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Resilience

Bullying & Beyond… 11. Resilience.

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Time and the right conditions not only preserve but bring about something of beauty – Marie Clancy.

Our son was having on-going problems with school bullying, resulting in school refusal and self-isolation, shared in Bullying & Beyond… 10.Painting the pain, part three.

While searching for support, I was told, by an adult in a position of responsibility that our son… “needed to be more resilient.

I found their statement to be judgemental. Being judged by an adult and found lacking is not what any child needs when they are suffering because of bullying.

It’s true, being more resilient makes life easier.

It’s also true that children can be over sensitive and they need to be able to identify the difference between occasional teasing, and the type of verbal or physical abuse which deliberately sets out to do harm.

When behaviour has the goal or intention to deliberately hurt, and happens on an regular basis, it wears down a child’s resilience.

Children who are being bullied need empathy. They need their issues to be acknowledged and they need to be affirmed by a statement that says “You are very resilient to have coped with bullying for so long.

The victim needs to be reassured that the problem lies with the bully, and not with them.

They also need to be informed of what action will be taken and a review date needs to be set. Sticking to the review date is vitally important as the victim has been rendered voiceless by constant bullying and will have lost trust in those around them.  We can gain their trust when we live up to our word and prove that we are trust worthy.

It is vitally important that a pro-active approach to bullying is fostered in every school to ensure that every victim of bullying is guaranteed the respect they deserve in a bully free zone.

Have you or your children experienced bullying?  Was your child’s resilience worn down? Did anybody have empathy for them and did it make a difference?

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

Hello from Ireland!

Hello Norway,

Welcome on board! And thank you…

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Welcome to Create Space http://www.ree-creates.com

 

Actually, I’d like to take a minute or two to thank everybody!

I won’t start naming Countries or individual names because you know I mean you, and all because you stopped in to visit and share such kind and encouraging words this past week, since Andy joined our family.

The thing is you will never know how much of a difference your words have made to both myself and Emma!

And of course to Andy…as you can see he’s under so much pressure!

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I don’t know what we’d do without those frequent “dog-naps!”

 

Emma has just started an Instagram account and she would love you to visit her and Andy @reallyhandyandy where she will document and share their journey towards improved mental health and where she hopes to fulfill her dream and goal of paving the way towards the availability of Psychiatric Service Dogs in Ireland.

This post explains in more detail… Bullying & Beyond… 10.Painting the Pain, part two.

Do you have a dog or other amazing pet? What difference does your pet make to your life? Have you heard of Psychiatric Service Dogs?

With heartfelt wishes,

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

Bullying & Beyond… 10.Painting the Pain, part two.

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Time and the right conditions not only preserve but bring about something of beauty – Marie Clancy.

 

It has been just two weeks since I shared my last post in this Bullying & Beyond series.  It is not an easy read and comes with a trigger warning.  You might like to access it, to give you some background to today’s post… you will find it here… Bullying & Beyond… 10.Painting the Pain, part one.

Those past two weeks have been very challenging for our daughter as she tries to cope with her anxiety but she refuses to give in and her resilience is remarkable.  She has been pressing political representatives and support organisations for many months to try and access the support of a Psychiatric Service Dog. Sadly in Ireland this support is unheard of.  While there are guide dogs for the blind and companion dogs for autism, access to Psychiatric Support Dogs does not exist.  To understand the whole area of Psychiatric Support Dogs, Emma has been busy educating and informing herself via books, online sites and Youtube and has decided to go it solo for the moment.

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This is Andy…who knows what the future holds for him and Emma as they follow their dream to see Andy become the first Psychiatric Service Dog in Ireland. #breaking down stigmas one paw at a time.

 

She hopes that in time and with the correct training Andy will be able to pre-empt the onset of panic attacks which are having a life limiting effect on her.

She has just started an Instagram account and she would love you to visit her and Andy @reallyhandyandy where she will document and share their journey towards improved mental health and where she hopes to fulfill her dream and goal of paving the way towards the availability of Psychiatric Service Dogs in Ireland.

Do you struggle with mental health issues?  Do you have panic attacks?  What do you know about Psychiatric Service Dogs?  Do you know anybody who would benefit from reading this post, if so, please feel free to share.

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

 

Bullying & Beyond… 10.Painting the Pain, part one.

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Time and the right conditions not only preserve but bring about something of beauty – Marie Clancy.

Trigger Warning – Bullying, upsetting read, almost 1.3k word count and only a synopsis.

I would really appreciate if you would consider sharing this…

If I could paint a picture of the pain of bullying I would because a picture can say much more than any amount of words. But I hope my words can help you instead, paint your own picture of young lives tainted, damaged and almost destroyed by bullying.

Begin by taking a nice relaxing breath and feel the peace and contentment of a happy life…Just breath.

Now add two children to the picture and see the eldest overcome some challenges, such as being shy and changing school after one year. See the youngest child beginning life weighing 2lb 9oz and being the best Christmas present we brought home that Christmas, three months after he was born. Now laugh and imagine the relief of a diagnosis of full health at the age of one. No heart murmur. No lung deficiency. No eye sight problems. See him run into school without a backward glance, loving all the new activity and company.

Take another relaxing breath and practice gratitude for two happy, healthy children aged five and seven. Follow your heart, values and beliefs and raise them to be loving and kind; to watch out for the welfare of others and to go out of your way to be inclusive and help others feel they belong.

Now picture a knot in your stomach as you notice things begin to change… upset going to school, lunch not eaten. Hear her tell stories of constant name calling, jibing and mocking. Feel her pain as they make fun of her prominent teeth and her love of galloping around the playground instead of running because of her infatuation with horses. Approach the teacher. Confront a young boy’s carer for his bullying of her on the school bus.

Notice the tears, bitter tears of being excluded by one or two girls. Soon more of her circle follow their lead and she’s left feeling frustrated and lonely. Watch as school anxiety develops, tears and tummy aches rack her body and people comment how thin she is. See her push her food around her plate…and then around some more. Observe family trips to cafes or restaurants become a nightmare.

Soon separation anxiety develops and you carry her into school and peel her off you as you try to reassure her that today will be better; the children will be lovely and friendly. Add in lots of GP visits, referrals to counsellors, psychotherapy and meetings with teachers. Watch homework suffering and educational milestones not being achieved. Listen as you are advised to have an educational assessment done but in the same breath advised that you’ll have to arrange it privately and pay about 400 euro as the government only fund two per year and more disadvantaged children need it. See some school supports come onboard, extra learning support, confidence building and be advised a follow-up 400 euro report is needed before she enters secondary school, needed they say to access extra support there. Watch her relatively happy during 1st year with no supports offered or thankfully needed.

Feel the kick in your gut as a happy 1st year turns into an upset 2nd year and more of the same, more tears, more anxiety, more loneliness and exclusion. Send her to pottery classes and see her flourish and then watch as even in the privacy of her own home she is a victim, as we laugh and enjoy the company of relatives over Christmas, she is hounded. Witness her stress as two girls send texts with nasty, abusive messages. Contact the Gardaì and find there’s not much you can do, change her phone sim.

Advise the school in case she should be targeted by these girls in person. Hear that the two girls are reprimanded. Listen in shock when you’re summoned to the school to collect your emotionally upset child having been physically attacked, dragged to the floor by her hair and kicked and punched by one of the girls. See the nasty black and blue bruise leave its mark on her skin, knowing full well the ongoing abuse is leaving its nasty tentacles entwined even deeper within. Read nasty lies posted about her on a social media site to slander and ridicule. Approach the parents. Be kind, ask for respect, say you won’t involve the law.

In the meantime watch her at home, refusing school for weeks and support her decision to change school.

Breath another reaxing breath as she flourishes, feeling accepted, part of the group. See her take on new experiences and even a school adventure trip for five days away from home.

Gag and dry-retch, choke and sufficate, imagining how she felt when they poured water down her throat while she slept; minding her own business, doing no harm to anyone! See her retreat into herself, go to school and get phone calls to bring her home sick, refuse school. More GP visits, psychological appointments and point blank school refusal. Mountains of paperwork to obtain home school hours and achieve her Leaving Certificate despite all the torment and abuse.

Years later get messages from the bully who physically asaulted her, telling of her regret, her distress, her depression, anxiety and attempted suicide because of what she did. Feel a horrific and tangible need to rip her apart but instead hear our amazing daughter say how she has forgiven her…breath deeply and learn a lesson in compassion and tell the girl it’s ok, don’t worry, access supports, do well in college.

And later still witness the distress, the panic attacks, the anxiety, the new courses; some completed some not. See her clothes become two sizes too big as the anxiety grips her throat and messes with her appetite. See her busy herself baking and sculpting, creating things of beauty and remind yourself that you don’t care about an unfinished course or a career or thoughtless people who don’t ask how she is doing but instead ask “what’s she doing with herself” and proceed to recount how their daughter, her peers, achieved their third level qualifications.  See her reach out and be told it’s five weeks to see a new counsellor – pathetic Irish healthcare.  Marvel as she learns Dutch with her phone app. Admire how she lobbies every politician for a service dog, unheard of in Ireland but which might just enable her complete her course by helping her ward off panic attacks on the train. Encourage her as she appeals to the welfare system for a companion pass so somebody could travel with her on the train. Practice and encourage patience as she waits patiently for a human being to pass her application. But most of all we just love her and admire her amazing resilience because any of those bullies would have crumbled under the strain years ago and that’s the politest sentence I can pen about them.

Oh and by the way, that’s just what was going on for our daughter. We have a son who was bullied too… but he hid it for a long time, to save us the pain.  I’ll try to paint that picture in part two.

If you think this could help anyone who was or is a victim know that they are not alone, please feel free to share. If you or anyone you know was a bully or you have been told by your school that your child is a bully, please consider the pain you or they have or are causing. I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading!

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

Just One Minute Monday (6).

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Just look at how resilient you are, holding strong to the very last.   But don’t be afraid to let go…  Letting go also takes strength!

Much love,

Marie xx

Friday Flashback…”Abstract Anxiety” Welcome old friends and new!

 

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I thought you might like to engage in a little bit of time travel today and maybe if you find it enjoyable you’ll travel back in time with me again next friday.

I’m sharing a link to a little piece of me before we came to know each other. I hope it will help us get to know each other a little better!

I think it would be fair to say that everybody experiences anxiety at some point in their life but there is a very big difference between healthy anxiety, which for example can spur us on before we face an exam, unlike severe anxiety disorder which can have life-limiting implications.

Having experienced both in my immediate family, I wondered what anxiety might look like through our five senses in this post, ABSTRACT ANXIETY

What does anxiety look like through your five senses?  Have you or someone you are close to experienced healthy anxiety or severe anxiety disorder?

Much love,

Marie xx

An Ode to Shadow-Self…

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Ask yourself,

Go on,

go right ahead and ask yourself,

Where’s the shame behind your hiding games?

Whose to blame for burying the pain?

You’ll find no one to frame,

No one but your Shadow-Self.

 

Now, ask yourself,

Go on,

go right ahead and ask yourself,

Where’s the shame in turning the tables?

In recreating your brighter fable

In refusing to remain; no matter the pain,

Hidden behind your Shadow-Self.

 

Now, remind yourself,

Go on,

go right ahead and remind yourself,

There’s no shame in whatever the game,

be it illness or pain,

Only resilience and strength,

When you step into the light and embrace

Life without the Shadow-Self!

 

Go on…”You are stronger than you’ll ever know.” 💝

Did you ever have a Shadow-Self?  How did you turn the tables on your Shadow-Self? What did stepping into the light feel like?

Much love,

Marie xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Calling ‘TIME’… the benefits of saying ‘NO!’

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Calling ‘TIME’…the benefits of saying ‘NO!’

 

The moment came… I knew I finally had to call ‘TIME,’ I finally had to say… ‘NO.

I’m pretty sure my life is not too dissimilar to many of yours. I have family and friends, I have a career, a home and dogs. I have an illness. I have meals to cook and bills to pay but for a while I’ve been really struggling. The daily grind had become harder. Pain and fatigue had been eating away at the passion within me. My motivation had dwindled. For someone who is a ‘glass half full’ person, I found this difficult to cope with!

So after a lot of deliberating, I had to face my employer and I had to do something very difficult. I had to admit that I could not… just simply could not, return to work. I know it must have looked strange after two months of Summer holidays with plenty of time to recharge but my health finally shouted loud, and long enough and against my will I was forced to listen…My body told me I could not give what I had not got. I needed to call ‘TIME.’

Now almost five weeks on and I’m beginning to feel a little better. Better still I’m finally beginning to learn from the whole experience.

I thought you might be interested in some of the insights I’ve gained…

I’ve had to learn to listen to my body. You can only ill treat it and ignore it’s cries for so long.

I’ve had to learn to respect my body by giving it the time out and rest that it needs.

I’ve had to learn to speak up for myself, admitting that I could not commit to what was expected of me, was very difficult.

I’ve had to learn to let go of the pretence. For almost 20 years I’ve pretended to be something I’m not. I’ve pretended to be well but in fact I’ve got an illness that impacts and restricts every part of my daily life. It took courage to overcome my fear of being seen as a failure.

I’ve had to fight for my rights to illness benefit even after presenting certificates from my GP but I contained my emotions and focused on the issue; my financial stability.

I’ve had to withstand the pressure of enquiries about when I expected to be fit enough to return to work. I chose not to see this as bullying but instead as an administrative timetabling issues.

I’ve had to find the strength to say no initially but harder still I’ve had to find the strength to accept myself for saying no and for slowing down. Finding peace for myself within that decision was probably the most difficult hurdle I had to overcome. Thank you Dr.Andrea at Thriving Under Pressure for your timely post and comment. The Paradox of Strength

I’ve had to silence the self-doubt that comes with an invisible illness because for example, you might have seen me out for a twenty minute walk and heck, I look well. I’ve had to remind myself that you won’t see my post exercise malaise or feel the pain the next two hours or entire evening will bring.

I’ve had to do battle between exhaustion and isolation and try to make peace with these two evils.  Read about that battle here.

I’ve had to learn to let go, trusting that the things I don’t reach on are not necessarily vital things and that the people I don’t reach on will understand and not cut our connections.

I’ve had to learn that life goes on without me, my role can easily be covered by another healthier body and I’ve had to work hard to accept the lack of enquiries as to my wellbeing from my employer and not engage in predictive thinking where your inner voice wants you to believe it’s because you are easily replaced.

I’ve had to ask myself “who am I” without my job, without my students and colleagues and I’ve acknowledged that I need people in my life but I’ve also acknowledged that you can be alone in a crowd. Thank you Dutch for your insightful comments and shared quotes.  Dutch @ onthepathleasttraveled

I’ve had to learn that I don’t need to travel this road alone. I’ve done that for 20 years too long. Now I need support with this illness and I’ve already learned a lot about CFS/fibro in the last week or two and I’m hoping to come to understand it and myself a little bit more. Thanks Jennifer @ Tea with Jennifer for a lightbulb moment…Knowing your bodies capacity

Saying ‘No’ meant I stepped into the unknown. It was a sign that I was finally unable to contain my vulnerability, and that was scary territory for me. I used to be able to manage my CFS/fibro and hide my vulnerability. By calling ‘TIME” and finally saying STOP – FULL STOP, I have learned a lot and now I am stronger than I was. I have regained some motivation and the passion is returning. Also, the cat is out of the bag… I no longer have a hidden illness. I am Marie with CFS/fibro and if my life has to change as a result then I say, bring it on!

Thanks for taking time to visit and please feel free to share your thoughts. I will reply to your comments as quickly as I can.

Have you had similar struggles? Have you hidden behind a mask? Have you like me, been afraid of being a failure?

How do you bring passion back into your life?

Much love,

Marie xx

Exhaustion or isolation…which is the lesser evil?

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When you have an invisible illness you hide it from others maybe for the fear of being judged or that people won’t understand.

Thankfully I’m getting better at being open about my CFS/Fibro. I’ve often been told how well I look or that I must have a great exercise routine but the truth is I’m just lucky to have a slim frame and have a good understanding of the importance of a balanced diet. In reality I often have to choose between getting a 20 minute walk or cooking the dinner because if I do one I certainly have to forfeit the other.

I’ve felt unwell since Easter but kept pushing myself to the limit to remain in the classroom with my students up to the summer holidays hoping I could recoup my energy then. I also rose to the challenge of an exciting new experience because I wanted some adventure, some fun and some new learning in my life, by attending ICASSI BONN 2017

While Bonn was wonderful it’s now apparent that I drained down an already low battery and as a result I’ve exacerbated a heart complaint. Now I’ve hit the wall.  I’ve had no choice but to stop.  I’m unable to function at home let alone work.

But the hardest part is I’m really missing the social interaction.  I live in the countryside and I feel the isolation.  I miss my colleagues and the daily conversations we had.  I miss my students. I miss being a part of their lives because they helped me take the focus off my own struggle with chronic pain. Their eagerness to contribute to our classes encouraged me to overcome some of my fatigue.  They let me into their lives and being focused on their goals got me through many days where I thought I would surely crumble under the stress that bullying was having on both our teenage children.

I soaked up my students’ warmth and inclusion.  We were partners in a learning space.  On a daily basis I let my students see my difficulty with spellings…how crazy is that I hear you say, a literacy tutor who struggles with spellings? Initially my students thought I should be an expert in spellings but my struggle showed them that it’s ok to make spelling errors and that spellings are something you can continue to improve throughout your lifetime. Soon they relaxed and worried less about spellings.

I have learned that I am not responsible for my students’ learning but I am responsible for my own teaching.  However the fibro fog, pain and exhaustion prevents me giving the level of service I want to give.  It makes the endless bureaucracy involved in the preparation of class materials and assessment requirements insurmountable.

Now I have to listen to my body and practice self-care.  I have to accept the exhaustion and isolation and that takes strength.  I have to recharge my own battery first and my one fear is can I ever sufficiently recharge a battery that is chronically drained?

Much love,

Marie xx

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