So the last part of my blog took us up until I was around 30 years of age. It’s funny because when I was 20 years old I remember thinking to myself that if I hadn’t had children by the time I was 30, I would start to look at fertility treatment. As if 30 was really old and past it and here I was 30 years old, partnerless, childless and not really any intentions of settling down just yet and definitely not past it! Part of the reason why I hadn’t settled down with anyone was because I was still quite screwed up emotionally and I didn’t want to pass this onto either my partner or onto my kids. The second reason was because I still had very severe acne so I didn’t feel attractive around men. I remember my mum’s next door neighbour saying when I was about 18 or 19 that I would never marry with skin like that. I’m sure she put a curse on me!! I had been out with men but they hadn’t lasted very long as I didn’t feel the deep connection and love that I was looking for. So instead I had thrown myself into my career, just like I had thrown myself into my education when I was at primary school (not so much when I was at comprehensive school!!). I was good at my job and I new it. I was very respected by the medical team and amongst my peers but the ward sisters and nurse managers didn’t see it. I think probably because of my low self esteem. And I wasn’t very good at interviews as I was so nervous, so I went for a few junior sisters posts and didn’t get them and this knocked my confidence immensely. I did then eventually get a junior sisters post on a new ward that was opening and I worked there for a couple of years. I had only been there about 8 months when the senior sister went on long term sick and I was left to manage the ward on my own. I rose to the occasion but the ward was starting to get busier and busier and then a new senior sister was appointed after 4 or 5 months and things were good but it wasn’t giving me the fulfilment that I was longing for but that at that time I didn’t realise. Until one morning, it was particularly busy, there was no senior sister, no nurse manager and no bed manager and there were twice as many children needing beds than there were actual beds and we couldn’t cancel any admissions or the hospital would get fined. We had managed to find beds for all of the children we thought until we discovered that there was one that hadn’t and I just flipped and burst into tears (by which time there was management there). I couldn’t stop crying and eventually, after beating myself all morning about it I realised that I didn’t actually want to do it any more and the tears of self pity actually turned into tears of relief when I realised that I didn’t have to do it any more. So I went home and was sick for a couple of months, in which time I got some counselling from the hospital, which she was actually quite good and it did help a bit. I did take prozac as well, which I actually do think helped me. But I know that there is a lot of controversy around these sorts of drugs. Do they make the condition worse, do they dumb people down? I’m not sure but they did help me. I remember that I decorated my kitchen while I was off sick. But I do remember this was very much a dark night of the soul for me and I remember being in total despair and physically getting onto my knees and asking that if there was a God, please would he make himself known to me and please would he help me. Within a couple of weeks I saw a job advertised as a Children’s Community Nurse in my local town and so I went along for the interview and got the job and I told them that I was off sick and why I was off sick but they still wanted me to have the job. Maybe there was a job, I thought to myself. About 6 months later I came across some books called Conversation with God by Neale Donald Walsh and this book (or series of books) was a big game changer for me. Up until this point I had been anti God, anti religion, anti the bible and this was because I couldn’t understand how there could be so many religions and they all be correct and that religion was the thing that caused all wars in this world so it seemed hypocritical to me. This book presented God in a different way that totally resonated with me and it was the beginning of a deep journey within. I was now 34 years old………………………..
So back to the story……. I was almost 21 when I started my nurse training and this was in Liverpool. In many ways I was still like a child but I had an innate wisdom which was way beyond my years and this was something which I had always had.
My student days were pretty wild and mostly spent drunk but I also realised that I was a pretty damn good nurse. My social skills still remained problematic for me but I transformed from being scared to speak in front of the qualified nurses at the beginning of my training to being a lot more confident in this sort of thing by the end of my training 4 years later. I was dual qualified, which means that I can look after children and adults but my heart lay with children’s nursing and I enjoyed the challenge.
It was at around this time that I decided that I wanted to heal these problems that I had with communication, especially with people in authority but I wasn’t very assertive with my peer group either and this sort of led me to just falling into friendships, rather than seeking out like minded people, instead I would latch on to people who showed an interest in me, which in those days wasn’t many because of my low self esteem. So this was a vey mixed time of my life. There were highs and there were lows but there was still this feeling of numbness and disconnection but with an underlying knowing that there was so much more to me. I also had an encounter with someone who I believe was a satanist (I won’t actually call him satan as I don’t know if that would be true but maybe he embodied that energy, I’m not sure) . Myself and my flat mate met him while we were on a night out and invited him back to our flat. He seemed really nice and chatty, but I do remember him saying how open we both were. When another friend came round another day that he was there, she said for us not to give him specific things if he asked for them because she thought he was a devil worshiper and I laughed at her because it sounded too far fetched to me. Anyway after a while we got a bit fed up of him and stopped letting him as he would just turn up unannounced. Shortly after that my flat mate had an experience where she was stood at a train station and she felt as if she was being throttled. She felt a constriction around her throat and she couldn’t breathe and she felt that for some reason that it was him that was doing it to her. I didn’t experience anything like that but I do remember standing at the bus stop near our flat and I heard this snorting sound and when I looked it was him walking down the street but he looked a bit taller than he normally looked and he was breathing like a bull would snort but looked as if he was a bit spaced out. I hid in the bus shelter as I didn’t want him to recognise me. I hadn’t seen him like this before and he scared me and after that I was convinced he was a satanist.
So my student days were filled with many laughs but there was also quite a bit of darkness still as I carried with me the experiences of my childhood. My acne was also really bad at time, and I had huge cysts that were painful, unsightly and caused me a great amount of psychological distress. None of the treatments that I had tried ever worked for very long and it destroyed my self esteem in many ways. I found it difficult to look in the mirror when I was with others and to go to the hairdressers would have been torture so I cut my own hair, which was a mess but at least I didn’t have to look at myself in the mirror. I wanted to heal though, and would buy every self help book I could afford. But I found it difficult to sustain any advice that they gave. The best way for me to heal and integrate has always been through experience and reflection. And that is where wisdom then comes from.
When I finished my training I got a job straight away at a hospital in Leeds on a children’s ward. And even though I had asked for a surgical ward, they put me on medical ward, so I hated it. One day I was having a particularly bad day and I just handed my notice in and left. I then thought, oh shit, what am I going to live on now. How am I going to survive. I had an idea in my mind that I fancied working in Portugal. I started frantically looking for nannying jobs but there were never any nanny jobs in Portugal. Then one day (about a week after I handed my notice in) I was looking through the adverts and there it was. Nanny job in Portugal. I applied, got an interview and was working out there a month later, after selling my car etc. I worked out there for 6 months and had a ball. I would have stayed out there but there were no other job opportunities and I was bored as a nanny. But I met some great people from Canada and Australia who were passing through on their travels around the world and stayed for a few months. In a lot of ways it was like a long holiday and it was right on the Algarve so being near the beach and the sea all the time was really beneficial health wise, physically and mentally.
After 6 months of working out there I decided that it was time to come back home, which in hindsight was probably not the best idea but it has led me to where I am now. Initially I registered with an agency and did a few shifts on a children’s surgical ward in Leeds and within a couple of months I had a job on there and I absolutely loved it. But it was extremely busy, with lots of very sick children and we were alway short staffed. Because I was young I could handle it and I actually thrived on the challenge but I think I was running on my adrenalin a lot of the time. I worked there for a number of years and in that time I bought my own house and this was the thing, more than anything else that has clipped my wings because it meant that I couldn’t suddenly decide to leave a job and not have another one to go to as I had a mortgage to pay. At the time I thought that this was a good thing but now I realise that it wasn’t really as it was stifling me.
Also in that time I was having a more coincidences and psychic experiences. I seemed to attract what most people would call ghosts. So if there was a spirit somewhere in a building it would normally let me know in some way such as a breeze wafting past my cheek, or objects having moved places. Hospitals are a hotspot for spirits that haven’t passed over, for obvious reasons and the ward that I worked on had a particularly active spirit which seemed to get it’s kicks out of inducing fear in me. Some night shifts I would be shaking because I was afraid of what might happen as it used to tamper with equipment etc (and no it wasn’t a member of staff, it was definitely a ghost/spirit as things happened that a physical human wouldn’t have been able to do). One of the things that happened to me was that while I was in the toilet, a baby’s dummy that we had been looking for all night, just fell out of mid air into my hand. But it also used to change the rate on iv infusions, turn saturation monitors off, all sorts of things. It turned out that this spirit was a nurse who had committed suicide because she had accidentally overdosed a child on insulin some years previously and the child had died and so she had hanged herself in the toilet, which is why things used to happen in the toilet! Other things that happened to me was that a colleague recommended an amazing book to me, out of the blue, called The Celestine Prophecy and this was the first step onto my spiritual path. I found the book intriguing but there were parts of it that I didn’t grasp at the time but later I did. I was also having experiences such as smelling strange aromas and knowing that my next door neighbour was pregnant and then being freaked out when I found out that she was pregnant so I didn’t have an experience like that again for a long time as i was frightened of it because I didn’t understand where it came from because it wasn’t a physical smell. As a child I used to have precognitive dreams all of the time but then when I dreamt of a face and woke up and saw that same face on the front of a newspaper (Princess Grace of Monaco when she died) it really scared me so that stopped happening then. I have also, always been telepathic but lost this to some extent for a while in my young alcohol laden adult days. Being telepathic and empathic used to cause me extreme distress as a child as I thought that everyone was like me and so I couldn’t understand why people would be horrible to me because I thought that they could see my true essence, as I could see their true essence. And because of this and the way that I was treated by my parents, I thought that there was something really wrong with me. I also didn’t think that I needed to speak that much because I assumed that others would just know what I was thinking or how I was feeling. It took me until I was in my mid teens to realise that others couldn’t perceive what I could, on the whole.
I was also still battling severe acne and had 3 treatments of roaccutane and you weren’t meant to have more than two because of how it can affect your health and it had to be monitored by a dermatologist and each time it would work initially and then it would come back after a year or two. This was quite demoralising. And I was also trying to heal myself emotionally and psychologically, with self help books but they still weren’t doing anything for me and it was still my daily life experiences and how I reflected upon them which were helping me to heal. When I first started on the ward I don’t think that I was particularly liked by some staff members but as staff left and new staff came there was a really nice team of staff and I got on well with the majority of them both professionally and personally but I still had a long way to go as there was still something missing…………
In my last post I wrote about my reflections upon having gone public about the abuse that I suffered as a child. Since publishing that post I have downloaded some more insights into this on a deeper level and have a new understanding of why it is so important.
In our current culture, particularly in the West, we avoid pain and darkness at all costs. Usually the cost is to ourself. As we fight to keep any dark parts hidden and only allow other people to see the ‘good’ parts of us, we are causing an imbalance. Not only an imbalance in ourselves as we then have to become overly ‘nice’ often, to compensate, but it also causes an imbalance in society as society seeks to hide all things which are dark. This leads to polarisation and can lead to extreme behaviour at both ends of the scale e.g. corruption, abuse, theft etc. There are certain topics of conversation that are then taboo such as abuse or death. By hiding things such as abuse it will then cause resistance and will lead to further abuse as since it is hidden and not talked about in society, it will also remain hidden within the unconscious mind of the individual who has been abused as that person seeks to suppress the feelings of shame and guilt which society places upon them. They will suppress memories and instead will act out the damage sustained by the abuse in unconscious ways which often then leads to abuse of their own children and so the cycle continues.
The only way to break the cycle and to help people to heal is to bring it out into the open and to share and release all of those pent up feelings and to realise that you are not the only one and it isn’t your fault. On a wider scale than this we need to change our attitude to all of our darkness and instead we need to learn how to embrace pain. For it is in the darkness that we find wisdom and healing. It is only when we have experienced deep pain and darkness that we come to realise that even in the darkness there is only love. This will help us to unify inside of ourselves. It will help us to find acceptance and most importantly to forgive. Forgive others and to forgive ourselves and then we are able to find peace.
Something quite extra ordinary has happened as a result of me sharing my darkness. I have met a kindred spirit on this subject and we are going to set up a Facebook group to allow people to share in a safe environment, as I realise that some people may be reluctant to share for fear of hurting loved ones. There may possibly be workshops as well in the future so watch this space. So as I was saying…………….in the darkness there is always love.
Todays post isn’t going to be as long as the last two and I am having a short break from my life story while I pause and reflect.
Over the course of the last few weeks I have written about some deeply personal information about myself and my life. I found it surprisingly easy to write about these things. Freeing and cathartic. I have very little emotional attachment to those events and I am no longer holding onto anger, resentment or shame. By writing it all down I was releasing the last demon, if you like, the fear of what other people would think of me if I told them. My fear wasn’t related to any sort of thought that I may be responsible at some level but my fear was that it would be too much. It would be too much for most people to bear and so I went through my life protecting others, yet again, from the harsh realities of what life can do. But, by protecting others, was I really protecting myself? Because in that moment when the event’s of my childhood are too much for someone, this kind of reinforces my belief that I must have been really bad for my parents to do that to me or that it is too much, and then I will continue to protect others from the pain, my pain and I will continue to hold it all inside so that no one ever has to witness that pain again. The truth is, I stopped feeling that pain a long time ago. I struggled to come to terms with it all for many years but I have now, mostly, and it does not cause me any distress to think about what happened to me any more. It is also, very easy to focus on the bad things. In a lot of ways I had a good childhood. But we don’t tend to see that when presented with one terrible thing. The paradox of life. I actually feel really blessed to have had the life I have in some ways, otherwise I wouldn’t be who I am today. It would have been nice to have worked through it all a bit quicker but hey, there was a lot to work through ok?!! What I am trying to say is that I hold no blame. In fact my childhood has been the perfect growing ground for me. I should know, I chose it right? I feel no anger because they were doing their best based on their knowledge and beliefs and what was happening in their lives at that moment in time. They gave me the greatest gift and environment to grow spiritually. I just didn’t know it at the time. I think that the conclusion that I came to about protecting others from my pain was that it wasn’t my pain any more so if other people couldn’t handle it then that was their stuff, not mine. And by holding onto it was I saying that I was the only person who could handle it? Well that isn’t true either.
So what have other people’s reactions been? On the whole people have been supportive, very supportive. I was very aware that by me writing about my own experiences, that this might trigger memories or feelings in other people, and I did contemplate whether it was the right thing to have written it but then I decided that other people are adults and they don’t have to read it if they don’t want to and if it does trigger something in others then this will be positive as it is helping them to heal too. I haven’t had one negative comment to my face, although I did get a sense that some people maybe thought that I shouldn’t have written about it to protect my family members. I did contemplate this but I am 99.9% sure that none of my family will read it or I wouldn’t have been so public about it.
What I wanted to make clear by being so public about my experiences was, that the things that happened to me when I was a child, are not me. It is easy to read something and project our own feelings and thoughts about how it should affect someone but that isn’t true either. It is only true to the person having those feelings and thoughts. I even think that my revelations have even induced some jealousy. Which is hard to believe I know but I have picked up on a tinge. So what was I trying to achieve by writing about my life and my pain? I guess I was just wanting acceptance. Just for people to say that it’s ok. It’s not your fault. I’ve had stuff happen to me too. And more importantly to be able to sit with me quietly and acknowledge it but not to let it phase them. Not for it to bring their stuff up. To just be able to sit in silent compassion (or even not silent) and it to not be too much for them. I have discovered that I have some lovely friends. I will continue the rest of my story in due course……………..