Sink or swim
This morning I woke up with a feeling of loss and a heavy anchor weighing me down. I should have been buzzing. I was three hours away from meeting up with a girl who works with a mental health charity and to work together on a one off workshop to close the stigma between the volunteers and the people they help. Below is all I had to type this morning: warning alert: very woe woe woe is me and not WOW WOW at all. BEFORE I CONTINUE: It came about that THIS LOVELY LADY has recently launched her first novel. How amazing is that? I can’t wait t read it.
THIS IS WHAT I MANAGED TO WRITE YESTERDAY MORNING :
Why do I only see ugly? What is wrong with me.I can’t love my cat or daughter or partner cos I have trouble accepting me. Why is outer beauty so important to have when I see the beauty of people in all their different guises. My heart has been rung out . The salty ness stings increasingly as it courses through my veins. pumping –you are ugly you are not good enough.Why now? why these feelings now? My next challenge – like a bull waiting , snorting – A Red mist descends. Red mist that at the end will be.. I had writers block I couldn’t think of anything poetic to say. All words seemed shit and I felt shit.
So let me get real and tell you what is really on my mind My head has been doing 360 degree turns lately like that possessed chick in every movie about hauntings and possession. Except it has been me not some movie. My weight has been going up and up – I have had no control. Even with me eating healthily. The numbers have kept on going up. I have been getting a daily beasting from the Goddess of hard core exersises -Jillean Micheals. No bullshit. No pansy-ing out. No quitting. I am no quitter.Not a sinker. No Titanic. Why is this fucker in my head fucking with me now. I’m finally getting somewhere with myself and what I want to invest all my working time in.
Yup, so I have really been struggling with my mind for a few months Isn’t that crazy? Me wanting to help people who are struggling? I’m struggling. . I had to let go of the figures on the scale. I’ve never done that. How did I do it? well, I decided I like eating (yes, Anorexics can like eating) and I eat healthily already so, I was not about to go hungry and become ill again. No, this is my time. I wasn’t going to start taking overdoses to cope with the madness inside me – skewered. grilling me .It was bedlam in my head. True bedlam.
I stopped weighing myself every day. I CAN’T BELIEVE IT EITHER. I carried on with 40 minutes of an intense cardio workout . I didn’t carry on doing 3-4 hour workouts like I have done previously. I did not start monitoring my fluid intake. In fact I did the opposite and btw my skin looks the best it ever has. I had to get moving. Get out the house and live. The critters inside jittering and chattering and fluttering chaotically in my mind could carry on.I carried on with life.
I got out there and I followed through on my next goal. I have my daughter back . I’m already a student with full BA(hons) in Arts and the humanities. I’ve booked our wedding for next year. The one I was never ever going to have. I am finally in a place to help people.
I don’t care if I don’t get paid I’m getting so much back from this.
You know what is even more chaotic than my recent state of mind? okay -ready? The training I have been put on to do, is all stuff I worked out on my own and with my family when social services wanted to put my daughter up for adoption.
Why didn’t they get HOMESTART in first?
How come they didn’t tell me about a 12 week course called called WRAP ( WELLNESS RECOVERY ACTION PLAN) that helps a person put together a support package if a person’s health starts to get distressed?
This is not some new concept or specialised training. It’s been going on for years and being taught in prisons and schools today. Why didn’t any of the social workers I know signpost me in these directions?
I stayed up into the early hours of the morning for weeks. Researching online to find an answer to convince social services that I could be a mom and have times when my mental health isn’t all that cracking. In my research I came across something called ‘ the circle of protection’ (very Lion king – the zulu bit -youknow what I’m on about? an epiphany or something.
Why had none of these highly qualified social workers, guardians of the court, these professionals.. but me thought to put a contingency plan in place?
When my daughter was put under an interim care order. obviously, I attended court. The letter for the court date arrived days after the court hearing. I was lucky that I had my family to give me the heads up. I didn’t know that the alleged assault charges against me , that had been dropped (because their was no physical evidence to suggest that I shook my 12 week old daughter) was only the beginning of an incredibly long fucken journey home. I was like Hercules and his 12 labours.
Back to the morning of 14/12- Confused, in a state of panic -The former manager of social services – I like to call her Miss Hannigan-you know from ‘Annie’ the movie? I swear she looks and acts like Miss hannigan – every professional I described her too- could not keep a straight face.
- Do I hear happiness here?
They knew exactly who I was on about. Anyway, so after court, the wooly and rather snivelly cardigan came into view- like a red flag. Her voice was the second thing I noticed ,she sounded like one of Marges sisters from the simpsons.
I was like : Where is my daughter going? you can’t just take her from me!
She spluttered in that voice.
Stop the drink- stop the shit and sort your life out . I wish she could take her own advice.
I found out about a 12 week group called the FREEDOM PROJECT that was running in my neck of the woods. In a nutshell it is a 12 week group that helps women understand why we enter and stay in abusive relationships. I took Miss Hannigans advice and self- referred myself to my LOCAL SUBSTANCE MISUSE TEAM and I engaged with a wonderful woman to work out what my drink issues were and how I could manage them. We tried various plans until we both agreed that whilst all this was going on, drinking was probably not going to be drunk for the ‘right reasons’. I went to every mother- baby group I could could go to. I could only see my daughter 10 hours per week. I missed 7 contact sessions in 12 months. There was a local contact centre only 5 minutes up the street from where I lived. I had no problems with anybody in that contact centre. Lots of positive feedback. The contact worker who had become emotionally involved told us she had been taken off as our contact worker. Social services and my ex felt that the contact worker was being biased. It is not my fault that every other person who met him thinks the same thing. Whatever that may be.
So,a new contact lady comes on the scene. We did not mix well. It happens in life. I can’t love everyone 😀 Next thing I know and I was now taking two buses to go and see my child – in a contact centre monitored by cctv like a criminal. This is how the dynamics of our relationship went. If I got on with spending time with my child and didn’t talk much with the contact worker- she said I was being hostile. If I did chat with her -she said I was distracted and not mentally focused on my child. This contact person has no mental health qualification. Her job is to collect children from carers/family homes and take them to a ‘neutral’ meeting/ contact centre and to make sure the child or children get back home safely. She is a fucken flawed human. All her notes ( she was a fan of all the disney songs – those notes were just as agonizing to hear) were being gurned into the social workers reports.This is one opinion from someone who was not even qualified. It felt like she was there to prod and provoke a reaction out of me.
I asked the court to authorise a hair strand test for alcohol and drugs to be done. The test was only done 7-8 months after my baby was taken into foster care. It came back negative that I was an alcoholic and drug taker. I am on prescription meds so that obviously came up. The non alcoholic levels of drinking found in my hair proved to them I had drunk alcohol but not at the levels they were making out.From the period I decided to go teetotal the levels had reduced even more. It all came back negative.
I was in a very violent and manipulative relationship. This ahem.. man treat me like something he found in the gutter. He warped my mind. My mental health was exacerbated in that relationship. I dealt with this issue and I don’t want to say more on here out of respect for my daughter. He walked away when he lost control. When my daughter is at an age she can make and formulate her own opinions that will be the time I decide to give her the information about her paternal father and seek him out and ask him whatever questions she wishes too.
I paid nearly £400 to do a parenting course online because social services stated I could not do a certain group because my ex was attending it and my daughter had to be over 5 years of age. He got on it because he has two sons under 18. I got my daughter back under a full care order -on the 28/04/2013 . She was not even three years old and all of a sudden I could attend this 12 week government funded parenting course for free. I had THIS IRO ‘professional’ come into my home and threaten me. She tried to wind me up because I made a comment about her not even having met my daughter and she was the person to ratify the adoption plan. She sat on my living room suite and re-iterated that it was her that ratified the adoption plan and still held that view. If I had a problem with her then I could change IRO’s.
I looked her straight in the eyes and I said “NO, you and me are going to see this through to the end” -It was like something out of a western movie. Eyeballing one another.
“Yes. we will” she puffed out her chest and chuckled to her ‘henchman’ .The person she brought with her to intimidate me. What makes me want to poke out her eyehole is at the final LAC review meeting she was hugging me and saying I had taught her something about people with mental health issues and she realised how ignorant she had been. This woman works with dozens of cases like mine everyday. Mental health is not a new endemic in society. I hope ,you the reader can see why I am ranting at this..
I always say ‘ I hold up my hands I am far from being perfect‘. I would actually like this to be emgraved on my grave. I have said the phrase so many times. The thing is but I put in the effort in and they did not want to own up that they fucked up and I wasn’t what they read on paper and what they thought I would be like. ALL PEOPLE WITH MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES ARE DELUDED RIGHT? HAVE NO SENSE OF REALITY..
Here is my point, It didn’t have to go straight to adoption but it was easy for them to place my innocent 12 week year old child. Blue eyed with blonde hair and not soiled and tainted from being ragged around a defunkt system. No behaviour issues. An easy adoption case. They call it ‘twin tracking’
Ha , you should have seen the guardian’s face when I told her that the chances of my daughter being adopted after being told that mental health issues run in her paternal and or maternal family drops. She was 25% less likely to get adopted. Oh they loved me. My legal team were ace. I communicated and I asked questions and I researched.
I hope a few social workers will be there to learn something about mental health .
I’m not angry. I finally know why I went through all this shit. now I can do the professional training and help other people. I’m not bitter- AM I FUCK? Thank you social services for giving me such a hard time. It has led me to take the actions to where I am in this new chapter in my life. I am strong and empowered and passionate and every time I have fallen in my life, I get up. Everytime. These other less invasive helpful services should be taken into account and be brought to the attention of a person before they start taking kids off their parents and family without the full facts. I’m not talking about the families where abuse goes on. I’m telling you what I have experienced There is so much wrong with the system. I’m gonna volunteer my heart out.
Thank fuck for silver linings. I not only have my daughter and my partner and my beautiful family and friends to live for but I have been given a gift of knowledge and I will be trained to help people who need some support and advice. I must share this knowledge of how I got my baby girl back and how much I have changed and how fucken exhilarating and terrifying it is but it is worth the fight. I’m not the only one. There are so many more who are terrified to talk because they feel threatened and bullied by social services. CHANGE must happen and I will do anything I can to be a part of that. If you have read this far. Thank You. Never give up your right to speak . I had a ‘gagging order’ imposed upon me when my child was a ward of the courts( This is the law in England) . I don’t anymore and I am well within my legal rights to post this. I want to use my skills and my creativity in writing and acting to help people remember how to communicate again and it is a right of theirs to have a voice…
P.S. I still am partial to a cocktail or two when I’m not looking after my health for one thing or another -usually for a dress to fit in to go somewhere.
P.P.S. I have written a stage play inspired by these events with a Brecht like influence. I wrote it for my final end of module assignment for my degree at the Open university and I got a 1st for it. I might put it up sometime . I might not.