Monday, 27 June 2011

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy - Session 4

It has been a few weeks since the last session.  The therapist had half term off, then was sick for 2 weeks in a row!  Poor thing. I did feel for her but she was better this week and so session 4 could start.

We went through my thought logs that I had been writing up as I attended events that bought on anxiety or panic. She was happy that I had been doing them and I felt they have helped.  When you see it written down, you can see what your sub conscious is doing.  It is from reading them back and the thoughts that occurred, I was able to challenge some of them. This is a good place for anyone to start I think, write down the thoughts you have just before and during a panic attack.  You do not have to do it at the time of one, but you can always recall the information.  Look at the thoughts and rationalise them.  Over time you will break into the sub conscious because you are re-addressing the thoughts and processes.

Therapist also decided to help me get back on public transport.  She wrote a 10 step plan, starting with getting on a train and going one stop.  Once I am totally comfortable with that step, I can then move up.  Now I have a feeling this could get expensive especially as she said I need to be doing it 3 times a week, but I think I am going to have to find the money as I really need to crack this one.  My eldest is desperate to go to the Science Museum and I want to be the one that takes her.  I have not started the steps yet, mainly because I have been hiding and finding excuses but I will get there even if I make my husband drop me off and drive off.  It has to be done.



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Strikes

I think I am one of the few people that disagree with teachers striking.  It is nothing to do with what they want in any way, it is just I do not think they or anyone else should strike.  Policeman are not allowed to strike so why are teachers?

The teachers arguments are based on many issues they have but a 3% increase in pension contributions and working until they are older are the main ones that have been banded around the media but I do not think they are a bad thing.  Everyone else has to do it so why do they think they are any different? Some schools are having to close some classes and not others which is wrong.  Why are the children missing out so they teachers can strike?  I thought teaching was a vocation, something they want to do so there must be another way besides striking.

What does seem to surprise me is the heads of the unions, all on whopping salaries.  Christine Blower, head of the NUT, just received a 10% pay increase.  That does not seem fair does it?

Striking in general, I think is negative press for anyone.  It did work for the cabin crew at British Airways but that is one of the few times it has worked.    Striking does not really make a big difference to the management it just annoys paying customers, the same customers that spend with a company so that all those people have a job in the first place.  That sounds very abrupt but it is true.  I do believe that the top management should not have such huge pay packets and the amounts should trickle down to the staff because what the management continually forget to realise is it is those staff that keep the business ticking over and the Chief Executive in annual bonuses.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

10 years of marriage

Mr and I, will have been married 10 years this Thursday.  This is filled with happiness and sadness.  The last 10 years have been eventful to say the least but I would not change any of it.  It has all made us who we are today and for that I am grateful.

The sadness comes from looking at pictures from the wedding and realising who is not still with us.  There are 3 people we have lost since our wedding.  My Nan - she was quite ill in the end and passed away in August 2007.  I really miss her but I also know if she were to think we were being sad about her passing, she would probably 'tut' and roll her eyes! So I will try not to shed a tear when I leave her flowers on her birthday which happens to be the same date as our wedding anniversary.  Another was a man called Jim who was a close friend of my parents.  His passing was tragic in the sense that it was totally out of the blue. He was not ill but collapsed and died.  That is something that must have been so hard for his wife and children.

Finally and probably the most painful was a friend of ours called Phil.  His passing was not 'normal' in the sense that it was not something he had any control of.  He was knocked from his motorbike in June 2007.  It wasn't his fault and no-one has ever really been held accountable as the driver drove off.  That is what makes it worse, no closure.  His family were left with a hole where he should be. 

The happiness comes from the fact that over the last 10 years we have raised 2 children and moved up within careers - even if mine is a little stagnated at the moment.  We have some good friends and wonderful family.  I want to live our next 10 years to the fullest.  Memories are what makes your life your own, so create them with loved ones for all to cherish.

Happy Anniversary Mr!!!!

Monday, 20 June 2011

Wash out car boot sale

I enjoy the weekends as it gives us as a family time together.  Not something we get during the week - well not with Mr as he is never home much before my girls bedtimes.  This weekend I decided to do a car boot sale.  I was up early, had breakfast and made a flask of tea.  After packing the car up the night before, it meant I got to the sale on time to set up.  On arriving, I could see no other cars; I thought maybe you drove around to another spot for it.  Then a lady in a fluorescent yellow jacket came and spoke to me.
"I am so embarresed.  No-one else has turned up.  You guys are the only sellers here.  Buyers have turned up and are waiting so it is up to you if you want to come in."
A difficult one I thought, if I go in, I still have to pay the £10 entrance fee but at the same time we would have the monopoly on the buyers.  I decided to carry on - I had not got up at 6.45am on a Saturday morning for nothing!

My sister had come along in her car, so we parked up next to each other and started to unload the cars.  As we were trying to set up, people were rummaging through our goods and trying to buy things.  I never did manage to get everything out.  I thought this was a good sign.  How wrong was I?!
After that initial hustle, it was quiet.  There were a few stragglers but that was it.  I made £35 minus the entrance fee, that was not a great morning.  The worst part was putting it all back in the loft.

I do not think I will go back to that particular car boot sale but I am not finished with car boots.  I know that there are a couple of bigger ones in Sutton, so I will find out dates and get the car packed again. I have so many girls clothes, I could start a shop and I cannot take it all when we move it is just madness.  Onward and upwards with car boots. 

New review site!

I have decided to start writing reviews. Exciting stuff for me as I think and hope it will help me get better at my writing.  I am hoping to review anything new that comes my way.  So if you have a book, a website, a new product, in fact, anything you want reviewed just contact me and I will happily do that for you.  My new review blog is called 'Reviews from Michs Space!'  so check it out and follow it.  You never know when I will review something of interest to you.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Oh my!

I have been trying to get going on a couple of things today and just cannot get my head in the right place. I have done everything on my list but it feels like there is so much more to do.  I thought I would take a break and work on my new site Children Will Travel - a site for parents with disabled children to get hints and tips about where to go out and about - but I tried and cannot make it work!  How come when I am doing a clients work, that comes fine but when I am trying my own ventures, I get a block!

Think I need to stop for a bit.......

CV, CV, CV.....

I have been freelancing for a while now and even though I love what I do, sometimes it is not enough.  I do not always find the time to generate more business while working on a couple of projects at once, so I get a lull in work - not good.

Best thing I could do, I thought, is to refresh my CV and try and get some regular part time, home based Marketing/PR work.  I found my CV buried in my Word documents, it had not been aired for about a year! I started to read through it to work out what to add and delete so as to show me in the best light.  I have always thought I have not done much with my career.  I had a daughter before starting a career then changed industries before settling in marketing.  I then had another baby and could not afford to go back to the role I loved due to childcare costs.  My employer tried to help and offered a pay increase but it still did not help and to be fair, it was an educational establishment so there is not always tons of money flying around. Daughter number 2 is now at nursery so I have more time to work, hence dusting off the CV.

I read through it and I have a lot of marketing experience!  I was quite surprised as I reminded myself of everything I had done.  There was me thinking I had not done much and been wasting previous years, but I was mistaken.  I have kept it up to date annually and that really helps you to make sure nothing is missed out.  A few years down the line from a previous role, you forget all the tasks you took on so it is important to keep on top of your own CV.  The morale of the story is, do not always assume you are a failure.  Read through your CV and you will be pleasantly surprised at what you have achieved!

Friday, 10 June 2011

Charities and door to door knocking

I support charities in any way that I can but you cannot support them all.  Individuals usually choose them based on personal experiences and this is great because you will probably go that extra mile as you have a vested interest.

What really gets me going is the charities that knock on my door.  Our road is quite a straight and long one so it is easy pickings for people and we get all sorts knocking.  I try not to open the door but when it is a charity I feel obliged....... A certain charity knocked last night (no names as they do do a good job!) and the representative assured me he was not selling anything then started telling me all about the charity and the great work they do. His closing line was 'We only need £3 a week and I know you think we do a great job so you will happily contribute.'  I stood there a few moments and replies simply with a 'No I can't'.  He looked shocked and did try and question me but I did not feel I needed to justify myself to him.

My problem is with his sales patter and yes it is a sales patter hence why I think it wrong of them to say they are not selling anything.  He wanted me to pay them money to fund various things they do.  So I would be paying towards helping so in affect he was selling me something.  If I am paying for something, he is selling it.

I had another lady come from an animal charity - not one I had heard of - and tried to show my children horrific pictures of injured pets so that I would pay £10 a month to help them.  I didn't and my children were in a terrible mood all evening.  That is so wrong to show children those pictures, I would not want anyone to see them let alone my girls.  Once she started shoving the images in their faces, I stood in front of them and sent them away.

Charities do not get enough funds as it is and so many do a great job.  I would never want to knock the great work that any of them do.  I do object to using my children as some sort of 'pull' to get me to pay up and I also object to being made to feel guilty if I do not pay up.  Charities are a personal choice and one that we can all pick and choose ourselves.  I cannot afford to do them all!!

Novel writing

I started to write 2 novels a few years back and then got caught up with life and work and never got them finished.  I really want to get on with them now and will be finding the time to do it.  What to do with them after though??.......

When it comes to getting an agent, I have no idea where to start and am worried about getting a bad one and being taken for a ride! Any ideas?

The books are different in the respect that one is about my time at university - which I have had to cut down because I do not think anyone would believe half the crazyness that went on! The other is a totally fictional story about a girls struggle with love and 'doing the right thing'.  In regards to the one about my time at university, I have changed names so as not to upset anyone; but another question I need to research is if I was lucky enough to get it published, would I have to tell people who are in it? Do they need to know or can I just leave it and say it is all fictional thus taking away the links between characters and real people.  I have signed up to some writers forums so will start to research these and other areas.

I want to get on with them for myself more than anything.  I cannot stand to have anything left half finished and now seems like the right time to go back to them.  They could be rubbish and never get published but until I try I won't ever know will I??

Friday, 3 June 2011

Music and our children

I was sat listening to the radio the other day when they started to do a 'hits from the past' hour.  I sit in the car singing along to Toni Braxton, Blackstreet or any others I know the words to but not the names of the bands!  As I sing along, my eldest rolls her eyes and proceeds to tell me how old I am and that the music is rubbish.  Well for a start, I do not think that at 32, I am old, far from it!  As for the music being rubbish, I try to explain it is all relative.  If she gives it 20 years, she too could be having the same conversation with her children.  She laughs but I smile after having the same conversation with my mum about 20 years previously.......

I do think there was more innocence about music and their videos in years gone by.  You would not see people sleeping together or harming each other nor would you see so much scantily clad girls.  I am sure everyone has an opinion on it but here is mine.  There is no need to see such extremes on the television.  For music artists to put them in their videos, they do glamorise the acts to some extent.  Children grow up too fast as it is and they should be allowed to develop at their own speed without watching extremes and feeling the need to 'live up' to something.  I do not let my eldest, who is 11, watch music videos unless they are on the Disney channel.  I am not trying to stop her keeping up with friends or anything like that but I am trying to allow her to grow as a child before she starts to ask questions about adult related subjects.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy -Session 3

I was excited about attending session 3 of my cognitive behavioural therapy.  I had had a good week, done a few new things and tried not to let my body manage my life but I manage my body.  The session started with the therapist talking about how I had scored on the anxiety and phobia levels again which were all still high.  This did not deter me though as I feel I can see the corner I need to turn in the distance.

This session was different.  Last week we had looked at the behaviour cycle, detailing what happened and when.    This week we were to go deeper into one area.  The area was to be my thoughts. She gave me a list of thinking errors that everyone has, the list was long so not one that I can detail here but if you want more information, email me and I will happily forward it to you. We took a situation where I had had a panic or anxiety attack previously, then I sat and thought about how I had felt. This was the hard part.  The therapist took every thought that I had and turned it around, making me see it as a 'thinking error' and not an actual practical thought.  For example, a fear of being sick of fainting in a public place I saw as people seeing me as stupid but that could come under a few thinking errors including 'Mind Reading'.  I should not expect to know others reactions to things but should allow myself to live.

The session was hard as we went into quite a few situations, ones for personal reasons, I do not think are right to share here on the world wide web.  This session was all about tackling those thought processes and realising that I was thinking the wrong way.  Changing that thought process is not going to be an easy one but one that will take time and energy.  I was given a 'Thought Record' to fill in when I feel anxious.  It allows me to write down the situation and pick it apart as it happens.  You detail the situation then the moods you are feeling and label them with a percentage.  From there you can write down the automatic thoughts that enter your head enabling you to link them to 'thinking errors'.  From there I can find alternative or rational thoughts to attach to the feelings.  This in time should make my mind start to rethink the way it thinks.

This is not going to be an easy or quick process.  I need to continue with my 'homework' until it all comes naturally.  Like learning to drive - when you started you had to think about every little process but years after, you can get in the car and drive off.

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