*First posted 2015
Content: How I got my daughter back- and issues of control/being out of control
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 look at me go.
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 exercises -Jillian Michael. No bullshit. No pansy-ing about. 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 HOME-START 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 -you know 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 myself 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 f*ck*ng 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.
They knew exactly who I was on about. Anyway, so after court, the wooly and rather snivel cardigan came into view-like a red flag. Her voice was the second thing I noticed ,she sounded like one of Marge’s 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 weak 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.
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 chuffing human. All her notes ( she was a fan of all the Disney songs — those notes were just as agonising 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 engraved on my grave. I have said the phrase so many times. The thing is I put in the effort in and they did not want to own up that they screwed 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 defunct 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.
As a volunteer I have a ticket to go to this PARENTING AND MENTAL HEALTH CONFERENCE
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 F*bitter-F*CK?
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.
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 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.
I am sympathetic -empathetic even to people who are going through a shit time, Self medicating , their life is falling apart.
After all I’ve been there myself.
Is it better to have money when you are mentally ill or to be poor when you are mentally ill?
In my experiences, having money when I was growing up meant Social services could be bought off.
Abuse could still find its way into my bed room at night and no one ever knew. My tantrums and odd behaviour were put down to being spoilt.
Broken noses and teeth could be fixed with a credit card. Broken ornaments could be replaced.
I grew up in an adults world. I was just like all these young toddlers/children who get taken along to family parties.
Left to find something to do while all the adults soak up the
atmosphere alcohol -insert drug of choice here and catch up.
I was that child and teenager who would lift myself up onto the wall, to peer over the garden and confirm that the smell of the pure Ganja was indeed coming from certain family members smoking it.
DON’T DO DRUGS DAISY!
I was that kid who had access to all the money I wanted. I was a full on rave bunny by the time I was 12. My quirks and eccentric behaviour were put up with because I could access places other young kids couldn’t.
We all wanted to grow up quickly.
I was the girl who could pay off a doctor for a prescription for sleeping meds ( from rohypnol,-Clotiapine , or prescription diet medication- even when I was under weight.
People put up with me for longer than they maybe wouldn’t have if I had less to offer them.
I was praised and looked up to and accepted when I had a full time job. I could be off my head on coke or whatever drug at work the next day and be accepted because I was still “holding” down my 9-5 job.
It didn’t matter that I was swallowing 100 laxatives a day and up most of the night shitting on the wc to stop any weight from getting to comfy. I looked professional and played my part well.
I’ve always been on and off the rails from as young as I can remember. Family members could see their failures in me and rejected me.
Some may of seen themselves in me -20-30 years later -and still fucking up exactly in the ‘teenage off the rails’ way I had taken to coping.
The only difference- they were now adults. I didn’t make them look good.
It got a point where I couldn’t work. Not because I wasn’t good at my job. A psychiatrist decided I was unwell. 40 kilograms in weight and displaying signs of psychosis.
Sectioned under the mental health act- indefinitely and for multiple times.
I wasn’t allowed to work. I didn’t get better for a long time. I didn’t make it back to work when I wanted to .
people friends found out that at some point in my life I was surviving on benefits. Suddenly people avoided me. Friends started “unfriending me”. I was pushed out. I wasn’t living in private accommodation any longer.
People couldn’t understand how I had the audacity to self medicate on tax payers money. Their hard earned money.
How dare I use their money to get high and and have a good time!
I don’t think I set out to have a good time when I was using drugs, drinking frequently or over dosing because it wasn’t ever fun.
The eccentric , bodacious , crazy arty party girl had become a “benefit sponger”.
Look at her!
How dare she use government money to try and solve her problems!
I still acted like the person with money because that was just how I was brought up to (mis) behave…..
‘Never think about if money will run out- It won’t. Money never runs out’ mentality.
I still had a home to live in ,rent to pay, bills to pay. A cat to feed.
The thing with mental illness is it comes in waves. Not every one is alike.
I have family members who look me up and down and at me and the way I dress or the way I am and go
“how dare she think she is one of us or even better than us”
“We own a home. It is our right to find any loop hole in the system to make sure we don’t have to pay MORE taxes to the government -Our hard earned money and lifestyles curbed for the few elite.”
Here comes’ Miss I’m still ill but coping’ and I want a job now.
So I apply for jobs -lots of them . I have worked out what I need to be earning to pay the bills and be just okay.
Firstly, there are no jobs out there who will pay some one who declares they have had “issues” in their life.
It doesn’t matter that I have more Good days than Bad days. I have a wide gap in my employment history.
Oh yeah I took a really long Gap year travelling the asylums up and down the country side.
Hello potential employer .
I’m well now. It ‘s been a hell of a ride – I’m committed to work hard . Please hire me. I won’t let you down. I know I have xyz mental /physical health diagnosis but I can work.
Let’s just say – I haven’t been so lucky .
“just get a job- clean – anything!”
I say I would gladly clean out your shitty toilets if they paid the bills.
I say it is madness that I am asked to just accept any job -even if it makes me more poor than I am now. Yes, because that is really going to help in the long run . (heavy sarcasm)
no money to pay the bills or eat =
poor mental health=
back to square one.
I don’t sit on my arse watching whatever reality T.V show and whatever people associate people with who receive some kind of benefit.
How on earth can she afford to get married?
I work hard and
I don’t drink. smoke Marlbora cigs or any ( Okay I do vape), buy any new clothes or do up the house because I want to get married.
So, any extra money that is left over from paying the rent and bills goes to my dream wedding.
“That’s the girl… the one that had her daughter taken off her.” ( like some Greek chorus )
“Scum… don’t want to be associated with her. No human being is going to tarnish my reputation.”
Oh, of course , your reputation…. remember that night when you … it’s cool. I’m sworn to secrecy,friend.
I learnt very early in life that money and who you know goes a long way to getting what you want.
No I wasn’t lucky enough to have the head of social services be my mother or a family relative.
Far from it.
I was on paper, in black and white –
a drug addict ,
with anorexia with Bipolar ,
in a violent relationship , refused to leave it.
I lived in a council house and drank and smoked when I was visibly pregnant.
One abortion down .
One tragic night- .
I got caught drinking excessively with my ex and my 12 week old daughter in my home.
I had no right to be hollering and screaming and fighting because I didn’t have the money to pay someone off to hush it all up.
Remember folks people who are not on benefits don’t fight and have any issues in their lives.
I had no money to pay off my big mistake.
So my girl was taken off me and before the I had a chance to wake up from my partied out hang over..
Plans were being made to have my daughter adopted.
When professionals met me it was like
I didn’t talk like the regular folk.
WHO THE HELL DOES SHE THINK SHE IS?
“Oh Daisy, don’t go hoovering the house on my account.”
I’m not Bitch . I like to keep a clean home. I don’t have a maid so I do it myself if that is okay with you ‘Miss I have just graduated from university and am in charge of keeping societies children safe from all harm’
“How dare that girl study and want to make a better life for herself!”
“I’m going to knock her down few pegs .”
People get pretty fucking scared when black and white don’t match the face and the rest of it.
You may think I am crazy to say this but the for the all the mistakes the social services made .
I thank them .
I had to answer to someone and re define my boundaries and decide what and who was more important.
I got my girl back because I wanted her back enough to change.
I got to know who was at the top , who had the leverage and I worked with them. No money changed hands.
Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t always all above board. Paperwork wasn’t done when it should have been. We don’t talk about it when it is in both parties’ best interests.
I found out the loop holes in the system and used them to get my baby back.
The same loop holes they used to take my daughter off me.
It’s a tit for tat world we live in.
People wonder why I don’t take her out to parties or want her around people who have been drinking.
“THAT GIRL NEVER GOES OUT”
(money goes on bills, food, ballet and tap fees and, all things wedding-y at this point in time)
I don’t want anything to possess the innocence that is my daughter.
I won’t let her be around people who may have a grudge with me and say things about me that they have no business saying .
I get it, the shoes on the other foot. You may have the money to buy yourself out of your own dilemmas – but you are not coming in with your alcohol tainted scent and using my daughter as teddy bear to hold,
to make you feel better.
Nobody is allowed to take my daughters energy and innocence to appease the shit they are currently wading in.
I empathise with you but no one is going to ruin the miracle that is my daughter.
I don’t drink in my home or much (I will be drinking on my hen do – make no mistake) because I know what it can do to me and how scary I can come across to an adult never mind a child.
My daughter is as close to perfect as one can get.
She is that child who picks up her rubbish and throws it in the bin.
She is that child who gets upset if I haven’t given her ‘the heads up’ that I am going out to work or go to “school” the night before.
She has been brought up with a strict routine and boundaries.
Routine and boundaries are everything.
I know I had a bit of a blow out when the care order was lifted.
I soon learnt how fucking productive that is.
This is what works for me and my family.
It’s just the way it has played out.
I am not judging you and how you manage your life –
Whatever works for you – do it.
I’m aware of life in a way I have never ever been and I have responsibility.
I can have my fantasies.
I can play them out.
In fact I have done.
I am a human who is forever making mistakes.
I’m also a human who is finally learning from them.
I got ill. Big deal!
I didn’t know how to help myself or manage myself or my life.
Luckily I got to an age( 34 if you want to know-) where I know what all sides of the fence feel like and I have become me –
What you see is what you get.
One thing I do know is just because you can’t see what is going on in other peoples homes or minds- doesn’t mean nothing is happening,
or even something.
If someone is displaying signs they are not coping ,no amount of money will fix that. In my experience it has made things worse.
I appreciate who I have in my life now. Once a person is gone that is it.
You can go to all the seance- reading nights you want.
LIFE is important and what you do with your life.
So is it better to be stigmatised when I was rich or when I was poor?
I don’t fucking know – I was ill.
It was easier not to see stigma when I was ill. I do still have my moments when I get angry at the people who used me when I was unwell -but those days are gone.
I fought hard to get to the peace I find in me. I don’t hide my story.
I know some one who hates me for whatever reason.
I also know this person cries every night to have the life they had before, it had been so cruelly extinguished.
I feel for this person. I don’t go
Ha! now you know what it’s like!
I go fuck that is a pretty shit hand
It is what it is.
We play our hand with the cards we pick up.
This is what life has moulded me into.
If you believe in justice, a fair government, equality and you have ever enjoyed my posts on here.
PLEASE -read this
Hope. you all had a great Christmas. This may explain (in part) why I haven’t had the time to read as many blogs as I usually do.
The saying a picture tells a thousand words doesn’t seem to tell the true story about what is going on beyond one captured picture.
It doesn’t convey domestic abuse, self-harm or the self-harm witnessed, a mother’s mental health on the brink of being sectioned – trying maintain ‘the perfect mother’ image – she has portrayed for 6 years.
FYI there are no perfect mothers.
It doesn’t show a woman doing everything in her power to piece together her life, protect her child from harm, it doesn’t show THIS WOMAN asking her own mother to look after her child for 4 weeks, because this mother knew her mental health was declining.
This picture doesn’t show the abuse and social media troll comments she endured trying to fix up her home, trashed by her ex-husband.
It doesn’t show a mother trying to finish her final year of her Masters in Creative writing with the Open University.
It doesn’t portray an image of a person trying to prove to her community that she is still in the right frame of mind to volunteer and set up a workshop with a Mental health charity (in her community).
It doesn’t show how she self-medicated and thought about disappearing. It doesn’t show how she sought out help and signposted herself to every place she could find to help her and her child.
It doesn’t show how she looked to a mental health charity she had previously volunteered with to ask about advice regarding the government (without warning) stopping her child tax credits.
It doesn’t show this woman going to a food bank and having to decline most of the canned goods because her daughter is a fussy eater and this woman has a diagnosed illness of chronic anorexia, and bipolar
It doesn’t show the pain and betrayal this woman felt when her colleague from the mental health charity alerted social services. There was no mention of her concern for this woman’s child in the conversations they had.
This picture doesn’t show the raging, passionate, warrior fight mode of a woman who fought for her rights.
It doesn’t show a person who is resourceful, emphatic, honest, heartbroken, human, sensitive, passionate and willful.
It doesn’t show a woman who has a habit of choosing partners who rely on her finances (benefits, tuition loans, credit cards) to keep the family afloat.
It does show a mother who loves her child. It shows a beautiful warm home – it shows a person who has no issues, is well off and looks like either she married a wealthy partner or she is a lady boss.
It doesn’t hint at poverty.
It doesn’t show her state of mind.
It doesn’t show her anxieties.
It doesn’t show how deep she has had to “dig” to make sure her daughter has a Christmas that our society brainwashes us into getting into debt for.
It doesn’t show a mother and person who will fight for injustice, exploitation and for the rights of all human beings being treated without discrimination. It doesn’t show a woman who has travelled the world and who lives in a small village/town in West Yorkshire ready to take on anybody/any organisation that ignites her passion for all issues related to humanity.