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When ‘Being There’ Just Isn’t Enough…

Most of the time I’m positive about my life and the way I grew up. I know to a lot of people who were raised by loving parents my childhood probably seems pretty horrific, and some of it was I guess, but I have this knack of putting the dark stuff to the back of my mind, the bad stuff is there but masked by the good times, and against the odds I have hundreds of thousands of brilliant memories…

I made the best friends during my 15 years in care and none who understand me better than those who I shared the good times with. There’s an unsaid agreement that you don’t ask what your care brothers and sisters are ‘in’ for but at the same time there’s an understanding between you. No-one’s in care because they had fluffy homelives, it doesn’t work like that does it? I thought everyone’s parents were like mine until I was 7 or 8 and I realised that people don’t like to hear about your experiences if they’re not pink and fluffy so I invented a life before care in true Tracy Beaker style and would relay these stories to all my friends outside of the care system! lol

But the teenage years were the hardest, this is when you really realise that your experiences are so totally different to other people’s and guilt about events in your life sets in. You may try to tell a friend at school by easing into it really slowly, giving a tiny snippet of information and then their shock is so obvious you laugh it off as a joke and retract the initial statement you made and get on with it, knowing that you will never be ‘on the same level’ as your friends.

This is when your care siblings become closer than any of your childhood friends, they ‘get you’, they’ve had similar experiences so you’re tolerant of each other’s mood swings and anger outbursts. When you leave care and lose touch it’s the loneliest feeling in the world.

When I left care I was more alone than I’d ever been before and first got the keys to a crappy bedsit at 16/17, well shared house really. I got moved into 2 or 3 bedsits until I settled in the last one. I was the only female and in the room to one side was 3 heroin addicts straight out of Brixton jail and on the other side a 40 year old pimp who scared the shit out of me so badly that when he tried to kill one of the other guys in the house with a hammer and hid the hammer in my room I said nothing and silently agreed to share his bed for the night so when the police turned up I would be his alibi… I once saw him chase his missus with a meat cleaver then beat her to a pulp so I wasn’t going to get on the wrong side of him.  downstairs was a fucked up ex copper and a 65yr old knicker stealing alcoholic so life as a care leaver wasn’t the best but you make the best of a bad situation and get on with it with the help of drugs and boys and alcohol and petty crime until you’re 18 and social services helps get the ultimate prize… your own council flat.

Anyhow, because of the joys of social networking and facebook, I’ve been reunited with a few of my care brothers and sisters and though it’s made me happy, of course it has, the people that I grew up with, fought with, cried with and laughed with were back on the scene… but it has brought with it a new heartache.. the realisation that life could have been different as it has been for so many of my siblings.

To find out that for some suicide was the best option has broken my heart and I’m left thinking ‘why wasn’t I there for you earlier’. For others prostitution was their way to get through life, for a fair few hard drugs, for others alcohol, for many crime and jail and some of these haven’t made it as far as the rest of us… but the ones who my heart aches the most over are the ones who tried so hard to break the cycle and failed… not through any real fault of their own, but because of shitty circumstances the children they love so much have been taken from them and placed in the same system that fucked us all up and made us the way we are.

These are the ones I want to help the most but I feel useless and ‘being there’ for them just isn’t enough to make a difference in their circumstances and it’s an excruciating pain that the friends you once considered your brother or sister are going through that.

There is no happy ending to this post for now, I can only hope that being positive and being here when they need me is enough to get them through the next day, and the day after…

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Posted by on September 17, 2013 in Life, The Past.

 

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Being Positive About Being Positive…

Anyone who knows me knows that I love social media, Twitter, WordPress, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Facebook… they’re all on my laptop, my tablet and my iphone and I use them daily… a few times… ok more than a few times. ūüėČ

Of course those of my friends that follow any of my profiles on these, are well aware of my positive attitude to life and most are pretty understanding as they known of my struggles in life and know it’s because of my positive attitude that I’m still here. Many of my ‘siblings’ are not so lucky because of drugs, suicide, murder and that all consuming spiral that goes from abandonment, neglect and abuse to self-loathing, self-harm and self-destruct. Of course you know I’ve been there, sometimes the worst abuse a victim of abuse suffers is ultimately the abuse they cause themselves… drugs, self-harm, suicide attempts, alcohol, men, all those things that can be used negatively when the hatred of oneself takes over and all too often destroys from the inside out. It’s amazing that isn’t it? That the destruction starts from within? On the outside the person looks normal and in control, until the effects start to show on the outside, by then its far too late to be able to do anything to reverse the process.

So it took me many many years to realise that I deserved better than I had got up to that point. I realised that it wasn’t the things that I experienced that shaped me but the way I dealt with them and how I allowed them to affect me.I became so determined not to allow my upbringing destroy me or allow the cycle to continue so I started to take a moment each morning to reflect on what I wanted from the day and I read a positive affirmation to reinforce the knowledge that I was only going to focus on the positive things.

When life started to get more and more positive and I became a happier person, I looked around at my friends and became despondent… I felt so happy and positive about life but those I love were still unhappy and going through their own traumas over and over again and I wanted to do something to help them, so I shared some positivity. I would post a positive affirmation or quote every morning and a humorous one liner every evening. I started to see more positive statuses and tweets from friends who had started to look for the more positive things in their days.

Now this leads me to today, I hadn’t posted so many positive quotes for a while so I made a conscious effort to post one every morning again. Last week 2 people sent me messages having a ‘moan’ about me being ‘overly positive’ and said it’s ‘annoying’. Then someone made a funny comment about it in passing and someone close to me agreed that i came across overly positive and it really hurt my feelings. I can’t get my head around how a person can be viewed as overly positive or too happy? At least I’m not a miserable bastard, when I do have a bad day and have a good old rant, it’s usually warranted but to be accused of being too happy? What do people want from me?!

I’ve decided to have this rant with a f*ck ’em attitude and get back to being positive. I had a negative attitude to life for far too long and I won’t go back there. I believe in the law of attraction and like attracts like. I’m generally a happy person, I know I have a long way to go but I don’t tend to dwell so much on the negative nowadays and I’ve learnt to deal with my past for the most part. If people cant celebrate that accomplishment with me then it’s their problem.

As they say “Don’t let the bastards get you down’…

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2013 in Believe, Faith, Life, The Past., Thoughts

 

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A Tragic Week.

This last week’s events have been tragic.

Firstly there were the inexpiable crimes that unfolded in Norway on Friday.

The following was a message I received on facebook from Samuel Tarry of ¬†an anti-Hate group I support, it sums up how I feel about the Norwegian’s firm determination to not allow this crisis impair their stand on any kind of extremist violence;

Barking & Dagenham Hope not Hate

Barking & Dagenham Hope not Hate
  • Today we are all Norwegian. Please sign our book of condolences.
    Dear Friend,
    I am sure you will share with me a sense of shock, disbelief and outrage at the appalling events that took place in Norway last Friday. The horrors we have seen unfold are almost unimaginable and our thoughts go out to everyone affected.
    The response of the Norwegian people has been humbling ‚Äď a poignant contrast to those who so quickly and hysterically sought to blame Muslims for this act of extremist terror.¬†Instead of vengeance, the Prime Minister of Norway called for more democracy, asserting that their values would not be shaken by the politics of hate made so violently real.
    As a supporter of HOPE not hate, and of our struggle against fascism, hatred, bigotry and racism, I would ask that you join me in signing our book of condolences.Will you join me in signing our book of condolences to the Norwegian people?

 The atrocities were the awful consequence of the politics of hate. While Anders Breivik appears to have acted alone he was motivated and driven by the propaganda and anti-Muslim hatred pushed by Christian fundamentalist, right-wing Conservative and far-right groups.

It is the same hatred that inspired the London nail bomber David Copeland and drives groups such as the BNP and the English Defence League in this country.

It is how we respond to this hatred that a society will be measured and the people of Norway have shown us the way. Just as London united after the 7/7 bombings, the people of Norway are refusing to get drawn into anger and hatred. Instead they are fighting hate with hope ‚Äď standing firm together and reaffirming their democratic principles.

Let’s send them a message of support.

http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/today-we-are-all-norwegian

We will present copies of this book of condolences to the Norwegian Embassy in London and our sister organisation in Norway.

Although we are stunned by the events we have seen it is also vital that we turn grief into action and hope. If we do, then the likes of Anders Breivik and the EDL that he actively supported will fail.

I dag er vi alle norske. Today we are all Norwegian.

In solidarity

Sam

*****************************************

There is no more I could add, except maybe to encourage others to add their condolences to the book.

RIP to all the 76 who were slain and the countless other victims of  Anders Behring Breivik.

*************************************************************

Secondly, on Saturday, Amy Winehouse was found dead.

Now I know that few people have sympathy for addicts of any kind, and people are comparing the two events, with an opinion that one deserves more sympathy than the other.

but growing up in care I guess I knew my fair share of addicts… I was even one myself.

I spoke in a previous post about my addiction to cigarettes, but that’s not all I’ve had to battle with to quit.

Different people deal with traumatic events in their lives in very different ways. I was a self-harmer. There are probably less than a handful of people that actually know this about me so this is the first time I’ve spoken publicly about it.

I experimented with just every drug there is, not many really appealed to me, I smoked a bit of weed, did some speed, but it was self-harm that was my drug. Even now, when things have got really tough, I have to fight to stop myself reaching for the razor blades. I know it’s one of those things people just don’t understand and I wouldn’t expect them to, it’s tough to understand when you’re actually the one doing it. I certainly wouldn’t want anyone to go through it themselves.

Anyway, over the last few days I’ve found myself trying to explain on facebook, that there is more to Amy’s tragic end than ‘Just another Junkie now off the streets’.

So many people are so cold-hearted towards a fellow human-being. No-one knows the circumstances that made her try drugs for the first time, but people rarely become addicts ‘just for the fun of it’.

Kurt Cobain, Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Elvis, Judy Garland, Janis Joplin, Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson and now Amy Winehouse. It matters none if it’s Alcohol, Heroin, Cocaine, Pain Killers, Anti-Depressants, Sleeping Pills, Cigarettes or Cannabis. They’re all drugs, all addictive and all damaging…. So why condemn & speak so cruelly about someone when those before her are treated like legends?

¬†They all deserve to be treated with respect. Just because they were weak doesn’t mean we shouldn’t feel sad for their lost lives. She was a tortured and talented soul who has left behind devastated family, friends and fans.

Yet another member of the notorious 27 Club…

No-one wants to become a member but the membership list is growing, sadly.

Russell Brand summed it up in a poignant tribute to Amy.

Please read it…

http://www.russellbrand.tv/2011/07/for-amy/

She was a huge talent, wasted a little on someone who didn’t embrace it?…¬†Maybe.

…but she never signed up to be perfect, or even a role model… Just a singer. And she did that well.

Camden will miss her.

RIP Amy Winehouse.

***********************************************

Thirdly, there was the high speed train crash on Saturday which killed 39 and injured almost 200 people in Xinhua, South of Shanghai, China.

This hasn’t been on the news surprisingly. (?) a 2 year old girl Xiang Weiyi,¬†was pulled from the wreckage 21 hours after the crash and there was a worrying moment when they thought her little leg would be amputated, but they have managed to save her injured leg, sadly her parents weren’t so lucky and lost their lives.

picture from xinhuanet.com

I found the latest on here http://latestchina.com/article/?rid=42549

RIP to all those whose lives were lost and love and hope to the survivors.

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2011 in News

 

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Some Facts About Me…

My name means ‘Angel’ so I collect anything to do with angels.

Flanagan is a nickname that means red-haired one.

I also collect key-rings from everywhere I go and all my pals buy me one when they go anywhere!!

I have a VERY strong personality! It takes a very strong man to stand beside such a strong woman.

I am VERY opinionated!!

My dad is the only person I have ever hated.

I was in care for 15 years.

I did drugs for years. (but despise them now.)

I can’t stand people that judge me before really getting to know me.

But I am often guilty of judging someone before I really know them… I feel SO guilty after that I usually apologise and tell them why!

I am still on a journey of self-discovery.

I love reading childhood memoirs & survivor stories, I hope to write my own book in the not too distant future.

My glass is always half-full.

I don’t take anything in life seriously.

I am left-handed.

I LOVE British films, they’re so under-rated.

I wish I’d never lost touch with old friends. (I love facebook for reuniting me with some of them.)

I can’t abide liars and thieves.

I love all vegetables!

I am the proud mother of 4 sons and a daughter. (and it still amazes me!)¬†they are all very special to me in their individual ways, and like any Mum I think my children are better than anyone else’s!

I was a ‘new mum’ in my teens, 20’s and 30’s!!

I am a bit of an ‘Earth Mother’…. natural birth, babywearing, blw, breastfeeding, cloth nappies etc.

I have 9 tattoos (3 were cover-ups so technically I had 12!!) and 13 piercings.

I HATE HATE HATE Marmite!!!!!!!! YUK!!

I HATE horror films so much that I have to watch something nice after, or I have nightmares!!

I LOVED being an Army Wife.

I HATED being an Army Wife!

I am a stereotypical red-haired, scorpio with Irish heritage… RED HOT TEMPER!!! LOL

I am extremely loyal to my family and friends.

I don’t tolerate any type of ignorance… there’s no room in my life for them.

Much to everyone’s annoyance, I analyse everything and everyone in my life!!

I have Bambakomallophobia… I am SO scared of cotton wool!!! YES, REALLY!!! lol

School days were NOT the best days of my life! Teenage years are the worst!!!

I have the BEST friends in the world!! OF course!!! Some of my best friends have passed away over the last few years, I will try never to lose touch with friends again.

I am addicted to E-BAY!!!!!! I cannot live without it!!!!

I have very few regrets…’Don’t regret the things you do…Regret the things you DON’T do’… Fabulous philosophy.

I am a VERY philosophical person, more so than most.

I am a TERRIBLE singer!!!

I miss London so much. I love Starbucks, Pure Waffle, being able to walk to Camden Market and sitting on Primrose Hill with a good book. etc.

I have a very sarcastic sense of humour… some people miss the humour bit! (ooops!)¬†but I never mean offence.

I love nothing better than a good book, a coffee and some peace at the end of the day.

I love blogging as it gives me such an insight into my friends lives.

When I’m happy, I’m on a crazy high… when I’m down, I’m desperately depressed.

I suffer with C-PTSD

I think there’s no excuse for bad manners, I hate it when people push past me… and then even worse, when they don’t apologise.

You can read my mood by how I’m dressed and how my house looks…

I try to raise my kids to be independent, tolerant, domesticated, polite and to embrace their individuality. I think I’m succeeding so far.

I am very insecure though I have learnt to appear confident to those that don’t know me.

I can be sooooo immature… and I don’t care what people think. I’m not dead yet!!

I love the Disney store and Hamleys!

My best night out goes like this… meal, West End Show, drink, walking back home a bit tipsy!!

I am a bit OCD. I have to plan everything, I hate changes to my routine, I do almost everything in even numbers (but my favourite number is 13!?!) & I love the smell of bleach, Milton and Dettol!!

I really hate cooking… I hate cleaning the kitchen after dinner more!

Army wives really do have it hard, no-one realises that.

I am a worrier, I even worry that I worry too much!

I always try to understand the other persons point of view and get upset when others don’t do the same.

I have always preferred humour to good looks in a man, looks will fade with age… humour only gets better!

I have always talked WAY too much!!

… and waffled on & on!!

I get passionate about certain subjects and go on about them a bit when the conversation starts!!

The smallest things can aggravate me!

Although I am working class and I live in a council house, I DO look down my nose at those that cannot be bothered to work and live on typically rough council estates… THEY made those estates rough, areas only get ‘rough’ when the residents don’t give a sh*t about the way they live and it really pisses me off.

I love a good debate, it exercises the brain cells!

The 3 most important goals in my life are:

…..1) To be settled in a loving relationship.

…..2) To be the best Mother I could be. (well, I am still trying!)

…..3) To start my own business.

I hate women swearing, but I do all the time.

I smoked way too much. (I quit in January 2011!)

I am such a craft-geek!! … anything to do with fabric and amigurumi!!

I love to shop!! I love buying things for people, I always see things for friends/family when I’m out and I always wish I had more money!

I write lists about EVERYTHING!!!

Though I lived in London for 37 years and used it almost daily, I am petrified of the tube!! (London Underground, that is!)

But in all I love London Transport! (I miss it much!)

I am never serious for very long.

I carry my life in my handbag… and a load of crap that I never use but ‘may come in handy’!!! ie. swiss army knife thingy, 1st aid kit, nazar boncuńüu, babywipes, handgel and more that I’m too embarrassed to admit!! then there’s the usual…diary, makeup, brush, mirror, keys, mobile phone, purse etc. (LOL see more OCD!!)

I love coffee. Not cheap coffee… but the kind that you get from the little caf√©s in St Johns Wood & Hampstead. (well, if they’re gonna spend ¬£6 million on a house, they ain’t gonna drink shit coffee!!!!)

I am a bit of a snob. I can’t afford to live the lifestyle that I love & that’s probably why I miss living in St Johns Wood so much.

A lot of people have had a huge impact on me, by giving little bits of wisdom and they probably don’t know how much it has affected my life in a positive way. Some of them have been children… kids sometimes have the answers… if you take the time to listen.

I don’t drink often, unless I am in a social situation… even then I don’t always drink.

I have had LOADS of driving lessons and I STILL can’t drive!!! I think some people just aren’t cut out for it! (like those people you swear & curse at on the road!)

I still feel I have a lot to learn about life, and I believe in the sayings “you live and learn” & “you learn something new every day” I think the most unexpected people you can learn from are children.

I didn’t have a very good childhood but I feel it was the life I was ‘meant to have’. It has made me a very tolerant and understanding person.

I hate it when people use their bad pasts as an excuse to be an ‘arsehole’

I love roses, daisies, lilies and poppies…. but I can’t stand flowery things in general. (curtains, wallpaper etc.)

I come across as a very closed off person emotionally but on my own I am an emotional wreck!

I am (& always have been) a daydreamer. I’m so good at it!!

Christmas is my favourite time of year, it is so magical when you have children. I get so hyped up that I even convince myself that Santa is real!!

I am a very spiritual person.

I believe that some of the most aesthetically beautiful people (on the outside) are the most ugly people on the inside and vice versa.

The friends that have touched my heart… Tammy, (she’ll always be my best childhood friend), Shirley (we went through those awful teenage years together), Jane (we learned how to be parents… & adults together! RIP old pal), Angie (the best listener in the world & knows how to make me laugh!), Ray (he was my rock and he never even knew it), Nicki (got each other through some devastating times), Andy (a real good friend, always there when you need a pal to catch a movie! RIP Drew mate), Ann (I never showed her how much I appreciated what she did for me, it was a tough time), Elise (Made me laugh at a time when I thought I’d never smile again), Emma (caf√© buddy & circle-slut. lol), Michelle (I should be a better pal to you) Love them all.

I think the problem with this country is down to bad parenting and lack of role-models. Parents want to be their kids best mate… Do they think their kids need parents or more friends? Can their kids not find their own friends? We are parents, it’s a job, start parenting your kids people!!!

I fall pregnant WAY too easily!!!

Being a teenage Mum was way harder than I thought it would be! It was the scariest thing I have ever done and I think I would’ve done a much better job if I had been older.

Adults really DID have the best advice when I was a teenager and I SHOULD have listened more!!

I was happy being single, I really enjoy my own company, not that many people I know can say that.

I hate infidelity, there’s absolutely no reason to hurt someone like that and definitely no excuse. (no, not even alcohol!)

I have worked in many pubs and I NEVER have ice in a drink from a pub!! (ew!)

I battled anorexia for years and at one point I weighed under 6 stone.

The best job I have ever done was being a childminder.Vicky, Amy, Billy, Sansel, Cema, Necati, Adam & Emily have a special place in my heart, they really kept me on my toes!!

I love music and I am most emotional when listening to music, what I listen to definitely reflects my mood.

I hate seeing girls bite their nails!

I hated being ginger and wished I was a brunette…. until I got to 20 something and my hair started to get darker! I realised I LOVE being a red-head! It attracts lots of positive attention!

When I was little I wanted a VW Beetle painted red with black spots!! (like a ladybird!)

I used to self-harm and get so frustrated at people that think it’s only for attention! (that’s why self-harmers hide it!!)

I love weird pets. I have had rats, ferrets, chipmunks (my fave), lizards (my other fave), as well as the usual dogs, cats, guinea pigs. We now have a guinea pig and 1 Axolotl. (we had 2 but Bob kept biting Margaret’s limbs off!)

psychology is my hobby. (I think it’s because I love to analyse everything and everyone!)

I have an illogical paranoia about public loos. (or am I right? hmmm…) anyway I carry hand-gel EVERYWHERE and refuse to wash my hands at the sinks in them!

I can’t stand procrastinating…. I can’t stand knowing there’s things to be done, I can’t relax until things are done!

I love the Autumn.

Men do ‘fantasy football’… I do ‘fantasy girls night out’!! On my list is… Holly Willoughby, Fern Cotton, Davina mcCall, Sarah Cox, Sarah Cawood, Jade Goody (bless her), Denise Van Outen, Jo Brand, and a few others. I’d invite Paris Hilton just to take the piss out of!

I still have a tatty little ragdoll in 70’s colours called Julie and she’s not much younger than me! It’s the only thing I’ve had my whole life.

I am crap at telling jokes but I am the b*ll*cks at writing best man speeches for people!! (if I do say so myself!)

I have a ‘thing’ for Russell Brand and James Corden!

My worst habit is that I interrupt people mid-conversation… I don’t mean to but I have a shite memory and I get worried that I’ll forget what I was going to say! Sorry!

I used to do ‘voluntary’ work at a Scout Camp and I loved it!

I am a sympathetic vomiter! I vomit if I see/hear/smell vomit!!

I am STILL an E17 fan!

I have a ‘treasure box’ of each of my children. Each contains; umbilical peg thingy, scan pics, hospital wrist bands, first tooth, lock of hair, first teddy, favourite baby toy, 1st birthday cards, pictures/paintings/clay models, sewing etc. that they’ve done in school, certificates, medals, trophies, souvenirs from places they’ve been and a whole lot more! They think it’s all rubbish!! (yes hoarding!!)

I did my 1st Race for Life when I was pregnant with my daughter and I plan to do it every year with her.

I am petrified of bees and wasps!! (I think it’s because red-hair attracts them!)

I had a beloved cabbage patch kid that was stolen from me in a children’s home so my friend bought me an exact replica.(aw)

Because I wasn’t raised by my family, I have always felt like an outcast. I still feel like a loner.

I’m not a trusting person. I only trust someone 95% tops, that gives them a 5% chance at breaking my trust. Then I can’t get hurt can I? I knew there was room for doubt!

I am the only civilian that can iron properly!!!

Since my husband left the army I have realised that the ‘squaddie humour’ that all army wives become accustomed to, is now ‘sick humour’ in civvy street and women aren’t supposed to laugh at it!!!

I have brothers and sisters that I’ve never met. I envy people who have close sibling relationships.

I am a facebook and twitter addict!

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2011 in Life, Thoughts

 

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