Identity

Thursday 23rd January (1.25pm)

Identity. What is it? What does it mean? Are you defined by it?

It is something that we all have legally, and anatomically through DNA and fingerprints, but do we look at other factors which give us our identity? Status, race, religion, gender, or any other characteristic? When talking about someone, you may refer to them as a footballer, actress, runner, doctor, teacher, the one with the silver mini, or the green hair. All of these things say something about us.  Whilst these descriptors may not define us or give us our identity they are often what people think about when you mention them. Mo Farah – runner, David Tennant – actor.

You may identify yourself in a certain way. I do, or at least did, or do I still? On 4th November 2002, I was given a number that would be attached to my shoulder for 30 years (if not more). That number 4045 became my identity. That number for many years defined me. That number I would say and write time and time again. The letters in front of 4045 have changed over the years from PC, DC A/PS, A/DS, PS, DS, T/DI as I progressed  through to CID and Specialist Crime. These letters, important in my eyes, these letters making me proud of who I was, what I was doing and what I lived for. They defined me, the way I was, the way I thought, the way I observed everything and everyone, the way I lived my life by rules and regulations, policy and procedure. These letters and that number made me get up everyday and do what I could to make a difference.

Georgina Lloyd – the police officer. Georgina Lloyd – Sarge.

Over the last few years my identity as a cop has slowly faded, and maybe new tags have taken its place, the runner, the Ironman, the mad one who runs around all of the time, the new friend, Olly’s mum. People who I associate with now, never saw me as what I was, instead they see me as who I have become. Which is the real me? I do not know? 

I have recently come to realise that this has been a major problem for me. Whilst my friends and partner continued in their world, with their lives, mine was slowly being taken from me. My identity and feeling of pride, normality, purpose and hope were getting further and further away from me each day. I became jealous, afraid, scared as I felt left out of the real world. I became further isolated as I tried to deal with these feelings of ‘who am I’. I kept it bottled inside as I bubbled, crumbled, became rotten hurting those closest to me along the way. Stuck in a world that I could not adjust to.

Everything that I had worked so hard for now appears like a distant memory. This is still very raw and even writing this is making me emotional.

Therapy is now steering me in the right direction. Like an onion, I am stripping back the layers and I am getting closer to the core. The core in this example is my identity as I come to terms with perhaps losing one identity and finding another. 

They say in the job ‘you are just a number’. Whilst this maybe true, the significance of those 4 digits will have an ever lasting effect, whatever I find when I get to the core.

Time for the big girl pants

Wednesday 15th January 2020 (3.11pm)

I am pleased to say that today has been a better day. I am currently out treating myself to a late lunch after having an hour with my mental health worker. Thankfully our meeting went better than last Friday, and after having final closure on one part of my life, I feel that there is no point in dwelling on the ifs, buts and maybes. It’s time for me to put the big girl pants back on and adopt the chuck it in the ‘fu*k it bucket’ before it destroys me any further.

This morning I met up with someone who I have never had a verbal conversation with but know from Parkrun. After making contact via social media we met for a run. This is not something that I would have done up until recently. We smashed out 10 miles and never stopped talking all of the way. Thank you so much RC, that was exactly what I needed. Time out, not having the chance to think over the things was a perfect start to the morning. A new friend made and a new running buddy 👌🏻. The running community totally rocks and I am so grateful I have this and these super duper people.

Myself (especially) and Olly stepped out for our morning walk with a bounce and new hope. Things are still tough, they will be until I have time to adjust (not good for someone who has an adjustment disorder). Trying not to be too cliched, I have to look at what is ahead of me. The next few months will bring lots of changes so it is time for me to embrace what, and maybe even who will be thrown my way.

Whilst I have a tear in my eye, I am actually happy and inwardly smiling.

Fuzz

Tuesday 14th January 2020 (7.24pm)

An early therapy appointment (8am) has kind of left me feeling pretty bleurgh all day. I wasn’t feeling good on my drive there with lots of negative thoughts and emotions going around in my head. I arrived, admittedly in a bit of a mess, which continued throughout my session as my brain raced at a million miles an hour thinking over recent events. Again we talked about my want to escape from the mess I have made of things personally, as well as what is going on professionally and financially. We got onto the topic of trauma, and somewhere there is something going on with me that I either don’t know about, or I have buried it and not realised, or I know about but will not admit or talk about, I guess for fear of reality and further rejection. Next session we will be doing rewind therapy to try and remove whatever it is. I left therapy in a haze of fuzz and after taking Olly out for a walk to the beach, I have tucked myself away all day. Weather has not helped. I have had no interest in doing anything. 

I don’t feel that I have the help and support that I need at the moment. This has probably come out wrong, because I have friends who contact me everyday doing welfare checks, I have friends who invite me out for coffee, walks or runs. Whilst this is great and I am so thankful to these people, there is something or someone missing. And this is what I am finding hard. As I sit here typing this, Olly moves away from me feeling the emotion, his little face peering over the arm of the other chair.

I have just done the PHQ-9 test to see where I am in terms of my depression. I scored 23/27. A score above 20 indicates severe depression.

I have no idea what to do anymore.

In the rabbit hole

Sunday 12th January 2020 (6.43pm)

I always know when I have fallen down the rabbit hole due to the way I change within myself. My thoughts over the last few days have been scary as I have looked at ways to self harm, destruct and completely destroy myself. Left in a chasm of depression, the pills at times have looked like an easy way out. I know the trigger. It will pass, but as and when I don’t know. 

I am on the run, physically and metaphorically. Over the last week I have immersed myself in exercise and all I want to do at the moment is run, clock up the miles, clock up the time  and just go. I cannot sit still. I am agitated. I cannot stop. I have not run today. Other priorities. I cannot go now. Tomorrow morning I am planning a long run. I need to go. I need to get out. Fed up.

I looked to escape this weekend. I looked to get away. I almost left Olly with his minder and jumped on a train to London; however, I knew that I wanted him with me so I researched options of dog friendly places to stay. We almost ended up somewhere but escaping would have not helped my situation. I had planned to run with friends over the weekend and I did not want to miss out on this. I met with my mental health worker on Friday, we both knew that time away alone in strange place would not have helped. 

My therapist who I am seeing on Tuesday will be interested in the fact that yet again I want to escape. What am I escaping / running from all of the time? Life. Am I happy? No. Do I want out of this situation? Yes.

I have not done the things that I usually find comfort in (apart from running and spending time with Olly). I am not going out (apart from running and Olly walks). I have no motivation. I sit at home. Alone in my thoughts. I do not want to eat meals. I have no appetite. I just want chocolate. I read a lot. I have other work to do. I sit here. Thinking.  Daytime TV. This afternoon I learnt that an Indian takeaway has the same amount of fat as 89 mini cocktail sausages. 

Fact.

Just looking 

Wednesday 1st January 2020 (4.14pm)

I am not going to sit here thinking over the last 12 months or even wondering what the next 12 will hold as what is the point. The last 12 have been and gone and I have no crystal ball to consider the next. Of course there are things which I would like to see happen both personally and professionally but at the moment I am feeling a little unsettled and confused.

As the Stereophonics so aptly put in their lyrics to ‘Just looking’

‘There’s things I want

There’s things I think I want

There’s things I’ve had

There’s things I want to have’

Whilst 2019 taught me so much, I can only work on what I have discovered which will hopefully unlock my confusion as to what I want and where I am going.

I have lost my copilot. That someone who would look at me if I came up with a stupid idea, or steer me in the right direction when I came up with a rash or crazy plan. That person who knew when I was spouting rubbish. That person who would help with such feelings and emotions. That person who would take over the controls when all I saw ahead was thick fog. That person who would allow me to reset the controls, the navigation equipment and give me time to get through the turbulence . That person who I never told. That person.

Is there an ideal solution? No.

Is there a perfect life? Of course not. 

Will there be heartache and struggles ahead? You bet.

All I can do is get through each day with my wingman, Olly. I have no expectations, just hope. I have no plans, just ideas. I have no partner by my side, but an awesome group of friends. Who knows, maybe one day everything will slot into place. I will find a way, I always do.

I know I am not the only one who hates new year, does not believe in resolutions, new starts, new ‘me’, or is struggling, grieving or worried about something or other. If you want to be like me, then I plan to fly each day by the seat of my pants, embrace what or who comes my way with appreciation and start enjoying life again.

Whatever your plans, dreams or aspirations for 2020, I wish you all the very best xx

Christmas 2019

Friday 27th December 2019 (8.01pm)

I have somehow managed to get myself through Christmas. My method was to keep busy, keep active and think about things as little as possible. The latter is somewhat difficult, as something occupies my mind literally every waking second. My therapist wants me to slow down (physically and mentally), but I am finding this difficult. I suppose this is something which will not happen overnight and I need to determine what slowing down for someone like me is.

I have made a few decisions lately which I need to ensure I implement. These will take me out of my day to day norm. Whilst I have continued to exercise, which has included running with friends I have also taken myself off to the cinema. Watching a Christmas movie sitting next to loved up couples wasn’t easy but I enjoyed the film and my day out. I am going to make sure I get out and do something like this at least twice a month. Cinema is a good option for me, as it requires me to sit still with no distractions. I already have my next visit planned along with some food. This will be my date day/night (smiley face).

I have made a commitment to myself about joining others in swimming sessions, cycling and running. It is time for me to pop my head above the parapet and get back out there. I am not saying I will suddenly turn into some sociable person, far from it, but this is my attempt at doing what I am told. There are also a number of things which I will step back from doing. 

I spent Christmas alone. This was my decision. My choice. The plans that were made a few months ago, changed. The person who I was to spend the day with, no longer that part of my life. I knew it was going to be hard so I had to back away from a full on Christmas Day and do things my way. No pressure. The day soon went as in the morning I volunteered at Parkrun whilst Olly hung out with his pals on the beach next to me. After joining said pals and their humans, myself and Olly visited a friend, dropped off some presents, had a rest before heading back to the beach. The evening was spent eating and watching typical Christmas TV.  It was hard but thanks to a handful of people, it was special in its own way. Olly made my day as usual, he was like a child getting up at 0354 to see if Santa had been. He then decided to fall asleep in the afternoon after only opening half of his presents. He then ate more pigs in blankets than me!

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Olly at 0354!                                      Excited Olly before Zzzzzzz

I am grateful for the amount of people who invited me to their homes for Christmas Day and yesterday. So many kind people who offered to feed me and make sure that I was ok. I will be first in the queue to repay these invitations.

Tomorrow morning I am back at Parkrun, I have a friend’s 8 year old relative running with me. I just hope he does not go off too fast and wear me out! On Sunday I am off running with a group of friends. These are not New Years resolutions as I do not believe in them, it is just me moving in the right direction, for my health and wellbeing.

If I do not catch up with you all again this year, then see you in 2020 x x

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Back out on the bike 

When the penny drops

Saturday 21st December 2019 (11.55 am)

I had two counselling appointments this week. One through MIND and the other organised privately.

Do you know when inside your head you have an idea of what is going on, but you need someone to tell you, and importantly work with you to find solutions, well that has happened twice for me this week. It is simple basic stuff, but it has given me some positivity with how I am going work this over the next few months (and beyond).

Firstly, my session with MIND identified that out of all the variables I was measured on, my self esteem is absolutely rock bottom. Other risk factors and vulnerabilities were identified but lack of self esteem is what myself and my mental health worker will focus on. In essence I have very little self worth, and place very little value on what I think about myself. Words such as failure, unlovable, loser, useless, not good enough and worthless resonate in my head. All compounded and confirmed by not being able to keep hold of a relationship. A vicious circle of catch 22. Avoiding certain situations and withdrawing from social contact and relationships because of the way I feel yet further examples.

I am thankful that the program I will now follow will kick me up the butt and work on such negative thoughts and feelings. I am glad that I know what it is and it is not all my head (you know what I mean) and that there is something that can be done. My next session is January 2nd.

My session on Friday was with a private therapist who I am pleased to say got me pretty quickly. Key points from this:

My head moves too fast, it has too many thoughts with too much going on. As it is so busy I am too focused on trying to process these thoughts. In the meantime, immersing myself in my own world without being able to give attention to others (YES, BANG ON). 

I struggle to be able to sit still, take time out and relax. If I stop, I think. If I think, I become upset. If I become upset, then I link into low self esteem. I keep going. It’s easier. This will eventually burn me out. I need to stop, and not rush everything and everywhere.

What do I need to do? For now, I need to learn to sit and breathe. Not just when I am feeling, stressed, worried or anxious, but I need to build it in to my everyday. A few minutes a couple of times each day will help. If my breathing isn’t regulated or controlled then neither am I. This can be evidenced by recent panic. I lost my breathing. I lost my way. A simple technique which I do approximately 15-20 times per minute anyway. I have been provided with a method which I am working on.

I am running from something – just need to work out what?!

I am unable to appreciate / see my success or anything good that I do. Others congratulate or commend but I just brush it off. Hmmm, lack of self esteem again?

On a positive note, I am doing some good, such as exercise, writing, learning, Olly; BUT everything needs to be done at a slower rate.Thankfully, there is a way forward with this which we will work on over the remaining 5 sessions. I am just pleased that there is a solution for my ‘speediness’ out there.

Support

Tuesday 17th December 2019 (8.42pm)

I was going to title this support ‘from unexpected places’ but I do not like the word unexpected, it feels wrong to call it that in this instance but I do not know what word to use. I am hoping this will become clearer.

I have written about my struggles over recent weeks which have at times been sad, upsetting, frustrating, disappointing (I could go on with the negatives but I won’t).

I take great comfort in the amount of people who have contacted me. I guess this is where the word ‘unexpected’ comes from. I have had so many lovely messages from people who I have not seen for many years (some going back to school days), from people  who I am linked to on Facebook but do not know particularly well and from people who I know in passing from run club but who I have not had lengthy conversations with. Also from people who I have never met through social media.

Many of those mentioned above do not know ‘George the police officer, the detective, the Sarge’ George, who for the last 17 years (minus the last 3.8 years) who put on the uniform, worked shifts, dealt with criminals and vulnerable victims on a daily basis, led a team, passed CID, Sergeant and Inspector exams, loved and lived for the job, yet turned into a stress head who strived for perfection. George who eventually stood one day, as a Temporary Inspector looking out of her office window recognising that help was needed.

I often think how ‘the job’ that’s what we ‘in the job’ call it changed me. That is not a point for now. Most of the people in my life now never knew or met that George. Never saw a change, never knew me how I was. My ex partner never saw me leave to go to work, never heard the stories when I got home, never worried about me, never understood my passion and what I was about, never understood the complexities of my world. Never knew my life. I should have spoken more about this. I didn’t. My life prior to April 2016 much different to what it is now.

This is where I want to also thank those from my police family who have contacted me. There is a mutual understanding, respect and compassion for what we see, do, feel and how we deal with things. An understanding of how we carry things within our heads, our shoulders weighing heavy. Those who day in and day out go out and fight what seems a losing battle. Again, I have received lovely messages, words, support and encouragement from people who I did not directly work with, or didn’t know particularly well, or have recently got to know through messages. Whatever happens with me and my police life next year I will be forever grateful to the ones who have supported me. People who knew me as the police officer either in passing, through working incidents together or though being on team.

I suppose I can sum up ‘unexpected’ quite simply. This goes out to the people who I do not speak to on a regular basis, or in some cases for many years. Those people I only know in passing or through a mutual passion such as sport. Those people who do the same job. Thank you.

For those who have always been there you are pretty special too xx

Existing not Living

Saturday 14th December 2019 (11.47am)

Not what I want to be writing about but this is how it is and how I am. Lost. Lost in a world which is going on around me and without me whilst I struggle along in my bubbled haze. I liken it to a clip in the film Poltergeist where the young girl stares vacantly into the TV, arms out and all she sees is the black and white crackle. This is what I am looking out on to. Tunnel vision distorts my periphery. I know there is stuff going on around me but I can’t quite make it out. I am sat in a coffee shop with Olly asleep by my side, resting from his crazy beach run. He has one eye open as if to say ‘it’s ok, I am watching out for you’. I smile at him, but what does he see in these dead eyes? Pain? Sadness? mixed in with love.

A Christmas tree stands tall near to me and sitting by it a table of friends, laughing, enjoying themselves going about their normal lives. Couples drinking coffee and eating cakes. Children eating waffles and Nutella, struggling to get through a big portion whilst multi tasking with colouring books. Me, head stuck in phone writing, quietly glancing up to see that normality continues around me but not really focused.

Tonight I was supposed to be going out to my run club Christmas do, booked ages ago with my partner. A few days ago I cancelled. I can’t go. I can’t do it. Pretending to be happy is hard. Pretending to be in the Christmas spirit is hard. I would rather stay home, me and Olly, left to our own world. I am aware of other events that I am missing out on this afternoon. Somewhere where I would love to be, but that somewhere, someplace and someone no longer fits into my plans or into my future.

In the car I revert to the songs which I find comfort in. The voice of Chester Bennington, his powerful lyrics, haunted by mental illness himself and sadly a talent no longer with us. As a certain song comes on repeat, Olly looks at me as if to say ‘not again, put the Christmas tunes on mum’. I don’t. Not yet.

At times like this, I usually revert to what I know best and that’s exercise, but I am finding no comfort in that these days. Yesterday I went for a run. At times I felt like I was hyperventilating as crippling emotions ripped through me. I may go again later, if not maybe tomorrow. Who knows.

Last night I made a decision to cut ties with a lot of things, for my self preservation and healing. One of those things was my social media, but I need that to post these upbeat (PMSL) blogs. I will be on and off it over the next few weeks.

I will roll on. I will do what is best for me. I am not sure what that is yet but I have a whole heap of options available to me. Things will become clearer in the next four weeks or so. Light will shine again, I am sure of that. For now, existing is all I can do to get by each day, but if thats all I can do then that is better than nothing. Soon I will live again.

Soon George will reappear.

xx