Silence is golden ?

Apologies for the lack of posts here over the past few weeks. I’m now back in full time employment and mid way through my CPC training to become a bus driver. I’m loving it so far and life really is sweet. From the ashes of the old career rises a Phoenix of new opportunity. I’m on a halved dose of Prozac, feeling good, and bar the odd confidence wobble, am finally enjoying life once more and picking up the pieces of the last couple of years. 

I’m currently symptom free of depression which is the most amazing liberating feeling in the world. Whilst I’ve got to be realistic enough to recognise that I may relapse again, I’m quietly optimistic that things will not spiral so dramatically into the near abyss again. 

Driving a bus is one of the biggest challenges in a long time but one that I relish. You can read all about it Here in my other blog. 

The final task is to quit my flat. That process begins tomorrow and I’m dreading it as although it’s the end of a horribly painful chapter of my life, it’s also the end of my home of 13 years and one that has as many good memories as bad ones. 

Widget is also much happier and settled. She’s loving life with the parents and seems to have adjusted well to a new routine and life. 

Life is good. I’m taking nothing for granted but try to live each day in the moment with no regrets. 

Atonement 

Being a lapsed Catholic means that I major in guilt. I’ve still periodically felt very guilty for Mrs B’s death – even though logically I know it was a tragic accident. 

So it was good to be able to do something to prevent a similar accident from happening today. Charlie, an older JRT, had gone off hunting and poking about away from his mum and lurcher brother. His owner was looking for him as we parked up on Rodborough Common, and although she was holding herself together, I knew that inside she was frantic. I promised to keep an eye out for him. 

Unlike my friend Laura, who is like the Pied Piper of lost dogs, I very rarely find any. Today I was lucky. Just as the owner disappeared over the horizon, Charlie pitched up. He couldn’t understand why he couldn’t get into ‘his’ car and was getting stressed out barking at it. He then began to run around the car park and got onto the road. 

Catching the little devil was not easy, especially as Widget wanted to play ball and was getting ratty at my ignoring of her. I was slowly luring Charlie towards with me with the promise of gravy bones when another owner in the meantime manoeuvred behind him and grabbed him. Once safely teathered to Widget’s lead, we then had to play ‘find the owner’. 

About a mile later, we heard the dog whistle and frantic calling. We waved, shouted and followed the sound. When she spotted her dog, it was like a scene from a film as she did a double take then ran towards us seemingly in slow motion. Charlie was delighted, owner crying tears of joy and I’m wiping a little tear – then Widget ruins the sentimental moment by nipping him on the tail as revenge for her gravy bones being given away. 

Finally I feel like I’ve given something back to atone for losing Mrs B. I  know it sounds daft but it’s how my brain works ! 

Time to pause, reflect briefly then say goodbye 

You’ll have to excuse this post as it’s even more self absorbed than usual and may even come across as a bit smug and showing off. 

The reason for self congratulation is that I passed my first raft of driving exams and today signed my contract of employment as a trainee PCV bus driver. To say I’m happy is an understatement but I don’t just want to show off about that. No, I also want to mark the moment of changing my life and surviving the most painful, dark, bitter and terrifying period in my life. 

My sudden and unexpected departure from the NHS felt like the end of the world. My career dead. A swift and brutal ejection from the only thing I thought I knew and the only career I’d ever had. I cannot remember some of it and that I do was simply an abyss of agony, despair, pain, rejection, failure, shame and sorrow. 

I didn’t think I’d come through it. I know I’ve said this after every bout of depression but this was very different. I grieved. I didn’t even get the chance to say goodbye. Imagine your whole adult life’s work torn from under you without warning. That’s essentially what is was. 

I wanted to die. Life was so bloody awful and I couldn’t bear to be part of it. I experienced the nasty agitated form of depression where at times I couldn’t sit still or tolerate anything yet didn’t want to do anything and couldn’t distract myself. Other times I crashed out under the duvet for days. I didn’t wash or eat. I swallowed sedatives to blank out the pain. Crying was an involuntary act that felt utterly pointless but nonetheless it happened anyway. 

Family, Julie my GP and friends held me together. I can never thank them enough. The turning point was my sister suggesting that I do something completely different, leave the city I’d started to hate and do something completely different. When she suggested being a bus driver, a tiny lightbulb glowed in the gloom of my mind and slowly, so very slowly, a plan formed. 

Next, during a visit to the Wellcome Institute, a lightning realisation that I no longer wanted to be a nurse and that the job I adored had become seriously harmful to my health. It actually felt a relief to admit it. From then on, it was action stations to apply for training posts and the rest now is history. 

I guess I’m saying all this because I amazed myself. I’d come to believe that I was worthless and not employable anywhere else doing anything else. I proved myself wrong. I endured the brutal humiliation of signing on and the shock of how the unemployed are treated at best like recalcitrant children and at worse like the scrounging scum of the earth. I fought thoughts and feelings in my head that were the stuff of nightmares. I swallowed a lot of pride and made some tough bit necessary decisions. 

And now I’m starting in a new job with a new life and beginning, taking less Prozac and enjoying life a lot more. I have achieved what truly felt like the impossible. It’s the last time I’m going to write about it as it’s now in a chapter of the past that I don’t want to dwell in any longer. There’s wrongs that cannot be righted and reasons to feel bitter, abused and betrayed – but I’m not going to indulge them for a minute longer. I cannot change what’s happened so move on without a backward glance. This seems apt: 

I’m not writing this to court praise or glory. I don’t want people to feel that they need to pat me on the head. No, the reason I’m writing this is to remain true to the core of this blog and that is to be transparent and honest about how I feel and see things. It’s also to mark new beginnings and to remind me on the less good days that being stubborn and determined runs thick through my soul and that I am much stronger and dogged than I ever believed. It’s time to say goodbye to the bad stuff from the past and make the most of the moment and future instead. 

Here’s to 2017. I’m ready. 

Another Dog Tree Update 

During a very cold, windy and bleak walk on Rodborough Common this week, we spotted a note hanging from the branches and trotted over to have a look see. The tree is now looking very bare and back to nature again. 



The note is reproduced here in full: 

Dear all of our lovely Rodborough Christmas Tree supporters, 

Teckels Animal Sanctuaries would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for the wonderful support yet again this Christmas 2016. 

The tree at Rodborough has become somewhat of a tradition at this time of the year and we and our animals are more and more grateful to the organisers and the participants every year. 

This year we received twice as much food and a massive £354.26 in cash and cheques!!! It is over £100 more than last year, the generosity that we see from members of the public who want to help and look after the animals at Teckels is heartwarming. 

If you would like to keep up to date with the comings and goings here at Teckels or wish to get involved with fund raising or up and coming events, please visit our website or Facebook page. If you wish to receive our bi monthly newsletter please feel free to email. 

From everyone, animals and people, here at Teckels we wish you all a prosperous and healthy 2017 and that Santa Paws was kind to you all! 

What a result and such a lovely thank you. If you can spare a little, literally pennies can and do make a huge difference, please visit 

http://www.teckelsanimalsanctuaries.co.uk

New blog ! 

I guess it was inevitable that training to be a bus driver would be the ideal opportunity to take the piss out of myself and show off a bit, so I’ve decided to set up a sister blog to this one to chronicle the ups and downs of doing my training and launching my brand new career. 

If you are interested in my new adventures in transportation, please do check out my new blog site at http://www.bigbirdbus.wordpress.com

Revision in my head goes round and round 

Never mind the wheels on the bus, right now the theory and hazard perception tests are going round and round in my brain. Thursday is test day and if I pass, then the Big Bird on a Bus training starts in early February. 

Given that I took my driving test well before the days of theory and hazard perception exams, I don’t think that I’m doing too badly. Certainly the RWC15 online driving assessments have helped me get to grips with CGI simulation, and the theory really is about learning by rote each of the different sections. 

Widget is not impressed of course as anything that diverts my attention from her is obviously a very bad thing. She was the cause of one hazard perception fail when she jumped onto the iPad but the fact that I’ve managed to rack up 98% in a mock theory exam whilst fighting off being attacked by her wielding a squeaky rugby ball is hopefully a good omen. 

All this new learning and study has well and truly shifted me from my comfort zone of psychiatric nursing but I have to say I’m enjoying it very much. Only yesterday I was filling in a survey, and, for the first time in my adult life, had to select transportation as my field of industry. Certainly makes a change from health care! 

Please keep everything crossed for Thursday – I will of course keep you posted.