When faced with my demons I clothe them and feed them…

Archive for July, 2011

Knee Deep in Neediness

Yes I’m an addict. I’m addicted to love.

The highs are just great. I’m intoxicated by this man. Enthralled by how I feel when all is going well.

Then when we argue or have a falling out and he leaves. Yes it’s so predictable. I feel terrible. Just like withdrawing from a drug. This is why most people probably decide to kick the habit.

I hate myself for being so weak. Why can’t I come to terms with living in the world without feeling compelled to seek a fix of some sort?

I’m trying to hide from the world behind my son and M, but they pull me back into the world, ultimately you cannot use people as a human shield.

And when I come face to face with my own desperate neediness I do start to wonder if I’m kidding myself that it’s really love at all.

I’ve always been so good at deluding myself. My powerful imagination always takes up the slack when reality is too harsh to face.

And I always seem to attract men who are loners who essentially are self-sufficient. Am I just doomed to rejection and abandonment because this is familiar, this is my pattern?





The Joys of Parenthood

Hi folks. As we speak my son J is still home with me. Officially he is supposed to be in a children’s home nearby. This entails a fair bit of surreality as the various Haringey services involved attempt to keep all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed as he is under a full care order of the local authority and is therefore officially pronounced ‘missing’ if he is not there.

However pretty much all the officials involved can see his (and my) point of view that no teen of 15 years wants to be in a care home if there is an alternative…being home with family.

Things between my partner M and J have been harmonious so far but we could still be in the honeymoon period if you know what I mean.

It’s not always sweetness and light. I never thought it would be for one minute. J gets annoyed with me if I do things like start to ‘pick up’ his room (as the Americans say). He wants to do that himself. I also stand accused of being too honest with the authorities sometimes and telling them things they don’t need to know. He ticks me off as if he were the parent and I the child.

But to be perfectly honest, as they say in AA, these are high class problems. What I was looking at was a son who was school refusing, smoking weed, worse, skunk, with a bunch of juvenile delinquents in the last care home, and generally acting out and being difficult. Now I’m with a relatively normal teen who is in his room ‘too much’, sometimes sits up most of the night on his XBox, sleeping late as a result and so on.

Sometimes it seems I share a house with not one Prodigal Son type but two…

My male partners (well at least the last two) always seem inclined to take Jasper’s side over me. But in a way that’s how it has to be, otherwise he is gonna feel got at and like HE is the cuckoo in the nest who isn’t really wanted…

He is sensitive like me, angry and frustrated as I have often been, moody like me, loves his music like me, and if I can’t go the extra mile to understand and empathise with him I don’t honestly know who else could…

It’s not easy being Zoe so how is it gonna be a walk in the park being Zoe’s son?

This is basically why I never really planned on having kids. I was ambivalent about life itself and was not at all sure if I wanted to be even partly responsible for someone else’s…

Sorry if that offends anyone but I’ve got to tell it as is, what’s the point of sweetening the pill or replacing it with a sweetie?

There’s nothing that’s harder work or more exhausting for me personally than ‘trying to be something I’m not’. I used to accuse my ex-friend A of pathological people pleasing but I too am a people pleaser who tries to be universally liked. One of the hardest things for me when I am very down and depressed is not feeling hated as such but simply not being liked.

I wasn’t perfect mum material. I do have maternal qualities, but I just can’t be fulfilled as a single mother (especially of a son!), I seem to need to have a man around to support me. Now that I’ve actually got one I’m strong enough ( I think with God’s help and grace) to fulfil the role of Mum to my only child. It’s an awesome privilege.

Off to do some hoovering. Love you. Z X

I’m a Lucky Girl

The luck of those born in the Year of the Tiger is legendary, though they are also destined for stormy times and even at times deep despair…

Think of the mummy tiger who has lost her cubs. The bravery, the courage and endurance she shows as she single-mindedly searches the jungle and the forest for her offspring.

Look at what’s happened to me folks. I lost a best friend and a partner last year. This led me to utter desolation and out of that despair was born a faith in God that exceeded what I had before.

I picked up my rather dusty Bible and read aloud from the Psalms, espectially those of King David. I also learned to pray ‘Jesus Christ Son of God have mercy on me a sinner’, over and over again.

I realised that despite my powerlessness over my manic depression, I was a sinner at the end of the day. I offended God with my grandiosity and arrogance, peeps. I often felt like God, believed everything was my responsibility, was paranoid as hell because I felt I was single-handedly fighting the war between good and evil. I encontered the Devil in many forms.

My behaviour when high hurt people, folks. The single one to feel it the most was very likely my own mother. I tended to turn my rage on her and she became my personal scapegoat for all that was going wrong in my life.

Luckily for me she had a steadfast, loyal and unselfish mother’s love for me, and she never gave up. She showed me great compassion on many occasions when I turned in my despair and isolation to her for comfort.

In fairness to myself, it should also be said that she lacked a full understanding and empathy for me simply because she had never herself experienced the ravages of manic depression.

I was a woman in dire need of a partner, someone special I could call my own. I did the best I could with R and he likewise but in the end circumstances forced us to make the final break. After much grieving and emotional and mental anguish last summer I encountered the Polar Bear Community and their Connections Coaching programmme. This helped me to build up my strength and courage again.

Then I met two Romanians, L and D who were to play a key role in my life for a couple of months. They were angels for me at that time even though our relationship became stormy and broke down relatively quickly. I will however always be so thankful to this very special married couple. They prepared the way for an ideal partner to enter my life the way they had entered each others’.

This perfect partner came in the rather unlikely shape of a guy I had known on the local mental health scene for about 16 years. In some ways he was far from the Most Eligible Bachelor material. He is an ex drug addict (four years clean), and had been locked up in a forensic mental health unit for ten years as well as doing time in Her Majesty’s Prison Service. He had a fairly extensive criminal record prior to that, for burglary and street robbery (to pay for crack).

While the guy was on drugs I didn’t see him as boyfriend material although I liked him and enjoyed his company.

But this time around. We were slowly and carefully introduced to each other over a sequence of meetings over late summer, autumn and finally Christmas when he began visiting me at the house while the Romanians were there. I began to see a side of him that was not visible to me before. A side that I could trust. A nurturing, caring side. A side that was honestly trying to do his very best to redeem himself in the eyes of God and other people.

A very powerful and pure faith in God that is only granted to those who are marked to endure great suffering.

It seems that God really does favour those who suffer the most and is less interested in those who have a pretty nice time of it.

As the Bible tells us, ‘The first now will later be last and the last, first’ or words to that effect.

Being rich, successful, having many friends and an enviable life is not all it’s cracked up to be. We can’t take that with us when we go. But what we can take is a steadfast faith in God and it will be that which pleases Him most on the Day of Judgment.

As a footnote to that statement I am talking symbolically. God is neither male or female and is hugely nurturing and compassionate as well as, on occasion, judgmental. My partner M has helped me understand the cruel, terrible and dreadful side of God, and God’s ferocious anger.

I do my best to help M understand that although the fear of God is indeed the beginning of knowledge, it is not the middle or the end of knowledge. While many people need to learn to fear God in order to correct their mistakes and tendency to sin, others relate to God in quite a different way. With boundless respect, yes, but not necessarily fear.

It’s like the Indian story of the wise man and the elephant. If you are blindfolded and feel the different parts of an elephant, some will (feeling the leg) say ‘it’s a tree’. Some will (feeling the tail) think it’s a snake. Question. What will those feeling the trunk think it is? I forget! But you hopefully get the point of the story. God can be anything he wants. That’s His strength.

All very serious. M tells me often and emphatically that God is ‘very serious’. But you and I and even M would admit that He can also be uproariously funny.

And we are made in His image. Sometimes laughing and cracking jokes. Sometimes angry and wrathful against injustice. Sometimes filled with a deep nurturing love for all humanity and every living creature. And so on. Whatever we can do, count on it that God can do it better and par excellence.

This post is turning into a bit of a sermon, folks. But rest assured I am well, not high, not grandiose, happy to finally have my darling son home with me, and beyond joyful to be engaged to marry my soulmate (despite my a long history of decrying marriage!)

Love you. And to all my atheist or agnostic readers, please bear with me and keep reading, because this blog is not all about God. There’s a fair bit of human drama mixed in. It’s my hope that there’s something for everyone.

Many atheists please God way more than many so-called believers. It’s by their fruits that we know them, not by what they profess.


Am I Still Ill?

It’s just occurred to me that my chosen blog title carries with it many potential layers of meaning.

I could be saying to the psychs etc who told me I’d never amount to anything blah, yah boo sucks to you, I’m not even faintly ill, you’re more ill than I am, look how well I write!

I could be asking God a very pertinent question since the ability to overcome the ravages of this terrible affliction is the one basic drive that has motivated me over these many years, more than half my life since I was properly diagnosed.

I could just be finding a reason to quote The Smiths, probably my favourite band of all time.

I could be asking you, gentle reader to judge for yourself whether I am actually mad or not…

I could be asking myself the exact same question…

Asking a question in your blog title implies that you will be mainly occupied by the need for answers…

I could be playing on the word ill, because in younger people’s parlance, to talk about someone being a sick or ill rapper etc is actually a compliment!

So although I wasn’t 100% sure about the title when I first put it up, I have kind of grown into it and it’s grown with me…

Love you folks. Zoe XXX

Black on Black Violence

Hi folks. Those of you who have spotted that title may have clicked on this blog avidly hoping for some kind of political treatise.

Sorry to disappoint.

I’m under pressure of a recent site stats hike to blog a bit more in the probably forlorn hope that anyone will be remotely interested in what a paid up codependent and manic depressive has to say…

Seriously now. I know, I know it’s serious (The Smiths: Girlfriend in a Coma).

I’m a born teacher. That’s what I do and I’m a 24/7 teacher, fully committed to my profession. I was born to critique my students’ stories and give them a red or gold star by way of encouraging them.

The best stars of all are silver. We all know that.

I’m an artist too. I know my way around colour and design.

You now can discern gentle reader from my bombastic tone that I am a little on the manic side.

I like stars, I like black, but I still spend most of my nights sleeping.

Writing this is an effort. I’m desperately weary and tired and overwhelmed. I’m painfully vulnerable. I’m going through yet another of the ever more frequent spiritual emergencies that have been my lot now for more than half of my life.

My son is home. The Prodigal Son is returned. I share my living space with not one but two of the species. What will become of me?

Nothing bad because we’re all being watched and there is more than one angel floating around this house (Kirsty McColl)

Be assured tho’ that I love my gentle readers and faithful following gratefully and devotedly. You are each and every one important to me folks.

Lots love Zoe XXX

Site Stats Hike

As if that were the most significant thing to happen in the last couple days Zoe! Your narcissism is alive and well we see…

I can only say so much about my boy really. I can’t compromise his privacy too much and he is quite a private person, just like his Mum.

The most amazing thing about all of this (says the mega proud mother of a fine teenage boy currently playing X-Box Call of Duty etc upstairs) is that all the excitement and miraculous developments since the weekend has not sent me into Manic Overdrive.

I place the thanks for this firmly at the door of my beloved M. He’s an amazing guy, the love of my life and my soulmate. He keeps me grounded and sane and also helps me fly high without sizzling my wings on the sun and falling out of the sky. Just how does he do this? God only knows.

We have both adjusted and adapted ourselves to the new situation by spending more time apart during the day and sleeping separately in our respective gaffs.

It isn’t Jasper who has initiated this. It’s M (and my, to some extent) exercising senstivity and empathy for others’ needs.

I’m able to happily get on with my daily chores in the secure knowledge that my partner is there for me. I text him. Invite him round for dinner. He arrives unannounced sometimes, but only at appropriate times.

How sweet it is to be loved by you, M.

My son J also chats to me periodically. He knows a big part of my problems in the past was the demon loneliness. He’s great fun to talk to. Has a great observational sense of humour and the ridiculous. He’s just so interesting. I learn a lot and I learn best when I’m laughing quite often…

You are better to me than I’ve been to myself/For me there’s you and nobody else/I wanna stop and thank you baby. Yeah, I’ve got Marvin on the turntable.

Things ain’t what they used to be, for sure for sure. They’re way better.

On the menu for my two favourite people in the whole world is probably gonna have to be vegan sausages, new potatoes, peas and broccoli. It don’t sound wildly exciting I know, but fifteen year olds can be slightly conservative eaters (but wow, he’s much better than he used to be as a seven year old. Good healthy appetite).

My son’s a bit naughty but he’s no bad boy. And my partner’s the same.

Lots love and kisses. Z XXX


Hi folks. How to explain to you what a momentous day this is for me without coming across as either mad or high as a kite?

My son J is home with me as we speak. He’s been placed in a new (to him) care home locally, even closer to me geographically than the last one was.

He stayed the night last night. He’s X-Boxing away for hours in his room already. Showing no genuine interest in going for any drug-smoking or petty crime sessions with his cohorts from the last care home.

Um. Sometimes less is more and I have to say I’m still adjusting mentally to a feeling that the long nightmare of his time in care may soon be coming to an end…

He’s fifteen and a half now and can vote with his feet, and most of the professionals ‘caring’ for him realise this…

Miracle Two. My beloved partner M hasn’t decamped. He may sleep over at his place from now on but he’s still very much here with me.

C’mon. Is this amazing news worth a comment or two? I know, I’m cheeky. Thanks for reading folks. Lots love, Zoe X