Sunday, 14 October 2012

Je ne regrette rien ~ And other lies..

You know what they say about getting complacent?? Yes, it's damned dangerous ~ you relax and think that maybe, this time, it really WILL be ok. Cue cynical laughter please.

For those of you who know me, you will know that I have struggled on and off for years with the dark demon of depression and that I am also very good at hiding it ~ so good that last time I got as far as suicidal before anyone found out.

I don't know if it is a common theme but I am also very very bad at asking for help, it's a mixture of pride, stupidity and ADHD "Head in the Sand" mentality. A pretty dodgy combination when life is OK, and a potentially lethal one for a single Mother with no support. I have some amazing friends and they have been there for me in so many ways but still the little voices in my head stop me coming clean and saying "Help me please" because, as the little voices tell me, if I stop being good old Nicki then nobody will like me enough to stick around and help. Those little voices are terrible companions.

So, since I last wrote I have changed jobs ~ not getting paid month after month gets old pretty quickly ~ and have made an attempt to start dealing with my debts and the general chaos that infests my life. I also dropped my guard and allowed myself to believe that just maybe life would improve.

Can we spot the Schoolgirl error? The thing that I, as an ADHD sufferer, was unable to work out? The basic fact is that when the immediate horror is lifted my brain becomes caught up in the next thing and I lose sight of things that still require my attention ~ and funnily enough that doesn't mean the problem goes away, it means it comes back bigger and better after a time.

The current horrors ~ a letter from the Council telling me they have applied to a Magistrate for me to be sent to Prison for unpaid Council Tax, a Final Demand from the bank regarding my overdraft and several other unpaid bills that are rearing their heads. Ironically now I am being paid properly I am WORSE off than I was, because everyone can get to me for money now, and Oh Boy, are they doing so..

I have found out I can apply for something called a Debt Relief Order ~ effectively going bankrupt, but cheaper ~ and I WANT to do it, no, I NEED to do it, but in order to achieve this I need to organise the paperwork, find out exactly who I owe and how much, get in to see the Citizens Advice Bureau (no mean feat in Rochdale, no appointments means you start to queue outside from 8am for 10am opening and the hope you are in the first 3 or 4 people as they are the only ones who get seen).

Now, I know you are all saying "Well crack on and do it then" ~ and you're all right, I should do ~ but the pernicious nature of ADHD is such that I have totally frozen and cannot deal with any of it. Add in the fact that I know I am plummeting back down into the abyss of depression (Lord knows why!!) and maybe you can start to understand.

So, I continue to make jokes about "Oh this time next week I'll be in Prison" whilst not being completely sure that it wont actually be the case. I convince the kids it's fun to buy a weeks food, including packed lunches, for under £20 and that no, we really DON'T need the heating on (nothing to do with having no money to put on the Gas Card of course).

When I go out, I rely on the kindness and generosity of my friends; buying a bottle of wine is a distant memory and I have even stopped smoking (apart from the very odd slip up). I am even in the worst of positions that I owe dear friends money.. and that, above all, kills me.

So, I am going to do something I genuinely cannot do in "real life" ~ I am asking for help. Not "good advice" or "a shoulder to cry on" but honest to God HELP. The text of a letter I can send to the bank, information of how to deal with the Council, someone prepared to help by acting as my Mediator.

I am scared, really I am, and ashamed, I don't enjoy parading my inadequacies in public as a general rule. I know that this blog post will give certain people more ammunition but I can't worry about that now, my immediate problem is more important.

Please don't judge me for my failings, judge me on my sincere desire to sort this out and move forward. And always remember the saying "There, but for the grace of God.."

Friday, 29 June 2012

As Time Goes By..

I have been talking a lot about the whole adoption thing recently and I expect you are wondering why I have gone silent.. And even if you're not I intend to tell you anyway!

It's very simple ~ I've had the most MASSIVE panic attack about the whole thing. It's all happened so quickly, and I have gone from not really caring about the whole thing to being totally engrossed and knowing that because of my age, and that of my "birth mother" I really need to get cracking ~ just in case..

Well, I actually need to take a break from it for a few more days ~ I have all sorts of  other "stuff" demanding my attention, mainly crappy money worries stuff, and the lack of sleep and all round pressure is kicking off the bad bits of my brain again. I refuse to go back down that hideous path of depression, so I have decided to alleviate one small piece of stress and let the forms remain unsigned and in my bag, just for another week!

Thursday, 31 May 2012

The Moment of Truth ~ An Update

So kiddies, last time we met I was digging in for a long old wait for my birth records to be sent by the home from which I was adopted, I was warned that 3-6 months is normal and I thought "OK, that gives me a bit more thinking time, which I need".

So the phone call this morning from the lovely Social Worker to say my records had been traced and could I nip round and sign a release form came as quite a shock. Counting back, that was 2 days, barely enough time to settle the vortex in my head, let alone come to terms with it all.

Anyway, I've signed the form and so now it is down to St F... Home down south to send the records. Then my Social Worker writes a report and then.. well.. then the real fun and games begin.

My brain hurts at the moment, and in the words of Anthony Newley "Stop The World, I Want To Get Off".. But we all know THAT aint happening!

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

The Moment of Truth

So, 2 Blogs in 2 days.. who knew..

I think it's only fair to tell the story of today ~ having built this up it seems rude to just leave it hanging.. As the Actress said to the Bishop!

So I went to the meeting with Social Services this morning, my lovely friend Pam (ask me about her books and then rush out and buy them) came with me ~ she was EXACTLY the right person to have with me, I found I suddenly needed her unique mix of caring and humour as for some ridiculous reason I felt not nervous, not excited, but ~ well, you know that feeling the morning of a big exam when you worry you haven't studies enough? ~ that..

The Social Worker was terribly nice, which in itself was a shock, Social Workers never having ranked high in my opinion before (which is a bit rich coming from an Estate Agent I know) and she explained that the purpose of today was simply to get me basic facts and to find out how far I wanted to take this journey. I explained that I didn't really know, I just thought I wanted to find out something about my history. 

This seemed to be a good answer and I was just mentally congratulating myself on handling this whole thing in such a grown up fashion when she produced a piece of paper and I suddenly fell apart. "Dear Jesus" I thought, "She knows more about me than I do". That piece of paper contained the name I was given at birth and the name of my birth mother, and it was as though time stopped and the only sound I could hear was the rustle of this paper being unfolded. I think I was actually holding my breath while she read out the name I had been given.. And then she delivered the name of my birth mother ~ whose first name was the same as my Mum. Christ I cried then.. it seemed so strange to hear my Mums name with a different surname and to have her described as my Mother ~ I'm not sure that makes sense, but these are MY thoughts you know!

Anyway, the upshot is that I can now apply for my original Birth Certificate and the file kept by the home from which I was adopted ~ the details of which I already, unwittingly, held. This will take time, but because of my age they tend to fast track ~ that always makes you feel old!

So I am left in limbo, my life has change inexorably today whether I choose to go any further or not. All my life I have been Nicki, or Nicola, and yet (maybe) to at least one other person out there I am... well, let's just say not Nicki. She gave me quite beautiful names, which would lead me to think she did feel some connection to me, and this in itself touches a tiny place in my soul that I never knew existed.

So I think we all know by now that I will go on with this.. It doesn't seem as though I have a choice in the matter, some unseen unknown force is whispering that I simply MUST see this through to the end ~ so that a girl who, 45 years ago, had to give me up might just have the opportunity the see the woman I have become.

Monday, 28 May 2012

And more of the Adoption Stuff..

I know, you're all on the edge of your seats aren't you?? Oh, just me then, well OK ~ here we go.

I phoned them ~ and phoned them, and phoned them again. Finally they called me back, to tell me they hadn't received the documents! You could hear the crash of my stomach plummeting, it could only happen to me, papers getting lost in the post ~ Ah well, maybe it just wasn't meant to be.

Five minutes later she rang back, they had found them, so would I like to make an appointment to go in? I knew that there would be a long waiting list for this so presumed I had misheard when she said "Could you manage tomorrow morning?" Cue a major flap on my part.. I mean it was NOT supposed to be this quick. Anyway, I agreed a time and happily came home knowing that the fact I had to find my Birth Certificate and Adoption Certificate would mean there wasn't a hope in hell of me making the appointment.. I mean I am just not that organised am I??

Well, yes I bloody well am as it goes.. I got home and lo and behold they were in the file exactly where they should be ~ it's like a conspiracy isn't it? Some higher power is determined that I will go to this meeting tomorrow morning..

So, I'll.. er.. go to the meeting and then I'll tell you all about it afterwards shall I?? If you're still with me that is, I'm not sure I am..

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

That Old Adoption Malarky..

Harking back, as you do, to my Blog about Adoption I thought someone might care for an update.. No?? Well you're getting it anyway..

Showing my true ADHD colours, I downloaded the form for requesting information, filled it in, posted it and THEN thought "Oh Bugger, I'm not sure I wanted to have done that". So I then spent a couple of weeks switching between hoping my request had got lost in the post and wondering why I had received no reply ~ there really is no pleasing me sometimes!

Anyway, I came home today to find a letter for me from the General Register Office. What to do? Apparently the answer is hop up and down as though in dire need of the toilet SNIFF the envelope a few times.. And THEN I opened it.

It is a simple letter ~ Apparently my birth details have been forwarded to my local Social Services and will be available for me to see, once I have had "counselling" (For God's Sake). So, that's that really.. All I have to do is make the appointment and forty mumble years of not knowing will be over.

Well, therein lies the rub.. I'm STILL not sure I want to know ~ but knowing the records are accessible is as maddening as seeing the perfect pair of shoes for sale when you just happen to have the food shopping money in your wallet..

The sensible me (yes there IS actually) says there is no harm in waiting a little longer, being completely sure before I make the call, but the emotional side wants to run down to the office tomorrow and DEMAND they show them to me instantly.. and neither side has the upper hand as yet.

So if anyone else has any words of wisdom, please PLEASE feel free to share ~ I am in a positive lather of indecision here and a word or two of wisdom would be much appreciated.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

One of those days ~ It's Estate Agency Innit?

I am about to tread some uncharted waters here ~ in telling you about some of the things that happen in the course of my work. Some are funny, some tragic and some downright unsanitary, but all are true and the only thing I change are identifying details of the people involved ~ mainly because some of them are big and scary and might beat me up!

I am fairly certain you all know what I do for a living ~ I am a Estate Agent. Now before anyone starts pelting me with rotten fruit and blaming me for everything from World War II to Global Warming  would like to point out, in my defense, I am not that sort of Estate Agent ~ I am actually quite a nice person who happens to love the job I do!

I've been doing this job on and off for over 10 years now ~ when I started I worked in the Home Counties and knocked out Million pound gaffs to wealthy bankers (with a silent w mainly) and it was all lovely and easy and I couldn't believe that I got paid to nose around other peoples houses.. Fast forward 10 years and I'm valuing rental properties where the suspect stain on the Dining Room carpet is actually a result of the previous tenant having expired on there and not being found for a few days.

My days are punctuated with people wandering into the office and mumbling "D'you deal wiv DSS?" and then listing the exact attributes they require in the house that they wont be paying for "'S'Alright, the Social are paying innit". I've learned to smile in a neutral fashion and not actively grind my teeth while they talk.

The downside of this job is that you quickly become one of the most cynical people on Gods good earth ~ I have people sitting in front of me crying as they tell me their tales of abuse, domestic violence, homelessness and despair and all I can think is "Well, if your ex partner is threatening you with a chainsaw I don't want you in one of my properties Thanks". Peoples lives become a series of events that catagorises them into "Nice tenants" and "No Thank You tenants". And I don't believe a bloody word any of them say ~ mainly because most of them lie like a cheap NAAFI watch, they will swear they're working because the Landlord doesn't want Housing Benefit tenants, then miraculously "lose" their jobs as they move in, they tick the "No pets" box and when you go round you fight your way through a menagerie of dogs, cats and normally some kind of reptile in a glass case..

But despite all this, an the occasional client who is so earth shatteringly stupid they have to bring a friend along to help them fill in the fiendishly difficult questions on the Application Form ~Full Name, Current Address, all that tricky stuff ~ I do still love my job. The satisfaction of matching a person with a house is something I never tire of, the faces of a young couple when they get the keys for their first home together soothes my ravaged old soul and reminds me that there are worse jobs I could be doing.. I could be one of those poor bastards in the Housing Benefits Office.

So I go on, and when I have to tell a Landlord that not only has the rent not been paid, but the tenants have also done a runner with the keys, I comfort myself with the fact that maybe tomorrow I will be responsible for helping someone to find their dream home and there really will be a happily ever after... Well, maybe not tomorrow, but next week for sure.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Finally 7x7x7x7

It is with great shame that I realise that I have not yet taken up the gauntlet thrown down by the fragrant Julie and indulged myself in the 7x7x7x7 challenge. So, 

I have to list 7 Blog Posts I admire

Then list 7 things about myself

Then answer 7 questions set by my "Tagger", set 7 questions of my own, and then pass on the whole damn thing to someone else.

Oh Bugger, here goes nothing...

In no particular order, and ignoring (in a truly cavalier style) that it should be specific posts I will happily list  Angie Annetts ~ she makes me laugh, cry, gnash my teeth and reach for the vodka, normally within the same blog post...
The gorgeous pouting Julie ~ she blogs almost as randomly as I do, although she is a much nicer person that me!
Another lovely lovely human being, albeit with a laugh like Sid James, Mrs K writes in many, many styles and under a few different names ~ I love every one of her guises!
Next comes Wendy ~ she is a cancer survivor and writes with courage, humour and grace. If I had to face what she has dealt with I would hope I could do so with a tenth of the style she has shown.
Then we have the indescribable Stringy ~ Now this man should probably have been locked up years ago for the safety of the rest of mankind, but he hasn't and so we are all free to enjoy his writings.. and I'd like to add that he is a jolly nice chap in real life as well!
New to the blogging scene (man..) is the ever so slightly barking mad Kate ~ a woman who inspires such loyalty in me that I damn nearly held her hair back as she threw up after a bit of a sesh..
Finally, and for the pure unadulterated joy of crying and choking with laughter Can I recommend Inflight Bitch ~ Please God I never get on the same flight as her...

Right then... 7 things about myself.
  • I really, really don't like clowns ~ I find them extremely sinister. Which rather puts the mockers on me ever taking the kids to the Circus!
  • I am allergic to rubber ~ I'll now wait for the sharp intake of breath as we all avoid the obvious question (the answer is yes..)
  • When I was quite little I decided that when I grew up I wanted to be a horse..
  • I know the eight pieces of music and the luxury item I will choose when I am famous and appear on Desert Island Discs.
  • Despite being a complete coward, I had Laser surgery on my eyes a few years ago.
  • I can't sleep unless I have Gerald, my toy donkey.
  • My favourite book ever is "A Prayer for Owen Meany" by John Irvine

Now for Julie's questions:-
  1. When was the last time you told a lie?  I'm an Estate Agent, it's part of my job description.
  2. Is there any food you've not tried, but would really like to? Um, I'd like to try more fish, but tend to stick with what I know ~ how dull!!
  3. What Posters were on the wall of your teenage bedroom? I have to confess that I had no posters on my wall, I lived most of my teenage years in either a book or my head so posters weren't really an option.
  4. Groundhog Day is real. Which day would you choose, and why? Tricky one this, I would choose a day in Cyprus with my latest ex-husband just after we got engaged. It was a golden day and he and I sat by the Med and drank pink wine and talked and laughed and he told me I was beautiful.. That was one of the most perfect days of my life.
  5. Which is the one room in your house you'd make over, if money were no object? No hesitation, my kitchen.. as long as that meant I could knock down the wall into the dining room and make it one big room!
  6. Would you ever consider/have you ever had plastic surgery? Hmm.. I've thought about it, but on balance I don't really think I would.. It's trying to cheat nature and that rarely ends well!
  7. What is the most adventurous thing you have ever done? What? Apart from repeatedly getting married?? It's got to be the Bungee jump I did in my twenties. The next time I am that scared I want to die straight after..

And now my questions.. 
  1. Do you still have monsters under the bed?
  2. What is your favourite time of day, and why?
  3. Is there a piece of music that can make you cry, and if so, what is it?
  4. If you could choose an accent, what would it be?
  5. Is there anyone in your daily life that you just know would be improved with a fork in their face?
  6. What is your least favourite domestic chore?
  7. Who are your 3 choices for the perfect dinner guests? (alive, dead, famous or not).

So there we have it ~ and I feel a tiny bit naked after that (as it were) ~ so I am going to pass this on, not the being naked, the 7x7x7x7 of course..

Julie Angie Mrs K Stringy Kate   and any other Bugger who fancies a challenge ~ I dare you!!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

The Power of the Telly Box

There is a programme on tonight "Long Lost Families" ~ it's very mawkish and deals with the reuniting of families separated by adoption. The first series last year was dubbed "Mummy's Weekly Weep" by my kids, as I sobbed my way through every episode.

It resonates with me on many levels, the main one being that of an adopted child. I am not sure whether this is a appropriate subject for a Blog, but it's my bloody Blog and so I've decided to write about it.

My parents wanted children desperately but it just never happened, and so they chose to adopt ~ and being the amazing human beings they were they subsequently adopted 4 of us, my Mother never did anything by halves! I was only 10 days old when I was adopted, which meant that I didn't have to grow up in Solihull, which is where I was born ~ I mean me with a Brum accent?? I think not..

I didn't find out I was adopted until I was about 9 ~ I still remember walking upstairs and hearing my sister scream at our Mum "I hate you, you're not even our real Mother" ~ which is, quite frankly, one hell of a way to find out! I ran into my parents' bedroom and wept bitterly for about 15 minutes with my poor Mother tying to console me.. And then I suddenly realised it actually made no difference to me AT ALL.. My Mum and Dad were still my Mum and Dad and life was really no different, other than it would be a bit cool to tell the girls at school!

At the time I asked questions about my "real" parents (God, I hate that phrase) and my parents skillfully avoided telling me anything ~ rightly so, I now realise with hindsight. All I was told was that my Birth Mother was very young when she had me, and that my Mum and Dad loved me and wanted me to be their daughter. Good enough for my 9 year old self!

The years rolled on and there was the odd occasion where I thought I wanted to know more, but the desire passed very quickly as I looked to my parents and realised how lucky I actually was.

When I was pregnant with my eldest daughter my Mum used to get very upset that she couldn't empathise with me, having never been pregnant herself. That hit home for me.. It made me love my Mum even more to be honest.

My Mum died less than 2 years after I had my daughter and the effect that had on my life was devastating. I had lost my best friend and my rock, the light in my life and my Beacon of Hope ~ how the bloody hell was I supposed to cope when my world had been knocked off its axis? And to this day I defy anyone to tell me it would have been more painful if my Mother had actually given birth to me, it's simply not possible. The same can be said when both my big Brother and my Dad died ~ blood ties could not have made the pain any more horrific. 

Throughout all of this I have never had any desire to find out any more about my Birth Mother ~ I have, in fact, been quite dismissive.. I have always brushed off friends who have asked "But don't you have ANY interest in knowing" with the [true] explanation that I felt nothing was missing from my life and my relationship with my parents, and therefore I felt no need to delve into someone else's life.

And then this flaming programme was shown ~ and I realised that I am not the only one in the equation. Somewhere out there (maybe) is the woman who gave birth to me and who (maybe) wants to know about me. You may say that I am thinking like this because I no longer have parents, and to be perfectly honest you may well be right. 

I think I would like to see my adoption records ~ just to see. And yes, I can't help but wonder what if I look like someone else? A harrowing thought I know, but a thought all the same.

So once again, I will sob my way through this programme while I try and decide whether to apply for my records. Might I be opening a can of worms? Or might I not be strong enough to do it alone, maybe I should leave well alone.

Now, excuse me while I go and mop all the mascara from down my face.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Back by popular demand....

.. That is a monster exaggeration ~ truth be told one person said they liked my Blog and now I've got all big headed and decided to start it again.. Shall I point out the unsubscribe button now, or shall we totter on??

Anyway.. I have been set a challenge by the gorgeous pouting Julie Sardine Tin.. It's called the 7x7x7x7 ~ and to explain I shall cut and paste from her latest blog (which by the way, is a jolly good read):~  

I have to list 7 blog posts I admire

Then list 7 things about myself

Then answer 7 questions set by that my "tagger", set 7 questions of my own and pass on the whole shebang!

So I'm going to give it a go ~ It will take me a day or so to put it all together.. but watch this space!

Oh and the lovely Julie's Blog is