17. All good things must come to an end…

For something else better to begin!

Well. I guess I ought to give an explanation for where the entries in this section “Straight from the heart” come from.

I had previously created a blog entitled:  ‘Journey through a painful body and a depressed mind‘, and I used this forum to write about my on-going battle with various health problems.  The title says it all really, but I have to clearly state that that, is who I was (and still am to some degree), but I have travelled far since then.

In the end, about 4 years ago, I decided that it was time to close to door on that chapter of my life.  Not because I was better, but because I recognised that virtually every single word I wrote, was bleak and gloomy.  It was all about the darkness.  Even though at the time, it was very beneficial for me to write this way, I realised that it wasn’t really who I was anymore. And I certainly didn’t need reminding of having felt that way.  This all being at a time, when I was both at my lowest and my strength was coming back, when my marriage was ending and I needed to feel hope in my heart.

The blog was very important to me, it helped me to survive and win through a very onerous period of my life.  I therefore, believe it was a necessity that my entries from it be included here, as the foundation of where it all began.  It was the beginning of my healing process, and allowed me to speak openly about the frustrations and anger that crippled me.  So, all good things must come to an end… blade-of-grass

Journey through a painful body and a depressed mind:

The ‘painful body’ is due to 4 conditions that I suffer with, Fibromyalgia, Allodynia Sciatica and Spinal degeneration in my upper and lower back.  Fibromyalgia, is the condition that I struggle with most, as I have it severely from top to toe.  It is horrible disorder to live with, as for me it entails being in chronic pain anywhere throughout your body.  Basically ‘Fibro” refers to the fibrous tissue surrounding joints and muscles, and ‘Myalgia’ refers to pain.  This can also be referred to a chronic pain syndrome, so it’s not just a few minor aches.

The severity, duration and locality of pain is different for each and every person, and I am now classed as being ‘End stage – severe’.  The pain from this can be so bad, a person can be completely incapacitated or even bed ridden by it, and I am very thankful, I have not reached that point yet).

There is no cure for this condition.

The best I can do for me, is to look after myself, by keeping my body as mobile as possible.  For that, I do a lot of stretching and yoga postures, and anything else that helps to keep me standing on my own two feet.  The only relief I can sometimes get, is by using strong pain killing drugs, which only dampen the pain down, and in turn create other problems for me.

Fibromyalgia: Is not a problem inside my head.  It is very real.  It is very painful. It is debilitating.  It is the silent burglar.

And it doesn’t just affect the physical body, it also grabs hold of your mind, and controls daily activity.

These are just some examples of how I am affected by Fibromyalgia:You think you know her
Forgetfulness, easily stressed, lack of concentration or focus, confusion, being clumsy, being unsteady just standing up, easily tired through constant lack of or disturbed sleep, eternal fatigue, terrible balance, being drained of energy, sensitivity to light, sound, smell and taste.

This list could go on and on.

I suffer with symptoms quite literally from head to toe on a daily basis.  I am always in pain, FULL STOP. I am always worn out, it takes me forever to do things, and it has robbed me of many simple joys in life.  But I, like everyone else, don’t have a choice, I have to live with it.

The Fibro, has also brought on a condition called Allodynia, which makes me incredibly sensitive to the slightest touch.  The severity of this, varies around different parts of my body, and in some cases I am now 23% more sensitive to pain than the average person.  What that means is that what might feel like a light touch to you, could feel like a punch to me.  Something as simple as stubbing my toe, could end up with me being in absolute agony for weeks.  So, I am always very cautious and somewhat scared of how people may touch me, be it a hug or an accidental brush.  My senses are on such high alert for this, and no one would know just by looking at me, that something was wrong. But my body automatically tenses up, in preparation of being hurt unintentionally in this way.

It has made my life unbearable at times, and I now understand that I have had it for most of my life, but something triggered it off for it to become full blown.  It took nearly 4 years of being left untreated and being in agony before I received a full diagnosis, that finally gave me a name for this monster.  By having MRI scans, it also showed that I had degeneration going on in my upper and lower back, and not before long, Sciatica was added to my repertoire of illnesses.

6ca44-required1As for the depression, that really took hold of me about 16 years ago, I literally skidded, then crashed and burned.  Again, with the help of hindsight, I recognise that this too was something that stemmed back from my childhood.  However, this time I really was a train wreck.

It is something I know will never entirely leave me, but now, I can’t help think that with everything on my plate, depression is/was a natural gravy.  Today, I use the strength I have gained through recovery to be open and frank with others who are suffering – whether they know it or not.

It is a strange sensation when your mind is still wanting to speed along but your body takes over the decision-making process.  Not being in control of my own frame of mind, left me feeling powerless, hopeless and defeated.  I have often said,

‘It was the best thing that could have happened to me’. 

Because had I carried on with my life the way it was, then things would have truly ended up being a lot worse.

In just a short space of time, my life changed forever, I was plunged into the darkness of a sound proofed arena, where I could hear and observe everything, but nobody heard or saw me.

It was the start of my ‘incredible journey’.

A mordacious opportunity, that helped me revisit my life.  My past, my ‘past’ past, my present, eventually leading me to look forward at my new future.   I’ve had decisions to make, and many other issues to deal with along the way, but one thing was for sure, changes had to be made.Sometimes it hurts

So here I am, this is where I’m at, now aged 49, about to embark on possibly the most exciting time of my life…starting over again. I am not out of the woods yet, but I can clearly see a bright light ahead of me.

I stopped writing the other blog, because I know I am not that person anymore.  All my physical health problems, as expected have naturally and progressively gotten worse, and deep depression is still a regular visitor.  But now, I see it for what it is, a ‘visitor’, something ‘temporary’.

I’m in a whole different place.

I have created a new book, with many blank pages.

I’ve rewritten, what was my then future.

I refuse to allow it to drag me too far, back into the abyss, it is not a place I want to spend time.

I see now, why back then, it was so crucial for me to have retained my positive outlook on my recovery and life.

Sharon carter-Wray

(Originally written 29/09/2014)

(Updated: 9th January 2019)

 

16. The Liberation of Sharon Carter-Wray

Right now,
I feel as though
I have just emerged
through the other side of such darkness.
A place I had been for years,
Sinking, lower and lower,
Feeling, darker and darker.
I, have been surrounded by people
Who didn’t see me
Who had no idea of the private hell
I was going through… all on my own.
Or the pressure
They sometimes added to my load.
But then a while back
I started to really take note of myself,
The people around me,
The situation I was in
And the fact
That I felt so unhappy,
So miserable and so depressed
I had forgotten how to smile
And I felt like this
All the time
The mental ordeal
Caused the physical sting
As I declined
I could not do a thing
My body was racked with pain
From top to toe
I had to lean on walking sticks
Wherever I had to go
There was not a part of me that wasn’t sore
In spite of me doing
A lot less and not more
Very slowly when a new day begun
I was blessed with a saint
A lady I’ll never forget
A lady who helped me
Moved forward on my quest
I opened my eyes for the very first time
And all too soon began to realise
How much stress
Was constantly in my life
Tension that was not mine to own
But more delivered
By some other needy soul
Every conversation that I had
Someone leant on me
Used my listening ears to air their woes
Or tell me of their ills
Each call was full
Of another’s misery and tears
It wasn’t about showing me care
And to every friend I turned
The story was the same
In the end
It became too much to bear
It was only then
That I knew for sure
I needed no further convincing
No one noticed me
No one saw my pain
No one could imagine my pain
No one could feel my pain
Sadly sympathy was in short supply
Even though it was not
The medicine that I desired
I felt so sad, so empty
I was so full of loneliness
But yet, I hid it all so well
Behind my beautiful smile
My lady,
Helped me to see
That it was not really others
Who were guilty
Of being the root of my pain
It was me 
I was self-harming in a terrible way
Every time I took on someone else’s pain
I used their words like razors
Lacerating my own veins
I gave my permission
I had opened those doors
But no one saw it was my blood
Dripping to the floor
That day,
I woke up
For the first time in years
That day,
I opened my eyes
And saw just how blinded I had been
I took a good look
At whom and what I had become
I didn’t like what I saw
It scared me to see
How my skin had been flayed
And my flesh was raw
Somewhere, along my path
During my journey through the darkness
I had lost myself
I had lost sight of who I used to be
The woman
At the very core of me
And all at once
I missed her so much
She had gone quiet for years
As though a part of me had died
I hadn’t noticed when she had left
I just knew she wasn’t there
No longer by my side
I called her ‘My Free Spirit’
Like a ship set to sail
She is the very of soul of me
And she is hell bent on
Not seeing me fail
Every now and then
She would majestically appear
And sparkle quite discreetly
Just enough for me to heed
To let me know 
She hadn’t gone completely
Every time I caught a glimpse
I felt stronger inside
As I grew stronger I became angry
The angrier I became
The more I wanted to rage
The more I learned
The more I knew
Something within my life
Dynamically and desperately
Had sought and wanted change
In fact, not something but someone
And that just so happened
To be me
So, with the help of my lady
I set about my mission
Ever so lovingly
Chip by chip and part by part
I dismantled myself
Starting from the heart
I gathered all the diamonds
And like a puzzle
I put them back as one
The picture told the story
Of my discontented life 
But
It wasn’t long
Before some of those fragments
Showed their truth
They simply didn’t belong 
Where they used to dwell
I could offer no more space
I needed and wanted it for
An entirely different shape
A form that could shift and alter
Allowing me to breathe
As I mused and pondered
Along came the answers
What I finally understood
Is if I didn’t make changes
This would be my life
For good
Now today
Some of that pain still lingers,
My smile is now true
No more will others
Turn my horizons
A dark shade of blue
My free spirit hadn’t left
She had stoically remained
Guarding all my diamonds
Until I was able to tell the tale
A true and honest account of 
The liberation of
Sharon Carter-Wray
Sharon Carter-Wray

(Rewritten 7th January 2019)
(Original 1st September 2013

A different mind set

Don’t know why, but for the first time in years, I didn’t end a year with frantically scribbling down words that spoke of disappointment and unhappiness; and crap that needed to be left behind.

Instead, somehow, I approached the end of year feeling quite calm, and at peace with myself.  Though the panic may have been in place to write, somehow, I managed to assure myself that this time round, it wasn’t necessary.

I know from reading through old written work, that I am no longer in the same place I was.  I have moved forward in so many ways in my life, that painful words from the past no longer hurt me.  It is an astounding feeling to be relieved of so much angst, that had collected and resided within.

I feel free of so many things that had stifled, stunted and restrained me.  I simple chose and still choose to turn my back and walk away, leave all the unnecessary drama far behind.

Better to lead a quiet existence, than to be down-trodden by people who do not value or think nothing of me.  But the truth is, I felt I needed to be a part of something, even though I knew it was never a good fit, I never truly felt I belonged, and I was never made to feel that way.

But for a while, when I was only taking my first steps to rebuild my life, it seemed they were a necessity, but I was quickly proved wrong; and that story never really changed.  I no longer look for recognition or validation, from people who should be give it freely, I just don’t need it anymore.  I am being nurtured and encouraged in other ways, by people all around the world.

I have continued to be open to new things, to be optimistic, to further empower the faith I have in myself, through the words I write and the many beautiful things I create.  And I intend to keep spreading my word as far as the world lets me.

That is something that no one can take from me, that is where my true beauty lies…

I have never felt like I had this power before.  It has put me a good place, and in spite of anticipating there are still possible battles ahead, I remain focussed and forthright.

I have not started the year by making endless promises to myself, instead it is the same mantra that I continually repeat:

I shall be true to myself, and no matter what happens, I have dealt with far worse in my life already!

That feels like a pretty good starting point for me.

Sharon Carter-Wray

 

(Saturday 5th January 2019)

 

When the ho ho ho has got up and gone!

Is it me?

Or is Christmas really down to just a day now?

When I was a child, Christmas was a time when families got together to spend time, not just for a few hours or a night, but for a week or so.

It was time to really catch up with distant relatives and friends, and really let your hair down, because the car was parked, and you weren’t going anywhere.

Christmas cards, were filled with real sentiment, almost poetry, not just the few words today which don’t express anything heartfelt.  Cards were important, they said I am thinking of you at this time, and were not just for people you hadn’t seen all year.

Everything, pretty much shut down, except the emergency services and essential workers.  Christmas was a proper holiday for everyone else, shops closed early, pubs were only open for a few hours, so if you forgot anything, then tough you did without it! There was no 24 hour convenience stores or petrol stations open, which by the way, used to only sell fuel and a few car accessories.  And then, the streets would be all but silent, because everyone would be indoors, enjoying themselves.

But now, people have multi-sites to visit within a set time, eating in one place, then eventually settling somewhere else.  Trying to please too many other people, rather than actually just pleasing themselves for once.

Is it all about doing the right thing or being seen to be doing the right thing?  And who is it right for?

All the hype that is built up, in September glittery signs and wrapping paper makes an entry mixed in with Halloween costumes, that’s now also part of Guy Fawkes night! These last two being an opportunity to turn your kids into beggars, and allow them to worship the dead!  I can never get my head round that! I know all around the world Halloween means something different, but that doesn’t apply here.

Anyway, sorry I digress.  I am absolutely horrified at the small fortune that some parents spend on an individual child, just for Christmas.  Worse still, if it is the child specifying something expensive, as no longer are they satisfied with simple gifts that have fun, practical or educational value, everything is fast, hi-tech, and becomes obsolete so quickly.

People have finally wised up the all the chain stores, with inflated prices that get slashed a few days later.  Now, the first sales begin weeks before Christmas, and by 9:00 am Boxing Day they are in full swing.  Having been spurred on by the amazing “Black Friday” frenzy, madness ensues, where everyone just has to have that “must have” item, or they are buying the Christmas presents they didn’t get before.  People are still filling up shopping trolleys at the supermarkets, as though they are planning for some horrific event; how much more can they eat?  And how much of that is wasted?  And once all that is done, we can sit back with a drink in hand and reflect on how absolutely exhausted we are.

All festivities have long gone, Christmas is ‘so’ yesterday!  The ho ho ho has got up and gone, until next year.

For me, this period of time between Christmas and New Year, is ‘quiet time’, nothing much really happens, except maybe catching up on a few people.  But otherwise for me, it’s a time to take it easy, get my house upstairs in order, seriously recharge the batteries, and everything is on a go slow, until New Years Day.  I’ll drink to that!  Sx

Sharon Carter-Wray

(30th December 2014)

 

Unfortunately since I first wrote this piece, I have come to the conclusion that Christmas is down to just a few hours now…

Everyone still comes together to sit at the table, but their minds are elsewhere, focussing on social media outside the home, rather being socially interactive within.  Let’s face it, how many people remain sitting at the table, after the meal has been cleared away?  Or take the opportunity to continue the conversation in a group facing each other?  Instead almost as soon as the meal is over, everyone escapes back to their own little world.  And all the preparations, the worry, and the stress slinks away into nothingness.

The crazy thing, is all the big companies tempt us with their glitzy adverts, enticing us to come see more, come buy more.  But no one thinks about the real cost of making these adverts and how as a consumer they’re going to pay for it.  I would rather they didn’t bother, but instead do price reductions across the board.

People force themselves to do things or accommodate people they would normally do their best to avoid, and all for the sake of … keeping who happy?

I am not anti-Christmas, but I am anti what it has come to represent.  I feel for the people who feel they are compelled to go through the whole process, probably pushing their own financial boundaries, just in order to keep a child happy.  Or to able to give a child something they were denied themselves as children, whatever their reasons, if everything is accessible and afforded them, it’s only teaching children to have no value for money, or for how it was earned. It saddens me that children still have all these expectations in a time when people are surviving on credit, or are literally living hand to mouth each month.

For me, I have a few unhappy memories at this time of year, so it’s never easy anyway.  But for the moment, there is something missing, not just by physical loss, but the whole spirit of how it used to be.   Maybe when I feel that spirit again my outlook will change, but at the moment it’s very hard to see past that. Sharon x

(Updated 30th December 2018)

I keep that beast inside

I have every right to be angry

I have every right

To stand here and beat my chest

Whilst screaming out fury

From the pit of my lungs

I have been lied to and cheated

I have been let down

Believed to be defeated

I have been knocked back

Pushed this way and that

But still I got back up

I have been abandoned

I have been bruised

I have been insulted

I have been abused

And still all I want is truth

I have been stifled

I have been blinded

I have been stunted

I have been haunted

By so many ghosts of the past

I have been verbally savaged

My whole body has been

Tortured, literally ravished

By more than just

The hands of a man

I have been labelled

I have been tainted

I have been shunned no end

I have been betrayed

By those calling themselves

‘Family’ and ‘friends’

They didn’t know

I’d already figured it

To be the end

 

I have every right to be angry

I have every right

To beat my chest in pain

But instead I stay silent

With the raging fury

Burning and boiling

From the inside out

But safely contained within

If I could write away this wrath

Then I surely would

But I fear that each word

That I dare to scrawl

Will burns holes upon the

Pages they are scribed

 

My contempt for feelings

I thought I had left behind

Like doubt, mistrust

And a sense of things

Not being right

Gave me all the reason

To rise up and fly

Words like envy and jealousy

Are the names of the

Ugly black birds that fly by

Up here I’m out of reach

No matter the anchors

That have been

Weighted and tied

Up here, I have no need

Of false-hearted words

I can see through

Many a disguise

 

I have every right to be angry

I have every right

To beat my chest and cry

Maybe it’s just as well

I keep that beast inside…

 

Sharon Carter-Wray

(Sunday 9thDecember 2018)

 

 

 

 

 

 

What if I told you

What if I told you,

That every time I see you smile

You cause a mini whirlwind

To go spiralling through my mind?

What if I told you,

That the mere thought

Of you not being by my side

Is enough for me to crumble

And fall by the wayside?

What if I told you,

That with your every kiss

My world is turned

Upside down

Into a heavenly bliss?

What if I told you,

That your very touch

You’re every caress

Sends me into oblivion

And spins me into

A delicious mess?

What if I told you,

That I long to see you smile

That I yearn to have you by my side

That I crave your wonderous kiss

That I hanker for your touch

What if I told you,

I want to feel the whirlwind

Share with you my bliss

Be made into a beautiful mess

Just by the thought of you

And you’re oh so tender caress

What if I told you,

You awaken my inner Goddess

Who’s lain, eternally waiting

For an answer to her prayers?

 

Sharon Carter-Wray

(Friday 7th December 2018)

 

15. And so the story continues.

I hope, I haven’t made this whole thing about depression and healing myself sound as if it were easy.   It was far from it.  What a lot of people don’t understand about depression is that there no magic cure, it is not about “picking yourself up”, or “getting over it” or “popping pills” in your mouth.  There is so much more to it than that.

People with real depression only wish that they could do, just that.  But it’s not a choice that we have.  People who ask “What have you got to be depressed about?”, or  say things like “I’ve got a friend (etc), with the same problem and they did this”, or “You need to be getting out more and enjoying yourself”, etc, etc, etc.

The darkness i know so well
Know this feelilng well!

These people, who can voice such incredible words of thoughtlessness, and insensitivity, have absolutely no idea what they are saying to a depressed mind, or in fact to the person they are saying it to.

In my life, they were people who knew me, until I realised they knew nothing about me or my life.  They merely saw the material things I had gathered, the confidence I held in myself, the way I would always be the one to speak up, and who also always got the job done.  They didn’t bear or even consider the pressure I was under, or notice my gradual decline.  They didn’t see what was coming.  Neither did I.  But one day I was stopped.

1badf-when2bthe2bheart2bis2bcutNot by choice.  I had nothing to do with it.  My body had literally decided it couldn’t take anymore, it was burnt out, exhausted, and it was crying out for rest and quiet.

And for a while, in such a weakened state I had tried to defend myself against these people and their words.  But, no matter how many times I tried to explain, why this had happened to me, it fell on deaf ears.  And eventually I stopped trying to explain, and became almost silent.

All they wanted to do was find something else to blame it on:

  • Buying a new house
  • Building work that was going on,
  • Even my recent marriage.

Never did anyone, not even any of my family acknowledge, the stress they’d put me under, or the demands they made of me. And my employers seemed to think it was okay for me to do the job of 4 people, whilst studying and doing staff training on their behalf.  Never, did anyone think that they could be held even remotely responsible.

And that’s when I knew, that for my own sanity, I had to remove these people from my life.  Mentally, emotionally and physically.  They were causing me more damage and more pain than I needed or could cope with, and they completely zapped my energy.

Sharon Carter-Wray

(First written 5thMarch 2012)

I began calling my depression, my own personal journey, because that is exactly what it is, both personal and a journey.  But I am fortunate enough to be able to voice what’s in my head, and record my own thoughts. I can’t always be poetic about my feelings, so at times what I write may come across as being very raw, but it is honest.

I guess that’s why I feel that depression is such a very solitary thing.

People think they understand and have all the answers, as though it were as simple as going to the gym, or getting your hair cut.  But unless they have experienced it themselves, they really have no inkling of what really goes on in our minds.

00177-10462841_673987222689399_3467623837117453863_nSome of us may be lucky to find things that gives us some release, with me it’s my creativity and writing, but it can be a battle in itself to start that process.  For others, they may remain completely trapped, unreachable almost, being lost in their own world, where they see or feel no joy.

Because of the nature of all the illnesses I suffer with I am still depressed, it would strange if I weren’t.  Nobody can put up with constant pain, fatigue and a host off other issues, with a smile permanently on their face!  And I know I will be on medication for the rest of my life, there is no getting away from that, and I accept that.  Just as I have come to accept many things…

But one thing I do know for sure is:

It takes an almighty person, with the right set of keys to unlock the darkness inside someone’s mind and release the light.

Sharon Carter-Wray

(Updated Wednesday 5thDecember 2018)

 

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