Tuesday, June 07, 2011


I saw a photograph of a person who was easily recognisable in an article about success they have had in their chosen field.  I was suddenly overwhelmed by a feeling that I found very difficult to put into words or at least into one word.

When I look at my life I often feel that I have contributed nothing. This bothers me.

Don’t misunderstand me.  On a very personal level I have been a huge success in overcoming against all odds.  When you know that I used to self harm, that I used to starve myself and binge and vomit and take laxatives, that I spent long periods of time indoors too afraid to go out, that even when I was able to go out was very difficult to do so because I would have to check everything over and over and over until in the end I didn’t bother going out, or if I did I would only have to return to make sure that I had indeed turned off the gas and locked the doors and unplugged this that or the other. I did not used to stick up for myself, I did not value myself and I have far too many people in my life that just increased my sense of not being good enough.  Okay so this sentence grew too long but you get the idea what I’m trying to say.  I do not do any of this stuff any more.  I even deal very well with my physical disabilities now.

This is all that I have had time for in my life; recovering from the first 16 years of it.  This seems to me to be such a waste and I wonder what I could have become had I not had all these obstacles to overcome.  I know of other people who have had far worse starts than I did who have still become successful and productive adults.

This does not mean that I do not feel very fortunate to have the life that I have.  It amazes me on a daily basis.  I would never have believed that the good life I have today would have been possible.  In fact I did not believe it was possible.  The way my life has turned out has been a total surprise to me.  I never ever forget where I came from and on those days that I am tempted to feel sorry for myself I remember how bad things used to be.

Yet I still feel as though I did not blossom.  I am not sure if this lack I feel is purely an ego driven thing in that I would want other people to see me as a success. For example, John is a world-renowned expert in his field and recognised as such.  Is this what makes me feel like something is missing?  I am not recognised as an expert in anything because I am not!

Or is it me who holds the attitude that I cannot be a success unless I have a job or career or talent that shows that I am?  I guess I do think that the success I have had personally in gaining sanity is not enough.  I think that many other people have done the same and also become a success in a given field.  I have been told that whilst other people have indeed done this most of them did not have all of the obstacles that I had. I remember being shown a list of seven things that a child required in order to become a stable adult.  I scored one.  Is it really that simple?

There is also this point; perhaps I feel resentful that my energy was all used up in the fight for sanity and I had no time or strength for anything else. Imagine if I had and I was pulling in a salary similar to John’s.  If that were so I might feel that I gave as much as I took.

Although I know that I am very fortunate it is not easy to just accept being on the receiving end all of the time.  This sounds jolly ungrateful but those who read me often enough know that ingratitude is not one of my problems.

It is also about freedom.  Knowing that the quality of my life is dependent upon another is both humbling and frightening.  By humbling I do not mean humiliating. I mean that my situation prevents me from looking down upon those who are not as fortunate as me and always remembering that fact. Frightening because my lifestyle very much depends upon somebody else.

This post seems like it is a bit of a mess and whilst it has brought vague feelings together into a more solidified group, I am not aware of any conclusion.

Perhaps this is just one of those things that I have to accept; that my life will always be about receiving especially as my physical needs grow.  I have to say that if my needs grow to such an extent that I need to be in a care home then that will be when I check out.  I have been in such totally dependent and vulnerable situations before and I can assure you that those situations were Hell-like and I will never allow that to happen again.  I was persuaded at the end of 1994 to go into a private clinic.  I was told that my experiences in the late 70s in public funded care would not be repeated in a private clinic.  That was a lie.  My experiences were precisely the same; the general ignorance about what I needed and a blind eye turned toward abusive staff and out of control clients.  I have since found out that they even tried to stop John’s daily visits.  No, I will never let this happen again.

Well I wasn’t at all sure about what I would write about when I started and as I have already said I don’t feel like I have come to any conclusions.  However, I feel a reinforced gratitude for the life that I have.  I think remembering what it was like to be “in care” has brought me back to today and how grateful I am that my life today is very very different.  Perhaps this other lack of success that I feel is just an illusion and maybe, outward success is not what it is about. 

Perhaps everything I have achieved on a personal level IS what it is about?  Maybe. I still think I could have had more.  Like a career. Or a proper outlet for my talents, ones that would have shown one way or the other if I was talented or just proficient. I’ll never know.

One of my big disappointments happen as a result of moving out here.  When I lived in London I was a sought after medium with both private clients and public speaking engagements coming out of my ears.  However, in the area in which I now live I am not liked.  As a result of this my work ground to a halt.  I know that it has nothing to do with the quality of my evidence as that is sound and much sounder than most I see.  I have had more than one booking secretary tell me to my face that I was not considered acceptable because the example I give of somebody who’s life was pulled out of the gutter by the principles I was imparting, was not what people wanted to hear.  One even suggested it was offensive.  I feel as though all of the work I did on developing and of overcoming my fear of other people and public speaking was all a waste.  Yes, because of my physical problems, my work would have been restricted but it would not have been demolished as it now has been.

Now that I have got to this point in my writing I realise that this is the one area that I am deeply upset about.  It makes me wonder what the point of it all was.  Why would I go through so much in order to better use my gift and impart my knowledge and experience to only have the rug pulled out from under my feet?  I have not used my gift for a long time.  I have not even been to listen to anybody else.  All seems to me like it amounts to nothing.  What is the point of being very good evidentially if I have no outlet for it? The only thing I have done simply is describe the pick of litter remotely for a friend! That was not asked for it just came unbidden but it is hardly… Well I’m not sure but it doesn’t seem like a big deal.

Right, I now think I am rambling so I am going to sign off today.  (The whole time I have been writing this my program keeps telling me that it is receiving poor voice yet it has written everything I have spoken almost 100% perfectly! Normally, I am having to stop and correct and it does not go on about receiving poor voice!)


Mary Beth said...

I've heard that men have a harder time of it than women with their sense of self-worth when they are outside of the mainstream job category. So, I am saddened for you, want to rush in and say you are loved which doesn't solve the problem, and I know this is a deep search for anyone. Fighting for sanity has been worth your full time occupation: the alternative is too horrible. So Be It?

Charlton Wilbur said...

But you have accomplished a great deal. Look at the happy, healthy, loved dogs you've raised. Look at the sweaters you've knit. Look at your success as a medium (even if you were more successful elsewhere). Look at your long-term relationship with John.

And you've managed to do that despite having to recover from your first 16 years and despite having to deal with health issues.

Julie in San Diego said...

You are an expert breeder of dogs, an expert knitter (That's why so many people like me read your blog.), and an expert medium. You have most expertly created a loving, caring, long term relationship, even though the relationship examples you grew up with were monsters. That's huge.

The fact that some silly, jealous people are disparaging your gifts does not change the value of your gifts one little bit! It only speaks volumes about the silly, small-minded people, nothing about you! Cause and effect is absolute. You offer your gifts to help people, you make a good cause and good fortune is embedded in your life. They refuse your gifts and insult you, they make a bad cause, the resulting bad fortune is theirs, not yours.

The fact that you survived the unsurvivable is amazing, and there are those who appreciate it. Please, you need to appreciate you!

And now you face life with chronic illnesses with grace and generosity. Icing on the karmic cake!
Julie in San Diego

DJNL said...

Julie, Charlton & Mary Beth said it all and better than I possibly could...but I want to stand with them and say that through your blog you have become a friend, someone I depend on...you write wonderfully & you have made me understand something I would never have...I did intellectually but not viscerally, emotionally...what horrors a human being can go through and still be a strong, self-sufficient, caring, talented, individual..you have made my life better...and I have always believed 'If you can touch just one person, you have succeeded and are someone very special'. Thank you, Colin.

fairy godmother said...

I think that you have contributed to many lives. You donate dogs to be used as hearing dogs? You have shown dogs with great success. You have made me stop and think, after reading about your mobility issues, I am certain to be more aware of people not moving as quickly as I do, and to give vehicles parked in handicapped spots more room so they can easily get in and out. You have made a difference, in thousands of "small" ways.