Tag Archives: Mental health

Dear Rethink Siblings Network

Dear Rethink Siblings Network,

I have to be honest I never really thought I needed support for my brothers schizophrenia.  I have just sort of bumbled through it for the last 11 years. Then my dad died and I realised how much my parents had protected me from the realities of his condition and now I need to face up to the possibility one day I will be his carer.

I went along last night to a Rethink Siblings Support Group, and initially  I just wanted to find out what local mental health support services were like, as the plan is my mum and brother are ultimately going to move to live near me (they are three hours away), I didn’t plan on doing anything else. To be honest I didn’t really want to go as I personally didn’t think it was really necessary for me.

Completely unexpectedly what I actually found from the group was the support and understanding I had been lacking for the last 12 years.  It was so good to finally be able to talk about it with people who truly understood and weren’t just offering platitudes. Of the 11 people there 10 had schizophrenic siblings, some further along in the process than me, others just starting out and it was brilliant to be able to share our experiences as siblings, something I had never been able to do before.  I did get quite weepy but that is also good, probably a long time coming.

I’m now really excited to be part of this group. I think it will offer me much needed support and I hope I can offer support to others.  I think I only properly realised last night that my brother, the one from my childhood, isn’t ever coming back, but it is about accepting, loving and supporting my new brother however hard that is sometimes.

So thank you so much for realising that siblings need support and putting things in place to support us. I have invited an online friend to join the group too and I thought I would write this post to advertise that sibling support exists and just how crucial it is, even when, like me, you might not think it is!


Your latest member,


P.S  Currently I am pondering how to blog about my brothers condition without causing any detriment to him. As it stands I had to hide the only previous letter I wrote about it, but this letter was too important not to write and I will work it out somehow. Siblings voices are important too.  Possibly anonymous posts or negotiating with him when he is well enough to understand what/why I need to write about it.

Dear Sticky Tape Girl

Dear Sticky Tape Girl,

Following on from me writing to Teenager writing Angst ridden poetry, I figure it is now time to write to you and share my young adult writing angst ridden stories.  I wrote you about 10 years ago and it’s funny the impact writing you has had on my life.  I often think how far I have come from The Little Sticky Tape Girl I once was with way way too much angst for my own good, and sometimes I recognise myself slipping into old habits and I make a concerted effort to peel back the layers and really work out and share what is going on to move on and heal from whatever it is, so thankyou for helping me learn how to over-analyse do that.

I guess I’m writing to tell you that although the story is far from over- (I hope!). I did meet my handsome &wonderful LordCurd (yeah I know not a Prince but a Lord will do just as well and he is pretty awesome 🙂 ) and most of the time we muddle along just right – main thing is I know when things aren’t okay and I know when to seek help from those who love me.

So thanks Little Sticky Tape Girl for being such a significant non-person in my life.

Lots of adhesive love



Once upon a time there was a little girl, she was born beautiful, perfect, delicate as glass but hard as a rock. As time went on, as life threw its power at her, parts started to break off, she tried to attach them with sticky tape. By the time she was totally in control of her own life, there was so much sticky tape wrapped around her you could hardly see her beneath it, and she could hardly see out.  She felt safe beneath the sticky tape, but sometimes people tried to get close. She would let them peel back some of the layers, but she felt so scared, exposed and vulnerable in their judgmental eyes, she had to pull back, and build up the layers again to protect herself, sometimes thicker than they were before.   She always hoped that one day a handsome prince would come, with gentle hands to remove her sticky safe shackles, she waited and waited, but in the meantime the sticky tape binds were growing thicker and getting tight.  She was uncomfortable beneath her ties, and longed to throw them off and be fixed, but she was so very scared of losing parts of her that she tried so hard to protect.

Time went on, and for many years she was alone, but she had other broken friends, some were stuck together with superglue, some with duct tape, some with staples, they were all broken in different amounts and they too had all been born perfect.  She and her broken friends waited together. Some of them felt they were fixed when knights came to rescue them, but this little girl only had nights to come and rescue her.  The little girl decided to explore her world for herself, and try to find a way to free herself and open herself up.  She travelled to far away lands, she met people who changed her, opened her sticky eyes, on her return she found that somehow some of the sticky tape had been lost, snagged behind in the experiences of the other world.  She realised that she had to build on these experiences that had changed her, and from then on would grasp every opportunity that came to her, with both her sticky hands.

One day, she decided to go and speak to a wise woman, this wise woman was like a mirror, only reflected what was said, and never judged.  Through spending time with the wise woman, the little girl felt safe enough to peel back some of the sticky tape, sometimes it hurt and still left an uncomfortable sticky residue but that soon attracted bits of fluff, and so she felt safe again. Sometimes she was surprised to find the bits underneath she thought were broken were in fact fixed, and sometimes no matter how hard she tried she couldn’t remove certain bits of tape, though her nails wore down from trying.  She spent a lot of time talking to her other broken friends, and was surprised to find that they were often broken in the same places, and this helped her not to feel so alone.

As time went on she never became the perfect delicate thing she once was, but she learnt ways of finding out why each individual piece of sticky tape was there. She learnt ways of fixing herself when a new bit broke off, that didn’t involve sticky tape, and most importantly she learnt not to hide who she was even if sometimes it meant that it was hard to be her friend. Her true sticky friends stayed with her throughout her journey, but after a long time she learnt that she could be happy on her own, and didn’t need them to be there all the time.  Her journey has been long and tough, and is by no means over, but she now knows that now she can be comfortable in herself, with herself and by herself.  She now feels safe enough to show who she is to some handsome prince, who will love her, just as she is. Little girls always think that handsome princes will be the one to rescue them, but this sticky tape girl learnt that the only person to rescue her was herself, and this is the new journey she takes herself on.  She no longer waits for a handsome prince, but knows she will probably bump into one or two on her journey.

Does this story end happily ever after? This sticky tape girl will have to let you know.

Dear Girl in the Sand

Dear Girl in the Sand,

You seem so sad, and that’s silly really as you haven’t got a clue what life is going to throw at you in the future.  You have got it pretty good as it goes, young, free, single, no responsibilities, nothing traumatic really to speak of has happened to you yet*

At the moment this poem is pinned to your wall, and you are trying really hard to get to the dawning:

Comes The Dawn

After a while you learn
the subtle difference between
holding a hand and chaining a soul
and you learn
that love doesn’t mean leaning
and company doesn’t always mean security.
And you begin to learn
that kisses aren’t contracts
and presents aren’t promises
and you begin to accept your defeats
with your head up and your eyes ahead
with the grace of woman, not the grief of a child
and you learn
to build all your roads on today
because tomorrow’s ground is
too uncertain for plans
and futures have a way of falling down
in mid-flight.
After a while you learn
that even sunshine burns
if you get too much
so you plant your own garden
and decorate your own soul
instead of waiting for someone
to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure
you really are strong
you really do have worth
and you learn
and you learn
with every goodbye, you learn…
— Veronica Shoffstall,  (1971)

You will get there in the end, I have a feeling you are going to be okay. Some pretty bad shit will go down, and you will have a really really rough few years but you are resilient, a survivor. You will get through it. In fact throughout it all you will be happier than you were that day in the sand.

So please stop wasting time being sad and look to the dawn. You do learn you can endure, you are strong, you do have worth, and you quite frankly you grew a lovely ladygarden.

Yours retrospectively


(*although the first of several hugely traumatic events in your life is that the girl who took this picture, your best friend, will kill herself 😦 )

Dear Work

Dear Work,

It’s Monday morning and my thoughts are turning to work. I have been musing about you a lot recently being on maternity leave for the second time and trying to work out how/whether we can afford childcare for two children so I can work. If it means us being worse off as a family then can I go back to work?

I absolutely adore my job, it seriously is one of my favourite things about my life alongside my family.  I appreciate I am incredibly fortunate to have sorted my niche already and I have gotten pretty high up in my field so I’m really flipping proud of that, and would be desperately sad to lose that.

As soon as my eldest daughter was 12 weeks old I went back to work doing the odd bit of freelance to keep my hand in and now Omble is 9weeks old I start back this week doing the same. I just can’t not work. For a few months last year there was a gap in work as we had moved and I had no childcare and I had to build up contacts again. This was hell.  I hated it.  Not least I hate not having my own income and being completely beholden to somebody else financially.

Having financial independence is something my parents had instilled in me from a young age. I think they knew too many women ending up being controlled by a man financially or being utterly screwed if a relationship broke down or a partner died. The whole system of child benefits was actually established to give women a degree of financial independence.  Women taking time out of the workplace to bring up children can mean that their earning power is reduced not to mention their ultimate career prospects and their pensions etc.

I never realised until I became a mother the impact of motherhood on a woman’s financial independence. I know there are exceptions to every rule but in the majority of cases it’s women who ends up taking the career and financial hit when kids come along. Then there will always be the dilemma of working or staying at home and what is best for your family.

I think what is best for our family is that I work part time at least,  I want my girls to see their mum working, providing and contributing to the family unit. They will also see me happier like that. I adore my girls and spending time with them and bringing them up but I also need the adult space and interaction and to keep up with my career, so I can maintain everything I have worked so bloody hard for. But jeepers it’s a balancing act and not sure one you will ever get just right.

At the minute thankfully my freelance work is starting to build up again and for the time being I can do this pretty flexibly around the kids which is absolutely brilliant, but I am also seriously thinking about going properly back to work in September if I can find the right job. The trouble will be childcare- financially it may not be viable for me to work if what I bring home doesn’t cover the childcare and that makes me feel somewhat trapped. I have been very lucky that I have been able to keep in touch/ mostly on track with my career since having the girls but I can’t take too much longer out otherwise I will find it much harder to get back in. LordCurd and I are discussing options where he goes part time so I can work part time which maybe the ideal solution, but again his earnings will always outweigh mine (dam public sector versus private sector) so it’s whether we can afford to take the financial hit.

Lots to think about about.

What do you advise?

Yours sincerely