Archive for March, 2011

Blossom – not the tv show

Posted in Journal with tags , on 31/03/2011 by Jen Healey

I’m not sure what has happened to the weather these last couple of days, probably remembered it’s British.  Not that I mind weather of any sort really and I try to never describe it as being miserable (how can you possibly assess the emotional state of the weather?  I don’t advise you start talking to the clouds in the sky, people will assume your cheese done slid off your cracker!  Besides, it might love to rain!).  However, I was enjoying the effect of sunshine on the tree blossom, it doesn’t last very long and it just made my daily walks to and from school and the village shop (wild and hectic lifestyle, I know) that bit prettier, see…

On the way to school

At the school entrance

Even in the school car park

My garden was also contributing to the spring feeling…

My tree - trying its best

And my daffs, that are looking a bit wet and droopy this morning, in their early morning glory a few days ago…

Although, my magnolia tree is bursting with the promise of many pretty flowers to look forward to this season, which is nice.

Victoria Frances

Posted in Gothic with tags , , , , on 30/03/2011 by Jen Healey

The time has come to share with you some artwork created by one of my favourite artists (the other being HR Giger of course).  Although most of my lovely friends will already be well acquainted, from visits to my home, with the gothic Romanticism of Victoria Frances.  Unfortunately her official website is only available in Spanish at the moment, but it is beautiful and well worth a quick click. 

Here are some of her works… 

I also have this piece in my kitchen…

And this is on the front cover of my diary, being the 2011 edition of her Favole Agenda which is also goth gorgeousness…

Keys to Mental Health 3/7

Posted in Mental Morsels on 29/03/2011 by Jen Healey

3.  Confront rather than avoid difficulties and frustration.  Treat problems as challenges, as useful in helping you to build up a tolerance and experience.  Expect change and challenges and for life to be unfair at times. 

(T. Powell) 

I think, in a nutshell, this is just saying that frustrations and difficulties are character-building.  Which is easy to say after the metaphorical/emotional storm is over.  In our house, we have taken to saying “Worse things happen at sea!” (says …).  I suppose that is just our way of resigning ourselves to accept the way of things sometimes.  I’ll bet there are many other variations on this strategy in other houses, but that is ours. 

Sure I can expect life to be unfair at times, doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it though does it!  Sometimes a stomp, a shout, lots of swears and a tear or two is just the appropriate, healthy and natural reaction, before the above perspective is even in sight.  But I think that’s just fine too. 


Do you believe?

Posted in Supe-para-natural with tags on 28/03/2011 by Jen Healey

Yesterday, my little family and myself went to dinner at my in-laws’ house, which serves as home, B&B and free-range poultry farm.  In its past it was an old mill with water wheel and mill stones, the former has been replaced with one that works at the flip of a switch and the latter remains as very old and worn decoration.  It is a lovely building in a very quiet location. 

Here is quite an old picture of the exterior of Mill House, which I took, for the website and brochures…

And here is a picture I took yesterday of one of the bedrooms…

Now, according to my mother-in-law, there has been more than one guest who has not had as peaceful a night as others have had in this room.  One story in particular I find unnerving, possibly due to my over-active imagination and the thought of waking up in said scenario would not be in my top five favourite situations.  This particular guest, a gentleman, came down for breakfast looking tired and pale.  He said he’d had a “rough night” in the room, as he’d woken to see three people floating above his bed.  He described them as male and wearing bandages all over their bodies, apart from their heads.  Their limbs were spread in a ‘free-falling/parachuting’ type pose.  He said that two of them faded and disappeared after a few moments, but one of them, a bald man, stayed there for ages!  I would’ve freaked!  This guest stayed for three more nights and reported that the same thing had happened during the night each morning.  The next guests to stay in that room straight after this gentleman were a couple.  The next morning, when asked about their stay, the lady guest described the room as being “full of sick people who were covered in bandages”!  Her husband had slept through peacefully without waking at all. 

I’m not sure about these accounts personally, although it is a bit of a coincidence.  I have been into that room many times, ok it was during the day, but I have never experienced any ill-feeling or unease myself.  

However, at their previous home, my father-in-law reported an experience that I do believe genuinely happened.  Probably because it was my father-in-law who saw it makes it more plausible to me, as he is a no-nonsense farmer-type who “wouldn’t go in for any o’ that rubbish”.  Also, I lived with them for a time there and on occasion I would feel uncomfortable for no discernible reason. 

According to my mother-in-law, who delights in regaling people with stories, he was looking out of their bedroom window at around 3am, not long after some local flooding, unable to sleep, when he apparently saw someone outside.  Believing this to be an intruder on his property, he naturally rapped on the window and shouted.  Apparently the interloper, an old gentleman, looked up, made eye contact and “shot back and turned into mist”.  Making my father-in-law dash back to the bed and hide under the covers!  Well I would too! 

Finally, here’s a vid off you tube, probably a fake, but it’s pretty freaky…

Challenging Ideas 3/10

Posted in Mental Morsels on 27/03/2011 by Jen Healey

The third ‘Challenging Idea to Think About’ is: 

“You cannot completely control or own anything, particularly people.  Everything is temporary and everything changes.  Get used to change.” 

 That goes for the bad and the good.

Weekly Photo Challenge

Posted in Journal on 26/03/2011 by Jen Healey

The suggested photo theme provided on the WordPress site for this week being ‘Ocean’, I’m pleased to have some old pictures of Tenby to share that I took nearly two years ago…

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Exotic no?  I think they’re pretty good considering they were taken with a basic digital camera, in Wales, with an iffy artistic eye.  Although, I do find that pictures rarely capture the feeling of actually being somewhere and seeing something beautiful with your own eyes.  They do come close sometimes though, and can serve as a mini time machine, taking you back to when you took the photo.  If you’re lucky, or unlucky, they can evoke the most vivid sense memories, transporting you back to the time and place so much so that you remember the smell, sound and touch of that place. 

I’m quite enjoying keeping up with this ‘post a day’ challenge, it’s fun and the suggestions made on the Daily Post blog give you something to think about if you’re short of ideas, which I am not, yet.

Common Thinking Distortions

Posted in Mental Morsels on 25/03/2011 by Jen Healey

After my post on the 22nd about flexible thinking being a key to good mental health, I thought it may be useful to expand on that.  The next six points are taken directly from Powell (yes, again, I know), but I am using them for instructional purposes here, which is allowed on the copyright and it’s only one page, today. 

“We are all prone at times to unhelpful ‘distorted thinking’, but when we are either under excess stress or are depressed, these distortions become more exaggerated.  Research has shown that there are particular types of distorted thinking. 

  • All-or-nothing thinking.  You think in absolutes, as either black or white, good or bad, with no middle ground.  You tend to judge people or events using general labels, for example ‘he’s an idiot’, ‘I’m hopeless.  I’ll never learn to drive.  I’m a complete failure.’  You may condemn yourself completely as a person on the basis of a single event. 
  • Awfulising – catastrophising.  You tend to magnify and exaggerate the importance of events and how awful or unpleasant they will be, over-estimating the chances of disaster; whatever can go wrong will go wrong.  If you have a setback you will view it as a never-ending pattern of defeat. 
  • Personalising.  You take responsibility and blame for anything unpleasant even if it has little or nothing to do with you.  If something bad happens you immediately think ‘it’s my fault’. 
  • Negative focus.  You focus on the negative, ignoring or misinterpreting positive aspects of a situation.  You focus on your weaknesses and forget your strengths, looking on the dark side (you’re a goth too?!).  If you’ve done a good job, you filter out and reject the positive comments and focus on the negative. 
  • Jumping to conclusions.  You make negative interpretations even though there are no definite facts.  You start predicting the future, and take on the mantle of ‘mind reader’.  You are likely to predict that negative things will happen. 
  • Living by fixed rules.  You tend to have fixed rules and unrealistic expectations, regularly using the words ‘should’, ‘ought’, ‘must’, and ‘can’t’.  This leads to unnecessary guilt and disappointment.  The more rigid these statements are, the more disappointed, angry, depressed or guilty you are likely to feel.” 

(Powell, 2000) 

Now, I have found that the best way to deal with these types of thinking distortions, if they are problematic, is to challenge them.  Ask yourself, what is the evidence to support that thought?  It may seem like a basic, general and simplistic answer – it is.  I’m not saying that it is simple to actually do though.  In fact, it takes quite a bit of effort to recognise the thoughts that are unhelpful, let alone challenge them.  It feels a bit like asking an artist to be scientific about love.  Asking yourself to prove yourself wrong?  Hmmm.  It can be done though, it just takes work.  The beauty of this subjective, intangible, grey-shaded area is that, these are things that only need addressing if they are a problem for you. 

I have never forgotten a quote I heard in a lecture once, by I don’t remember who, when I was doing my mental health nurse training.  It stated that psychiatric nursing (or psychiatry) was ‘the bland teaching the unbland to be bland’.  Needless to say I was bloody mortified, bland indeed!  I was indignation personified.  That was obviously said by someone who was filled to bursting with their own conformist sense of self-importance and over-estimating the influence they can exert over another human being.  Not cool man.  Thankfully, I know that the good practitioners out there do not seek to change every service-user they meet into Mr Johnny-boring-beige-pants who has never had a thought of his own.  That is taking the idea that psychiatry/medicine took over from the church as the popular and influential choice of solace for people in distress a bit too far.  No offense intended, it is not my original idea/observation. 

My personal philosophy is that if it works keep doing it.  If something doesn’t bother you or cause you any problems in your life, let it be.  That is something that should be clear whenever any suggestion is ever made I feel.  Also, I find that people will do whatever the hell they want, regardless of advice/techniques offered, quite a large chunk of the time.  Hurrah for the independent thinkers!  Make your own choices to help yourself, your way.  Try whatever ideas you like the sound of.  If they are helpful, great, if not, ditch ’em.  Just don’t hurt yourself, or anyone else, on my shift (mental health worker joke, sorry). 

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