Finding Purpose Through Pain

Tags

, , , , , , ,

When I was 14 years old I wanted to be a doctor. I studied hard to try and get on to an A Level course that would mean I could get into Med School. Mum got cancer, then she died, then I took my exams and ended up being screwed over because of my school. Long story short they failed to post my science coursework off so I got “no result” on my GSCE sciences, even though the exam results were AAB (A’s for Biology and Chemistry, B in Physics).

When I was 23 I wanted to be a nurse so I went to college at 25 and studied Psychology, Sociology and English Literature because the two social sciences would get me into nursing school. However during my A Levels I became really interested in Psychology. I ended up applying for a Psychology degree at the University of Liverpool.

When I was 28 I wanted to be either a clinical psychologist or an educational psychologist. I ended up with a 2.1 and placements to volunteer for a year at a school and a hospital.

When I was 32 I fell ill with Transverse Myelitis.

When I was 36 I wanted to be a health psychologist or counselling psychologist so I applied to Liverpool John Moores and began a Health Psychology Masters. However, during the first semester I had a relapse and had to defer half of my assignments. In the second semester I did all my deferrals and my work for that semester and I am on course for a slightly higher grade than the one I got at undergrad.

At 37 I want to study the psychology of pain, to focus on autoimmune disease and eventually be a specialist who develops pain interventions for this group of patients – a group I belong to. It is through my own pain that I come to this final career path and since this pain is with me forever I think it is a good incentive, right? 😛

My career path has changed due to circumstances. I can adapt and have needed to my whole life. I hope I can be a help to others with chronic pain too.

 

Progress!

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

With one more month to go here is the progress on my research report!

Progress.PNG

Really the draft results and discussion should all be ticked since the deadline is today, however, my supervisor needs to give me a slight extension since the reason I am late is because I needed a yay or nay from her. Still handing something in though, just in case!

Whose mood? My mood? What mood?

Tags

, , , , , ,

Sometimes it’s difficult to tell what is a stressor sometimes – actually, make that a “negative” stressor since not all stress is bad. Stress is a good way to tell you that you might be in for a heart attack, for instance. The problem is that sometimes a stressor can be both positive and negative. For instance, stressing over uni is a good stressor because it invigorates me and keeps me moving forward. However, stressing over exams is a negative stressor because I have a relapse that takes me closer to developing full blown MS.

This week has been a confusing one thus far. All stressors seem to be positive but I cannot help but feel run down and tired, which tells me that maybe they are negative as well. I am pursuing this idea of positive and negative because I know the latter can be eliminated or transformed, this is not some psychobabble “myth” either. I know Mindfulness is a popular as Kabbalah was years ago but the root of the theory is sound. That’s just one example of transforming negative stressors – use mindfulness. Then there is turning what might be a bad situation into something positive by sheer bloody force of will! I like to call this method the “I have no more fucks to give” method.

The best way, I think, to distinguish a positive stressor from  negative one is essentially how does it make you feel? Anything that makes you feel anything less than content is negative and you need to do something about it. For me it is often writing, by sublimating I try to transform the negative into something useful at least. Blogging, play by post RPing, writing literotica… they all count.

Fun fact: the cartoon for this post was one my professor used during his fight or flight lectures. 😛

Vote and hold them to account

Tags

, , , , , , ,

In 2 days time we have an early election, brought forward by Theresa May. Many suspect that the Tories – aka the Killers of the Poor, Sick and Disabled – will win the majority. If you do not want this to happen then vote.

I am voting for my local Labour MP. Why? Well, I met with her as a candidate and I have looked at her voting record and while there are still things she needs to work on Louise Ellman is someone I feel I can meet again and hold to account.

Vote Green, Red, Pink or Black, just don’t vote Tory, BNP or UKIP. Be a unified Britain, not a Hate Crime one. Be involved. Be responsible.

The NHS is dying and austerity is a sledgehammer to the poor rather than a scalpel to the rich and government services. We have 50% more debt then we did in 2010 and nurses wages have not risen since before the Tories took over. Disabled people are dying because they do not have the care they need and working rights are in danger because of hard Brexit.

This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Please vote.

Please be informed.

Please do not fall for propaganda, for alternate facts, for Fake News.

The Final Furlong

Tags

, , , , , ,

In two weeks I hand in my first draft of my introduction and methods for my empirical report. In three weeks I do a poster presentation on this same research. Then there are a few more deadlines before 31st August when I hand in the final draft – my last piece of work for this M.Sc.

This time last year I was struggling to get the government to do things right for my financing, and worried about the start of term. As it turned out they did fuck me over and I dropped marks in the first semester but semester two has been a rip roaring success! I’ve gotten a few 70+ marks (equivalent to 1st class) so it brings my average to about 64/65 overall. That is a solid merit/2.1.

So despite the governments attempts to fuck with me, yet again, I’ve prevailed. Or I nearly have. It will be an amazing achievement for me since I’ve struggled all through it, but I’ve learned more than academic things, I’ve learned more of my current strengths and weaknesses and how best to make future education (phd) work as well as what I need to make my career in psychology feasible. It’s an exciting time and I am eager to board the education train again in the next 18 months.

It’s been an intense year and even though I had a relapse half way through which brought me closer to developing MS (my next relapse will be the change in dx they believe) it was absolutely worth it. I’ve been privileged to hear the stories of other TM sufferers and how they are all too happy to participate in my research, which makes moving forward with further research easier – it gives me motivation because there is tangible proof that I am helping and that I can help.

On that note, anyone who has TM or TM and MS please take part in my research here: TM Research

Melancholy Monday

Tags

, , , ,

On the 15th May I had a pretty awful day. This is not one of those whining or morbid posts, more of a reflection really.

First of all, because it’s the most important, someone who was becoming a friend of mine, and was the BFF of another friend passed away. I had been talking to his husband and trying to tell him everything would be fine, then later got the call.

Secondly, I was at the cinema and our seats were not wheelchair accessible and the ones they gave us were broken and hurt my back. They refunded our tickets and gave us free tickets but it’s not good enough. I am in so much more pain because of this.

So reflecting upon the rather horrid day I came to the conclusion that no matter how hard something is if it will improve my life or that of others I need to do it. Life is too fucking short.

Getting Involved

Tags

, , , ,

In the 1960’s my parents were hippies and then they became activists. In the 70’s they had kids and had to settle, because you know, cannot politick when you are breastfeeding or at work most of the time! This was the 70’s remember! My mother did remain involved as a mother, with our schools and with the local elections. My father was a Union man, TUC and AEEU, ending up in the 1990’s as regional then eventually national rep. They always said to me (and my siblings but I am pretty sure I was the only one who listened!):

“Don’t just vote, hold those you vote in accountable.” 

They showed us how to do this as well, gave us practical examples and though I cannot say I agree with their personal politics they had raised me to question, including debating with them, my parents.

Fast forward to the TwentyTeens, 2017 to be exact. I am 37 this year and for the first time in my life went to see my Member of Parliament (though technically she is a Labour Candidate), Louise Ellman. I did not expect much, I went to hear answers to my questions and to see how in touch she is with her constituents. I got a rumour debunked (about Liverpool Women’s Hospital being closed down) and she told me there were plans to move it so it was closer to better resources. What I think she needs to do is to have a page on her website called “Riverside Rumours Debunked” and then address common misconceptions. I think educating people about local politics and how Westminster works and what the Labour Party are doing would be good too. Both in person and online.

Though her Twitter account was very good her website was lacking for me. It’s a WordPress website – so of course that was not the issue! – but the design was dated, unresponsive and the info the average constituent would want (and perhaps need) wasn’t there. It was better than it was a few months ago, but it looked more like a blog (which had not been updated at all in April) then a politicians webspace. Online presence is something that is important nowadays and perhaps something local politicians could improve (using Skype to speak to constituents for example – so the housebound get to get involved). I am sure there is someone in the Labour party or this constituency who would volunteer to update it the website (as in the design not the content).

All in all I was glad I went and I intend to do more. I want to pursue the issue of the pavements in the area and how wheelchair unfriendly they are, and also get in contact with local councillors.

I encourage everyone to get involved in local politics, how else can we hold those we vote for to account?

The Arc

Tags

, , , ,

The Story Arc. The Plot Arc. Whatever you want to call it, it’s pretty damned awesome when your collaborative writing team completes one of your arcs. After all the planning, tweaking and coercing you come to the exciting point where your story unfolds and plot twists happen… and I am oddly feeling rather happy! Like, it’s not an anti climax. I was totally expecting an anti climax! Yet here I am, still plotting and excited about the story and so are my writing buddies!

I really do love my buddies, so a shout out to all you awesome writers whom I write with – you are awesome!

The Plan

Tags

, , , ,

It feels weird. I had a plan. I executed said plan. Now I am almost completing the plan.

My MSc in Health Psychology is almost over and I am applying for PhD programs.

It feels so weird.

So what do I do next? Do I continue with my current research and study neuropathic pain? Or do I apply for the Health Psychology PhD? Or the Counselling PhD? Or for another taught PhD? Or do I find a local university who is doing similar research to me and is offering studentships/scholarships?

I want to stay at LJMU and work with my current supervisor, and I want to eventually work with the Pain Research Foundation. I just hope someone wants me and that I get a merit or above and that I get good references!

It feels so weird.

I am having fertility treatment and will have a kid either naturally or via adoption in the next five years.

It feels so freaking weird.

But it feels good.