actually in a bank these days).

I mean yes, it’s the sort of support I need – but, with bits of me sinking southwards faster than Madonna’s bum, I do wonder if I even need to worry these days?  My daughter, yes; she's young and needs to ensure that certain areas don't sag too soon.  

But for  me – not so much; my sagging started long ago and without a block and tackle to hoist it all back into place I've given up.  Of course I know for a fact that my daughter would never wear such a contraption; indeed if I even suggested it she’d probably never speak to me again – such are the joys of being fourteen and not wanting every girl to laugh at you in the PE changing rooms.

In my case I suppose I'll just continue pulling up my jeans and drowning in my t-shirts; I’ll give the so-called official bra calculator another go - even though the way to work out your bra size is like doing alegebra in Swahili and the results are more than a little unbelievable.  As I said, losing weight is great; but dressing yourself whilst you’re doing so is like trying to slam a revolving door - looks fun on paper, but not in the practical attempt.

This is Simi, thanks for reading..........

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Cameron's fuel strike gamble........

So we’re looking at a fuel panic, despite there being no actual strike even announced yet.  The government deny they’re scaremongering, New Labour are absolutely silent (no bug eyed ranting from Wallace) and the union is just yelling at the car drivers clogging the forecourts “you're stealing our thunder; we haven't even walked out yet!”

Of course all this means that certain garages are now seeing pounds signs; there’s one in Birmingham that’s already put his fuel up by 4p a litre (diesel and petrol).  I think it will only get worse as more and more garages follows suit.  He says it’s because he’s having to pay more due to the frequency of deliveries; but we heard all this during the fuel protests in 2000, and it turned out to be a pile of steaming horse manure.

Profiteering, as far as I know, is illegal; yet, back then, and again now I’m sure, nothing will happen to those doing it.  The reason?  Well, to be honest it’s the same one for why the government is stirring the public up into a feeding frenzy of fear about fuel shortagesin the first place – they make money from our misery.

No change there then I hear you say; and of course you’d be right, but the problem is in this instance its some serious money.  They not only get about 55-60p per litre at the moment (so imagine all those queues and how that adds up for the exchequer); but they also get 20% on the final tally – so again another nice little earner.

George Osborne must be dancing round his ivory tower in delight.  Of course, for the rest of us plebs who do not have publicly funded...everything, then the ramifications of this are going to be horrendous. 

Especially as this is heading for the Easter holidays; and therein lies the second part of the government’s plan – stoke the panic buying and eventually the refineries will struggle to maintain output as the confusion and alarm spreads; you'll quickly find the situation spiralling into ever decreasing circles.  Certainly I’m watching the start of it on the news even now. 

If the strike goes ahead then, by the time it does, the public will be baying for the fuel tanker drivers blood and, most importantly to Cameron and Co, especially if he doesn’t denounce the strike – Wallace and Grommit’s, aka Ed Milliband’s, head on a very sharp stick; and if course his 5-10 point lead in the polls (dependent on which one you refer to) will evaporate quicker than snow in the Sahara. 

Bear in mind here that UNITE is the union that gives him and his party the most support, both financially and in voting numbers – Ed’s in a tight spot; denounce the union and have them ousting him quicker than you can say “where’s his brother?”, or don’t denounce them and have the public forming lynch mobs and scouring the streets for his bug eyed body.  

Perhaps he should ask Grommit – that dog’s smarter than most humans I know (including myself), and I often wonder if he shouldn’t be running the country?  Let’s face it, this current bunch have already made a dog’s dinner of a mess out it all; how much worse can a really smart plasticine dog make it?  But only if he leaves Wallace at home of course.

Back to the subject at hand; and I have to say that as sneaky practices go, this has to be up there with the big ones.....but, this all hinges on the strike going ahead.  If it doesn’t, then Cameron & Cronies are going to be the ones scraping the egg from their faces (as some are already doing if current reports are to be believed), and will find themselves sinking even faster than the Titanic in those all important polls.

Scare mongering is one thing if the scare actually happens; but if it doesn't then......well, I doubt he'd fare as well as Chicken Little.  The risk of no strike is rising; the element of militant stance in the face of public outrage is gone, the queues are already there, the stockpiling by households is already happening and the public are already angry with the (non-existent) strikers.

Currently the strike would really be a damp squib; Cameron might think he could argue that, SuperCam, deflected it into the New Labour camp where it destroyed his arch nemesis, Grommit Guy.  But the chance of the public buying that line is as about as likely as sewing pigeon wings to a pig and teaching it to fly.

Still, there’s the SAS motto that “he who dares, wins”; perhaps Cameron’s just following that saying  and guesses this is all worth the gamble.  But he should remember two things – 1,
there’s another saying, by Seneca, that goes “luck never made a man wise” - and if anyone needs wisdom, it’s Cameron; this little escapade has 'Epic fail' writ large on it.  

2, the public have long memories and there’s also the council elections coming up in May; if this goes wrong then he will suffer the worst public humilation since John Major admitted he did have a fling with  Edwina Curry (and she made that comment about his grey baggy underwear).  

So I shall sit back and stay calm and carry on watching this comedy of fails, errors and panic unfold.  The most hilarious thing about this is if there was a book or a movie with this plot, we’d all ridicule it for being too unbelievable.  In this case, you really couldn’t make it up, could you?

This is Simi, thanks for reading......

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Why evolution should dump us down a dead end and leave us there......

The world today completely horrifies me; I read the news and find myself seeing stories about families who are charged a huge cancellation fee (£2,300) on a holiday because the mum has been diagnosed with aggressive cancer and cannot wait for treatment - yet the holiday company seems to feel that dying (without immediate help) is not a good enough reason to cancel.  

A hit and run driver escaping jail so he can continue to 'look for work'; another man escaping jail because he was a father, despite having over twenty-one thousand child porn images on his computer that he admitted downloading because he was ‘addicted’....yes, that last one raised my eyebrows too.

Another story relates the details of an innocent victim beaten almost to death by three men for ‘fun’; apparently they were bored and drunk and decided that nearly killing someone would be entertaining.  These weren’t the youngsters the media usually scream about – these men were all in their thirties.  Yet another tells of eight railway workers being mown down by a black cab in London because they had an argument with the driver.

The worst story for me though is the one about the young Indian woman, Fakhra Younus, who finally committed suicide twelve years after being doused in acid by her ex-husband whilst she slept - she was only thirty-three.  

Unlike the marvellous Katie Piper, who I really admire, this poor young woman was unable to get the sophisticated treatment that's only on offer in the West; she'd had thirty-nine operations to try and repair the damage, but none had really gone beyond the basics to live - so she spent the last twelve years locked in the 'prison' of her face (her term). 

I feel so sad for her, for the monstrous crime against her.  Yes, she was horribly, awfully scarred – but that was on the outside.  Inside was a loving, warm and thoughtful young woman who had so much to offer all of us.  

A wonderful young woman and mother, who now will not get that chance because she was so horrified that her ex-husband was cleared of the atrocity, because he was rich and had many connections amongst the corrupt Pakistani government, that she felt she had to make the ultimate sacrifice to bring it to the world's attention.  

It seems in Pakistan this sort of barbaric 'revenge' is not as uncommon as you'd like to think; yet it's never spoken of, never dealt with.  So she did the one thing she thought would bring it out of the shadows and into the light of publicity. 

Sadly though, like the desperate Tibetans setting themselves on fire with alarming regularity recently, this despairing attempt at trying to gain justice will fail because, basically, no one in power really cares about those who are not wealthy or well connected.

Tomorrow another atrocity will fill the headlines and this poor woman, and the other victims I've mentioned, will already be forgotten. Their plight will remain unchanged; their story will become, quite literally, 'yesterday's news'. The world will rumble on it's way as it did before their forlorn attempt to seek justice.

When reading or watching the news lately I begin to wonder when will we stop in our headlong rush to brutalise each other?  Not just with similar actions as these, but with bureaucracy too – after all, the story about the family being hit with a huge cancellation fee is the pen pushers and bean counters way of using small print to profit from a customer's devastating situation.

It seems these days there’s nothing we won’t do to each other in the name of revenge, fun or money.  No act is too depraved or violent, no sum of money to high (or low) to steal.  A recent case of an elderly lady, aged eighty-seven, being brutally mugged for a measly eight pounds (and who later died), is just the tip of this particularly repulsive iceberg.

I wonder if I should just stop reading it all and commenting about it on the various news forums, because no one takes any notice of those of us who register our outrage at the brutality all around us; no one listens when so many people sign petitions to try and get our government to help the needy in this country – to help those who genuinely can’t help themselves.

I watched a programme about the second world war today and I thought “the poor sods who died in that war, and the first one before it, must be spinning in their graves right now.”  Their deaths, their fight for freedom and decency was pointless; completely and utterly meaningless.

For me, that’s the most depressing thought I’ve had in the longest time; so many millions of men who fought for us, so many civilians who died through no fault of their own because of that war for justice.  It now means exactly......nothing.

We definitely need to get a handle on ourselves soon; it’s about time the decent and law abiding of us started cleaning house, and riding ourselves of the depraved and criminal amongst us - there is no other way to stop the rot; we've tried them and they just don't work. 

People must be taught that there is a very serious consequence to their actions; that there is a harsh punishment for what they do wrong – otherwise we, as a species, are utterly cursed to the scrap heap of evolution. 

Let’s face it, would you bother letting us evolve any further? Wouldn't you take us down a dead end and leave us there? I know I would.

This is Simi, thanks for reading..........

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Depression and why it scares its sufferers so much.......

I’ve suffered clinical depression in the past and, I have to say, it’s the most soul destroying illness I have ever suffered from.  Forget the myriad of other ailments that hound me daily – they can, and are, dealt with with barely a pause.

But clinical depression is just a never ending treadmill of darkness and feelings of utter despair.  I’ve suffered two bouts of it in the past; one I tried suicide, timely intervention of family saved me – the second was four years of self harming that started out helping me cope, but ultimately ended up as just another mindset controlling me (and a permanent addiction that I continue to fight every day).

I swore then that I would never suffer from it again; I couldn’t.  But the trouble with clinical depression, as opposed to general depression, is there’s no outside trigger for it – no bereavement, divorce, house move, job loss or myriad of other factors that set it off. 

Clinical depression is instead, according to the GP who explained it, a lack of a certain enzyme in the brain that keeps your moods even.  When that enzyme is too low or missing, then the depression that follows is acute and, as there is no external factor causing it, unending unless treatment is given. 

My first bout lasted two years and the second one lasted over four; indeed I’m still on the antidepressants because I’m too terrified to come off them in case it reoccurs as bad as before.

Of course it’s still there, for the most part it just bubbles under the surface; whenever a doctor asks me how I’m doing in that area I reply that it’s like the results of when you mix water and oil – the oil sinks.  

There’s the clear safe water on top, but the disgusting goo of black oil is still very much underneath and still a threat.  So long as I remember that and stay fully aware of the risks, then with luck and a fair wind I can stay out of the black goo that will suck me down once more. 

I'm one of the lucky ones though in that my husband and daughter and my own late mum were, and are, so supportive; and that is an enormous help to anyone with depression.

Whilst clinical depression remains a threat, it doesn’t make me immune from the other kind of depression; and that’s why I’m writing this particular blog.  Indeed, all depressions are debilitating for the sufferer and shouldn't be treated lightly.

In my particular case, my father in law is in end stage bowel cancer, there is every indication its spread to other parts of his body; yet we’re all still acting as if everything’s fine, and pretty soon he’s going to feel better and be able to get about again. 

I think I’ve mentioned before I hate lying, not only because my own father is a pathological liar, but also because I'm terrible at it.  Yet here I am lying through my teeth because, though he’s completely aware he’s dying, my father in law refuses to accept it – and what he doesn’t want to do, he just doesn’t.  

My husband has his own current....obsessions that are driving me a little bonkers, and that’s all I’m saying on that one.  My daughter seems down about something but won’t say what and so, to a certain extent (and like so many other depressives), I feel like my life is spiralling out of my control once again.  That's not a good thing; that can lead to many horrible knock on effects.

Luckily these days I know the signs and so, on the whole, I can fight my way back to the surface before the dark oil of severe depression sucks me in.  I have bad days; days when the effort of getting out of bed, cleaning my teeth or even eating seems too much to even think about.  Days when sleep seems a good substitute because in my good dreams my late mum is still alive, my health is excellent and I am so very happy. 

Of course conversely sometimes I have real doozies of nightmares instead; ones where the world is ending, just like in the movie ‘2012’, and I am fighting to save everyone I love.......but failing miserably.  I’m sure Freud would’ve had a field day with that one.

Naturally the real world is what's most important; so I force myself to go through the motions and try to get over the bad day and start again the next morning.  I'm fairly certain that this time it's a passing phase brought on by outside sources; of course that doesn't make it any less frightening.

My Irish grandfather told me once that into every life a little rain must fall, so we can appreciate the sunny days.  And, if we get a downpour, then it just means a heat wave’s close behind.  Well, so far, I can only assume that someone ‘Upstairs’ is mistaking me for Noah; all I can hope for is that eventually they realise the mistake and the deluge stops.

I'm holding onto the hope that all the worrying problems around me right now, that's triggering the depression, will pass. I try not to dwell on it all for the most part; but I do worry that that black slick is creeping up on me once again, and I'm beginning to really worry that I might drown if I'm not very careful.

So, if you know someone who’s suffering from any kind of depression then, please, cut them some slack; don’t tell them to “pull yourself together”, “pull your socks up”, "snap out of it" or any of the old chestnuts that imply they’re putting it on and should just get over it already.  Depression is a very real, very deep, dark and horrifying place – we sufferers would love to be anywhere but here; because in this murky gloom that’s full of our worst fears, we’re all scared of the dark........

This is Simi, thanks for reading..........

Monday, 26 March 2012

Meet our dog – the king of cowards.......

Today I am mostly talking about my fraidy-cat of a dog (so much so that I'm thinking of changing that phrase to 'fraidy-dog').  As I think I’ve said before, he’s scared of many, many things.  Cows were the thing we noticed first; mainly when he dismembered the dog guard, vaulted the back seat and tried to become a lap dog with me in the front and no amount of coaxing would return him to the rear until we'd passed the fields of bovine (thank God I wasn’t driving at the time).

However, then we added sheep, horses, goats and hail to his list.  Of course this was swiftly followed by more...ahem.....bizarre items like my squeaking wheelchair, plastic bags, geese, swans, the wind (if it’s blowing in the trees) and leaves (if they move).  He doesn’t like sticks and, if you throw one, he just looks at you as if you’re mad; if you tell him “fetch!”, he merely gives you a withering look and wanders off (well, as far as his roving lead will let him).

We have now added a few other items to his ever growing list of 'things our dog is scared of': puddles (the kind that splashes up on the car windows as you go through them), rain (when it hits the windscreen) and, most recently of all, the dark.

Here I have to admit that he isn’t the first dog we’ve had that’s afraid of the dark – our late Spaniel Cross was also a real scaredy cat (dog?) when it came to the dark; indeed if you were getting ready to go to bed at night and turned all the lights off in the living room before she’d got to the door, she would just freeze wherever she’d reached until you turned them on again.  More than once we were only alerted to her being stuck in the darkened room when we heard a loud whimper, and hurried down to get her - she was usually so grateful to us for 'freeing' her that we felt awful for forgetting her in the first place.

Thankfully our current King Coward isn’t quite that bad; he at least makes a run for it – the only trouble is we’re all like so many skittles when he goes cannoning through us to escape up the stairs first.  Probably so that way the brain eating zombie he obviously thinks is behind him will stop to kill us, thereby giving Mr Dog the chance to escape - you can't argue with logic like that really can you?

Of course he’s not scared of everything; well, as much as we’ve discovered so far anyway.  He tries to chase ducks (well, it’s either that or he’s trying to be friends with them) it's just that we don't let him and he also dislikes small dogs.  Not that he has a go at them first; no, it's usually them laying on the hate.  

In fact in the early days of him moving in with us he loved all dogs – but after my father’s two Yorkies tried to bite him (more than once), and then at least six different White Westies tried to take a chunk out of him on six different occasions, well, you can kind of understand his reluctance to be friends with small hounds that are obviously furry serial killers in disguise.  Mind you, why it’s only the white Westies and not any of the black ones we haven't been able to fathom thus far.

He doesn’t mind fish, though he doesn’t like them splashing, and so I figure he’s not a complete and total coward.....yet.  Of course he’s only three and so there’s still time.  In his defence, and as far as we can ascertain, he was beaten by his old owners before being kicked out – no one knows what he might’ve suffered as a stray either – so really it’s kind of understandable that he’s a little, well, eccentric.

Still, that kind of fits in with us as we’re not the sanest family I know.  Besides, perhaps, just like Dorothy’s cowardly lion, he’ll get some courage when he needs it one day.  Until then we love him to bits, however much of a coward he is; and if he suffers from a little separation anxiety, we give him a little leeway there too and lot of love and training to help him over it.

Most of all he’s one of the family and if he’s as nuts as we are, including the cat (and thereby hangs another tale; quite literally), then we wouldn’t have it any other way.  After all, love me – love my dog.

This is Simi, thanks for reading.......

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Getting healthy seems to be worse than getting ill.......

It’s only going to be a short blog today as I am so stiff even my fingers hurt, and I have an upset stomach.  It seems the ‘healthy eating’ of (three of) my ‘five a day’ is not my friend; my body cannot deal with fruit.

So, what with my determination to get mobile and now this I am wondering if the next thing – cutting out snacks - will actually kill me?

I’m serious; chocolate to me is like plasma to everyone else – it runs in my veins.  Open up a passing stranger they’ll probably bleed O Neg; open up my wrist you’ll find neat chocolate oozing out.  Besides, eating fruit is not helping me get healthy, unless you count the many hurried staggers to and from the loo; I can’t even run at the moment (not that I've been able to for the last two years) – it’s like watching a penguin with a limp try to sprint......

Still, I know my body is throwing everything it’s got at me to give up this new regime; it’s got to like it’s new life of being pushed around everywhere and doing the housework over a week instead of all in the same day, every day.

But I’m not listening; I will weather upset stomachs, stiffened joints and chocolate cravings. I will get fitter, even if it kills me and – as it seems – it just might.

In the war for my body’s fitness levels, it seems my stomach and joints have become allies and fired the first salvos in what’s shaping up to be an ugly conflict.  My body might have won this battle but, if I survive the current apple, pear and banana assault, then I’m going for the hot shower and painkiller counter attack.  This will be backed up by the Pepto battalion my husband got me today, in readiness for just such an offensive.

And, as I muttered today whilst tottering around the shopping village like a wind up toy with a broken spring, I am not giving in. I am only forty-six years old, and being overtaken by very elderly ladies with walking sticks is no longer an option.  I would just like to add that it seems fruit is an acidic wolf in sheep’s clothing, only intent in turning stomach acid into a boiling cauldron of fire.......

This is Simi, thanks for reading.......