Self Help


soulEmotions – Wow! They are difficult, simply because they are so far-ranging. But the undeniable fact is that they are all coming from the same place of origin – deep-seated within the very core of our being. We have it within us to feel such a range of emotions, over which at times we have no control, no matter how we try. They seem to take on a life of their own – at times dragging us along behind, even whilst we are kicking and screaming. To try and contain all of the emotions we feel within this piece would be no more than a fool’s errand; quite simply – I would be here well into the night, and you would have fallen asleep, bored by the long-drawn-out process.

For everyone there are some emotions that are far more extensively used than others: love, hate, fear, sadness, are the four that come to my mind most readily. These are the emotions that enter our lives often, sometimes on a daily basis; they are the core elements, from which every other emotion finds itself standing at the starting block. Once these feelings are evoked within us, we find that we are unable to exclude the others; they are unable to wait their turn, all so eager to add their input. Emotions never arrive purely alone, there is an ever-ready queue standing right behind ready to jump abroad – sure that without their say we will never reach a conclusion. Purely for this reason at times it seems that we are forever chasing our tail. Inviting in or rejecting each emotion, as we try to find a way out of either the pain we feel that we can’t endure, or the love that seems to invade our every waking hour. At these times we are trying so hard not to allow another thought to enter our mind. But the truth of the matter is that the only choice you have is no choice. Granted they are doing so solely by means of trespass, but the Park Warden is nowhere to be seen. Emotions can take us along on a roller coaster ride through heaven or hell, which can fill us either with complete elation or the deepest despair. I guess we should never be so blind to think that we can survive purely by feeding on nourishment alone; without the other side of the coin, there would never be balance.

Our brain is very much akin to a computer: this is where we store all our thoughts; this is where we go to make our decisions. Our minds control everything that we do; we go there to retreat, to reflect, to work on the emotions within us which need attention to complete the development of our very being. But unlike the computer, we don’t have any access to a quick fix. It would be oh! So easy if – just like that computer – the technology was available to fix the parts within ourselves that is broken. We can’t rely on an easy downloadable program to fix our bugs within, to remove a virus, or even a super-smart defrag program to clear out our complete system, rearranging all the files within so that we have a speedier access point from which to start.

Let’s take a look at how we ourselves deal with our emotions within abuse. If it were within the realms of possibility for me to create a tick box list advising you which emotion to deal with first, that’s just what I would be doing. We could then together work through each and every one. From there we could easily remove them with a click of a mouse to our dealt-with or saved files. If only we were as analogical as the equipment in front of me here and now. But we have to live in the real world, knowing our place within it; there will never be a more complex force than the emotions that reside inside of each and every one of us. We all need to feel these emotions even with the highs and lows they create and inflict upon us, because without them each one of us really would become just another machine.

So now let’s think about the emotions that surround abuse. As children we learn that emotions are something that we have to learn to control, we can’t just hit out because a sibling makes us angry. We can’t always have our own way within the home environment compromise has to exist. We need to learn the art of sharing, waiting our turn, behaving in a manner that keeps a harmonious balance. All these lessons are of course life’s demands on the way in which we are expected to behave; if we all follow these rules then peace settles around us. Why rock the boat when you’re not even in the water? Ok! here ends today’s lesson of a life of a child without the terror of abuse.

You have to remember that even as children living with the effects of abuse, those same lessons were always being put up in front of us. Turning our world on its head, our emotions upside down, whilst we struggle to find as to how we can achieve any of the above. We have been singled-out for special treatment; we are so very lucky to have all this attention lavished purely upon us. All this adoration should make us feel that we are the favourite, the one that does not need to live within those rules why should we? How do the rules above apply to us anyway: surely by definition we are different? Maybe we act out a little just to push the boundaries that one step beyond. The emotions and conflicting signals all around us have us almost feeling that we are just a little bit spoilt. That last statement left a very unpalatable taste in my mouth. Confused? How can any child make any sense of the situation surrounding them within that world of complete madness?

So we learn those lessons but in a completely different way than a child not suffering the intolerable pain of abuse. We learn that, love, hate, fear and sadness exist – but in a completely different manner. We learn to hide our emotions; almost as if we are not allowed to feel them at all, we grow up to interpret the world in a manner which only an abused child would understand. We learn that nothing is only ever black and white there are so many other colours that blend in, so that where we want to be. If we could only just blend in we could go unnoticed. Our emotions will never have to be out there on show; maybe we can’t even feel any emotion in its purest form.

Speaking for myself I still struggle even today with being able to trust my emotions, or to trust anyone that ventures in to take a peek. I’ve learnt that emotions were to be held within – that a show of emotion leaves you in a situation you can’t control. I have spent so many years trying to undo the imprint of my childhood; yes: I’ve made progress but this is the one obstacle that for me is the hardest to climb over. Having dealt with my abuse you would think that it would have been a natural progression. But even the word emotion is hard to explain or relate to, whilst trying to find the words that seem unable to leave your mouth. Learning to live with these emotions unpicking all that has for so long been bonded together is not an easy task. Is it possible? I would like to think so. It’s a journey we can take together when we realise that we are not alone. The camaraderie found within us all can be felt even if no other person is present. There is another list of emotions that become new life lessons which once achieved will bring us closer together, enabling us to feel at one with our emotions within – honesty, loyalty, togetherness, affiliation and trust. But the hardest one of all that we need to embrace is self-love.

I guess today is a good day to redress my own list that is not yet completed; all you have to do is join me . . .


memoryMemories – We all have them: good or bad, they are here to stay. Our minds are akin to a sponge absorbing all that goes on around us. It’s ever ready to acquire knowledge; the on switch is never off. It stands at the ready for the onset of knowledge that we will need to process during our wakening hours. Our memory is how we acquire the knowledge which will be needed to take us through life. We attend school daily hoping that in time we will understand the facts, figures and languages which at first seem to be so alien. It’s how we recall what has passed; it’s our recollection of what has previously occurred. It’s the place where we sum it all up with our mental faculty for retaining a good or a bad past experience. It’s where we find our remembrance of those that are no longer with us. Our memories are pretty powerful because in all truth they do far more than I have mentioned above. There seems to be no way of stopping its unquenchable thirst. For some this is an easy task: they find that their memory is in an A1 condition. For others, the task of retaining the knowledge they require is far more difficult. Our memories can bring us pain, happiness or distraction – just by the mere fact that at times we take them out to replay a particular episode.

But there is a huge difference for a child that has been abused. The memory of our abuse is ever present within the forefront of our minds. This memory, or so it seems, has not perfected the art of queuing. Pushing its way past any memorable experience that it deems is not necessary. No matter how hard we try we are just not equipped with the tools required. There is just no room for a happy memory to exist; we find only a void of epic expanse. Dragging us down with a force unparalleled to anything we have ever experienced. With us clinging to the walls with all our might – but still we fall. Knowing all too well that with each inch of ground lost, we will be forced to relive every horrific episode we encounter. The trauma is so very deep-seated it becomes a mushroom cloud blocking out the light, hanging over us with its intent of preventing the intuition of anything remotely like a diversion from its intention, which could even come close to making us smile. There seems to be no safe place to gather up and protect those memories that are important to us. It’s a dance with the devil where we have to keep ducking and diving, bobbing our heads up and down like ducks at a shoot-out: the memory of our abuse is an excellent shot – the only one holding the gun – equipped with a seemingly endless supply of bullets.

I would like to share with you a time and place where my memory seemed to be so very hollow. When I look back on that time in my life, whilst I was still only a child, I had no recollection of my abuse. I had filled that place with the happiest upbringing a child could have ever hoped for. I had created a very false place but at that time it was all so real for me; it’s a place that so many abused children run towards simply because they had to escape the horrors within their lives. Let’s think about small children who are being abused – not really able to understand what was happening to them, so confused as to the nature of this touching. For some that memory is also a place of physical pain because their bodies have not even had time to mature. In turn this would mean that they would suffer acutely after each and every episode. If we think about it logically why would anyone want to stay within that place? What can a child do when their understanding of life is still so very stunted at that time? They feel that they have no choice but to run. It’s a race that is only ever taking place within their mind, but it seems to be the only race in which they have a cat in hell’s chance of winning. So they run: with each inch of distance covered and achieved they start to bury their present day. It makes sense when we reflect back that it had been a conscious choice at that time, but in truth, for me, I can’t even make that statement with full clarity. How does a child make sense of anything at that point in time? How in god’s name can a choice be made when it’s the only option that we can follow? We never had the luxury of any choice, but without doubt one was being forced upon us. This is something that can really screw with your mind when we reach a place of healing. We play ping pong ball for hours on end with the ball just bouncing from side to side never able to make that killer power shot.

Our story may differ slightly – which only means we were within our own set of circumstances. What doesn’t alter is that we just can’t cope with the reality that is our lives at that time. I’ve often tried to pedal backwards within time hoping to remember something – anything which would shine a light towards at what age I made that decision to run. What singular act forced me to seek a place within my mind, to push back everything that as that small child I was not able to deal with? It could have been a very traumatic ordeal; equally it could just as well have been that one step too far. I’ve tried to put all the pieces in order mapping out just where and when I removed myself from life.

I was to reach the age of 35 to remember anything, which would reveal the reason that for so many years I felt so out of place. I had repressed all and every memory or thought that linked me to that atrocity. In truth I may never have remembered if this pattern had not returned to my life in a different form many years later. I say ‘a different form’, but that may be a false statement. My abuser was the same person; I was now an adult – which should have made a difference. I still struggle to understand as to why this person could make me feel as if I were once more only 7 years of age. I had to go through 4 years of complete madness to arrive at a point where I could see it all so clearly. My revelation was to come in the form of a phrase repeated over and over many times on a page in front of me. Until the day arrived where everything I had shut out came crashing into my head, with such force that I was physically sick. I guess the name given to this analogy is a suppressed memory, but that day in the ‘there and then’, it was as if someone had taken my life and blown it into oblivion. I just did not want to own any of these memories; I tried to close my mind to all that was surfacing but the hatchet job that was in force at that time just continued on. I remember crying for many hours – I tried to drink away every memory that I was so sure were not my own – If I did not accept them they weren’t real – whilst hiding my head in a bottle. Completely sure that if I did not pay them notice they would have no other choice but to return from whence they came. To be totally honest, that was my answer to resolving the pain, anger and sense of complete worthlessness I felt for many years.

The strangest recurring thought of all is if what was happening to me as an adult had never occurred would I have ever remembered? I know that this phenomenon is in no way singular to me through those people I have had the honour to come in to contact with. Today I have around 95 percent recollection, which may be all that I will ever retrieve. But the difference today is that I now accept these memories are my own, which once accepted it took me half way towards my recovery. We will only ever be able to make those strides when we accept what was – Our past. There are so many reasons that acceptance is lost to us sometimes for many years, but the one that stands out in the crowd for all of us is quite simply the guilt we feel that is our own. But if you take nothing else from this piece, please understand – that statement is so very far removed from the truth. Any guilt felt should be so very far away from you that it’s impossible to quantify.

When we face these memories down, acknowledge that just by their very existence they are holding us back from the road to our recovery; our world is turned upside down by the realisation that we were not to blame in any way shape or form. We may even feel that up until that point in time that we had already been taking steps, which were moving us in the right direction one step at a time. But what’s needed is for us to stop in our tracks and become an unmoveable force. We then understand with complete clarity that we had only ever been marking time. We can’t move forward without embracing those memoires within our hearts, and accepting that they are part of us whilst taking them to a place of healing. You can be sure that the words above resonate in the thoughts of many throughout the world, affecting so many lives.

All I have done here is to say the words out loud . . .


ToleranceLet us first look at the word tolerance which wears many hats – There is an outdoor sculpture in Israel near the Goldman Promenade – The Tolerance Monument. It forms a visual broken column which stands divided but still very much linked – So are they tolerating each other? It can be the study of accumulated and variation within mechanical parts and assemblies. There is the tolerance of drugs or alcohol, simply because the more we use or drink the more our bodies deal with the substances we consume or afflict. Pain tolerance is also very much up there, oddly it seems that the longer we live the pain our tolerance increases. Before I rattle on here in danger of sounding very much like a dictionary, let’s move on to something that we neither would nor could think would sit right within the middle or that word – Abuse tolerance.

So how do we make this distinction? I have mixed it up – Turned it over – Beaten with a stick – Along with juggling all of the parts within this puzzle. But still I am not wholly aware of why we would do so? So I am going to stick my neck out here, and make a guess to the best of my knowledge and past experiences. If we were to crawl around amongst every word sitting here right above us at this time, then maybe we could find the answer to my ever burning question. Why would anyone much like me tolerate abuse? The entire variables above stand fast in our every growing effort to make our lives have meaning.

Let’s first look at the Monument – Over many years it has stood there trying it would seem to break away from the base that holds it together. Each part seems to want to leave the other behind, but unable to make the final splintering at the base to make that possible. Are we not splintered that way whilst we still hold on to our abuse? No matter how far the pillars move away from each other they are still only bending not breaking.

Mechanical – If we were to think about the working parts of our bodies are we not in essence a machine? All parts needs to hold fast working within our tolerance. We do this every day with our abuse. The problem is that no matter how hard we try these parts will always fail never tolerating this intrusion into our bodies and minds. Until we take over the maintenance because we are the only ones holding on to the tools to alter that part of us.

Pain – Pain tolerance is something I can vouch for. After having an accident in 1998 in which I injured my back it’s been a challenge. As time passed I became drug/pain killers tolerant – Result I had to increase the dosage. On reaching the ceiling of that pain killer I could no longer increase the dose safely – where was I to go? In truth it has almost become a part of me.

Drugs or Alcohol – This comparison is very different because we already have the key in hand to stop the continued use. Please don’t think that I am saying – It’s your fault – You are doing this to yourself – Why can’t you just stop. In all honesty I could never say those words to you because I used one of those props for so very long. I never went down the road of drugs, but alcohol was very much where I went to hide from the world. If I am being even more honest it was also where I went to find myself. Yes we may be able to see the drink in our hand or the particular choice of drug sitting in front of us, but that only means that these props are visible. The other three comparisons I have used are just as accessible to us when we learn to look within. Within our minds eye we can repair break away and alter every part of our being, it doesn’t need to be seen with the naked eye.

So why am I here today? It’s to share with you the oddest thing that I may ever encounter within my life – Although it’s taking me a while to get to the point – Sorry.

There is knowledge deep inside of me, which recognises that for so many years I was totally tolerant of my abuse along with its memories. I guess that everyone needs an anchor of sorts somewhere; to feel a connection to this world. It pains me to say that for so many years my anchor was my abuse. It was all I remembered as being the largest portion of my life. As sure as hell it was not the anchor that I would have hoped for it was the one I was stuck with. I was in a position of needed an anchor in life to feel that I was on solid ground, whilst trying with all my might to leave behind the abuse that I had suffered. I tried many times before I succeeded, but the point to make here is that in time I did – You will also.

So there was I – a plan in hand, intent on moving forward; but time after time I was left holding a spanner in hand ready to throw it into the works. Once thrown each time it caused my best thought out plans to crash and burn. The mental effort I had thought through so carefully giving it my up-most consideration. I was left with the remains of a car crash with myself being the only mechanic in town. The truth was that I was the one applying this outcome each and every time it happened. Why? It was natural for me to hold on to an anchor for stability, but I was burning my hands with every touch. I needed an anchor in my life, but the one I had was only destroying me.

An anchor is something solid it gives us the strength when necessary to hold on. Without it we would find ourselves flailing around unable to make a connection to anyone or anything. The end result deep down inside finds us thrashing around vigorously, aimlessly crashing around like a puppet with broken strings in an endeavour to find solid ground. Everyone needs to feel a connection to the world and our place within it. The one thing that dominates our lives is a structure implanted as we have grown. Something put in place that had or has an overbearing affect; if you like we can even call it our shadow. It’s always there but unless we are standing in a certain light it’s just not visible to us. Given a situation where we are standing where our shadow should be visible and it’s missing, it’s a very unnerving situation as we really cannot fathom its departure. Never in a million years should we tolerate our abuse. But we are so very unsure of our place within the world without it. Quite simply it’s all we know. It has been our anchor which sounds so completely off the wall and it’s been a heavy weight to carry.

Just like the picture depicts at the top of this piece we are somehow shacked to its longevity. So I should not need to tell you that for those of us that have or are still suffering abuse it’s by far one of the hardest things to overcome. We are left with nothing more than cause and effect. We need solid ground – The only solid ground seemingly available to us is our abuse. I know all this astounds but that’s where we will stay until we realise that there is another way. Wouldn’t it be great if we could just obliterate our past – Remove it completely leaving no trace – Wipe it out – Destroy every memory? I admit it sounds pretty good doesn’t it? But choosing that path is never a sure bet there could come a time where it will be back with you biting at your ankles. Suddenly tolerance seems the only action that can be taken.

But there is another action that will bear far more fruit; we should never feel that all we ever had through life was our abuse. It took me many years to be able to pull back the curtains just to take a little peek beyond my abuse; that’s where I found to my delight that there were good memories to be found they were simply lost within the circus. From that day forward I began looking for solid ground that I could build on. It’s a little scary out there because for a moment within that time, you find yourself without the anchor that everyone needs to feel safe. The reality check is that you were never safe because the ground beneath you has always been rocky; it seems at times we feel that what we know is safer than the unknown, no matter how fearful the right there and then may seem.

There is a metaphor that comes to mind here quite readily – Keep both feet on the ground – Have they ever tried that when the ground beneath you is so unstably…………

Speak The Truth

Speak the truthTruth – it’s a word we hear spoken often; it’s a word that gives weight to the facts being relayed to us. It’s the whole truth and nothing but the truth. We frequently hear these words spoken – sometimes within the program right there in front of us on the television. I swear to tell the truth and nothing but the truth – it’s a mantra recited dozens of times a week within TV shows or movies. These words are so familiar that their significance can be overlooked. Taking an oath in a courtroom makes everything said afterwards either the truth or perjury. The witness must vow to tell the truth to someone authorised to administer the oath – but do they always honour that vow? The truth is a fact or a reality that can’t be altered because of its very being. But it’s a sad fact that the real meaning of the word ‘truth’ is often lost; the world is bandied around without any relation to the above. Ask anyone today what the truth is and you are sure to start an interesting conversation. Your request may even be met by scorn or derision. Sadly, at times it seems that the concept of the word truth has fallen on hard times. The truth should be genuine actual or factual – but is it always? It should be indisputable and said with sincerity. At times it’s a matter of how we judge someone’s character when we think of them as being truthful – but are they always?

We could carry on here debating the truth and our understanding of its significance. But my aim and reason for being here with you now is to debate with you as to whether the words spoken are an untruth.

It’s at those times that sadness folds in around us like a cancer eating into our very being. When a falsehood or a lie is falling off the lips of our adversary, it takes us to a place where we feel we have lost our very being; the truth that should be there protecting us falls away, leaving nothing but emptiness. We then find ourselves being attacked by an untruth spoken so easily. This is happening in the here and now all over the world to so many people, who are unable to protect themselves because it’s just too difficult to do so. Why? Put simply – it’s because they have been completely sucked up into a place where the truth and the untruth seem to melt together. It’s a place where just getting through the day is a struggle. Thinking of tomorrow seems pointless because within their head space at that time; they just don’t care about tomorrow. We feel we have no hope in hell of the truth being anywhere near. The lines are blurred you question yourself daily, somehow being dragged into a precipice within our own heads where we even start debated with ourselves. You find yourself overhanging a cliff face with nothing below but a steep mass of rock just waiting for you to let go. Right there and then in that segment of time you even stop caring about the truth because quite frankly it doesn’t seem to matter.

You know from experience that you won’t be believed so why would you fight? The end result is that we flatly refuse to do so somehow some way that mind-set seems to be our only salvation. Giving in seems to be the only thing you are able to do whilst in that state of mind – resulting in a major fusion somewhere between our reality and the reality of life. We are lost so very deeply within those two little words – truth or untruth. We start to rely upon the drugs we are supplied: the more we take, the less it hurts; and the more we take, the more we need. We want to be in a place of existing where we are not living at all. I guess we are striving to become ghosts of sorts, so that we are never asked to defend what had happened to us. It is just so hard to make people believe. If we take people’s advice then it’s a run for justice that is so flawed it only seems to mirror our past. The upshot of this stance is – if your case should ever be heard in court, you would be grilled with regard to your honesty. We should expect an onset of aggressive questions from the Defence only doing the duty for which they are being paid. This is never a personal matter, but it’s the truth to say that those who have lived through the suffering of abuse will always feel it personally. Rightly or wrongly, we once more face the agonising torture of not being believed.

So how do we ever walk willingly into a place that only seems to offer us more pain then we have already lived through? It doesn’t sound good – right? If you ever find yourself in a place of strength where you are able to do so, then you can march into their courtroom with your head held high. Justice, we hope, will always find its way to the truth – but that’s not always the case in reality. I am sure that there are people walking freely out there who should never been allowed to do so. Equally there are some who find themselves incarcerated in a place that they were never meant to be. So do we rely on the truth floating to the top – like the oil emerging on the top of the water? That is something we can never predict; if only that were to be the case. So is the search for the truth a lottery? Nothing will ever be that cut and dried. Sometimes in the search for the truth there is just not enough evidence to be found, no matter how hard anyone looks. These are the times that we need to stand tall and except that we can be believed without that walk through the courtroom door. The strength you have already found to even embark on this journey in the first place is immeasurable. Convicted or not convicted you have shown your adversary that you have grown through the years, arriving at a place where even for a short time they were judged, no matter what the outcome was.

There will always be those that never reach the level of strength that’s needed to walk down this road. If that’s where you find yourself, then the words below are my sentiments to you. Because there is a way back within our own minds that does not need the involvement of others.

So where do we look?

A good place to start would be to really understand that there is only one truth. All the investigation and consultation in the world can never alter that. The ultimate realisation for which you must strive is to recognise that you are the only one that can set yourself free. If we regain our belief in ourselves then the only truth that matters is our own. We don’t need anyone to tell us the difference between the truth and a lie or to stand alongside of us when we reach that point in time. It’s pretty pointless unless you believe in yourself no longer needing to change the mind of others or sway any decision either way. When you take back your life knowing that your own understanding of the truth is all you need, the walls that crowd in around you will crumble. We can’t carry on through life trying to make others believe in what we know to be the truth. Abuse is a place that you have survived in so I am guessing that you already have everything you need to succeed. I myself stopped looking for that knight in shining armour a long time ago because we really don’t need him. I am sure that if we were to wait long enough he may appear riding into our lives upon his white steed. But sadly and much more likely the end result I’m sure would find us mucking out the stables……..

It’s Dark

dark roseIts dark – that’s an indisputable fact as we look around us. It’s the absence of light as we watch the day trickle away and leave us. As we all know the sun rises in the east and goes down in the west. To be accurate, the sun doesn’t really go anywhere – it pretty much stays where it is relative to the earth. But the earth rotates from West to East so the sun appears first in the East and last in the West…. OK: too much information but you get my meaning.

But that is not the only reference in which this statement can be interpreted. It can be that something is difficult to understand; it can be characterized by gloom about to descend on us. It’s a lack of enlightenment known to us as being in the dark about an act or a fact. This in turn can leave us in a state of ignorance or totally uninformed. It’s a shot in the dark at an attempt to guess at something of which you have no information or knowledge about. It can be secrecy concealment or even obscure. There is the occult where we find things mystical – dark practises or a phenomenon. I’m sure if we were to play around with this word we would find many more ways to interpret the word ‘dark’.

The dark is something that comes around full circle as each day passes returning to the light in the fullness of time – night and day being the only distinction.

But my aim here is to try and explain how the darkness feels to those that have been or are still being abused right now as I type. All of the above of course still holds true, but there is a darkness within us that never seems able to find the light – a darkness that is not so easy to explain or relate to as I have done above. For us the light never seems to touch us as we go through life with a veil covering our head. The dark is somewhere that we often choose to go, when a dark corner seems the only safe place to be. But there’s a conflict, because we are also acutely aware that the dark for us was or is a place of immense pain. The dark is where the monster lives raising his head like a viper from a pit when we were most vulnerable. So we make a choice within the jumble of mixed-up feelings and emotions. Not knowing if the dark is there for us to hide in, or a place that brings on the assault of abuse we have lived thorough or are still enduring. Your anguish can become so great that you even find yourself hiding from the truth within the dark just as we tried to hide from our abusers. Sadly as time passes we start to believe that the darkness is our place, where else can we hide from shame guilt or the embarrassment we feel if not in the dark? So is the dark our salvation? Or somewhere we have grown up knowing we have no escape from?

For us it’s never related to the time of day as we strive to find the light that always seems to evade us; we can be standing in a rainbow of colours whilst we feel the sun’s rays beating down on our bodies. The light we crave for cannot be found by the rotation of the earth; quite simply it’s only ever going to be found by the rotation of our mind set, as we struggle to come out of the shadow of abuse. That statement is so easily made, but where do we look to find the way out? You can’t just open a door and walk through; you can’t even find the door in order to do so. Often people around us open that door wide but it seems even with their help we can’t find the strength needed.

Our minds are very complicated; it seems sometimes demanding that we alone are the right persons for that particular job.

So let’s think a little about all the above – where do we start? We have believed for so long that we are swallowed up within that darkness. But the problem with that mind set is that we will always lose for as long as we keep telling ourselves we have lost. Wouldn’t it be nice to think that in time we will succeed and that the winning post is out there somewhere? If we can’t do this on our own then we need to reach out to those that may become our balance. Once we reach out with honesty within our minds, then we are at last standing at the starting post. With a renewed clarity that we are now ready to walk that road with a new determination.

We start by looking for the support that is offered by others as they are the template that allows growth; they serve as a starting point as we try to begin the arduous journey of reformatting our lives. That support allows us to remould or rearrange our thoughts in a manner that until now we have thought to be impossible. That support allows us to change the pattern of our behaviour, knowing that that template will hold fast below us if we slip. They are the light shining just beneath us, always bright as we move towards finding our own. Once we learn to trust that light we find the strength we need to make upward strides. Make no mistake: we are the only ones that can fully make the real difference on that journey. Whilst fighting for your right to stand in the sun, we will never forget that dark place how could we, but now we have the knowledge that it’s our finger that is now firmly placed on the switch.

There is another distinction between the light and the dark for us; this can’t be given to us even by the most accommodating of people. This gift is the one you give to yourself knowing that only you and you alone can achieve its turn around. Ultimately we are the only ones that can slam shut that door of abuse behind us completely; it’s the one thing that can’t be done for us on this we stand alone. For this we need to believe that we deserve to come out of the shade and face the sun. Even if done so gingerly at first by simply only peeking through the shutters. Strangely this can be conquered no matter the time of day.

It’s not the time of the day or night that we are scared of its feeling that we can stand alone long enough within it to make a difference. Whilst resisting the over whelming urge to run. The strangest thing of all is that we run back to the place that should never make us feel safe – the dark – the quarry it seems always looks for the darkest hole to run into when they feel pursued.

So let’s be honest here together quite simply by remembering that it’s never just dark or light – it’s never just black or white. There are the dusks the sunsets and the sunrise for us to look upon. There are so many shades of grey out there for us to choose from. We don’t have to have both feet planted completely on one side of that line staying within the darkness to feel safe. By which I mean that as a metaphor rather than a vision. We can venture out of our comfort zone by stepping over that line just long enough to take a peek at the sun. As time passes merely by default, we stay a little longer each time we succeed in doing so.

We start to understand that whilst there it feels good to feel the sun’s rays on your face; It’s a place that if we return to it often enough, we find that we no longer crave for the dark and its secrets. I know the question on your lips right now would be – why would you miss the dark at all? I guess the answer to that is that when you have lived in the dark for so long, even the worst scenarios are missed when they have been there long enough. It’s almost like leaning to walk in the sun without the covers over your head lifting that veil just a little at a time. We have to learn a completely new way of living without the structures that have always been there good or bad. But believe me: in time this is achievable as you will see when the light beings to filter through. Although the dark is remembered, there comes a time that it’s no longer missed. That’s when we neither feel the urge to flee for that dark place to hide in or to run for our lives from the dark and its demons.

At the end of this process you will have acquired the complete knowledge within you that the dark is just another rotation of the earth . . .

Our Alter Ego

best alter egoEveryone has a little voice inside their head that sometimes defines them, at times we all find ourselves feeling trapped within a set of circumstance. For us all, without exception, we have duties of sorts to complete during our waking hours. These are as varied as we are because no two people are the same so we will attack those duties differently. It’s what makes us the right person for that job; it’s a place where we and we alone fit. Our choices in life can be restricted by our alter ego more times then we know, it sits silently in the background but we must always remember that it’s there. Within our alter ego we find escape, freedom, a carefree look at life when we need to look away from where we are. It’s sometimes referred to as a ghost whose only job is to whisper alternatives in our ear. The happy go lucky you that is having a ball of a time to all that surrounds us. It’s a character that comes from within our imagination. We welcome it with opens arms as we dance within the game of life. It’s a cut off valve that knows just when to realise that pressure – somehow knowing when the pipe is about to blow. Our own armature superhero created to swoop in and save the day. We use it often, mindlessly reacting to a quick change of situations. It’s who we talk to whilst weighing up our options, continually darting around within our mind; this done silently without thought why because it’s purely a reaction. It’s the fun side of us, a release from the pressures of life that everyone experiences.

Our alter ego could and would not be there without our input. Quite simply put it’s where we place the things that give us joy. It makes us feel better when it’s raining outside. We strive to create a happy space by placing the positive things we gather throughout our journey. It’s the chancier within that sometimes gives us the push we need to complete something that may scare us just a little. Our opposite side of the coin the friend we can always count upon to see our side of things.

But what if it’s not?

What if that alter ego was a place of darkness – a place which you try to avoid at any cost, where your imagination had created the complete opposite?

As I have said above, we create a place which makes us feel better by placement. Things that stick in our minds because of the great joy they bring. They have become outstanding events in our mind because of the magnitude of their very being. What if the outstanding events within your mind were so very far from utopia? Abuse leaves its mark like a cavern of explosions reducing your world to a battlefield. If this abuse was from an early age then having something to place within your alter ego that makes you feel joy of any kind is almost impossible. As we grow, we learn the skills we need in life to become a whole rounded person learning from our peers. We learn to walk before we can run from those in direct contact with us – a mirror image of who we may become. The building blocks are put in place by them to make that structure solid.

But what if they aren’t?

We are left within the remains of an explosion creating a landfall where we crawl around blindly in its remains. Aimlessly digging around, hoping that the bits we need have not been blown so far apart that their reassembly is just a pipe dream – where to even think we can find a happy space to place within our self-made alter ego is a dream too far. The greatest truth is that we can’t step away from the confinements within our lives when they become too difficult. You can’t unlearn things; we can only try to rearrange them in the hope that there are still some pieces that may fit.

So – all the above said, what are our options?

Options when broken down are just a matter of putting one foot in front of another to move forward without doubt, options are the judgement calls that we make now. Quite frankly our alter ego may scare the hell out of us, but it will always be a part of us – no matter what. We can’t remove it by just taking a rubber to a chalk board, but we can learn that living with it is something we can do. No one said that the alter egos we have right here and now are the ones we are stuck with; they are just our present. In truth, they are not even that important – because they are our past what we are looking at now is our future. Somewhere deep inside there is the alter ego that is waiting for the last dance. It’s the wallflower that always wanted to be asked to dance whilst being passed by. It’s the laughter and the joy that is just waiting to be untapped. It’s the smile on your face as you greet each morning no longer afraid of a backward thought. It’s the joy you find in those you choose to surround yourself with on this continuing chapter of life. It’s the happy dog wagging its tail just from the joy of greeting, so happy to see you no matter how the day has pasted.

The whole truth is that we can’t bend mend or alter who we are, we can only look for the good and not expect the bad around every corner. Within you is all the strength you need to choose the right options for you. Tomorrow could be a good day with many more to come.

Is It Your Life Or Theirs?

LifeA question you may have asked yourself many times over. Do you take control of your own life or blame others for how you live and behave? Do you walk the road of blame for the way you have turned out? Should you shout on high say with Au-gusto that you were abused so you abuse? Transfer your guilt if or even when it arises for the actions you have taken – It’s easy right? Quite simply you just pass it back through the years, believing vehemently that the pain you are inflicting is neither by choice nor of your making. Do you convince yourself of that? Live your life with no compassion after all none was ever shown to you. There’s that bubble you climb inside where you feel that all is justified, a safe haven, one in which you feel that you will not be condemned. What could you do about it anyway; the apple never falls very far from the tree does it? That one I can vouch for because it was burned so deeply within me by my abuser since childhood. Just like my father before me I walk the road of the fallen. You’ve been conditioned that way how do you fight genetic inheritance? Told from such an early age it’s OK that no one needs know. It was just their way of showing you that they loved you. It was a secret – a bond that only you and your abuser shared. It was special others would not understand the love you both shared, Jealousy would spoil everything – so what’s the harm? You are only trying to repeat that bond a generation further.

OK: let’s rewind – can we even take any of the above justifications seriously? But the above scenarios are being put out there so often by those that abuse. Let’s be quite clear here there is nor could there be any justification for abuse whatsoever. When it comes to people making excuses for their abusive actions there are none. The words above quite frankly, even now, whilst typing, I can still conjure up a ball of fire ready to explode within me – so deep at times that it still reminds me of the rage I felt whilst trying to understand my own abuser. At that time there were days when the rage I felt was likened to a nuclear explosion. The impact of sexual abuse varies from child to child for many the damage is enormous, with the impact still being felt into adulthood affecting all aspects of their life. But this does not give anyone an open door to walk through to serve their own abusive damage. In a nut shell to all those abusers out there – being abused does not give you any god-given right to abuse. You may be wondering why I made that statement during this piece, so I’ll share with you. Those that are or have been abused are not the only ones that come here to read. I often hear the words of an abuser. I live daily with the hope that, for them just being here, it signals their first step toward change.

Working through the memories of childhood abuse is painstaking work, it will never happen overnight. But if we are ever going to be tested in our lives then this is one of the biggest tests of all. We find a way of working through, which in no shape or form puts others on that road to hell. It takes strength to cast aside the legacy we feel we were left with after abuse. No doubt this is the harder road to walk. But this is your life isn’t it? You alone make the decisions that determine your future. We can’t live in the past but equally we can’t bury it either; it has to be faced.

Some would say that we have even lost our souls during those turbulent years; loss is not a word that comes to my mouth easily. To my mind it was never lost: it was stolen; recovering that part of you is paramount. Once we lose our soul we also lose our identity; we have just become just another static within the realms of abuse. We feel that we are no more than a faceless number; in truth we don’t even want to remember who we are. Along with this, we find ourselves with selective memories. We continue pouring on an avalanche of rock to hold down the part of us we just can’t face. We feel dead within still breathing whilst hopelessly hoping there is no tomorrow. But tomorrow will arrive and face it we must.

Within you is the strength you need to do so it’s just waiting there to be tapped into. Once you take that leap of faith you will find that deep down inside there is small flame still burning; we just need to move the rock.

The above excuses at the start of this piece are spoken so often by those that abuse, that I’m guessing they seem to alleviate their consciences. Clearly the blame rests elsewhere. But for everyone that chooses that easy road of denial there are two more that choose to take that hard road. They make the choice to be different ever ready to stand tall and alone if needed. They are the ones that I try to reach out to within my every waking hour.

There is a way through abuse to recovery that does not involve taking others on that downward-spiralling staircase of abuse. For each of us its different there is no yard stick to measure our progress. We learn to process the memoires that we remember as and when we can, because those traumatizing memories are not always remembered all at once on a conscious level. In truth it’s your mind that is protecting you from confronting all those painful memories all at once. You will remember more when you are ready and able. With remembrance and time you find that you are working towards and able to see that positive outcome that can be yours. This is the right way – the one where you say to all that you alone stopped abuse in its tracks.

The Ulimate Test

gaged - CopySo what would be our ultimate test be? The one that you know without doubt you now hold all the cards. The aces are now in your grasp, not in that of your abuser. It was a very surreal moment the very first day I knew that from here on in I controlled my destiny. At first it was a little difficult to deal with, because for so many years we are told how to think feel and react. What was allowed to be made public knowledge and those things we were told must always remain secret. We have learnt the hard of way how to hide our scars and emotions. It’s a long way to claw your way back to a place of complete recovery. For so long like the image attached to this piece you have felt gagged and restrained. These restrictions never needed to be seen; we always knew they were just there within our world of pain. When we embark on the road forward to take we control it’s a little like a baby trying to take their first step, we know that we need to learn to walk or we will never move forward, but just like that infant we are going to fall many times. These falls never heal quickly even when the immediate cuts and bruises disappear, because they have a profound effect on us. With each fall we take it just seems to compound that walking alone is something we can’t do. For so long we were controlled, confused, made to think that without our abuser the world could come to an end. I can almost hear those of you out there saying that was never the case; but in truth it’s that exactly. I my own case, I was made to feel that the only one that would be there for me was my abuser. He was the only one that cared; making it without him was a fool’s errand. Abuse is a strange way of caring for anyone right? But when told often enough that if they were to take it away you would never make it on your own you start to think would you? Thoughts are compounded so deeply within you that you start to believe them. In a sick kind of way it seems that they are your only salvation. Let’s remember here that for me this abuse was there for as long as I can remember. This resonates with so many people I meet within my work. We are dealing with the minds of children who believe what’s told to them. Sadly the end result is that this person becomes the one constant in our lives. Sitting here now talking to you, I am well aware that for me that was the case; it took me many years to change that thought process. As for all of us it is a huge mountain to climb. My abuser followed me for many years well into my adulthood far after he was no longer around, but for some reason still unknown to me he continued to mould my mind – but why? I have been giving many answers to that question which once burned so deeply within me; the one repeated more often than not is that somehow through his control for so many years, I stayed very much that scarred little child. Through my many radio interviews I continue to meet those that have travelled much the same path as me; many still trying to heal that child within. It’s a hard upstream struggle. As we continue to grow into the person we are meant to be, time heals those scars so deeply felt. I was asked quite recently if I recollect any good memories within my childhood, sadly without much thought the answer to that question was a resounding no. But with all that said happily I now have new memories, those of my own choosing. These happy memories go a long way to healing the pain of my past.

I’m going to return now to the heading of this piece and the reason I sit here today talking to you. I have crossed over many bridges to be who I am today; I have learnt to walk within my pain and I no longer feel the burning terror that used to tear at my emotions. I have faced my past and strive daily to connect with those still struggling within abuse. I give live interviews knowing that no matter what question is asked of me, I will be able to answer with control and in control. There have been some pretty difficult ones throw at me at times, but hey you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs. Each day I start it as I wish now; I make my own plans and live my own life. I feel as if I am in a complete place of strength. So what is left for me to conquer? I had taken back my life; my abuser was no longer in control. I had been able to share my story with you within my book, which in truth helped me so very much upon completion. I am no longer looking over my shoulder afraid of what I may see; I can now visit places alone whilst still feeling safe. That may sound like a strange thing to say, but life for me before my recovery was very much how it was. I know quite clearly that my abuser is no longer even in this country; but back then that didn’t seem to matter. Fear made me feel that he could reach me wherever he might be – that’s their ace in hand – our fear. For many years now it seemed to me that I had dealt with everything I needed to. That every stone had been over turned that in time I had won that fight. But there was just something lurking in the back in my mind that I was never really sure of, something that I could never really pin down. Then it came to me during a very surreal moment quite recently. This I knew was the resounding end to everything that ever happened to me. I sit here now to share it with you. But before I start I wish to make it totally clear that this is not a bench mark for everyone; it’s not a goal you wish to aspire to or anything else that springs to your mind whilst reading. It was my continuation that for many years I never knew existed. If I am completely honest with you it did further my strength; I won’t use the word ‘recovery’ because for me that had already been achieved. I had already aspired to that some years ago. So why am I sharing? Maybe it’s just to share with you that we can face the monster head on and come away still whole.

It’s around eleven in the evening and I’ve been sitting here all evening, relaxing, watching the television. I had an interview earlier that evening that went really well the host was great and the interview had flowed. It had put me in a thoughtful mood which never fails to happen, you can’t share and then walk away as if the interview had never happened. But this evening was somehow a little different – why I can’t say; there was nothing that sprang to mind then or even now. A niggle in the back of my mind my taking on a life of its own, one that I could not relate to or own at that time. Something just seemed fated at that precise moment. It was like I had taken an interval in the proceedings that had never really come to a full stop. I could not shake the feeling that there was an irreversible succession of events from the past just out of reach in my mind’s eye – much as if I had to stop for a commercial break. It would not interrupt the program; it would just enlighten me to what’s out there if I cared to look. It was something which seemed to separate two points in time. My instinct at that time was telling me that whatever it was it had to be handled carefully, I just knew that it had seemed out of reach before. Ok I think I have made my point so let’s end it here before I over kill it – something for me was still left undone.

It seemed to creep up on me from behind, realisation slapped firmly full in my face. I had to complete the circle; I had to talk to him. Suddenly there he was standing in front of me. Of course it does not need to be said this was a scenario was being played within my head. Did someone not once say fear is the thing that makes us fearful? Well I’m here to tell you they were right on the money. There was nothing I could do to stop the thoughts in my head running away with me I had to talk to him, a fact unbeknown to me until that one moment in time, there was just one more hurdle I had to climb over. Could I talk to my stepfather and take back the power? Because in truth all that had passed before I had completed on my own, my recovery had been my doing. Although as you already know I did not do that alone. A single branch will break, but a bundle is strong. I found that strength and camaraderie within you and others like you. Right then right there I knew that the only way for me to feel complete was to face him head on. There was no way this could be achieved face to face, the expanse of miles were too far apart he was no longer in the country. But to talk to him hear his voice would that be enough? I had his telephone number in a cupboard which had been given to me many years ago, it may not even be a number still in use but my gut told me otherwise. The feeling was not going away; it was now after 1 in the morning, later in the place he now called home. I stood up and walked toward the cupboard, each step sending shudders up my spin why was it having this affect? All I can say is that the thought of his voice left me in a place akin to hell. I had spent so many years fearing that sound. My hands where sweating; I had to wipe them against me to absorb the moisture. The vein in my neck was pulsating I could hear each beat of my heart like thunder in my head. I knew I should walk away, but I just couldn’t; there was no retreat possible for me. I looked at the ink stains left there on the paper so long ago; did they even know the affect they were having on me? This was it I was not turning back; I steeled myself and walked towards the phone. The sound of the dialling tone left me cold as I dialled the number and let it ring out. It just seemed to go on forever; but no matter what, it would ring out until it was answered. I leaned back against the wall unit, willing it to prop me up; this was a feeling I thought I had left behind long ago.

Hello, a voice that in the past had turned me cold was there, but the chill I was expecting just didn’t arrive; it was just a voice. He sounded old and beating down by life, the power I thought he processed just wasn’t there. Right there and then I knew that the fear of this contact was all it had ever been. It was clear that the sound of my voice had hit him like a steam train. Right there and then I felt the power he used to control me with changing hands; there had never been a more surreal moment for me. He was having trouble forming his words tripping over himself. Then he asked me the question that should have been mine to relay why? Why what? Why was I calling what did I want from him? Right there and then I knew I wanted nothing. He had broken me into so many pieces for as long as I could remember but not today I was whole. Once again did someone not say that the only thing to fear is fear its self? As a metaphor it could not have been clearer. He proceeded to tell me that he had spend a period of two years in therapy on disappearing from my life; I am still not sure why he felt the need to do so. I guess he was now somehow looking for absolution, hoping beyond hope that forgiveness would be mine to give. In truth, by the end of our conversation it felt so very much like this time for him was spent as therapy. I have learnt through my work just how to converse with others that have travelled the path of an abuser; it’s not always those that have been abused that call into a show. There have been many times that it has been the abusers themselves. To my mind when this happens it’s as if they have already started to recognise their wrong doing, why else would they be there listening? Of course this is not always the case; some are there for their very own perverse reasons. But could I give him the same part of me? This was my abuser wanting, hoping, to heal through the tools that I had come to acquire. I’m sure there are those of you out there that are having trouble getting your heads around this – and rightly so: even as I type it seems absurd to me. Life is never black and white; life can turn things on their heads with a moment’s notice. What’s right for someone else is very wrong for others. You need to keep in mind that this was right for me; it’s not something you need to shadow. My monster had become a weak man as time had passed what’s more he probable always had been. Imagine when we were children and that big oak door had been just too heavy to push, as an adult it becomes just another door that we can open easily. The boogie man had become someone with no control over his life whilst I had become strong. So did I beat him down? Did I pour all my past anguish on him from a great height? The answer to that question is no I just didn’t feel the need it wouldn’t change the past. There was no explanation that he could ever have given me that would make up for the things he had done, even though at the start of our conversation that had been my quest.

I replaced the receiver and went to sit in the chair. It was only then that I realised that I had been standing the whole time; maybe I just needed to have that fight or flight option open to me. It was dark and well into the night but I felt as if I were soaking in the sun’s rays, the sky was blue; rainbows seemed to be appearing in front of me. My future had never been so bright. Could I now sleep after our exchange? You bet your life on it. I climbed the stairs one by one each one firmly beneath my feet. I climbed into bed with a complete feeling of peace and I slept like a baby……………….

Completing The Circle Of Life

circle of lifeMost of us believe in the circle of life it stands for reason because that makes sense. We are born we grow and then we leave this world. For each of us it’s a completely different path that we walk. We may enter into each other’s lives for many different reasons, each time our life’s are either enriched or affected by that chance meeting. We may feel an affinity towards them because something about them draws our attention, these connections are meant to happen; it’s my own belief that they are on the same path on which we were meant to travel. They can often bring us pain simply because of cause and effect; in short they cause us to reassess our own lives, which without shadow or doubt is a walk back to a place we only ever enter gingerly. But lest we forget at times during these chance meetings they also bring us happiness.

The scales of life are weighted to bring a balance to our lives; nothing is without its problems right? Without enduring the pain that comes our way how could we feel the joy? It’s a kind of trade-off a bartering system as such. When it seems to be that it’s our turn to remember that life comes with its own set of problems. Ones in which we feel as if we will never make it through. But in hindsight whilst looking back we already have, although a little battered and bruised. It’s how we learn through our experiences that matters most. We will for sure experience many difficulties and obstacles as we travel through life. What I am trying to say is that we have to walk that road, but we have it in our own control to choose how we do so. We can take many right turns in our life to make it through to the other side, whilst ultimately still completing that circle. We have no other choice but to continue walking, but the way we choose to walk it is our sacred privilege. Circles represent unity, wholeness, infinity without sides or corners. I have myself spent time watching TV where the program is all about the supernatural. It seems that once we are inside the circle we are safe from danger or bad influences. Some believe that once we have come to its ends meeting that we start again on our new journey of life. One thing I’ve learned is that life can take you to a place during this journey that is not even on the map, it’s a highway that seems to extend infinitely into the distance. But we must remember that circles come in all sizes but ultimately both ends have to meet.

What I am trying to convey, in which I hope I am achieving with some success, is that I have nothing but admiration for those that have suffered through abuse within that circle; they have found the courage and the strength to continue on with the knowledge that in time these ends will always meet. A circle is always a circle but when the bottom falls out and it becomes far more like a loop. Abuse is very much like that where quite frankly there are more hills to climb and further to fall. Changing the appearance makes it no less a circle it’s just no longer taut. So we learn to deal with the ups and downs until we are strong enough to take the strength we need from life. In truth we learn to trust just enough to take counsel from those around us, sounds easy doesn’t it? But that statement is far from easy. Trust is something that was ripped from us so long ago. But where there is bad good can also be found, where there is evil you will also find a good soul tucked up there in the corner just awaiting your arrival.

The above is true for us all but for some staying on this path takes immense courage to continue on. They have the ability to be brave whilst in the mix of great pain. The inside of the circle is always beyond their reach, a safe place seems never to be found. They face each day with the thought that staying on this path is just too frightening. The journey is weighted and so very heavy to carry, it’s the one thing they seem unable to but down no matter how they try. They have no other choice then to continue walking, or to descend down the spiral staircase beneath them. The only problem with this particular stanch is that at some point we all have to climb up and continue. We need to learn to carry this weight which has many names so let’s call it here our affliction; that I’m sure has raised many an eyebrow. But it’s one that was once used as a summary towards my own mental health along with many others. There are so many terminologies out there to choose from. Let’s share some of those labels here – baggage; there is one hell of a misconception of mental health all on its own. Chronic depression mentally challenged or a nervous breakdown, unstable, paranoia. We could continue on but we won’t fill this page up with phrases we have all heard at one time or another. So what is it thought of by others this affliction? Is it a dark past; something no one talks about willingly if at all. If spoken of it’s always said within a whisper. The strangest thing of all is that some feel as if they are not able to converse about it with us, as if it were a secret that has to stay hidden. Lest by speaking the words it somehow brings it to life, wow if only that were the case! For those that have travelled or are travelling the very difficult road abuse it is very much alive. No matter how people choose to attach a label so it can be filed neatly away, the only word true to its origin is the word abuse.

People enter into our lives daily and cannot fail to leave an impression of sorts. Some only stay for a short periods before they retreat. They are like butterflies only staying long enough to warm their wings. These people are meant to enter our lives during our journey; something is always left behind from any encounter nothing is by chance. So we hold close those things in which we need to continue, whilst leaving behind those things that will only make our journey harder to travel. I always think of those that I have met throughout my work as angels on this earth with only one wing, seeking camaraderie with those of our like where an alliance is formed. Ultimately in time this alliance becomes an aid with which we can learn to walk with, much like finding our other wing which then enables fight.

So if our path is marked out in front of us however unfair let’s walk that road with pride. Because armed only with the simple reality that you are still sitting here reading, means you are trying to regain control of your own life. I have never been prouder of you………………