Writing on the wall

Short on motivation or inspiration for something to write about?  I often am, I start drafts then abandon them.

If that happens I find using a pictorial and/or photographic image that I own might act as a prompt, or alternatively there are many on the internet that inspire me.

Here I’m using a photo of an ‘art work’ I did in the early stages of recovery from ‘breakdown’. Which was long before smart phones, it’s a polaroid…..fading fast.

As one of the last people on admission in the soon to be closed psychiatric hospital, I along with others had been asked to create art ‘on the wall’. Not previously known for my ‘art’ skills, I chose words.

The photograph helps me to remember the sheer determination and slog  it took to recover from the experience of ‘breakdown’, the kindness of some, in this case a male nurse who helped me, and though heavily medicated, the inner voice that helped me be bold enough to write an indictment on the wall of that particular establishment. It felt good, it still does!

I wasn’t making a statement about the staff, for most were kind but was a statement against a society and an institute that uses both invasive and psychoactive medication as the first line of treatment. I think since then there has been some progress in using complimentary and alternative treatment, and much of that change has come from the activism of those with lived experience, often called ‘survivors’. People who continue to tell their truth whether it’s ‘writ’ large or small, in text, verbal or pictorial.

And the writing on the wall? What does it mean? A ‘google’ search might give you an approximate translation but the interpretation of the art is yours and mine.

When Mother’s Day is difficult.

Mother’s Day will soon be here, on the 26th March.

For many of us this may trigger difficult feelings.  There is an expectation, less so now I am much older, that on this day we give love and appreciation to our mothers. Mothers are wonderful.  Facebook will, no doubt, be flooded with pictures of mothers alongside glowing tributes.

The media is abound with adverts depicting a harmonious but busy family life.  This sells goods:  Christmas presents, washing powder or gravy powder – you get the picture.

I would never resent anybody who has such a loving relationship, I say embrace it and cherish it.   By all means, show it to the world, dig out those photos and share away. And for those who had a loving (or not so) mother who has passed,  I’m sure the day is both bitter and sweet – a chance to remember and yet a reminder of such a loss.

But what about those of us with more complicated relationships or non-relationships? We may be a daughter, a son, or even the mother?  Should we lay low?  Should we be ashamed? Would a day off social media would be a good choice?

In reality there are many who are estranged or have difficult relationships with family members. Adverts do NOT represent reality for all.  Social Media often reflects the good times, rather than the more difficult times.

What I am trying to say is that if you feel this way that you are not alone.  The charity Stand Alone aims to support people who are estranged from a parent, a child or another family member. The charity works with people of all ages: Students who are without family support to senior citizens who still struggle with the difficult relationship they have/had with a parent. They also support parents who may struggle with relationships with their children.

You are not alone.

Stand Alone runs support groups for adults who are estranged either from their parents or children.  The groups run in Sheffield, Newcastle and London.  (Not in Leeds at the moment)

It’s okay to have a complicated family life, it’s not easy, but you are not alone.