Thursday, 29 September 2016

Neurodisney

As I type this 
I am sitting in a waiting room
In clinic D
Which is the Motor Neurone Disease clinic
In Beaumont hospital
On the north side of Dublin
I think I mentioned that my Dad was diagnosed with MND a few months ago
Which affects his lower limbs 
His hands are pretty much crippled
He can't open or close buttons 
Pull his zips up
Has trouble eating 
Opening bottles and jars
His legs are also affected
And he now walks with a stick
At one point today 
Dad came out of the bathroom holding his trousers up
And I had to zip and fasten them for him
Not that I mind doing it at all
It's just sad that he can't 
It was a real shock when he was diagnosed 
And we were all very upset 
But we are told his particular illness is slow progressing 
So 
Every couple of months 
Dad visits the MND clinic in Dublin
Where he is seen by the top neurologist in the country 
Professor Orla Hardiman
Amongst others such as the physiotherapist, the psychologist
And various other specialists 
This time 
Myself and my sister have made the trip to Dublin with my Dad
To give you an idea of the journey 
Dublin is on the east coast 
We live on the west coast 
And Dad lives right in the middle between the two
It's a three hour journey each way
Which makes for a very long day 
I really wanted to come today though 
To support my Dad 
And also support my sister who drove today 
I wanted to experience the clinic 
And meet all the specialists that Dad talks about 

My sister and left home at about 9am this morning 
We hit the road in good spirits 
Prepared for a long and possibly stressful day 
We arrived at my Dads at about 11am
Which is the house I grew up in
I don't go back to my home town as a rule 
As it is just one big trigger for me 
We drove through the town itself 
Some things hadn't changed 
Others were unrecognisable 
Being back in my childhood home is always very strange 
Every time I visit there it seems to get smaller 
Or maybe I'm getting bigger
I took a walk around the living room while waiting for my Dad 
So many ghosts and memories 
Mostly not good 
I could almost hear the shouts of arguments 
Feel the tension
The bad energy that lingers 
Truth be told 
I don't like being there 
I never did 

Anyway 
We hit the road to Dublin
I decided not to take my meds until I got home 
As I wanted to be as alert as possible
We arrived in Dublin at lunch time 
Found the hospital with relative ease
Parked in the disabled bay
Getting out of the car and in to the hoSpital 
Was akin to getting a child ready 
We had to put his jacket on 
Get his bag with all his bits and bobs
Get his stick 
Fix his clothes 
All the time watching that he doesn't trip or fall
The my sister accidentally knocked Dads disability parking disc down the front of the car 
Which with the use of a handy credit card 
We managed to retrieve 
And headed in to the hospital
As I walked through reception
I saw a sign for ST. Michaels ward 
Where I spent time when I was 19
In the detox unit 
Detoxing from heroin and methadone 
I was just a kid 
In a locked ward with hardened addicts
It was there I was first told that I had anorexia 
Bad memories 
We found clinic D
And took a seat in the waiting room
My sister and I went to get teas and coffees and sandwiches 
Which we had while we waited 
Looking around 
There were people in all states of MND
Some like my Dad walking with sticks 
Some in wheel chairs 
It was a bit of an eye opener to see the way things could possibly go
We weren't waiting long 
Before we were called to see the first doctor 
Dr. Amina Coffey
She was a young Muslim doctor 
Very pleasant
And very thorough 
As she carried out the examination
My sister took rough notes of things we would need to remember 
Then professor Hardiman saw Dad briefly 
They seemed happy that things were going relatively well
And there was no great deterioration
Next we saw Niamh
One of the physiotherapists 
Whose area seemed to be a closet off the waiting room 
She went through a questionare with Dad
Now we are back in the waiting room
My sister is dozing 
I am blogging 
And Dad is looking pensive  
In with the doctor 
Dad mentioned that his appetite has been effected 
And later on admitted to me that when he is hungry 
He can't just make something easily 
So he just has a cigar and a cup of tea 
This worried me some 
So the doctor weighed my Dad 
His weight was 76.9 kilos
I asked what it had been at his last check up 
She told me that it was 78.9 kilos 
So he has lost a little bit of weight
Not enough to be alarmed 
But it's something to watch 

It's now just after 4pm
And we are all starting to flag a bit
Waiting around like this is pretty exhausting 
And we still have the drive home to look forward to 
It's a real role reversal though
My Dad used to bring me to Dublin
To appointments 
To treatment centres 
And now I'm bringing him 
I can really see him getting old 
And it's not nice 
My Dad was always active 
Coached basketball teams for years 
And to see him deteriorate is tough
But that's life I guess 
Anyway 
I'll leave you here 
And hopefully we'll be finished her soon
I'm sure some of you can relate to parents becoming ill and old 
I was wondering how you all deal with it ?
Right 
I'm off 
See you on the next post....

Monday, 26 September 2016

Monday

I had quite the busy and productive day today
While I was over in my neighbours house minding Bobby the dog
Some people called to view the house
As it is up for sale
They were only supposed to look around outside 
But they asked me if they could have a look inside 
So I put Bobby in to the bedroom
And gave the prospective buyers an impromptu tour of the house
I have to admit 
I really enjoyed it
And really got in to it too
Before I knew I was using words like 'potential' and 'space'
And isn't the light in this room amazing?
They seemed quite impressed with the house 
And made all the right noises 
It is a lovely little cottage
And in an ideal world 
I would snap it up
If I had the funds of course
Why does it always come down to money.....?

Anyway 
After my little tour 
I came home 
And got a call from the lady from the employment scheme I was looking in to 
She asked if I could meet her at lunch time today 
I could 
So we met in the local village 
Her name was Majella
And she was lovely 
She explained that the course is about getting people back in to employment 
By matching them up with an occupation they are interested in 
It's a four year course 
A mixture of training and work
Which is 20 hours a week
She asked me what areas I am interested in 
So of course I said something to do with animals 
And asked her if it would be possible to get a place in a stables 
Here's where the downer comes 
The placement can't be in a working business
It has to be a non profit organisation
So that rules the possibility of working in a stables 
So my next thought was an animal sanctuary 
Which she didn't seem entirely thrilled about 
Failing that 
I said I would be interested in working in an arts centre 
So she seemed a bit more positive about that 
Majella is going to look in to it
And get back to me
But I have to admit 
I was disappointed about the horse riding 
I came home feeling a little deflated
So I decided to do a little digging Of my own

A few short clicks on the computer later 
And I had found a horsemanship course in a town about 30 minutes from me
I decided to give them a ring 
I was speaking to a lady called Atlanta
Who was very helpful 
She told me all about the course 
Which is 18 months long 
Two days a week are spent in the stables learning about care of the horses and riding 
And three days in the classroom 
It sounded brilliant 
So I asked Atlanta so send me out the application form 
She said now is a good time to be applying 
As there are six new people starting the course next month
So I could potentially start then 
Exciting!!!

So 
That leaves me with a couple of options 
I will see what Majella comes back to me with 
And I will also apply for the horsemanship course 
I guess I will have to choose one though 
The good thing about the employment scheme is that it's two and a half days a week 
Which is very manageable 
And I can fit all my other things around it
The horsemanship course is full time 
A bit of a drive away 
But saying that 
I am much more excited to do this course 
Atlanta told me that I could do a tater course lasting a week
To see if it's something I am interested in
To be honest 
I don't need to do that 
I know I'll love it 
But I guess the smart thing to do would be to do it anyway 
Whatever happens 
I will keep my options open
But I feel real excitement when I think of moving on
And doing something I love 
I just know that what I'm meant to do will happen 
Fingers crossed....


Sunday, 25 September 2016

Before and after....

When I was at horse riding last week
One of the men called Pat 
Was asking me about my condition
You see the group I ride with 
Are called para-riders
Which means they have a physical condition or disability 
For instance 
Pat has multiple sclerosis 
MS
Land in his case 
It effects the left side of his body 
So he has trouble walking 
Among other things 
Pat was asking me if I have MS
And I explained to him that I am recovering from an eating disorder
Namely anorexia and bulimia 
He didn't really seem to understand what that meant 
So on the spur of the moment 
I showed him a photo on my phone 
Of me when I was very unwell 
He was shocked to see the picture. 
I also showed Eilish and Fintan
Who were equally shocked 
Then when I got home that evening 
I showed my sister 
She said that it is a brilliant photo
If a little disturbing 
I remember when it was taken 
I asked my brothers girlfriend to take some photos of me 
To document that time in my life 
Most of the shots are of me in my underwear 
But the most vivid shots 
We're the ones of just my face 
I look like I have given up 
Like an old and very sad woman
Then I looked at photos of myself now 
And the difference is night and day 
It shows me just how far I have come 
I feel so sorry for the girl in that photo
She looks desperate 
Lonely 
Like she has been crushed by her illness 
And by life
Her eyes look dead
I am just so grateful to have made it out the other side 
To have survived
Here are the photos...


Saturday, 24 September 2016

Dog sitting

This week
I am dog sitting and house sitting for my neighbour
My neighbour lives in the cottage right beside our house 
She is an elderly lady
And has a little Jack Russell terrier called Bobby
So I come over to Bobby every couple of hours 
Let him out 
And sit with him for a while 
He won't come for a walk with me for some reason 
But thats ok
It cuts down my work load 
For the first couple of days 
Bobby was in mourning for his owner
And stayed on her bed 
Growling at me when I got too close
Then when I came in to see him this morning 
There was a steaming great pile of poo waiting for me
Nice!
Anyway 
Bobby was in better form today 
He had something to eat 
Had a run in the garden 
I brought Lea over to see him
But he wasn't impressed at all 
This morning 
My sister and I were pottering around my neighbours house and garden 
Here are some photos...










Friday, 23 September 2016

Hello out there?

It's no secret
That over the last few months 
I haven't been the best blogger
Or the best reader or commenter 
I guess I kind of feel like I'm not relevant anymore 
That maybe my blog has done its piece 
And maybe I should think about retiring 
I don't want to
I want to write 
But I am just not getting much feedback these days 
So I don't know if people are reading 
If my blog is still helping people 
And even if it's good for me
Don't get me wrong 
I love you all dearly 
But I am starting to wonder if my blog has run its course 
And maybe it's time to say goodbye 
For now at least 

I started writing this blog back in 2012 
And have faithfully documented every step of my life since then 
I have met the most amazingly kind and wonderful people 
Who I will stay in touch with whether I continue to write or not 
I heavily relied on my blog when I was unwell
I was so isolated and trapped in my illness 
I didn't have friends 
I was so very lonely 
And relied on my blog for support 
For friendship 
For a break from the relentlessness of my condition
Blogger and all the girls in it
We're there for me over the years when I couldn't bear to leave the house or face the world 
But over the last six months 
My situation has improved greatly 
I made friends 
I held down a job 
I regained weight to a healthy BMI
And generally improved in all areas 
Now that my real life is flourishing 
I don't need my blog as much now
I don't have the time 
As I am out living my life 
So I guess that is a good thing 

Anyway 
This is a shout out to you 
If you are reading
If you are still following me 
Let me know t
Let  me know that you are there 
That I am still relevant
And please 
Be honest 
I'm a big girl 
I can take it 
I just need to know that I am still part of this community
And that our community is still thriving 
This is an invitation to you 
To comment 
To text 
To email 
Let me know that you are there 
That my story still needs to be told 
Show me you are there.......

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Taking the rough with the smooth....

Life is full of ups and downs 
And the only real constant is change
As you know
I go horse riding on a Wednesday 
And for the last couple of weeks 
I've been been doing two classes instead of one 
Because the equestrian centre is a full hours drive from my house 
So it makes sense for me to make the trip worthwhile 
Let me tell you in no uncertain terms 
Horse riding is not easy 
The pros make it look effortless
And you could be fooled in to thinking that the horse does all the work 
But in actual fact it is hard work controlling a horse 
Trotting can be exhausting 
As you are using your whole body to rise and fall in rythm with the horse
You need to be pretty fit to ride a horse properly 
There is a reason why I'm always sore the next day 
It's because I am engaging so many different muscle groups while riding 
Anyway 
In my first lesson yesterday 
There was myself, Fintan and another girl called Laura 
Eilish is our instructor 
From the get go 
She was pushing us hard 
For me 
It was getting my posture correct 
And for Fintan 
It was his legs 
Fintan has a condition that wastes his muscles 
And he is finding riding tough going at the moment 
Fintan has become a really good friend over the last few months 
We talk every day in the phone 
We travel to riding together 
And we generally get along very well
But back to the point of this post 
After a warm up 
And a few rounds of trotting 
It was time for cantering 
For the last couple of weeks 
I have been stressing about my canter 
As it doesn't always happen for me
And I don't know why 
So 
I was first up
I trotted Star on and we got to the corner 
Eilish was shouting at me to 'Sit in!!'
And I was trying my best 
But it didn't happen 
She had me circle and go back around to try again 
But 
The same thing happened 
I was beginning to get frustrated at this point 
But Eilish had me go round again
And this time she gave me a whip
I trotted on 
Trying to get a steady pace 
So Star could easily transition in to a canter 
At the corner 
I gave him a tap of the whip as I sat in 
And straight away 
He went into a canter 
He really is a tidy little mover when he wants to be 
I got such a buzz off cantering around the arena 
As I reached the back of the arena 
I heard Eilish shout something at me 
I thought she said go around again 
But she had actually been telling me to circle 
I didn't hear in time though
And went around the arena again 
It feels amazing when the canter comes together
But it is beyond frustrating when it doesn't work out 
And more often than not 
I can't tell why it hasn't worked
Eilish really pushed me though 
And it can be hard to take 
After the first lesson
She asked me if I thought she was being too hard on is 
I said I didn't 
And I don't 
As a lot of the time I do better when pushed 
But sometimes 
Communication is an issue 
And something's get lost in translation
But I am so hard on myself anyway 
So having someone else be hard on me too can be a bit of a downer 
So the first lesson finished
And myself and Fintan got a cuppa 
And had a meeting about the lesson 
The general consensus was that it's a real bummer when the riding doesn't happen for us
But 
It's like anything 
Some days it happens 
And other days it doesn't 
And it could be down to any number of things 
The horse 
Fatigue
Or a combination of both 
That's just the way it is 
You hAve to take the rough with the smooth 

As I said earlier 
I am very hard on myself 
And am probably a bit of a perfectionist 
I want to be the very best that I can be 
I was to grow 
And improve 
And thrive 
I love horse riding 
But I also love to be good at it 
Fintan tells me that he is happy to walk and trot and do a bit of dressage 
But I'm not 
I want more 
I want to go as far as I can with this 
Where that is?
I have no clue 
But I am excited to find out 
To explore my potential 
I put a huge amount of effort in to horse riding 
It takes me over an hour to drive there
And in every lesson 
I give it my all 
Because I love it 
Because I want to be the best horse rider that I can be  
I guess that is my personality 
And when I was ill
I used these traits in a self destructive way
I used my stubbornness
Determination 
And perfectionistic streak to maintain an addiction 
And also to lose weight 
I am the type of person that when I want something 
I will get it come hell or high water 
In my addiction 
It was like playing a game of cat and mouse 
Trying to stay one step ahead of withdrawals 
And I was always playing catch up
I was constantly trying to come up with money to feed my habit 
And it is truly amazing the ways and means that I went to to score my drug
The lengths I went to were truly incredible 
So now I guess I am putting these traits and skills in to healthier pursuits 
Like horse riding 
Like my job
I swear 
If I put half the energy in to improving life as I did in to my addiction 
Then I am doing well
That is for sure 

In other news 
I haven't heard back from the course I applied for 
I really hope to hear something before the weekend 
I just want to know if I have a place or not 
As I hate hanging around just waiting 
But if it doesn't work out 
Then I will find something else 
I trust that I will be guided in to the right path
And that I am exactly where I am supposed to be
As someone once said 
When one door closes 
A window opens 
I just hope my next window leads me to a happy place 
I just want to do something to learn 
To be happy 
Content 
To work in an area I love 
To be a good person 
That's all I want

So that brings me to the end of another post 
Thank you for staying with me 
I know the changes in my life and my blog are difficult to adjust to 
But I appreciate you sticking by me 
Thank you 
From the bottom of my heart...

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Tuesday

I saw my counsellor Breda again this morning 
I had to finish off filling out forms for the course I am applying for 
It's basically a work/training scheme 
20 hours a week
It's a tailor made course for each individual 
So I will be matched with an occupation that I am interested in
So for myself 
I mentioned horse riding
Animals 
And writing 
I'm really hoping a stables will take me on and train me 
And the great thing is 
That it lasts for four years 
It sounds perfect for me 
So I am really hoping it works out
There are ten places available 
With only two places left 
So I just hope I'm not too late applying 
We will see I guess 
Because the thing is 
Only a week after finishing work 
I  already starting to get bored
And last week 
I misused my meds 
In an effort to fight the boredom 
So I know I need to get busy doing something 
Before I get in to a rut of abiding my Mrs and doing nothing 
It really is my dream to work in a stables 
I think about horse riding all day 
I dream about it at night 
I love for Wednesday's 
And my two lessons 
There are quite a few horse riding centres near me 
So I have a few options 
I'm keeping my fingers crossed they it will work out 

So I'm getting used to having less money again 
Now that  I am not working 
I have a lot less disposable income 
And it is an adjustment 
But I managed before 
So I will manage again 

I don't have a lot to say today 
I just wanted to check on and say hello 
Happy Tuesday....

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Sunday

Today 
Is the first Sunday I have had off since I started working four months ago
It's very strange
But very wonderful
I slept in until 9 45am
Which is very unusual for me 
As I am an early riser
And if I am getting up for work 
I get up before 7am
For as long as I can remember 
I have disliked Sunday's 
When I was a child 
It was the day before going back to school
And as I grew up 
It was the day before going back to work
Sunday was also usually the day when I had the fear 
A severe hangover 
Or a horrible come down from what ever substance I had been taking the night before 
I also find Sunday's a very lonely day 
I've always associated it with families and couples 
Doing family and coupely things 
So yes 
I was glad to be working this day for the whole summer
And today is my first Sunday off in a while 
I got up late 
Had breakfast 
And brought Lea for a walk 
Honey doesn't always come with us now 
And I don't make her go 
She comes when she feels like it 
And that is entirely her perogative 
My dogs are old now 
Nearly 12 years old 
But they have had a long and happy life 
And I am hoping that they will be around hit another few years 

Anyway 
This weekend 
An old friend of my sisters came to stay with us 
Geraldine 
She was actually my sisters first girlfriend 
And they were together for a long time 
So this girl has known me since I was a kid 
Her and my sister broke up 
But she still remains a close family friend 
And we all love her to bits 
So we had a lovely weekend 
Chatting 
Walking 
Drinking tea
And remembering the good ol' days 
The last time Geraldine saw me 
I was in hospital 
And not in a good place at all
So it's nice that she got to see me in a much better place 
She is so lovely 
And we had such a great laugh
Below are some photos we took this morning 
Happy Sunday
What ever you are doing...








Friday, 16 September 2016

The next chapter....

So work has finished up 
And I am in the look out for some work or a course to keep me occupied
And to keep my brain ticking over
Wednesday's are now completely dedicated to horse riding 
I head out to the riding centre at 10am
And I stay until about 3pm
I have my first lesson at 11am
Where I am in my usual group 
With Fintan and Pat 
I love our little group 
There is much piss taking and joking 
We just really enjoy the riding 
And each other's company 
It's a very supportive and caring environment 
I love it 
Then from 12pm - 1pm
I take a break
Have a cuppa 
And watch the next lesson
Helping out here and there 
Then at 1pm 
I have a private lesson 
Which is much tougher than the group lesson
I say tough
It's more challenging than tough
But I love it 
I love to be pushed 
To try and reach whatever potential I can 
In the group lesson 
I Am usually last in line 
So Star literally follows the horse in front 
And I have very little to do 
But in the private lesson 
I am the only one in the arena 
So Star is depending on me for signals and instructions 
These horses are smart 
They respond to the trainers voice 
All she has to say is 'Right, shorten up your reigns'
And the horse will immediately perk up and get ready to trot 
It's amazing really 
These are working arena horses 
And they know the routine inside out 
They know to canter at a corner 
They now trot means trot 
They know from my squeezing my knees that I want him to speed up
This weeks private lesson went a lot better than last weeks 
Last week I couldn't get my canter 
And I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong 
So with a canter 
You start with a trot 
You shorten your reigns 
Get in to a nice rhythm 
In complete control
Then as you approach the corner 
You sit in to the saddle 
That is the signal to the horse to speed up 
They say 'Sit in'
And from the get go this confused me 
I mean what exactly does that mean 
To me 
Sit in sounded like they wAnted me to sit in to the front of the saddle 
But that didn't really make sense either 
So then another rider explained to me that sit in basically meant sit down in to the saddle 
In other words stop riding and trotting 
But even knowing that 
It's still hard to know when you are doing it right or wrong 
A lot of it has to do with feeling 
Feeling the rhythm of the horse
And knowing when to sit in and canter
But look 
I am still very much a beginner 
And am probably overthinking the thing anyway 
As Eilish my trainer said to me 
I have learned in a few months what most people learn in years 
And what keeps me going 
Is when it all works out 
And Star goes in to a beautiful canter 
That feeling 
When it all comes together 
Is just priceless 
And makes all the frustration and confusion worth while 
Canter around the arena twice non stop 
Truly enjoying it 
The speed 
The power 
The utter joy it brings me
It's freakin' amazing
I wish I could bottle that feeling 
And take it out whenever I want 
I live for Wednesday's 
And the chance to ride 
To spend time with my friends and the horses 
To Pull on my riding boots and helmet 
To get a leg up on to Star 
To smell the sharp scent of horse manure 
To kick Star on and start warming up
To hear the squeak of the leather as he walks 
To tell him he's a good boy 
And give him a rub
To sit up tall and straight 
And instruct him to trot 
To get in to a rythm that feels smooth and effortless 
To speed up in to a canter 
And experience the buzz of the speed
Then to dismount 
And peel off my helmet thats damp with sweat 
To treat the horses with a carrot 
And then have a hot cup of tea with friends 
And talk about the lesson 
I love it 
I love it all

Anyway 
For lack of something to do 
I put my name down to do a computer course in the local women's centre 
I went for the interview today 
Which was the shortest interview I have ever done in my life 
They gave me a break down of the course 
And to be honest guys 
It's very basic 
And stuff I would already know
It's really for absolute beginners 
But still 
I am keeping an open mind 
Breda my counsellor also told me about a course starting soon
They is a rehabilitative course 
Which matches you up with something you have an interest in 
Trains you 
And provided work experience for 20 hours a week 
Over four years 
I really liked the sound of this course 
So I rang Breda today to tell her I am interested in starting it 
I am anxious to get the ball rolling 
As there are only ten places on the course 
So my next step is to call in to Breda Monday morning 
And fill out the forms 
Lost them 
And meet with the course coordinator 
So hopefully this will work out 
As I could ask to be placed in a stables 
Or animal sanctuary 
And of course I would be happy out in either of those places
All I can do now is wait 
And as you know 
PAtience is not a virtue that I possess 
But I'm going to have to suck it up 
This course makes me excited though 
The thoughts of working in a stables is just a dream come true 
And hopefully I will get to ride too from time to time 
I just hope it works out for me 
Keep your fingers crossed for me...
 
In other news 
I Am doing well
I miss work and my friends 
But I will keep in touch with them 
And call in to them regularly 
It's nice to have more time to myself 
But I know I will get bored if I don't keep occupied 
And when I get bored 
I tend to get in to trouble 
The devil makes work for idle hands and all that 
But I have options 
So that is good 
And I trust and believe that the right thing will happen for me at the right time 
ED wise 
I am going ok 
Look 
It's never going to be perfect 
I still struggle with purging from time to time 
But I am eating well most of the time 
My mood is good 
I feel stable and strong 
I feel no urge to lose weight 
Or to change myself in any great way
I have no idea what I weigh 
And I don't wAnt to know 
Ignorance is bliss in my opinion 
My clothes fit 
Therefore I am presuming that I've not gone over a size 8-10
Which is a healthy weight for me 
And as they say 
If it ain't broke 
Don't fix it 
I hope to blog a bit more now that I have some free time 
And of course to catch up on yours 
And generally become an active member of our community again 
As I fear I have neglected you some what 
But that's life for you 

I want to thank you for still reading 
And got being there for me 
It never ceases to amaze me how wonderful the people here are 
This community means a lot to me 
You mean a lot to me 
And we need each other 
For support 
For company 
For friendship 
I love each and everyone of you 
To the moon and back....

Monday, 12 September 2016

They think it's all over...... It is now!

Greetings from a very tired but very happy Ruby
I officially finished up in work yesterday 
After almost four months of hard work
Work was a joy last week
There were only eleven guests staying with us 
So unlike other weeks 
I had the time to chat to them 
Get to know their names 
And their stories 
It was so nice to address each person by their first name 
And to have the craic with them
Leaving work is bitter sweet
I will miss work 
Especially the people 
Both my fellow workers and the guests 
I will miss the banter 
The structure 
The routine 
And of course the money 
I am just so grateful that my manager Georgina gave me a chance 
Because that's exactly what I needed 
For someone to take a chance on me
I did the interview for this job back in February 
Luckily I had two great references 
And I was offered the job straight away 
From the start 
Georgina said that I would be good for the centre 
And the centre would be good for me 
That I would flourish and blossom
She was so right 
Working has done wonders for my self esteem and confidence 
I am a new woman!
I feel capable and able 
I feel confident in my abilities 
And ready to tackle any issue big or small
Yes 
Work has given me a new lease of life 

So 
As one chapter of my life closes 
Another one begins 
I have a few options for autumn/winter 
On a Wednesday 
I am now doing a full day of horse riding 
Which is amazing 
And I look forward to it each and every week
I have also put my name down for a computer course in the local Womens centre
Then yesterday I heard a stables quite near me is looking for staff
Also I saw Breda this morning 
And she told me about a new scheme 
Where you are matched with a job that you are interested in 
And they train you over a four year period 
So that is another way I could get in to horse riding work 
So I have options 
And I am really looking forward to getting out there in the big wide world 
Hopefully doing something that I love
Again 
I am so blessed to have an amazing support structure around me 
Of family and friends 
And professionals 
I know that not everyone has that 
And I count my lucky stars every single day that I do 

In other news 
I don't know if I have already mentioned it 
But through horse riding 
I have met a new friend 
Over the last couple of months 
We have become quite close 
We travel together to horse riding every Wednesday 
And we talk on the phone most days 
He is a good bit older than me 
He is in his forties 
And also has a muscular condition that effects his lower limbs 
He is what they call a para-rider 
He really is a lovely guy 
And has become a very close friend 
He came out with us the evening of my birthday 
And gave me a lovely present of a photo of the two of us the day of my first dressage show 
But yes 
We have become firm friends fast 
But recently I have been getting different vibes off him 
Like he will tell me that I look pretty and things like that 
So I was speaking to him on the phone last night 
And all Of a sudden he asked me if I wanted to go on a date 
I guess the signs were there 
But I chose to ignore them 
I really like this guy 
But I don't have any feelings for him 
Not like that 
Although pArt of me wishes I did have feelings for him
It would make this situation a whole lot easier 
But unfortunately 
The course of true love does not run smoothly 
So I had to tell him in a very gentle way 
That I valued our friendship above anything else 
And I didn't want anything to jeopardise that 
And I really meant it
I think sometimes a friendship is more special than a relationship 
He took it very well
And agreed with me 
I actually think that he felt he had to ask me out 
Because he did seem quite confused as to what was happening between us 
But in glad I set him straight 
At least now we know where we both stand 
But hey 
It was flattering to be asked 
And to be complimented too
To be honest though 
I don't think I am anywhere near ready to have a relationship 
I am just getting to a point where I feel comfortable with myself 
I don't think I could handle having to deal with a whole other person 
I'm sure it will happen at some point 
Just not now 

So yes 
Exciting things are happening 
I turned 35 last week
Had a lovely birthday 
And was utterly spoiled
Tomorrow is my mams birthday 
And her turn to be spoiled
My Dad is staying with us indefinitely at the moment 
He just can't really be left on his own at the moment 
His MND is getting worse 
And he is also battling a very painful back condition 
So far it's going ok 
And he is behaving himself 
I guess we just take each day as it comes 
And deal with it that way 

So that's it from me for today 
Now that I am not working 
I hope to have more time to blog
To read yours 
And to comment 
My writing really differed this summer 
And I really felt disconnected from you all
But now is my chance to throw myself back in to it 
I guess it's a good sign though 
That I have been busy living my life 
And do didn't have the  time to dedicate to my blog 
I even considered stopping blogging altogether 
But now I see that that is just the way
Life goes sometimes 
On that note 
I will bid you good day 
From a cold and windy Ireland 
See you in the next post....

Monday, 5 September 2016

One year on...

This morning 
I did something I've been wanting to do for the past 12 months
I agonised and stressed over it lot
And felt incredibly guilty for what I had done the year previously
But first 
Rewind 
Back 18 months ago
You may remember I wrote a post called 'Caught' if I remember correctly 
It told the story of how I was caught shoplifting in my locality 
It was a real low point for me
As you also may remember 
Up until last year 
I was having a lot of issues with shoplifting 
That started with food
And then spread to other areas like clothes and jewellery 
They say you shouldn't shit on your own back door 
And stupidly 
That's exactly what I did
I went in to the shop that day 
Browsed 
The shop owner was there 
Chatting to someone 
I asked if I could try on a couple of items 
And brazenly 
I put a top on under my clothes 
And walked out of the shop 
I was half way down the road 
When I heard someone calling me 
I nearly died when I turned and saw the girl from the shop
She ran up to me 
And asked if I had taken a top
I couldn't lie 
I said I had 
She asked where it was 
I said it was under my clothes 
She told me to take it off then and there in the street 
I pleaded with her to let me change in the shop 
It was a real rock bottom for me 
I don't know if anyone was watching our exchange 
It's very possible that they did 
Anyway 
She marched me up to the shop
I remember a police car passed us on the way 
The girl was fuming 
And rightly so 
I remember her saying that because I had stolen from her shop
She took it personally 
So 
I followed her to the shop 
Where I changed and handed her back the top
She basically told me to get out 
And not show my face in there again
I was just so grateful that she didn't call the guards 
My whole life would have changed for the worse if she had 
I left the shop with my tail between my legs
Utterly crushed and mortified

So 
Since then 
I have avoided that shop 
But a few months after it happened 
I felt a huge urge to return to the shop 
To explain
And to apologise 
But I just couldn't find the courage to do so
Fast forward to this morning 
I was walking down the Main Street of my town 
Having been in the doctors 
I was approaching the shop 
When I saw the girl outside doing something to the window 
All of a sudden 
I realised that this was my opportunity 
I called out to her 
She turned 
And walked towards me smiling 
I asked her if she remembered me 
At first she didn't 
But after a few seconds 
It began to dawn on her who I was 
I told her how I had wanted to approach her for so long 
And apologised profusely for taking from her shop
I explained that I had suffered with addiction and other mental health issues
And that I was in really bad place when I stole that top
I also apologised for putting her on the position where she had to be bad cop
She was very warm and understanding 
I explained that I was now in a much better place 
And asked if I could start coming in to her shop again 
She said yes no problem 
She thanked me for the apology 
And told me to stay on the straight and narrow 
I walked away from the girl 
Feeling so relieved that I had the chance to apologise to her 
And I think I left it just the right amount of time since the event 
Enough time for her to cool down 
And for me to get myself together
It's just so good to know there are no bad feelings about the situation
And I can know return to shopping in that store 

This is big for me 
To face the person who I had wronged took a massive amount of courage and swallowing my pride 
It just goes to show how far I have come 
I would never dream of stealing now 
And as I said to the girl 
Being caught was a turning point for me 
Sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom to knock some sense in to me
That situation could have turned out a whole lot differently 
And thankfully it didn't 
Because if she had called the guards that day 
And prosecuted 
I would now have a criminal record 
And I wouldn't have got the job in the holiday centre this summer 
It would have had a huge knock on effect for me 
So I am just so grateful to that girl 
For giving me a chance 
And for not involving the authorities 
It just goes to show 
That people are mostly decent and good 
But it definitely taught me a lesson 
And if nothing else 
Then it was a good thing 

Friday, 2 September 2016

September

And so 
Autumn has arrived 
It's my favourite season of all
And on the 7th
I turn another year older
This has been a good year for me so far
It didn't start out well
But somehow i managed to turn things around 
How?
I'm not entirely sure 
Most of the time I feel like I am being carried along by friends and family 
My feet barely touching the ground 
The biggest thing that happened this year
Is that I secured a job
And worked all summer
I met new people 
Made friends for life
I came out of my shell 
And really discovered who I am
And what I am all about 
I loved working 
Loved the holiday centre
And everyone in it
We all became like a little family 
Then of course it all came out the night of our staff party
Whose in to who 
Who likes who 
It all got very silly
But that's alcohol for you
In our workplace 
There are about ten females 
And two males
So there just aren't enough to go around 
But hey 
There are plenty more fish in the sea right?
Work is winding down now
I only have a couple more weeks until I am again jobless
I can't lie 
I am going to miss it so much 
And I will continue to look for year round work
Work has given me a great sense of satisfaction 
As well as making me more confident and independent 
It's not an easy job
It's both physically and mentally demanding 
We are constantly running up and down stairs 
Cleaning 
Serving 
Picking up
I swear my fitness has increased marginally this summer
And then there is the emotional side of the job
We are dealing with vulnerable people
People who have a mental or physical disability 
People who are dealing with addiction or some other mental health issue
And I find that people are very open
They want to chat 
They want to tell you their story 
Of course I am happy to listen
Maybe these people don't have anyone to talk to at home 
Maybe they don't get a chance to unwind and relax
And get away from the daily grind
I've heard some very sad stories this summer 
Stories that would break the coldest of hearts 
I must say 
It's been a pleasure to help these people enjoy a well earned holiday
And it's thanks to the charity that I work for that they do get a holiday
Work is coming to an end now
I officially finish up in two weeks 
It's going to be hard to adjust to life without work again 
But I'll be back next year for sure 
Just try and stop me...

In other news 
Starting next week
I stead of doing one horse riding lesson on a Wednesday morning 
I will be spending half the day out there 
Which means I get to do two lessons 
One on my own 
And I also get to help out in the stables 
And the care of the horses 
I don't have words to describe how excited I am to be spending more time at the stables 
The horses 
The people 
The trainers 
Everything comes together to make it such a special place 
I am just so happy when I am out there 
I park my troubles at the gate
I get up on Star
And I just ride 
There is nothing going on in my head 
Other than how much I am enjoying it
The horses have been a life line for me
I can't emphasise how important it is to find healthy replacements for dangerous habits and behaviours 
I have tried going cold turkey 
'White knuckling' it as they say 
Trying to get through on sheer will power alone 
Will power will get you so far 
But we need to find reasons to stay well
Or stay clean and sober 
As I'm sure every addict whose ever attempted recovery knows 
Giving up drugs is one part 
Probably the easier part 
The hard part is trying to figure out how to get through life without relying on substances 
In my case 
I was lucky 
In that I got the chance to do a methadone programme 
And that has worked for me
Again I was lucky in that I had the opportunity to move area
And get away from my old using life 
I had a fresh start
And even though moving is not the answer 
It helped me enormously 
Learning to live in reality was my biggest hurdle 
I had spent so long numbing myself with drugs, pills, food and lack of food
I couldn't handle reality 
At least my own reality
I found life boring 
Especially given the drama and the rollercoaster of emotions that ensued in addiction and disordered eating 
Getting used to life on life's terms is not easy 
The need to escape is huge 
Even now I use sleep as an escape 
Well hey
That's pretty anodyne compared to injecting class A's in to your neck
I do love sleep though 
I love to dream 
Even the not so nice dreams are fun
As you wake up and realise that it was in fact just a dream

Anyway 
I keep going off on tangents here 
But I do have a dilemma 
And need your help
It's not life or death or anything like it 
Ok
So I bought a coat during the week
That cost €90
Then today 
In the post 
I received a letter in the list from the guards 
Informing me that I had been caught speeding 
70km in a 50km zone 
With a fine of €80
Here in lies my dilemma
Should I return the coat and pay my fine?
Or should I keep said coat and save up money over the next couple of weeks to pay the fine?
I kind of feel like I don't deserve the coat   
That I should pay in some way
So I'd be interested to know what you think
To keep or not to keep the coat
That is the question.....