How Do I Let Go of Childhood?


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Keep Britain in Europe

A fortnight ago we had rather a frank discussion in therapy about where it was going and what we needed to do. I understand what happened in my childhood but haven’t got anywhere near being able to let go of it. I went away with that question to answer.

We also mentioned the fact that I talked best about the things I was happy to talk about, and not about the things I didn’t but needed to. So we decided to talk about my childhood and see what got left out.

Last week we talked about the first seven years, before we moved abroad.

We lived in a four bedroom semi-detached house with a large garden. We had two reception rooms, the smaller of which was an office for my father that I barely remember, so rarely must I have gone in it. We had a semi-outside toilet next to the kitchen that my mother at some point brightened up by painting it shocking pink and that is still very vivid to me. She also wall-papered, painted walls and sewed her own curtains. Continue reading

Current Affairs


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I am under investigation for suspected angina.

i have a trapped nerve causing me pain and difficulties.

I am aware that I haven’t been for a walk for pleasure in days, if not weeks.

4son needs to see a GP for stress and to keep us out of trouble with school.

3son is on Fluoxetine and still struggling.

I need to find a school for 2son for the year after next.

Housing Benefit want ten grand or thereabouts from me.

My parents are returning to England today.

On the plus side,

I have a place offer for Level 3 Counselling.

1son is currently on holiday but firming up plans for his future.

I love them all, even when I want to kill them.

Housing Benefit Disaster


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I came home from a lovely day out to find housing benefit reassessment number 3.

This made it clear that they’re throwing 2son off my housing benefit claim because Child Benefit threw him out when he returned to school and stayed there over the summer. After 8 weeks the claim is suspended, especially when you don’t tell them. I appealed and explained the circumstances, and the rules said I could still claim child benefit for him during the school holidays when he was at home. They turned down the appeal and said I could re-apply from scratch as if he were a new born and I really couldn’t face that for £500 odd a year. If I’d known how much disruption it would cause as it throws a red flag up with my tax credit claim since I’ve got him down as still at school but without the child benefit then I might have done things differently.

Mea culpa, I never thought to tell housing benefit that 2son had a residential placement because he still lives at home, even though he’s not always there. So I can write and explain all that. I even have a letter from council explaining this that I used at the appeal, although not my appeal (I had to appeal tax credit as well on the same basis and they accepted).


I also received from Housing Benefit Decisions about 80 pages recalculating my housing benefit and council tax benefit over the last six years. They’ve decided that I owe them over £10,000.

I have a big collection of decision notices without the calculations use to derive them. They all just say due to change in financial circumstances and they cover the last six years. I can and will ask for these calculations.

My guess is, given that I’m self-employed, that they’ve just realised they have never asked me for profit and loss accounts. I have never submitted them as they get their figures through my Tax Return but it turns out that’s not enough and I should have submitted my P&L each year to housing benefit. I didn’t know this. No one ever asked me. My income as shown in my tax return gets used in benefit calculations so I assumed that was fine.

So this part I think is their fault. But apparently even if it is their fault, they can still ask for the money back for overpayments in the last six years.

Now if it is agreed that this is all accidental rather than an attempt on my behalf to defraud the benefit system then I think I only have to repay it at £11.10 a week unless I come off benefits. But I’m not sure of anything any more.

I also wonder if this overpayment puts my tenancy at risk as I live in a council house and if you don’t pay your rent they can (and so they should) chuck you out.

So on Monday I have to go see 4son’s head about his attendance, get a replacement prescription for 3son’s Prozac, get some legal advice (starting at Shelter as my first port of call, probably followed by CAB which is strictly appointment only), writing my first letter of reply that will basically say WTF? Work will have to wait.

I had a really fantastic day today, until I got home and opened the post.

Yesterday, by the way, I got my offer of a place for my counselling course next year so yay!

Oh fuck


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I really struggled through pain to get work done so I didn’t have to do it all today. And so I could do other work today without spending longer at the computer and causing more pain. The last couple of days have just been a struggle.

Oh fuck,

I got a phone call this morning regarding 4son. I was supposed to go to a meeting at school last week regarding his attendance which I cancelled the day before as I had medical appointments. So I’m told off for not cancelling it promptly and for cancelling it by email rather than phone and not to the senior person the meeting was with but with the more junior one who I knew.

Then I get the warning that this is the final meeting at school; after this it goes outside the school’s hands and I face prosecution, criminal record and up to £2,500 fine. All because 4son’s attendance is poor, granted, and there’s nothing wrong with him.

Other students have cancer and have better attendance.

I almost burst into tears. She wasn’t being mean. This is the process and she’s tried talking to 4son before about attendance and it just hasn’t got anywhere. Plus, unlike 3son there’s no medical reason, no evidence so nothing for 4son to use as an excuse other than the fact that he gets tired really easily and struggles with mornings. He had problems getting to primary school on time and would/could fall out of bed half an hour before it started as he could just run down the road. Secondary school is 40 minutes away in normal traffic which doesn’t happen very often and he’s often late as well as frequently just not getting up at all.

I don’t know what the reason is but it’s hard to come down hard on 4son when 2son dropped out of school for 4 years (albeit for reasons beyond his control) and 3son frequently doesn’t go in but he gets away with it because he’s mental and talking to CAMHS. 4son’s only real problem is that he has to live with 3son all year round and 2son occasionally. That’s not a medical condition.

Yes I can beat him up more over bed time and all that but I don’t really think that’s the issue. Maybe we ought to go down the medical route.

He needs to decide to be more resilient.

Don’t we all.

P.S. Today,

I’m also waiting for the expected third housing benefit letter since the last two both arrived on a Friday. So I was really pscyhed to be in a good positive mood and not overly anxious at all. Splendid.

Yesterday and Today


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I couldn’t face filling in the further information so I didn’t. I did other stuff instead so was still productive.

I’ve been using alcohol for pain medication several nights, just a couple of pints. Paracetamol doesn’t cut it and I wake up at 5am to take more. I don’t like it but I’m struggling to get anyway near enough sleep. Pillows are arranged at all sorts of angles to try and support my arm in some direction.


I got up and gathered the next lot of information for housing benefit before breakfast, before my second cup of tea. They wanted proof of my Premium Bond, which is under £50 so I had to register for that online. They queried 2son as I don’t claim child benefit for him so he must be earning a living. I did my best and sent it off, noting they didn’t reply to my query about retaining the data and mentioning the lack of reference to data protection.

I noted at the last moment that this second letter said they were suspending my housing benefit while they assessed the claim so that’s splendid. I suppose that means I’ll be getting a bill demand to pay full rent.

I did all this two hours ago and I’m still shaking with anxiety.

I’m currently sitting in the waiting room to have blood test at my local hospital. Two months after my stress ECG the results are inconclusive but we’re going with an angiogram to find out exactly what’s going on. It’s a month wait rather  than a 3 month wait for a new CT angiogram that is less invasive and less informative so figured we might as well go for this as the result of a longer wait might be that I need an angiogram to be conclusive. She’s ordered lots of blood tests at a cost of £26.99.

I have my therapist thus afternoon and at some point I have to squeeze in some work. I actually want to run away and hide. Plus I’m acutely aware that I haven’t been for a walk since last Thursday’s visit to my HRT hospital for more bloods. I am so aware at this moment that my body is getting older and needs looking after. I feel ancient and my list of meds is just getting longer.

Last weekend and today


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This weekend,

That one last piece of work I had to finish took up half of Sunday. I didn’t get it done on Friday like I wanted.

1son came down on Friday to show 4son how to shave who had in fact already had a go and didn’t need it.

1son 3son and I went out to dinner in the evening and watched a very dysfunctional family who had come out for a nice family evening when no one wanted to be nice to each other. The teenager sulked; the father tried to insist on mobiles going away and the mother told him that if he couldn’t say anything that wasn’t vaguely critical then maybe he should keep quiet. In contrast the three of us were having a jolly time and I was thinking how weird it was considering how dysfunctional I consider our family to be and yet we were talking and laughing.

We were supposed to go on a university day trip on Saturday but 3son decided it was too much to get up early. I wasn’t complaining either and said I wasn’t going to drive to the one on Sunday either. I’m really not sure how much driving I can do with my arm hurting and didn’t want to get half way there and give up. We have another one booked for this Saturday which is closer and I’m still debating whether to book train or not.

So although I finished that piece of work at the weekend I didn’t do what we should have done. I’m worried about 3son who said he didn’t mind visiting universities in London on his own (he managed 1/2 last week of possible visits) he didn’t want to do them further afield without me. I can see doing all these visits in autumn causing just as much problems and they need a lot more planning than I was really aware of. I feel that I have let him down by not getting him onto all the visits that he had booked but I wasn’t capable of taking him and he wasn’t exactly enthused.

I do worry that he’s reducing his options to the easiest and not putting enough energy into finding out about courses etc. He’s talking to his head of year next week about exactly what he does next year and whether he looks at A levels over 3 years instead of 2 or lesser qualifications over 2 years. He’s also looking at apprenticeships which might be more suited for him. I have no real idea.

He’s also got a week’s worth of work experience next week and I’m wondering whether he’s going to turn up.

I woke up on Sunday from a weird nightmare involving my ex who was back in our home again. This is my bog-standard nightmare that I get whenever I’m feeling anxious about something major. My neighbour decided to enter my dream world. Keen gardener that she is she built a swimming pool in my back garden overnight and I woke up to sunbeds and strangers whilst freaking out over getting rid of ex2. Brains are just freaky.


I was about to start writing this when I got a phone call asking why I wasn’t at a meeting so I ran down there (well I drove actually) and have just failed to get this written before boys get home from school.

I got a follow up letter from housing benefit which is freaking me out and not as some of the questions are just stupid but they are trying to double check everything. They even want proof of my Premium Bond which I said I didn’t have but it was only for £10. They haven’t asked for my inside leg measurement but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time. I think I can answer it all but I opened the letter and my heart just started racing. Anxiety just kicks in as I immediately just feel incredibly vulnerable as if they can kick me out of my home if I don’t supply the necessary information. I hate it. I hate not feeling safe enough to query the letter I got last Friday telling me my rent has gone up even though it shouldn’t have.

I’ve just had another stupid query from school that I need to deal with.

I’ve really had enough of stupid questions and ridiculous scenarios and really wish life could seem straightforward for longer than five minutes at a time.

Yesterday and Today


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I wanted to write but didn’t get around to it. I did however phone one of my closest friends and we moaned together for over an hour. We both vented which was a release but ultimately not satisfying. My life which seems to be inching in a forward direction rather than rolling is absolutely zooming compared to hers. She has no end in sight and it’s ultimately depressing.

I spent fifty minutes waiting for my GP appointment which I’d miraculously managed to book the night before only to be told I should have asked to speak to her on the phone to save me the wait. Another prescription for my trapped nerve which I’m about to go and fill. I thought I was going to go and see the other GP but I clearly have got their names confused. My two favourites have left, leaving a practice of five. One is nice and very part time, one I don’t like at all, one I haven’t met and I can’t remember which is which from the last two. Continue reading

Yesterday and Today


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I went to therapy. We discussed whether it was working and my ability to talk about anything bar what I needed to. My therapist isn’t pushy enough so we’re both going to have to work on this. Otherwise it’s not worth it.

I spent 3 hours, 3 hours of my life I will never get back, gathering the information and documentation that Housing Benefit require to check my claim. I kid you not, 3 fucking hours. I sent it in to find out that my council has outsourced benefits so it’s all being checked by some faceless, nameless (Liberata) company who is aiming to make a profit on my housing benefit and no doubt gets a bonus for every few people it chucks off housing benefit or any other benefit. Continue reading

Downward Spirals


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Bob Geldof, Pink Floyd, The Wall

Bob Geldof, Pink Floyd, The Wall

I haven’t written for months, and most of what I have been writing has been about my counselling courses. The fact that I have been writing about it is good but I struggle to find the energy and motivation to write about me in other contexts which is really not what this is all about.

I was in a good mood this morning, woken up by the sounds of my children getting up and going out for the day without me leaving me in peace. I could catch up, potter about, do whatever, without calls of what’s for dinner, can I buy something, or the ongoing ramblings of teenagers playing videos.

Yesterday I went for my interview for Level 3 Counselling. We were together as a group for two hours which included a group exercise and a short writing piece. Then we came in for individual interviews. I really loathe job interviews as it involves me selling myself which is something I’m poor at but I did fine until the last couple of minutes when I started waffling and talking utter bollocks. I acknowledged the waffling and left, but it felt like walking out on a bad note. However I walked out feeling that the day had gone well and was positive. Continue reading

Who Am I?


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I am the youngest of three girls.

Due to the age gap I grew up as an only child.

I grew up with contrasts.

I grew up with a north/south divide in my parents’ personality.

My father buries his emotions. My mother cannot deal with big problems but was warm and cuddly.

We moved around a lot so permanence was a rarity.

I never knew my grandfathers but my grandmothers were anchors.

When I was very young I was scared to be upstairs on my own.

I am pleased with the cultural enrichment and awareness that comes from living in lots of places. I wish it could have been an easier lesson.

I hated being dragged on family walks. I learned to walk quickly.

I was scared to disobey my parents.

I lived inside my head a lot.

I read to escape the real world.

I don’t belong anywhere.

I belong everywhere.

Astrology is rubbish but I am a typical Gemini.

My parents split the family in half (Gemini and Yorkshire, or Kent and whenever).

Perfection was the minimum standard. All else was failure.

I was never good enough.

I wondered if I was wanted.

I’m a suppressed extrovert who is trying to act less introverted. I think.

I was bullied at school for several years.

I was not an easy child. I’m not an easy adult.

I believe in people.

I watched my sister have fits on the kitchen floor.

I watched my other sister throw plates in temper tantrums.

I watched my parents’ responses to both.

I get sick in cars. My father didn’t believe me.

I cried a lot. I held back my tears a lot.

I’ve met some fantastic people along the way.

I don’t fit in.

I’m an oddball, bloody minded and have learned to be proud to be different.

I wish life were easier.


Written in response to “How would you describe yourself in terms of your origins an background?” for application for next level counselling. 50 words.