Creating My Odyssey

Artist / writer / explorer of life & creativity / mental health & lifestyle blogger

Thursday, 27 June 2019


CREATING MY ODYSSEY: A WARTIME GENERATIONS' APPROACH TO MENTAL HEALTH: One matter I haven't touched upon in discussions here about mental health and/or depression is the fact that my parents - as with many ...


One matter I haven't touched upon in discussions here about mental health and/or depression is the fact that my parents - as with many parents of their generation - had attitudes that stemmed from their own backgrounds - wartime and earlier. Dad was born in 1921, mother in 1923. Depression 'did not exist', and the treatment of it, therefore, did not exist either. The research for treatment for depression didn't really begin in earnest until after 1952 - the year before I was born - when it was noticed that a drug, Isoniazid, introduced to treat tuberculosis, showed the side effect of reducing depression in patients. Unfortunately other, unwanted side effects restricted its use and it was taken off the market.

     My paternal granny suffered from depression, and dad would return from school and find her on the bed, crying. My aunt, his sister, was 'old worry-guts' and they'd tease her about it and say if she hadn't got anything to worry about, she'd worry.

     None of my immediate family suffered mentally, and mother was healthy as a horse. She didn't know what a headache felt like, and she'd never taken an Aspirin in her life. She suffered a little arthritis in her right hand fingers as she grew older, but otherwise, was fit as the proverbial fiddle right up to the age of eighty, when she and I took a brisk, two-mile walk and she asked me if I could manage to jump a ditch after she'd leapt nimbly over it.

One day she pronounced to me that she'd blacked out and found herself on the kitchen floor. I told her to tell dad and go and see a doctor, but no - typical mother, she told me not to tell dad and on no account was she going to see a doctor! She hadn't seen one in her entire life. Sadly, shortly after this incident, severe dementia took her and the last ten years of her life were spent in a nursing home. I have a suspicion that a stroke had given her the black out, as I informed dad and my older brother, who looked after him, in later years. Mother died four years ago, a few days after dad died. Spooky, we thought. They were ninety-three and ninety-one. A good innings, as dad would say, except that their last ten years were not so good.

     So the parents and my two older brothers, had this 'pull yourself together' (like a pair of curtains - my words) 'get on with it' mentality and approached anything like depression with dark humour because they had no idea as to how to approach it otherwise. Mental health and depression was laughed at, joked about. Mother said: 'We didn't have time for depression.' of her own growing-up years.

     My life was punctuated with her vitriolic remarks towards me. When I was ten I had a tonsillitis  operation. I was in the womens' ward because the children's ward was being redecorated, and I hated the ward sister! I vividly remember her hairdo - a pudding basin style fanning from a spot in the middle of her skill and rolled up all around her head. She was impatient with her patient (me). I cried with relief when the parents arrived to take me home from hospital: Mother said: 'Stop crying or I'll leave you in here.' I was ten, for chrissakes! Other remarks when I'd reached adulthood consisted of:
'What do you want to do a thing like that for?' after Husband and I announced our engagement. (Dad got the sherry out!). 'You should have thought about that before.' when I told her I wanted a family but I was still at college doing an illustration course. 'The doctor must be fed up with seeing you!' (I'd told the parents that I'd been so see the doctor about my depression), 'I never took your jobs seriously anyway.' (I'd told her about a part-time job I was doing). And: 'You need a man to drag you around by the hair!' See where my depression stemmed from?! 😒

     Typical of the creative sort, I was sensitive and prone to moods and I don't think the family could cope with that, and they certainly didn't treat me with patience and kindness. I barely knew my brothers, hardly ever had a conversation with either of them and I was shy of them. I always felt like a single child.  

     Sufferers are  not born with depression, although sensitivities and moods are attributed to creative individuals. According to Mind, the mental health charity, years of constant negatives towards a person can alter the brain's chemistry, causing depression and anxiety. I maintain now that had my family been more sympathetic (not necessarily understanding, because if you've never suffered from depression and don't understand it, it's hardly a fault), I would possibly have recovered from post-natal depression much more quickly and not suffered mentally so much all these years afterwards. Maybe,

     Harsh that it sounds, it was a blessing that my parents died within days of one another a year after my miraculous treatment began (Christmas - Five Years Ago) because it meant that all familial obligations vanished, and I've grown better and better with each passing year. The entire absence of negatives via my brothers, and sarcasm from one wife and snobby dismissal from the other, ex-wife, has done its trick. My own family - fabulous soulmate husband, beautiful, funny, caring daughter and her family, and hilarious, caring son - have been nothing but amazing. And husband's family are fabulous, sympathetic and understanding. I've adopted all of them.

     It's all a miracle. I didn't know what it felt like to feel truly happy consistently, or how to beat a mental issue into submission. Now I wake up happy! That was a real novelty to begin with and continues to be. So, I say to all those of my age group who suffer from depression and anxiety - you were brought up by wartime generation parents. Don't expect too much from them, and if necessary, doing a course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy may help enormously. It certainly helped me!

Just bear that in mind.

Recent posts:

    Snapshots of Social History            Hi Guys - Long Time No Post!   

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Sunday, 16 June 2019


CREATING MY ODYSSEY: BETWEEN THIS, THAT & THE OTHER... :-D!: So, in between scraping clean the grey-infested grout between the kitchen tiles in order to paint them over (long time coming!), I'm ta...


So, in between scraping clean the grey-infested grout between the kitchen tiles in order to paint them over (long time coming!), I'm taking breaks on that to edit my novel Alias Jeannie Delaney, write up this blog and consider this coming weekend. This weekend we're going to our first Isle of Wight Steam Punk Railway event. Really looking forward to that!

Steam Punk

In the meantime I'm trying to sort out the snags on this here blog. Several problems, one of which is that my categories index (Creativity, Travel, Mental Health, Kitty Le Roy's Wild West, and Renaissance Soul) vanished, leaving only 'Renaissance Soul'. Whatever happened I do not know. I'm guessing that in my fiddling around trying to fix things, I quite possibly deleted something or clicked on the wrong button, thereby making it worse. The other snags is that several links on the blog lead to nowhere. 'This page is missing' echo echo..., or something on those lines. All very frustrating.
Mr.Fixit is saying: 'Just let me help you.' Looks like I'll have to let him. 😒 

Hopefully the problem will be fixed sooner rather than later. In the meantime, back to my scraping and getting my steampunk costume together... 😃

                      CREATING MY ODYSSEY
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Thursday, 13 June 2019


CREATING MY ODYSSEY: SNAPSHOTS OF SOCIAL HISTORY: SNAPSHOTS OF SOCIAL HISTORY  As a collector of antique curios, a few years ago I bought a bunch of used vintage postcards....



As a collector of antique curios, a few years ago I bought a bunch of used vintage postcards. Most of them were dated from the early 1900s through to the 1920s, through WW2, and a few dated the 1960s. The whole bunch cost me a tenner (£10), I was told at the time that they were extremely good value, and that was right. I've yet to find another bunch of cards at a similar price. Usually much more expensive, and singly. 

They're a great peep into brief moments of social history, and I've kept a lookout for bunches of postcards in this vein at that kind of price, to no avail. Still, it's fascinating to work my way through them and research the image on the front if it's a place, and find the address on the back (most of which I've so far found) and read the message, particularly if the date is Edwardian, up to the roaring twenties. 

It's histories that are not in text or library books and would not normally be written up in any shape or form. A snapshot of a moment in time that's come and gone in a moment. Fascinating!

Do you guys collect anything of this nature that records a moment in time?

Recent posts:

 Hi, Guys - Long Time No Post


Pioneer Venus orbiter.jpg
I Witnessed a (Real) 
Rocket Launch Back in 1978

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Saturday, 8 June 2019


CREATING MY ODYSSEY: HI GUYS...LONG TIME NO POST!: Hi guys - Long gap between posts. Sorry about that! I'm working on a particularly long one concerning my mental health and recovery.  ...


Hi guys -

Long gap between posts. Sorry about that! I'm working on a particularly long one concerning my mental health and recovery.  I may not even post it because I'm bearing my soul and it's a longie. Possibly too long!

In the meantime, here's what's been going on with Yours Truly, and my apologies if I've repeated myself at all...! 😃 I'm writing this post on my tablet while on the boat, so it isn't up to a standard I like. Next time though...

I'm endeavouring to be more adventurous, creatively, and do more of it.    Artistically this piece is balsa wood on a wooden base, painted in acrylic. It began life as 3D art from an art course I did years ago (Open College of the Arts), and I decided to update it. I'm pleased with it, so far.

Our conservatory/studio is fabulous. I do sometimes work in there. I'm certainly being more creative, and experimenting. Ideally, I'd love to hold exhibitions, sell on Etsyenter art competitions, and so forth. But I know me. Some of it won't happen. I'm just hoping some of it will! 😃

This all applies to writing as well, competition-wise, but I'm dead lazy about that. 😮

I've returned to archery and I'm doing ok. Husband has been coming with me to the Farnham Archers field and helping me fix my bow sighting. I'm improving all the time, but I'd really like to meet some of the members, because the field was empty when we were there! 

A steampunk still life flat-lay.  Fun!

We have a steampunk event coming - Bressingham Steampunk at Bressingham Steam Museum - and I'm gradually getting my kit together and looking forward to going! I think I'll be far more relaxed about this than I was about wild west living history camps, although my alter ego Kitty Le Roy is never far away, because I have to work on updating my cabin and
Kitty Le Roy's Wild West site.

   Which leads me onto:
     My epic western novel, Alias Jeannie Delaney, which has caused me never-ending angst and unnecessary embarrassments over the years (possibly
caused by lack of encouragement from my parents and siblings) is finally coming under control. Husband is helping me with the editing and I'm growing more and more confident over it, and I receive heaps of encouragement from folks. 

     Been working quite hard on our garden. My maternal granddad and my mother were exceptionally keen gardeners, and very good at it, but I'm nothing like that. I potter and weed and prune and cut grass and I like it. It's good for the soul, but I couldn't spend a whole day doing it like my mother used to! I'd return from school during the sixties and she'd be up to her knees in the soil in her wellies and exclaim: 'Good heavens! Is that the time? Better pop the kettle on!' 😃 A fond memory. 

     Our garden ain't anywhere near the size of hers or granddad's (his was the size of four tennis courts, at least!), but it's big enough for our needs, and we're aiming for a creative, perhaps eccentric, garden. We have sculptures and four ponds. Always wanted a pond and built one when I was young, but that didn't hold water, so to speak, but I've got four now! Added to that my cabin, Husband's outdoor railway to come, the mini-meadow that we're cultivating...

(I think there's a blog post brewing there ...)

     Our narrow boat, Dotterel, has had major work done on it, as you can see: 

The dry dock is reflooded! Woo-hoo! 

That was very interesting! Apart from spending the day with a bunch of fabulously friendly and funny fellahs in a boat yard at Braunston Marina, Northamptonshire, near our mooring, we also got the experience of being in a dry dock - they drain the water -  and watch while they fixed our dodgy tiller. Getting down below and dirty and seeing under the hull is even better! But by gum - it's exhausting being on your feet most of the day while the guys do the necessary. They did a great job and we cruised back to our mooring in the early evening sunshine. Had a good evening and fell asleep as our heads hit the proverbial pillow. 

     Travel. Mustn't forget travel! Madeira is coming up shortly,  and we're considering the rest of the year. Where to next?! This is the thing about retirement... 😃! 

     Otherwise I try to listen to music during the day - I found that hard when I was depressed. I love keeping up with contemporary music, but love classical music of various types. My tastes are pretty eclectic - Russian, choral, Gregorian chants, Elgar, Sibelius, Thomas Tallis, rap, heavy metal...rock n' roll...eighties.... I watch telly in the evenings. I'm heavily into the paranormal 
and love the ghost shows, Ghost Adventures being my favourite. I couldn't do it myself - I leave it to the Ghost Adventures crew and my son to do it and son can tell me about it afterwards! 😃

     A matter that's slowly resolving itself is that of being at home. I was a homebody when I was young and living at home. I liked being at home as a kid, being an artist, reading, watching telly, listening to music...  But after the births of our kids, I hated it. Being at home meant being domesticated and having to care for children. I'd have been bored rigid and frustrated even had I been well mentally. (I adore my kids - it's the constant domestic side of child rearing I hated. Too far away from the creativity and adventure I craved. But I didn't know that when were planning a family). 

     So being at home left my subconscious with the desire not to be there for long. I'd have a big case of 'cabin fever'. After the kids became independent adults, my subconscious found it hard to accept that I didn't need to worry about caring for children and domestics any longer.

     But now, finally, I'm able to be at home - if not all day, because we go into town for our regular morning coffee - certainly all afternoon without feeling bad or sad. As I say, a long time coming, although Husband gets itchy feet easily, but then he's a tall, skinny bloke who likes being on the move! 

     That has been a long time coming, but I think I'm almost there. 

     There's one thing remaining  - I'm sad thinking about my brothers. Separating from them was the best thing I could do in order to complete my mental health recovery, but that doesn't stop me from wondering how they are. The other day I cried. It seems that I still have issues there, and I'm uncertain that that will ever be resolved. 

      In the meantime, enjoy life. So important! 😊 And that goes for you guys as well! 

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