1% Inspiration

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So it’s been a while! I’ve got a year older, a year wiser and… Yeah. 

Anyway, apologies for long absence. But here is a story I wrote for Liars’ League, a monthly competition-type thing. 

Enjoy! 

Follow Liars’ League on Twitter: https://twitter.com/liarsleague?lang=en-gb
Here are the other stories (the theme was Genous and Madness):

1. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=fmogTpt4N0Q

2.https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=vK4jy2bMF6c

3.https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZ0rCcpFbVs

4.https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VPI8sP3LuKk

5.https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=w_i4XYctBwE

Quickety-quick

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colour / craft / photos

A fleeting visit, just to show a work in progress (wip). Currently making a crochet bag for a colleague. Check out the progression! I’ll post a picture when it’s completely finito.


Also, I’ve not been blogging so much lately because I’ve been busy writing a piece for a novel competition! Wish me luck…

Clever clever clever

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The fictional Marguerite St Just was the “cleverest woman in Europe” according to her creator, Baroness Emma Orczy, yet she took about 10* chapters before she realised that her husband, Sir Percy Blakeney, was the Scarlet Pimpernel. That is despite it being PATENTLY OBVIOUS. 

And so brings us to today’s subject: being clever. Or being too clever. Or being so clever, you are blind to any of your faults. Yes, u speak of you, Stephen Fry.

On my telly right now is ‘The Girl from Rio’. It is some forgotten romcom from 2003 with Hugh Laurie. Out of curiosity, I google Hugh Laurie. Huh, Wikipedia turns up. It links to Stephen Fry. I read Stephen Fry’s page and see he is president of Mind, a U.K. mental health charity. So far, so good.

But what’s this? He’s not been on telly much recently, so to speak out about anything, he has decried trigger warnings, saying “It’s a great shame and we’re all very sorry that your uncle touched you in that nasty place – you get some of my sympathy – but your self-pity gets none of my sympathy because self-pity is the ugliest emotion in humanity”.

I understand it is hard to live in the public eye, where everything you say gets media scrutiny and you haven’t a moment’s peace, but let’s pick this apart shall we…

“I’m sorry your uncle touched you” – well that’s ridiculous. It’s like the evil uncle in The Who’s ‘Tommy’. Uncles are easy targets. Next, please! 

“You get some of my sympathy” – cheers, oh bountiful and benevolent Stephen Fry! I have some of your sympathy? Gosh, let me write that down. (For the record, I have never been abused by a family member). But ‘some’ of your sympathy? That’s great! I hadn’t realised we had to ratio out sympathy, but I’ll give you ‘some’ when you end up alone and unhappy. 

“But your self-pity gets none of my sympathy because self-pity is the ugliest emotion in humanity” – hmm. Let’s say, for an example, there’s a girl who, ooh let’s call her Brigid, has an Absolute phobia of her father raping her. It’s a phobia. It’s an irrational fear. She also has an Absolute phobia of injections and therefore doesn’t watch ‘Trainspotting’. She has never seen it. She never will see it. Because injections upset her.

Anyway, this Brigid has a phobia of her father touching her. To clarify: he never has, or will do. It’s an irrational fear. But needless to say, she doesn’t like reading about incest or abuse, because it awakens the demons in her brain. 

She is upset she doesn’t have a fully-functioning relationship with her father, but in no way is she self-pitying about it; indeed, she strives to get better and have a relationship with him. She just reeeeeeeeally doesn’t like reading about incest or abuse.

I would therefore appreciate it if there were some sort of ‘trigger warning’. It doesn’t have to be big, but she opened the newspaper the other day to a headline saying ‘Woman Keeps Dad Alive With Breast  Milk’, and was sick. Wouldn’t it have been better if it had had some teeny weeny trigger warning?

There’s a quote going around next to Stephen Fry saying the following: 

 
But he gets offended. He’s left Twitter because he’s so offended by it. I’m sure he gets offended by Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. He doesn’t live a life that smells of roses. He gets sad. But it’s ok when it’s him. When it’s you, you trying really hard to overcome some trauma, only to have someone trample all over your recovery, that’s that acceptable. It’s acceptable for Stephen Fry to leave Twitter because people had a go st him, but you, trying to get over abuse, depression,addiction? Being upset by Stephen Fry and all his Ivory tower ilk taking the piss? You’re ‘self pitying’. And that is not accepted.

This is from the president of Mind! Or, to me, it’s the absolute epitome of hypocrisy. Hope his young husband absconds with his millions soon. And he remembers his bullying at school. Then he’ll have ‘some’ of my sympathy. 

*It may not actually be ten. It’s been a while since I read it. Still, it’s a fair few. 

Coming Up Roses

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“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet.”
Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)
Roses, not only being my favourite chocolates, are the theme of today’s post. (They are not my favourite flowers. That accolade belongs to peonies). 
I digress. Roses. Names. What’s in a name? Well, there’s my name, Maria Alison Walker. Or not, as the case may be. 
My name is Brigid.
That’s my genuine actual name. I use pseudonyms for everyone in this blog (except Charlene Sumner, the sadistic PE teacher. That really is her name) and I’ve felt safe for a long time knowing everyone thought I was Maria. I didn’t want anyone googling me and finding I have OCD. But then I had a revelation. Why should it bother me? People from my childhood knew I was odd. People from my teenage years saw me st my worse. University friends actively watched me crumble. It’s an open secret at work. Everyone I know knows I have OCD. And if someone I don’t know googles me, then so what? They find out I have OCD. 
My middle name is Mary (hence Maria), and my confirmation name is Alice (hence Alison). I thought Maria Alison sounded quite melodic together. But actually, my real name is much more musical.
I’m Brigid Mary Mahony, and I’m not ashamed of who I am. 

Panic! At the bus stop

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I’ve been thinking for a long time about what to blog about next. Since Christmas Day, when I posted some photos, all sots of interesting stuff has happened. My brother had major heart surgery, and I was convinced convinced convinced he would die (he didn’t. He’s ok) and it would somehow be my fault.

What else has happened? I was talking to a teacher at my school (where I work) about bullying, where I revealed I was horribly bullied by a PE teacher at school. Her name was Charlene Sumner, I think she came from East Anglia, and she was the closest to evil I have ever come.

Possibly the biggest event to happen is my death. For I really thought I had died. It was last Monday, and I had a heart attack. I’m sure I did. I’ve had a heart attack every day since then, at around the same time, leaving me sweaty and breathless and nauseous with pins and needles in my fingertips.

As you can imagine, I have not felt like writing anything, being as what I thought I was dying. I think they are panic attacks, but I am having tests on Monday, so we’ll find out then.

 

Sorry for

 

 

 

 

 

 

the long

 

 

 

 

gaps

 

 

in posting.

Happy Birthday to Me*!

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*it is not my birthday. 

I, like the queen, have two birthdays. My physical birthday, which is in June (the 20th, if you want to send cards), and my mental birthday, which is today! Hooray!

I was diagnosed with OCD exactly six years ago today. My life started making sense on 19th December 2009. 

Whatever December brings you – and it’s quite a busy month for me, Christmas notwithstanding – then I hope you get the peace and serenity I did when I entered the Priory all those years ago. 

On Awful People, Jour-no-lism, and the Epidemic of ‘Faux-C-D’

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mental health / ocd

I’ve just posted two newspaper opinion pieces from the same newspaper, published on the same weekend. One, by a doctor, describes OCD pretty accurately: a “living torture, leaving many sufferers with a sense that they are trapped in their own minds”. He gets it spot on when he says “being a tad fussy about lining up … soft drinks doesn’t even begin to merit the diagnosis.” Being clean and tidy? Good for you. I wish I were. Does that mean you have OCD? I’m afraid it doesn’t.

It’s sad that I must repeat myself, over a year on, in the 21st century, that OCD isn’t a cute little quirky trait. It’s crap. It really is. Dr Max seemed to get it across. What a pleasing article, I thought, and promised myself I’d write a blog post about the positive press in the week.

Then Sunday hit.

Liz Jones has long been a fixture of my Sundays. She’s quite a dreadful woman who writes, with absolutely no compunction, guilt, or shame, about her life. Nothing is safe. Her boyfriend, for example. Her ex-husband. Her wardrobe. A sentence like ‘I went to see my bank manager about my bankruptcy wearing my gorgeous Joseph jumper and Prada heels’ is not unheard of. (I made that sentence up, but it’s representative of the things she writes. I am too upset to google her. But you can, at your leisure!) She’s poor, from giving her nieces and nephews extravagant presents. She buys horses, for god’s sake. I do enjoy her witterings on about how she has no friends and has failed at life and has no money, as she holds down a well-paid, high-powered, full-time job and has a boyfriend.

People who confuse being a bit tidy with having OCD are actually suffering from self-diagnosed faux-c-d. I can’t claim credit for faux-c-d; a friend coined it and I’m nicking it. Sufferers of FCD often revel in their cute little ways. They often draw attention to the fact that they’ll have their tins of soup lined up precisely. “I’m so OCD!” they’ll gush, in the kittenish way they have. I once went on a date with someone who described himself as “a bit OCD” about going to the gym. “Why?” I asked. “Do you feel something like bad will happen if you don’t go?” He looked at me as though I had just said something very unreasonable. “No,” he said, witheringly. “I just like going, that’s all.” I never heard from him again.

My OCD, for which I have been an inpatient, and am currently receiving therapy for, involves the fact that I think my dad is going to rape me (he won’t). Or that I am going to sexually abuse children (I wouldn’t). I am terrified of harm coming to my loved ones. It also involves thinking about murders I may or may not have committed, about death, guilt, and punishment, and lots of apologising. My compulsions include ‘cracking’ my joints to the point that they’ve started to give up on me, and I have to see an osteopath. Even during the appointments with her, I’ll be twisting my joints, usually in tears. I have NO CONTROL over it. Nor would I wish to draw people’s attention to it. Whereas FCD folk will be perversely proud of their quaint ways (“oh gosh, how embarrassing, but I’m really OCD about it”), I wouldn’t DREAM of bragging about it. I don’t even like writing it down here, in case it comes true.

There is a personality disorder called OCPD – Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder. It is, as the name suggests, a personality disorder. I don’t know an awful lot about it to be honest – I therefore won’t be writing about it with any authority – but from what I gather, it involves fastidious perfectionism and attention to detail. That could cover Paul Hollywood and his FCD. It is not OCD, though this is a contentious issue.

Liz Jones, however, is just plain wrong. I have OCD – quite severely – and I even went to the Cake and Bake Show at Excel Centre on Sunday as I enjoy baking. It gets messy sometimes. Well, I’m actually quite a  messy person (see https://diaryofanocd.wordpress.com/guest-blogging/maria-this-is-my-ocd-tell-me-yours/). I enjoy eating all kinds of things, “disgustingly unclean” pork included, which automatically disqualifies me from having OCD: “the true OCD sufferer will carefully weigh up whether their hunger is greater than the need for a clean plate. The latter wins, almost every time.” Not when I’ve dined with my friends with OCD, it hasn’t!

I realise Liz Jones writes provocative articles to get a reaction, and I’m reacting. She has therefore done her job. But imagine the damage this will do to someone who hasn’t been diagnosed yet, and just thinks they are a psychopath! That happened to someone I know: she went to the doctor and said “I’m a psychopath. Lock me up”. Liz Jones likes putting brown paper down in the footwell of her car. There is no comparison really.

I know Liz Jones has struggled with anorexia, and I feel sorry for her for that. But how would she feel if, turning down a cake, I said “ooh, not today, I’m feeling a bit anorexicky!” She would surely feel the need to educate me on what a serious and debilitating illness it is. Well, Liz, back atcha. Get educated.